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may be the lecture he delivers to his family one hour; when the next, if an occasion arise to excite his anger, his mirth, or his surprise, they will hear him treat the name of the Deity with the most irreverent profanation, and sport with the terms and denunciations of the Christian religion, as if they were the language of fome ridiculous and long exploded superstition. Now even a child is not to be imposed upon by such mockery. He sees through the grimace of this counterfeited concern for virtue. He discovers that his parent is acting a part ; and receives his admonitions, as he would hear the same maxims from the mouth of a player. And when once this opinion has taken possession of the child's mind, it has a fatal effect upon the parent's influence in all subjects; even in those, in which he himself may be sincere and convinced. Whereas a silent, but observable regard to the duties of religion, in the parent's own behaviour, will take a fure and gradual hold of the child's disposition, much beyond formal reproofs and chidings, which, being generally prompted by some prefent provocation, discover more of anger than of principle, and are always received with a temporary alienation and disgust. . . A good parent's first care is to be virtuous himself; his second, to make his virtues as easy and engaging to those about him, as their nature will admit. Virtue itself offends, when coupled with forbidding manners. And some virtues may be urged to such excess, or brought forwards so unseasonably, as to discourage and repel those, who observe and who are acted upon by them, instead of exciting an inclination to imitate and adopt them. Young minds are particularly liable to these unfortunate impressions. For instance, if a father's ceconomy degenerate into a minute and teasing parsimony, it is odds, but that the son, who has suffered under it, set out a sworn enemy to all rules of order and frugality. If a father's piety be morose, rigorous, and tinged with melancholy, perpetually breaking in upon the recreations of his family, and surfeiting them with the language of religion upon all occasions, there is danger, lest the son carry from home with him a settled prejudice against seriousness and religion, as inconsistent with every plan of a pleasurable life, and turn out, when he mixes with the world, a character of levity or diffoluteness.

Something likewise may be done towards the correcting or improving of those early inclina


tions which children discover by disposing them into situations the least dangerous to their particular characters. Thus I would make choice of a retired life for young persons addicted to licentious pleasures ; of private stations for the proud and passionate ; of liberal professions, and a town life, for the mercenary and sottish : and not, according to the general practice of parents, fend dissolute youths into the army; penurious tempers to trade; or make a crafty lad an attorney; or flatter a vain and haughty temper with elevated names, or situations, or callings, to which the fashion of the world has annexed precedency and distinction, but in which his disposition, without at all promoting his success, will serve both to multiply and exasperate his disappointments. In the same way, that is, with a view to the particular frame and tendency of the pupil's character, I would make choice of a public or private education. The reserved, timid, and indolent will have their faculties called forth, and their nerves invigorated by a public education. Youths of strong spirits and passions will be fafer in a private education. At our public schools, as far as I have observed, more. lite


rature is acquired, and more vice : quick parts are cultivated, slow ones are neglected. Under private tuition, a moderate proficiency in juvenile learning is seldom exceeded, but with more certainty attained.



T HE Rights of Parents result from their

1 duties. If it be the duty of a parent to educate his children, to form them for a life of usefulness and virtue, to provide for them fituations needful for their subsistence and suited to their circumstances, and to prepare them for those situations; he has a right to such authority, and in support of that authority to exercise such discipline, as may be necessary for these purposes. The law of nature acknowledges no other foundation of a parent's right over his children, beside his duty towards them (I speak now of such rights as may be enforced by coercion). This relation confers no property in their persons, or natural dominion over them, as is commonly supposed.

Since it is, in general, necessary to determine the destination of children, before they are capable of judging of their own happiness, parents have a right to elect professions for them.


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