« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
horses, and shivered at the end by blows without mercy; nor clubs of torture, which petty tyrants call ferules, made no part of the furniture of his school-house. He was no friend to Roman scourging, or Turkish bastinadoes; and thought it no honor to bruise the hand into blisters of blood, so as to disenable the poor unfortunate fellows to chop their father's wood.
Nor was he so lax in government as to be treated with contempt, or regarded as destitute of energy. For he well knew, that the medium is the only path of safety and wisdom. Both extremes, alike create disrespect, and render instruction ineffectual. While one inspires with terror and hatred, and a desire to be freed from tyranny and cruelty, which totally destroys a desire to learn ; the other gives such notions of equality, or inferiority, that all zeal for instruction is effectually damped.
But such was the esteem he commanded, that the day they were called to part with him, was a day of sorrow and tears. It was enough to move all the tender feelings of the soul, to see the unfeigned marks of their affection. The little ones embraced him with tears, nor could he restrain his own; while he saw the strength and sincerity of their love, and that duty called him to force himself away. Their innocent bosoms sobbed, and they said among themselves~
we shall see him no more.” The older scholars were more manly, but they had not power to repress their feelings. The friendly grasp of hands, the chrystal drop, which now stood trembling in the eye ; the eager look, which followed him afar off'; all, all declared how much they loved, and how great the pain of parting. Scenes like these do honor to human nature. They show what merit is capable of acquiring, and with what returns it meets. Nor shall we think this a Jahored or fictitious description, if his conduct, as a teacher of youth, be united with the address, which follows in the next chapter ; delivered the day he left them, as a testimony of his respect for the past, and concern for their future greatness and felicity.
My Dear Pupils,
The time has now arrived that I must leave you. Our acquaintance has been happy, and our parting must be painful. Though I have often addressed you, by way of advice, yet I cannot take my leave of you, without repeating some things already said, and adding others for the regulation of your future conduct.
While I acknowledge the respect you have paid me—the affection invariably shewn ; duty.compels me to declare the readiness wîtb which I return it, by submitting to your consideration the following, as my last advice. I shall first read you a few paragraphs from the introduction of Dr. Watts’ Improvement of the Mind.
“ No man is obliged to learn and know every thing; this can neither be sought nor required, for it is utterly impossible ; yet all persons are under some obligations to improve their own understanding, otherwise it will be a barren desert, or a forest overgrown with weeds and brambles. Universal ignorance, or infinite errors, will overspread the mind which is utterly neglected, and lies without cultivation.
“ Skill in the sciences, is indeed the business and profession of but a small part of mankind ; but there are many others, placed in such an exalted rank in the world, as allows them much leisure, and larger opportunities to cultivate their reason, and to beautify and enrich their minds with various knowledge. Even the lower orders of men have particular callings in life, wherein they ought to acquire a just degree of skill, and this is not to be done well without thinking and reasoning about them.
“ The common duties and benefits of society, which belong to every man living, as we are social creatures, and even our native and necessary relations to a family, a neighborhood, or a government, oblige all persons, whatsoever, to use their reasoning powers upon a thousand occasions; and every hour of life calls for some regular exercise of our judgment as to times and things, persons and actions ; without a prudent and discreet determination in matters before us, we shall be plunged into perpetual errors in our conduct. Now that which should always be practised, must at some time be learned.
Besides, every son and daughter of Adam, has a most
important concern in the affairs of a life to come ; and therefore it is a matter of the highest moment for every one to understand, to judge, to reason rightly about the things of religion. It is in vain for any one to say-we have no leisure, or time for it. The daily intervals of time, and vacancies from necessary labor, together with the one day in seven, in the Christian world, allow sufficient time for this, if men would but apply themselves to it with half as much zeal and diligence, as they do to the trifles and anusements of this life ; and it would turn to infinitely better account.
“ Thus it appears to be the necessary duty, and the interest of every person living, to improve his understanding, to inform his judgment, to treasure up useful knowledge, and to acquire the skill of good reasoning, as far as his station, capacity, and circumstances, furnish him with proper means for it. Our mistakes in judgment, may plunge us into much guilt and folly in practice. By acting without thought or reason, we dishonor God, that made us reasonable creatures ; we often become injurious to our neighbors, kindred, or friends, and we bring sin and misery on ourselves ; for we are accountable to God, our judge, for every part of our irregular and mistaken conduct, where he hath given us sufficient advantages to guard against those mistakes.”
What has been now read, may serve to show you to what extent I urge the acquirement of useful knowledge upon you ; the manner which it is to be acquired, as well as the end of acquiring it. It will be unnecessary, therefore, to repeat the branches of science which I have so often recommended to your attention. I am persuaded, that by what I have heretofore said, and by the paragraphs just read, you cannot bestow your time on trifles, to the neglect of study, without self condemnation. From the diligence you have shown, and the proficiency you have made, since I have had the pleasure of being your instructor; I am inclined to believe, that your time and talents will be well improved in future. Let not this hope be disappointed. In the mean while, suffer me to add something further, concerning your manners and moral conduct.
You are now forming characters, not only for more advanced life, but for eternity. It is of importance, that life should be begun in such a manner, as to be followed by a peaceful end. In order to this, several things should be noticed.
1. It is your duty and highest interest to love God. He is worthy of the highest possible esteem-infinitely lovely in his own nature, and the displays of himself, declare his loveliness and mercy. All true happiness arises from his love shed abroad in our hearts. This cannot take place, but by repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, accompanied by the renewing power of the Holy Ghost. Thus brought to possess the favor and image of God, the mind enjoys peace, and a prospect of heavenly glory. The path of duty is now opened. To God, such owe the incessant exercises of faith and love, a dependance on his grace, and an increasing desire for all the mind that was in Christ.
2. Love to your neighbor is a duty like unto it, Christ himself being judge. All men, in some sense, are to be considered as neighbors, especially all you know and have connection with ; not excepting the most wicked, and your own personal enemies.
Their souls-their bodies call for your attention by gifts of earthly good things, by watchings, by prayers, by admonition, advice, and persuasion.
3. When renewed in heart, and joined to the church of God, this new and secial relation will demand fellowship and affection, watchfulness, forbearance, prayer, and all the duties required of Christians, one towards another, that there be no breach in the family of God; but, that the unity of the spirit be kept in the bonds of peace. Maintain the discipline and doctrines of the gospel with prudence, firmness, and affection
4. Respect the aged-treat not their years with contempt, nor insult their grey hairs. The most polished and enlightened nations, have taught and practised it as a duty ; nor is the word of God silent on this subject. And reason itself dictates, that veneration and esteem are due to those who are become so much your superiors by a long course of years and experience. What would be your feelings, if your fathers were insulted by a rude rabble of children; and what will be your feelings, if, when old age marks you for her own, unmannerly boys and girls shall make you their sport, or otherwise treat you with contempt?
5. Pay a suitable deference to all superiors, whether of age, of office, or of relation. Render to all their dues is a precept of the gospel. Obedience to this precept is absolutely necessary for the mere existence, and much more, for the happiness and prosperity of all good society. Fail not to re
spect the magistrate and the minister; knowing that the one is appointed by God to promote the interests of civil society, and the other to promote the eternal interests of your souls. Both are God's ministers, and cannot be slighted without casting an indignity on the God who commissioned them.
6. Nor should a right line of conduct toward your inferiors and equals, be neglected. These are made of one blood, by the same creative power, cared for by the same patchful providence, members of the same great family, and hastening, with you, to the world of spirits. These considerations will be enough to convince you, that duties are due to inferiors and equals, as well as to superiors. Never insult, degrade, or irritate them, especially the well behaved. Easy manners, within the bounds of civility, neither distant nor too familiar, influenced always by truth and sincerity, will best regulate your conduct in this particular.
7. Such of you as are small should cultivate love and good will among yourselves, in all your plays and pastimes; especially children of the same family. It is a shameful thing, as well as a grief to parents, and a sin against God, for brothers and sisters“ to fall out and chide and fight. Your little hands were never made to tear each others' eyes." Dogs and cats may quarrel and fight, but little brothers and sisters should love one another and live in peace.
8. Never swear, nor cheat, nor tell lies, nor play on the sabbath; for all these are crimes which God has forbidden, and will make you more or less unhappy in this world, and if not repented of, will make you forever miserable in the world to come. Godly children will pray to be kept from these evils, and to be enabled to live so, that God will love them; and, that they may be esteemed by their parents and all good people. It is an awful thing so to live as to have God angry with you; and to have good people reject you, as unfit for their company or the company of their children. But it will be a glorious thing to live in such a manner, as to have peace of mind while you live, and when called to die, to die happy, and go to be forever happy with the Sava iour in Heaven. God is willing it should be thus with you, for Christ said concerning little children, suffer them to, come unto me and forbid them not; and he has also said, * those who come to me I will in no wise cast out. Again it is said, “ remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth,' and those that seek me early shall find me. So