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peculiarities which endear it to the parents, or some one has qualities or defects which cause the parents to mourn. Inconsiderate and thoughtless parents will often take sides for the interesting child against the dull one. In the family of Isaac this partiality was carried to an extreme. Isaac loved Esau, and petted him; Rebekah made a pet of Jacob. Consequently the two boys hated each other, and discord was brought into the family circle. All appearance of partiality should be avoided among children.

children. With an even hand the parent should balance the scales of justice, remembering that oftentimes the favorite one becomes vicious and depraved, while the dull one grows up to honor and virtue. Some one has taken pains to collect the facts in relation to eminent men, and it has been found that many who have arrived at high positions were not favored and flattered in youth. We are told that when“ Berzelius, the eminent Swedish chemist, left school for the university, the words 'Indifferent in behavior and of doubtful hope' were scored against his name; and after he entered the university he narrowly escaped being turned back. On one of his first visits to the laboratory, when nineteen years old, he was taunted with the inquiry whether he understood the difference between a laboratory and a kitchen.” We are told that the father of the great Isaac Bar

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row used to say, if it pleased God to take from him any of his children, he hoped it might be Isaac, as he was the least promising; that Milton and Swift were justly celebrated for stupidity ; that Walter Scott had the credit of having the “ thickest skull in the school,” though Dr. Blair told the teacher that many bright rays of future glory shone through that thick skull; that “ Clavius, the great mathematician of his age, was so stupid in his boyhood, that the teachers could make nothing of him till they tried him in geometry;" that “Carracci, the celebrated painter, was so inapt in his youth that his masters advised him to restrict his ambition to the grinding of colors;” that the distinguished “ Sir Isaac Newton, in his boyhood, was inattentive to his study, and ranked very low in school until the age of twelve ;” that “Goldsmith was dull in his youth, and Shakspeare, Gibbon, Davy, and Dryden did not appear to have exhibited in their childhood even the common elements of future success; » that “when Samuel Wythe, the Dublin schoolmaster, attempted to educate Richard Brinsley Sheridan, he pronounced the boy an incorrigible dunce;' the mother of Sheridan fully concurred in this verdict, and declared him the most stupid of her sons;” that “ Dr. Scott, the commentator, could not compose a theme when twelve years old, and


even at a later age, Dr. Adam Clarke, after incredible effort, failed to commit to memory a poem

of a few stanzas only.” An English writer, speaking of a distinguished female authoress of that country, says she could not read when she was

Her mother was rather uncomfortable about it, but said as every body did learn with opportunity, she supposed her child would do so at last. By eighteen, the apparently slow genius paid the heavy but inevitable debts of her father from the profits of 'her first work, and before thirty had published thirty volumes.” These cases, and a multitude of others which might be cited, from the living age of some of our own countrymen, should teach parents the folly of any partiality which would elevate one favored child above another. In the mind of the dull, rough boy, there slumbers a spirit which will wake by and by, and perhaps astonish the world. Mirabeau, when a boy, was of most hideous personal appearance, and so awkward and ill mannered, that his father hated him, and took every occasion to show his dislike. Yet Mirabeau had powers of mind which, if rightly directed, would have made him a brilliant star in the world. But the false views of his father, who had no idea that his son would ever be any thing but a disgrace to him, made the young man a fiend incarnate.


Parents often lay the foundation of long and hostile feuds among their children by a favoritism growing out of the preference for one over another; and if there is any thing which they should check, it is an exhibition of such partiality, if it exists in their minds. Isaac and Rebekah, each turning from the other, with partiality for a favorite child, are a beacon light to warn us; and the conduct of Rebekah, while her husband was lying on his death bed, is a monument which stretches its dark shadow down three thousand years. And yet we would not harshly condemn this fond and erring mother. She lived in an age when there were no Bibles printed ; no volumes teaching the parent her duty; no discourses delivered to those who sustained the endearing relation ; no manuals of long approval to guide ; but an age when all the views of life were low, and society itself was a crudity almost chaotic. An Israelitish woman, a writer of tender pathos, willing to cast the mantle of her sex over this erring sister, thus kindly writes of the wife of Isaac :

“ Rebekah was a partial, but not a weak or unkind mother. She loved Jacob better than his brother, but Esau was still her son, her first born ; and 0, low painfully must her heart have yearned towards him, when she heard his great



and exceeding bitter cry!'-Hast thou but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice and wept!' — Esau, the rude, the careless hunter, who had seemed to care for nought but his own pleasures — the chase, the field, the wild! He bowed down by his blind father like an infant, and wept, beseeching the blessing of which a mother's and a brother's subtlety had deprived him. Could Rebekah have been a witness, or even hearer, of this scene without losing all the triumph of success in sympathy with the anguish of her first born? It is impossible to ponder on her previous character without being convinced of this. It is not from one act, one unresisted temptation, that we ought to pronounce judgment on a fellow-creature; yet, from our unhappy proneness to condemn, we generally do so.”

Of the death of Rebekah we know but little. She lived many years, saw her children advancing in life, reaped the bitter fruits of her partiality and deception, and dying, was buried in the field of Machpelah. The early part of her life darkens with the shadow cast upon it by one single act near the close. So it often is, in this our life, that some man or woman lives long honored and beloved by all, useful and virtuous, but in life's decline so far forgets, and falls, as Rebekah did, as

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