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A MOTHER'S LOVE. MOTHER'S love ! how sweet Ten thousand voices answer, “ No!" the name!
Ye clasp your babes and kiss ; What is a mother's love? Your bosoms yearn, your eyes o’erA noble, pure, and tender flame Enkindled from above,
Yet, ah! remember this,To bless a heart of earthly mould ; The infant, reared alone for earth, The warmest love that can grow cold: May live, may die-to curse his birth: This is a mother's love.
-Is this a mother's love ? To bring a helpless babe to light, A parent's heart may prove a snare ; Then, while it lies forlorn,
The child she loves so well, To gaze upon that dearest sight, Her hand may lead with gentlest care And feel herself new-born ;
Down the smooth road to hell; In its existence lose her own,
Nourish its frame, destroy its mind; And live and breathe in it alone : Thus do the blind mislead the blind, This is a mother's love.
Even with a mother's love. And can a mother's love grow cold ? Blest infant! whom his mother taught Can she forget her boy?
Early to seek the Lord,
The day-spring of the Word.
Behold that mother's love.
What was that mother's love ?
That kindles from above,
BOUT the year B. c. 1161 we find the Israelites again
in partial bondage to the Philistines, in consequence of their idolatrous departure from God. Many of
the pious Jews mourned in secret over the defec
tion of their countrymen, contaminated as they were by the example, as well as suffering under the yoke of their enemies; and the Divine Friend who had so
often listened to the cry of His suppliant people was even now devising a plan for their deliverance.
It was evidently a time when nothing could save Israel but a special interposition of the Most High. It was a time for heroes, and the God of the spirits of all flesh was about to prepare the way for Israel's greatest warrior to step upon the scene. Residing
in the town of Zorah was a God-fearing man whose name was Manoah. His family belonged to the tribe of Dan, one of the most warlike of the tribes, and concerning whom the Lord had said, “Dan is a lion's whelp, he shall leap from Bashan.” The territory of Dan lay between that of Judah and the Philistines, and consequently at no great distance from the places which are afterwards mentioned in the remarkable history of Samson, and which were the scenes of his exploits.
Engaged probably in the daily avocations which claimed her attention in the absence of her husband, or, it may be, when musing sorrowfully on the unhappy condition of her oppressed countrymen, Manoah's wife receives from an angel the glad tidings that she will be the mother of a son who shall deliver her oppressed nation from their enemies. Awed and astonished by such a message from such a messenger, she hastens, naturally enough, to break the wondrous news to her husband.
Manoah would be likely to feel as much surprise as did his wife, while he listened to the history of the remarkable vision, and heard the nature of the angel's communication. " What was he like?” and “Where did he come from ?” he exclaims, as the strange tale is told. “ His countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible; but I asked him not whence he came, neither told he me his name," replies his wife.
Manoah seems to have felt no doubt as to the reality of his wife's vision. We find him, indeed, earnestly praying that he might be favoured with a repetition of the angel's visit, on the plea that he might receive more detailed instructions as to the training of the promised child. His petition is accepted by God, and a speedy answer is accorded.
But on the occasion of his second visit, it is again to the woman that the angel appears as she sat in the field. Why this should have been the case we cannot determine, though, from the subsequent facts of the narrative, we infer that the wife of Manoah was a woman who honoured God by her diligent and earnest piety, and therefore one whom God delighted to honour; “for His counsel is with them that fear Him." It may be that Manoah's wife waited in assured expectation that her husband's prayer would be answered, and that thus her faith was rewarded.
On the second appearing of the angel the wife of Manoah at once calls her husband, who hastens to the field to greet the angelic stranger, and with the straightforwardness which marks his character, simply asks, “Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman ?" And he said, “I am.' “Now let thy words come to pass,” exclaimed Manoah. "How shall we order the child, and what shall we do unto him ?” And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, “Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware; she may not eat of anything that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine nor strong drink, nor eat any unclean
thing." At his first interview with the woman the angel had also commanded that the child should be a Nazarite unto God from his birth, and that no razor should come upon his head, implying that he should be physically and intellectually pre-eminent. Manoah, however, asks no more at this time, nor does he seek a repetition of the promise. “Hath the Lord said, and shall He not do it?” This argued no small amount of faith on Manoah's part; although strong excitement might afterwards have betrayed him unto unworthy distrust of God's goodness. His anxiety to receive heavenly instruction respecting the training of the child who was thus wondrously promised, was in itself commendable. From the unusual manner in which his birth was foretold, Manoah might reasonably expect that he was to be raised up for some important purpose ; and therefore it was more especially incumbent on him to seek Divine guidance as to his early education. In the first years of his life the child would receive a bias for good or for evil; and every parent would do well to emulate Manoah's example by earnestly seeking the wisdom so much needed and so liberally promised. Happy is that father who is thus divinely fitted for his sacred task!
It is interesting to observe the unity and confidence which existed between Manoah and his wife. The absence of these in the most sacred relation of human life must ever be alike injurious to parents and to children. After the first visit of the angel the wife hastens at once to confide the important event to her husband; and on his second appearing, although she was honoured to receive him, she quickly summons Manoah, desiring that he should share in the sacred privilege of communion with the heavenly visitant. We find, too, that the husband, in seeking counsel as to the training of the child, unites his wife with him in his petition : “How shall we order the child ?” A mother's early influence over her offspring cannot easily be overrated. The fresh years of childhood are naturally passed chiefly in her society; and on her it greatly devolves to awaken moral and spiritual emotions, the results of which eternity alone will reveal. But it is only by the united and harmonious efforts of both parents that the most responsible of human obligations can be rightly fulfilled.
The angel having in few words repeated his instructions, Manoah, with the hospitality so strictly enjoined in the Mosaic law, entreats him to remain until he could dress a kid for his entertainment. This the heavenly visitant decidedly forbids, but suggests that the kid may be presented as a thank-offering unto the Lord.
In conformity with the suggestion of the angel, Manoah offers a kid with a meat-offering upon a rock unto the Lord. As the flame from the burning sacrifice is borne upwards by the evening breeze, the majestic form of the angel ascends in it to heaven, while Manoah and his wife, overawed by the spectacle, bow them
selves to the earth in prostrate adoration. All their doubts as to the angel's true character are now dispelled. And truly this was “the Angel of the Covenant," the eternal Son of God, in whom they trusted for salvation, although He had not yet assumed humanity. When, however, they saw Him thus rise unconsumed amid the fiery flame, Manoah in trembling awe exclaims, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God."
Natural as Manoah's feeling was at such a crisis, the inference of his wife evinced stronger faith and deeper religious insight. “If the Lord were pleased to kill us, He would not have received a burnt-offering and a meat-offering at our hands," she calmly replies;
“neither would He have showed us all these things, nor would, as at this time, have told us such things as these." Eager and sensitively alive to apprehension as woman mostly is in the more trifling dangers incident to human life, she is nevertheless often the stay and comforter of man on those greater occasions when the fortitude and loving trustfulness of her nature are called forth. And this childlike faith is pleasing to God, while it is the secret source of much that is great in character. The very
fact that the angel had ascended to heaven amid the fire of their sacrifice was assuring, for was it not a proof of Divine acceptance ? and would the Lord accept the offering and reject the offerers ? Such is not His wont. Through the terrible majesty of the angel's countenance, Manoah's wife had discerned gleamings of mercy and of love, while from His wondrous communication she had drawn an omen for good. And ere long her faith and hope were rewarded in the birth of Samson, who was not only the deliverer of Israel, but who was so honoured as to be mentioned (in the eleventh chapter of the Hebrews) among the Old Testament worthies.
“ The great want of our times is a new generation of fathers and mothers."--Earl of Shaftesbury.
ExcESS OF FEAR.-It is no unimportant part of duty to guard against excess of fear. Beware of over-wrought attention. There is nothing more likely to produce illness than the perpetual treatment of children as invalids. The anxiety depicted on the mother's countenance; the indulgence that grants or forestalls every wish; the perpetual nursing which, to a grain, apportions medicine, exercise, and food, all make their impression on the poor patient, and increase the liability to disease. In cases of predisposition to sickness, it is well known that a happy moral temperament is the best correction of the constitutional bias; and such can never be the condition of a petted child. For those children only can be happy who have learnt the secret of content; who are not perpetually excited by the presentation of fresh amusements, by the gratification of every whim; but who acquire calmness by self-control, and cheerfulness by being satisfied with easily procured pleasures.
MANAGEMENT OF CHILDREN.
THE BODILY SENSES.
EW people think that the management of very
young babes has anything to do with their dispositions and characters ; yet I believe it has more influence than can easily be calculated.
An infant is, for awhile, totally ignorant of the use of the senses with which he is endowed.
In trying to excite an infant's attention, care should be taken not to confuse and distract him. His mind, like his body, is weak, and requires to have but little sustenance at a time, and to have it often. Gentleness, patience, and love
are almost everything in education ; especially to those helpless little creatures who have just entered into a world where everything is new to them.
All loud noises and violent emotions should be avoided. They pain an infant's senses, and distract his faculties. I have seen impatient nurses thrust a glaring candle before the eyes of a fretful babe, or drum violently on the table, or rock the cradle like an earthquake. These things may stop a child's cries for a short time, because the pain they occasion his senses draws his attention from the pain which first induced him to cry, but they do not comfort or soothe him. Besides the pain given to the mind, violent measures are dangerous to the bodily senses. Deafness and weakness of eyesight may no doubt often be attributed to such causes as these ; and physicians are agreed that water on the brain is often occasioned by violent rocking.
Attention should be early aroused by presenting attractive objects—things of bright and beautiful colours, but not glaring, and sounds pleasant and soft to the ear. When you have succeeded in attracting a babe's attention to any object, it is well to let him examine it just as long as he chooses. Every time he turns it over, drops it, and takes it up again, he adds something to the little stock of his scanty experience.
When his powers of attention are wearied, he will soon enough show it by his actions. A multitude of new playthings crowded upon him one after another, only serve to confuse bim. He does not learn so much as he would do from a few toys, because he has not time to become acquainted with the properties of any one of them. Having had his little mind excited by a new object, he should be left in quiet, to toss and turn and jingle it to his heart's content. If he look up in the midst of his play, a smile should be always ready for him, that he may feel protected and happy in the atmosphere of love. It is important that children, even when babes, should never be