Page images

to them some days after, omitting here and there a principal part; at each omission bidding the children leave a space in their writing, to be filled up afterwards.

Having been exercised in the application of the principal rules of grammar, and being capable, upon looking over what he has done, of correcting the errors committed, the pupil should daily be exercised in giving a written account of any thing he has heard or seen. The Mother marks, with a certain sign, all grammatical errors; with some other sign all expressions that are not sufficiently clear, and by questions in the margin, assists him in the recollection of any circumstance which may have been omitted in his description.`

During the time that the Mother endeavours to engage her little ones in this useful and entertaining manner, let her, by all means, pursue the same occupation; the attention of the child will be doubled, and his exercise appear far more important, when he sees that his Mother is interested and occupied like himself. The attention of children is never exclusively fixed on what the instructor is endeavouring to teach, unless they see the instructor's attention exclusively turned to

[ocr errors]

wards them; and vice versa: the instructor is not only prevented from directing his entire attention towards the pupils, when he is engaged in any other occupation, but, what is still an evil of greater magnitude, teaching. will probably be considered a subordinate occupation, if not a troublesome interruption; instead of engaging, as it ought to do, and to be profitable must do, the undivided powers of the mind, and the affections of the heart.

If a Mother has a musical ear and taste, she sings before them simple tones, in melodious succession, encouraging them to sing after her.

Two rules in cultivating the musical power should be observed.

1. Let them hear nothing but what is harmonious.

2. Make them feel, and mark themselves, what is harmonious; but do not define either musical beauty or harmony. Parents will, of course, be scrupulous as to the purity of the sentiments, and guard against the productions of the music-shop.

Thus far, at least, is every Mother capable of training her children, if she only have a determined wish to perform her duty; and SHE WILL perform it, as soon as she is per

suaded that no one can go through these elementary exercises so judiciously, so cheerfully, so successfully, as a MOTHER, who, by means of her maternal kindness and anxious affection, will vivify and fertilize, what, in other hands, might appear the dullest, the most sterile subjects of instruction; who will acquit herself of this labour of love, with a skill, which the best and most zealous governesses can only hope to attain, by persevering practice, under the guidance and encouragement of a tender and judicious mother. Does any individual love a child like its own Mother? Can individuals be hired to love? Can money purchase love? There is no other power than Love to be employed in the first development of the faculties; the heart of the child must be acted upon by the heart of its Mother. What in nature is so strong, so potent, as a MOTHER's love? Only tell her what she can do, and what she must try to accomplish, and she will, ere long, make an effort to attain the end. Should any Mother have become so perverted by her intercourse with a corrupt world, as to imagine that she is prevented by want of time-of time to acquit herself of her most important earthly voca

tion, her situation must be truly distressing, and cannot but excite our commiseration*.

Has the mind of a Mother been cultivated in youth; has she acquired knowledge and accomplishments, not for the purpose of idle display, but for the better discharging the duties of her future vocation; has her heart been trained in the principles of Christianity, and her life devoted to its practice, she will go still farther, in training the minds and in cultivating the hearts of her children, preparing them to pass through this world uninfluenced by its maxims, undazzled by its false glory, undebased by its follies, and uncontaminated by its vices: and more particularly, is it incumbent on her thus to act, in regard to her Daughters, who should be led to consider it as their indispensable duty, and supreme delight, one day to take their turn in this great work of humanity, communicating to others what they had received, either in their own families, or, should they not be destined to marry, in the families of their brothers and sisters, to whom such assistance would be invaluable."

* Point de Mère, point d'enfant.


Thus Mothers, instead of seeing their unmarried daughters passing through an existence, without aim, without interest, solely occupied in self, would witness the personal exertions of their daughters in that high, most useful, and (properly understood) most interesting pursuit, Rational and Christian Education; for insignificance, weariness, and melancholy, substituting Dignity, Usefulness, and Happiness. The desire to communicate good as far as our power extends, is a heavenly desire. No Christian, let his rank or fortune be what they may, is at liberty to live to himself; indeed, the more we possess of the gifts of God, the higher obligation are we under of devoting them to the glory of the Giver, and to the service of our fellow-creatures: love must be the governing spirit of Christians. Let Mothers, in justice to their Daughters, ever keep these considerations in view.

For cultivating the moral principle, the Mother must, 1st. endeavour to excite in the heart of her child, GRATITUDE, FAITH, and LOVE; and this will be easy, as every Mother is possessed of the means. Maternal affection is the powerful spring by which she can put the child's Heart into action, and give a just

« PreviousContinue »