A BABE in a house is a well-spring of pleasure, a messenger of peace and

love: A resting place for innocence on earth; a link between angels and men : Yet is it a talent of trust, a loan to be rendered back with interest; A delight, but redolent of care; honey-sweet, but lacking not the bitter For character groweth day by day, and all things aid it in unfolding, And the hent unto good or evil may be given in the hours of infancy: Scratch the green rind of a sapling, or wantonly twist it in the soil, The scarred and crooked oak will tell of thee for centuries to come; Even so mayst thou guide the mind to good, or lead it to the marrings

of evil, For disposition is builded up by the fashioning of first impressions : Wherefore, though the voice of Instruction waiteth for the ear of reason, Yet with his mother's milk the young child drinketh Education. Patience is the first great lesson; he may learn it at the breast; And the habit of obedience and trust may be grafted on his mind in the

cradle : Hold the little hands in prayer, teach the weak knees their kneeling; Let him see thee speaking to thy God; he will not forget it afterward: When old and gray, will he feelingly remember a mother's tender piety, And the touching recollection of her prayers shall arrest the strong man in

his sin

SELECT not to nurse thy darling one that may taint his innocence,
For example is a constant monitor, and good seed will die among the


The arts of a strange servant have spoiled a gentle disposition :
Mother, let him learn of thy lips, and be nourished at thy breast.
Character is mainly moulded by the cast of the minds that surround it:
Let then the playmates of thy little one be not other than thy judgment

shall approve; For a child is in a new world, and learneth somewhat every moment, His

eye is quick to observe, his memory storeth in secret, His ear is greedy of knowledge, and his mind is plastic as soft wax. Beware then that he heareth what is good, that he feedeth not on evil

maxims, For the seeds of first instructions are dropped into the deepest furrows. That which immemorial use hath sanctioned, seenieth to be right and true; Therefore, let him never have to recollect the time when good things were

strangers to his thought. Strive not to centre in thyself, fond mother, all his love ; Nay, do not thou so selfishly, but enlarge his heart for others; Use him to sympathy betimes, that he learn to be sad with the afflicted; And check not a child in his merriment,-should not his morning be

sunny? Give him not all his desire, so shalt thou strengthen him in hope ; Neither stop with indulgence the fountain of his tears, so shall he fear

thy firmness. Above all things graft on him subjection, yea in the veriest trifle; Courtesy to all, reverence to some, and to thee unanswering obedience.

Read thou first, and well approve, the books thou givest to thy child;
But remember the weakness of his thought, and that wisdom for him must.

be diluted ; In the honied waters of infant tales, let him taste the strong wine of

truth: Pathetic stories soften the heart; but legends of terror breed midnight

misery; Fairy fictions cram the mind with folly, and knowledge of evil tempteth

to like evil: Be not loath to curb imagination, nor be fearful that truths will depress it ; And for evil, he will learn it soon enough; be not thou the devil's


Induce not precocity of intellect, for so shouldst thou nourish vanity; Neither can a plant, forced in the hot-bed, stand against the frozen breath

of winter. The mind is made wealthy by ideas, but the multitude of words is a

clogging weight: Therefore be understood in thy teaching, and instruct to the measure of

capacity. Analogy is milk for babes, but abstract truths are strong meat ; Precepts and rules are repulsive to a child, but happy illustration win

neth him: In vain shalt thou preach of industry ana prudence, till he learn of the

bee and the ant; Dimly will he think of his soul, till the acorn and chrysalis have taught


He will fear God in thunder, and worship his loveliness in flowers;
And parables shall charm his heart, while doctrines seem dead mystery;
Faith shall he learn of the husbandman casting good corn into the soil;
And if thou train him to trust thee, he will not withhold his reliance from

the Lord. Fearest thou the dark, poor child ? I would not have thee left to thy

terrors; Darkness is the semblance of evil, and nature regardeth it with dread: Yet know thy father's God is with thee still, to guard thee: It is a simple lesson of dependence, let thy tost mind anchor upon Him. Did a sudden noise affright thee? lo, this or that hath caused it: Things undefined are full of dread, and stagger stouter nerves. The seeds of misery and madness have been sowed in the nights of

infancy; Therefore be careful that ghastly fears be not the night companions of

thy child.

Lo, thou art a land-mark on a hill; thy little ones copy thee in all

things. Let, then, thy religion be perfect: so shalt thou be honoured in thy house. Be instructed in all wisdom, and communicate that thou knowest, Otherwise thy learning is hidden, and thus thou seemest unwise. A sluggard hath no respect; an epicure commandeth not reverence ;

Meanness is always despicable, and folly provoketh contempt.
Those parents are best honoured whose characters best deserve it;
Show me a child undutiful, I shall know where to look for a foolish

Never hath a father done his duty, and lived to be despised of his son.
But how can that son reverence an example he dare not follow ?
Should he imitate thee in thine evil ? his scorn is thy rebuke.
Nay, but bring him up aright, in obedience to God and to thee;
Begin betimes, lest thou fail of his fear; and with judgment, that thou

lose not his love: Herein use good discretion, and govern not all alike, Yet, perhaps, the fault wilt be in thee, if kindness prove not all sufficient: By kindness, the wolf and the zebra become docile as the spaniel and the

horse : The kite feedeth with the starling, under the law of kindness : That law shall tame the fiercest, bring down the battlements of pride, Cherish the weak, control the strong, and win the fearful spirit. Be obeyed when thou commandest; but command not often : Let thy carriage be the gentleness of love, not the stern front of tyranny Make not one child a warning to another : but chide the offender apart: For self-conceit and wounded pride rankle like poisons in the soul. A mild rebuke in the season of calmness, is better than a rod in the heat

of passion, Nevertheless spare not, if thy word hath passed for punishment; Let not thy child see thee humbled, nor learn to think thee false; Suffer none to reprove thee before him, and reprove not thine own pur

poses by change; Yet speedily turn thou again, and reward him where thou canst, For kind encouragement in good cutleth at the roots of evil.

Drive not a timid infant from his home, in the early spring-time of his

life, Commit not that treasure to an hireling, nor wrench the young heart's

fibres : In his helplessness leave him not alone, a stranger among strange children, Where affection longeth for thy love, counting the dreary hours; Where religion is made a terror, and innocence weepeth unheard ;

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Where oppression grindeth without iemely, and cruelty delighteih in smi

Wherefore comply with an evil fashion ? Is it not to spare thee trouble?
Can he gather no knowledge at thy mouth? Wilt thou yield thine honour

to another?
What can he gain in learning, to equal what he loseth in innocence:
Alas! for the price above gold, by which such learning cometh !
For emulative pride and envy are the snecious idols of the diligent,
Oaths and foul-mouthed sin burn in the language of the idle:
Bolder in that mimic world of boys stareth brazen-fronted vice,
Than thereafter in the haunts of men, where society doth shame her into


My soul, look well around thee, ere thou give thy timid infant unto sor


There be many that say, We were happiest in days long past,
When our deepest care was an ill-conned book,
And when we sported in that merry sunshine of our life,
Sadness a stranger to the heart, and cheerfulness its


True, ye are now less pure, and therefore are more wretched:
But have ye quite forgotten how sorely ye travailed at your tasks,
How childish griefs and disappointments bowed down the childish mind?
How sorrow sat upon your pillow, and terror hath waked thee up betimes,
Dreading the strict hand of justice, that will not wait for a reason,
Or the whims of petty tyrants, children like yourselves,
Or the pestilent extract of evil poured into the ear of innocence ?
Behold the coral island, fresh from the floor of the Atlantic,
It is dinted by every ripple, and a soft wave can smooth its surface ;
But soon its substance hardeneth in the winds and tropic sun,
And weakly the foaming billows break against its adamantine wall;
Even thus, though sin and care dash upon the firmness of manhood,
The timid child is wasted most by his petty troubles;
And seldom, when life is mature, and the strength proportioned to the

Will the feeling mind, that can remember, acknowledge to deeper

anguish, Than when, as a stranger and a little one, the heart first ached with


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