(An excerpt from a letter from Legh Richmond to his daughters. This one is longer—but it is choice. Must reading for parents and their children.)

My dear daughters,

With a heart full of affection, I sit down to express a few sentiments and intimations of my wishes, as connected with your conduct. Keep them constantly with you, and let them be read over, at least once a week. May God render them useful to you!

AMUSEMENTS. Plays, balls, concerts, cards, dances, etc., etc. 
Serious, consistent Christians, must resist these things, because the dangerous spirit of the world and the flesh is in them all. They are the 'pomps and vanities of this wicked world,' so solemnly renounced by God. To be conformed to these seductive and more than frivolous scenes—is to be conformed to this world, and opposed to the character and precepts of Christ. Those who see no harm in these things—are spiritually blind; and those who will not hear admonition against them—are spiritually deaf. Shun, my dear girls, the pleasures of sin—and seek those pleasures which are at God's right hand for evermore. You cannot love both!

The characters of people, are speedily discerned by their choice of books. I trust that you will never sacrifice time, affection, or attention to novels. Do not be ashamed of having never read the fashionable books and novels of the day. A Christian has no time, and should have no inclination for any reading which has no real tendency to improve the heart. There are too many valuable books on a variety of worthy subjects, which ought to be read—to allow for time to be dedicated to unwholesome and useless ones!

Shun all the wretched foolishness and corruption—of light, silly, and amorous songs; on the same principle that you would shun books of the same nature. Sacred music is the true refuge of the Christian. I wish your ears, your hearts, and your tongues were often tuned to such melodies. The play-house, the opera, and the concert-hall—have deluged our society with perversions of the heavenly art of music. Music was designed to lead the soul to heaven—but the depravity of man has greatly corrupted God's merciful design for music.

Aim at great neatness and simplicity. Shun finery and show. Do not be in haste to follow new fashions. Remember, that with regard to dress—that Christians ought to be decidedly plainer, and less showy than the people of the world. I wish it to be said of my daughters, "With what evident and befitting simplicity, are the daughters of Mr. Richmond attired."

Be cheerful—but not gigglers.
Be serious—but not dull.
Be communicative—but not overbearing.
Be kind—but not servile.
In every company support your Christian principles, by cautious consistency.

Beware of silly or thoughtless speech—although you may forget what you say—others will not.

Remember! God's eye is in every place, and His ear is in every company!

Beware of levity and familiarity with young men; a sincere, yet modest reserve, is the only safe path. Grace is needful here; ask for it—you know where.

Strive to preserve a praying mind through the day—not only at the usual and stated periods—but everywhere, and at all times, and in all companies. Prayer is your best preservative against error, weakness and sin.
Always remember that you are in the midst of temptations; and never more so than when most pleased with outward objects and people.

Pray and watch; for though the spirit is willing—yet the flesh is deplorably weak.

Keep ever in mind—that you have a Christian profession to sustain—both in pious and worldly company. Be firm and consistent in them both. Many eyes and ears are open to observe what you both say and do—and will be, wherever you go. Pray to be preserved from errors, follies, and offenses, which, bring an evil name upon the ways of God.

You may sometimes hear ridicule, prejudice, and censure assail the godly—it ever was, and will ever be so! But, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven!" Do not be ashamed of Christ here—and He will not be ashamed of you hereafter.

Initiate and encourage serious conversation, with those who are truly serious and conversable. Never go into pious company, without endeavoring to improve the souls of others. Whenever you can find a congenial friend, talk of heaven and eternity, and your soul and your Savior. This will be as a shield to your head—and your heart!


Look first for grace. Do not disesteem godly people on account of their foibles, or deficiencies in matters of little importance. Gold, even when unpolished, is far more valuable than the brightest brass. Never form unfavorable opinions of religious people hastily, "love hopes all things." Prize those families where you find consistent family prayer; and suspect evil and danger, where it is avowedly unknown and unpracticed. Always remember the astonishing difference between the true followers of Jesus, and the unconverted world—and prize them accordingly, whatever be their rank in society.
Good manners and piety form a happy union; but poverty and piety are quite as acceptable in the eyes of God; and so they ought to be in our eyes. Experience proves that the proportionate number of the truly godly among the poor, is much greater than the corresponding proportion of numbers among the rich.

Your affectionate father,