« FöregåendeFortsätt »
HAD man remained upright his whole work have been diverfe 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 inftruction, which would have flowed from the parent and been received by the child, with delightful ease 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 foul glowing with divine love!
SINCE the apoftacy, children are the joy of parents. With all their depravity and perverfenefs, which greatly lower down the comfort parents would otherwife occafion, they love them next to life, and fee their improvements with peculiar joy. Efpecially doth the godly parent rejoice to witness in them good things toward the Lord-religious difpofitions-concern to know and ferve 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 eftate, his joy of this kind would have been full. He would have trained up a holy, happy progeny-" a feed to ferve the Lord."
In the present state of human nature, the raif. ing of a godly feed, is more difficult, but not less neceffary. Endeavors to this end may be even more fo. Man left from his childhood, unin
ftructed and unreftrained, to follow his natural bias, would become a monfter among God's creatures! Therefore the importance of parental faithfulness, as divine honor, and human happiness are regarded.
MALACHI ii. 15.
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 obfervations on the importance of education, especially parental education, were made in the preceding difcourfe. We are now to confider the ways and means by which parents are to feek a godly feed.
ONLY general directions can here be given. Much will be left to the difcretion of thofe concerned.
SOME of the principal parental duties are, Dedication of their children to God, followed by inftruction-reftraint-good example, and prayer.
WE fhall treat on each of these briefly in their order.
1. Or dedication of children to God. By a godly feed, children confecrated to the fervice of God, and fet apart for him, is commonly intended. This
implies fome rites of confecration. These there have been, probably, from the beginning; though we have no information what they were, till the days of Abram.
BEFORE the flood we read of "fons of God" who married "the daughters of men;" a fad union which led to the univerfal degeneracy of mankind. The " fons of God" are fuppofed to have been the defcendants of Seth; "the daughters of men," to have been of the family of Cain. But why the diftin&tion of "fons of God, and daughters of men ?" It arofe, no doubt, from external differences. The former had the feal of godlinefs fet upon them, whatever that feal might be; and were trained up to attend the worship and ordinances of God-they were vifibly of the household of faith; none of which were the cafe with the latter.* That the former were all renewed, and children of God by regeneration, is not probable-they are termed fons of God, on account of their covenant relation to him.
TENDERS of pardon and life were made to the whole human race, through a Mediator, and the church at firft included the whole family of Adam; but this did not long continue. Cain, enraged that his offering was not accepted, flew his brother, and "went out from the presence of the Lord"-left his father's house, in which God was worshipped, and where his ordinances were administered--cast off religion, and taught his children to disregard it. His progeny were not deficient in worldly wifdom. They cultivated the arts of life, and made improvements in them, as appears from the sketch of their history given by Moles. + But they were without God in the world; having caft off his fear, and the apprehenfion of his prefence, and their accountablenefs, which often follow the dereliction of the divine inftitutions.
† Genefis iv. 17—22.
So the pofterity of Jacob were called "the children of God-the people of God-a holy feed -a royal priesthood," because of their external, nominal diftinctions. These appropriate terms con. tinued as long as they remained God's vifible people, and had the feal of his covenant fet upon them, though they had fo corrupted themselves as to be even worse than the heathen. And Jerufalem is called the holy city even after it had filled up the measure of its wickedness by murdering the Lord of glory.*
FROM the days of Abraham, we know the feal of God's covenant, and how parents have been required to dedicate their offspring to him, as a vifible fign of their being confecrated to his fervice, and as a bond on parents to train them up in his fear. And those who have been of the household of faith, and been duly inftructed, have confidered themselves obliged to discharge thefe duties; nor have they neglected them.
2. DEDICATION must be followed by inftruction. Parents must cultivate the tender mind-inftil the principles of virtue-infufe the knowledge of God, and of the duties due to God and man. This is a matter of the greatest importance. If youthful minds are not imbued with knowledge and virtue, they will not remain blank; the void will be filled with that which tends to mischief, and leads to woe and infamy.
WHEN we look among pagans and favages, we are ftruck with their vices and follies, which * Matthew xxvii. 53.