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ye are of. The following are a few of his remarks: The design of Christianity is to rectify the inward temper of our souls, and to produce a change in our conversations. All the doctrines of it are revealed with this practical view, as well as the precepts, the promises, and the threatenings, which directly carry that aspect. Though we should have the clearest notions of truth, and should seem to be most fully persuaded of the divine original and authority of the gospel; yet, if our faith be a mere speculation in the head, without making us partakers of the divine nature, it will neither be honourable to God, nor advantageous to ourselves. It is therefore a matter of the last consequence to us all, to discover whether we are formed to the Christian temper.

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8. What spirit are we eminently of by natural temper? Nothing is more obvious than the vast difference of tempers among mankind; and that not only arising from difference of education and of external impressions, which, without doubt, make no small change in the dispositions of men : nor yet owing merely to long habits and customs of vice on the one hand, or the peculiar grace of God on the other; which certainly make the greatest distinctions between man and man; but also a difference founded in natural constitution. We may see this in childhood, before the mind is moulded by instruction, or example, or a course of practice; and on the contrary, it is hardly ever extinguished in riper years. Besides the general corruption of nature, apparent in some instance or other in all; some from the very first dawnings

1 Luke ix. 55.

of reason discover more than others, either a sour and rugged disposition, or a hastiness of temper, or some such disagreeable bias, which grows up with them to men. And though this may be considerably abated by a good education, and especially is much rectified by the grace of God in good men; yet, where it is the constitutional bent, it usually finds people more work for care and watchfulness all their days, than it does to others. If we turn our view the other way, there is early visible in some an easiness and gentleness of disposition, an inclination to humanity and tenderness, or the like engaging turn of mind.

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9. Now in this sense, it would be the wisdom of every man to know what spirit he is of, to study his own temper, which way that most naturally and readily carries him. For according to the tendencies of our constitution, if we carefully observe them, we may discover what temptations, in the ordinary course of life, need most to be provided against, and in what way we are most likely to be useful. Those sins most easily beset men, and are hardest to be overcome, which have constitution strongly on their side: a man may justly esteem them to be eminently his own ini-. quity. And as every sort of natural temper has its particular disadvantages and dangers, so no sort is without some advantages, which, if carefully attended to and improved, may contribute to our serviceableness in life. Those of a sanguine make, are more exposed to the temptations of levity and sensuality, and therefore have most occasion to be more on their guard; but then they are better prepared for a cheerful activity in doing good, if they be right set. The heavy and

phlegmatic, as they are more prone to indulge sloth and idleness, so, if they get over this temptation, they can with greater ease bear close and long application, than those of more quick and active spirits. The dark and the melancholy temper lays men open to unreasonable fears and despondencies, to malice and censoriousness, if the devil and a corrupt heart have the government of it; but under the direction of grace, it gives men a peculiar advantage for seriousness. The sweet and gentle disposition, as it exposes to more hazard from the impressions of ill company and seducing sinners, so it gives a truly good man no small advantage above his neighbours, as a commendatory ornament of religion to those with whom he converses. The knowledge, then, of our own spirits in this respect, as to the predominant natural temper to which the body disposes, is well worth our cultivating.'

10. I cannot dismiss this section without reminding parents that a great responsibility devolves on them. I seriously believe the ruin of many tempers may be justly charged to the undue severity, or the false tenderness, or the total negligence of parents. We shall do well to re


If good we plant not, vice will fill the mind,
And weeds take up the space for flow'rs design'd:
Those very passions that our peace invade,
If rightly govern'd, blessings may be made.



1. I HAVE already pointed out some defects of parents in the preliminary management of children, thereby rendering them very intractable subjects for the tutor or schoolmaster. But even if they were faultless, and their children entered school in ever so orderly a manner, there is still a risk by reason of the unfitness of many teachers, and the disorders of many schools and academies. Hence, many respectable parents, with a proper sense of the importance of education, have found it difficult to fix upon a school; and to avoid risk, have engaged a private tutor or governess. And even this measure has not always answered expectation, by reason either of the inexperience of such teachers, or the imprudent interference of the parents with their due authority. Of this latter, the excellent Thomas Scott had some experience in the family of G. W- , Esq. 'I gave

1 Part i. chapter i. page 23.

considerable offence by my endeavours to preserve a degree of authority over my pupil.' He adds in another place, 'In proportion as I became more decidedly attentive to religion, my company was less agreeable; and, some difference arising about the management of an indulged child, I was dismissed from this employment.'1

2. It requires no ordinary wisdom and patience to become the teachers and guides of youth; and considering the incessant crossings to which such persons are liable from the great variety of dispositions in their pupils, I can make every reasonable allowance. It is generally admitted that the more ignorant the teacher, the more impatient and austere is his conduct. And if he assume the office rather for subsistence than from a ruling predilection for training the young, his temper will sufficiently evince that his heart is not in the work.


3. Some, who assume the important office of tuition, are extremely unfit for the task; and, indeed, they are likely to be so, if they assume it chiefly for the conceit of taking pupils:' so cross, so short, so reserved, they goad and cow their pupils, however diligent or willing. Instead of encouraging and leading them by a reasonable help, they confuse and impede them with an overbearing and intemperate warmth; the effect of which can hardly fail to be very pernicious.

4. It will be acknowledged by all that there is a great diversity in the tempers of boys. Some are so incorrigibly idle and froward that they must be continually coerced, which must be very dis

1 Life, p. 91, 100.


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