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less time and less labour required. Indeed much ought to be done by the children, where there is a family, to give them habits of order and usefulness. There is no child, even of six years old, who cannot assist in such duties; and when it is considered that carrying the dirty water, ashes, or refuse to the proper place, instead of throwing them anywhere else, will generally not occupy above five minutes, this time will surely not be deemed too much for ensuring comfort, cleanliness, and economy; for it must always be remembered, that nothing is more wasteful and expensive than dirt and slovenliness.
No considerate person can be insensible of the importance and the necessity of making provision for old age, when infirmities will come upon us, and when, from inability to continue daily labour, privation and suffering will surely overtake the improvident; for it is only by the exercise of industry, forethought, and frugality in the season of youth and health, that the effects of want in the period of old age and infirmity can be averted.
To some persons, the saving of anything out of what they earn by their daily labour, may perhaps seem impracticable; but most people know, that in this respect more depends upon their own care and resolution, than upon the actual amount of their earnings; whilst many who have both the means and the disposition to save, have not acquired the habit of saving, simply because they never made the trial. Let such persons only resolve to make a beginning, and try how many sixpences can be saved in one year, and the difficulty will vanish.
Whatever you save, lodge it securely in a savings bank, and trust not the money hardly gained by your labour, in the hands of private individuals, nor even in your own keeping. With the former it may be lost by misfortune, fraud, or extravagance; and in the latter case, you
may perhaps be tempted to spend or waste it, and thus lose the fruits of your previous self-denial.
Where is the man who can truly say, that between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five, he had it not in his power to save so much as 6d. a-week ?--and what man has ever made the trial in vain, if he set about it earnestly? However backward to commence saying, and however positive a man may have been that nothing could be saved, there is yet, we believe, hardly an instance in which the commencement of saving has been entered upon, that he has not gone on adding to the fund, and making increased economical exertions; and such we are satisfied will be the case in every instance, if a person will only make the first effort. To begin is, in fact, to succeed.
In connexion with provident habits, we will further say something upon the important subjects of marriage, and the education and training of children; for on the adoption of right principles of conduct upon each of these important points will depend, not only your own welfare here, but your and their happiness hereafter.
The necessity for much careful consideration before engaging in so important a contract as that of marriage, must be self-evident to every one; and yet how many are there who hasten to become united for life, without at all considering the consequences !
In declaring marriage honourable, it is most certain that Scripture does not countenance the wickedness and folly of entailing poverty, strife, and sorrow upon ourselves and our offspring. On the contrary, it supposes the married state to be one of content, affection, and increased happiness in all the relations of life. But is such the actual, or can it even be the possible result, of the way in which so many persons, often at an early age, recklessly plunge into that most solemn of earthly
contracts ? Can such improvident marriages be right, or honourable ? Is not the common maxim true, that “ when poverty enters in at the door, love flies out at the window ?” How, then, can happiness be expected in the married state, unless we render ourselves worthy of it by previous preparation, and by prudent and reasonable conduct?
Young persons too often think themselves old and wise enough to marry, and take upon themselves the management and control of a family, before they have become able to regulate their own headstrong passions; and, regarding marriage as a kind of lottery, they recklessly plunge into the most important of all earthly engagements, without consideration, and without having made any provision for discharging its obligations.
How common is it to see two individuals marry, and bring helpess beings into the world, without having made the slightest provision for their support, and whose own subsistence, from the very commencement of their union, depends altogether upon resources which sickness, and a thousand accidents, may in an instant destroy! Such persons may appeal to Scripture, and endeavour to shelter themselves under the plea of trusting to Providence: but Providence has given us reason for the regulation of our conduct; and to neglect the admonitions of reason is to tempt Providence, and set its dictates at defiance.
To descend to the level of irrational beings, and to cast our offspring upon the world, with as little consideration about their future well-being as the ostrich shows, when she drops her egg into the sand, and leaves it to be hatched by the sun, cannot surely be a proper reliance on Providence. It is, on the contrary, direct improvidence, such as can only result from a degradation of the higher faculties of our nature; and it produces results, which daily cause the good and humane to weep.
No rational creature is justified, either in the sight of God or man, in putting him or her self in the position of bringing human beings into the world, without the means of providing for their support; and he who becomes a father, without a prospect of being able to keep his children from the miseries of want and beggary, is guilty of a crime very little inferior, in a moral sense, to that of exposing his child to perish on the highway.
We by no means deny to any class of the community, but on the contrary would earnestly wish to secure to every class, all those comforts and enjoyments which spring from the exercise of domestic virtues and the social affections : but every individual, of every class, is bound to keep the animal impulses under the control of reason; and so to act as not to wreck his own happiness, and the happiness of others, by a disregard of the dictates of prudence, thereby levelling himself with the brutes of the field.
Those who are about to enter into the married state should ask themselves, or else they should be asked, whether they are aware of the duties and the burthens it will bring upon them, and if they have a reasonable prospect of being able to meet these when they come ? -If they have not, they will assuredly be preparing a life of misery and privation for themselves and their offspring. In so acting, they will likewise injure their neighbours, by throwing upon them burthens which they themselves ought to support, and by bringing more labourers into the world to take employment and food from those who may already not have enough.
TRAINING OF CHILDREN.
The instruction of your children cannot commence too early. Every mother is capable of teaching her children obedience, humility, cleanliness, and propriety of behaviour; and it is a delightful circumstance that the first instruction should thus be communicated by so tender a teacher. It is by combining affectionate gentleness in granting what is right, with judicious firmness in refusing what is improper, that the happiness of children is promoted, and that good and orderly habits are established. If children are early trained to be docile
and obedient, the future task of guiding them aright will be comparatively easy.
The training and education of children, can, however, be only regarded as a means to the attainment of an end; for all acquirements, all learning, are valueless, if they do not make jus better in our several relations of parents, children, husbands, wives, and unless they lead us to the practice of that divine precept of our religion, “ Thou shalt do unto others as thou wouldest wish others to do unto thee.”
Supposing, then, that you have secured for your children the benefits of education, that they have attended an infant and afterwards an adult school, and that they have been advanced in the different branches of instruction, as far as is necessary for the pursuits in life to which they are destined-something else is yet required of those to whom an offspring has been given -you are still called upon, as parents, to attend to their religious and moral training, and to take care that, after right precepts have been imparted, your children may not be corrupted by your own evil example.
If a parent supposes that his vices can be hidden from his children, he is greatly mistaken; for children are quick in the perception of what is wrong, and in reasoning upon it, and imitating it; and if, with the words, “Thou shalt not steal,” in your mouth, you nevertheless make use of anything not your own, or take undue advantage of others, you are practically destroying the force of the precept, and teaching your children to be dishonest.
How can it be expected that your children will have a horror of drunkenness, if they ever see you drunk, or if drinking is talked of by you as an object of gratification? If you encourage your children by promises to confess a fault, and afterwards punish them for it, do you not practically discourage their afterwards telling you the truth? Or if you hold that nothing is to be said which can in any way injure your own interests, and say, “Remember not to tell so and so," can you expect that your child will not lie, whenever it suits his own purpose ?