Page images
PDF
EPUB

them a consciousness of maternal and moral responsibility, would be a truly generous and christian enterprise. The blessings of freedom are surely no less important to the women than the men. To recover millions of these children of nature and their children from a very low grade of intellectual and moral condition, and to open to them a way to happiness far higher than they have ever known, is to be done by providing for each, her own “Little world of Home."

THE WAY TO ESTABLISH OBEDIENCE.

" Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." CAILDREN should discover in their parents a kind, reasonable, candid, firm, determination to be obeyed in all their requirements. Those parents who pursue such a course as to manifest all this, are thus far, training their children wisely: and they are laying a foundation for all those other instructions which are necessary to make their children wise, virtuous, and happy. One reason why very many fail in learn. ing their children to be obedient is because they so frequently give commands without enforcing them. The child soon learns that the com. mand of the parent amounts to little or nothing ; that the parent is not really in earnest : and he heeds it not, or holds it in perfect con. tempt. He believes from former and frequent experience, that he can have his own way notwithstanding the command, and he pays no re. gard to it; or else peevishly, or madly, and impudently declares that he will not obey. If punishment is threatened or promised by such a parent, the child heeds it not. The parent has so often' failed to fulfil such promises that the child considers the threat the result of fretful. ness, and not of firmness and decision; and he judges correctly in this. In reality there is no decision, firmness, or good government in such a parent; and it is to be feared the child will be ruined, both for time and eternity. Another frequent reason of failure in government is, a want of agreement between parents. It frequently occurs that one of the parents has good ideas of government, and attempts to train the children to obedience ; but the other parent for want of knowledge, or from a false tenderness, is led to oppose the proper course, and that too, in hearing of the children, and perhaps at the very time when, on the other hand, assistance is most needed. And often the refractory child is thus strengthened in his obstinacy, and allowed to go unsubdued in his own disobedient ways. Such a course is very wrong, and very ruinous. If one parent disagrees with the other, as to the proper course, it is rarely, if ever, right to let the children know of this differ. ence of opinion. These matters should be talked of only in private between the parents; and that parent which has the best faculty of enforcing obedience should be allowed to take the lead in managing, and training the children, and the other should lend all possible aid.

N. Hamp. Observer

THE MICROCOSM.

VOL. I.

SEPTEMBER, 1835.

No. 12.

DUTY OF CHRISTIANS WITH RESPECT TO VISITING IN

PARTIES.

Much has been said at all times, and under all circumstances, of the duty of christians with respect to giving and attending parties. The question is one of great importance ; and it is therefore important that just and consistent views should be entertained respecting it. The general tenor of remark on this subject, is that of total condemnation ;-but in these sweeping denunciations is there not less discrimination and judgment than the case demands ? That much evil is, and has ever been, connected with large parties and fashionable society, no one who looks upon the world with the eye of a christian or a philosopher can deny. The immense expenditure of time and property, employed in ostentatious display both of dress and entertainment—the pride and vanity that have been fostered—the envy, jealousy, and strife engendered in these scenes of dissipation, cannot sustain a defense. They should be condemned wholly-but in rooting out the tares, let us not pluck up the wheat also. Condemn the extravagance and excess—the vanity and emptiness—reprove and condemn the envyings, the emulation and strife-they cannot be censured too severely—but spare and leave us the social intercourse! We were made social beings we must have social intercourse, or become useless, misanthropic aliens from our race. “ As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.” Distinction should be made between the abuse of our blessings and their grateful appropriation. No one denies that society has claims upon us and these claims are to be met and sustained by reciprocal offices of kindness and courtesy. The customs that appear quite superfluous in one place and situation, may be indispensable in another, under different circumstances. In a retired village where the inhabitants are well known to each other, we can readily see that social intercourse may be conducted in a more intimate informal manner than in more populous places. But in large cities, persons who have a large circle of acquaintance must be debarred from seeing their friends at all unless they can see them together. Many individuals whose station and duties demand much of their time and attention, cannot give up every other evening, or even one evening each week or month, to see their friends in groups of six or ten. And this system in the end would involve a much greater appropriation of time and means, than that of seeing the whole once or twice a year. Yet many who are loudest in denunciation, on being questioned with regard

178 Duty of Christians with respect to visiting in parties. to their objections, make the head and front of the offense to consist in the numbers who are associated for a few hours. Why, sixty were thereor, one hundred and fifty!No account is made of the character of the guests. They may be cordial friends

the majority professors of religion-many of them clergymen-all persons of high moral character and principle—yet it is made a terrible sin for them to meet in such numbers. We dwell on this point because so many make it the whole point of objection. Ten or fifteen may meet, and there is no harm in it-perhaps twenty or thirty, and still all is right—but let the number rise to eighty or one hundred and it merits utter reprehension.

Now what is the sin of large parties ?-it must be acknowledged there lacketh not sin in them. Our present subject of discussion has not so much to do with parties in general, as with those given and countenanced by professors of religion. There has been cause of condemnation in the extravagance and expenditure of these occasions--in the devotion to dress and parade-in the vanity and ill-feelings excited,—and in the trifling and empty not to say mischievous character of the conversation often indulged in. We have heard it asserted, both as apology and justification, that no one is expected to talk sensibly at a party, or introduce a grave or profitable subject.

We believe that parties may be purified of these abuses, and so reformed as to become literally “a feast of fat things' to those who are made partakers. Let the object be brought out distinctly as one to lighten the path of life by the cheer of association and sympathy—to relax the severity of labor in a degree that will conduce to more vigorous effort. Let the conversation be profitable as well as varied and enlivening-while' temperance in all things,' shall reduce dress and entertainment to that degree of simplicity, which will prevent an unreasonable encroachment upon the time properly belonging to more important duties. Above all, the occasion should be sanctified by the presence of the Gospel spirit of purity, peace and love. The christian should let his badge of discipleship be seen and felt every where. We are such slaves to custom that while we acknowledge the right and feel the wrong, we are afraid to differ in the least particular from the fashionable world. Yet we have known christians in the habit of giving and attending large par ties, who dared act up to their principles, so far as to consecrate this with all else to their Master's service, by prayer and sacred music :-thus drawing out those who could participate in the service, and letting others see that they were not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. Without the general exercise of this spirit, will the time ever come when “holiness to the Lord” shall be written even upon “the bells of the horses?"

The great occasion of reproach seems to consist in the merging of the christian and the fashionable world. The line of demarkation is lost. The enemies of religion look on the scene, and so far from adding as the result of their observations,“ see how these christians love one another," after the most severe scrutiny, they turn away with the taunt " what do ye more than others!” Professors of religion have erred by running to extremes, in letting down their principles to the standard of the world and displaying no religion at all; or by making their intercourse wholly reserved, solemn and sanctimonious, exciting aversion and disgust :-either degrading their profession, or holding it up as a repulsive, unlovely object. We have known more than one tribute to the union of piety and courtesy, from those who judged

[blocks in formation]

only by observation, in the strange compliment, that such an one laughed as heartily, and was as affable, and entertaining as if he had not been a christian! If any one has reason to be happy it is the christian,—and in sharing and dispensing this happiness, the injunction is held up to him as a christian duty," whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, think on these things.”

On no one point so important in its bearings and effects as the question of duty with regard to social intercourse, have we been left without light or instruction frorn the scriptures. Nor have we on this. While revelings and excess are forbidden, hospitality and courtesy are enjoined as christian graces. We are furnished with many regulations for our conduct in all our intercourse, while the duty of such intercourse is never questioned. Pride and arrogance are condemned and the desire of recompense. We find it written—" If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go, ask no questions for conscience sake”—but we can no where find a command forbidding us to go. One of the most frequent reproaches which the Savior himself encountered from the self-righteous Pharisees, was that . he was gone to be a guest with a man that was a sinner'--that · he received sinners and eat with them,' &c. We hear of a great feast' being made for him—and on one occasion find him rebaking his entertainer, for the omission of those attentions and honors, which were supplied by a weeping penitent, who was at that time and place forgiven,' because 'she loved much.' True he never lost sight of his mission, and his Father's work-nor should christians ever forget their circumstances and obligations, as dying, redeemed sinners.

It has been said that we should do nothing upon which we cannot ask the blessing of God. The rule is a good and safe one. If social intercourse was conducted on the true principles of love and good-will, there is not an occasion in life which would call forth more fully the gratitude of the heart, than to be surrounded by those from whose words, looks and presence we could gather happiness, sympathy and improvement.

HOME.

There is more of spell work about the home of our fathers than he who has never been a wanderer imagines. Ask the poor exile on a foreign shore, what visions fit across his bosom, and enchain his fancy, and call forth the deep drawn sigh, as he gazes silently and lonely, on the sweet midnight moon, and he will tell you in the fulness of his heart, they are the visions of his early home. Though ambition lead him into foreign lands, or fortune tempt him into the world of business, he will often pause, even when success has gratlfied his wishes, and lin. ger whole hours over the memory of days gone by as they steal in the language of the Bard of Morven, “like music to the soul.”

[blocks in formation]

One of our admired poets has said—“Trifles make the sum of human things.” But is not this more poetic than true? We live in a world of cause and effect, and continually witness the great matter which a little fire kindleth.' We see life itself lost by a trifling unseen exalation from some small neglected source of miasmatic poison; or some little bad habit insensibly

« PreviousContinue »