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scooping out new channels for itself, rush headlong to the ocean by a shortened passage of fifteen or twenty miles.
"Thus it is," said Mr. Gracelove," but too often with the uneducated mind of man. If permitted, in childhood and youth, to follow the unrestrained tendencies of a corrupt and fallen nature,-unreclaimed by wise counsels, untrained in the way he should go,'-the consequences to society, besides the awful personal ruin to the individual, become as powerfully destructive as the inundation to the husbandman. But the salvation of an immortal soul, especially in the case of one so beloved and dear to a parent's heart as his own offspring, must ever be his first and most cherished object. Kind and affectionate treatment, therefore, united with firmness; persuasive exhortations; tenderness in the admonitory rebukes, as regards our children, and commencing with the earliest dawn of reason, should be the judicious and zealouslycontinued system of domestic management in every family. Should, however, the wayward heart of the child require a stricter moral regimen than advice and lectures will supply, an unwise tenderness must not withhold the application of a more severe remedy. The wise king of Israel explicitly declares, that, 'He that spareth his rod hateth his son but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.'* And again he observes, 'Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with
the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.' +
"And now," continued Mr. Gracelove," before I conclude these few remarks, called forth by the interesting subject before us, I will briefly allude to three or four illustrious examples, recorded in sacred Scripture, of the efficacy and wisdom of Solomon's advice contained in the verse we have been considering. The first I shall mention is exhibited in * Prov. xiii. 24. + Ibid. xxiii. 13, 14.
the instructive history of Timothy, whom St. Paul addresses
as his own son in the faith'-' his dearly beloved son.'
"It would appear that his grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice, were women of pious minds, and, as the apostle describes them, of unfeigned faith.' That they had been most exemplary in the training up of their youthful son, from his earliest years, for that high station which he was destined to fill in the Church of Christ, is evident from the testimony borne to his character by his adopted father in the faith. For thus testifies the apostle of his religious advancement: 'Continue thou,' he says, 'in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.' * Here we perceive the happy effects of pious teaching, which may well stimulate a parent's love in sowing early the seeds of divine truth in the heart of his child, ere yet the enemy has time to scatter the tares which are profitable only afterwards to be burnt in the fire."
"Let us now turn," said Mr. Gracelove," to the edifying history of Samuel, that servant of God; so far, at least, as to regard him in his initiation into the paths of righteousness having been dedicated by his mother to Jehovah even from his infancy, to minister before Him in his holy temple for
Hannah, the wife of Elkanah, and the mother of the future prophet of the Lord, we are told, in the first chapter of the first book of Samuel-to which interesting passage," said Mr. Gracelove, addressing his auditors, "I wish you to refer in your Bibles—was childless. Her grief on this account was, consequently, very severe; inasmuch as every wife in Israel * 2 Tim. iii. 15, 16.
looked upon that state as one of the greatest misfortunes that could befall her. She was, in addition to this cause of sorrow, unfeelingly taunted by Peninnah, who was a happy but undeserving mother, with the circumstance of her barrenness; 'therefore she wept and did not eat.'
"We are informed that on one occasion, when Hannah accompanied her husband' to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of Hosts in Shiloh,'-an annual journey that was undertaken for that purpose, she entered the temple in great anguish of mind, praying unto the Lord and weeping. And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.'* And the Lord graciously heard the voice of her weeping, and granted the object of her anxious prayers; and 'she bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, because I have asked him of the Lord.' And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and his vow. But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide for ever.' And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young. And they brought the child to Eli. And she said, O my Lord, as thy soul liveth, my Lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him: therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he
* 1 Sam. i. 11.
shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.'*
“We have to remark here," said the pious expounder, laying down the Bible," the happy effects that characterised this little history, thus far as we have traced it. We perceive, at the very commencement, and as the best originator of all blessings, the efficacy of prayer, which, like a golden chain, draws down from heaven the objects for which we have petitioned We cannot but admire, in the next place, the faithful adherence of Hannah to the vow she had made, although it must be evident that the parting with her only son, for whom she had so fervently supplicated, must have occasioned her many painful emotions. But her fidelity had its bright reward; for the bringing up of her son in the way he should go,' in the temple, and in the service of his Maker, was followed by the sure and happy result, that when he was old he departed not from it; and not only saved his own soul, through the righteousness which is of faith, but also the souls of many among the lost sheep of the house of Israel, whom his advice and ministrations converted from the error of their ways.
"We have also," continued Mr. Gracelove, "an interesting example of early and sustained piety, arising from the application of Solomon's wise principle, in the person of the youthful Josiah, king of Jerusalem. He was but eight years of age when his reign commenced in the capital of Judea. In proof of the blessed effects of religious educational training, which signifies nothing less, in other and better language, than bringing up a child' in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,' + and which, in the instance of Josiah, must have begun in his infant years, we are informed by the sacred historian that 'He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and
* 1 Sam. i. 20-28.
† Eph. vi. 4.
walked in all the ways of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.' *
"The name of the mother of this pious child was Jedidah; and though we are not specifically told what were the details of the religious education in which she brought him up, yet may we most rightfully presume that she was, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, a lamp unto his feet, and a light unto his path.'+ For we must not be misunderstood, when we thus insist on the absolute necessity of the early training of children, as if intending to have it inferred that the virtuous preparations of the heart by a righteous father or mother are all that is needful. By no means. Our blessed Saviour says, Without me ye can do nothing. He that abideth in ME, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.' And we are told, in another Scripture, how that divine aid is to be obtained. In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.'§
"That Josiah did not belie his early training in his mature age, nor depart from the way in which he should go even to the close of his pious reign, is graciously testified by Jehovah himself. He was spared also the fearful sight, as a divine condescension to his piety, of all the desolations that were about to be poured out upon his devoted capital,—the leprous city of Jerusalem. The vials of the Almighty's wrath were ready to descend on the heads of its doomed inhabitants, when the merciful God thus compassionately addresses his faithful servant,— 'Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, *** behold, therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place.'||