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ominous marks of deep depravity, in children and youth, to despise and abuse pious, parental instruction, and is generally followed, by a very vicious and abandoned life. Those, who break over a pious and religious education, general break over all other restraints, and become prodigies in wickedness. But were children and youth ever more disposed to despise and abuse pious parental instruction, than at this day? Where is pious, parental instruction and faithfulness more despised and abused, than in this place ? Is there scarcely a pious child or youth to be found, even in religious families, or any in irreligious families ? What is to be expected, if God does not visit the iniquity of fathers upon
themselves? Will he not visit their iniquities upon their children, unto the third and fourth generation ?
6. From this subject, we learn the solemn importance of parents being religious. They are expressly re-, quired to bring up their children in the nuture and admonition of the Lord. They are bound by the supreme authority of their creator and law-giver to give their children a pious and religious education. But are graceless parents prepared to give their children such an education ? While they neglect to give up themselves to God, will they not neglect to give up their children to God ? While they neglect to give their supreme affection to God, will they not neglect to teach their children to remember and love their creator supremely ? While they neglect to obey God's commands, will they not neglect to command their children and households to keep the way of the Lord and obey his commands ? While they neglect to pray for themselves, will they not neglect to pray for their children ? Just so long as parents remain destitute of
grace, they will remain morally incapable of giving their children a pious and religious education, and suffer them to walk in the way of their hearts and in the sight of their eyes in the broad path to endless ruin.--The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. The indulgence of unholy parents to their children is extremely cruel, for it exposes them to sin and misery in this world and in the world to come. And can it afford them consolation to expect, that God will spare them, and visit their iniquities upon their children, whom they love as their own souls ? Can they bear to see their children sinking in sin and wretchedness ? But how can they prevent these dire evils ? God tells them how. He requires them to love him with all their heart, and with all their mind, and with all their strength, and to teach their children to keep his commands, and he will shew mercy to thousands of such dutiful and obedient children. To how many parents does this subject apply? How many are there, that have not given their hearts, their names, their children, and their lives to God? How ungrateful are they treating God? How unkindly are they treating their children ? And how unwisely are they treating themselves ? Will not God visit them for their negligence ? Or if he does not visit them, will he not visit their children, and their children's children ?
Finally, uninstructed, unadvised, undedicated, and unrestrained children and youth are to be pitied. They know not what they do, while they pursue vanity, and indulge the corruptions of their hearts? They are ring-leaders in every sinful and soul-destroying practice. If they are condemned and reproved, they have able defenders, their unfaithful parents. They are
out of the reach of all, who wish and endeavor to in. struct and reform them. But if they are to be pitied, how justly are those children and youth to be condemned, who follow their example, instead of following the instructions and admonitions and examples of their pious parents !
A PUBLIC PROFESSION OF RELIGION.
Isaiah xliv. 5--- One shall say, I am the Lord's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.
This chapter begins with a prediction of the future prosperity and increase of the church of God. « Now hear, O Jacob, my servant, and Israel whom I have chosen. Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, Fear not, O Jacob, my servant ; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground ; I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring--And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses. One shall say, I am the Lord's ; another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.” Here is a representation of a large and copious effusion of the divine Spirit upon persons of all ages, but more especially upon the young, who resemble the flowers, that adorn the face of the earth. And it is plainly intimatedthat this divine influence should produce one and the same happy effect upon the hearts and conduct of all, who should be the subjects of it. It should
dispose them to make a public profession of religion, and bind themselves to be the Lord's forever. And since the same cause will naturally produce the same effect, we may justly conclude,
That those, who become the subjects of special grace, will choose to join the church, and enter into covenant to walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. I shall,
I. Describe the subjects of special grace ;
II. Show what is implied in their professing religion, or entering into covenant with God; And,
III. Show why they will choose to join the church and enter into covenant with God.
I. I am to describe the subjects of special grace.We often speak of the common and special influence of the divine Spirit. The most thoughtless, stupid, unawakened sinners are the subjects of the common influence of the divine Spirit. It was by his common influence, that he strove with the old world before they were overthrown and destroyed. It was by his common influence, that he strove with the sinners in Zion in the days of their deep declension. And it is by his his common influence, that he now strives with sinners in general. There are scarcely any sinners, but what are, more or less, the subjects of the common influence of the Spirit. He often restrains, reproves, and condemns them, by various means on various occasions. Almost every sabbath, and even every day, he awakens some momentary fear or conviction in their minds. But these common momentary alarms make no abiding impressions on their minds, because they are able to resist such weak and momentary strivings of the spirit. And though he sometimes strives more