Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

tions of age and riper judgment; full of himself, he perceives no need of direction or advice, and regards it as an insult to his understanding. He feels a sentiment of indignation and disdain toward those who presume to thwart his views, or to admonish, or advise, his consequential and all-sufficing self. His sense is deceived, « his soul is in a dream, he is fully confident that he sees things clearly, and et he sees them in a false mirror, exactly such as they are not.”

Nor is it always the youths of the least promise that are in the most danger. So far otherwise, those of quick perception, of lively imaginations, and of strong passions, are in peculiar hazard during those green years in which is the critical period of transition from the condition of boys to that of men. The very qualities that distinguish them and set them above their fellows, diminish the probability of their establishing a sober staidness of character, and often are the means of launching them into the whirlpool of dissipation, where all is lost; where reputation, morals, and whatever is estimable in human beings, are all engulphed together.

How many instances do the perilous times we live in furnish-how many deplorable instances of hopeful boys, abandoned and lost ere they were out of their teens ! And the more their parents had doted upon them, by so much the more are their hearts wrung with anguish.

Far less is the danger, while the immature youth remains under the parental roof, or in “the well-ordered home.” There be finds it not so easy to shake off salutary restraints; there he needs must feel some respect for the opinion of the society in whose bosom he was born and educated, some reverence of parental authority, and some regard to the feelings of near kindred. But when he leaves the haven of home, and is pushed off upon the stream of life, it is more than an even chance that he will founder in the stream, if he have not previously been under the governance of moral and religious principle. In his new situation, it often happens that he finds new enticements to lead him astray, and at the same time feels himself loosened from the authority and influence which had heretofore repressed his wayward propensities; and if vicious and artful companions get the first hold on him, his ruin is, in all probability, sealed.

It was in clear view of these affecting circumstances that the celestial poet, Cowper, penned the following lines :

-“ My boy, the unwelcome hour is come,
When thon, transplanted from thy genial home,
Must find a colder soil and bleaker air,
And trust for safety to a stranger's care."

It is hard to mourn over the death, but it is sometimes still harder to mourn over the life, of a beloved child. When they see the one who they had expected would be found the solace of their age, the honor of their family, and an ornament to society—when they see him, at the instant of their highest hopes, turn to the ways of folly; no heart but a heart thus exercised, can conceive the sharpness of the pang. This is sorrow indeed; and the best that parents can do to prevent it, is to train up their children in the way they should

go. Good education is the thing in the world the most important and desirable, but it is of wider scope than most people imagine. What is called learning is only a part of it, and so far from being the most essential part, it is but the husk. In vain will you employ your endeavors to educate your childreli, unless you give seed to the heart, as well as culture to the understanding ; unless you make their moral frame the subject of your assiduous and well-directed care; unless you take at least as much pains to make them well principled and of virtuous manners, as to make them shine in learning and accomplishments: for intellectual improvement, if their morals be neglected, will tend to render them wise only to do evil. If you train up your boy to a strict regard to truth, honesty, and integrity, and to a deep reverence of all that is sacred: if you train him up in habits of industry, temperance and love of order-it is then, and only then, you can reasorrably expect that he will pass through the perilous crisis before him, uncontaminated, and that his manhood will be crowned with honor.

CHAP. XVII.

Of a Scornful Temper-instanced in Lady Blazon.

The progress of the great king Alp Arslan, was retarded by the governor of Berzem; and Joseph, the Carizman, presumed to defend his fortress against the powers of the East. When he was produced a captive in the royal tent, the Sultan, instead of praising his valor, severely reproached his obstinate folly, and the insolent replies of the rebel provoked a sentence, that he should be fastened to four stakes and left to expire in that painful situation. At this command the desperate Carizman, drawing a dagger, rushed headlong toward the throne; the guards raised their battle-axes; their zeal was checked by Alp Arslan, the most skilful archer of the age; he drew his bow, but bis foot slipped, the arrow glanced aside, and he received in his breast the dagger of Joseph, who was instantly cut in pieces. The wound was mortal, and the Turkish prince bequeathed a dying admonition to the pride of kings« In my youth,” said Alp Arslan, “ I was advised by a sage, to humble myself before God, to distrust my own strength, and never to despise the most contemptible enemy. I have neglected these lessons; and my neglect has been deservedly punished. Yesterday, from an eminence I beheld the numbers, the discipline, and the spirit of my armies: the earth seemed to tremble under my feet, and I said in my heart, surely thou art the king of the world, the greatest and most invincible of warriors. These armies are no longer mine; and in the confidence of my personal strength, I now fall into the hand of an assassin.” Upon the tomb of the Sultan was this teaching inscription : "Oye who have seen the glory of Alp Arslan, exalted to the heavens, repair to Mara, and you will behold it buried in the dust !"

Whether the above cited Turkish narrative be matter of fact, or a moralizing fable, it is of interesting import. It strikingly pourtrays the instability of human greatness. It teaches impressively, that in humility is safety; that a haughty spirit goeth before a fall; and that the highest of mortals are not so far exalted above the lowest, as to warrant toward them disdainful feelings and behaviour.

Of all the various modifications of pride, the most intolerably disgusting is scornfulness of temper and carriage. Vanity is condescending and courteous; it praises and flatters, to be praised and flattered in return. Affectation always has the laudable aim of pleas. ing, though it always misses it. Ambition is often polite, and

stoops to conquer.” But scorn has no covering; it is naked deformity, without a shade, and without

a single undisgusting feature. It is a foul stain upon rank and wealth; it is a loathsome canker in the rose-bud of beauty. Not only is it disgusting, but it enflaines with the bitterest and most enduring resentment and rage. The wounds of scorn's inflicting, no balm can cure, no ointment can mollify; they continue to ulcerate and burn, not unfrequently after more serious injuries are forgotten or forgiven. It is easier to bear a blow of the hand, than a disdainful expression of the tongue. Almost any injury is more easily got over than downright contempt. The mere look of disdain is felt like the thrust of a sword. A scornful cast of the eye, or a contemptuous air, generates a hatred of the most desperate kind and character. In very deed, it is beyond the strength of unhallowed human nature 10 forgive those who scorn us and treat us with scorn. It is not so hard to return love for hatred, as to return love for scorn. Nor are instances uncommon in which the scornful are repaid in their own coin; being made to suffer the contempt of the very persons whom they had contemned. The age we live in teems with instances of this sort.

Parents can hardly do their children a greater injury, than by encouraging in them a scornful temper: a temper so directly repugnant to the example, the precepts, and the whole tenor of the religion of our divine Redeemer; a temper whose odiousness, neither beauty, nor talent, nor any accomplishments of person or splendor of condition, can countervail. And yet, strange to tell! there are parents--parents professing a venerasion for the christian religion-whose lessons of instruction tend to encourage in their children a disdainful deportment towards such as are considered their inferiors in rank, wealth, or personal accomplishments. The little miss must hold up her head, and hold it still higher, if she has beruty. The seeds of scornful pride thus planted in young minds, take so deep a root as to be seldom eradicated in mature age : scornfulness of feeling and manner becomes a habit, which even the severest discipline in misfortune's school very seldom mends.

Nothing is to be scorned but vice, and the proper scorn of vice itself, is mingled with pity for the vicious. It is enough to despise folly and shun it, to hate vice, and guard ourselves, and warn others, against it. At the same time we should not forget that every person, however degraded by folly and vice, still claims the privilege of a fellow creature, and, as such, is more entitled to our compassion than deserving of our scorn.

One observation more, and I have done. Nothing so bloats with scorn a low-bred shallow mind, as the sudden transition from narrow circumstances to wealth. Mrs. Blazon was reared in the shade of humble life. But the wheel of fortune that turned so many down, chanced to raise her aloft, and now she figures away among the fashionists of the age.

Whatever appears before her in Poverty's livery, she disdains at the core of her heart. Her standing topic, whenever she displays herself to her company, is the disgusting vileness of female domestics. Despicable herd! All lazy, or dishonest, or too proud for the meanness of their condition. She hath sorted, and tried, and changed them, many times over, and she verily believeth there is scarcely to be found a real good one in all this 'versal world.

« PredošláPokračovať »