« ZurückWeiter »
Jews were, to bring a lamb, I must be absolute. But this service is my liberty, not my task. I do not, however, mean in any degree to relax the proper obligation.
Children and servants should see us acting on the Psalmist's declaration, I will speak of thy testimonies before Kings. If a great man happens to be present, let them see that I deem him nothing before the Word of God!
THE influence of the parental character on children is not to be calculated. Every thing around has an influence on us. Indeed the influence of things is so great, that, by familiarity with them, they insensibly urge us on principles and feelings which we before abhorred. I knew a man who took in a democratical paper, only to laugh atit. But, at length, he had read the same things again and again, so often, that he began to think there must be some truth in them; and that men and measures were really such as they were so often said to be. A drop of water seems to have no influence on the stone; but it will, in the end, wear its way through. If there be, therefore, such a mighty influence in every thing around us, the Parental Influence must be great indeed.
Consistency is the great character, in good parents, which impresses children. They may witness much temper; but if they see their Father “ keep the even tenor of his way,” his imperfections will be understood and allowed for as reason opens. The child will see and reflect on his parent's intention: and this will have great influence on his mind. This influence may, indeed, be afterwards counteracted: but that only proves that contrary currents may arise, and carry the child another way. Old Adam may be too strong for young Melancthon.
The implantation of principles is of unspeakable importance, especially when culled from time to time out of the Bible. The child feels his parent's authority supported by the Bible, and the authority of the Bible supported by his parent's weight and influence. Here are data-fixed data. A man can very seldom get rid of these principles. They stand in his way. He wishes to forget them, perhaps; but it is impossible.
Where Parental Influence does not convert, it hampers. It hangs on the wheels of evil. I had a pious Mother, who dropped things in my way. I could never rid myself of them. I was a professed Infidel: but then I liked to be an Infidel in company, rather than when alone. wretched when by myself. These principles, and maxims, and data spoiled my jollity. With my companions I could sometimes stifle them: like embers we kept one other warm. Besides, I was here a sort of Hero. I had beguiled several of my associates into my own opinions, and I had to
maintain a character before them. But I could not divest myself of my better principles. I went with one of my companions to see “ The Minor.? He could laugh heartily at Mother Cole, I could not. He saw in her the picture of all who talked about religion—I knew better. The ridicule on regeneration was high sport to him—to me, it was none: it could not move my features. He knew no difference between regeneration and transubstantiation-1 did. I knew there was such a thing. I was afraid and ashamed to laugh at it. Parental influence thus cleaves to a man: it harasses him--it throws itself continually in his way.
I find in myself another evidence of the greatness of Parental Influence. I detect myself to this day, in laying down maxims in my family, which I took up at three or four years of age, before I could possibly know the reason of the thing.
It is of incalculable importance to obtain a hold on the conscience. Children have a conscience; and it is not seared, though it is evil. Bringing the eternal world into their viewplanning and acting with that world before usthis gains, at length, such a hold on them, that, with all the Infidel poison which they may afterward imbibe, there are few children who, at night - in their chamber- in the dark-in a storm of thunder-will not feel. They cannot cheat like other men. They recollect that ETERNITY, which stands in their way. It rises up before them, like the ghost of Banquo to Macbeth. It goads them: it thunders in their ears. After all, they are obliged to compound the matter with conscience; if they cannot be prevailed on to return to God without delay._“I must be religious, one time or other. That is clear. I cannot get rid of this thing. Well! I will begin at such a time. I will finish such a scheme, and then !"
The opinions—the spirit—the conversation--the manners of the parent, influence the child. Whatever sort of man he is, such, in a great degree, will be the child; unless constitution or accident give him another turn. If the parent is a fantastic man, if he is a genealogist, knows nothing but who married such an one and who married such an one--if he is a sensualist, a low wretch-his children will usually catch these tastes. If he is a literary man-his very girls will talk learnedly. If he is a griping, hard, miserly man-such will be his children. This I speak of as GENERALLY the case. It may happen, that the parent's disposition may have no ground to work on in that of the child. It may happen, that the child may be driven into disgust: the Miser, for instance, often implants disgust, and his son becomes a Spendthrift.
After all, in some cases, perhaps, every thing seems to have been done and exhibited by the pious parent in vain. Yet he casts his bread upon