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LEARNING TO WALK.
BY THE EDITOR.
Ir is our opinion that much may be learned from little children. Indeed, we have high authority for this belief; for we read that our Saviour taught his disciples a very important lesson by means of a little child. "Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest." And Jesus perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, and said unto them, 'Whosoever shall receive this child in my name, receiveth me; and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth him that sent me; for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great." On another occasion he told His disciples that, "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall in no wise enter therein."
Desirous of profiting by this kind of instruction, we have long since fallen into the habit of closely observing the ways of little children. Often when the day's work has been finished, have we sat in pleasant silence to notice "the fun and frolic" of these miniature people, carrying forward the play and business of a world on a small scale in the room before us. Though we have never been at a theatre-" O sanatas simplicitas"-Oh, holy simplicity !-yet we are well content, even though it be in our ignorance, to believe that such a scene is more instructive than a play at the theatre. We have before us the grave and the gay, a truly natural--not a feigned-mixture of comedy and tragedy; comedy when one tumbles unhurt over the other so that all laugh; tragedy when in such tumble one receives a bump against a chair that brings tears to the unfortunate, and calls forth the sad sympathy of the spectators. The scene when the little wounded one runs and buries his tear-suffused face in his mother's lap, is to us equally touching, and certainly far more natura', than anything in Shakspeare. If any differ with us, let them differ, for this is a free country!
Little Henry Lange, who is just learning to walk, has furnished us with many a lesson. lie is certainly very anxious to develop this important talent, so as to be able to do as the others do. dancing around the chair, adherence to which he still finds necessary, his keen glance at the agility of his little brothers and sisters, with an occasional shake of his whole body, in which his spirit longing for more freedom is confined, accompanied by a whole volley of gibberish, which means, "I would if I could”---all indicates that his whole soul longs most ardently for the acquirement of walking and running. The little chap evidently feels that, as the poet says, he is possessed of
"A faculty which he has never used;"
that there is an undeveloped talent slumbering in him, and he longs to be all that he may be.
This thing to observe in the little fellow, has vastly pleased us; and we have hoped, yea silently prayed, that the same spirit may be in him
always. For there are yet many other latent and repressed abilities in him besides that of walking; and it will give us great joy, in later life, even if there should then be gray hairs upon us, to find that he has s cceeded in developing all his mental and moral powers to their full extent, so that all the possibilities that are in him shall have become actualities.
Nor have we failed, when observing these ardent aspirations in the boy, to preach to ourselves on this subject from the text of his example. Deeply do we.feel, with one whose measure and stature we can never hope to reach, that we have not yet attained or are already perfect. We know not yet as we might know, and do not as we might do. Our nature is adapted for something far higher than we have yet reached; and what makes our case worse, the means for attaining a far higher mark are abundantly furnished us, and yet have we not used them as we should have done. This is a sad confession, but it is a true one. True we often resolve on something better, and at the beginning of this New Year we solemnly renew our purposes; but such is the weakness of human nature, and such the natural backwardness in using the means and helps of grace, that we still fear, though we make some progress, we shall nevertheless be found far behind the true mark at the close of the year-if, indeed, death shall not end our opportunities before its close!
Though we ever desire to deal with ourselves more severely than with others, yet we cannot but fear that others are in the same case of shortcoming. We daily see young people, who we fear are not as wise and as good as they might be. We see old people who have had a long life in which to develop their spiritual being, who, though they can walk naturally, have hardly learned to "walk with God." They would no doubt themselves confess, were they brought to the test, that they might be much more than they are. Indeed there are few persons who have developed their latent abilities as it was their privilege to do. If our present reader does not fall under this condemnation, he may cast the first stone at us for applying to him this lesson-or, in our absence, at the first little child, which in its strong efforts to walk furnishes the occasion for such reproof.
See the little fellow is so eager to move about that he is actually pushing the chair before him, and is highly delighted with the success that attends his efforts. We do not dislike this device of his; on the contrary, we are highly pleased with it. Is it not part of wisdom to use means to accomplish what without them we cannot attain? Most certainly. We have often found that the help of means has enabled us to do what otherwise would have been fairly beyond our power; and the only thing we regret is that we have so often neglected to employ their aid when they were at hand. By this folly we have left many things undone which were fairly within our reach.
See! he has made his way across the entire room by means of the chair! And the hearty laugh by which he celebrates his feat, shows what satisfaction the thought of it affords him. Indeed his childish joy makes us think of the way in which "apostles and martyrs" wave back their palms of victory, when, through much toil and tribulation, they have safely reached the shores of joy fulfilled. Yes, and they did it all,
not in their native strength, but by the means furnished them, and which in the ardor of their hope they failed not to use.
He seems to manifest a little pride in what he has done; but it is a good pride, for he still holds fast to the chair while he is ringing out his merry laugh, as though he would say, "By means of this chair, I have done it " Indeed, he has shown his humility by using the chair. He was not ashamed to lean on it. He did not hope to do it alone. It is pride, when we come to think on it aright, which discards means. It is haughty presumption that ventures alone beyond its capacity; and this pride, as we have often seen, goes before destruction, and this haughty spirit before a fall. We have ourselves sometimes foolishly refused to lean on the advice of others, when it would have been much better for us to have profited by their wisdom. We have seen the same folly in others. Indeed it is a mistake which particularly young persons are liable to make. Thus we have seen persons even in the matter of beginning business or life proudly, trying to walk alone when they should have leaned a little on the good judgment of others; and we have seen them tremble in consequence.
The little fellow is not satisfied to hang always to his chair. We do not blame him. He wishes to go forward in the way of self-poising and locomotion. It is right. But we admire his caution. He does not feel free to plunge forward into an untried territory without deliberation. See! he has wheeled around, and is measuring his latitude and departure with the scheming calmness of a ship captain. Still he rests one hand on his old friend, the chair! He reminds us of the man who was about to build a tower, but who first counted the cost, and whom our Saviour praised for so doing. It is better as the Poet says-with the change of a word or two, for which we ask his pardon
To hold fast to the chair he has,
Then let it go to tumble on the floor!
We have known persons who when beginning life, lived in humble but very comfortable dwellings, with plain but sufficient furniture; yet this did not suit or satisfy them. They longed for something better-and longed too ardently. They parted with the humble dwelling and the plain furniture, and aimed at a more spacious house and more costly style of living. But it afterwards appeared that they had made their move too soon; and the consequence was a tumble! We have seen children of larger growth who let go their father and mother, and home, to steer out into the wide, wide world, before either they or others were able to take better care of them than their parents had done We therefore admire the little fellow for keeping one hand on the chair, while he measures his strength, and surveys the ground on which he is about to
Off he goes at last! Well, after his precaution, we cannot blame him. He cannot stand by his chair forever. There is something in him which tells him that were foolish. There he goes! His knees break a little; he throws his feet awkwardly; he does not exactly know what to do with his hands-yes he does, for he has just now thrown out his arms to get his balance; there is no use, that we can see, for opening wide his mouth; but no doubt he has his reasons for it. Let him have his own way. There he goes !-right into his mother's lap! Well done, my boy!
Whether other attempts will succeed as well, we may doubt. He wil no doubt experience many a tumble before he learns the whole art of walking; but this belongs to all human efforts. Even St. Peter, and since his time many a one whose name was not Peter, has often fallen before he learned to walk firmly and steadily. If he only gets up again for a new trial; and this, from the wit that he has used in the first attempt, we have no doubt he will always do.
That he steered toward his mother, even past ourself, does not displease us. On the contrary, we are pleased with it. We hope he may do so still as he grows older. Yea, we hope he may never learn to make such wide excursions into the world, that he will get beyond the power of that sacred attraction It looks well in children of larger growth, there to lay their honors down, seeking safety and the approving smile from her, whose patience and love has blessed the period of helpless infancy.
It is said that our own great Washington, when the victory of Yorktown had been achieved, did not wait to receive the public congratulations of a devoted nation, but unconscious of his honors, hastened to his mother's! It is a touching fact. But shall we tell you of a greater still? It is written that He who achieved for the world a liberty infinitely greater than that secured for us by the father of his country, when sorrow and suffering had driven Him to the utmost, and He was suspended on the cross in agony beyond what angels can compute, "for us men, and for our salvation," turned with longing look toward her who bore Him, and who on her own bosom had
"Nursed Him with a lulling motion,"
asking with all the affection of a child for that sympathy which he had
It is man's mission to guard woman against his own folly and her weakness. No man is worthy of a woman's love who disregards that great duty, the knowledge of which Nature herself has implanted in his breas.
APPLES OF GOL D.No. II.
Ira furor brevis est.*HOR.
SPENCER thus depictures anger :
And him beside rides fierce revenging wrath
And in his hand a burning brand he hath,
To extinguish anger utterly is but a boast of the stoics. We have better oracles: "Be ye angry and sin not let not the sun go down upon your wrath." Anger must be limited and confined both in its course and duration. A man is by nothing so much himself, as by his temper and the character of his passions and affections. If he loses what is manly and worthy in these, he is as much lost to himself as when he loses his memory and understanding. The passions act as wind to propel our vessel, our reason is the pilot that steers her; without the wind she would not move, without the pilot she would be lost.
We will first inquire how the natural inclination and habit of anger may be attempered and calmed; secondly, how the particular excitements of anger may be repressed, or at least restrained from doing mischief; thirdly, how to raise anger or appease it in another.
For the first, there is no better way than to consider and ruminate well upon the effects of anger, how it sours the temper, disturbs the ease, and troubles a man's life. The continuance and frequent fits of anger produce an evil propensity and habit in the soul of wrathfulness, which often ends in choler and moroseness, when the mind becomes ulcerated, peevish and querulous, and like a thin, weak plate of iron, is dented and fractured by the least impression. And the best time for this review is when the fit is thoroughly over. Had I a careful and pleasant companion says Plutarch, that should show me my angry face in a glass, I would not take it ill; for to behold a man's self so unnaturally disguised and disordered, would conduce to impeach the folly of anger. Seneca says well, "That anger is like rain, which breaks itself upon what it falls." The scripture exhorts us to possess our souls in patience. Whoever is out of patience, has lost his self-possession. This, too, is folly; men must not turn bees; animasque in vulnere ponunt. Angry and choleric men are as disagreeable and unsociable as thunder and lightning, being in themselves all storm and tempests; but quiet and easy natures are like fair weather, welcome and acceptable to all; they gather together what the others disperse, and reconcile all whom the others incense. As they
* Anger is a brief madness.