Page:Letters to Mothers (1839).djvu/197

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so often cease to advance in the same ratio, become restive, inert, or apparently deteriorated, that I cannot, but regard with more [148] true satisfaction, a fabric, built lip slowly and solidly.

"I left my boy at his books," says the parent, with a self-complacent smile. Now, though it is far better to read, than to do mischief, we cannot always be certain, that reading is a defence from every danger. A boy if idle, may choose a book as a refuge from incumbent industry; or if ill-disposed, may select an improper one; or if thoughtless, may read the best volume, without remembrance, or improvement. So, though a taste for reading, is an indication of mental health, and a claim on gratitude, yet let no mother feel perfectly at ease about her children simply because they read; unless she knows the character of the books that engage their attention, and what use is made of the knowledge they impart.

"I shall never feel satisfied, says another parent, till my son acquires a love of reading." Study the impulse of his mind. Perhaps, his tools are his books. The Roman might have been accounted idle, while he traversed the shore, to collect the wave-worn fragments of the broken ship of Carthage. Yet thence arose the navy of Rome. Noah, might have been accounted visionary, while he built the ark, amid "the contradiction of sinners," but under the impulse of heaven.