By Rev. S. Phillips, Chambersburg, PA, 1859
From Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History
Rosalie J. Slater, Ed.
Foundation for American Christian Education: The Principle Approach*
1 Thessalonians 2:7
To nurse means . . . to protect, to foster, to supply with appropriate food, to cause to grow or promote strength, to manage with a view to increase … In horticulture, a shrub or tree is the nurse or protector of a young and tender plant. We are said to nurse our national resources…
In the same sense and for the same reason, the Christian home is the nursery of the young … The nursery is that department of home in which the mother fulfills her peculiar mission. This is her special sphere. None can effectually take her place there. She is the center of attraction, the guardian of the infants’ destiny; and one like she, can overrule the unfolding life and character of the child. God has fitted her for the work of the nursery. Here she reigns supreme, the arbitress of the everlasting weal or woe of untutored infancy. On her the fairest hopes of educated man depend, and in the exercise of her powers there, she sways a nation’s destiny…The nursery is that department of home in which the formation of our character is begun…
The nursery is moral and spiritual. The first moral and religious training of the child belongs to the nursery, and is the work of the mother. Upon her personal exhibition of truth, justice, virtue, &c., depends the same moral elements in the character of her child. In the nursery we receive our first lessons in virtue or in vice, honesty or dishonesty, in truth or in falsehood, in purity or in corruption. The full-grown man is the matured child morally as well as physically and intellectually. The same may be said of the spiritual formation and growth of the child. Spiritual culture belongs eminently to the nursery. There the pious parent should begin the work of her child’s salvation…
[Let us all thank God for our mothers.—Ed.]
*P. 17. Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History and Government: The Principle Approach is available from http://face.net/. Used by permission.