Sidor som bilder

tures, in the same manner, as though brought up with them-discover the same dispositions-use the same methods of seeking their food, and providing for themselves and their young-and express themselves in the same language, or by the fame notes. Nature left to herself, respecting every thing which belongs to them, is a fufficient, yea an infallible instructor. Some of the brutes may be taught to mimick man; others to know and serve him; but these are foreign to their rank. Every thing, properly belonging to them, is taught by nature, independent of man. Had man never exifted, some of them might have lived and filled their places in creation without him.

But man, the head of this lower world, requires particular attention. His mind requires more than his body. Should man come forward to act his part here, with only the same kind of attention which nature teacheth the brute to be. ftow on her young, what would he bę? How would he appear ? Suppose some favage horde to · attend only to the bodies of their offspring, during infancy and childhood, and then send them abroad to follow nature! Uncultivated nature ! Living at large like the brutal inhabitants of the forest ! Can we form an idea of ought more fhocking ? Surely such a people would be more brutal than the brutes ! To prevent

these dreadfuls, and render man the noble creature for which he is designed, happy in himself, an honor to his Creator, and a blessing among God's works, are the ends proposed in ed

[ocr errors]

ucation. These usually originate in that culture which is begun by parents. The foundation of honor or infamy, usefulness or mischief, happiness or misery, is commonly laid in the morning of life. The impressions then made, are deep and lasting; the bias then given to the mind, goes far to form the character of the man. We see therefore the goodness of God in an institution which hath such important objects in view—which is desigried to plant in infant minds the feeds of virtue, and form mankind for usefulness and honor.–And wherefore one ? That he might seek a godly feed.

This work would have been incumbent on man had he retained his first estate. It would then have belonged to parents to cultivate the tender mind and direct it in right ways. Marriage was instituted before the apostacy, of which a principal design is that mentioned in the text: For the prophet speaks of man in his original state. In innocence man had his work assigned him-was made for action. Idleness would have conftituted no part of his felicity, had he remained upright. When he came out of the Creator's hand, he was

put into the garden to dress it and to keep it." His disposition to idleness may have been occasion. ed by the fall. Had man retained his maker's image, it is not probable that young minds would have received habits of virtue, and been imbued with knowledge, without parental aid—that instinct would have fupplied the place of instruction, and superseded the use of it.

Had man remained upright his whole work have been diverse from that which now employs him. The earth would have required little culture-none which would have wearied its inhabitants., The mind, free from every corrupt bias, would have been open to instruction, which would have flowed from the parent and been received by the child, with delightful case and joy. Man devoted to the service of God, would have devoted his all to God, especially his offspring. Then to have poured knowledge, and especially the knowl. edge of God, into the placid docile mind of the pious youth, what delight would it have given to the soul glowing with divine love!

Since the apoftacy, children are the joy of parents. With all their depravity and perverseness, which greatly lower down the comfort parents would otherwise occasion, they love them next to life, and see their improvements with peculiar joy. Especially doth the godly parent rejoice to witness in them good things toward the Lord religious dispositions--concern to know and serve God, and become a godly feed. “ He hath no greater joy, than to observe his children walking in the truth." Had man retained his first estate, his joy of this kind would have been full. He would have trained up a holy, happy progeny-" a seed to serve the Lord.”

In the present state of human nature, the rais. ing of a godly feed, is more difficult, but not less necessary. Endeavors to this end may be eveni

Man left from his childhood, unin.

more fo.


structed and unrestrained, to follow his natural bias, would become a monster among God's creatures ! Therefore the importance of parental faith. fulness, as divine honor, and human happiness are regarded.

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the

Spirit. And wherefore one ? That he might seek a godly seed. SOME general observations on the importance of education, especially parental education, were made in the preceding discourse. We are now to consider the ways and means by which parents are to seek a godly feed.

ONLY general directions can here be given. Much will be left to the discretion of those concerned.

Some of the principal parental duties are, Dedication of their children to God, followed by inftructionrestraint-good example, and prayer.

We shall treat on each of these briefly in their order.

1. Or dedication of children to God. By a godly seed, children consecrated to the service of God, and set apart for him, is commonly intended. This

« FöregåendeFortsätt »