Page:Letters to Mothers (1839).djvu/105

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LETTER IX.

EARLY CULTURE.

WHO can compute the value of the first seven years of life? Who can tell the strength of impressions, made ere the mind is preoccupied, prejudiced or perverted? Especially, if in its waxen state, it is softened by the breath of a mother, will not the seal which she stamps there, resist the mutations of time, and be read before the Throne of the Judge, when the light of this sun and moon, are quenched and extinct?

We are counseled on this point by the humblest analogies. Does not he who would train a dog, or tame a tyger, or exhibit an elephant for gain, begin his system early, before time has rendered the muscles rigid, or rooted ferocity in habit, or set bounds to sagacity by impairing the docile spirit? And is animal nature worthy of more earnest effort than intellectual? or can motives of gain be compared with the hallowed impulses that move parents to seek the good of their offspring?

The husbandman wakes early, though the