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Parent on whom Baptismal obligations to his Child have any hold, enflame those passions he is bound to controul, by the excitements of theatrical exhibitions, dancing, light and trifling parties of pleasure, novel-reading, and all those loose and fashionable amusements, which directly tend to the undue excitement of passion, rather than to its wholesome restraint, and which in the very teeth of Baptismal requirements seem now to be considered as legitimate accomplishments of the professing Christian world.
Neither were the vows of Baptism considered as valid, could a Parent with any consistency, teach his child to admire “the pomps and vanities of this wicked world,” by gratifying a worldly taste, and by taking him to the exhibition of this pomp in splendid spectacles, and the garish display of public festivity, as calculated to excite his admiration, and to attract his esteem, His respect for the civil and political institutions of his country, will arise from a purer source, and depend on a more solid foundation. That “ first commandment with promise,” will
main ingredients of such a character. Can that which is intensely refined consist with what is practical, and that which is exquisite with that which is useful? And does not the general fastidiousness of our day, compel us to the deliberate consideration of this question, and counsel us rather to qualify our refinement, than to encourage it ?
Ephes. vi. 2.
assure him that as all his relative duties are performed, so will his “ days be long in the land which the Lord” his “God has given” him for a residence during his sojourn upon earth; and as the exercise of his graces, and the discharge of his duties, will be a constant blessing to his country; so his care for the preservation of every private and public blessing will call upon him to defend her from civil commotion from within, and from foreign invasion from without; and his respect for all superior relations will take its rise from that primitive obligation specified by the commandment to “honour his father and mother ;” for as he has been taught this first discharge of duty, so may he be expected, in after life, to discharge the other relative duties which embrace the whole circle of his private and public obligations—husband, master and servant, minister and people, magistrate and subject. He will thus be taught, not to look up to the possession of rank or place with ambitious views of self-aggrandisement, but to be content with that station to which it has pleased God to call him or should it be the will of God, that he quit the walk of private life for the distinction of public employment, he will accept the office as the instrument of general usefulness, chiefly desirous to direct his own energies, and those of all within his influence to the promotion of the best interests of mankind, in the spread of the Gospel upon earth.
Invested with the high distinction of “a member of Christ," his Parent will teach him that this is no futile designation, that his privileges are real and substantial, and that the honor of his Saviour demands no equivocal exhibition of them to the world: that neither condition rior circumstance divest him of this prominent character: that with Nebuchadnezzar on the throne a public and penitent confession of sin is the truest honor of his imperial dignity; or with Joseph in the prison, the most striking declaration of his innocence is that meek and upright deportment, which shall inspire unreserved confidence, and submit the liberty of the prisoner to himself as the reward of his own virtuous conduct. That the mansion and the cottage, the parlour and the kitchen, present various duties, and exercise tempers and appetites and passions from which his character as a
member of Christ” is not suspended even for a moment: that all times relations and situations demand his recognition of his own holy and heaven-born designation; and that it is at once his privilege and his calling to “ show out of a good conversation ; —and that conversation embracing the whole field of human usefulness, the whole play of human talent, the unsparing regulation of human temper, and the unabated
effort of human energies—his “ works with meekness of wisdom.” 1
How different a character then, does education assume, with respect to the Parent's part, when thus conducted under the sense of Baptismal obligations ! a new class of motives is applied, and a positive attainment of holiness is expected. Under such a system, the wonder will be, not as at present, that a young Child should be really holy, but that a Child thus educated should not be holy. This Christian Parent looks upon his Child really as “ a member of Christ,” endeavours to invest him with all the privileges to which he is entitled as a “ Child of God; and considers that he has an unquestionable title to the inheritance of glory. For this his whole education is intended to qualify him, even to make him “ meet to be a partaker of the inheritance with the Saints in
Only let us substitute the constraining sweetness of the Baptismal promise for the dry authority of the legal precept, and as the principle savours of the mercy of the gospel, the conduct it produces will be the holiness of the Gospel also. Its rich uniting influence will form the firmest cement of attachment between the Parent and the Child. The love of God will originate the love of man; and while the Parent no longer complains of despised authority, misplaced confidence, and defeated hopes—the Child conscious of his privileges discharges duty as a pleasure ; to displease his Parent is to displease his God, and this is most displeasing to himself.
i James iii. 13.
2 Col. i. 12.