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fential things to our care. It is government, difcipline, and education, that forms the man. If we only inftru&t 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 Jefus Christ, and the way to heaven, can they feel any fentiments of gratitude to you in eternity for their existence, yea, perhaps, they will rather curfe 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 intereft 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 inftruct them for worldly and ungodly purposes, they are as likely to perifh as if you had fold them to Satan. Many in ancient times facrificed 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 chriftian 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 deftruction 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 ftudied their deftruction? Can it be probable that fuch children will be found in heaven, more than that Hophni and Phineas, thofe two vile fons of Eli are there? Let us be exhorted to take warning and learn every one to govern his own houfe. 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 picture of fuch awful, inhuman, and barbarous parents. I entreat you, my dear fellow immortals, by the mercies of God, by the precious fouls of your dear children, that you be not found fuch fathers as Eli, or fuch unnatural monsters as deftroy their offspring.
Exert the authority in your families which God hath invested you with, restrain your children from vice, fet before them examples of piety and virtue, bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, fo that if they perish, ther blood may not be found in your skirts. Let the counfel of Solomon be engraven upon every parental heart, "Train up a child in " the way he fhould go, and when he becomes old, he will not "depart therefrom."
Some Duties of Parents to their Little Children.
Ephe. vi. 4. And ye fathers provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
RELIGION is of fuch a nature, that it extends to every age and every character. Not only does it command the attention of the mature in age, but younger years are to be directed by it. And little ones, the fweet lambs of the church, before they can appear to us to think, or reason, are to be taken into its guardianship. O! how precious is the church of Chrift! It fpreads its wings over the whole body of the faithful, but in the fofteft and tenderest manner broods the young. A great trust is committed to parents; every infant, thrown into their fond embraces by heaven, is ever attended with this pleafing commiffion, "Bring up this babe, and nourish it for "immortality; you feel it in your arms a precious creature, "and it is given to you to render it useful in the world and to form it for eternal felicity." The tender charge is folemn,
and the chriftian heart glows with affectionate gratitude, and fays, "Lord, with pleafure I undertake the business, it shall be my delight, to do all in my power to answer the gift, and ful my truft."
Allow me here to make one remark arifing from long experience and much obfervation. That a people accustomed to hear the doctrines of grace, to be taught the first principles and experimental views and exercises of internal and vital religion, all which are invisible to their fellow men, they will bear in this refpect, the moft clofe and fearching preaching; but when the visible parts of religion and external duties are explained and inculcated, none more grated and offended than these. Their bearts are among the first to pronounce it carnal and legal preaching. Multitudes in all our congregations, wish their minifters to dwell more upon the moral duties, and vifible virtues of piety than they generally do. This has its finifter origin in two motives; the one is, that in this, they will be equal to their neighbours; and in the other, they will stand on apparent and vifible ground in certain refpects fuperior to many blazing and experimental profeffors. The fubtilties, and tortuous windings of the human heart are exceeding hard to unfold; fome are all for invifible exercifes, and for experimental preaching, and others for morality, and the exterior duties of religion. Both in certain refpects are right, and both wrong. What God has joined together ought not to be put afonder. The feparation is dangerous and ruinous. The one cannot fecure the glory of God and the happiness of the creature without the other. No internal experiences, be they what they may, can introduce to heaven, without the vifible works of righteoufnefs, where there is time for their manifeftation; and no outward exhibitions of morality, however fplended, without holiness cf heart, will ever bring the foul to the fruition of God.
I fear thefe remarks, however juft and proper in themselves, are estraying me from my subject, one defign of which is to fhow that the nature and evidences of true religion confift much in the faithful performance of relative duties. And ministers are not only to warn against perfonal and relative, but also against every inquity which is a tranfgreffion of the law of Chrift. Let minifters ever have the folemn charge given by God to Ezekiel upon their minds, "O! "Son of man, I have fet thee a watchman unto the house "of Ifrael, therefore thou fhalt hear the word from my mouth, " and warn them from me; when I fay unto the wicked, O! "wicked man, thou shalt surely die: If thou doft not speak to "warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man fhall die "in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thy hand; "nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn "from it; if he do not turn from his way, he fhall die in his " iniquity, but thou haft delivered thy foul." O! that God would impress these fentiments upon my heart, and that I might fee them engraven upon my hands, that they may be ever before me, while I treat of the relative and moral duties of our holy religion.-One of these duties muft engross your attention for the prefent. The words of our text evidently contain a comprehensive and compleat exhortation to parents, refpecting the education of their offspring. The proper and wife education of children, in all the extenfion of usefulness, arifes far beyond our conception. They are hereby formed to be bledings in this world, and often to be ftars of glory in the next. The evil and unhappy confequences of omiffion or negligence in this business are beyond the powers of imagina tion to defcribe.
The divine counfel given, is addreffed to parents in general, who are here defignated by the term fathers. Although fathers are only expreffed, yet undoubtedly mothers are herein included. The fuperior parent often involves the inferior.