« PreviousContinue »
lovest the private dwellings of Jacob, as well as the gates of Zion. Aflift us in our family devotion this evening.
We thank thee for all our mercies; for the blessings of providence, and the richer blessings of grace-for the privileges of this holy, day. We would not despise thine house and ordinances. We would not forsake the assemblies of thy faints. Teach us and all thy people to profit by the services of the sanctuary. May we know, by our own experience, that the gospel of Christ is the power of God to falvation. May we never be alhamed of him, or of his friends; but reverence him as the wisdom of God, and the power of God; and honour them as the excellent of the earth. Neglected and reviled as he is by others, we would regard and build upon him as the foundation of our immortal hopes. "Would we serve thee day and night in thy temple in heaven, our robes must be washed, and made white in the blood of the Lamb. Through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, may we obtain like precious faith as his first disciples, elect through fanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.
We confefs our want of love to God, of zeal and activity in thy service; our forgetfulness of the Redeemer and our souls; our formality and unbelief. We have abused the day and means of grace, and grieved the holy Spirit. Our sins have been aggravated by the privileges we have enjoyed. Of thine infinite mercy pardon our barrenness and unfruitfulness in the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. May we strengthen the things that are ready to die. Whereto we have attained, may we hold fast, that no man may take our
We are called to a warfare with inward corruption, with the customs and examples of the world, and with the hosts of hell. We have no might against these enemies. Lord, that the weapons of our warfare might be mighty to the pulling down of strong holds, cafting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth against the knowledge of God, and bring. ing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. May we be followers of God as dear children. By the observation of a weekly fabbath, and the services of thine earthly courts, may we be training up to unite with all the redeemed and infinite hosts of angels, in the worship of that temple which is filled with the glory
of God and the Lamb.
Succeed the ministry of the gospel in this and every place, to the conversion of finners, and to the confirmation and building up of saints in their most holy faith. Set up a standard against the foes of Zion : May her children be joyful in their King. May they so let their light shine, fo ftand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel, as to put to filence the ignorance of foolish men.
May we abide under the divine protection this night, and see the light of another morning in health and comfort.
May no member of our family fail of thy faving grace. May we have wisdom to instruct our household in the principles and duties, the privileges and hopes of the gofpel. Deliver our fouls, O Lord, from the wick. ed from men of the world, whose portion is in this life. May we behold thy face in righteousness; and be satisfied, when we awake, with thy likeness. Thro Jesus Christ, to whom, &c.
DEUTERONOMY, vi. 7.
AND THOU SHALT TEACH THEM DILIGENTLY UNTO THY CHILDREN, AND SHALT TALK OF THEM WHEN THOU SITTEST IN THY HOUSE, AND WHEN THOU WALKEST BY THE WAY, AND WHEN THOU LIEST DOWN, AND WHEN THOU RISEST UP.
HEATHEN writers have said much of the
EATHEN writers have said much of the reverence due to the gods. But of what gods do they speak? What kind of reverence do they inculcate? They have said much of private friendship and the love of our country. But what have they said of love to all mankind? They taught the government of the passions and appetites. But from no other than temporal motives. The things that are revealed belong to us and to our children. From
revelation are derived ali just thoughts of God and of man's duty. The most important things in the sacred oracles are comprehended in loving God with all the heart, and our neighbour as ourselves. To believe the existence, perfections and providence of God, is to acknowledge that we owe him superlative love. Nor can there be any difficulty in understanding the precept, “ Thou « Ahalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” if we keep in view the golden rule, “ Whatsoever ye would that should do to
ye even fo to them.” Whatever belongs to piety and good morals is included in the things which Christian parents should teach their children. The course of instruction is to
begin with things plain and easy to be understood; and, from simple fundamental truths, to go on to perfection. “ Whom shall he teach knowledge and whom shall « he make to understand doctrine? Them that are “ weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. “ For precept must be upon precept;
line upon line ; “ here a little and there a little." This implies the earliest instruction. The earliest and principal thing to be taught them is the wisdom from above
. Were they not susceptible of this, as of other instruction, why hath the teacher, who came from God, mentioned them as patterns of docility ? “ Whosoever fhall -“ not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he « shall not enter therein."
The food of the mind must be suited to its faculties. The dawn of reason calls for some information refpecting the Former of our bodies, and the Father of our spirits. The acquisition of this knowledge should be made easy, by the frequent communication and proper enforcement of a few plain and weighty truths, not burdening the opening faculties with too great a variety. A multiplicity of documents, not understood or digested, promise little or no good effect. Representations of religion as gloomy and auftere may serve the cause of superstition; but true religion is a reasonable service. Lively ideas of the moral perfections of God and of redemption, of the worth of the soul, of the account we must give of ourselves to him with whom we have to do, are peculiarly useful.
The duty of religious education devolves on parents. They are required to take the greatest care in the performance of this duty. They are immediately addreiled in the text. Their advantages for the pious instruction of their children are peculiar. They are first and most interested in them. They have every inducement, and are under the strongest bonds, to give special attention to this thing. All, under whose immediate guardianship children are placed, occupy the
room of parents ; and are obliged to educate them with parental and religious care ; that is, to talk of the truths and duties of religion, when they fit in the house, and walk by the way, when they lie down and rise ир..
We will consider, first, the source from which this instruction is drawn.
Moses went near and received the oracles of infalli. ble truth from the mouth of God, and then declared to the people what God commanded. These words they were to teach to their children. When our Lord commissioned his chosen ministers, he said to them, “ Go, teach all nations to observe whatsoever I have “ commanded you."
When the Jews forsook the oracles of God and received for doctrines the commandments of men, neither the teachers, nor those who were taught, went into the kingdom. When the guides of the Christian church locked up the scriptures from the people, all de. ceivableness of unrighteousness was introduced. The infallibility of the Roman pontiff was said to be proved by the fcriptures, and the sense of scripture determined by his infallibility. Helps for understanding the sacred scriptures may not be refused; but to determine whether these things are fo, recourse must be had to the fcriptures, and spiritual things be compared with fpiritual.
Every teacher will of course inculcate his own sense of scripture. There is the fame liberty of examination to those who are taught, so far as they are capable of examining. The first principles, such as are proper to be taught to children, are so obvious and practical, that there is no just room for controversy. Whenever the scriptures are consulted with meekness, these principles and maxims will always appear to be of the greatest use.
Such is the source of religious instruction. Weremark,