On this page
- Text (2)
Note: This text has been automatically extracted via Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. The text has not been manually corrected and should not be relied on to be an accurate representation of the item.
Additionally, when viewing full transcripts, extracted text may not be in the same order as the original document.
ing , or any of that esprit de corps which cleaves to children when ranged in the presence of a task-master : and happy that preacher on whom the eyes of the younger members of his flock delight to rest ! Happy he who has proved himself- their friend by many a kind act , and who thence derives a part at least of his power to win their attention ! We cannot help earnestly wishing that our ministers would , for their own sakes , endeavour to gain a strong interest in the hearts of children . To preach to them unseasonably , to take them to task for their offences , to interfere between them and their
parents , is not what we want : but who shall say how often a common affection for the man whose office it is to confirm all good impressions by the holiest of sanctions , might not remove asperities on both sides , dislodge objectionable fancies , and strengthen the bonds of family union ? We feel that we cannot afford to lose children out of the congregation , whenever we consider how serviceable such agency might be to him who knows how to use it . Our artificial divisions , as well as associations , are to be zealously watched over , lest they rob us of substantial general good , under the notion of procuring some special advantage .
Our doubts respecting the propriety of establishing a separate form of public worship for children are considerably strengthened whenever we examine our juvenile books , those overflowings of the love of communication . Of these many , many little volumes , how few breathe the generous spirit of Christianity ! How do they abound in interested maxims , in selfish
calculations of what will bring the largest outward reward , the least external punishment ! When they are moral , how often are they dull ! When religious , how dogmatical ! A notable instance of low and interested reasoning , in a newly-published volume sent forth by Messrs . Harvey and Darton , has just caught our eye . *
" Children , " says the author , ( addressing , of course , children , ) " miserably deceive themselves when they attempt to deceive their parents . Artful conduct , schemes , contrivances , disguises , and every cunning form of seeming ' otherwise than they really are , may , for a very little while , mislead their papa and mamma—but ( mark , reader !) joarents are wonderfully quick-sighted , and it cannot be lon # before such deception is discovered and condemned . "
And what , again , is to be said for the goodness of forestalling scepticism ? " You are too young at present , as papa told you , to understand thoroughly even what is known as to the cause of this beautiful combination of colours fin the rainbow ) . But I must earnestly charge you not to suffer the very little you do know to make you turn caviller , and lead you to discredit what you read about the rainbow in your Bible" !!! \
Yet this little work is not remarkable among books , either for defectiveness or excess , and its faults are perfectly consistent with a well-intentioned zeal , and a spirit of affection which may neutralize much of its evil . We have only adverted to it as a specimen of the manner in which direct instruction to children on moral and religious topics is apt to be abused . Thfe
obscurity of men , when speaking to men , is not so much to be dreaded , as the effect of dogmatism and self-sufficiency . Where they write for one another , they do not venture to lay down with authority such questionable systems of morality , and they are often forced into modesty of expression , and regard to the opinions of others ; but the preacher and the writer for children seldom adverts to the possibility of his being himself in the wrong .
• «* Children as they Are . " P . 2 C 5 . London . 1830 . t Ibid . P . 67 .
Children ' s Boohs . 49
VOL . V . E
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1831, page 49, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2593/page/49/