« PreviousContinue »
of catechizing were fit to be enforced, it is this upon which we are fallen, when the souls of Christian people are so hard laid at, not only by Popery, Anabaptism, Antinomianism, Pelagianism; but by the confounding and hellish Heresies of Socinianism, Anti-trinitarianism, Nearianism; prodigious mischiefs, tending not only to the disturbance of our peace, but to the utter destruction of Christianity."
THE DANGER OF PRAISE.
When mortals praise thee, hide thine eyes,
Nor in thy Master's wrong
Yet more in heart than tongue.
None holier than the Desert Priest
Beneath the Law's dim sky,
We read, he might not vie.
No member yet, of Christ the Son,
No gospel Prophet he;
Of dread yet blest decree.
If he confessed, nor dared deny,
Woe to that Christian's heart,
And steal his Saviour's part!
And ah! to him what tenfold woe,
Who hides so well his sin,
Yet dies impure within!
Pray we our Lord, one pang to send
Of deep remorseful fear,
PRAISE be our Penance here.
INFANT SUNDAY SCHOOLS.
Buffon, in his natural history, describes the wild ass which was brought to France, and which was the only one he ever saw. He says it was nearly wild when it arrived, but after great labour and pains to subdue him, they at length got him so tame that a man dared mount him, having two additional men to hold him by the bridle. He was restive like a vicious horse, and obstinate as a mule; still, Buffon thinks that if he had been accustomed to obedience and tameness from his earliest years, he would be as mild as the tame ass, or the horse, and might be used in their place.
Now the Scriptures describe human nature by say. ing, that “man is born like a wild ass's colt !" If this graphic description be correct, then we cannot be too anxious to begin the process of subduing and training too early. The men who are engaged in catching, taking, and exhibiting wild beasts, never think of catching one that is old, or even grown up. They take them as young as possible, and even then, find it difficult to manage them. They act on the soundest principles of wisdom. The experiment has often been made of taking young savages, sometimes from the American Indians, and sometimes from the eastern Isles, and educating and civilizing them; after expending much money and pains-taking, we have almost uniformly been disappointed by seeing them return to savage life, and savage habits. Some years since, a young New Zealander was carried into England, where he lived many years, was carefully educated, and introduced into the most refined society. When his education was completed, he returned to his home, and at once returned to the habits, the character, and the degradations of savage life. This has almost uniformly been the result of attempts to civilize
and educate young savages. And why? On what principle can it be accounted for? I reply, that the work was begun too late. The impressions made upon early childhood cannot be effaced. You may take the young savage, and make a palace his home, and he is like the wild ass's colt; he longs for the forest, for the lawlessness of savage life. This principle is deep, uniform, unalterable. I cannot describe it so well as it has been done by a gifted pen; and the description is so true to nature, and so beautiful, that I cannot deny the reader the privilege of enjoying what can never be read without stirring up the deepest fountains of the soul. I refer to Mrs. Heman's exquisite description of the deep impressions which are made upon early childhood : and though longer than I could wish, yet I can see no part that may be omitted. It is a dialogue between a noble lady, and a poor boy from the mountains, whom she wishes to adopt as her son.
LADY. “Why wouldst thou leave me, oh ! gentle child ?
Boy. “Oh! green is the turf where my brothers play,
Lady. “Content thee boy, in my bower to dwell ;
Boy. “My mother sings at the twilight's fall,
LADY. “Thy mother hath gone from her cares to rest ;
Boy. “Is my mother gone from her home away?
LADY. Fair child, thy brothers are wanderers now,
Boy. “Are they gone, all gone from the hill ?
My reader will say, not merely that this is beautiful, but that it is true to nature. The man whose childhood was spent on the sea shore, who often at that period stood on the firm rocks eyeing the storm, and the heaving of the deep, as the white waves rolled in
upon the rocks, will never forget the impressions. These scenes will haunt him through life, and often in his dreams will he plant his foot on the and leap the deep crevices, as he used to do when a boy. A gentleman was conversing with a fine young chamois hunter on the Alps, upon the dangers to which he exposed himself. The young man stood upon the edge of the precipice, and drawing up his noble figure, and grasping his rifle still closer, replied, "My father and my grandfather both lost their lives in this business; they lived in that little cot, where I live. I expect one day to lose my life in the same way; but I would not exchange my home and my
situation for that of the richest man on the wide face of Europe
Let any one take two children at the age of seven years, the one the son of a savage, and the other the son of a gentleman, and it would be next to impossible, by any training, however skilful, to make their characters alike. The love of savage life, the impressions of childhood, could never be removed. But let these boys be educated together, without any distinction, from the age of two years, and the results would undoubtedly be widely different. Probably more is learned, and deeper impressions are made upon the mind, between the age of eighteen months and three years, than during the same period of time in any
subsequent part of life. From the hour that the child becomes capable of noticing what is passing around him, he receives impressions from example, and circumstance, and situation. So powerful, indeed, are the gradual and unnoticed influences of these early days, that we not unfrequently see the indulged and humoured infant, a petty tyrant before a year old ; at two years of age, a discontented, irritable thing, causing every one but its mother to turn away from it with disgust. At this period of life, the child is making observations, forming opinions, and acquiring habits. Notions, right or wrong, are now becoming so completely a part of his character, that they can never be eradicated. He can now be made so fearful and superstitious, that through life he will dread to see " the new moon over his left shoulder," and will never feel perfectly calm alone and in the dark. We should not lay the blame on the disposition, as we are too apt to do, till we are sure that the glaring defects of character, which are frequently seen in manhood, are not the results of neglected education, just as we frequently see a tree stunted and dwarfed by a wall, a shade, or a dry soil. “Education begins with life. The touch first ministers to it; afterwards the sight; and then the hearing. This is our guide in seeking to assist the progress of nature. We must begin with present and tangible things; we must then give absent things