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Exert the authority in your families which God hath invefted you with, reftrain your children from vice, fet before them examples of piety and virtue, bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, so that if they perish, ther blood may not be found in your skints. Let the counsel of Solomon be engraven upon every parental heart, "Train up a child in "the way he should go, and when he becomes old, he will not "depart therefrom."

SERMON VI.

vi..

Some Duties of Parents to their Little Children.

Ephe. vi. 4. And ye fathers provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

age

RELIGION is of fuch a nature, that it extends to every and every character. Not only does it command the at tention of the mature in age, but younger years are to be di rected by it. And little ones, the fweet lambs of the church, before they can appear to us to think, or reason, are to be taken into its guardianship. O! how precious is the church of Chrift! It fpreads its wings over the whole body of the faithful, but in the foftest and tenderest manner broods the young. A great truft is committed to parents; every infant, thrown into their fond embraces by heaven, is ever attended with this pleafing commiffion, "Bring up this babe, and nourish it for "immortality; you feel it in your arms a precious creature, "and it is given to you to render it useful in the world and to form it for eternal felicity." The tender charge is folema,

and the chriftian heart glows with affectionate gratitude, and fays, "Lord, with pleasure I undertake the business, it shall be my delight, to do all in my power to answer the gift, and fulfil my trust.”

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Allow me here to make one remark arifing from long experience and much obfervation. That a people accustomed to hear the doctrines of grace, to be taught the first principles and experimental views and exercifes of internal and vital religion, all which are invisible to their fellow men, they will bear in this refpect, the moft clofe and fearching preaching; but when the visible parts of religion and external duties are explained and inculcated, none more grated and offended than thefe. Their hearts are among the first to pronounce it carnal and legal preaching. Multitudes in all our congregations, wish their ministers to dwell more upon the moral duties, and vifible virtues of piety than they generally do. This has its finifter origin in two motives; the one is, that in this, they will be equal to their neighbours; and in the other, they will ftand on apparent and vifible ground in certain refpects fuperior to many blazing and experimental profeffors. The fubtilties, and tortuous windings of the human heart are exceeding hard to unfold; fome are all for invifible exercises, and for experimen. tal preaching, and others for morality, and the exterior duties of religion. Both in certain refpects are right, and both wrong. What God has joined together ought not to be put afunder. The feparation is dangerous and ruinous. The one cannot fecure the glory of God and the happiness of the creature without the other. No internal experiences, be they what they may, can introduce to heaven, without the visible works of righteoufnefs, where there is time for their manifeftation; and no outward exhibitions of morality, however fplended, without holiness of heart, will ever bring the foul to the fruition of God.

I fear thefe remarks, however juft and proper in themselves, are eftraying me from my fubject, one defign of which is to show that the nature and evidences of true religion confist much in the faithful performance of relative duties. And ministers are not only to warn against personal and relative, but also against every inquity which is a tranfgreffion of the law of Chrift. Let minifters ever have the folemn charge given by God to Ezekiel upon their minds, “O!' "Son of man, I have fet thee a watchman unto the house "of Ifrael, therefore thou fhalt hear the word from my mouth, "and warn them from me; when I fay unto the wicked, O! "wicked man, thou shalt surely die: If thou doft not speak to ་ warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man fhall die "in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thy hand; "nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn "from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his

iniquity, but thou haft delivered thy foul." O! that God would imprefs these fentiments upon my heart, and that I might fee them engraven upon my hands, that they may be ever before me, while I treat of the relative and moral duties of our holy religion.One of thefe duties muft engross your attention for the prefent. The words of our text evidently contain a comprehenfive and compleat exhortation to parents, refpe&ting the education of their offspring. The proper and wife education of children, in all the extenfion of usefulness, arifes far beyond our conception. They are hereby formed to be blettings in this world, and often to be ftars of glory in the next. The evil and unhappy confequences of omiffion or negligence in this bufinefs are beyond the powers of imagina. tion to defcribe.

The divine counsel given, is addressed to parents in general, who are here defignated by the term fathers. Although fathers are only expreffed, yet undoubtedly mothers are herein included. The fuperior parent often involves the inferior.

Perhaps the Holy Spirit felected the word fathers, because it is probable they are most apt to deviate from, and neglect the counfel here administered. The matter of this exhortation wholly refpects the education of children. "They are not to "provoke their children to wrath." This cannot be underftood as the practice of fome would seem to expound it, that parents ought by no means to do thofe things which may dif please their children, and rather than their children fhould be croffed or diffatisfied, they neglect their duty. When they do evil they must not be chided, and when guilty of mischief, they must not be corrected. The apoftles meaning is evidently this, and it is the construction of common fenfe. We are not by paffionate, unreafonable, morofe, and humorfome com. mands, improperly on our part, to irritate their tempers or provoke them to wrath. We ought to watch against their ill humours as well as against our own. -"But bring them up "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." The word nurture fignifies nourishment in its utmost extent, both with regard to their bodies and minds. Nature directs that we should feed and cloath their bodies, reafon dictates that we should nourish and instruct their minds, and the holy fcriptures command that we fhould furnish their immortal fouls with divine knowledge and train them up in the fear of God. The words, " Of the Lord," ought to have a powerful influence upon christians in the extenfive circle of the education of their offspring, both in refpect to their minds and bodies, and in regard to their moral, civil and religious inftruction. The word admonition intends to exprefs the counfel, advice, and direction, which it behoves us to afford them, in all the relations which they do or may futain in life, efpecially in regard to fpritual duties towards God and Jefus Chrift with a view to their acquifition of eternal falvation. This is not merely on occafional bufinefs, but ought to be a habitual practice as far as in our power, confiftent with other duties and avocations, that we give our chil

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