Another domestic amusement is the collecting of shells, plants, and specimens in geology and mineralogy, for the formation of cabinets. If intelligent parents would procure the simpler works which have been prepared for the young, and study them with their children, a taste for such recreations would soon be developed. The writer has seen young-boys of eight and ten years of age gathering and cleaning shells from rivers, and collecting plants and mineralogical specimens, with a delight bordering on ecstasy; and there are few, if any, who by proper influences would not find this a source of ceaseless delight and improvement.

Another resource for family diversion is to be found in the various games played by children, and in which the joining of older members of the family is always a great advantage to both parties, especially those in the open air.

All medical men unite in declaring that nothing is more beneficial to health than hearty laughter; and surely our benevolent Creator would not have provided risibles, and made it a source of health and enjoyment to use them, if it were a sin so to do. There has been a tendency to asceticism on this subject, which needs to be removed. Such commands as forbid foolish laughing and jesting, "which are not convenient" and which forbid all idle words and vain conversation, can not apply to any thing except what is foolish, vain, and useless. But jokes, laughter, and sports, when used in such a degree as tends only to promote health and happiness, are neither vain, foolish, or "not convenient." It is the excess of these things, and not the moderate use of them, which Scripture forbids. The prevailing temper of the mind should be serious, yet cheerful; and there are times when relaxation and laughter are not only proper, but necessary and right for all. There is nothing better for this end than that parents and older persons should join in the sports of childhood. Mature minds can always make such diversions more entertaining to children, and can exert a healthful moral influence over their minds; and at the same time can gain exercise and amusement for themselves. How lamentable that so many fathers, who could be thus useful and happy with their children, throw away such opportunities, and wear out soul and body in the pursuit of gain or fame!

Another resource for children is the exercise of mechanical skill. Fathers, by providing tools for their boys, and showing them how to make wheelbarrows, carts, sleds, and various other articles, contribute both to the physical, moral, and social improvement of their children. And in regard to little daughters, much more can be done in this way than many would imagine. The writer, blessed with the example of a most ingenious and industrious mother, had not only learned before the age of twelve to make dolls, of various sorts and sizes, but to cut and fit and sew every article that belongs to a doll's wardrobe. This, which was done for mere amusement, secured such a facility in mechanical pursuits, that ever afterward the cutting and fitting of any article of dress, for either sex, was accomplished with entire ease.

When a little girl begins to sew, her mother can promise her a small bed and pillow, as soon as she has sewed a patch quilt for them; and then a bedstead, as soon as she has sewed the sheets and cases for pillows; and then a large doll to dress, as soon as she has made the under-garments; and thus go on till the whole contents of the baby-house are earned by the needle and skill of its little owner. Thus the task of learning to sew will become a pleasure; and every new toy will be earned by useful exertion. A little girl can be taught, by the aid of patterns prepared for the purpose, to cut and fit all articles necessary for her doll. She can also be provided with a little wash-tub and irons, and thus keep in proper order a complete miniature domestic establishment.

Besides these recreations, there are the enjoyments secured in walking, riding, visiting, and many other employments which need not be recounted. Children, if trained to be healthful and industrious, will never fail to discover resources of amusement; while their guardians should lend their aid to guide and restrain them from excess.

There is need of a very great change of opinion and practice in this nation, in regard to the subject of social and domestic duties. Many sensible and conscientious men spend all their time abroad in business, except perhaps an hour or so at night, when they are so fatigued as to be unfitted for any social or intellectual enjoyment. And some of the most conscientious men in the country will add to their professional business public or benevolent enterprises, which demand time, effort, and money; and then excuse themselves for neglecting all care of their children, and efforts for their own intellectual improvement, or for the improvement of their families, by the plea that they have no time for it.

All this arises from the want of correct notions of the binding obligation of our social and domestic duties. The main object of life is not to secure the various gratifications of appetite or taste, but to form such a character, for ourselves and others, as will secure the greatest amount of present and future happiness. It is of far more consequence, then, that parents should be intelligent, social, affectionate, and agreeable at home and to their friends, than that they should earn money enough to live in a large house and have handsome furniture. It is far more needful for children that a father should attend to the formation of their character and habits, and aid in developing their social, intellectual, and moral nature, than it is that he should earn money to furnish them with handsome clothes and a variety of tempting food.

It will be wise for those parents who find little time to attend to their children, or to seek amusement and enjoyment in the domestic and social circle, because their time is so much occupied with public cares or benevolent objects, to inquire whether their first duty is not to train up their. own families to be useful members of society. A man who neglects the mind and morals of his children to take care of the public, is in great danger of coming under a similar condemnation to that of him who, neglecting to provide for his own household, has "denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."