ePub 版

been sullied by so many imperfections. When, therefore, they have done all those things, to the best of their ability, which are commanded them, teach them to say, "We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do "."

These lowly views of their works and religious duties, so strongly commended in Scripture, will prepare them to renounce all dependence on themselves for acceptance with God, and to place an unshaken reliance on the atoning sacrifice of Christ for justification in the sight of God. They should be instructed, from the Bible, to understand, that, ever since the covenant of works was broken, all who gain admission into heaven must owe their happiness. to the merits of Christ's obedience. True believers always unite in the song of glorified spirits; and say with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb, that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing; for he was slain, and has redeemed us to God, by his blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation "n!"

7. Having taught them the doctrines and duties of Christianity, early accustom your children to attend the public instructions of faithful Ministers, whose preaching, in full consistency with the tenor of the Gospel, may serve to deepen in their minds right impressions of the value of a personal interest in Christ, and the privileges enjoyed by his true followers. Tell them, God has promised to make his ordinances a means of increasing the knowledge and holiness of his servants; and that, if they join in the pious services of the sanctuary in faith and penitence, they will obtain help from God to go on their way to

n Luke xvii. 10.

nn Rev. v. 9-12.

heaven with rejoicing. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

By this time they will be capable of joining in the devotions of the family; such as reading the Scriptures and prayers, morning and evening. Now let parents take suitable opportunities of discoursing seriously with them about the leading truths of the Bible, and the sermons which they have heard; and inquire what they have learned from the instructions which they have received both in public and private.

It will be of eminent advantage to encourage them to propose questions on religious subjects, by readily answering them with as much plainness as possible. When they go to the house of God, or engage in the solemn business of devotion, teach them to do it with the utmost seriousness of mind; because they are in the immediate presence of the Divine Being, who hates "the sacrifice of fools"."

8. To enforce the pious instructions given to their children, parents must be highly exemplary in their own conduct and conversation. As they are almost instinctively led to imitate the virtues or the vices of their parents, they can never be too much concerned to manifest, by a pious walk themselves, the high sense which they entertain of that religion which they recommend to their beloved offspring. A careless, vain, and worldly behaviour, in parents, will be sure to defeat the best scheme of religious" education;" because children must necessarily believe that to be the way of happiness in which they see them walk, since they do so from choice." P Eccles. v. 1, 2.

Isa. xl. 31.

Parents, then, will studiously avoid every thing, in their discourse and actions, that may tend to weaken those good impressions which they are bound to cherish. "For, as it will appear cruel in parents to correct and reprove for tempers and practices which their children learn from themselves; so it will be equally absurd to expect that the best precepts or reproofs should profit them, when the persons from whom they come do not live under their influence." Next to setting a good example, let parents prevent children from forming acquaintances who, by a loose example, may vitiate their minds, and seduce them from the way of righteousness. Many young people may date the commencement of their aberration from God, and consequent ruin, to vicious companions. How necessary, then, is it for parents repeatedly to sound the admonitory lesson in their ears, "My Son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not "!

Keep your children from those places and scenes which may expose them to needless temptations. Their souls may be greatly endangered by those demoralizing amusements which an unthinking world too readily sanctions.

Be careful, also, to remove out of their way all books of a dubious or bad tendency, indecent pictures, or other objects which may soon corrupt their principles, pollute their imaginations, and inflame their passions. As you would put the most deadly poison out of their reach, lest it should kill them; so must you feel a holy solicitude to preserve them from reading those books, or beholding those objects, a familiarity with which may soon undermine every

Prov. i. 10.

right sentiment, and destroy their happiness for


9. Lastly, let parents commend their endeared. offspring to God in prayer: for, though religious instruction may be of eminent use for forming their minds, yet it cannot, without the assistance of the Holy Ghost, avail of itself, for the conversion of their souls to God. After every laudable effort made by their parents for this purpose, children may still be destitute of the new birth unto righteousness, which God alone can produce. They must, therefore, earnestly pray to the Almighty to succeed their attempts with His blessing, that their children may have their names written in heaven," and unite with the multitude of its inhabitants in praising the Redeemer of their souls for ever.

[ocr errors]




Col. iii. 20. Children, obey your parents in all things; for this is well pleasing to the Lord.

"ALL other relations spring from that of parents and children; or partake, in a measure, of its nature: and this shadows forth our relation to the great Creator." The duties of children towards their parents may be summed up under the following particulars.

[ocr errors]

1. They are bound to love their parents, as persons from whom they derive their birth, and to whom they are most nearly related by the ties of blood. When children call to remembrance what care, trouble, and expense have been necessary to preserve their life

during the helpless years of infancy, and the cost of maintenance and education through their inexperienced youth, they ought to feel the strongest sensations of gratitude to their parents for such acts of kindness; and try, in some measure, to requite them, by manifesting, on every occasion, a most genuine love and esteem for them, by consulting their interest, ease, credit, and comfort; and by rejoicing their hearts with studied attentions and respect.

a "

2. The law of God imposes on children the obligation of honouring their parents: "Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee". Those young persons who regard the authority of the Lord, and are desirous of his favour and blessing, will not fail to shew a becoming reverence for their parents. They ought to respect their characters, consult them at all times, value their instructions and counsels, and conform themselves to their will, whenever it accords with reason and the Divine word.

It is a branch of this duty to treat the faults and infirmities of their parents with the utmost tenderness, and to endeavour to cover them with the mantle of filial affection, rather than to reprehend, or to emblazon and publish them. Children must bear the tempers and humours of their parents with patience and submission..

Such respect paid to parents is highly pleasing to God, whose blessing is sure not to be withheld from dutiful children.

On the contrary, disobedience to parents is that contempt of his authority which he marks with his

a Exod. xx. 12.

« 上一頁繼續 »