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to be perverted by the pleadings of the heart-never to commit their happiness to a man who is not governed by " the fear of Him who seeth in secret ;" and they are also taught, by a successful example, the power of Christian principle to resist, and finally to eradicate an ill-placed affection. But Discipline, which we think the preferable production, it is more immediately our present intention to commend. It is the design of this interesting work to show, that that which was declared by the royal preacher to be true in the day of his reign—that “ foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child,” and that if the “rod of correction" be not employed in infancy to “ drive it far from him”-it will probably require the severer discipline of adversity and sorrow in after life, to extract the destructive root. This is not a fashionable doctrine, but it stands upon the immutable basis of truth. It cannot be shaken by scoffers, nor can it be demolished by the doctors in the school of modern philosophy.
The heroine, and the subject of “Discipline,” is Ellen Percy, and she is her own biographer. “Having escaped from imminent peril,” she is “ prompted to warn others of the danger of their way.” “Proud, petulant, and rebellious from her infancy," she, more than commonly, required the faithful hand of parental culture and restraint: but this blessing was denied to her; for her father-a very wealthy merchant—had imbibed the opinion that the sum and substance of all merit, consisted in money; and “as she would be the heiress of two hundred thousand pounds, there was no fear of her happiness,” and her equally weak and indul. gent, though better inclined mother," was too gentle to
bestow even merited reproof!" The unhappy child was accordingly abandoned to her own capricious humours. Caressed, admired, and extolled, it is not to be wondered that she became the miserable slave of her own ungoverned passions, and the tyrant of her family. “ Yet let not these relentings of nature," she says, “ be called weakness; or if the stern moralist refuse to spare, let it disarm his severity to learn that I was an only child."
Here is an important lesson to parents ! The very circumstances that give them the ability to bestow the requisite attention, is made the apology for their criminal neglect. Is it not easier, we would ask, to rear a single flower than to cultivate a garden? We have too much respect for the good sense of this author to suppose that she intended to speak in her own person, when she advances so silly an apology for the lamentable weakness of this most unfortunate mother. We know that it is quite a common excuse for the waywardness of a child, that it is the sole inheritor of its paternal name. The argument of such indulgent parents amounts to no more than this : “ I had little to do, and therefore, I did nothing;" indeed, it may be pushed further; they do worse than nothing. In the care of a single child a mother is released from the difficulties which arise from the various humours and conflicting tempers of a numerous offspring, and in this instance, she has been blessed by all the stores of affluence with the means of “ training up a child in the way it should go." Her responsibility is therefore, increased. That excess of affection which seems to be supposed in this case, will not be admitted by her matronly readers, whose days and whose
nights have been spent in a crowded nursery. We never met with a well-principled lady of this description, whose bosom thrilled with the domestic charities that did not contend against this sort of reasoning. Their hearts, they say, are sufficiently capacious to embrace, with equal affection, all that has been intrusted to them. Like the sun they glance on all, and afford to each his share of influence, nutriment and life. The affection of a mother for a sin. gle child is more obvious, as the power of this luminary is more striking when its rays are concentrated to a focus : but it shines with the same brilliancy, and diffuses the same heat in every direction in which it is intended to operate.
At the very early age of eight years, we find Miss Percy already commencing the “ giddy round” of pleasure. She has an invitation to go with a friend a play. She has been confined to the house by a sore throat, and her mother refused to let her go out ;-but, unaccustomed to acquiescence in the will of her parents, she persevered in her determination to be gratified. Entreaties were vain, and commands were resisted ;-she prevailed by the well-known artifice of all little masters and misses; she screamed till she terrified both father and mother into submission.
“ My mother;" she says, “was one of the finer order of spirits—she had an elegant, a tender, a pious mind. Often did she strive to raise my young heart to Him from whom I had so lately received my being. But, alas ! her too partial fondness, overlooked in her darling the growth of that pernicious weed whose shade is deadly to every plant of celestial origin. She continued unconsciously to foster in me that spirit of pride, which may indeed admit the transient
admiration of excellence, or even the passing fervors of gratitude, but which is manifestly opposite to vital piety, which consists in surrender of self-will, of self-righteousness, of self in every form, to the divine justice, holiness, and sovereignty. It was, perhaps, for training us to this temper, of such difficult yet such indispensable attainment, that the discipline of parental authority was intended. I have long seen reason to repent the folly which deprived me of the advantages of this useful apprenticeship; but this conviction has been the fruit of discipline far more painful.”
It would seem that the value of such a mother as is here described, in a religious point of view, is at least very questionable. Of what importance is principle, without that firmness of purpose which alone can bring it into active use? The deprivation of these advantages, however-such as they were in her ill-fated case-was at once the consequence and the punishment of this unpardonable concession. The indisposition of Ellen was increased to a dangerous fever, and the life of her mother became the victim of anxiety and fatigue! This first interruption of her gaiety was lamented, for some days, in violent storms of grief—“though sometimes suspended by the contemplation of her jet ornaments”-and became very tiresome to her father. The complaints too of her attendants: “Sir, Miss Ellen wont go to bed”—“ Miss wont get her lesson”—“Miss Ellen wont be dressed”continually disturbed him. He, therefore, sagely resolved to relieve himself by sending her to a fashionable boardingschool. Here, she says, “ I spent seven years in laborious and expensive trifling, and the only accomplishment in
which I had, perhaps, acquired proficiency, was music. But this proficiency—I blush whilst I write it-cost me the labour of seven hours a day!-full half the time which, after deducting the seasons of rest and refreshment, remained for all the duties of a rational, a social, an immortal being. We were instructed in the art of wearing our clothes fashionably: but as for the ornaments of a meek and quiet spirit, they were in no higher estimation than .wimples, and round tires like the moon.'”
In the summer of her sixteenth year she is taken home by her father, accompanied by Miss Arnold, a boardingschool companion, who had now become her bosom friend, by embracing all her opinions, and praising and defending her whether right or wrong. But “to be the judicious adviser of his daughter, and to share with him in the government of her turbulent spirit,” Mr. Percy had invited Miss Mortimer, a woman of real piety and a friend of her mother's, to make his house her permanent abode. Miss M. however, “affected no authority—she was anxious to be useful, but afraid to be officious. She was even sparing of direct advice—and the humblest of human beings." The young ladies, therefore, feeling no restraint, deter. mined “to amuse themselves with her singularities.” They called her an argus—a duenna; they voted her a sticka borea quiz; or to sum up all reproach in one comprehensive epithet, a methodist !
They hid her prayer-book—pasted caricatures in her pew, or invented pitiable tales of distress, to make her trudge through the snow in search of objects of charity! But all was unavailing to disturb the serenity of Miss M.'s