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marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take un. to thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other Gods ; so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly:" This law has all its force under the christian, dispensation. It is founded in the essential difference there, is, between the holy and the sinful character; and between the church, as a sanctified body, and the world. The church and the world are placed in a state of entire opposition to each other, and are proceeding to contrary destinies. The whole world lieth in wickedness. But the followers of Christ are called out of the world ; they are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people ; that they should shew forth the praises of him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light.” They are to be separated from the world as of this character. All the connexions they form are to comport with it. Hence Paul, in the 7th chapter of I. Corinthians, where he is treating professedly on the subject of marriage, when he comes to answer the question of the lawfulness of a christian's marrying, decides in the affirmative; but expressly directs, that it be only in the Lord. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Marriages formed upon unchristian principles are of the world, and have no connexion with the covenant of God. The root should be holy, that the branch inay be holy. The fountain should be pure, or we have no warrant to expect that the stream will run clear.
Instead of being the fruit of a mere sensual intercourse, it ought to be understood, that the children of the church are conceived and brought forth in faith ; that God is in view ; and that his glory, in the ad. vancement of Zion, is consulted. From their birth they ought to be considered as cast upon the bosom of the church as their common mother. All the adult
merabers of the church, with their pareats, as one e united pious family, devoted to the single object of
religious duty, ought to receive them as their special charge; a charge sacred, and of incalculable value. : ;
And now ought the work of training them up for God to be unitedly taken up, and steadily, and vigorously pursued, Every brother and sister should have a kindred interest in this matter. Their united, unceasing intercessions should be offered for them as subjects of believing prayer. At as early a moment as possible, they should be brought to the sanctuary'; and by the united dedicatory vows of the whole church, be devoted to God in baptism. As they become capable of inoral impressions, they ought to be addres. sed with all the means which God has provided ; called, the nurture and admonition of the Lord. ..1. They ought to have the whole weight of a strict. ly pious example, addressed to them constantly, not by their parents only, but by the whole church. Ex. ample has a mighty effect. It is more familiar and in. telligible than argument. It naturally draws to imitation. It engages the early attention of the infant' mind.
That example may benefit, it should be uniform. It should not be self contradictory. It should appear in the many, andeyer speak the same language. A mere moral example is not the thing intended. It must be an exantple flowing from a sanctified heart, a heart enriched with zcal for God, and his glory; zeal, which sanctifies ail the words and actions of a man, and makes him a living image of Him, who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.
2. To the influence of a uniformly holy example should be added a prudent and energetic government. This, during infancy and childhood, must necessarily be confined very much to parents. “I know Abraham,” said God, “that he will command his children, and his household after him, to keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment, that God may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." Ic is true that religion cannot be forced into the mind of - a child. It is in all cases voluntary. But is not au. thority among the means which God is graciously
pleased to use with us to reclaim and redeem us? Is not the discipline of his Providence, found, in many examples, salutary? Are not the severe strokes of his hand, and the terrifying denunciations of his word, adapted to awaken, to deter, and to bring sinners to : Christ ?. The more gentle means of persuasion, it may be, are to be preferred. But are governmental restraints to be neglected ? . It is the determination of God, “He that spareth the rod, hateth his child." What son is there whom the affectionate father chasteneth not? Government is to be maintained, not with rashness, and undue severity, but under the influence of a tender concern for the everlasting welfare of the child. If professing parents should avail them . selves of the whole weight of the authority of the church, when they find their own exertions ineffectual, it would coincide with the plan of infant membership which God has established in his kingdom. The children of the church may, and must be restrained from mingling, by a careless intercourse, with the irreligious and profane children of the world. They must be kept from temptation, They must beguarded against errors, and bad impressions of every kind; from partaking in fashionable follies, and from the seductive influence of badexample. “Evilcommunications corruptgood manners." It would be extremely desirable, and great sacrifices ought to be made for the sake of it, if these chil. dren of the church had their common school education entirely by themselves ; in which case their instructor might be always a man of piety, and pious instruction might be wrought into all the daily exercises of the school, I cannot but urge upon christians the very great importance of such an arrangement.
3. The children of the church should have addressed to them from their parents ; as occasion may offer from the brethren of the church ; and from the pastor; and this with much tenderness and diligence, strict religious instruction. Instruction, in the domestic cir. cle, was expressly enjoined by God upon primitive Isyael, as an essential mean of carrying into effect the
promises of his covenant. The parent was required to make religion the subject of his perpetual conversation in the family, and this under the influence of love.
Hear O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might; and these words which I commảnd thee this day, shall be in thine heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently un, to thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sit test in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up; and thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes, and thou shalt write them upon the posts of thine housc, and upon thy gates.” So diligent, $o-constant, so indefat. igable, and affectionate were the people of God tequir. ed to be in instructing their children in the doctrines and duties of revealed religion. It was to be the main business, not of sabbaths only, but of every day. The duties which devolve upon the pious parent, in this respect, are certainly not diminished under the 'chiris. tian dispensation. These injunctions are as obligatory as they ever were. Religious instruction is a mean, as perfectly adapted to the end, as it ever was. Motives to it are multiplied exceedingly, as light respecting the eternal world is increased. Parents are better qual ified to give instruction. The Bible is in their hands, They can easily recur to examples, to reasonings, to illustrations, to entreaties, promises, and threatenings. For they are all to be found plentifully in the Bible. Explanations from other books, and from the pulpit add to the means. The earliest moments of capacity should be embraced. These are the golden moments of a religious education. In the spring of life should the seed of grace be diligently sown ; and never should the parent withhold his hand, No seeming want of success should slacken his labors.' Patience should have its perfect work, and perseverance its full effect, At as early a period as possible, these children should be made conversant with the holy scriptures. They
should be carefully catechized, taught pious hymns; and suitable prayers. They should be put as inuch as may be, in the way of receiving religious impressions, and guarded as carefully from every thing of an oppo site tendency. They should be brought from their early childhood, and with constancy to the house of worship on Lord's days. Thę brethren, and especially the pastor, should unite promptly, with the parent in this work of instruction. And it should be addressed to the minds of children with interest. Obligation should be set before them in all its weight. They should be urged with duty, and as it were, compelled to yield to it.
Such a procedure is the grand mean of salvation which the covenant has provided. Ephesians vi. 4. ! And ye fathers provoke not your children to wrath ; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” In the nature of it, it implies long forbearance, “Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the pres cious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for ity until he receive the early, and the latter rain.”
God is a sovereign, and he will give efficacy to these means or not, as pleaseth him. But his word shall prosper unto the thing whereunto it is sent. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed shall doubtless comeagain with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. Undiminishable is the fountain of grace. Infinitely disposed must God be to succeed institutions, and give efficacy to means of his own appointment. His absolute promises secure their effect in the entire salva. tion of the seed. The abundant, and endearing encour. agements of his word, are calculated to warm the hearts of the parent, of the brotherhood, and of the pastor ; to give wings to their zeal, and importunity to their prayers, in behalf of the lambs of the flock. Motives rush on the mind, to rouse its vigor, and prompt to diligence. And with much diligence, much success is to be loped for. But these means will certainly have their effect in the one way or the other, as a sac ·
have the hope and willrous