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INFLUENCE OF PRIVATE DEPORTMENT UPON
CHARACTER AND USEFULNESS ABROAD.
The more I reflect
upon this subject the more I am convinced of the weighty bearing of the former upon the latter. It is at home that we are, in a great measure, uninfluenced by extraneous motives. The restraints of society are thrown aside, and we speak and act ourselves. Here the character is formed-here, generally, sustained. And if we would meet with a cordial reception, and exert a salutary influence in our intercourse abroad, we must maintain a correct deportment at our own firesides. Many, as they put on their attire to appear in company, can assume the attractions of loveliness, and as readily lay them aside when the excitement which called for them is withdrawn. It is much easier, occasionally, as we mingle in society, to throw on the characteristic graces of politeness, than to exhibit habitually its true spirit amidst the petty annoyances, and trials of domestic life. And yet, who does not know that one's real worth is estimated, not by these assumed graces, but by the daily demeanor at home.
This is a subject, the importance of which should be deeply impressed upon the minds of mothers. We not unfrequently meet with those who manifest an undue anxiety that their children, daughters especially, should appear well as they go out into the world, and yet who are strangely remiss in regard to their moral culture at home. If such duly reflected upon the important bearing of private deportment upon one's respectability and usefulness in society, they would, it would seem, be more sedulous in forming those habits of feeling and action upon which real respectability and usefulness depend. In vain we attempt to conceal the sins, or the faults and infirmities of children within the bosom of our own family. There is no such thing. “Even a child is known by his doings.” And it need not be said that one who is disrespectful and undutiful to his parents, unkind and petulant to his brothers and sisters,
even if he appear ever so well abroad, will not be beloved and respected as one that is uniformly dutiful and kind in his several home relations. It is true, some, by their more secluded situation in life, are less exposed to scrutiny than others, yet, in time, their real characters are, in a greater or less degree, ascertained; and we never feel prepared to say that we are acquainted with a person until we know something of his private walk.
If then, as mothers, we would have our children grow up to become acceptable companions for the virtuous, and ornaments in society (setting aside the higher motives of eternity), let us early and perseveringly inculcate those principles on which such a character is founded. External accomplishments, according to our various conditions in life, perhaps, may be laudably sought for them, but should never be considered paramount to moral excellence, without which they are unseemly and misplaced.
To us, as Christians, the subject presents itself with an overwhelming weight of importance. “What do ye more than others ?" This question of our Savior may, with much force, be addressed to many of his professed followers in regard to their daily walk and conversation. We profess to be governed by nobler principles,—to be actuated by holier motives, than the world around us. But do we, in our families, in the several relations we therein sustain, do we, in any good degree, uniformly manifest such a temper of heart as these principles and motives legitimately produce? If not, our efforts to do good will be palsied and unsuccessful. Are we consistent at home,—the light of our profession will emanate far beyond its own narrow precincts, and many will rejoice in that light. Are we worldly, irritable and unreasonable in our families,-the world will place but little confidence in our pretended piety; and the involuntary language of every one in regard to our attempts to reform others, will be Physician, heal thyself.”
Mes. S., with whom I am acquainted, would, perhaps, pass with a stranger for an engaged Christian. She is professedly so, but those who know her daily walk at home (and, to be sure, it is known), feel sad misgivings of heart when they look for the evidences of her being such. True, she talks and prays like a Christian, and is much engaged in promoting the benevolent objects of the day; but at home she is buried in worldliness, irritated at every little inconvenience; and, in short, exhibits a temper of heart in contrast with that charity which seeketh, not her own, and with that meek and quiet spirit which, in the sight of God, is of great price. How readily does a discerning world revert from her apparent devotedness abroad to the inconsistencies of her domestic life, and, in reply to all her endeavors to do them good, they are ready to exclaim, mentally at least, “ What do ye more than others ?”
The reverse of this character was the beloved Mrs. H., who recently exchanged this, for the world of glory. She was, emphatically, “a keeper at home;" and that home was made sweet and attractive by her presence.
« Her house
Reposed, was happiness enough for her.” She was professedly pious; and no one, acquainted with her consistent walk, doubted the sincerity of her profession. It is true, she did not say so much upon the subject of religion, but it was apparent that its boly principles actuated her conduct. Meek and quiet in spirit, she met with calmness the varied trials of her life. I saw her when she laid her darling son, her only little one, into the grave; and it was evident from her very
countenance that the language of her subulued soul was, “ It is well.” And, too, when a beloved brother, cut down in all the strength and freshness of his youth, was soon after called to follow, she manifested the same chastened spirit. And when she languished long upon the bed of death she was patient and resigned. Though we could often discover the strong workings of a mother's love and solicitude, yet she was enabled to surrender her dear offspring to the care of her Heavenly Father. In her last hours, although not favored with those enrapturing views which many have enjoyed, yet there was a trust in God, a sweet composedness of spirit. And when she was followed by numerous friends and acquaintances to her last resting-place on earth, it was the spontaneous feeling of every one that her departed soul had found a happy repose in heaven. This impression was felt, not so much from her peaceful death, as from her exemplary life ;-a life exemplified within the enclosure of her own beloved home.
W. W. G. Lunenburg, Vt.
A NATION'S TRUE GLORY.
“THESE are my jewels,” said an illustrious lady of antiquity, pointing to her well-educated children. And could every mother with the Bible in her hand and her children before her, realize that through its influence, these may be made jewels of the brightest lustre, not merely to honor her who brought them to the light, but to add to a nation's grandeur, and to a Savior's crown of glory, would she not prize the Bible and prize her children more than ever ? A nation's highest glory is to be attained, not by wealth and outward splendor, not by an array of military power, but by the multiplication of immortal minds, properly enlightened,
and transformed into the moral image of their Maker. It is this which constitutes the glory and the honor of “the nations of them that are saved.” And what spectacle can imagination paint, more sublime, than that of a great nation, like our beloved Republic, destined to increase by untold millions, all instructed from childhood in the language and spirit of the Bible; all taught to reverence and obey its Divine Author, and to love their neighbor as themselves? And can he be a good citizen, who would in any way hinder such a result ?—who would not inculcate upon the young and rising millions the precepts of the sacred volume? Infinite Wisdom bas ordained, “ 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.” “Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life.” And can he be a good subject of human government, who would despise or neglect this benevolent injunction of the King of kings ? Infinite Intelligence has testified, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimonies of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever; the judgments of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether; more to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold.” These divine sentiments are corroborated by the experience and testimony of enlightened millions in both worlds. Who, then, that loves his country, his children, or his Almighty Benefactor, would not, in every step of education, inculcate those everlasting truths, which thus impart light, freedom, purity and joy ; which make good citizens both here and hereafter; and which, in the sight of Heaven, are more precious to man than mountains of gold?
Ought not all the children and youth of a nation, acknowledging the Divine authority of the Bible, to be habitually trained under such influences? What a change would soon appear on the face of society! What gladdening multitudes of noble and generous minds would be raised up to adorn every profession, and every department of life! The God of nations would then be our