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child, and no narratives so much interest children as those of the Old and New Testament. You may not succeed the first time or the second, nor do you in any thing; but you will soon find that your children come to you, saying, “Tell us something more from the Bible,” and you will find that the telling is better for them than the reading, relieving the narrative of its antiquated forms of speech, and giving a certain air of reality to the circumstances, as well as a feeling of greater liberty to question. This is for the younger a fertile and inexhaustible field, opening up treasures of wisdom and wonder. Advancing years may require other culture; but for that your own advancing experience qualifies. Keeping step with your children's progress, you may always be companion and fellowpupil at least; indeed, the wisest of us always finds himself these; and so these home talks with the children react upon ourselves, and redound to our own good. There are beside a multitude of topics for the home Sunday. There are matters of outside interest and benevolence;— no dearth at all, but a myriad subjects and a myriad helps starting up always about those in earnest, unknown, unguessed by the indifferent; a Divine hand ever leading the way and pointing to the parent heart the manner of leading the tender spirit on. Never fear but God will show you how, when you earnestly undertake.
The home Sunday, however, is not to be spent exclusively in religious employments, nor ever to the extent of wearying. It must have relaxing. Why must every toy be put away, every pleasant book be shut, every expression of glee repressed, and the whole child subdued to an uneasy quietude, simply because it is Sunday ? Does not God let the birds sing their week-day songs, the waters wear their week-day sparkle, the flowers exhale their week-day perfume, and shall the child be rudely kept from all week-day exuberance, and fretted or crushed into obedience by the perpetual reminder that it is Sunday? What wonder that the Sunday grows to be a thing of horror and of hate 2 I believe it is well to teach and establish some difference, — that some things should be put aside till Monday, — but I more than pity the unhappy ones tortured into a silence as unnatural as it is absolute. The houses that the week long resound with all the various revelry of childhood, but on Sunday are pervaded as with the hush of death, —in which you long painfully for some outbreak of hearty, honest noise, – are not truly homes, and do not leave on the mind the holiest and happiest impressions of home. How many there are to whom the memory of the home Sunday comes up as the one dark and unpleasant shadow on a fair vision; how many owe to it their aversion to the day, and their present neglect of its duties and opportunities; and how many homes are growing up now without wholesome restraint, — the one extreme the inevitable consequence of the other! The Sabbath was made for the child as well as for the man. It must not override the nature of the one or the other. The child is greater than the Sabbath, not to be tyrannized over by it, but to be ministered unto. Its duty is to serve and not to reign ; and our duty is that it be taught to serve wisely. There is one thing which comes under the head of the home Sunday, which requires a moment's thought. I mean Sunday recreation. Many of us probably recollect that all our homes allowed to us was a short walk after sunset, and many of us could probably say that the going down of the Sabbath sun was the most welcome fact of the week. “Of all the painful inflictions of boyhood, I know hardly any worse than that of wading through the slough of Sunday.” This was another injustice the ingenuity of our fathers contrived for us. I do not want to see the Sunday made into a holiday. I do not want to see riot and noise taking the place of its proper decorum, but I should like to see that it is considered no violation of the day for a family either to walk or to ride together quietly as it draws toward the evening. “Let it have the duty of our devotion ; but when that is satisfied, let it also have the gratitude of our gladness.” I welcome it as one of the pleasantest harbingers of spring when by my house the family groups come strolling leisurely, enjoying the evening of the day God made, and seeking that refreshing body and spirit need, – to many the only opportunity absorbed life allows for this wholesome recreation. Welcome the baby's wagon, and the children's voices, and the manly stride, and the matronly serenity, and a blessing on each homegroup as it passes. The day is the better day for their walk. They have seen God's evening, and God’s trees and flowers. Nature has spoken to them, and they will go home happier and sleep more sweetly. For them the flowers blossom, for them the elm-trees bend, for them the evening clouds are painted, for them the stars are lighted, and from all, it may be unconsciously, they and theirs are receiving impressions to hallow and lighten a week of toil. Alas that the street should be the only place for these Sunday walks Wisely has an English writer said, “An open space near a town is one of Nature's churches, and it is an imperative duty to provide such things.” What a blessing is Boston Common, — not an ornament, not the city's lungs, not the place for holidays, not a playground in the week or a promenade for the Sabbath, but one of “Nature's churches;” and if you Sunday afternoon, while the western clouds, and the green leaves, and the murmuring fountain preach, and not feel that there is some better, sanctifying influence from it all, I pity your blindness or your bigotry. God speaks not from pulpits only, or from places of man's consecrating, but he hath put a tongue in every living thing, and a spirit in all nature, to which he gives no Sabbath rest. Not as a sanitary measure should public grounds be opened in every crowded town, but as a great educator of the soul in humanity and virtue, as affording to those of narrow means and narrow homes and over-busy lives a Sunday opportunity of seeing and enjoying with their children the sun and air and works of God. And what will you prove to me to be the objection to a quiet family drive, where there are the means for driving 2 That young man who wastes his whole Sabbath, whose soul has starved all day long, whose cigar and dress are his main claims to the name of gentleman, who drives with fury and with yells, half drunk, through your streets, or that other, who, with a more seeming decency, spends the after part of a day he has otherwise wasted or but listlessly observed in a more sober and quiet ride, get no aid and comfort from your example. That is the way the world is ever whipping in those who leave her old ruts. If I go noisy and drunk through the streets, or if I outrage