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and for eternity, of those who in the providence of God are committed to us, and made dependent upon us; there must be scrupulous devotedness to the duty quickening this consideration ; and there must be the voice of conscience solemnly protesting, that in the omission of it the most momentous char lected. No life is too active or busy for the faithful performance of this duty. If there is sincere desire, method can make a place for it. We allude not to avocations calling from home; these make their own exception. But when the exception is regretted, as it should be, it will lead to earnestness and affectionateness in doing what can be done, that will go far toward making compensation.
One of the grossest neglects of youth, producing incalculable mischief and ruin, is in the improper spending of evenings. Darkness was created for quiet: home is the place of quiet. Darkness is temptation to misconduct: suffering the young to be out when the light of day does not restrain them from misconduct, is training them to it. We have already an abundant harvest of this seeding. Riots, mobs, crimes giving fearful forebodings, are the result of youth becoming fit agents of outrage by running uncared for on evenings. What we see in these respects is deplorable enough ; but what is this, compared with what we do not see !—multitudes making themselves miserable and noxious in this world
-and what in that to come! Parents should look at the truth—that evening pleasures and recreations are often dearly purchased—the price, their own impaired comfort, and the blighted prospects of their offspring. It must be obvious, that in this matter there can be no prescribed rule. There can be no interdict of all evening recreations and employment; yet here is an evil not only destructive to youth, but planting thorns in many paths, and covering many lives with desolation. The reformation demanded must proceed from judgment and conscience, and for this purpose judgment and conscience must be enlightened. Heads of families must learn, that the place on earth best adapted to be a blessing ishome; and by example and wholesome restraint they
must teach this truth to all under them. Especially should home during Sabbath hours be consecrated. Sabbath mornings and evenings are blessed indeed, when they gather the family into the circle of converse and instruction; and parents and children, masters and apprentices and servants, in the presence and by the grace of God, who has made them and placed them in their respective stations, raise themselves to the exalted level of the truth, that they are invested with capacity and obligation in their respective conditions, assigned them by an all-wise Providence, to help each other onward to honour, glory, and immortality-eternal life. Souls perish in everlasting death; they perish through neglect; who would stand at the judgment of the Great Day under the imputation of that neglect! Do you say, Not I”? then think of these things.
The old law of treason tainted the blood, that the punishment might reach the child, alleging as a reason, that parental love would be a security against the crime; the dread of injuring his offspring enhancing in a father's bosom even the fear of death. The reason does honour to our nature: why not apply it to a more noble purpose—the purpose not merely of preventing a parent from injuring his child, but of animating him with continual desire—impelling him, by living motive, carefully to devise and stedfastly pursue a course of oversight and instruction-by conversation and conduct, to encourage and help his child to enrich and expand his mind with useful knowledge, but especially imbue it with pure and elevated principle ?
It may be objected, that the course here pointed out so multiplies duties, that it would displace the demands of business and useful pastime. It would certainly, in very many cases, change family and social arrangements. Home would present the first claims, command the highest cares, and embosom the choicest blessings. But this course can be carried out, and all its advantages secured, without impairing diligence in business, or curtailing social enjoyment.
Man was not made to be always in the toil of business. As a social being, he has social, and as a parent, parental duties. We have
seen a father and mother, unwearied in toils, eating the bread of carefulness, to make provision for two favourite children. In a few years after the decease of the parents, we saw the end of the children, and of the abundance laid
up for them. It was wasted in their miserable lives, terminating in their miserable deaths. Wealth had been accumulated, but they had been neglected: they were not qualified to use it. Is there not most urgent reason that there should be great change in the habits of society with respect to the training of youth? Would not the change greatly increase the comforts and enhance the value of life? What can be put in comparison with a family reared in mutual endearment, to worth and usefulness ?-parents and children, youth and those who have the charge of them, honoured in each other? When such is the object, who would grudge the pains ? On the other hand, what misery can be more bitter than that arising from the sight of children lost to hope, because left unguarded in a world of temptation, suffered to follow inclination when every step was toward ruin, to imbibe corrupt principles without any
watchfulness for their detection, until the moral taint is beyond any process of reform ? At the judgment, what meetings will there be of parents and children! children in the guilt of aggravated wickedness; parents, by their neg. lect, the authors of their condemnation !
But this duty and responsibility, in relation to children and youth, is not confined to parents : it is as full and strong in the case of master and apprentice or servant, and in every other case in which the care and charge of youth is undertaken. There is very general mistake on this point. It should be thoroughly examined, and interest or prejudice not suffered to warp the judgment. The ground of this duty and responsibility is the incompetency of the youth to act discreetly for himself: his contracts do not bind him : he is committed to the control of another. In this incompetency, disqualifying him for common business, can he be left to himself to form habits and acquire principles decisive of his worldly destiny and eternal state? There must be responsibility somewhere; and where can it rest but upon him who
takes the right of the parent to the benefit of the child's services, or has the child under his oversight? We have known a poor widow come to a place on Saturday afternoon to bind her son apprentice, very desirous to return the same afternoon. The person to whom her son was to be bound, having attended a preparatory lecture for communion, would not transact the business that day. She was necessitated to incur the inconvenience and expense of remaining till Monday, when her son was bound. He was allowed to run very much as he listed in his leisure hours, contracted habits that undermined his health, and, soon after the expiration of his apprenticeship, went down to a premature and hope
Good habits probably would have saved body and soul-made life useful, and death happy. Is there no responsibility? There is none upon the mother : she had selected for her son a master of high character, and placed him out of her sight and control. We are told, “not a sparrow is forgotten before God.” “When he maketh inquisition for blood,” will not this poor youth be remembered? There are other aspects of obligation. A professor of religion of high standing, within our knowledge, has placed his son with persons in business, where, if he imbibe the lessons of example, he will learn profanity and scoffing. Can the blessing of God be expected in such cases ?
Our observation of other relations to youth frequently suggests painful thoughts. Students from law-offices, young physicians, scholars from college, wards coming from guardianship, too often vividly remind us of the distressing complaint, “no man cared for my soul.” Yet who thinks of responsibility ? Indentures of apprenticeship are sometimes formed, one would suppose, with direct aim to the ruin of the apprentice: the master is relieved from all legal obligation to care for his apprentice, when his moral training requires most carewhen not at work. But will He who says, “all souls are mine,” suffer their eternal destinies to be trifled with through mercenary contracts ? We cannot lose sight of the inestimable worth of the soul. The soul lost; an immortal spirit in eternal ruin and misery! In this view
the distinctions of high and low, bond and free, sink into utter nothingness. In the life of Philip Henry, we learn that such was the influence pervading his home, that all his children, his servants, his labourers became pious. Upon the training of youth in childhood and minority, their prosperity, their character, their salvation depend. We have glanced at relations charged with this training. What must be his reflections, who has sustained either of the relations, and is conscious, that no hallowed blessing has proceeded from it! We have pointed out what we deem obvious responsibility; but it will not be readily admitted. In too many instances the lawyer does not feel obligation to the moral culture of the mind and heart of his student; nor does the physician; nor for any practical effect does the college teacher, the master, guardian, or parent.
We have not space to unfold and illustrate this point, so interesting to all in these varied relations; but we refer every one having charge of youth to the inspired declaration : “Their Redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.”
DANGERS OF YOUNG MEN.
It is obvious to the slightest reflection, that the period of youth, under any circumstances, is fraught with immense danger; for then the passions are quick, the judgment is immature, temptations are powerful, and personal experience has not had the opportunity of inculcating her lessons of truth and wisdom. But if there are perils thronging about the path of youth in every conceivable condition, these perils are modified, in a great measure, by the peculiar circumstances into which the individuals concerned are thrown—the circumstances of the age or of the country in which they happen to be born and educated. We propose to contemplate some of the relations which the young men of our own country particularly sustain, to the existing state of things around them—to the general spirit and character of the age; and in the present article we shall limit