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youth? that their temporal and eternal ruin may lie at the door of those who should have brought them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord ?
" I will bring upon Abraham," said God,“ that “ which I have ipoken of him: For I know Abraham, " that he will command his children, and his house“ hold after him, and they fhall keep the way of the “ Lord, to do justice and judgment." But Eli, for his remifsness and neglect of the authority vested in him, received the awful denunciation, “I will judge his “ house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth: “ Because his fons made themselves vile, and he 're< strained them not. Therefore the iniquity of Eli's “ house shall not be purged with facrifice nor offering « for ever."
“ 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 Thall be in thine heart. And thou “ shalt teach them diligently unto thy children.” Religion is preserved, when parents apply their own hearts to it, and teach it to pofterity. The most effectual way of teaching it is by example. A fine picture of virtue will be drawn to no purpose, if it is never exhibited in real life. Let parents resolve, “ As for me, and
my houfe, we will serve the Lord.” Let them be able to address their children in the language of humble confidence: “Know the God of your father. “ Let thy heart retain my words. Keep my command“ ments, and live. Wisdom is the principal thing: “ Therefore get wisdom. I have led thee in right paths. - Incline thine heart' unto my sayings: Let them not
depart from thine eyes: Keep them in the midst of
thy heart.” As an incentive cordially to embrace religion, and faithfully to instruct your children in the principles, duties and hopes of it, be assured, “The
mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unte
6 children's children; to such as keep his covenant, " and to those that remember his commandments to “ do them.”
Parents, have compassion on your children, as Jesus had on those who fainted for his instruction in the paths of salvation. Teach them that every good gift comes from their Father in heaven, who expects a grateful return. They are but fojourners on earth. Their probationary state is short. They are bound to the eternal world, in which their state will be the consequence of their behaviour in this. Let your instructions, example and prayers unite to lead them in the path of life.
“ Endeavour always to understand yourá felves what you wish them to understand; to be “ yourselves what you would have them be; to do “ yourselves what you would have them practise."
I will now turn your attention to examples of parents, who made it their care to educate their children in religion. The examples shall be taken from the sacred scriptures, where they are recorded for our learning.
The friend of God, the father of the faithful, incul. cated on his household, with great care, the true religion. “I know him, that he will command his chil.
dren, and his household after him, and they full “ keep the
way of the Lord.” He fpared no instru:tions and cautions, that they might escape the conta. gion of a world overrun with idolatry, and plunged in every pollution; might know the only living and true God, and abide in the worship of him. Reicued from superstition himself, and honoured with fpecial divine communications, he felt the importance of ed. ucating liis family in the principles and practice of pure religion, as their highest duty and wisdom. His religious care of his household was the just expression of the fame faith and piety as induced him to make the greatest worldly sacrifices, when called of God.
The example of Joshua may be next mentioned. He earnestly exhorted his people to put away their ide!
gods, to fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and truth. Knowing, at the same time, their propensity to revolt upon every occasion, he assured them, that, however they might waver and apoftatize, he was fixed in his own choice-fixed also in his resolution with respect to his house, “ As for me and my house, we “ will serve the Lord.” The religious care of his household was next to that of his own soul. How large foever his family, every soul occupied his attention. So far as was in his power, he resolved that they should all know and serve the Lord.
When the household of the chief magistrate of a nation make religion their care, it has the happiest afpect on public order and virtue. When the head of the small household of six or feven souls maintains a due care of religion, it is as the precious ointment on the head of Aaron. The young branches should regard him with honour, be thankful for such a ruler and guide, and receive his instructions with much defer
The house of Samuel was as the gate of heaven. This chief magistrate and judge in Ifrael exhibited, in his public station, the highest concern for the advancement of righteousness, which exalteth a nation. “ will shew you,” said he to his people, “ the good “ and right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve him “ in truth with all your heart.” From being occupi, ed in public affairs, he regularly returned to guide and bless his house : There he built an altar to the Lord. In his recess from the cares and labours of office, in his private and domestic character, he manifested the same integrity, the same respect to the honour of God and good of his household, as in his public station he expressed for the welfare of his people. The departure of his sons from the ways of so wise and godly a parent was an aggravation of their shame. The best counsel and example of parents may be loft upon their children. Perlaps Şamuel's degenerate fons fhewed some respect to his religious charges at first. For when we read of their defection, it is observable that he was old. When parents have done what in them lies to train
their children for God, the issue must be left with him.
David, in his old age, could reflect in this manner : “ O Lord God, thou haft taught me, and haft been
my trust, from my youth; and hitherto have I de“ clared thy wonderful works." Well might such a parent charge his son, “ Know thou the God of thy “ father.” The son mentions the pious instructions of his father David. “ He taught me, and said unto me, “Let thine heart retain my words :-Get wisdom, get
derstanding; forget it not.” What he meant by wisdom, he has explained." The fear of the Lord “ is the beginning of wisdom ; and the knowledge of “ the Holy is understanding. Wisdom is the princi
pal thing: Therefore get wisdom. Exalt her, and “ The shall promote thee. She shall give to thine head
an ornament of grace ; a crown of glory shall she “ deliver to thee. Hear, O my son, and receive my
sayings—I have taught thee in the way of wil.
dom; I have led thee in right paths.” Such instruction Solomon had from his father. The prophecy which his mother taught him is also mentioned, Proverbs xxxi. Whether the lessons which follow are considered as given to Solomon, or given by him, is immaterial. They remind us what the inftruction is, which pious parents impart to the children of their hopes. “My “ fon, if thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and ap
ply thy heart to understanding; yea, if thou criest " after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for under“ standing; if thou feekest her as silver, and searchest " for her as for hid treasures ; then shalt thou un“ derstand the fear of the Lord, and find the know.
ledge of God. Trust in the Lord with all thine “ heart; and lean not to thine own understanding. “ In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall di
« rect thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes : “ Fear the Lord, and depart from evil. Wisdom is “ better than rubies. Her fruit is better than gold. “ She leads in the way of righteousness and life.” David walked in his house wisely, in a perfect way-with a perfect heart. Solomon wrote his proverbs with an express view to instruct the young in the wisdom from above. God employs parents and others to imbue young
minds with the wisdom which consists in the knowledge, fear and love of their Creator and Saviour.
It was the commendation of Cornelius, whose prayers and alms ascended to heaven with acceptance, that he feared God with all his house.
“ The unfeigned faith" of young Timothy was first conspicuous in his mother and grandmother. Nurtured by them, he knew the holy fcriptures from a child. An happy improvement of the advantages, under which he was early placed, prepared him for the perfect instructions of Paul, who stiles him his own son in the faith, and commends him thus to the Philippian Christians: I have no man like-minded.
The distinguished characters we have mentioned, were eminent for instructing the rising members of their household in the great things of religion. Why is their example highly applauded, if not as a pattern to other parents and heads of families ? Religious education, which they esteemed a duty so important, to which they attended with steady and conscientious care, comes enforced by their example. No pious parent can treat this matter with indifference.
Beside examples on facred record, similar ones, living and dead, may be observed and recollected; which concur to prove, that men of piety consider, and have ever considered, education in religion a matter of first moment. In this the wisest and best men, in all ages, among pagans, Jews and Christians, have united. It is a duty owing to God. For children are the heritage