Imatges de pÓgina

easiest to be dealt with; because, generally carrying with it an unconcernedness for the future, it wants the two great springs of action, foresight and desire; which, how to plant and increase, where nature has given a cold and contrary temper, will be the question. As soon as you are satisfied that this is the case, you must carefully inquire whether there be nothing he delights in; inform yourself what it is he is most pleased with; and if you can find any particular tendency his mind hath, increase it all you can, and make use of that to set him on work, and to excite his industry. If he loves praise, or play, or fine clothes, &c., or, on the other side, dreads pain, disgrace, or your displeasure, &c., whatever it be that he loves most, except it be sloth, (for that will never set him on work,) let that be made use of toʻquicken him, and make him bestir himself; for in this listless temper you are not to fear an excess of appetite, (as in all other cases,) by cherishing it. It is that which you want, and, therefore, must labor to raise and increase; for, where there is no desire, there will be no industry.

121. If you have not hold enough upon him this way, to stir up vigor and activity in him, you must employ him in some constant bodily labor, whereby he may get an habit of doing something; the keeping him hard to some study were the better way to get him an habit of exercising and applying his mind. But because this is an invisible attention, and nobody can tell when he is, or is not idle at it, you must find bodily employments for him, wbich he must be constantly busied in, and kept to; and, if they have some little hardship and shame in them, it may not be the worse, that they may the sooner weary him, and make him desire to return to his book: but be sure when you exchange his book for his other labor, set him such a task, to be done in such a time, as may allow him no opportunity to be idle. Only, after you have by this way brought him to be attentive and industrious at his book, you may, upon his dispatching his study within the time set him, give him as a reward, some respite from his other labor; which you may diminish, as you find him grow more and more steady in his application; and, at last, wholly take off, when his sauntering at his books is cured.


COMPULSION. 122. We formerly observe, that variety and freedom was that which delighted children, and recommended their plays to them; and that, therefore, their book, or any thing we would have them learn, should not be enjoined them as busi

This their parents, tutors, and teachers, are apt to forget; and their impatience to have them busied in what is fit for them to do, suffers them not to deceive them into it; but by the repeated injunctions they meet with, children quickly distinguish between what is required of them, and what not. When this mistake has once made his book uneasy to him, the cure is to be applied at the other end. And since it will be then too late to endeavor to make it a play to him, you must take the contrary course; observe what play he is most delighted with; enjoin that, and make him play so many hours every day, not as a punishment for playing, but as if it were the business required of him. This, if I mistake not, will in a few days, make him so weary of his most beloved sport, that he will prefer his book, or any thing to it, especially if it may redeem him from any part of the task of play is set him; and he may be Buffered to employ some part of the time destined to his task of play in his book, or such other exercise as is really useful to him. This I at least think a better cure than that forbidding, (which usually increases the desire,) or any other punishment should be made use of to remedy it; for, wheti you have ofice glutted his appetite, (which may safely be done in all things but eating and drinking,) and made him surfeit of what you would have him avoid, you have put into him a principle of aversion, and you need not so much fear afterwards his longing for the same thing again.

123. This, I think, is sufficiently evident, that children generally hate to be idle: all the care then is, that their busy humor should be constantly employed in something of use to them; which if you will attain, you must make what you would have them do, a recreation to them, and not a business. The way to do this, so that they may not perceive you have any hand in it, is this proposed a ere, viz., to make them weary of that which you would not have them do, by en oiving and making them, under some pretense or other, do it till they are surfeited. For example; does your son play at top and scourge too much? Enjoin him to play so many hours every day, and look that he do it; and you shall see ho will quickly be sick of it, and willing to leave it. By this means making the recreations you dişlike a business to him, he will of himself, with delight, betake himself to those things you would have him do, especially if they be proposed as rewards for having performed his task in that play which is commanded him. For, if he be ordered every day to whip his top, so long as to make him sufficiently weary, do you not think he will apply himself with eagerness to his book, and wish for it, if you promise it him as a reward of having whipped his top lustily, quite out all the time that is set him? Children, in the things they do, if they comport with their age, find little difference, so they may be doing: the esteem they have for one thing above another, they borrow from others; so that what those about them make to be a reward to them, will really be go. By this art, it is in their governor's choice, whether scotch-hoppers shall reward their dancing, or dancing their scotch-hoppers; whether peg-top, or reading, playing at trap, or studying the globes, shall be more acceptable and pleasing to them; all that they desire being to be busy, as they imagine, in things of their own choice, and which they receive as favors from their parents, or others for whom they have a respect and with whom they would be in credit. A set of children thus ordered, and kept from the ill example of others, would, all of them, I suppose, with as much earnestness and delight, learn to read, write, and what else one would have them, as others do their ordinary plays: and the eldest being thus entered, and this made the fashion of the place, it would be as impossible to hinder them from learning the one, as it is ordinarily to keep them from the other.


124. Playthings, I think, children should have, and of divers sorts ; but still to be in the custody of their tutors, or somebody else, whereof a child should have in his power but one at once, and should not be suffered to have another, but when he restored that; this teaches them, betimes, to be careful of pot losing or spoiling the things they have; whereas plenty and variety, in their own keeping, makes them wanton and careless, and teaches them from the beginning to be squanderers and wasters. These, I confess, are little things, and such as will seem beneath the care of a governor; but nothing that may form children's minds is to be overlooked and neglected; and whatsoever introduces habits, and settles customs in them, deserves the care and attention of their governors, and is not a small thing in its consequences.

One thing more about children's playthings may be worth their parents' care: though it be agreed they should have of several sorts yet, I think, they should have none bought for them. This will hinder that great variety they are often overcharged with, which serves only to teach the mind to wander after change and superfluity, to be unquiet, and perpetually stretching itself after something more still, though it knows not what, and never to be satisfied with what it hath. The court that is made to people of condition in such kind of presents to their children, does the little ones great harm; by it they are taught pride, vanity, and covetousness, almost before they can speak; and I have known a young child so distracted with the number and variety of his play-games, that he tired his maid every day to look them over; and was so accustomed to abundance, that he never thought he had enough, but was always asking, What more? What more? What new thing shall I have? A good introduction to moderate desires, and the ready way to make a contented happy man.

How then shall they have the play-games you allow them, if none must be bought for them ? I answer, they should make them themselves, or at least endeavor it, and set themselves about it; till then they should have none, and till then, they will want none of any great artifice. A smooth pebble, a piece of paper, the mother's bunch of keys, or any thing they can not hurt themselves with, serves as much to divert little children, as those more chargeable and curious toys from the shops, which are presently put out of order and broken. Children are never dull or out of humor for want of such playthings, unless they have been used to them; when they are little, whatever occurs, serves the turn; and as they grow bigger, if they are not stored by the expensive folly of others, they will make them themselves. Indeed, when they once begin to set themselves to work about any of their inventions, they should be taught and assisted; but should have nothing whilst they lazily sit still, expecting to be furnished from other hands without employing their own: and if you help them where they are at a stand, it will more endear you to them, than any chargeable toys you shall buy for them. Playthings which are above their skill to make, as tops, gigs, battledores, and the like, which are to be used with labor, should, indeed, be procured them: these, it is convenient, they should have, not for variety, but for exercise; but these, too, should be given them as bare as might be. If they had a top, the scourge-stick and leather-strap should be left to their own making and fitting. If they sit gaping to have such things drop into their mouths, they should go without them. This will accustom them to seek for what they want in themselves, and in their own endeavors; whereby they will be taught moderation in their desires, application, industry, thought, contrivance, and good husbandry; qualities that will be useful to them when they are men, and therefore, can not be learned too soon, nor fixed too deep. All the plays and diversions of children should be directed towards good and useful habits, or else they will introduce ill ones. Whatever they do, leaves some impression on that tender age, and from thenco they receive a tendency to good or evil: and whatever hath such an influence, ought not to be neglected.


125. Lying is so ready and cheap a cover for any miscarriage, and so much in fashion amongst all sorts of people, that a child can hardly avoid observing the use is made of it on all occasions, and so can scarce be kept, without great care, from getting into it. But it is so ill a quality, and the mother of so many ill ones, that spawn from it, and take shelter under it, that a child should be brought up in the greatest abhorrence of it imaginable: it should be always, (when occasionally it comes to be mentioned,) spoken of before him with the utmost detestation, as a quality so wholly inconsistent with the name and char. acter of a gentleman, that nobody of any credit can bear the imputation of a lie; a mark that is judged the utmost disgrace, which debases a man to the lowest degree of a shameful meanness, and ranks him with the most contemptible part of mankind, and the abhorred rascality; and is not to be endured in any one, who would converse with people of condition, or have any esteem or repu. tation in the world. The first time he is found in a lie, it should rather be won. dered at, as a monstrous thing in him, than reproved as an ordinary fault. If that keeps him not from relapsing, the next time he must be sharply rebuked, and fall into the state of great displeasure of his father and mother, and all about him who take notice of it. And if this way work not the cure, you must come to blows; for, after he has been thus warned, a premeditated lie must always be looked upon as obstinacy, and never be permitted to escape unpunished.


126. Children afraid to have their faults seen in their naked colors, will, like the rest of the sons of Adam, be apt to make excuses. This is a fault usually bordering upon, and leading to untruth, and is not to be indulged in them: but yet it ought to be cured rather with shame than roughness. If, therefore, when a child is questioned for anything, his first answer be an excuse, warn him soberly to tell the truth; and then, if he persists to shuffle it off with a falsehood, he must be chastised; but, if he ctly confess, you must commend his ingenuity, and pardon the fault, be it what it will; and pardon it so, that you never so much as reproach him with it, or mention it to him again; for, if you would have him in love with ingenuity, and by a constant practice make it habitual to him, you must take care that it never procure him the least inconvenience; but, on the contrary, his own confession, bringing always with it perfect impunity, should be, besides, encouraged by some marks of approbation. If his excuse be such at any time, that you can not prove it to have any false. hood in it, let it pass for true, and be sure not to show any suspicion of it. Let him keep up his reputation with you as high as is possible; for when once he finds he has lost that, you have lost a great and your best hold upon him. Therefore, let him not think he has the character of a liar with you, as long as you can avoid it without flattering him in it. Thus, some slips in truth may be overlooked. But, after he has once been corrected for a lie, you must be sure never after to pardon it in him, whenever you find, and take notice to him, that he is guilty of it: for it being a fault wbich he has been forbid, and may, unless he be willful, avoid, the repeating of it is perfect perverseness, and must have the chastisement due to that offense.

127. This is what I have thought concerning the general method of educating a young gentleman; which, though I am apt to suppose may have some influence on the whole course of his education, yet I am far from imagining it contains all those particulars which his growing years, or peculiar temper, may require. But this being premised in general, we shall, in the next place, descend to a more particular consideration of the several parts of bis education.

128. That which every gentleman, (that takes any care of his education,) desires for his son, besides the estate he leaves him, is contained, (I suppose) in these four things, virtue, wisdom, breeding and learning. I will not trouble myself whether these names do not some of them sometimes stand for the same thing, or really include one anothor. It serves my turn here to follow the popular use of these words, which I presume is clear enough to make me be anderstood, and I hope there will be no difficulty to comprehend my meaning.

129. I place virtue as the first and most necessary of those endowments that belong to a man or a gentleman, as absolutely requisite to make him valued and beloved by others, acceptable or tolerable to himself. Without that, I think, he will be happy neither in this nor the other world.


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130. As the foundation of this, there ought very early to be imprinted on his mind, a true notion of God, as of the independent Supreme Being, Author and Maker all things, from whom we receive all our good, who gives us all things: and, consequent to this, instill into him a love and reverence of this Supreme Being. This is enough to begin with, without going to explain this matter any farther, for fear lest by talking too early to him of spirits, and being unseasonably forward to make him understand the incomprehensible nature of that infinite Being, his head be either filled with false, or perplexed with unintelligible notions of him. Let him only be told upon occasion, that God made and governs all things, hears and sees every thing, and does all manner of good to those that love and obey him. You will find, that being told of such a God, other thoughts will be apt to rise up fast enough in his mind about him; which, as you observe them to have any mistakes, you must set right. And I think it would be better, if men generally rested in such an idea of God, without being too curious in their notions about a Being, which all must acknowledge incomprehensible; whereby many who have not strength and clearness of thought to distinguish between what they can, and what they can not know, run themselves into superstition or atheism, making God like themselves, or, (because they can not comprehend any thing else,) none at all. And I am apt to think the keeping of children constantly morning and evening to acts of devotion to God, as to their Maker, Preserver and Benefactor, in some plain and short form of prayer, suitable to their age and capacity, will be of much moro use to them in religion, knowledge, and virtue, than to distract their thoughts with curious inquiries into his inscrutable essence and being.


131. Having by gentle degrees, as you find him capable of it, settled such an idea of God in his mind, and taught him to pray to him, and praise him as tho Author of his being, and of all the good he does or can enjoy, forbear any discourse of other spirits, till the mention of them coming in his way, upon occasion hereafter to be set down, and his reading the Scripture-history, put him upon that inquiry.


132. But even then, and always whilst he is young, be sure to preserve bis tender mind from all impressions and notions of spirits and goblins, or any fearful apprehensions in the dark. This he will be in danger of from the indis. cretion of servants, whose usual method is to awe children, and keep them in subjection, by telling them of raw-head and bloody-bones, and such other

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