Page images

a visible form by picture; and the picture which meets the eye may lead to the description which finds its way to the mind only by the ear. The reason why the earlier instructions of the nursery should be thus embodied in picture, in story, and in narration, is evident; children cannot understand any thing beyond them. Every thing is fresh to the mind of a child. Curiosity is constantly awake, and novelty is constantly feeding it. Objects and incidents which have no interest for adult life, are sufficient to entrance the thought of infancy, and fill the heart with bounding new-born ecstacy. Many persons in writing for children have evidently forgotten to sympathize with the period of childhood. They have ceased to remember with distinct vividness, the times in which men and women were all kings and queens to them; a house their world; a garden their paradise ; and the merest trifles were possessed of a mysterious power to agitate them with anguish or delight. The evil of such writing for such a period of life, dwells simply in the bad taste which it exemplifies. Unnatural in itself, it produces unnatural, and even dangerous consequences. The mind of infancy, moved by the gentlest impulses, is overstrained and distorted by the violence of such premature excitation. Terror is produced instead of fear, suspicion instead of caution, extravagance instead of generosity, and morbid sentiment instead of benevolent principle. These effects, in numerous instances, have been perpetuated through every period of after-life. The man and the woman have never been able to recover themselves from the fear and apprehension, the false sentiment, and injurious excitement, which are considered to be common to childhood, but which are not proper to it, and which will only be common to it, as the child is exposed to injurious treatment by the absurd tales of the nurse, or the nursery-book."

The preceding remarks have been made to show what ought to be engraven on the heart and memory of all, that EDUCATION BEGINS WITH LIFE.

Before we are aware, the foundations of the character are laid,

and no subsequent instruction can remove or alter them. Linnæus was the son of a poor Swedish clergyman. His father had a little flower-garden, in which he cultivated all the flowers which his means or his taste could select. Into this flower-garden he introduced his little son from his infancy; and this little garden undoubtedly created that taste in the child which afterwards made him the first botanist and naturalist of his age, if not of his race.

The reader will infer also from what I have said, that I am in favour of having infant classes attached to every Sunday School where it is practicable. I do not mean that they should be in the same room, but that each Parish should endeavour to have such a School, and for the same great objects for which they have the Sunday School at all.



John Masters lived at the Lodge gate of Sir Charles Freemantle. He was head gardener, and had reared a large family respectably. His youngest child was a little girl, her name was Lucy. She was generally orderly and well conducted; but she had one sad fault, and that was a habit of putting off till another day what ought to be done to-day, or to a later hour in the day, what ought to be done early in the morning. This habit was a great vexation to her father and mother, and particularly as it was not confined to things of light or small importance. It was never more evident than on the Sunday morning; a morning in which more than any other, persons ought to be alive and active in all the duties of that sacred day. When John and Mary Masters were ready to set off for the village church with their family, Lucy very frequently was without bonnet or shawl, and sometimes had to hinder her elder sister to tie her frock. John had often scolded, and good Mr. Jones, the minister of the parish, had made Lucy feel very uncomfortable by a look or a word of reprehension. But still Lucy did not improve, indeed she rather got worse, till on one particular day, when she had been more slow and careless than ever, she absolutely entered the church as Mr. Jones was reading the second lesson. Poor John Masters


he felt quite unhappy, but he put up to God a secret inward prayer for assistance in what he designed to do, and then endeavoured to fix his attention upon his present duties. After church the Masters all returned to the lodge, and partook of their Sunday dinner, which on this day generally consisted of a piece of butcher's meat, and dumpling, And after dinner, while the family were all assembled together, John called Lucy to him, and seated her upon his knee; he then said to her, “Lucy do you know whose is the large house to which this lodge gate is the approach ?” Lucy looked at her father and stared, and then replied rather briskly, “ To be sure I do, father, to Sir Charles Freemantle."

Masters.—Were you ever in the inside of it? Lucy.—Why yes, many are the times father, I have often drunk tea with the housekeeper, and often been into Lady Freemantle's drawing

Masters.-What did you go into Lady Freemantle's drawing-room for ? Lucy. Sometimes to get a new frock, sometimes for needle work, and once for a beautiful new prayer-book with all the directions for the service marked in red. Masters.When Lady Freemantle sent for you did you always go as soon as you were sent for ? Lucy.-Oh yes! I did not wait a minute, for her ladyship is so good and kind, I am always glad to go, for I am sure she means me some benefit by sending for me. But you knew all this before father, so what made you ask me now: but there's her ladyship,-added the child, on hearing the approach of a carriage,--she slid from her father's knee, ran from the cottage, drew back the iron gate which opened upon the park, and making her curtsey to the ladies in the carriage, again closed the gate, and returned into the house. She also returned to her place on her father's knee, for she was very fond of her father, and he well deserved her love.

“ We were talking about Lady Freemantle, and her goodness, and her great house;" said John, as he stroked the bright hair of his child, and kissed her head. “Do you know any other great house in the parish where dwells one more good than even my lady herself ?” Lucy considered a moment, and then answered: “ Oh yes ! father, we see it through the opening of tùose trees," and Lucy pointed with her finger through the window at the spire of the village church, which appeared above the trees in the park. “Right my child,” replied the father, "are you as fond of going to that house, as you are to Sir Charles's ?” Lucy hung her head and blushed, and then stammered out, “I hope I am.” “You must strive to be as fond of it, and you must pray

to be as fond of it, and God will help your endeavours. Do you always, continued John, when you are invited to go to that house, go with readiness and alacrity? Do you always take care to be there in good time, so as to benefit by all the favours and benefactions there bestowed upon you? Do you never loiter about and lose some of the beautiful texts of Scripture with which the service begins? Do you never lose the affectionate exhortation of God's minister, who is authorised to call us to repentance and prayer ? Do you never lose the opportunities of falling down upon your knees and confessing with lowly heart and contrite spirit all the sins and offences of which you have been guilty ? Do you never lose the comfort of being assured in the absolution, that on sincere repentence and lively faith in our Saviour, all your sins and offences will be pardoned ?"

Lucy's head now fell upon her father's shoulder, for she had become perfectly aware of the object he had in view in his present conversation with her, and she whispered softly, “Indeed father, I have missed all this over and over again. But I hope I will never miss them again.” “I do not mean” rejoined Mas. ters, “ to lessen your sense of my lady's favours, my child, which are very great, to you. But I wish you to recollect, and Lady Freemantle herself never forgets this, that God is above her Jadyship, and His house is to be held in higher honour and respect than that belonging to the highest man on earth. I never saw the Sunday on which Sir Charles and my lady were out of their own pew when the bell of the church stopped, and the minister was prepared to commence the sentences of Scripture. There they both stand with their prayer books open in their hands, and surrounding them are the young ladies and young gentlemen, trained to honour God's house, and glorify His holy name. They are a pattern to us, and we have reason to thank God that they are so. But if they were not, it would still be our duty to obey and serve God, and to honour His name, His day and His house above every thing and every body.” John Masters went on at some length upon this subject, and upon other parts of spiritual duty; and he and his family continued thus to employ themselves till the bell again struck out from the parish steeple. Presently the carriage was again beard at a distance through the park, for Sir Charles's family attended the evening as well as the morning service, according to the directions of the church. The little cottage household were quickly in motion, and soon on their road to church which lay a short way across the park. Lucy on this occasion was amongst the foremost, and quite ready to enter

the house of God before the minister had reached the readingdesk. In repeating the confession after the minister, she did not forget to acknowledge her own frequent delinquencies, when she joined in saying that “we have erred and strayed from God's ways like lost sheep; she remembered the promises of God to those who are penitent; and she besought of God, that through Christ she might afterwards lead a godly, righteous, and sober life." She became after this more and more mindful of her duty in the particular in which she had been in the habit of transgressing it; and if ever tempted to loiter about the lanes or places in the fields with young companions in a manner which might lead to the indecent and disrespectful neglect of the commencement of the church service, she thought over her dear father's good ad. monitions, and asked herself if this would be her conduct if Lady Freemantle had sent for her to the great house? She remembered how far, far worthier of respect was God's house, and how infinitely superior the riches God had to bestow.


(Continued from page 120.) We read, “And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And he came to Nazareth,... ... and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue," &c. This does not necessarily imply, that the Saviour used to teach in Synagogues, before this time, since he entered upon his public ministry; but gives only an outline of the Saviour's practices, generally; of which, with regard to public teaching, a specimen is here given ; and, we assume, His first sermon is here noticed ; for the Gospels are not journals, written as the events occurred, which are recorded in them ; but were written after the close of the Lord's ministry. (Compare Mark xvi. 20; Luke i. 1–3.) What is called “the sermon on the Mount"—which was of course, not in a synagogue, (Matt. v.-vii.) was, no doubt, of a later date; amongst others, for this reason, that on coming down from the mount, the Lord Jesus performed a miracle, (Mat. viii. 2, 3 ;) but this was certainly not his first miracle, (John ii. 11,)—which it would have been, if the sermon on the mount were the beginning of His ministry. We conclude then, that this sermon, in the passage before us, was the first the Saviour preached.

Again, we read, “ And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” But was all that is said in the preceding verses, fulfilled that day-at the very beginning

« PreviousContinue »