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self loiters about all day without employment ; comes home every night drunk; is made infamous in his neighbourhood by some profligate connection; and wastes the fortune which should support or remain a provision for his family, in riot, or luxury, or oftentation. Or he will discourse gravely before his children of the obligation and importance of revealed religion, whilst they see the most frivolous and oftentiines feigned excuses detain him from its reasonable and folemn ordinances. Or he will set before them, perhaps, the supreme and tremendous authority of Almighty God; that such a being ought not to be named, or even thought upon, without sentiments of profound awe and veneration. This may be the lecture be 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 irre. verent profanation, and sport with the terms and denunciations of the Christian religion, as if they were the language of some 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 influ. ence in all subjects; even in those, in which he hiin. self may be sincere and convinced. Whereas a si. lent, but observable regard to the duties of religion, in the parent's own behaviour, will take a sure and gradual hold of the child's disposition, much beyond formal reproofs and chidings, which, being generally prompted by some present 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 him. self; 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 for. bidding manners. And some virtues may be urged to such excess, or brought forwards so unsealone ably, 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 impreslions. For instance, if a father's æconomy 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 or. der 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 fe. riousness 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 dif. soluteness.
Something likewise may be done towards the correcting or improving of those early inclinations which children discover by disposirig then into fituations the least dangerous to their particular cha. racters. 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 fortifh : and not, according to the general practice of parents, send 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 safer in a private education. At our public schools, as far as I have observed, more literature is acquired, and more vice : quick parts are cultivated, flow ones are neglected. Under private tuition, a moderate proficiency in juvenile learning is seldom exceeded, but with more certainty attained.
THE Rights of Parents result from their du.
1 ties. 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 situations needful for their subsistence and suited to their circumftan. ces, 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.
As the mother herself owes obedience to the father, her authority must submit to his. In a competition, therefore, of commands, the father is to be obeyed. In case of the death of either, the authority, as well as duty, of both parents devolves upon the survivor.
These rights, always following the duty, belong likewise to guardians; and so much of them, as is delegated by the parents or guardians, belongs to tutors, school-masters, &c.
From this principle, “ that the rights of parents “ result from their duty," it follows, that parents have no natural right over the lives of their children, as was absurdly allowed to Roman fathers; nor any to exercise unprofitable severities; nor to command che commission of crimes: for there rights can never be wanted for the purposes of a parent's duty.
Nor, for the same reason, have parents any right to sell their children into Navery. Upon which, by the way, we may observe, that the children of flaves are not, by the law of nature, born slaves; for, as the master's right is derived to him through the parent, it can never be greater than the parent's own.
Hence also it appears, that parents not only pervert, but exceed their juft authority, when they consult their own ambition, intereft, or prejudice, at the manifest expence of their children's happiness. Of which abuse of parental power, the following are instances : the shutting up of daughters and younger fons in nunneries and monasteries, in order to preserve entire the eftate and dignity of the family, or the using of any arts, either of kindness or unkindness, to induce them to make choice of this way of life themselves; or, in countries where the clergy are prohibited from marriage, putting sons into the church for the same end, who are never likely either to do or receive any good in it, fufficient to compenfate for this sacrifice; the urging of children to mar. riages, from which they are averse, with the view of exalting or enriching the family, or for the sake of connecting estates, parties, or interests; or the op. posing of a marriage, in which the child would probably find his happiness, from a motive of pride or avarice, of family hostility or personal pique.
CH A P.