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vantage-ground is lost in careful, thorough, and successful training. Better imitate the great Robert Hall, and bring our dignity down to the merry sports of children, even to their gambols and rolling on the floor, than lose their confidence by a repulsive reserve. Affection will impart greater patience to the oft-repeated efforts of instruction, excite grief, rather than anger, for their follies and their sins, anxious solicitude, and not revenge, in administering rebuke, and moderation in the use of the rod.

2. Instruction is necessary in training. The great importance of this, as an instrumentality in the training of children, none can doubt. Now is not the time for rehearsing the topics of instruction. Hereafter, these may engage us. The aim, at present, is to enforce the thought that, whatever may be the parent's views respecting the course his children should pursue, instruction concerning that course must be faithfully, laboriously, and constantly imparted. Whoever has the charge of a child or of children should bear in mind that, as to knowledge, they come into the world wholly ignorant. And yet, from the earliest moments, knowledge of some kind, and to a greater or less degree, they are continually acquiring. Perchance that knowledge will be in consonance or conflict with our own views of what is right and best. But we must not forget that, if starting from no knowledge at the first, and growing up amid precepts and examples that we abhor, it will, necessarily, require much diligent and persevering instruction to point out, explain, and enforce, the excellence and importance of the course which we approve. Thus persuaded, we shall the more diligently endeavour to forestall error by inculeating the truth. “Line upon line,” as their progress and their years can bear; we must explain and urge upon them the nature, beauty, and momentous results connected with an upright and godly life, the nature, deformity, and equally momentous results of a life whose leading characteristics are directly the reverse of uprightness and the fear of God.

There is a theory which says, “Let them alone till they arrive at years when they will be able to think and judge for themselves.” With this idea no parent should have the least sympathy. Why?

It is utterly impossible that a mind at all associating with others should be entirely free of instruction and impressions of some kind; and this, too, in matters pertaining to religion as really as in reference to those of common life. With infidel feeling and practice you may resolve to let your child alone till he is old enough to think and reason, and then, if he desires, choose the worship of God. You may say that you find so many seets at the same time professing faith in the same Saviour, and yet so variously differing, that you will attempt, for your child, no lessons concerning Christ as a Saviour, till the child is old enough to judge concerning these discordant opinions, and, for himself, to decide which of the sects is right. You may plead that there is so much diversity among men, even in regard to so solemn a subject as that of future rewards and punishments, you do not wish to trouble the youthful mind with such startling and perplexing themes. Thus it would be your aim to leave his mind perfectly free from all knowledge or bias on these points.

Reader, if you please, let him alone. Let him eat and sleep in a home that is as still as the grave in regard to truths like these -no prayer to recognise them, no Bible to enforce them. To make your experiment complete, as you suppose, call him in from the Sabbath-school, and utterly cut off all association with any belonging to the religious sects. Let him thus live, thus guarded, in such a home, till he has passed his minority. Now that the minority is passed, meet him on your religious errand at the threshold of twenty-one. It is precisely the time for which you have so indifferently waited, expecting to find a mind not only competent, but also perfectly free, to hear and wisely to decide the merits and claims of the truths you would present. But do you now find that mind a total blank? Then what means it that, in the ready oath, you discover him to be so familiar with the names of God and Jesus Christ-the devil and damnation the soul and the power of God to doom it in an awful hell ? But listen again: in something more than by incidental expressions he is about to give us his belief. And now, as you listen, notice how much theology of some kind has entered his mind. How independently and manly he speaks!“There are some," he says, “who make

” , much ado about religion. But I do not believe there is a God who notices us and cares about our worship. They speak about Jesus Christ dying to save men; but I regard talk like that as a story fit only to amuse a child. They try to frighten people from what they call sin, by saying that God has prepared and threatened an awful hell for their punishment; but, if there is any God at all, I do not believe He is so unjust as thus to punish men.

I have no fear of any such punishment.” Alas! how plain it is now that, though you were silent, he has, from some source, heard much in reference to all these points. Sad indeed is it, moreover, that, instead of a mind free from all bias on religious themes, it is found with a most infidel theory and creed, as plainly stated and as tenaciously held as is that of any religious sect.

Do you ask how such a result is possible under the circumstances supposed ? The possibility (and certainty too) arises from the fact that that grown youth had companions for his school and his play-ground—has had teachers, not only when under tuition in the common school, but by the way on sea or land, in the shop or counting-house, in college life or a life of neglected intellect, in industry, and more especially in idleness. And from all these random sources, without the pretence of lessons in formal classes, theological sentiment enough is heard to furnish materials for an infidel creed, though there may be far too little to lead to Christ

and save the soul. That this view is correct is easily proved by the too numerous instances in which youth are in this manner left to rise to manhood. No mind can associate with others, and be wholly free from and unbiassed by any religious sentiment.

2. Another thought is, Why should not a child need instruction on religious as much as on secular affairs? And if the same care be taken to adapt it to his years, why may he not as readily comprehend it? Now, on the one point all are more or less anxious. A plea even of very early youth does not forbid daily and earnest effort to instruct them. If they do not make progress, how prone even parents are, and sometimes most unjustly, to censure teachers for the failure, giving highest credit to the capacity of the child ! But if they can understand concerning the different ways for voyaging and journeying through the world, why not comprehend instruction that speaks of a “ broad” and “narrow” way, in one or the other of which every person is constantly journeying? You

ct your child, even while quite young, to know about other planets than our own, and stars that are invisible to the naked eye. Why not tell him of two additional worlds, not found in his Geography or Astronomy, though styled heaven and hell? If he can comprehend the existence of astronomical worlds, why not of Bible worlds, when both equally are out of sight? Or who believes that it requires more or stronger faith, or is more beyond the capacity of a child, to believe in an unseen world revealed by the Bible, than to comprehend the teaching of astronomy concerning Jupiter,--a planet appearing as if he could grasp it in the hollow of his infant hand, and yet twelve hundred and eighty times larger than our world? You require that your child be able to answer intelligently concerning the existence and character of volcanic mountains, and of other lands where, in the absence of volcanic eruptions, the same pent-up elements cause the quaking, rocking, and opening of the earth; and all, though he never has and never shall have seen them. Then why not reiterate to him, till he can answer intelligently concerning this whole world to be on fire, these elements to be melted with fervent heat, and these heavens to be rolled together as a scroll? You would not be satisfied with that teacher who should, even faintly, intimate a doubt of the capacity of your child to study and master the practical propositions of arithmetic; and you are more or less anxious to see progress making in calculations of this nature. Then, why not accredit to him so much of capacity as to suppose him able intelligently to hear this Bible problem :-“What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul ?”—and to attend to all the data which you may be able to afford him in order to its solution? How many parents, themselves, would be greatly advantaged by reviving recollections concerning a problem such as this ! Does not your child, quite young, comprehend somewhat of instruction in reference to the nature of government

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A Voice to Mothers.

[April. and the power and dignity of a monarch? Then, why not, with sufficient help, be made to understand sufficiently the power and dignity of Jehovah as a very great King—“King of kings and Lord of lords"? Now, in all these illustrations, no one is so foolish as to complain, if his child have not a correct view of these several subjects before instruction, however exalted his opinion concerning the capacity of that child. So, precisely, in the moral and religious aspect of the case, correct, intelligent views are, and necessarily must be, the fruit of instruction; the only or chief difference being that, in the one case, most acknowledge and act upon this necessity and importance, and, in the other, they are very prone to deny or neglect it.

Now, it is in relation to this whole large and important range of subjects, to which this denial and neglect refer, that the necessity of instruction, in the work of youthful training, has thus been dwelt upon and urged. Without, in this place, attempting to decide what kind of instruction a parent ought to give, the point is, that in temporal and worldly subjects, in order to the views you would desire him to possess, the child's capacity and need of instruction are fully admitted; so, whatever views, in matters eternal and spiritual, you may regard as right and desire him to hold, there is equal capacity and equal need of instruction-correct, earnest, and persevering instruction. Hopes, apart from it, are presumptuous.

L. H. C.


“ TELL the mothers to trust in God." These were almost the dying words of one who had herself been a mother in Israel, and who had trained up a family of children for the service of her Redeemer. Some of them had preceded her to the heavenly world, giving clear and decisive evidence that death to them was everlasting gain; others still remain on earth, willing labourers in the vineyard of our Lord.

“Trust in God” had been the secret of her success in regard to her own children, and with her last breath she wished to encourage other mothers to bring their little ones to the Saviour. He who, when on earth, said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not," is no less ready to receive them now than he was then. “Trust in God;" believe the exceeding great and precious promises he has given to parents, and plead them in prayer before him, till all your children are renewed in the spirit and temper of their minds, and become heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ Jesus. Mothers, " trust in God!"-Selected.

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Well may the holy prophet say

Man is a flower, and fades as soon,
Wakes into birth in early day,

And fades and withers ere 'tis noon.

All-powerful faith, 'tis thine to show,

Though here the mortal flowerets die,
They're but exotics here below;

Their native soil's above the sky.

Death but transplants; he can't destroy ;

The immortal plant survives the tomb;
In heaven's parterres of peace and joy

She'll flourish in immortal bloom.

All-pitying God, how oft we blame

The stroke thy righteous law has given,
When death in mercy only came

To gather infant buds for heaven!

Historical and Biographical.



PORTSMOUTH, Va., February 13, 1856. Rev. C. Van RensSELAER, D.D.

Dear Brother:—It will, no doubt, interest you much to receive the following transcript of a letter from the pen of the Rev. John Miller, father of the late venerable Dr. Miller, of Princeton. The original, which I value very highly, is in my possession. I found it among a mass of old papers which were lying strangely neglected in the garret of a building, located upon a farm near Millsborough, in Sussex County, Del. The property was formerly owned by a descendant of Dr. Matthew Wilson, the friend and co-presbyter of Mr. Miller, and who was for thirty years pastor of the church at Lewes.

The house was, at the time of my search, in a state of partial dilapidation. Hoping to find some reminiscences of the older peninsular divines, I subjected myself to much inconvenience at this place, battling for a whole night with swarms of fleas, musquitos, &o., but was compensated in the morning, after a laborious search among dust and filth, by the discovery of this letter, with other items of value to the venerator of Presbyterian antiquities. Had I, sooner, known any thing of this garret, other valuables, perhaps, might have been secured, as I found that papers had long been blowing about the yard of this old farm-house, and that many letters had been destroyed during the occupancy of various tenants.

The letter of Mr. Miller is written with the lines very close, but in a round, neat hand. I have copied it accurately, and give you the capitals, abbreviations, and punctuation, as they appear in the original. It is addressed to “Mrs. Elizabeth Wilson, in Lewes," widow of the Rev. Matthew Wilson, D.D.

Truly your brother,

Isaac W. K. HANDY.

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