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EDUCATION OF INFANT DAUGHTERS. FEMALE Education should seek to implant and give energy to correct principles to establish the dominion of good habits. It should seek to soften and refine the affections, to moderate the desires, and reduce to dominion the rebellious passions. The subject of this benign discipline is thus rendered more placid, cheerful, and happy in herself, and of course more disposed to give, as well as more capable of imparting happiness to those about her.
Is the present system of female education calculated to produce such favourable results ? Our daughters are becoming more intellectual than their mothers; but are they in other respects more fit for the sphere for which Providence has designed them, a helpmeet for man? Thus has our all-wise Creator pointed out the station we are to occupy. I rejoice in that improved state of education, by which woman is prepared for intellectual companionship with the gifted of the other sex. Too long was she withheld by inferior cultivation, from that rank among minds, which was her's by “divine right.” But her duties are peculiar and appropriate ; and something besides the understanding must receive careful culture. The affections must be softened and refined.
Look at the darling of the nursery ; how her every whim is gratified! How she is satiated with dainties, how gaily dressed; how studiously amused ! Already is she the tyrant of her little spheres; her lip curls with pride; her commands are uttered with an authoritative tone, that would ill become an admiral. When is she to begin to learn submission? How can she be taught self-denying kindness ? Emancipated from the nursery, the half-spoiled pet is sent to school. Her mental culture assumes order and efficiency. Meantime who cultivates the affertioned
Who calls forth into activity “ the sweet charities of life?” Is she constantly encouraged to render those offices of kindness to her younger brothers and sisters, which elicit tenderness ? Alas! her time is tasked to the utmost ; she has always lessons to commit to memory at home.
Peevishness and ill-humour are excused, because “the poor thing has to study so hard. She is languid, and unwilling to make the slightest exertion to promote the comfort of those about her. Delicate health is pleaded as an apology. The confined air of the school-room, and too little exercise, are the cause of this feebleness of constitution. Years pass on : she is at length released from the drudgery of the school-room, but Music, Drawing, French, Italian, &c., occupy all her time. Her mother is ill, the piano is stopped, because it is an annoyance; but where is the daughter? Watching by that fond mother's bedside, with anxious solitude anticipating every want? No; a hired nurse ministers to her necessities. The young lady is in the room occasionally, but she sits with her book in her hand, or looks out of the window. Is this the “ ministering angel, when pain and sickness wring the brow ?” Mistaken mother !-your daughter is intelligent and accomplished ; she is very intellectual, but would not her sympathy sweetly soothe your sorrow? Would not her assiduous tenderness diffuse a living fragrance around your pillow ? Her affections have not been cultivated. She would gladly do something for you, but she plainly does not know how. Mothers may say that the softening influence of religion will effect all that is necessary, and for this they constantly labor and pray. Hard and barren indeed will be the soil in which the heavenly seed must take root. You would not cast out a beautiful exotic to
put forth its tender and delicate leaves upon the beaten highway.
The fruits of the Spirit, are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, good
Mother! it is your task to prepare the soil for these precious fruits ?
The physician who discovers and describes the symptoms of a disease, has but half performed his office, till he points out the remedy. With much diffidence would I suggest the following brief hints on the subject of the cultivation of the affections,
Begin right. Remember the end and object of your daughter's education ; namely, to fit her for time, and for eternity.
Begin early. Your sweet babe is not given for the gratification of your own pride. Let her dress always be neat and plain ; her diet simple and wholesome; call forth her affections as soon as possible by the kind of reward which you offer for good behaviour. As soon as a little girl can be taught anything, it should be the law of kindness. A mother may say,
Mary has been a good child; she may fold up little brother's clothes to-night; or, “ If Mary behaves well in the nursery, she may come into the parlour and see her father this evening.” Such associations are very powerful.
Punishments should be of the same kind. The deprivation of some customary act of kindness from a mother, will often do more good than a much severer infliction. Even the denial of the kiss of affection is often most keenly felt. It is very injudicious to deprive a child of cake and sweetmeats, or its necessary food, by way of punishment. A volume might be written on this part of the subject, but I must forbear.
When your daughter is old enough to show decided mental superiority, do not manifest too much pleasure
on that subject. When she practises self-denial for the good of others, or activé benevolence, prove to her, by your decided approbation, that you set an equal value upon these attainments. That Being whose wisdom is infinite, does not characterize himself as a God of knowledge ; but “ God is love." The most prominent point in our blessed Saviour's character on earth was his “ doing good.” Make your daughter feel that all her intellectual acquirements and her accomplishments are designed to increase her power of conferring happiness.
Be careful that her sensibility is not expended upon fictitious subjects. The true feelings of the heart are often thus foolishly and wickedly wasted. The passive emotions are all weakened by frequent excitement. On the contrary, the active emotions are increased by exercise. Many a bright eye, which has wept itself dim over scenes of fictitious sorrow, would turn away in disgust from real distress. Act efficiently and promptly, and the revolting circumstances which often attend suffering will be unheeded. When yonr daughter is old enough for your companion and friend, allow her to participate in your cares and duties. It is the affectionate daughter and kind sister, who will make the self-denying wife, and devoted mother. A woman may be gifted with splendid talents ; she may be accomplished and beautiful; she may be even pious in principle, but without affections strong and active, she is like an iceberg glittering in the inoon-beams; for none can dream of communion with frozen sterility.
From the “ Educational Magazine.”
THE CHILDLESS. TAERB are those who have had years of married life embittered, because it has pleased Providence to
withhold from them a family, and who, while they hear others complain of the various trials to which they are thereby exposed, are ready to think that such troubles are not to be compared with their own—"
so foolish are we, and ignorant!” So apt to forget that the all-wise disposer of events, who both gives and withholds, in subservience to the best interests of his people. The time is at hand when those who have wives, and husbands, and children, shall be as though they had them not ; and then, although you may not literally be entitled
“ here am I, and the children thou hast given me ;” you may, nevertheless, bring up a long train to join in the triumph of that day, who may own you as their spiritual parents, as the honoured instruments of their new birth unto God. In such an animating prospect Paul gloried, although he had probably neither sons nor daughters, according to the flesh; and well he might, and well may every zealous promoter of the Gospel of Christ rejoice, for “whoever converts a sinner from the error of his ways, shall shine as the stars in the firmament for ever and ever.”
Remember then, my dear reader, that although Providence has withheld from you the pleasures and the cares of a family, as a Christian you may have other pleasures, and should have other cares; your responsibility, although altered in its character, is not diminished. Should you see the work of the Lord prosper in your hands, happy are you. It is evidently His pleasure, that the talents with which you are intrusted should be directed into a foreign channel. It will be well if you are enabled to cooperate with his wise designs. “He will give you a name better than that of sons and daughters."