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of beholding the external copies of vice. But as a delire of fellowship and fociety is connatural to us from our cradles, it is incumbent upon parents, to have an eye upon the company of their children, and fee that it be fuch, from which they learn not evil, but rather that they may imbibe from it the principles of decency and virtue, and which may be likely to recommend to them the pleasure, beauty and advantages of piety.
Eighthly, parents ought frequently to inculcate upon the minds of their children the examples of early religion recorded in the scriptures, such as the histories of young Samuel, Jofiah, Obadiah, Timothy, and others. This would have an excellent effect in restraining from vice, rendering their confcience tender, and inducing them to feek after piety in their youth. Children fhould have their hearts deeply impreffed with a great reverence for the holy fcriptures; and when the doctrines, truths and duties of religion are fpoken of, it ought always to be with folemnity, gravity and ferioufrefs ; fo that even before children can understand holy things, they may have a reverence of them upon their minds.
Laftly, parents ought to pray with and for their children, to teach them to pray, and as soon as expedient cause them to attend public worship, to respect God's fanctuaries and sabbaths. They fhould hear their parents recommending frequently good people and perfons eminent for piety and God. linefs of their acquaintance. Thefe recommendations they will eafily receive. Before they can understand doctrines, they can learn in general what kind of perfons are moft happy or moft miferable. If you poffefs them of good and honorable thoughts of fuch as fear God, they will be ufually afterwards. difpofed to think refpe&fully of them. They will wish to hear pious minifters and to be fuch christians.
It afflicts me, my brethren, that time commands me abrupt ty to break off this important fubject, and leave it with fcarcely the outlines of it drawn. May the few obfervations which have been now made, fink deep into the hearts and influence the practice of all. We should hereby diftinguishingly serve our country and our God, we fhould have orderly families and pious congregations. It would exceedingly tend to promote morality, and virtue, and practical religion. "Ye fathers "provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in "the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
The Duty of Children to Parents.
Col. iii. 20.
Children obey your parents in all things, for this is · well pleafing to the Lord.
AMONG all the branches which spring from religions root, none produces flowers more amiable and beautiful than docile and obedient children. The effects of religion wherefoever they appear, are always charming in the view of the pious mind, but in youth they shine with a peculiar luftre. The fruits most lovely to the fight frequently grow upon fmall trees; fo piety affords a most pleafing afpect, when it appears in tender years. How melancholy the thought to behold multitudes of amiable youth adorned with every agreeable qualification of mind and body, fo that did Jefus look upon them as he cid upon the young man in the gospel, he would love them, yet in them there is one thing lacking? A well proportioned body and a beautiful fet of features, what are they? Like the flowers of the field they foon vanish away. A well accomplished mind, what is it without religion? The former will quickly be too
loathfome for the fight, and the prey of worms, and the latter must be thrust down into eternal burnings, and be united with the accurfed company of devils and damned fpirits, where the In few fmoke of their torment shall afcend forever and ever. congregations can there be obferved a more lovely and beautiful clafs of youth than in this, but alas! how many are destitute of the one thing needful? O! why, my precious children, will you act fuch a part against yourfelves, and caft a gloomy cloud over all your excellencies, by neglecting to put on the attire of pure and undefiled religion, which would be the richest ornament of the whole? As the head is the ornament of he body, fo religion would be a crown more excellent than gold to all your other qualities, of which you are the fubjc&s. O! that many could be perfuaded to give up their names to Christ, to join themselves unto the Lord, and bring forth the fruits of piety in their hearts and lives. Could you be prevai led upon from the principles of love to God and faith in Jefus, to perform all the focial duties incumbent upon you, especially the exalted duty of obedience to parents, for this will be truly well pleafing to God.
The duty enjoined in our text is one of the first perhaps,' of which human nature is capable. "Children obey your parents "in all things, for this is well pleafing o the Lord." Parents are among the earliest objects of a child's knowledge and attention; he becomes fooneft acquainted with them, looks to them with a fond affection, and feems to expect fupport and protection from them, leans upon and repofes confidence in them. Thus nature dictates the first lines of filial duty, even before a due fenfe of the connection is formed. When a child is fomewhat grown, acquired a few ideas, and arrived at fome measure of understanding, he must begin to be fenfible of the obligations he is under to his parents. When he can confider their tender and difinterested affection, their inceffant care and labour, in
nurfing, educating, and providing for them, during that state in which he had neither difcretion or ftrength to provide for himself, the feelings of his own heart will declare to him, that he owes to them many peculiar duties. The facred oracles of God dwell much upon the dutifulness of children to parents, and greatly exhibit in ftrong colourings the angry displeasure of heaven against the refractory and difobedient. Peradventure no text more comprehenfive of this relative obligation, than the one selected for the subject of this discourse. When the Holy Spirit expreffes fummarily the duties of children to their parents, the term obedience is generally employed. “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right." The word obedience must be taken in the most extensive latitude, comprising every thing contained in the term dutifulness. "Children be dutiful to your parents in all things, for this is "well pleafing to God." They muft in all things be dutiful; not merely in fome things or fuch as they pleafe, which is the unhappy cafe with too many froward children, but in every matter commanded by the parent, which is not plainly contrary to the will of God. When parents are fo foolish or wicked, as to issue orders of this nature, then God is to be obeyed rather than man. No other filial disobedience is excufable from fin but this. But when the child fweetly and readily performs his duty in all things, it is well pleasing unto the Lord. Not only pleafing, but well pleafing unto him. It is a thing agreeable to the mind of heaven, and most ac ceptable to the Moft High.
When God commands children to be dutiful to their parents, and they comply with the requifition, they not only obey their parents, but God; not only are they pleasing to their fathers according to the flesh, but well pleafing to the Father of their immortal fpirits. Hence this dutifulness hath a peculiar promife annexed to it. "Honor thy father and thy mo"ther, which is the first commandment with promife, that it M