Page images
PDF
EPUB

ENCOURAGEMENT TO PIOUS MOTHERS.

157

opportunities would have been sought to be revenged. Instead of being the injured party, James and George might, and probably would become the aggressors. Although children should never question the propriety of their mother's opinions, yet from intercourse with other children they often do. Children, as well as adults, are sometimes conscientiously wrong. By taking this ground with her son, Mrs. B. gave herself an opportunity to explain the reasons for her opinion. Had it been otherwise, James might have betrayed his want of confidence in his mother's judgment, in the hearing of his little brother and companions. Subsequent occasions to be revenged upon Ira Cleaver, or every other opponent, would probably be improved, without giving mother an opportunity to command, or even to advise.

Mrs. B. by appealing to the magnanimous feelings of her son; by reposing confidence in this elder brother ; by commissioning him with an embassy of love, requiring as she acknowledged, no ordinary share of wisdom and address, even on the part of a mother, she not only secured for this time the ready obedience of this eldest son, but she elicited his sympathy for his mother and little brother. She likewise taught him that in some cases, to yield is to conquer. By condescending to hold an argument with him, she prepared him, when placed in circumstances beyond a mother's direct influence, to think and act with magnanimity, and independence, and self respect.

For the Mother's Magazine.

ENCOURAGEMENT TO PIOUS MOTHERS. My dear Mrs. W.

I have been much interested in the perusal of your Magazine. Among all the subjects that are coming before the Christian public, there is none more deserving of attention than the obligations and responsibilities of Christian mothers. The consequences of their faithfulness or unfaithfulness will be felt when the relations of this life shall have been dissolved.

“ Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” is a truth engraven upon every heart; but the process of such training is often felt to be a matter of difficulty and of doubt. I rejoice that there is such a happy medium, as the Mother's Magazine presents, for embodying and circulating the results of successful experiments, on the subject of Christian education.

I trust that through its pages, the balm of consolation will be poured into many a bosom, bleeding under the anguish of disappointed hope, from the fruitful sources of ignorance and unfaithfulness. From my own observations, I believe that there is already an intense desire, enkindled in the bosom of

many a mother, for the salvation of her beloved children, which, like a smothered fire, is ready to burst into a flame ; or perhaps too often like a canker, it eats up her spirits, without prompting to effort. But let not any mother despair. .

The happy experience of Christian parents in all ages of the world has coincided, when the blessings of salvation have been sought in the way which infinite wisdom has prescribed. We believe that no mother has gone, with the

158

ENCOURAGEMENT TO PIOUS MOTHERS.

throbbings of intense desire, to the mercy seat, with the importunate cry, “Lord, save my dear children, or they perish,” that has sought in vain. Facts, as well as scripture, abundantly prove the contrary. It is to be feared that mothers too often only sigh over their past neglects; but regrets that are spent merely in sighs or words, without corresponding efforts to repair the evils of such neglect, will be worse than in vain. “ Ye knew your duty, but you did it not,” will forever be the unavailing language of remorse and despair among the inhabitants of that dark world, where not a solitary ray of light will ever arise from a determined purpose or hope of amendment.

There are many Christian mothers in our favored Zion, whose families, now reared to maturity, are heard to regret that maternal associations were not formed, and that the Mother's Magazine did not exist, when their children were under their immediate influence. How painful, how melancholy the reflection of such mothers: “I have no one to blame but myself; for had I been as untiring in my efforts, and as anxious to save the souls of my children as I was to feed and clothe their bodies, I should not now be enduring the agony of a broken heart, arising from the wicked conduct of a proftigate son, or the cruel indifference and insensibility of a beloved daughter, and the still more dreadful apprehension of a miserable eternity; but unhappily my most importunate entreaties are now to my children like idle tales.” Will such mothers fold their hands in hopeless despair? Let them remember, for their encouragement, that from the earliest periods of the church down to the present time, multitudes of cases have occurred, in which the prayers and efforts of a pious mother have been blessed of God to the salvation of an ungodly son, who has been eminently useful in building up the kingdom of the Redeemer.

Who does not admire the constancy of purpose, and the fervent spirit of supplication, which characterized the mother of Augustine, one of the early fathers ? When he had embraced erroneous sentiments in religion, and was living in known disobedience to God, her faith was strong and unwavering, that he would yet become a true convert to Christ. Through all his wayward course she pursued him with her prayers and entreaties, undaunted by obstacles, and fearless of every thing that might prevent the accomplishment of her wishes. At one time, when, under the influence of strong feeling, she interfered with a certain bishop in his behalf, that he would endeavor to reclaim her son from his course of sin, he being somewhat irascible, and wearied with her importunity, replied, “ begone, good woman ; it is impossible a child of such prayers should perish. But even this harsh and repulsive answer served only to fix firmer and deeper in her soul, the belief that he would yet be given to her prayers; and he was given. After many long years of wandering in sin, through which, to use his own expression, she watered the earth with her tears, she had the satisfaction of seeing him renouncing all for Christ, choosing his service above every other good, and shining as a light in the midst of the darkness which surrounded him.

“When I was little child,” says a good man, my mother used to bid me kneel beside her, and place her hand upon my head, while she prayed. Ere I was old enough to know her worth she died; and I was left much to my own

[blocks in formation]

guidance. Like others I was inclined to evil passions, but often fekt checked, and as it were drawn back, by the soft hand upon my head. When I was a young man I travelled in foreign lands, and was exposed to many temptations. But when I would have yielded, that same hand was upon my head, and I was saved. I seemed to feel its pressure as in days of happy infancy, and sometimes there came with it a voice to my heart, a voice that must be obeyed; “ Oh! do not this wickedness, my son, nor sin against thy God.”

To every young mother I would say in the language of another, “ The mental fountain of your infant is unsealed to your eye, ere it has chosen a channel, or breathed a murmur. You may tinge with sweetness or bitterness the whole stream of future life. In this moral field you are a privileged laborer. Ere the dews of morning begin to exhale, you are there; you break up a soil which the root of error, and the thorns of prejudice, have not preoccupied. You plant germs whose fruit is for eternity. While you feel that you are required to educate, not merely a virtuous member of community, but a Christian, an angel, a servant of the Most High, how should such a holy charge quicken your piety, by teaching your heart to own and to feel its insufficiency. The soul of your infant is uncovered before you; reflect that the images, which you enshrine in that unoccupied sanctuary, must rise before you at the bar of God. Trembling in view of your tremendous responsibilities, teach your little one, whose life is your dearest care, of the God who made him ; and who can measure the extent of these your first lessons of piety, unless his hand should remove the vail which divides terrestrial from eternal things ?"

A Mother.

For the Mother's Magazine.

PARENTAL INDULGENCE.

“ Could we trace the public and private evils, which infest our otherwise happy country, backward to their true source,” says Dr. Payson, “I doubt not we should find that most of them proceed from a general neglect of the education of children. With this neglect those parents are chargeable, who suffer their children to indulge without restraint those sinful propensilies, to which childhood and youth are but too subject. Among the practices which have this dangerous tendency, are a quarrelsome, malicious disposition, disregard to truth, excessive indulgence of their appetites, neglect of the Bible and religious institutions, profanation of the Sabbath, impious and indecent language, wilful disobedience, improper associations, want of scrupulous integrity, and idleness, which is the parent of every evil.

“When youth are thus unrestrained, they almost invariably fall into courses which tend to undermine their constitutions and shorten their days. It is indeed a well known fact, that in populous towns comparatively few live to be aged, and that a much larger proportion of mankind, especially of the male sex, who are most exposed to the influence of temptation, die in the flower or

160

PARENTS' DUTIES IN RELATION TO S. SCHOOLS.

meridian of their days, than in the country where parental discipline is less generally neglected, and youth are under greater restraint.

“ Parents who are guilty of this neglect, it is true, may have a blind fondness for their offspring, like the instinct of animals; but it does not at all resemble a virtuous, enlightened affection, and is altogether unworthy of a rational, and still more of a Christian parent.

" The fact is, they love their own ease too well to employ that constant care and exertion, which are necessary to restrain children, and educate them as they ought. They cannot bear to correct them, or put them to pain, not because they love their children, but because they love themselves, and are unwilling to endure the pain of inflicting punishment, and of seeing their children suffer, though they cannot but be sensible that their happiness requires it.”

For the Mother's Magazine.

PARENTAL DUTIES IN RELATION TO S. SCHOOLS.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE MOTHER'S MAGAZINE: Permit me, through the medium of your valuable paper, to address a few remarks to parents upon the subject of Sabbath schools. The duties of the superintendent, the responsibilities of teachers, and the employments and privileges of the children, have been commented upon, and clearly marked out, by so many who have written upon the subject, that but little can be addressed to them, except a repetition of all that has been urged upon them. But the duties of parents upon this all important subject have been neglected, or, to say the least, kept in the back ground. They are, nevertheless, of moment, and worthy of a prayerful attention. Allow me, then, concisely to state them, and in that method which will present each one separately before the eyes and consciences of parents.

1. Christian parents should never allow trifling excuses to prevent the attendance of their children upon their Sabbath school duties. Regularity in performing every duty is of importance, and the habit of not giving up to slight impediments, is of incalculable benefit to all. How necessary then, that such regularity and such habits should be formed in early life, and be extended to religious employments and duties. Ordinarily children do not relish the confinement or the occupations of any school life; hence they will be prone to plead trifling ailments as an excuse for negligence; and it should be the care of parents to watch these excuses narrowly, and, neither in the duties of an ordinary school life, or, upon the Sabbath, allow them, if trifling and unimportant, to be of any avail. But, aside from the formation of the general habit, every child, by inattendance, loses the continuity of instruction ; feels that the petty ailments of the body are of more importance, in the eyes of its parents, than the instruction of the soul; and may lose an opportunity of some pungent address of the superintendent, or some faithful exhortation of the teacher, that might, under the grace of God, have been the means of conversion.

2. Parents should ascertain that the Sabbath school lesson is well learnt at home; not only committed to memory, but so explained, as that the spiritual

[blocks in formation]

meaning of the texts should be appreciated. It is a good habit to divide the lesson into portions for each day of the week, and require every child to learn that portion at a stated time; and it will be of importance that the time devoted to the religious instruction of children should be occupied with remarks arising from the lesson, where the time is not employed in subjects connected with the behavior of the child. By sending a child into the Sabbath school, with a lesson thus perfectly learnt, and thoroughly explained, the duty of the teacher is rendered much easier; and light, sometimes thrown upon the lesson by the remarks of a child thus instructed, will prove an assistance to the teacher himself, and to the other members of the class.

3. It is hardly necessary for me to allude to the duty of prayer for the child. Natural affection and Christian zeal would of course dictate such prayers; but a petition, in the family exercises, for the Sabbath school, its teachers, and its scholars, with an allusion to the nature and instruction of the lesson, will be of service to the child, and ought to be considered as a duty, especially on the Sabbath morning. The child will feel that the school is not a mere matter of form, and that the interest, which his father or mother feels in it, is not merely the general approbation which they extend towards all measures of Christian benevolence, but a special and deep interest in the salvation of the child.

4. Parents ought to become acquainted, not only with the superintendent, and other officers of the Sabbath school, but with the particular teacher, to whose charge the souls of their offspring are committed. The child will the more love his teacher, if he sees his parents respect him, and will more deeply feel his reproofs, and profit by his exhortations. The teacher himself will be encouraged in the great work of doing good, and will feel that he is watched and supported by those who are the most interested in his success.

5. Parents should frequently visit the Sabbath school, and in this way superintend its operations. This duty is too much reglected by the Christian public. It is not, to be sure, always practicable for parents to perform such visits; but whenever it is, let it be done. They themselves will find it a pleasant mode of spending the Sabbath ; and as they pass around the room, the sight of the young immortals near them, commencing their preparation for eternity; the busy hum of the lesson; the solemn tones of a teacher's faithful exhortation ; the holy calm of the whole scene, where the world never intrudes, and things temporal are forgotten, will breathe over their own souls an influence as exhilirating, as sanctifying, as that obtained in solitary reflection during that hour, and will as powerfully excite them to their duty, and fit them for usefulness in the church.

J. P. B.

For the Mother's Magazine.

MOT TO FOR YOU TH.

NO. 1.

" It was the first command and counsel to my youth, always to do what m: conscience told me to be my duty, and to leave the consequences to God,”

I recollect my mother's reading this sentence to me when I was nine years

« PreviousContinue »