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latter to spare no pains to provide, in the best manner which they are able, for the eternal happiness of the former. When they reflect, too, that their children are candidates for the unseen glories of eternity, which they must secure by a life of faith and righteousness, or be driven from the presence of God into outer darkness, surely those parents who have any fear of God, or real love for their children, will not neglect any means in their power of promoting the salvation of their precious souls.
1. Parents are required by God to pay the strictest attention to this duty. “These words, saith the Lord, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children; and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou
In the most earnest manner does Solomon adınonish parents to bring up their offspring in the fear and knowledge of God, from a consideration of the benefits which accrue therefrom in time and eternity : “ Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it b." To“ bring up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” is a most effectụal step for preserving and perpetuating the knowledge of God and religion amongst men, from one generation to another, even to the end of time.
2. To the faithful discharge of this sacred obligation Christian parents strongly bind themselves, by entering their children into covenant with God almıost as soon as they are born. In the ordinance of baptism, by which their children are devoted to the service and honour of Christ the Saviour, alDeut. vi. 7–10.
Prov. xxii. 6.
Eph. vi. 4.
though they do not answer in person for them, yet they choose friends who solemnly engage to join with them in seeing their children - virtuously brought up to lead a godly and a Christian life. Now, by a neglect of duty, in this important particular, this solemn ordinance of Christ is turned into a useless and unmeaning ceremony. : 3. This duty is more incumbent on parents, because they are entrusted by God with the office of forming the minds of their children on religious principles; which they should be solicitous to do in youth, when they are most capable of receiving and retaining good impressions. If this best opportunity for instructing them in the truths of God's holy word be lost, every future means of grace may fail of the wished-for effect; and then, can we feel any surprise if they should live in ignorance of God, and of “the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eter, nal glory;" and, at last,“ perish for lack of knowledged?” And, indeed, it is unreasonable to expect that children will. attach any value to religion, when parents are so criminally negligent, as never to mention it, or to press its duties upon
them. We may learn, in two instances which Scripture furnishes, in what a different light God regards those who attend to, and those who neglect, the proper education of their children ; as they clearly shew, that He particularly observes the conduct of parents in this respect.
Notice the high commendation which He gave to the “Father of the faithful.” “ The Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham the thing which I do? for I know him, that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord.”
d Hos. iv. 6.
of the Lord.” God honoured him in the most singular manner, by giving him a promise of Christ, and expressing his approbation of his conduct, in religiously educating his children, and bringing them up in the fear of his holy name.
Mark, on the contrary, the anger of God against those parents who shamefully allow their children to act as they please. The case of Eli, and the fate of his two sons, should be a constant warning to all who have the charge of instructing youth. Eli possessed a knowledge of the ways of God; but, “ because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not,” he drew on himself, and on them also, the just indignation of the Lord. By allowing them to persist in evil practices, instead of suitably chastising them, he became an accessary in their crime, and thus brought perpetual disgrace on his family'. iis • How truly was the declaration fulfilled in the experience of Abraham and Eli, “ Them that honour ine, saith the Lord, I will honour ; and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed 8”!
Finally; the depraved state in which children are born lays a strong obligation on parents to promote their salvation.
They are born in sin, and shapen in iniquity.” It is not, then, to be wondered at, if we discover in them, from their infancy, the effects of this spiritual disease; such as, passion, frowardness, pride, selfishness. The seeds of vice, sown in their hearts, will soon grow, ripen, and bring forth, abundantly, every pernicious fruit, unless due pains are taken, in dependence on the Divine blessing, to prevent it in childhood.
How, then, can those parents be said to love the "Gen. xviii. 17-20. '1 Sam. iii.'l1-16. 3 ib. ii. 30.
souls of their children, who do not bring them in the arms of faith and prayer to Christ, that he may bless and save them? You are shocked at the barbarity of those who desert their offspring, and cast them on the precarious charity of others for support. But do you, parents, act a more humane part, who suffer your sons and daughters to pass through a world full of sin, temptation, and danger, without supplicating for them, and advising them to seek the light and assistance of God's Holy Spirit, to lead them to the knowledge and practice of their duty ? If you permit your children to enter on different stations in life without an acquaintance with the truths of religion, you will leave them to perish in a wilderness, from whose destruction none can escape, but through the grace of God.
And let parents, who thus cruelly bring up their children in ignorance of all which it concerns them to know, think of the insufferable anguish they will feel at the day of judgment, when their offspring will
aloud for vengeance on their heads ; ascribing to their infidelity and cruel negligence the eternal misery which they will be doomed to suffer."
These affecting considerations should excite parents early to instil into the minds of their children the doctrines of the Christian religion, and to "lead them in the paths of righteousness ;” that thus they may be fitted to join the blest society of saints above, and share with them the happiness and glory of the eternal world.
ON THE DUTY OF PARENTS TO INSTRUCT THEIR CHILDREN
IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF RELIGIOUS TRUTHS.
Ephesians vi. 4.-Bring up your children in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord. The preceding Lectures will have taught parents the duty, necessity, and utility, of teaching children the knowledge of God. We shall now mention those particular truths and doctrines of religion, which it is proper to impress on their tender minds during infancy and childhood.
1. As soon, then, as reason begins to dawn, it is expedient for parents to instruct their children in that fundamental point of religion, the existence of a God. Tell them, in the plainest terms, that there is a great and glorious Being who lives in heaven above, whom they and all others should love, and fear to offend. Declare to them, that it was He who made them and all mankind; the sun, and moon, and stars; the heaven above, and the earth beneath, the sea, and all things which they severally contain ; all of which are supported and preserved by his providential care. Inform them, that it is God who appoints the various changes in the seasons, for the manifestation of his own glory, and for the general benefit of mankind; that he orders the sun to shine, and the moon and stars to give their light; that he causes day and night, summer and winter, spring and autumn, to return at stated periods ; and that he“ worketh all things after the counsel of his own will," and manages the affairs of this world “ as seemeth best to his godly wisdom.”