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mong Persons of strict Piety, and which make less Inroad on the Duties of Life, both solitary and social, civil and religious ?
SHALL I enquire once more, what is done at many of thole Midnight-Affemblies, before the Dance is begun, or when it is ended, and what is the Entertainment of those who are not engaged in Dancing ? Are they not active in Gaming? Are not Cards the Business of the Hour? Are not Children educated, by this Means, in the Love of Gaming? And do they not hereby get such a Relish of it, as proves afterwards pernicious to them? Now if Gaming be not a Practice fit to be encouraged, what Encouragement do those Assemblies deserve, where Gaming is one of the chief Diversions or Business ?
But it is Time to put an End to this Sort of Discourse. I beg Pardon of my Readers for having drawn it out to so great a Length: For I have said too much on this Subject, for those who have no Inclination to these criminal and dangerous Diversions; and I wish I may have said enough to do good to those who have.
UPON the whole, I conclude, it is the Duty of Parents who would give their Chil. dren a good Education, to fee to it that Children, in their younger Years, do not indulge fuch Recreations as may spoil all the good Effects of the pious In/tructions, the Pray
ers, and Care of their Parents. Otherwise, if you encourage them in such Recreations, you are building up those Vanities of Mind, and those vicious Inclinations with one Hand, which you labour to prevent or to destroy with the other.
Of the proper Degrees of Liberty and Re
Araint in the Education of a Son, illustrated by Example.
Co weak and unhappy is human Nature,
that it is ever ready to run into Ex. tremes ; and when we would recover ourselves from an Excess on the right Hand, we know not where to stop till we are got to an Excess on the left. 'Instances of this Kind are innumerable in all the Affairs of human Life; but it is hardly more remarkable in any Thing, than in the strict and severe Education of our Fathers a Century ago, and in the most profuse and unlimited Liberty that is indulged to Children in our Age.
In those Days the Sons were bred up to Learning by terrible Discipline: Every Greek and Latin Author they conversed with, was attended with one or many new Scourges,
to drive them into Acquaintance with him ; and not the least Misdemeanor in Life could escape the Lalh: As though the Father would prove his daily Love to bis Son by never Sparing bis Rod. Prov. xiii. 24. Nowa-days young Master must be treated with a foolish Fondness, till he is grown to the Size of Man; and let his Faults be never so heinous, and his Obstinacy never so great, yet the Preceptor must not let him hear the Name of the Rod, left the Child Mould be frighted or hurt; the Advice of the wisest of Men is utterly forgotten, when he tells us, that due Correction shall drive out the Folly that is bound up in the Heart of a Child, Prov. xxii. 15. Or else they boldly reverse his divine Counsel, Prov. xiii. 24. as though they would make the Rule of their Practice a direct Contradiction to the Words of Solomon, (viz.) that He tbat spareth the Red loveth bis. Sün, but be that hateth bim chastens him betimes. . In that Day many Children were kept in a most servile Subjection, and not suffered to sit down, or to speak, in the Presence of their Father, till they were come to the Age of one and twenty. The least Degree of Freedom was esteemed a bold Presump. tion, and incurred a sharp Reproof. Now they are made familiar Companions to their Parents, almost from the very Nursery; and
therefore they will hardly bear a Check or Rebuke at their Hand.
In the Beginning of the last Century, and fo onward to the Middle of it, the Children were usually obliged to believe what their Parents and their Masters taught them, whether they were Principles of Science, or Articles of Faith or Practice : They were tied down almost to every Punctilio, as though it were necessary to Salvation ; they were not suffered to examine or enquire whe. ther their Teachers were in the right, and scarce knew upon what Grounds they were to affent to the Things that were taught them ; for it was a Maxim of all Teachers, that the Learner must believe : Difcentem opertet credere. Then an ipse dixit, or Aristotle said so, was a sufficient Proof of any Propofition in the Colleges; and for a Man of five and twenty to be a Chriftian and a Proteftant, a Diffenter or a Churchman, it was almost Reason enough to say that his Father was fo. But in this Century, when the Doctrine of a just and reasonable Liberty is better known, too many of the present Youth break all the Bonds of Nature and Duty, and run to the wildest Degrees of Looseness, both in Belief and Practice. They Night the Religion which their Parents have taught them, that they may appear to have chosen a Religion for themselves: And when they have made a Creed or Belief of
their own, or rather borrowed fome Scraps of Infidelity from their vain Companions and Equals, they find Pretences enough to cast off all other Creeds at once, as well as the Counsels and Customs of their religious Predecessors.
“The Practices of our Fathers (say they)
were precise and foolish, and shall be no “Rule for our Conduct ; the Articles of © their Faith were absurd and mysterious, " but we will believe nothing of Mystery, " left our Faith Mould be as ridiculous as " theirs.". In their younger Years, and before their Reason is half grown, they pretend to examine the sublimest Doctrines of Christianity; and a raw and half-witted Boy shall commence an Infidel, because he cannot comprehend some of the glorious Truths of the Gospel, and laughs at his Elders and his Ancestors, for believing what they could not comprehend. .
The Child now-a-days forgets that his Parent is obliged by all the Laws of God and Nature, to train him up in his own Religion, till he is come to the proper Age of Discretion to judge for himself; he forgets, or he will not know, that the Parent is intrusted with the Care of the Souls of his young Offspring by the very Laws of Nature, as well as by the revealed Covenants of Innocency and of Grace. The Son now-a-days forgets the Obligations he is under to honour