Imatges de pàgina
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Mark v. 9-42.
OULD the creatures help or ease Jesus to prevent his grieving,

Kindly spoke and eased his pain :
Seldom should we think of “ Be not fearful, but believing;

Thou shalt see her live again.” Few, if any, come to Jesus,

When He found the people weeping, Till reduced to self-despair :

“Cease," He said, “ no longer mourn ; Long we either slight or doubt Him, For she is not dead, but sleeping ;" But when all the means we try Then they laughèd Him to scorn. Prove we cannot do without tim, Then at last to Him we cry.

O Thou meek and lowly Saviour, Thus the ruler, when his daughter How determined is Thy love! Suffered much, though Christ was nigh, Not this rude, unkind behaviour, Still deferred it till he thought her Could Thy gracious purpose move. At the very point to die.

Soon as He the room had entered, Though he mourned for her condition, Spoke and took her by the hand, He did not entreat the Lord,

Death at once his prey surrendered, Till he found that no physician

And she lived at His command.
But Himself could help afford.
Jesus did not once upbraid him, Fear not, then, distressed believer,
That he had no sooner come;

Venture on His mighty Name:
But a gracious answer made him, He is able to deliver,
And went straightway with him home: And His love is still the same:
Yet his faith was put to trial,

Can His pity or his power
When his servants came and said, Suffer thee to pray in vain ?
“Though He gave thee no denial, Wait but His appointed hour,
'Tis too late, the child is dead." And thy suit thou shalt obtain.


OME few general rules may be laid down that will

equally suit all children in the earliest stage of infancy; but these cease to be of use as soon as the temper, or rather natural dispositions, can be discovered. Those inherent propensities which every child may, I think, be said to bring into the world with it, must then be closely attended to, in order to form an advantageous plan of education. These natural features of the mind are as various as those

of the face, and it is as difficult to find two children with whom exactly the same method of instruction, or the same sort of correction will suit, as it is two constitutions that require exactly the same kind and quantity of food and medicine.

The tempers of children are frequently spoiled by the mistaken opinion that they are hardly intelligent creatures the first six. months; for the indulgence then given them fixes an obstinacy that is afterwards with great difficulty, if ever, conquered. From the moment of their birth they should be treated as rational

creatures, that is, with an eye to their becoming so. When awake, they should be kept in action, and continually talked to: the first will preserve the health of their bodies, and the last will bring forward their intellectual faculties amazingly. By talking to them is not meant the noisy jargon generally used by nurses, which tend more to stupefy than improve a child ; but the speaking distinct words rather in a low than a shrill voice, as supposing them to understand. Everything should be done for them in a manner the least burdensome to themselves, and the wants of nature so attentively supplied, as to give them no just cause of uneasiness; for the fretfulness arising from neglect and mismanagement is the first step towards souring the temper. Strange and absurd as this assertion perhaps may be thought, your own observation will, I dare say, hereafter convince you of its truth.

Let us take a view of the unnatural manner in which infants are generally treated, and the variety of needless torments they are made to undergo. The scene often commences by throwing at once the full blaze of day on their half-opened eyes ; or, if they make their first appearance in the night, ignorance and curiosity give them equal torment, by the help of a candle held to their faces; the extreme anguish of the aching sight produces a cry of distress which gains them the wished relief of obscurity, till the next curious person renews the torture. This scene perhaps may be repeated ten times in the first hour of the child's life, with exactly the same effects. When the painful operation of dressing commences, the covering is thoughtlessly at once taken from the child's face; a violent cry is immediately the consequence, and often continued, by a succession of disagreeable sensations, for two hours, exclusive of a little intermission of rocking ; when probably the loud discord of the nurse's voice, ignorantly exerted to quiet the suffering babe, may give as much pain to the tender auditory nerve, unaccustomed to the vibration of sounds, as the unusual glare of light had before imparted to the optic nerve. Add to this the variety of uneasy postures the infant must be placed in to get on and fasten a multiplicity of separate garments, with the ridiculous custom of giving a spoonful of a most nauseous mixture the first thing to be swallowed, and it will be evident that we have contrived to employ the first three or four hours of a child's life in giving successive torments to every sense, by light, noise, medicine, and uneasy positions.

When, after all this pain and trouble, the poor creature is what they call dressed, the unnatural confinement of its limbs is a continual punishment, which can never be submitted to with ease, though it may in time be rendered a custom more familiar. Of this there needs no other proof than the extreme pleasure that all children discover when stripped of their incumbrances, the content and satisfaction with which they stretch themselves, enjoying the freedom of voluntary motion; and the uneasiness and dislike, if not

fretfulness, always conspicuous the moment the restraint begins to be renewed by putting on their shackles.

I am convinced, beyond a doubt, that to these and other instances of our own mismanagement is wholly owing that continual crying of infants, which, from being customary, is erroneously supposed natural to them. Were the pain of body, inflicted at the time by this management, the only ill consequences suffering from it, that alone every feeling heart would wish to alleviate; yet this is but a trifling consideration compared to the more injurious and often irreparable effects produced by the ill impression thus early made on the mind. Peevishness is the first lesson taught by the repeated infliction of corporeal pain and the frequent neglect of a proper attention to all the wants of nature. Obstinacy is the offspring of successful peevishness; that, confirmed by indulgence, during the two first years, takes too deep root to be eradicated without the utmost difficulty, and the temper is often ruined by the fruitless attempt. Innumerable are the mischiefs that flow from this wrong method of setting forward, by which infants presently ascertain that crying and fretfulness will tease the persons about them into a compliance with their desires. I have seen children, not six months old, conscious of this power, and capable of exerting it with amazing tyranny, to the obtaining every humorsome inclination, the consequences of which are sufficiently obvious.

Were these absurd customs exchanged for a more rational method of proceeding, the advantages would be inconceivably great. A few plain rules might be established so equally suitable to every individual of the species in the first period of existence, as not to admit the possibility of their being misapplied; the first of these is, that the unavoidable change of customs which must necessarily take place upon the entrance into a new world, should be introduced so gradually as to be scarcely perceptible, that repeated painful sensations produced by them may not give an early turn to fretfulness. After the first office is performed to the young stranger (during which great care should be taken to keep all light from the eyes), he should be suffered to lie quietly, at least half an hour, in the nurse's lap, wrapped in a warm flannel, and longer, if disposed to rest, before he is put to the trouble of dressing; light should then be let in by very slow degrees, and not more fully than is absolutely necessary for the purpose of dressing. The operation need not take up five minutes, if the clothes be contrived in a proper manner; and if made to sit easy, you will find the child bear it contentedly without any sort of complaint.

As the chief point to be regarded is to avoid giving any needless cause of uneasiness, every natural want should be carefully attended to and supplied, before it produces any painful sensation. All children will discover their desire of food by motions that plainly show them to be searching for something ; these motions will be

continued a considerable time without any cry, which is only the consequence of repeated disappointments in this search ; such signs from them should always be waited for, carefully observed, and immediately answered; the offer of food when not wanted, being fully as teasing to infants as the delay of it when required. If fed by hand, it should be out of a vessel that will hold as much as they can take at once; nothing being more unnatural and tormenting than the feeding them with a spoon that must be taken every minute from their mouth to be replenished.

With regard to sleep, nature alone ought to dictate; nor should a nurse ever be suffered to lull a child to rest by rocking him in a cradle, which they are too apt to do, and then leave him till repeated cries force them to resume the troublesome office of attendance. An infant who is continually played with and talked to while awake, will insensibly drop asleep in the nurse's lap; she may then lay him down and refresh herself, but must carefully watch the moment of his waking, and take him up before there is time for any complaint, that the desired change of posture may not be procured by a cry of impatience. Within a few weeks not half the sleep will be required which was at first necessary. It will not be found difficult in a short time so to divert a child by constant motion as to keep him awake most part of the day, the sooner this can be made habitual, the better, because he will then sleep quietly almost all the night, which is more beneficial to the child and much less fatiguing to the nurse.

Children thus managed, whose natural wants are always observed and properly supplied, will seldom cry unless from some accidental illness; and then not violently, but rather in a mournful tone. At such times no particular effort should be used to quiet them : no lamentations expressed by a change of voice in those about them; but exactly the same method pursued of varying their posture, observing only to move them gently; because the little complaints they are incident to are of a sort that may sometimes be increased by those quick motions which are a proper and useful exercise to them when well. If you can discover one posture to be more easy than another, that may be continued ; playing with and talking to them, as usual, without showing the least appearance of pity, which in all cases is extremely injurious. The pain occasioned by cutting of teeth, would, I believe, be much less severe, if the use of the coral was banished; because rubbing the gums tends only to harden them, and must consequently make the passage

of the teeth more difficult. Though every natural want ought to be instantly relieved, those of fancy and humour should never, on any occasion, be indulged. A rattle should be given them as early as they are able to divert themselves with it, and other little toys soon added,- for variety is necessary to their amusement. These playthings should be often changed by the nurse ; for when the novelty wears off the

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