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dren to him, “ He took them into his arms, and bleiled them, "and declared, of such is the Kingdom of God." Are little ones capable subjects of the blessings of Heaven. Surely this was the opinion of our Lord. Do they pertain to the Kingdom of God? Whether by this phrase may be meant the Kingdom of the Church on earth, or the Kingdom of Heaven, it amounts to the same thing. I apprehend the declaration of our Lord, ought to be taken in the moit extensive latitude as compre. hending both. This lays a consolotary foundation for all be. lieving parents, who have dedicated their infant feed to God, to enjoy a satisfying hope, that if they die in infancy, they are fanctified and translated to glory. It is probable, heaven is much more peopled with little ones, with the lambs of the flock, than we are ready to imagine.
Secondly, seeing children very early begin to manifelt an evil temper, and the corruption of their nature, it is the part of parents by all possible means to restrain and guard against it. The habits of fin are of an encreasing nature, and are to be suppressed as far as poflible. It is ealielt to bend the tree while it is young. But if after parents have done in wisdom and prudence what was in their power, the children should turn out froward and evilly disposed, they may have much confolation and peace in their minds that they have per. formed their duty. Alas! how far from right is the conduct of many parents, who, before the little ones can well walk, will learn them to beat the floor that hurt them, and teach them to torment and mutilate Aies and other insects, and a train of such improprieties, hereby nourishing in them, a spirit of revenge, malice, and cruelty, while they know not what they do.
As soon as children are capable of any instruction, or when they begin to take in the knowledge of common things, parents should begia to instil into their tender minds, a difference be
tween right and wrong, some rudiments of moral and religious import. A heathen could once say, “A vessel will long retain a favor of that liquor with which it is first seasoned." Hence it is of high importance that their infant understandings should be early tinctured with wholesome and virtuous principles, which may have a happy influence upon them through. out the whole of their after lives. “ 'Train up a child,” says the wise man, “ In the way he should go, and when he becomes “ old he will not depart therefrom." This not merely expresfes a commandment to employ proper means to promote their temporal interest, but also to use every rational and scriptural method of instruction to advance their spiritual and eternal interest.
Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of “the Lord."
Thirdly, parents ought, neither to act nor speak before their children, things which would be of dangerous consequence for them to follow. Example has generally a greater influence upon persons than precept, and more especially upon the minds of youth. That is the age of imitation. And as they are naturally prone to evil, so any thing bad presented before them, catches like fire on superadded fuel. Wherefore parents ought to be pleasant and circumspe& in all their walk and conversation before them, not giving an undue loose to their tongues, nor indulging themselves in any base or wicked frivolity in their presence. How awful is the conduct of such who can curse and swear and issue forth the spume of hell in torrents of obscenity before their children. Can they expe&t any thing else, but that they will learn and imitate their abominations? Beware of backbiting, reviling, and Dandering where they are, or you will teach them to be talebearers, tallers and Qanderers, and form them to be the plagues of society.
Fourthly, parents must take heed that they do not cxercise feverity for trifles, and show themselves too much offended ac childish inadvertencies, left they should disgust and provoke their children to wrath, weaken their own influence and mar their authority over them. Rarely will they receive useful instruction from those for whom they have no proper regard. Wherefore as parents tender the weal of their children both in this world and in that which is to come, they ought to concil. iate their affe&tions, and ingratiate themselves into their favour and esteem, convince them of wrong, and induce them to that which is right, rather by rational and perfuafive confide. sations, than by the furious or gloomy austerity of authority. However young, they must be ruled as creatures possessed of reason. If they perceive that your advice, counsels and exhor. tions flow from a just affection and esteem, for they become carlier fond of esteem than we are apt to conceive, then they will be more ready to give a listening ear, imbibe, and heartily yield obedience to your instructions. How unhappy, and how much to blame are those, who never manifest any government, only when it is accompanied with anger, corruption and ill-nature?
Fifthly, parents should guard against an allowance of their children in an exceflive boldness and impudent familiarity with them ; neither on the other hand, should they estrange themselves from them, nor keep them at too great or a fearful distance. Extremes in all things, are to be avoided as much as poflible. Meekness, tenderness and kindness, ought over to preside on their lips. All restraints, commands and rational indulgencies, should appear to proceed from love and for their good. This is a likely course to render themselves amiable and respectable in the eyes of their children, and so to educate them in the ways of righteousness and in an abhorrence of iniquity. This tends to render them upright and sincere in your presence, as well as faithful and diligent in your absence. Pa.
rents, who condu& with propriety tow rds their children, may safely show their authority when they commit faults worthy of correction. They will feel the conviction, that it is the fault which causes displeasure, and that the parents treatment of them is designed for their amendment, improvement and good.
Sixthly, parents ought to endeavour to bring up their off. spring in obedience to themselves, to bow their wills by times, to reclaim their deviations from propriety, and implant in their little souls the feeds of every virtu:. Parents should ftudy to know the will of God, and be conscienciously persua. ded, that they urge nothing upon them, but what is agreeable thereto, and warranted by the di&tates of reason. Alas! many children are allowed to long their own head, and to have. their own will, that when it becomes absolutely necessary that authority should be exerted, it is an arduous task either to restrain or subdue them. Yea, at length, some wax fo refrac. tory and ungovernable, that they escape beyond the power of discipline, and had they have been duly managed in season, might have been formed to be useful members of society ; but an over and too long indulgence has been their ruin. Where. fore parents should early begin in tender affection, and in the wiselt manner, to show them the excellencies of obedience, how pleasing to God, and their parents, and how comfortable and happy it will be to themselves, as also the great evil of Aubbornness, wilfulness and disobedience,
Seventhly, parents should as much as posible separate their children from bad company, Evil communication corrupts good manners. Young persons insensibly slide into an imitation of those they make their companions. Hence it is of great consequence in the education of children that they should be preserved from hearing profanity, and have no opportunitie
of beholding the external copies of vice. But as a desire of fellowship and society is connatural to us from our cradles, it is incumbent upon parents, to have an eye upon the company of their children, and see that it be fuch, from which they learn not evil, but rather that they may imbibe from it. the principles of decency and virtue, and which may be likely to recommend to them the pleasure, beauty and advantages of piets.
Eighthly, parents ought frequently to inculcate upon the minds of their children the examples of early religion recorded in the scriptures, such as the histories of young Samuel, Josiah, Obadiah, Timothy, and others. This would have an excellent effect in restraining from vice, rendering their conscience tender, and inducing them to seek after piety in their youth. Children lhould have their hearts deeply impressed with a great reverence for the holy scriptures ; and when the doctrines, truths and duties of religion are spoken of, it ought always to be with solemnity, gravity and seriousness ; so that even before children can understand holy things, they may have a reverence of them upon their minds.
Lafiy, parents ought to pray with and for their children, to teach them to pray, and as soon as expedient cause them to *end public worship, to respect God's fanctuaries and fabbaths. They should hear their parents recommending frequently good people and persons eminent for piety and God. liness of their acquaintance. These recommendations they will easily receive. Before they can understand doctrines, they can learn in general what kind of persons are most happy or most miserable. If you possess them of good and honorable thoughts of fuch as fear God, they will be usually afterwards disposed to think respectfully of them. They will wish to hear pious ministers and to be such chriftians.