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O monster of mankind! hast thou laid aside humanity, as well as christianity?

9. The church and commonwealth require this office of love from you in relation to your children; and if you neglect their education you take a course to corrupt both. It is worth observing, that the heathen Romans in their courts of judicature, brought actions against such persons as were not careful in educating their children; Cicero laid this to the charge of Verres, that he had debauched his son, by intemperance, riot, and lewdness; it seems it was actionable among heathens, and it were well if it were punished among pretended Christians. Woe be to that town where the springs are poisoned; sad is the case of that church and state where academies and inns of court are corrupted, yea, corrupters, where strange children are born and brought up;* no reformation can be expected till public schools be reformed. It is said of Protagoras that he lived sixty years, and forty years in corrupting youth; if not only old trees in an orchard be rotten but young also, what fruit can be expected? it is fit they should be digged up, by this we may divine what would become of a church or kingdom without education. Consider,

10. The painful consequence of parents' neglecting the education of their children. "A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame," Prov. xxix. 15; throw the reins on a child's neck, and whither will he not run? "A foolish son is the heaviness of his mother," and the "calamity of his father;" neither father nor mother has joy in a wicked child, and usually they may thank themselves for it. The Switzers had a law, that if a child was condemned to die, the parent should execute him, because though a pious man may + Prov. x. 1. xix. 15. xvii. 21.

Isa. i. 4. Hos. v. 7.

have a bad son, yet it is neglect in parents which is usually the ruin of their children. O what shame will cover the face, and horror fill the conscience of a bad father, or a good father conscious of guilt, when he shall see his child running the downward road to everlasting woe! I advise you therefore to a timely care to prevent these dreadful consequences.

But what course should parents take that sin may be restrained in their children, and that they may be principled with grace, and brought within the covenant of God?

I answer this is an extensive and ordinary topic on which I cannot now insist. Practical divines lay four great duties before parents, for the bringing up of their children: provision, correction, instruction, and prayer.

1. Providing food, raiment, and a calling. This, though a great duty, I pass as belonging not to our case; only I find this remarkable passage, that the Athenians ordered in their laws, that if parents had not brought up their children in a lawful calling, the children should not be bound to keep their parents. Thus all were set to trades.

2. Correction. Here I shall not enlarge, only observe, that it should be done seasonably, Prov. xix. 18, "Chasten thy son while there is hope," some put it off till children become too stubborn; do it with self-reflection, humiliation, moderation, and prayer, instructing them respecting their fault, and the way to mend it. I pass this.

3. Instruction. If I had more leisure, I might treat, at length, both on the matter, and the manner of performing the duty, something however may be said,

(1.) As to the matter. Instruct your children in the main fundamental principles of our christian religion, namely, that there is a God, concerning his na

ture and perfections; the persons of the God-head; the creation of the world, and of man; the immortality of the soul, the nature of sin, the fall of Adam, and the sad fruits thereof; the remedy by Christ, his humiliation, offices, exaltation; the duty of man; the nature of a church; the privileges and character of believers; the ordinances; the state of all men after death; rewards and punishments, &c.

You are likewise to instruct them relative to the covenant of grace; the nature, use and ends of it; the difference between this and the old covenant of works; the mediator of it; the terms, privileges and conditions thereof; the seals of it, baptism and the Lord's supper; the importance and necessity of souls being within it; press them with arguments to enter into it, give directions about it.

(2.) With respect to the manner of instructing your children. You must do it-early, as soon as they are capable, when only drawn from the breasts, that they may suck in knowledge with their mother's milk, as Timothy.*-Frequently, once is not enough, but you must inculcate truths on them, whet them, as you go oft with the knife to the whet-stone, so the word signifies.t-Experimentally, not by rote or hearsay, work things on your hearts, learn and speak the truth as it is in Jesus; speak feelingly, from the heart, as one that believes himself.-Wisely; observe the tempers of your children, some must be drawn, others driven, provoke not the tender-hearted to fretting or discontent.

-Seasonably; observe proper yielding seasons, as a good humour, affliction or conviction, speak to them words upon the wheel, or at some favourable time when they will be best taken. §-Kindly, winningly,

* Isa. xxviii. 9. 2 Tim. iii. 15.

|| Jude 22, 23. Col. iii. 21.

+ Deut. vi. 7.

§ Eccl. viii. 5.

Eph. iv. 21. Prov. xxv. 11.

meekly, not in a passion, but draw with cords of love, oil them with affection, and they will go gently; even bitter pills coated with sugar will be well taken.*

-Plainly and familiarly, not in high-flown language, but using similitudes, speak as they are able to hear, come on gradually, by drops, here a little and there a little.+-Faithfully; search the wound, do not skin it over, a tender hand makes a foul wound, a weak dose rather stirs, than purgeth out bad humours, rebuke sharply. Scripturally; bring your authority along with you, shew them chapter and verse, God's authority joined with yours may prevail much, these are spiritual weapons. ||-Devoutly; pray solemnly § by ejaculation before instruction; it is not your work but God's to make it successful; be sensible that all is lost if God commence not by striking with the great hammer, the hammer of his quick and powerful word.

4. The last duty of parents in reference to their, surviving children is prayer. This is a natural duty, and a general relief to the aching hearts of pious parents, not only for obtaining children, as in the case of Hannah, but for grace in children, when they go astray; hence it was that holy Abraham, with whom this covenant was first made, breathes out his longing soul in a short ejaculation for his wild son, "O that Ishmael might live before thee!" Gen. xvii. 18, as if he had said, I thank God for Isaac, but I am not satisfied with Isaac only, I must beg spiritual and eternal life for my extravagant son Ishmael, though he be not the son of the promise, yet let him be a son of promise; if Isaac must have the earthly Canaan, let not Ishmael be excluded out of the heavenly. Thus must you plead with the Lord for children.

Hos. xi. 3, 4. + Isa. xxviii. 10, 11. || Acts xviii. 24, 28. 2 Cor. x. 4, 5.

Luke xix. 22. Tit. i. 13. § Rom. x. 1.

To assist you herein, I shall subjoin some pleas, arguments, and encouragements, not to move God, but to quicken your faith, hope, and importunity. Thus then say :

(1.) Lord, this covenant which thou hast made with believers and their seed, did spring only from the fountain of thy free grace; this promise commenced before I had a being, and therefore could not depend on any worthiness in me. The Lord did not set his love on Israel because they were better than others, but because he loved them, the love of benevolence produced the love of complacency, it is an everlasting love both in its origin and duration;† it hath no cause but in God's breast, and shall have no end. Lord, for thy word's sake, yea, "for thy servant's sake," namely, Christ, who is God's essential word, and according to thy own heart, hast thou done all these great things ;‡ hadst thou seen any obstruction on my part, thou wouldest have forborne making this covenant. But such a covenant there is, and as grace made it, so let grace perform it.

(2.) Lord, thou art true and faithful in the performance of thy promises. Mercy made this covenant with Abraham, truth performs it to Jacob; thou art not as man that thou shouldst lie, thou hast sworn by thy holiness that thou wilt not lie unto David. || Well, Lord, in hopes of the performance of thy covenant, I gave up my children to thee in baptism, wherein thou tookest them as thine own, and dost thou now repent of thy choice? O no, thou hast told me in thy word, that thy covenant promises are as sure as the waters of Noah not again overflowing the world; yea, the moun

* Deut. vii. 7, 8.

+ 2 Sam. vii. 21, compared with 1
|| Mic. vii. 20. Numb. xxiii. 19.

+ Jer. xxxi. 3.

Chron. xvii. 19.
Psal. lxxxix. 35.

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