« PreviousContinue »
but caress them even amid the agonies of death; and the occupation in which the females of brute animals seem to take most delight, is that of suckling their offspring. Maternal affection is the balm by which nature imparts to the heart of a mother an ample compensation for all her sufferings. The desire of fruitfulness is the brightest charm in the cestus of Venus; nay, it seems to be the only one that can be valuable in the estimation of chaste and virtuous women. These are the priestesses who keep alive the sacred fire of Vesta; and perish that contemptible wretch, who, instead of being warmed with this pure flame, burns with a gross and brutal lust!
The following short rules may be useful to instruct the young mother in her duty, and should be strictly attended to by the nurse to whose care the child is committed :
1. Never to feed the child but at the times fixed by the mother for his meals.
2. Never to give him any kind of food but that which is prescribed by his mother.
3. To use him, as much as possible, to sleep at certain hours.
4. On no account to give him any medicine without his mother's knowledge.
5. To let him be perfectly easy and clean in his dress.
6. To play with him, and talk to him in a lively manner, but not with violence, so as to hurry his spirits, or fatigue him.
7. To avoid jogging him upon the knee, or Alinging him backward, so as to throw the blood suddenly into his head.
8. To stop with him, in order to let him look at objects that attract his attention, and handle them also ; to tell him the names of things he looks at or handles.
9. Never to give him what he cries for, but to divert his attention to some other object.
10. To be patient with him when he is wilful, and to take him to his mother when he cannot be managed without difficulty.
11. To make it her constant practice to speak her words distinctly, and never to imitate the imperfect language of the child in talking to him.
Campbell, in his “ Pleasures of Hope,” gives the following domestic scene, in which the influence of hope on parental affection is well pourtrayed :
Lo! at the couch where infant beauty sleeps,
Sleep, image of thy father, sleep, my boy;
my narrow bed;
A guileless bosom, true to sympathy! Now proceed the pleasures of a father, walking with his children:
And as they wander with a keen delight,
Down a green alley, or a squirro) then
These clinging by his cloak, unwilling to be last. On the return from such delightful excursions, animated by the pleasures of love, the admiring husband thus addresses his lovely spouse
O how I lov'd the pretty creatures,
While round my knees they fondly clung ;
To hear them lisp their mother's tongue ! And, looking forward to advanced life, he exclaims,
And when with envy Time transported
Shall think to rob us of our joys,
And I go wooing with the boys. Conversation with children is highly interesting to a sensible man. He beholds in them the book of nature in an uncorrupted edition. Children appear as they really are, and as they are not misled by systems, passions, or learning, judge of many things better than grown persons; they receive many impressions much sooner, and are not guided by so many prejudices as the latter. In short, if you wish to study men, you must not neglect to mix with the society of children. It is a sacred duty to give them no offence whatever, to abstain in their company from all wanton discourses and actions, and to display in their presence benevolence, faith, sincerity, decency, and every other virtue; in short, to contribute as much as possible to their improvement; for their ductile and uncorrupted mind is as ready to receive good impressions as it is open to the seeds of vice, and I may safely maintain, that the degeneracy of mankind is greatly owing to the imprudence and inconsideration with which people of a maturer age deport themselves in the presence of children. Let, therefore, all your discourses and actions be graced with truth when you are in their sou
ciety. Condescend in a becoming manner to that tone which is intelligible to them, carefully avoid teasing and vexing them, as is the custom of many people; for this has the most lamentable effect upon their temper.
The following lines express a father's wishes for his children :
In peaceful Arts, oh! may the youth I love,
Śpend the long tenor of their happy days;
Or court the Muses in immortal lays !
Nor listen to ambition's sounding voice;
And drown her whispers in tumultuous joys.
And doom'd to move in trade's contracted sphere;
And fame and riches shall attend them here.
And spread the sail of commerce o'er the main ;
With native plenty deal the untill'd plain.
Through boundless space the Deity presides,
The hallow'd heart that conscious virtue guides.
The social ties that link mankind revere,
Their holy dictates hold for ever dear.
With lenient hand the pangs of misery heal;
And learn the sacred luxury-to feel.
And smiling peace your guiltless steps surround,
And, Time no more, with boundless joy be crown'd. The helpless condition in which children enter the world was intended by the Almighty, in co-operation with that parental love which exists in almost every bosom, to secure for them such kindness, protection, and support, as are necessary to prepare them for active life. Parents are certainly designed, by the Creator himself, to act, for a time, as his representatives; it is consequently their duty to inculcate an undeviating regard for his honour, in bringing them up. They will, therefore, endeavour to gain the love of their children ; and to make them dutiful and obedient to themselves in early life, not merely for the personal comfort themselves may reasonably hope to enjoy in return; but also, that, by the habitual exercise of filial affection and obedience towards them, their visible benefactors and earthly parents, they may be prepared to love, honour, and obey their heavenly Father, the author, preserver, and protector of all things ; and to feel for Him the higher sentiments of piety and devotion. In order, then, to accomplish the great purpose of educating children so as to promote the honour of God, both father and mother should take the divine example for their pattern, and the re. vealed will of God for their rule.
Brettell, in his “ Country Minister," draws the following beautiful picture of social bliss in retirement:
When tranquil evening brought the hours serene,