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Parental Influence and Authority.

31 is not that calm collected resolution which pursues its purpose unawed by difficulty, and which rises up elastic from defeat. A few hours, or some slight difficulty at most, is enough to dissipate all her plans. And thus she floats on down the stream of life, if not with listless indifference, yet surrendering her purpose, only to be resumed when the evils of her management stand out prominent to her view, and again to be relinquished when the excitement of the moment is past : until ashamed of such fickleness and indecision, she begins to question whether her former resolutions were wise, whether they were necessary, whether they were possible. If she still believes the change desirable, yet her case is peculiar. No other mother has had such difficulties to encounter; and she wonders how it happens that all the difficulties in the world meet in her path, and place her in just those circumstances in which she is willing to believe no other person could have acted with facility or success. If her circumstances were only changed—if she lived in some other place, or if fortune had showered her favors upon her, then every thing would have gone well. Her children would not have had such tempers, or have been so rude and ungovernable. Thus some mothers give themselves as much license to complain as if a malignant fate had of all the world singled them out and devoted them to trouble and disappointment. Instead of seizing upon the circumstances of their case, and bending them so as to fulfil their purposes, they are entirely at the mercy of circumstances. If possibly they should favor, then their plans may be accomplished ; if not, they will fail. How much good is such a mother likely to accomplish? or rather, we might ask, how much evil ? But while trouble and disappointment follow that parent through life, it is interesting to mark huw difficulties clear out of the way of the decided mother. Does her vigilant eye discover any thing wrong in her children, she immediately sets herself at work and eradicates the evil. Does she speak, she is heard. Does she command, she is obeyed. All disposition to interrogate, dictate or banter keep at a respectful distance. Let this decision be connected with evident reasonableness so that it shall not appear the dictate of mere will, and it forms the basis of rational and continued happiness in the family circle. It at once cuts off a thousand sources of unhappiness to the youthful mind. The authority that guides him while it has all the winning kindness and tender affection of a mother, is yet firm and unyielding. The child knows that whining inte Jogation and stubborn disobedience will meet with a just and merited rebuxe. It learns that while the assumption of command is dangerous, a cheerful obedience is happiness. And when a child has learned that lesson, it is in possession of a principle which if rightly taken adyanvantage of and cherished, will, we had almost said, without fail, secure its interests temporal and spiritual. The turbulent passions of that child are subdued, and while it grows up ready to acknowledge the claims of civil government and submit to its laws, it is prepared to hear the claims of the divine law with hopes of conversion. We wish then that every mother and every parent would take in the measure of those consequences which are the legitimate result of that authority which God has given them. And while the intellect darts down those interminable ages through which mind must exist, let the heart feel, and every power be combined to render that existence happy. If the influence of the parent be bad, God will require it at the parent's hand. If good, they shall receive the reward of an approv

ing conscience and the smiles of that Being whose favor is better than life. Theirs shall be the happiness of seeing their children growing up to bless and not to curse mankind. And as they wind down the declivity of life, though their eyes be dim, their ears deaf, their steps feeble and tottering with ages sight that is keen, hearing that is quick, steps that are strong with the vigor of youth, shall anticipate all their wants and hand them down gently and quietly to their graves. Theirs shall be the children who cherish in their bosoms those hallowed recollections of departed worth, which, like the mild radiance of a setting sun, calm and subdue while they cheer and elevate.

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THE MICROCOSM.

Vol. II.

DECEMBER, 1835.

No. 3.

For the Microcosm.

EXTRACT FROM MISS JE VÝSBURY'S LETTERS TO THE

YOUNG.

“A PERSON striving to construct happiness out of daily life, strongly resembles one of the smaller tribe of birds constructing its nest. The materials for this rest are in themselves mean and worthless-here a feather, there a straw-yonder a spray of moss—and on that thorn a tuft of wool; we despise or overlook them, but the bird, wise and pa. tient in the providential instinct of its nature, sees differently, and confounds by its actions both man and his reasoning. It collects the small, contemned materials, arranges them, and when arranged, the feather, the straw, the moss and the wool, having lost their separate insignifi. cance, form part of a beautiful whole, of a tiny but perfect fabric. Just so let us not despise trifles -any trifle at least, by means of which an innocent gratification may either be imparted or received, -and we shall find an aggregate of pleasure. The kind look or word, that oc. cupies but a moment, may by its influence on the spirits gladden a whole day ; five minutes' conversation with a stranger accidentally met, may embody some information that we were previously ignorant of, or suggest some valuable train of thought that might not have otherwise arisen.

A habit of rendering and of being pleased with the minor charities and courtesies of life, which Milton calls “ the thousand decencies” that flow from words and actions, has a vast influence upon happiness. Every graceful observance, or yet more graceful forbearance, may seem separately as unimportant as a grain of sand; but taken the accumulation of a whole life, they resemble the body of "sand upon the sea shore”-a barrier to the fury of the ocean. There is pride in despising to enjoy trifles when they lie in our path, and only ask us to pick them up there is folly too-for enrapturing pleasures come but seldom, and even then exhaust rather than strengthen the mind; and there is even sin—for the little enjoyments despised are often es. pecially prepared for us by God. There is pride—for man regarded only in this world is, with all his boasting, nothing better than a lemn trifle himself. There is folly--for he knows not how soon sickness or affliction may incapacitate him for taking pleasure in every thing, in what he terms great, no less than in what he considers little.

SO

There is sin—for the things disregarded are often perfect, whilst those desired are more or less alloyed. A gratified ambition cannot often arise to gratify us, and when it does, it mainly gratifies our earthly feelings; but the sudden sight of a bank of wild flowers, or an unexpected strain of music, the loving laugh of a child, a thousand natural and small delights can afford the soul a momentary triumph over its baser com. panion, by shedding as it were dew over feelings scorched by the world, and by exciting for innocent gladness that healthy sympathy which of itself maketh glad.

If the above remarks, so beautifully expressed, apply to life in general, with how much greater force do they so to the LITTLE WORLD OF HOME. The principle which they involve is one of high importance to all, who sustain the more endearing relations of the social economy. Littie things, trifles as they are sometimes deemed, make up no small part of the sum and substance of earthly happiness. Enjoyments which like the gossamer web the light breath can destroy, help to form the mingled tissue of the "warp and woof of life.” How many an instance of heart rending separations, of alienated love and of blighted hopes has originated in what might be viewed by some, as the merest trifle, scarcely deserving of a moment's attention. Misunderstandings which the concession of half an hour's time would have wholly rectified, have been followed by years of unavailing regret and anguish. The sun-shine of peace that might have gladdened the heart, has been clouded by the dark forebodings of a remorseful spirit, and the “ little loves” that hovered over the scene of promised felicity, and shed down their influence within the shrine of domestic happiness; disturbed in their resting place have taken their flight and sought for other bosoms where they might find a more congenial retreat.

The husband has thus left his fireside and the childish prattle of his darling ones, to seek in other society, in the maddening bowl and in the temptations and indulgencies of unrestrained appetite and passion, that happiness which home might, but did not afford him. The wite, feeling the little neglects, and inattention to her wants, so different from the early promise of her young days; stung to resentment, has forgotten her duty and by her misconduct has wrecked her own and the happiness of her family. The ties of filial or fraternal love have been rudely snapt asunder; souls formed to move together in harmony have been set ajar, and the brotherhood or the sisterband have been divided never to be reunited, from causes, that in themselves were nothing, and which impatience and suspicion have magnified into unpardonable crimes. The historic page is crowded with incidents too slight apparently to excite an interest, but which in their happening have given birth to a long series of national calamities; and could all the domestic broils that disturb the peace of families, and the neighborhood, be traced to their appropriate origin, not a small portion, doubtless, would be found to have sprung from causes as slender ; that might have been prevented or remedied by an attention to circumstances as trivial and unlikely. Were all thus unveiled to us, scarcely could we help despising poor human nature for its readiness to take offence and its unwillingness to overlook and pardon. In one respect, indeed, there is attention enough and more than enough to

35

Extract from Miss Jewsbury's Letters to the Young. small things; but it is all on the wrong side, and the corrective which an equal heed on the right one might have applied is most strangely neglected; if not unobserved.

There is an unfortunate sensitiveness that is ever watching for something on which to feed, that shrinks at the slightest aspect of rebuke or dislike, and if wounded it can never be healed. The arrow that was meant but for a playful shaft, and that would have glanced harmless from another bosom is deadly to such a spirit; it sinks to the very heart's core, and there is no antidote to its poison. The work is done, repentance cannot repair its damage. Most incumbent is it then on those who are liable to err in their contact with persons of such a description, to beware how they act and speak, unless they are willing to mourn over recollected, hopeless mischief, and sigh at the thought of some life embittered and shortened by their own carelessness. We have sometimes seen the writhing of spirit in such a case, the inward torture and mental pang depicted on the visage, which too surely told that the barbed point, aimless as it might have been, was quivering in the vitals and drinking the warm life-blood of the victim. Nor is it always merely a morbid imagination which has sustained the injury. A noble and a generous soul has been bowed to the untimely grave. We may affect to de. spise its weakness, but it was a sensibility apparent in the first dawn of moral life, the endowment of the Creator and nurtured by all the events of after years. The temperament, texture and mold of individuals differ-some are hardier, more course and rough, others again susceptible, delicate and finer; the gentlest breeze that whispers over its surface will ruffle the calm quietude in which the one has slept ; while the hoarse blast lashing in its utmost fury will scarcely heave the bosom of the other. One, Heaven's gifts with the highest reach of fortitude and self-possession, and nothing can destroy its equanimity—another is doomed from birth to be the perpetual victim of his own agonized feelings of timidity and perturbation and scarcely aught can rescue him. Of course these two individuals must be far differently treated. The smile on which one may live, the bright ray of hope to cheer him on his darkened path, is to the other no token of favor; he needs a more distinct assurance or he is still unblessed.

The application of the present course of reflection, to education and the developement of the young immortal is easy and obvious. The influence here of miscalled trifles is in one breath as it were acknowledged and forgotten. But though trite it is not the less important. The training which may be necessary to rear up one tender plant into beauty and loveliness, as with flexile grasp it clings to its proper support, may be of no benefit to yet another, already shooting forth into rank luxuriance. All passion, the wayward, self-willed boy breaks out from the charmed circle, the world before him and chance his only guide. A father's counsels, a mother's prayers, a sister's urgency of love breathe in his ears but the voice of pleasure is loudest, and he huries on to join her maddened throng. Years roll by-the echoes of those whispered monitions grow fainter still—he plunges deeper into the snares of sin and disgrace, and he only wakes from the spell when the toils begin to cl upon

a merciless grasp and when escape is no longer in his power. The earliest dawnings of irregular passion might, and should have been checked, and the spirit urged to a nobler and better course

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