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their walls can hold. Build more, and larger ; but they will not stay the progress of the work of death. They will take the children fashioned for their service; but we want to keep the children from being fitted for these receptacles of the vicious and the poor. . Begin at home. The Association that carries the Bible and the Tract into the home of the destitute is helping to save. The Church, that reaches the wretched with its constant ministry of grace, is doing more. The mother, who daily prays and daily labors to impress divine truth upon the heart of her child, is winding around him cords that may, one day, hold him out of hell. If it had not been for them, he would have fallen in. The father who makes home pleasant to his child, and teaches him lessons of virtue, from the pages of God's word, is binding that child to himself and to Christ. I have great faith in that covenant which God has made with faithful parents. Try it, and see if he is not true to his holy word.
There are thousands of children, in the various families which this Magazine visits; and from these thousands there are some who may help to swell the tide of immortal souls, who are now crowding the Broadway of death! They might be saved. They ought to be saved. The father, the mother, who feels the power of parental responsibility, will awake to duty, in view of the danger, and strive to train up the child in the way he should go. It is a great work. God has not given a greater work to any of his creatures. : He will hold them to an account for the manner of doing it.
These are somewhat incoherent thoughts. They are not in the track of the usual remark respecting the youth of our city, whose case is exciting so much attention. The most of good men are devising ways and means to save these now perishing in the midst
Save them by all means. Open your hands and hearts, yes, and your doors, to them. Give them bread, and work, and wages, and give them religious instruction. But I speak for the
, other thousands that are coming to fill their places. Keep them out of the way. Keep them at home. Teach them there; train them as they should be trained, and we have the promise, that when they grow up they shall walk in the way of peace.
TRAITS OF CHILDHOOD,
BY REV. J. N. DANFORTH.
“In early days the conscience has, in most,
It is taken for granted that every artist is acquainted with the nature of the object on which he proposes to bestow his skill, and understands the materials with which he is to work. If not, he incurs the penalty of failure. Now all parents are, to the extent of their family circle, workers in mind. Whether the number of children to be trained for immortality be two or twenty, makes little difference in the absolute importance of the work, however the idea of numbers may enhance its relative importance. Every parent ought to recollect that a single father has a thousand millions of children, of one generation' alone, now living on the earth, and that the character of cach one of these has been affected by the perverse exercise of the will of a common mother. “ Children unto the third and fourth generation” are spoken of, as involved in the obedience or disobedience of their progenitors. The relation of a parent, then, to future mind is momentous, not to say tremendous. The influence is not the less certain and powerful, because intermediate and rernote. The direct, present action of your mind upon your child is but the first link in a long, unbroken chain of moral causes, that will be perpetually active, while you
slumber in the unconscious tomb. Hence, it is scarcely possible to over-estimate the power of maternal influences, or to exaggerate the importance of the maternal relation, and the extent
of parental obligation. Hence the duty of studying the nature of children, that we may know how to treat them; of investigating the traits of childhood, that we may seek their right development.
That the Redeemer of souls contemplated the traits of children, nay, the very prerogatives of childhood, with peculiar interest, is erident, from Mark x. 15, Mat. xviii. 5, 10. One of these traits is inquisitiveness. The nascent activity of the undying mind is strikingly seen in their propensity to ask questions. These questions concern not only the visible objects of art and nature around us, but they attempt to penetrate even the existence of God himself. Never is the impotence of our minds to transcend their assigned limits more sensibly felt, than when they are pressed with such inquiries. While we are thus incited to adore the infinite and incomprehensible God, we feel there is a responsibility upon us to meet these questions, and turn to advantage the spirit of investigation they indicate, by instructing the young mind in whatever is intelligible and useful. The flower that blooms in beauty to the eye; the rose that sparkles with the dew-drops of the morning; the softened glow of a summer sunset; the bright array of the host of heaven, “forever singing as they shine ;" even the
adoring silence of the night," as Mrs. Hemans beautifully expresses it-all, all, are fitted to convey lessons of instruction, as well as to minister to the sense of the beautiful within us. Children are essentially imaginative. While reason and judgment are in them quite imperfect, the imagination is creative, vagrant, many-colored. It is a very kaleidoscope in its versatility of hues and shapes, and unless watched, restrained, and rectified, as aimless and useless as that beautiful instrument. It is on that faculty the evil influence of temptation begins early to work. Oh, fond and anxious mother! be it your incessant labor to supply it with images of purity and love.
Children are UNPREJUDICED. I do not mean that the youthful mind is incapable of contracting prejudice. So far from this, it is quick to participate in the prejudices and prepossessions of the parental mind, ready to catch and to copy a harsh sentiment or opinion that may chance to fall from the parental lips. But I
mean that prejudice, “the spider of the soul,” as it has been aptly called, does not seem, like love, to be native to the young mind. In many children it is quite overlaid by the growth of the sweeter affections. Its perpetual exclusion from the tender mind cannot be too assiduously sought. To accomplish this end, the most vigilant circumspection is requisite. Unguarded words (and the tongue is never so unguarded as in the domestic circle) may soon plant the bitter weed in a soil too ready to nourish it. The thoughtless censure of a neighbor may create an ineradicable prejudice. A hasty animadversion, even upon the minister of God, may interpose in the mind of a child a fatal obstacle to its edification, and even its salvation. Oh, never let us be accessory to a feeling of disrespect for the accredited servants of the Lord. In these times of free-thinking and speaking, how slender the reverence for the sacred office compared with that which so well became the generation that has gone, whose childhood was more carefully nursed amid the sanctities of religion, and participated in the general spirit of veneration for the servants of the Most High!
Children are IMITATIVE. The consideration of this quality naturally arises out of the preceding remarks. Now they should have the best models. And as the best models we can produce are imperfect at best, they will be prone to copy the imperfections. Hence the unspeakable importance of striving to set before them a good example, in all things conformed to a high and holy standard. Example is not confined to the few, fleeting years of life. It survives the tomb. Over its vitality all-conquering Death has no power. We live again in those who come after us, and shape and mould their destiny. “As the mother, so is her daughter," was a proverb ancient as Ezekiel, who seized on the popular saying, and applied it to the case before him. When the heart of the father is turned toward his child, that heart feels the gentle shock, and reacts with affecting tenderness on the paternal bosom. There is no power like that with which God has invested parents over their children. Children are naturally SELFISH. This is
the follies or sins “ bound in the heart of a child.” To its destruction let your wisest, steadiest efforts be directed. Place before them, in all its
august and impressive beauty, the disinterested benevolence of the Son of God, who “ pleased not himself,” who was “the servant of all," and lived for others, even for those who were incapable of conferring a favor on him, while they had deeply offended him. Nor will it suffice to inculcate preceptive lessons upon them. They must be initiated by practice into the reality of benevolence. They must part with beloved objects for the good of others. They must be inoculated with a detestation of the natural selfishness of their hearts, or it will grow in future life to a disgusting deformity. Cecil threw the idolized necklace of his child into the fire, to teach it faith, or trust in his ability and willingness to provide a better. This was severe, perhaps too severe for the object, but it would seem no discipline can be too sharp for the extinction of selfishness. But, with all the perversity of childhood, there is an important sense in which it may be said to be TEACHABLE. The fact of the inquisitiveness, referred to, is in proof of this. Our Saviour, too, tells us we must “receive the kingdom of God as a little child.” The mind, in fact, is constantly learning something good or bad, as the lungs habitually breathe a pure or a polluted atmosphere. How early a child learns its vernacular language ! With language comes thought; with thought sentiment, opinion, association, all the primordial elements of the future inner man. Even the firmness or weakness of the nerves may depend on the moral treatment of the child. William Wirt tells us that the sight of his aunt running behind the door, and screaming with fright at a thunder-storm, affected him through life with a similar dread of that natural phenomenon. How constantly, often how unconsciously, are we teaching the young! The quality of their lessons is the great point to be considered.
Nor should we fail to meet, in a proper spirit, that TRUSTFULKess which is a part of their nature. We seem originally constituted so as to expect to find truth in the world, and especially in the hearts of our parents. Nor is it until experience has taught us how falsehood abounds, that this confidence is impaired, and along with advancing years, we demand proportionate corroborative evidence for what claims our belief. It is painful to reflect what injury has been inflicted on the young by unthinking moth