S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
Bishop John Jebb
Christianity did not come from heaven to be the amusement of an idle hour, to be the food of mere imagination; to be as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and playeth well upon an instrument. No: it is intended to be the guide, the guardian, the companion of all hours; it is intended to be the food of our immortal spirits; it is intended to be the serious occupation of our whole existence.
There is a branch of useful training which cannot be too heedfully regarded: I mean the education that children give themselves. Their observation is ever alive and awake to the circumstances which pass around them; and from the circumstances thus observed they are continually drawing their own conclusions. These observations and conclusions have a powerful influence in forming the character of youth. What is imparted in the way of direct instruction they are apt to consider as official; they receive it often with downright suspicion; generally, perhaps, with a sort of undefined qualification and reserve. It is otherwise with what children discover for themselves. As matter of self-acquisition, this is treasured up, and reasoned upon; it penetrates the mind, and influences the conduct, beyond all the formal lectures that ever were delivered. Whether it be for good, or whether it be for evil, the education of the child is principally derived from its own observation of the actions, the words, the voice, the looks, of those with whom it lives. The fact is unquestionably so; and since the fact is so, it is impossible, surely, that the friends of youth can be too circumspect in the youthful presence to avoid every (and the least appearance of) evil. This great moral truth was keenly felt, and powerfully inculcated, even in the heathen world. But the reverence for youth of Christian parents ought to reach immeasurably further. It is not enough that they set no bad example: it is indispensable that they show forth a good one. It is not enough that they seem virtuous: it is indispensable that they be so.