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Way to interest children.

on the Lord's-day, forgetting that the empire in which your influence ought to reign on that day, is the empire of the heart, not of the external conduct. You ought, therefore, to aim at adopting such means of addressing and influencing your children as shall seem best calculated to reach and control their hearts. If you really wish to do this, and really endeavor to do it, you will soon learn the way.

Imagine such a scene as this: A mother, with several children under eight or ten years of age, collects them in her chamber on a pleasant Sabbath afternoon in summer, and with a cheerful countenance and pleasant tone of voice, when all are seated, addresses them as follows:

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Now, my children, you know that the Sabbath is intended to give us time and opportunity to improve our characters. I suppose you wish to do this. The way to do it is, first, to find out your faults, and then to correct them. you willing to try to find out your faults?"

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"I have thought of this plan. How should you like it? I will pause a minute or two, and we will all try to think of faults that we have seen among ourselves within a week. You may try, and I will try. After a minute or two, I will ask you all around. Should you like to do this?”

A mother who is accustomed to manage her children in a proper manner, with habitual kindness and affection, will receive a cordial assent to such a proposal as this. After a few minutes she puts the question round :

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'Mary, have you thought of any thing?"

Yes, mother; I think that John and I quarrel sometimes."

"Do you think of any case which happened last week?" Mary hesitates, and John looks a little confused.

"You may do just as you please," says the mother, "about describing it. It is unpleasant to think and talk

Conversation with the children.

about our faults, and of course it will be unpleasant for you to describe particularly any thing wrong which you have done. But then if you do honestly and frankly confess it, I think you will be much less likely to do wrong in the same way next week."

Mary then relates, in her own simple style, the story of some childish contention, not with the shrinking and hesitation of extorted acknowledgment, but openly and frankly, and in such a manner as greatly to diminish the danger of falling into such a sin again. When she has said all that she has to say, which however may perhaps have been expressed in two or three sentences, the mother continues, addressing herself to the others:

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Well, children, you have heard what Mary has said. Have you observed any thing in her expressions which tended to show that she has wished to throw the chief blame of this dispute upon John ?"

They will probably say, Yes. A child would not be a very impartial historian in such a case, and other children would be very shrewd to detect the indications of bias.

Now I do not know," says the mother, "but that John was really the most to blame. Mary told the story, on the whole, in a very proper manner. I only asked the question, to remind you all that our object is now to learn our own faults, and to correct them; and you must all try to see as much as possible where you yourselves have been to blame.”

She then turns to some passages of the Bible on the subject of forbearance and harmony between brothers and sisters, and reads them—not for the purpose of loading her children with invective and reproach, or telling them, with a countenance of assumed solemnity, how wicked they have been -but of kindly and mildly pointing out what God's commands are, and the necessity as well as the happiness of obeying them.

Ingenuity and effort necessary.

The heart to be reached.

If this is done in a proper manner, and if the mother remembers that she must watch the feelings of her little charge, and apply her means of influence dexterously and skillfully, she will succeed, certainly after one or two trials, in producing a dislike of contention, a desire to avoid it, and a resolution to sin, in this respect, no more. She may in the same manner go through the circle; fault after fault will be brought up; the nature and the consequences of them kindly pointed out, and those commands of God, which bear upon the subject, plainly brought to view. The interview may be closed by a short and simple prayer-that God will forgive, for Christ's sake, the sins which the children have confessed, and give them all strength to resist temptation during the coming week. Such an exercise, if managed as every kind and faithful mother can manage it, must certainly succeed; the children will go away from it with consciences relieved in some degree from the burden of sin; they will look back upon it as a serious, but a pleasant interview, and will feel though a wise mother will not be over anxious to draw from them an expression of that feeling—that it is a happy thing to repent of sin, and to return to duty. I asked my readers at the outset, to imagine this scene; but, in fact, it is not an imaginary scene-in substance, it is reality.

This, now, is a proper keeping of the Sabbath. Such an influence comes to the heart, and it accomplishes directly and immediately the very object that Jehovah seems to have * had specially in view in the appointment of the Sabbath. I only offer it, however, as a specimen; if repeated in exactly this form every Sabbath, the sameness might become tiresome. The idea which I mean to convey is, that the heart must be reached, and the process of improvement must be advancing, or the object of the Sabbath is lost. Let my young readers remember this. Unless you are improving

and elevating your characters, discovering your faults and



Remarks of a clergyman.

correcting them, learning God's will as it applies to your own conduct, and confessing and forsaking your sins—unless you are doing such work as this, you can not be keeping the Sabbath day. The simple question then is, are you willing to devote honestly and conscientiously one day in seven to real and sincere efforts to make progress in piety?

If you are willing, and every Christian certainly will be, you are not to go forward blindly, reading and reflecting without system or plan, on the vain supposition that if the mind is actually employed on religious subjects, all is going on well. You must take into careful consideration the nature of the human mind, and the means which, according to the laws which the Creator has given it, are most calculated to have an influence over it. This principle will require attention to several points.

1. Variety in the exercises of the Sabbath. While reflecting upon this topic, and considering how I should present it here, I accidentally fell into conversation with a clergyman who had had far more experience as a religious teacher than I have enjoyed. I requested him to reduce to writing the views which he expressed, that I might insert them here. He soon after sent me the following:

"Many Christians who feel deeply the importance of spending the Sabbath in a proper manner, find, notwithstanding all their endeavors, that the sacred hours do at times pass heavily and wearily along. Now the Sabbath should be not only our most profitable, but our most happy day. I once knew a young Christian who resolved that he would keep the Sabbath in the most perfect manner possible, by passing the whole time in prayer; he did so, but very soon he became exhausted and weary. He however persevered through the whole day, with the exception of a few necessary interruptions; and when night came, he felt a deadness

Necessity of variety.

Religious books.

and exhaustion of feeling which he unhappily mistook for spiritual desertion. No human mind can, in ordinary cases, sustain very long and intense application to one subject; there must be variety, or the efforts that are made, however well meant and however faithfully persevered in, will result in mental exhaustion, listlessness, and spiritual lethargy.

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Let the sacred hours of the Sabbath, then, be appropriated to a variety of religious employments. Let us suppose the case of a young man,-the head of a family,—who wishes to pass the Sabbath in a way acceptable to God, and to enjoy his religious duties. Let us follow him through the hours of the day, and see what his arrangements might properly be:

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He rises early in the morning, and commences the day with a short, but fervent prayer, for the divine blessing; he then passes the time till breakfast, in reading the Bible. Perhaps, for the sake of variety, he spends a part of the time in reading the devotional portions, and a part in perusing its interesting history. At the breakfast-table, with cheerful countenance and heart, he leads the conversation to religious subjects; after breakfast he passes an hour in reading some valuable religious book,- -some one of those standard, practical works upon Christianity that are now easily to be obtained by all. Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Baxter's Saint's Rest, Law's Serious Call, Doddridge's Rise and Progress, &c. are works of standard merit, and works with which all Christians may, and should be acquainted. It is very desirable that the Christian should have on hand some book like one of these, which he will read in course, taking a moderate portion every Sabbath day, until he has finished it.

"At length the time arrives for the assembling of his family for morning prayers. He adheres to his principle, of endeavoring to secure an interesting variety, here. Sometimes he will read religious intelligence from a periodical,—

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