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is the heaviness of his mother," Prov. x. I. Venerate the name, the day, the house, the worship of God. Remember that want of decency is want of sense : that the immoderate indulgence of appetite is inimical to all true enjoyment: that what is renounced, from respect to reason and conscience, is enjoyed : that present comfort, and future happiness, are built on habits of order, self-government; justice, benevolence, and subjection to divine authority
HISTORY OF HANNAH,
THE MOTHER OF SAMUEL.
And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favor both
with the Lord and also with men....I SAMUEL ii. 26.
No appearance of nature is more striking, no one
affords a more complete demonstration of the great Creator's consummate wisdom and unremitting attention, than the gradual and imperceptible progress of every thing in nature, to its perfection, and to its dissolution. The dawning light insensibly advances to the perfect day, and the moment high noon is gained, an approach is made towards night. When the moon has waned, till she is lost in the sun's brighter rays, she begins to emerge into form and lustre again; having waxed till her resplendent orb is full, that moment she begins to decay. We are prepared to bear the raging heat of the dog-star by the graceful vicessitudes and advances of spring; are fortified against winter's stormy blast, by the contracting light and the temperate cold of sober autumn.
Human life too has its morning, noon and night ; its spring and fall; and empires have their iofancy, maturity and old age. Time is the dawning of eternity; earth is the scene of preparation for heaven; and mortality the passage to lite and immortality. Every thing is beautiful in its season, and every state is a preparation for that which is to succeed it. Nature and providence admit of few sudden and violent transitions ; because the human frame, both of budy and mind, is little qualified to endure them.
The passage before us presents one of the most pleasing objeets of contemplation....human life at its happiest period, and in its most siniling aspect....early youth, increasing beauty and strength, gradual and regular iinprovement. While the family of Eli was exhibiting multiplied instances of the fatal effects of neglecied intancy and unrestrained childhood, the son of Elkar: ah was silently demonstrating the importance ofearly culture, and modestly reproving grey hairs, by exemplifying the lessons which his pious and prudent mother had taught him. The self-same ideas are bere employed to describe the yearly progress of Samuel in wisdom, beauty and goodness, which are afterwards applied to Christ himself, at a similar period of his earthly existence, and they furnish us with many excellent additional hints respecting the important subject of education, which now deserve to be more at large unfolded. “ The child Samuel grew on, and was in favor both with the Lord and also with men ;” and “ Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Observe here first, What is the work of nature, namely, to grow on, to "increase in stature." The moment, Oman, thy child begins to breathe, a progress commences which bothing can stop. Grow be will, and must ; cease from all solicitude on this score, These feeble limbs will gather strength; by stumbling and falling, he will learn to walk and run ; after stammering for a while, he will come to speak plainly, and be who seems at present bardly to possess the faculty of sight, will soon distinguish object from object. Cease from the vain imagination of assisting or improving nature. Assist nature ! Il you try to mend that shape, trust me, you will spoil it. Every viulent attempt to
quicken growth will but retard it, and an over-solicitude to preserve health, will infallibly scatter the seeds of distemper. Toward the improvement of the bodily faculties, the most anxious and intelligent parent can do just nothing at all; “ by taking thought be cannot add one cubit to the stature; it is by cultivating the mind, only, that the features, shape and person can be improved.
The reverse of this is the practice of the world. The whole attention is directed to personal accomplishment, Nature is cramped, stretched, distorted, to humor an absurd taste and an erroneous judgment, and she avenges herself for the unwise encroachment on her province, by encroaching, in her turn, on the province of reason and discretion ; renderiug all their late efforts useless and unprofitable; making education which is clogged with so many difficulties already, absolutely impracticable. What can the wisest master do, I beseech you, with a temper soured by habits of unnatural restraint, with a mind rendered sickly by petty attentions to punctilio, with a spirit swallowed up in a sense of its own importance. And yet the master is blamed for the fault, which parents themselves have committed. Guard your child as well as you can from accidents. See that his food be simple and wholesome, and administered in due season ; let his body be free and unfettered : his cloathing light and easy ; his exercises, both as to kind and duration, of bis own choosing; and he will grow on, and increase in stature, he will acquire vigor, will preserve sweetness of temper, will be happy in himself, and a source of happiness to all around him; he will pass with cheerfulness, like Samųel, into the hands of his instructor, without any prejudices, but such as are on the side of goodness, and, through the blessing of Heaven, will day by day fulfil a parent's hope, and constitute a parent's joy.
There is a fruitless, perhaps a sinful anxiety, of ano. ther kind, which parents sometimes express, and which
often becomes a source of distress to themselves, and of partiality and injustice to their children. I mean the sex of their offspring. The expectation of pride, avarice, ignorance or caprice, presumes to usurp the prerogative of omniscience, and, in the event of disappointment, cruelty and injustice to an innocent babe are superadded to impiety toward a wise and righteous God. It is dangerous, as well as criminal, to assume the incommunicable attributes of Deity. The man is equally unbappy in attaining or missing his object, if he pursue it, neglecting, detying, or accusing the interposition of Providence. There is an instance of goodness in the divine administration which is too generally overlooked, too little prized and acknowledged ; namely, the perfect and exact conformation of child. ren, both in body and mind. Among the myriads which are daily born into the world, how rare are the exceptions from the general rule! Every one bears the marks of sovereign wisdom, is the production of omnipotence, has the image of God impressed upon bim. How few exceed or fall short of the just standard in respect
of stature! How few are born deprived of the use of reason, how few deficient or redundant in their bodily organs! And, may not even these few deviati. ons from the general rule, these acts of divine sovereignty in the government of the world, serve in a future economy, more gloriously to illustrate the perfections of Him who has formed all things to the honor of his own great name.
Is thy child, O man, born complete in all his members, is he endued with the ordinary intellectual powers, is he like the children of thy neighbor? How much art thou indebted to the goodness of Heaven! Are his faculties, corporeal or mental, as parental partiality is frequently disposed to believe, superior to those of others? Remember, it is a great addition to thy charge; see thou mar not the work of God, distigure not that fair fabric, pervert not talents peculiarly precious and