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example, nor a fund of wholesome counsel, which is made the ruling object of life, as a large pecuniary inheritance. It is not established principles, strict integrity, pure aspirations and shining virtues, so much as tact at accumulation, and energy and enterprise in worldly business, for which some parents discipline their children. Shrewdness at striking a bargain, foresight and sharpness to anticipate fluctuations and discover fraud, are often lessons to be learned before honesty and truth. Even the little urchin, too young to number his coppers, is instructed to hoard, with a closeness that equals the miser's calculation. He has his little bank, which is provided with a place for deposit, but none for discount a place for putting in, but none for taking out. There he is taught to deposit all he has, and keep all he can get. How few parents counsel their children to give! It is "lay up," "hoard," "keep," "provide for a rainy day, sickness, or age." It is not surprising that the treasuries of our benevolent societies, and all other honorable societies, run low! No wonder children grow up to be selfish, and have to be reasoned with, persuaded, and urged to give when advanced to manhood and womanhood, and even when professing to have the grace of God in their hearts! Constantine employed the hand of his son, as soon as he was able to write, in signing pardons, and also conveyed through his mouth all the favors he granted. It was done to discipline him in deeds of charity. It was a truthful and noble recognition of the importance and power of the early culture which we advocete. It will prove true in nine-tenths of all the cases, that training children to hoard will make them stingy and niggardly in age, and blind them to personal duty in a world's salvation. The opposite, training them to sympathize with the benighted and suffering, and to contribute to the benevolent societies which contemplate their relief, will cultivate the tender sensibilities, and make them generous, kind, and noble in all their career.
To suffer the policy expressed in the phrase to be rich, to give character to parental discipline is unwise and dangerous, and perils the virtue, usefulness and happiness of the young. Those parents are wisest who prefer to leave to their children at death the benefits of a healthful training, rather than large possessions. A five dollar bill of the Fulton bank passed through the hand of the editor of the New York Journal of Commerce, two years since, with the following words written upon the back, "This is the last of $3000 left to me by my mother, on the 27th day of August, 1846. Would to God that she had never left it to me, and that I had been learned to work and earn my living. I should not be now what I am." The fact is a commentary upon this unwise and dangerous policy—parents toiling to hoard for their children. It begets idleness, and leads to dissipation and ruin.
The Rev. Dr. Duff says, "I am prepared to say, that, in nine cases out of ten, the hoards of accumulated money given to children, by whom they were never earned, and who acquired no habits of industry, or thrift, or laboriousness, prove, in point of fact, rather a curse than a blessing."
Then, how ignoble the object beside the generous christian training which God requires at the hand of every parent. Wealth deserves not to be mentioned with virtue and usefulness. It is worthless as dust beside the riches of a good name, and a title to the favor of God. Groveling and sensual, indeed, must be that parent, who would not prefer that his son should walk safely and surely in "wisdom's ways," rather than be imperiled at every step by his inheritance of countless gold. That eminent statesman and patriot, Patrick Henry, left this passage in his will: "I have now disposed of all my property to my family: there is one thing more I wish I could give them, and that is, the Christian Religion. If they had that, and I had not given them one shilling, they would be rich; and if they have not
that, and I had given them all the world, they would be poor."
A single sentance which has survived the waste of generations, and now collated with the proverbs of the past, deserves to be treasured by every parent, "GOLD GOES IN AT EVERY GATE, EXCEPT HEAVEN'S."
We have seen that the most devoted parents sometimes fail of success in parental discipline. One reason may be found in a failure to appreciate the importance of first impressions. It is generally regarded of little importance, and perhaps entirely useless, to train the child to definite habits.* The mother trains the kitten and puppy to know their places, to be neat and affectionate, and that habitually, but thinks it useless to teach the little son as much, as if he were not half as bright as they.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS are too lightly esteemed. force in determining character and deciding destiny is altogether underrated. They often survive the most impressive lessons of age, and inweave and immingle themselves into all the plans and purposes of life.
A gentleman, travelling in a destitute part of Vermont, tarried one night with a family from whom he received the following details. They had three sons dutiful and affectionate children, upon whom they expected to lean when descending the vale of life. But all of them, even in boyhood, imbibed a taste for a sea-faring life, and when old enough to go on board a vessel were determined to become mariners. The persuasions and entreaties of parents wrought no change in their determinations, and at length they bade adieu to home, and committed themselves to the treacherous deep. It was strange and unaccountable to the afflicted parents. For their habitation was far apart from the ocean, their sons had never seen even the shores of the Atlantic, nor been on
* See Chapter on Philosophy of Character.
board a ship. "How then," inquired the disappointed father, "did they imbibe a taste for a life on the seas ?” The traveller, whose eye had been surveying a large painting of a full-rigged vessel upon the wall, sailing swan-like upon the silver tide, pointed to it, saying, "there you see the reason." It was the first time they ever had a view of the importance of first impressions. From early childhood those sons had been accustomed to gaze upon that galiant vessel painted upon a stormless sea, and the sight gave them rapturous views of the sailor's life. It settled their career, and decided their earthly, if not their eternal destiny. This even a picture did.
History abounds with similar facts. Sir Robert Peel's father determined in the infancy of his son to rear him expressly for the House of Commons. He would place him upon a table when a child, and promise him a reward if he would make a speech. Stimulated by the applauses which were meted out to him, he made such progress that when eight years of age he would address a company with considerable eloquence. As he advanced in years his father accustomed him to repeat every Sabbath, as well as he was. able, the sermon to which he had listened. Doubtless this early training had much to do with his after eloquence, and his wonderful power in remembering the whole speech of an opponent so as accurately to recite it.
Linnaeus was the most distinguished of modern naturalists. His father was a poor Swedish clergyman, and was accustomed to take him from earliest childhood with him into an extensive flower garden which he cultivated. There he imbibed an acute taste for every variety of plants, as he was reared to understand their names and properties. Probably these first impressions determined his character as a naturalist.
The early training of Byron and Scott materially differed. Both of them were deformed. Byron's mother was a rash
and heartless woman, with no sense of responsibility, and no special concern for her son's welfare. An inconsiderate and wicked fling at him, on one occasion, about his club foot, caused him to regard her with utter contempt. He grew up to hate her, and carried through life the unhappy disposition which she so essentially developed. On the other hand, Scott was early left an orphan, and was placed under the care of a maiden aunt, a woman well suited to fill the place of his departed mother. For his health she rode with him daily over the most charming and romantic portions of the country, and brought his mind into sweet familiarity with the works of nature, and through them with nature's In this way was probably developed that winning temper for which he was distinguished; and in those daily rides it is supposed he caught the spirit of poesy from the charming scenery spread out to his view. The two examples present a striking contrast—the results of first impressions widely at variance.
Why, then, are not all impressions, mental or moral, more or less important in their relations to character and destiny? Why may not the wise and judicious counsels of parents impress the heart as lastingly as some tangible object upon which the vision may be fixed? Why does not a continuous religious training of months and years as really tend to determine the life in virtue, as a similar secular training does for a definite profession? If the daily view of a picture for successive years will decide the taste of a lad for the seas, then why may not a view of the Cross of Christ, intelligently and repeatedly presented, with the divine blessing create within him a love for the truth? If familiarity with the flowers in a beautiful garden will create and foster a love for botanical science, why may not parents through the aids of the spirit, enamor their children by leading them among the flowers of virtue, and rehearsing to them the glories that wait upon the graces of religion? If an humble gardener