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But she found difficulties where she did not expect them. Mr. John Manderstone, her husband's brother, by no means approved her mode of education, and without imparting his objections to the mother, insinuated them to the children, on whom they produced an impression which the discerning mind of their mother soon discovered. Their uncle had interrogated them as to the nature of their studies? what they read? what lessons they learned? what place of worship they attended, how often they went? and to each question they gave a prompt and full reply.
“Upon my word,” said Mr. J. Manderstone, “I think you have plenty of religion instilled into your minds! Are you not tired of reading the Bible, and hearing so many sermons?”
“Oh! no, uncle, we like every thing mamma teaches us.”
“I dare say the Bible is a very good book, and it is all very well to go church, but you must take care, my boys, that all this religion does not make you low-spirited, and unfit you for business.”
Nothing further occurred at this time. The boys continued to make the most satisfactory progress under the judicious instructions of their kind and affectionate mother, till the elder, George, had attained the age of twelve, when it was deemed necessary to place them both at some school, where they might pursue the higher branches of learning. This was a painful event, so far as Mrs. Manderstone's feelings were concerned; she dreaded the separation, fearful that her children might lose that respect for religion, with which she had endeavoured to inspire them. A seminary was recommended to her, conducted by a gentleman of excellent character, whose pupils were represented as making great improvement in the various branches of education. The day was fixed for George and Robert to leave their parent's roof, prior to which, it was necessary that Mrs. Manderstone should have some conversation with their uncle, who was to accompany them to the school, relative to their education.
Mr. John Manderstone was a thorough man of the world; in his youth he had been taught nominally to respect religion; and, to use his own words, he liked to hear a good sermon. But he heard as a critic, without deriving any sort of real advantage. He was fond of being noticed by persons superior to himself in
ok and fortures and telling
rank and fortune, and, by associating with them, he was gradually led into snares and temptations, so that, eventually, he approached the borders of infidelity, and substituted the boasted virtues of honor and a good character, for vital, experimental religion. His real friends sighed at the change; they saw his awful declension. His Sabbaths were often passed at home, and his time occupied in reading novels or newspapers, except when some peculiar circumstance at church excited his curiosity. Yet he was what the world calls generous, open-hearted, liberal, and could weep with those that wept, as well as rejoice with those that rejoiced. The tears would often flow from his eyes when he heard a plain, impressive discourse; but alas ! they were quickly dried up, and the momentary impression effaced.
On the morning of the departure of the children, Mrs. Manderstone called them into her room, and affectionately addressed them,—“You are going, dear George and Robert, into a new scene; be diligent in your studies, respectful to your tutor, kind to your school-fellows, but, above all, read attentively your Bible, and constantly pray to God for his blessing. Remember," she said, placing a pocket-Bible in their hand, “that this is the Word of God, by which he speaks to you; never part with it, never neglect it: it is able to make you wise unto salvation.” She would have added more, but a knock at the door announced the arrival of their uncle.
“I have just given a few hints to my dear boys,” said she, “I trust they will be preserved from the evils to which they are exposed in their new situation. It is a consolation to me that their tutor is a gentleman who regards not only the 'moral, but the religious instruction of his pupils; I mean, that while he enforces the necessity of uprightness before men, he strongly inculcates the necessity of piety towards God."
“Very right, my dear sister," replied Mr. J. Manderstone, with a sort of smile, “religion is very good, certainly, but I think there is some danger of pressing it too much upon the youthful mind."
" Danger! my dear brother, how? and in what way?"
“I mean that too much reading the Bible, and attending publie worship, may create a distaste for other things; for instance, our friend, Oldcastle, says, “he had so much religion forced on
him in his youth, that now he considers he can do without it altogether.'”
“You have quoted a very doubtful authority, my dear brother; you certainly do not respect the character, and therefore cannot adopt the sentiments of so immoral a person as Mr. Oldcastle."
“Not exactly; but still I incline to think that children may hear and read too much of the Bible, and that its being rendered so common to them, may lessen the interest they would otherwise feel in its contents."
“Your inference would equally apply to every other species of study, and would therefore prove too much; but I must not carry on this conversation further at present, as the carriage is waiting for your departure, another day I shall be happy to resume it.” Mr. J. Manderstone expressed his willingness to hear his sister's observations, and in a few minutes the party were out of sight.
The young scholars were soon initiated, and, under the wise and judicious instructions of their tutor, made satisfactory progress. On their return home for the vacation, their mother took an early opportunity of examining them, and had the pleasure to discover that they had not omitted the religious duties she had suggested, and endeavored to enforce with a mother's love; and that the principles she had instilled into their minds had produced a favorable effect upon their temper and conduct. So far she had reason to speak in high terms of the benefits of a religious education. “We love the Bible, mamma,” said George, “and read it every morning, and evening before we retire to rest.","..
“ Yes," added Robert, “and I hope I shall always love it, and attend to what it says; for, as you have often told me, I know it will be for my present and eternal happiness, and if it should make me as good a Christian as you are, it will be a blessed thing for me."
Mrs. Manderstone could not restrain her tears, and her heart secretly uttered the words, “God be gracious, unto thee, my child!” “ Persevere, my boys,” said she, “in the same patb; remember that religion is all; seek by prayer the influence of God's Holy Spirit, who alone can bless the reading of the Word of God, and never rest till you are a new creature in Christ Jesus.”
The conversation was interrupted by the arrival of Mr. John Manderstone, who congratulated his young nephews on their healthy appearance, and testified his satisfaction at their account of their school, and of their diligence and progress. "Now, my dears, said Mrs. M., turning to the children, “you may go and take a stroll for half-an-hour, and see how the garden looks, and how you like the alterations I have made in the walks.”
“I wished, my dear brother,” said she, “to have some further conversation with you on the subject of religious education; I perceived you had imbibed some of the popular ideas against it, but I am sure you will listen to me for a short time, while I state the principles on which I think it may be enforced.
“Scripture precept is quite direct on the subject. The testimony God gave concerning Abraham was striking; 'I know Abraham, that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham, the thing which he hath spoken of him.' (Gen. xviii. 19.) So with regard to the Jewish children, God says, (Deut. vi. 7,1 Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them, when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.? The words of David to Solomon are also exceedingly apposite. (1 Chron. xxviii. 9.) “Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind; for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts; if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever." The New Testament is full of the same admonitions. Paul counsels the Ephesians to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, (Eph. vi. 4,) and the same apostle commends Timothy, because from a child he had known the Holy Scriptures which were able to make him wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Tim. iii. 15.) • “These quotations are very much to your purpose, and, indeed, not to be controverted. I only feared that the constant repetition of these things might deprive them of that interest which they should produce in the mind.”
“I do not remember an instance, except in the case of dissipated and unprincipled characters, but I could refer to many instances of the beneficial effects of an early acquaintance with the Scriptures; and were I allowed to offer myself as a testimony, I am honored in being enabled to state that my early knowledge of the Word of God has rendered it dear to my heart, and I rejoice that it was not only impressed on my memory, but that it has been, by the blessing of God, a great preventive to sin. When David asks the question, ‘Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?" he adds, by taking heed thereto, according to thy word.' (Psalm cxix. 9.) You are aware, my dear brother, that the things of the world are ensnaring and deceitful. Your extensive knowledge of it must have convinced you that it abounds with infidels and profligates, men of a mercenary, selfish, and abandoned character, who so far from practising piety, detest it; they break the Sabbath, neglect public worship, and are mainly anxious to buy and sell, and get gain. By them the Scriptures are derided; pleasure is pursued with avidity; their children are taught to think lightly of religion; the word 'saint is held up to contempt, and they who fear God, are denominated
hypocrites. What is their Sunday reading? Newspapers, novels, political pamphlets, and the ephemeral publications of the day. 'God is not in all their thoughts!' And how are we to arm the youthful mind? What antidote can we adminster?”
“Stay, my dear sister, I am half convinced, already, that I have erred; go on in the path you have begun, and may your dear boys benefit by your instructions. I must see you again and hear more of the beneficial effects of a religious education.'" Penryn.
. R. C.
THE JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN SABBATHS. The Jewish Sabbath leads man to consider God, through Creation; the Christian, through Redemption. The Jewish Sabbath leads man to contemplate God's making him; the Christian, God's dying for him.