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MORALS.
261
One of the most common, and, if we consider all the temptations to which children are ex­posed, one of the most venial vices of childhood, is falsehood. It manifests itself in various ways,—in direct lying, in deception, artifice, tergiversation, misrepresent at ion. equi vocation, exaggeration, &c. There may he a difference in children as to the facility with which they adopt these faults, but I believe that falsehood is spontaneous in very few of them. Truth is natural to children, and if they resort to any form of deception, it is, in almost all cases, through the infection of bad example. A child does not lie until he perceives some advantage to result from it—cither the attainment of some good, or escape from some evil. And who teaches him this policy ! Either his little com­panions or the grown-up people around him.
But however the vice of deception may origi­nate, it is one of the most hurtful and danger­ous to which children are exposed. Like a thrifty weed, it grows rapidly from small begin­nings, and soon engrosses the whole soil, to the exclusion of useful plants. It deadens the mind to the heauty of truth, and, after long indulgence, blinds the moral vision, so that it cannot clearly discover the path of rectitude. It displaces frankness, and substitutes slyness;
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