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often become like boisterous winds, that overwhelm it in def. truction. Wherefore a rational and moderate course in this bu. finels lies between a haughty rigour, a supercilious frown, and a domineering aspect on the one hand, and angry heats, fond indulgences, and easy weakness on the other. I readily grant it is difficult for our corrupt natures to maintain at all times that dignified <quanimity of foul, which reason, common sense and the holy fcriptures direct, but this is what we always ought to be aiming at, praying for, and making our polar Itar.
Secondly, would we wish for orderly and well governed families, wisdom is of leading importance. Wisdom is of the ttmoft moment in all things to direct. Hence we should lá. bour for prudence and skillfulness in this matter. The person who undertakes to be the head of a family, uudertakes to go. vern the same. In order wisely to perform our duty herein we ought to acquaint ourselves with the different tempers and
disposition of those who are under our carc, not to treat every One just in the same way, but as prudence and difcretion may dire&t. Some are more intelligent, and some more dull, fome more forward and impertinent, some backward and bashful ; fome of tendes, and others of tubborn dispositions. Each one in various refpects requires a different treatment. Some are best managed by love, and gentleness, while others have need of sharpness and severity.-We must also observe a due dir. tinction between diferent faults, and proportion our rebukes and reprehenfions to the fame; and not act according to the cultom of too many, be rigidly severe for a small offence, and (carcely take notice of one which is much greater. It is an affecting maxim, “ That our minds, spirits and tempers, are “not always at our sight hand." There is a family justice which ought to be maintained, as well as public justice in the common wealth. And when an equity of difpenfation in cen. sures is not kept up, family government fufers injury and is
endangered. Let us be careful that we show ourselves wise parents, and that love holds the dominion in all our exercises of government. Where our families see that their good is our habitual end, they will be the more readily induced to yield a ready obedience. If we would have others reverence propriety and good order, let us be careful to respect them ourselves. Is he fit to restrain others from paflion, drunkeness, and unfeem. ly conduct, who cannot restrain himself ? Will not inferiors despise reproof for crimes, of which, they see the superiors 10Loriously guilty ?
Thirdly, would you maintain a right and christian Govern. ment in your houses, religion is an essential requifite. Mens actions generally follow the prevailing bent of their dispofitions. If we are governed by true piety ourselves, it will have a mighty influence upon the good order of those under our inspection. Let our own souls be in subjection to God and Jesus Christ, and show a more steady obedience to the divine precepts, than we can expect any should yield to ours. If we venture to disobey Jehovah why should others fear to disobey us? Are we more capable of punishing mis. conduct, or bountifully rewarding obedience than the most High ? Take heed then that the honor and authority of God be supported in your families, and be more tender in your re. bukes for faults against yourselves, than those which are againft the Majesty of Heaven and Earth. This was the iniquity of Eli, that his children greatly dishonored God, and he reftrained them not. Let us be earnest for the salvation of the immortal souls of our families, and be more careful to provide for them, an interest in heaven, than an inheritance upon earth. Let us not only pray with and exhort them, but also teach them to pray. Let us frequently be dropping things in their presence, which may have a tendency to awaken their atten tion to God, their fouls and eternity.
I know, my dear brethren, by long experience, that it is easier to preach than practise. A man can with facility form an excellent essay in his study, from which in practical life his deviations are numerous. However this may be, it is use. ful to have a good copy before us. Tho'we may never be able perfe&ly to imitate the masters line, yet it may be of the highest improvement and advantage to the learner, often to be casting his eye upon it.
I Arall now conclude this discourse with some motives to impress the observation of this fubje& upon every head of a household that we may be all induced to practise it as far as in our power.
If there were a proper government of families maintained what bleflings might we not expect would redound from it to fociety, to church, and state, to families themselves and the world ? Nature itself fhould deeply engage us in the careful and diligent education and government of our households. Your children are as it were parts of yourselves, your understanding and feelings, dispose you to love and provide for them as yourselves. Can you then be negligent of their greatest con. cerns, their usefulness and comfort in this world, and their felicity in the next. Can you bear the thought of manifesting to your children mere animal affection? This the brutes of the field and the birds of the air exhibit to an higher degree in re. spect to their offspring, but as soon as they are able to shift for their own sustenance, the appearance is, they are remembered no more! Consider my brethren, it is not mere animals we have, to tame and govern, but to educate and train rational and immortal beings for the service of God, and the bappiness of fociety. Nature teaches children some things without our affittance, but the God of Nature hath intrusted the most efe
Cential things to our care. It is govēFhment, discipline, and education, that forms the man. If we only instruct them how to get a living for a few days or years in the world, and they are not taught the knowledge of themselves, of God and Jesus Christ, and the way to heaven, can they feel any sentiments of gratitude to you in eternity for their existence, yea, perhaps, they will rather curse the day of their birth forever. It is in the power of parents to do their families the greatest kindness or injury. Aid them to an holy acquaintance with God, and to an interest in the precious Saviour, and you do more for them than if you made them presidents of nations or kings of the earth. If
you only instruct them for worldly and ungodly purposes, they are as likely to perish as if you had fold them to Satan. Many in ancient times sacrificed their children in the burning brafs of Moloch's image, what do they better in modern times, 'who neglect the religious government, and rational and chris. tian education of their children? The way to manage and bring up our offspring for God and happiness, and the way to bring them up for destruction are clearly represented unto us in the oracles of truth. When we indulge them in licencious courses, wink at their vices, teach them the first principles of gambling, and indulge them in infernal orgies, and bachanalian routs, what could we do more for their everlasting ruin, if we had studied their destruction ? Can it be probable that such children will be found in heaven, more than that Hophni and Phineas, those two vile fons of Eli are there? Let us be exhorted to take warning and learn every one to govern his own house. If he be worse than an infidel who provides not food and raiment for his household, what must the monster be, who allows his children in all manner of wickedness ? Nay, it would take the pencil of a Seraph, to draw the pi&ture of such awful, inhuman, and barbarous parents. I entreat you, my dear fellow immortals, by the mercies of God, by the precious souls of your dear children, that you be not found such fathers as Eli, or such unnatural monsters as destroy their offspring.
Exert the authority in your families which God hath invested you with, restrain your children from vice, set before then examples of piety and virtue, bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, so that if they perish, ther blood may not be found in your skits. Let the counsel of Solomon be engraven upon every parental heart, “ Train up a child in " the way he should go, and when he becomes old, he will not "depart therefrom."