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thus, by soft words and appropriate gestures, you may incline them towards honest and virtuous connexions, rather than introduce them to those which it would be dangerous for them to caress.—Thus, again, you may, by appropriate looks and tone of voice, represent to them, with horror, those whom they have seen exasperated with anger, or any other furious passion ; and, on the other hand, by a.correspondent serenity of manner, depicture to them those who are amiable and wise.
I do not wish to lay too great a stress on these subordinate matters : but, in reality, these different dispositions form a commencement of character which must not be neglected; and this mode of foreseeing, as it were, the future dispositions of children, has imperceptible
consequences which facilitate their education.
If we still doubt of the power of these early prepossessions on future maturity, we need only call to mind how lively and affecting, at advanced age, is the remembrance of those things which have delighted us in childhood. If, instead of terrifying the minds of young people with absurd notions of ghosts and spirits, which serve only to weaken and disturb the still delicate texture of the brain; if, instead of abandoning them to the caprice of a nurse for what they are to like or dislike, we endeavoured always to impress on their minds an agreeable idea of good, and a frightful one of evilthis foresight might hereafter be the foundation of every practical virtue. On the contrary, we frighten them
with the idea of a clergyman clothed in black-we talk of death merely to excite terror and recount tales of the dead revisiting the earth, at midnight, under hideous shapes ! All this has a tendency to weaken and agitate the mind, and to excite a prejudice against the soundest doctrines.
One of the most useful and important things during infancy is, to be particularly careful of the child's health ; endeavouring to sweeten the blood by a proper choice of food, and a simple regimen of life: regulating its meals, so that it eat pretty nearly at the same hours, and as it feels the inclination; that the stomach be not overloaded before digestion takes place, and that no high-seasoned dishes be introduced, which must necessarily give a dis
relish for more healthful food. Lastly, too many dishes should not be allowed at the same time; for such a variety of food begets an appetite even after the real call of hunger is satisfied.
Another very important consideration is, not to oppress the faculties by too much instruction; to avoid every thing which may kindle the passions; to deprive a child, gently and by degrees, of that for which it has expressed too vehement a desire to obtain; so that, eventually, it may be insensible of disappointment.
If a child's disposition be tolerably good, it may, by the foregoing method, be rendered docile, patient, steady, cheerful, and tranquil; whereas, if its tender years be neglected, it becomes restless and turbulent during the remainder of its life; the blood boils, bad habits are formed, and the body and mind, both equally susceptible, become prone to evil. Hence arises a sort of second original sin, which, in advanced age, is the source of a thousand disorders.
As soon as children arrive at a more mature period, or their reason becomes unfolded, we
must be careful that all our words have a tendency to make them love truth, and detest artifice and hypocrisy. We ought never to be guilty of any deception or falsehood to appease them, or to persuade them to comply with our wishes : if we are, we instruct them in cunning and artifice; and this they never forget. Reason and good sense must be our instruments of regulation.
But let us examine with a little