Parents have a responsibility in regard to their offspring originating prior to their birth. Their own state of health -- the health of father and mother- -- has a very important bearing upon the constitutions of their yet unborn children. If a father's nervous system has been marred and broken by habits which are at war with nature's law, the generations following him will be more or less unhappily affected. While, then, he is doing wrong to himself, he is doing wrong, and bringing suffering upon his posterity. If a mother's system has been weakened by violations of law, her children, prior to birth, will be obliged to participate with her in suffering the penalty. And having received the inheritance of disease or debility before birth, they must, more or less, be the partakers of it through life. Parents have also a heavy responsibility on them, touching the moral character given to their children before birth. If parents are accustomed to undue indulgence in any of the natural propensities -- in eating or drinking, or any other animal appetite -- their children are sure, prior to birth, to inherit appetites of the same kind, possessing a similar degree of undue activity.

In the same way, previously to birth, children are affected in their dispositions. A child, after birth, and more or less through life, will give a living illustration of the feelings and immediate character of his mother during the period of her pregnancy. If the mother, during that period, especially the latter part of it, indulges a gloomy, evil-foreboding state of mind, her child will give proof of it in after life. If she indulge a peevish, or fretful, or crying disposition, her child will give her ample testimony to the fact after birth. Some have inherited directly from a mother an almost unconquerable appetite for strong drink; others, an almost uncontrollable inclination to theft; not because their mothers, in all cases, were habitual drinkers or thieves, but because they suffered those feelings to affect them strongly sometime during their pregnancy. Many physicians would deny the truth of these statements; but no one who has taken the pains of observing facts touching this matter will be found in that category; for facts are unconquerable things. The inspired proverb, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it," contains a great practical truth as a general rule: but under the most judicious discipline, the child will bear, in greater or less degree, the moral complexion which his mother gave him before she gave him birth.

Fathers, as well as mothers, and all those with whom a mother may associate, are involved in this responsibility. The father should remember that his manner and treatment of his wife during her pregnancy has much to do with the disposition she may possess during that period. He should be careful to remove, so far as possible, every source, real or imaginary, of uneasiness, unhappiness, peevishness, or gloominess, from her way. He should take pains to make her happy and cheerful; and see that every appetite which conies up is, if possible, forthwith gratified. If that appetite should be for strong drink, it had better be gratified to the full, rather than (hat she give, by that continued longing, an indelible imprint of that kind upon her offspring. In the light of these truths, what tremendous responsibilities are evidently laid upon parents. But as this work relates mainly to physical health, further remarks on that of morals might seem irrelevant.

The object of these remarks is to elevate the standard of general health in the rising generation. One great cause of the feebleness of constitution with which the great body of community is at the present day afflicted, may be found in the total ignorance or recklessness of parents and guardians of the laws of health as applied to those under their care. To look in upon many domestic circles, and see how the children are managed, is enough to move a heart of marble, with sorrow for the children, and with indignation towards their parents. The children may be seen, about every hour in the day, with a lunch of bread, or pie, or cake, in hand. Their young and tender stomachs are kept in continual confusion and toil.

Children should eat only three times a day. They should be brought under the same dietetic rules which are laid down for all persons. It requires about as much time for their organs to digest food as is required for grown persons. And if the digestive process be hurried and confused, their food docs not nourish them as well, and they cannot grow as strong and robust. Little newborn infants' constitutions are not unfrequently ruined for life, by mismanagement. Because the child cries a little, it must be dosed with a little peppermint, or anise-essence, or paregoric, or some other stimulating article, which begins at once to derange his stomach; and through his stomach, his whole system is injured, and probably for life. And if the inquiry should be made, in after years, what can be the cause of such a feeble, slender constitution? an enlightened observer would be able to reveal the secret, by showing the treatment received in infancy.

A systematic diet should always he adopted by mothers and nurses at the very dawn of the child's existence. In the first place, after birth, a little cold water only should be put into the child's mouth. The habit of beginning to give some stimulant, as though the Creator of the child had given it only half life enough, is perfectly murderous: instead of giving it a chance to live of itself, a course is taken which is adapted to kill it; or if not kill it, to maim its little constitution for life. If the writer of this could be heard, he would "cry aloud, and spare not," in the ear of every nurse, with the little being in her arms, Let that child live! If it be necessary to give the child any nourishment before it can obtain it from the mother, it might take a little slippery elm water, or something of that mild and simple nature: but if it can draw its first nourishment from the fountain which the Author of its being has provided, it is better.