« AnteriorContinuar »
was impossible that that Doctrine should have been propagated in the World by Simplicity or Folly, by Fraud or Falshood; and accordingly resigned his Soul up to the Golpel of the Blessed Jesus.
I FEAR there have been Multitudes of such Unbelievers as Volatilis ; and he hiinfelf has confefled to me, that even his most rational Friends would be constrained to yield to the Evidence of the Christian Doctrine, if they would honestly try the same Method.
INTRODUCTION. Of the Importance of Education, and the De
fign of this Discourse, with a Plan of it.
T HE Children of the present Age
are the Hope of the Age to come.
We who are now acting our several Parts in the busy Scenes of Life are hafting off the Stage apace : Months and Days
are sweeping us away from the Business and the Surface of this Earth, and continually laying some of us to Sleep under Ground. The Circle of thirty Years will plant another Generation in our room : Another Set of Mortals will be the chief Actors in all the greater and lesser Affairs of this Life, and will fill the World with Blessings or with Mischiefs when our Heads lie low in the Dust.
SHALL we not then consider with ourselves, What can we do now to prevent those Mischiefs, and to entail Blessings on our Succeffors? What shall we do to secure Wisdom, Goodness and Religion among the next Generation of Men? Have we any Concern for the Glory of God in the rising Age? Any Sollicitude for the Propagation of Virtue and Happiness to those who shall stand up in our Stead? Let us then bearken to the Voice of GOD and Solomon, and we shall learn how this may be done: The all-wise God and the wisest of Men join to give us this Advice; Train up a Child in the way that he would go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. The Sense of it may be expressed more at large in this Propofition, (viz.) Let Children have a good Education given them in the younger Parts of Life, and this is the most likely Way to establish them in Virtue and Piety in their elder Years.
In this Discourse I shall not enter into any Enquiries about the Management of Children in the two or three first Years of their Life: I leave that tender Age entirely to the Care of the Mother and the Nurse; yet nor without a Wish that some wiser and happier Pen would give Advice or friendly Notice to Nurses and Mothers of what they ought to avoid, and what they ought to do in those early seasons : And indeed they may do much towards the future Welfare of those young Buds and Blorsoms, those lesser pieces of human Nature which are their proper Charge. Some of the Seeds of Virtue and Goodness may be conveyed almost into their very Constitution betimes by the pious Prudence of those who have the Conduct of them: And fome forward Vices may be nipped in the very Bud, which in three Years Time might gain too firm a Root in their Heart and Practice, and might not easily be plucked up by all the following Care of their Teachers.
BUT I begin with Children when they can walk and talk, when they have learned their Mother Tongue, when they begin to give some more evident Discoveries of their intellectual Powers, and are more manifestly capable of having their Minds formed and moulded into Knowledge, Virtue and Piety.
Now the first and most universal Ingredient which enters into the Education of
Children, is an Instruction of them in those Things which are necesary and useful for them in their Rank and Station, and ibat with Regard to this world and the World to come. ;.| LIMIT these Initructions (especially such as relate to this World) by the Station and Rank of Life in which Children are born and placed by the Providence of God. Persons of betier Circumstances in the World should give their Sons and their Daughters à much larger Share of Knowledge and a richer Variety of Instruction than mcaner Persons can or ought. But since every Child that is born into this World hach a Bo. dy and a Soul, since its Happiness or Misery in this world and the next depends very much upon its Instructions and Knowledge, it hath a Right to be taught by its Parents, according to their best Ability, so muchas is necessary for its well-being both in Soul and Body here and hereafter.
It is true that the great God our Creator hath made us reasonable Creatures: We are by Nature capable of learning a Million of Objects : But as the Soul comes into the World it is unfurnished with Knowledge ; We are born ignorant of every good and useful Thing: We know not God, we know not ourselves, we know not what is our Duty and our Interest, nor where lies our Danger ; And, if left entirely to our