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tain it. No wonder that thofe children feek not God who never fee their parents bow a knee. Ye fhould take them alone and pray with them, and teach them to pray, laying the materials of prayer often' before them; and let them learn the Lord's prayer, and use it as a form till fuch time as they can conceive a prayer by that directory. For though we do not think the Lord has bound us to that form, (if he has, the forms of the English liturgy are moft impertinent, which intrude themselves on us, and do not leave us to it), yet that it may not be used as a prayer or as a form, I know none that do affirm; though it is plain it is principally intended for a directory in prayer, Matth. vi. 9.
Lastly, They fhould often be put in mind of their baptifmal vows: and I judge it adviseable, that when ye have been at pains to inftruct them in the principles of religion, and they have attained to a tolerable measure of knowledge, fo that with judgement they may perfonally confent to the covenant, as a child religioufly educated may be able to do betwixt nine and twelve years of age, if not before; it would be profitable to call them before you, and folemnly declare how ye have laboured to do your duty to them, as ye engaged in their baptifm, and require them exprefsly to confent unto the covenant for themfelves; taking them perfonally engaged to be the Lord's.
4. Correction, Eph. vi. 4. The Greek word there fignifies both correction and inftruction, and so does the English word nurture. They must go together; for inftruction without correction will hardly fucceed. Parents must keep their children in fubjection; if they lose their authority over them, the children will be children of Belial indeed, without a yoke, the end of which will be fad, Prov. xxix. 15. They must not only be corrected by reproof, but, when need is, with blows, Prov. xix. 18. Begin early, as foon as they are capable to be bettered by it; and let your love to them engage you to it, and not reftrain you, Prov.
xiii. 24. As ever ye would keep them out of hell, correct them, Prov. xxiii. 13. 14. I offer the following advices in this point.
1. Take heed ye correct not your children just tỏ fatisfy your own paffion; for the wrath of man worketh not the righteoufnefs of God. That is revenge, not correction. Let the end of your correction be the child's good. It were good, that parents, if they find themselves in a paffion, would firft beat down their own difordered fpirits, before they beat the child.
2. Let them know well wherefore ye correct them: for if the child know not what he has done amifs, he can never be bettered by the correction. And therefore pains fhould be taken to convince them of the evil of the thing; otherwife we deal not with chem as rational creatures.
3. Confider well the difpofition of the child. That feverity may be neceffary for one that will quite crush another. A man will not take his ftaff to thresh his corn, nor yet his flail to beat out kail-feed. Measure your correction then by the child's difpofition.
4. Go about the work with an eye to the Lord for fuccefs. Correct thy child in faith of the promise, Prov. xxii. 15. Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction fhall drive it far from him, viz. as a mean appointed and blessed of God for that end. It is our belief, and not our blows, that will do the business. And no doubt the neglect of this is one main caufe why correction oft-times does no good.
Laftly, Take heed ye correct not your children only for faults against yourselves, letting them pafs with their fins againft God. Many will give them a blow for a difrefpectful word against themfelves, who for lying, banning, fabbath-breaking, will never touch them. Their childrens croffing of them fhall not go unpunished, but it will be long ere they correct them for their fins against God.
5. The cafting them the copy of a good example,
Pfal. ci. 2. Children are apt to imitate their parents, but especially in evil. He that fins before a child fins twice, for he may expect that his fin fhall be acted over again. Let them then not fee you do any thing ye would not have them to do, nor fpeak words ye would not have them to follow you in. Your good precept will not stick, if it be not faftened with a good example.
6. Encouraging of them to do well; and when they do well, with kind looks, fpeeches, and actions, 1 Chron. xxviii. 20. Ingenuous fpirits are but abused, when they are always driven by way of authority, and not drawn in the way of kindness. The name of a father and mother founds of bowels of kindness; it is a pity it should ever degenerate into the nature of mere mafterly authority:
7. Lastly, Seasonable difpofing of them in marriage, if need be, Ruth iii. 1. 1 Cor. vii. 36. So did Abraham with his fon Ifaac, Gen. xxiv. and Ifaac with his fon Jacob, Gen. xxviii.; always confulting their own inclinations, not forcing them to this or that marriage against their will, which is but either to oblige them to disobey their parents, or to make themselves miferable to please them. The neglect of this duty may prove a fnare to the child, and bring grief and forrow to both.
4. There is a duty they owe to them at all times; and that is praying for them. Sometimes this is all they have access to do for them. But be they never fo far away, they fhould not be forgotten. Though they be out of your family, they should not be out of your prayers, as Job's children were not, Job i. 5. And parents fhould confider the feveral cafes of their children, and be very particular before the Lord for them. It is marked of Job, that he offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all, ib. And though in fome cafes this may not be convenient in familyprayers, yet, in fecret, parents fhould have their par* VOL. III.
ticular petitions for their particular children, according to their particular cafes.
5. Lastly, The duty that parents when a-dying owe to their children. We must all die, and leave our children, else they will leave us before. Lay up thefe few advices then for that time.
(1.) If providence furprise you not, call together your children, that you may do them good by your advice at your latter end, as Jacob did, Gen. xlix. 1. And do it timeoufly, left, if you delay, you be not able to speak to them when you would. A word from a deathbed has ufually more influence than ten words in a time of health; and words spoken with the dying breath of a parent are fair to stick.
(2.) Lay over your children whom ye are to leave, on the Lord himfelf; and whether ye have any thing to leave them or not, leave them on your covenanted God by faith, Jer. xlix 11. Accept of the covenant now, renew it then, and lay the ftrefs of their throughbearing on that God on whom ye have laid the ftrefs of your own fouls.
(3.) Give them your teftimony for God, against fin, and concerning the vanity of the world. If ye have had any experience of religion, commend Chrift and the way of the Lord to them from your own experience, Gen. xlviii. 15. 16. If ye have had experience of the evil and bitterness of fin, fhew them the ill of it. What courfes ye have found profitable for your foul, and what hurtful, mark these to them particularly. If experience fail, yet confcience may help you out, if awakened, to this teftimony.
(4) Give them your dying advice to make choice of Chrift as their portion, and holiness as their way, to cleave to it, living and dying in it. And what faults ye know are in any of them which ye could not before get reformed, let your dying lips again reprove, exhort, obteft, and teftify against, if fo be they may be perfuaded to hearken at laft.
(5.) Blefs them in praying for them to God the
fountain of bleffing; declaring withal that they fhall be bleffed, if they keep the way of the Lord.
(6.) Let your temporal affairs be fo ordered, as that after your decease they may not be a fnare to your children, a bone of contention, or an occafion of grudge one of them against another, If, xxxviii. Į.
Ufe. 1. This ferves for conviction and humiliation to those that are in that relation. In these things we offend all, both in the matter and manner of duty; which may fend us to the Father of mercies, through Chrift, for grace to remove our guilt, and to fit us to reform.
2. I exhort parents to be dutiful to their children, according to the will of God laid before you in his word. For motives, confider,
(1.) The strong tie of natural affection laid upon you. Our children are parts of ourselves, and therefore our bowels fhould yearn towards them, moving us to do to them all the good we can. There are three things that may make our affection work towards dutifulness to them,
 They have fin conveyed to them by natural generation, Pfal. li. 5, We may rejoice in them indeed as God's gifts; but alas! we may mourn over them as bearing naturally our own finful image. As they are our children they are children of wrath, they have a corrupt finful nature conveyed unto them, Did they derive fome hereditary bodily disease from us, how would we pity them, and do what in us lies to help them? but they derive a hereditary foul difeafe from Adam by us, and fhould we not pity and pray for them?
[2.] Great is the danger they are in, if we do not our duty to them, They are in a world of fnares; if we be not eyes to them, they may fall to their ruin. If the wild afs's colt be not tamed by education, they are in a fair way to be ruined in time by a finful life, Prov. xxix. 15. and if mercy prevent it not, they are in a fair way to be ruined to eternity.