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2. Then assure your children that God is unalterably good and gracious; that he is loving unto every man, and that his tender mercy is over all his works ; that the eyes of all wait upon him, and he giveth them their meat in due season; yea, that he openeth his hand, and filleth all things living with plenteousness.
Next, speak of God's kindness in giving them food and raiment," and all good things richly to enjoy.” To impress this conviction on their minds, let them see, in Spring, the whole face of nature clothed with beauty, and covered with the bounty of God to all his creatures. Tell them it is He who sendeth the refreshing shower; and warms the ground with his sun, that it may produce grass for the cattle, and bread for the service of men. Assure them the beneficence of God is so extensive, that upnumbered millions in heaven, earth, and in the watery ocean, are sustained by his power.
In Summer and Autumn,“ when the fields are filled with sheaves of corn, and trees bend under their load of fruit, fix their attention upon God, the invisible, yet sole author of all the plenty around them."
In the Winter, shew them how the elements proclaim their Maker’s glory; how the frost hardens the earth as iron, and congeals rivers into solid ice; how his snow covers the earth, and shuts up men in their habitations; and, in an instant, by his word, he dissolves them, when they have answered the valuable purposes for which they were sent“. .
Point out to your children the matchless power of God, as exhibited in loud peals of thunder, and in the fiery arrows of lightning which pass before their a Psalm cxlv.9-17.
as ib. cxlvii. 16-19.
eyes. Let them listen to the fury of the tremendous storm, and see some of the ravages which it produces. "And then let them know, that.“ fire and hail, snow and vapours, and the storiny wind,” however violent in their operation and effects, fulfil the pleasure of God, by whose sovereign decree they move and acto.
By thus shewing children the wisdom, power, and goodness of the Lord in the works of his hand, and the great changes and events which he constantly brings to pass, you lead them to adore their Creator, and impress on their minds a sense of his presence and agency pervading every place throughout the universe.
3. The next truth which children can understand, is, that health, strength, sleep, and preservation, are the gifts of God. Tell them that many of their fellow-creatures are visited with sickness, pain, and sorrow, and are destitute of those blessings which they enjoy. This will teach them the necessity of gratitude to the bountiful Giver of all good things, and excite them to trust in Him for a supply of every needful benefit. They must be taught to ascribe their safety from the dangers which hourly surround them, to the watchful care and kindness of God, who keepeth them from evil.
Further; it will be of much use to inforın thein that life and death are the appointment of God; that we cannot live a moment longer than he assigns us ; and that death will come at a fixed hour, to convey us to our eternal home. Tell them that death is a passage from this world into one which is upchangeable, where men are to live for ever in happiness, or misery inconceivable; that the wicked and disobedient will then be cast into hell; but the
b Psalm cxlviii. 6-9.
good and righteous shall be received into heaven, to inherit joy and honour evermore bb.
Should you or your children be brought by disease to the borders of the grave, let them be told that it was by the power of God they were recovered ; and that you have been restored, through his tender mercy, to continue the guide of their youth, their affectionate counsellor, and best earthly friend. This representation will incline them to love the Lord, who has done such great things for them.
4. Now they will be able to form some notion of the moral character of God: and therefore they should be frequently reminded, that he is holy and just, that he hates every kind of iniquity, whether it shew itself in thought, word, or deed ; and loves righteousness, as the perfection of his rational creatures. · Tell them, that God understands the secret of their hearts, and knows every thing they say and do; and, therefore, that it is in vain to hope to conceal what they do amiss from His all-seeing eye, which " beholdeth the good and the evilo.” Assure them, moreover, that God will punish them, if they live wickedly, and die without repentance; but that he will bless those who obey him in this life with signal tokens of his favour, and make them happy after death, through all eternity.
By a fear of God's displeasure on the one hand, and a wish to secure his blessing on the other, dissuade and restrain them from evil, and excite them to the practice of what is good and commendable.
5. “Correct your children, from their infancy, for stubbornness and quarrelling, for lying and stealing in the least degree, for using bad words, and for bb Mat. xxv. 34-42. . • Jer, xxiii. 23, 24. Heb. iv, 13.
every mark of a cruel disposition.” Tell them that these things are hateful to God, who will punish, with endless pains and torments, those wicked persons who do the things and indulge the evil tempers which he forbids.
By the prospect of obtaining the rewards of heaven, stir them up to the pursuit of true piety and virtue. Acquaint them that God will ever love and bless those who fear to displease him, and honour his holy
And always encourage any good act which they may perform, by a suitable acknowledgment of the pleasure you receive from it.
6. Moreover, inform them that the Bible is the Word of God; which, as soon as they are able, it is their duty to read, in order that they may commit its leading truths and precepts to memory, for the fixing of their religious belief, and for the regulation of their hearts and conduct. Thus will they imitate the bright example and share in the bliss of Timothy, who is commended by St. Paul, because "from a child he had known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus cc."
Not only teach them to pray every morning and evening, but take care that this important duty be on no account omitted, as both you and they desire to secure the favour and blessing of the Almighty.
When they are old enough to behave with propriety, conduct them to Church on the Sabbath-day, and preserve them from profaning it by any disorderly behaviour.
7. Were parents thus conscientiously to instruct their children, they would, in general, be much restrained from outward vices and irregularities; be
cc 2 Tim. iii. 15.
tolerably well informed respecting their duty to God, to themselves, and mankind; and grow up, with the Divine blessing, “as trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, by whom he would be glorified
And how can parents more decidedly shew their desire to promote the best interests of their children, both in this life and that which is to come, than by endeavouring to bring them up in the fear of God, who will render his faithful servants supremely happy for evermore ? Isa. Ixi. 3.
* 1 Sam.ii. 30.
ON THE DUTY OF PARENTS TO INSTRUCT THEIR CHILDREN
IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF RELIGIOUS TRUTHS. Eph. vi. 4. Bring up your children in the nurture and ad
monition of the Lord. The plan of religious instruction, recommended in the last Lecture, should be diligently used until children have attained the age of twelve or fourteen years. When arrived at this period, they are generally more or less capable of understanding the doctrinal truths of the Christian religion, and of perceiving the force of those arguments upon which our obedience to it is required. Now, therefore, parents will incur the displeasure of Heaven, if they do not inculcate on children the strong obligation which they lie under to fear and love God, and to delight in his word and service.
But, as they cannot rightly dedicate themselves to the glory of their Maker without a knowledge of the leading articles of our most holy faith, it is high time, at this advanced state, to teach them the following Scriptural truths.