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hereafter,-it is an instance of zeal for the bonour of God and of religion; for the preservation of virtue and humanity; what concern can the passion of a man have in these things? We know, says the scripture, that the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. The rage and tury with which men correct slaves, is acted upon another principle: it aims at breaking the spirit, subduing the will, and obtaining an absolute entire subjection in the poor bond's. man, to the tyrannical authority of his patron : there is neither concern for soul or body expected in the muster ; no love to his slave's person, or concern for bis future state; nothing is in view but to have his work done, and his commands be without reserve obeyed : to treat a child with passion and rage, is the same thing as other men treat slaves. But the nature of correction, as it respect a father to a child, or a christian master to a servant, is quite different, passion can bear no share in it.
Nor ought you to touch the child, while one spark of the flame is left unextin. guished.
Fath. What rule have you for this strict injunction ? 1 see nothing of it in the scripture.
Neigh. I readily acknowledge that the scripture seems to be more silent in this case than any other of like consequence,—and yet the scripture is not altogether empty of directions: but it is true, that children are so apt to lay hold of every thing that abates the subjection they are commanded to be in to their parents, that the wisdom of the apostles was not a little seen, in touching so lightly the danger of parent's mistakes, in the manner of exercising their authority. But the nature of the thing directs it so evidently, that there seems to be the less occasion,--the natural affection to, and the concern and care of all fathers for the welfare of their children, makes it rational, that correction must consist with those tendernesses; and what share have our passions in those paternal principles? How does the rage of the man, as a man, consist with his bowels, as a father?
Fath. Well, but a little anger may be so natural that it cannot be avoided.
Neigh. I cannot abate a tittle : no anger! no not the least, in correction ; the nature of the office of a father is inconsistent with it: it may be correction indeed, but it is not paternal,-a father's correction must be all in love, mere kindness and tenderness; if one spark of anger be in your breast, touch not your child, at your peril be it: the principles are directly contrary, and will clash; in a word, they cannot be consistent one, with another. Besides, by being calm and cool in your correction, you leave room for the pleading of your children ; perhaps, sometimes for a just vindication, which in your passion you will not allow : perhaps, sometimes you may see less reason for correction than at first you imagined, and the blows might be spared ; for parents, like the great parent of the world, should not willingly correct,-should be always glad to find, that the child did not deserve what he thought at first he did : correction is an act of necessity, not of satisfaction,-and by å wise and tender parent, is done with reluctance, not with delight.
Fath. But you forget what I said, I say you do not allow for unavoidable anger; there may be some passions rise either by the grossness of the offence, or the frequent repetition of it, which may force anger, so that a man cannot help it.
Neigh. It is true, a man may be so provoked, that he cannot help being angry; but he can help correcting his child, while that anger is upon him,--he may defer the execution, when he cannot defer the sentence.
Nor can I say, but even that anger that cannot be helped or suppressed, is an evil, be the cause ever so provoking: but to go about to correct the child while the fit of anger is not off, is making that smaller evil a very great one.
I once saw a father act in a manner which I would recommend as an example to all Christian parents : he was provoked exceedingly by an insolent and obstinate child, who in a
trifling matter gave his father very saucy and undutisul language. The father with a smile of compassion upon bis folly, returned thus : Son, if I was not very angry with you, I would teach you better manners this minute ; but I will give myself time till to-morrow. Before to-murrow, the son relented, humbled humself, and prevented the correction he would certainly have had.
Fath. I can hardly think what you propose is possible to buman nature..
Neigh. There is no question to be made of the possibility, if men would set seriously to work to govern their passions, reduce themselves to temper, and not be too hasty to act, even where they may think they have just occasion. Simeon and Levi had unquestionably a very just occasion to be angry, and they give the greatness of the provocation as an excuse for their unbounded rage, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot ! Yet good Jacob, who knew that all excursions of human passions tended to sin, censured it as abominable ; Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce, and their wrath, for it was cruel. And to this he added a terrible sentence, I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
Fath. I have heard much of men's governing their passions, but I see little of it in practice, -for my own part, I confess I have not the government of myself in a passion, any more than a drunken man has in his wine ; but it is a trouble to me afterwards on many accounts,-particularly, I am Cain to break all the basty vows and rash resolutions I make in my passion, because if I do not I should ruin myself and all my family sometimes,-and that has often troubled me very much: but as to this of not correcting my children in a passion, I never considered it at all before. I begin to believe I have been in the wrong very much, and I think verily it is one reason why my children are so little the better for all the blows; and yet what with one or other of them, I think my hand or my tongue is seldom off them.
Neigh. As to governing the passions, it is a thing that would take ap a long conference by itself, and I shall be glad to taik of it with you at any time ; and particularly, I could tell you a melancholy story of a friend of mine and an acquaintance of yours, who is justly at this time in a dread. fal extremity, between the wicked making of passionate vows and wishes, and the neeessity he is in of breaking them again, or destroying himself and his family; all which lie very heavy upon him.
Fath, I know who you mean I suppose, and I know the case too, it is Mr. -the-r, about the marriage of one of his children,- he told me the case ; but I am too guilty myself of such rash things, to be able to give him advice, I rather want advice.
Neigh. I cannot say I am fit to advise him, but I am sure he is not capable to advise himself,--and he has de. sired a meeting with me and a friend or two of his, to talk about it.
Fath. I would be glad to be there, if I thought it was proper; I may perhaps stand in need of your admonition as well as be.
Neigh. It is not for me to introduce you; but if he brings you with him it is well enough.
Fath. I doubt not but I shall have his leave to come,
Neigh. But to return to the case in hand, -I desire to go back where we were just now: you said, that you thought you were not so out in yourself in your passions as I might imagine ; and I have been arguing since that, upon a supposition, that it was so, and that you were master of yourself more than perhaps I imagined, and then perhaps is true, -and yet I have proved to you, that even then, suppose you were in a passion at all, you ought not at all to correct your child till that passion was entirely cooled or gone. But now you must give me leave to tell you, that I belive you were really in such a violent rage, that you scarce considered what you did, or what became of tho child.
Fath. No, no, you mistake me quite, I had not beaten him so violently; did not you hear my kinswoman, that keeps my house, call to me, and tell me, that I had not beaten bim enough?
Neigh. Yes, I did hear a voice of one just doing the devil's work for him, throwing oil instead of water upon the fire,-any one might have known it was not the mother of the child, nor the wife of the husband ; I have scarce ever heard the like.
Fath. It is true, she is not their mother, but she loves the children very well.
Neigh. Aye, perhaps very well, for a stranger. Fath. Nay, she is no stranger, she is nearly related.
Neigh. It is no matter for that, she has no principle from pature to dictate to her the affection of a mother, or a wife; had she becn the mother, compassion to the child would have moved her,-had she been a wife, compassion to you would have moved her.
Fath. She is a good Christian.
Neigh. If you had not said so, I should have believed quite otherwise of her.
Fath. Indeed I hope so, and I am sure she wishes the children very well.
Neigh. Then she must be a fool, for to be sure she knows nothing what belongs to education, much less to correction : for as every father need be very careful not to mix his own passion and folly with his duty ir correction, so every by-stander in the family, that has either affection to the duty, or to the party, will act the part of a mediator rather than an intlamer ; and they that prompt the passions of the parent, are incendiaries in the family.
Fath. She is rather a good woman than a wise woman.
Neigh. But can you say it was a right part for her to act, as the relation to the child, or as a relation to yon;
and did it please you to hear her! Fath. I must own, I thought she might as well have held