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SU A particular Address to
Parents in general. INCE we learn by the Word of God, that we are S
obliged to bring up our Children in the Nurture and Admonition of the Lord, Eph. vi. 4. and in the vth Book of Moses, Deut. vi. 6. 7. these Words, (viz. of the Law) which I command thee this Day, shall be in thine Heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy Children, and fall talk of them, when thou fittest in thine House, and when thou walkes by the way, and when thou lief down, and when thou risest up ; even alfo Solomon, Proverb xxïi. 6. Train up a Child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
It is therefore not enough to provide for them, so as we find in Scripture, to be our Duty, 1 Tim. v. 8. 11. Cor. xii. 14. And natural Affection and Reason teaches us; but we must also learn them to know and serve God rightly, that they may not perish, but be faved for ever;
or even as new-born Babes are with their Mother's Milk nourished, they also must be nourished, with the fincere Milk of the Word, that they may grow thereby, 1 Peter ii. 2. and from Babes and Sucklings they may attain Strength for the Honour and Service of the Lord, Pfa. viii. 2. following the Examples of that pious Grand-mother Lois; and that believing Woman Eunice, who had accustomed her Son Timothy from a Child, to know the Scriptures, which are able to make him wise unto Salvation, 2 Tim. iii. 15.
'If then thou art a Parent, a Father, or a Mother, thou art to consider thy Calling under this Relation, to observe the great Obligation to your Children, fo that they may be really fanctified by the divinc Spirit B
'in that Covenant which you have sworn before God, and that they perish not through thee, by your Carelesness.
Therefore let the Thoughts of the everlasting Ruin of your Children by Negligence, provoke you to inItruct them, and consider the Arguments, which I shall make use of to convince you ; yea, which I jope God may impress upon your Minds.
Think that they are created to ferve and glorify such a holy and fupream Being, to be his Property with Soul' and Body, and not of any others; and must they be a Property of God's? Has he formed them to utter his Praise? How fcandalous then is it, to take them (through a careless Education) from their Proprietor, and let them be a Prey for the Devil and the World ! Indeed it would be hard and sorrowful for you, in Case your Children should be taken away from you by the Hands of malicious People, and offered up unto others to be their Slaves ; even so bitter you ought to think it is for God, to see that his Creatures should, as it were, perith, (while you allow them as much as appears by your Negligence) to be thus snatched from his Arms, whom he would have fanctified to his Service, and to be happy in his Love; but besides that, your own Love and Inclination, ought to excite you to a christian Education of them,
on which the Welfare of your Children (under the Blessing of God) commonly depends; or can you hate, kill, and entirely forsake your own Flesh and Blood ? Can you so easily give up your Children (who have proceeded from your own Body) to the cruel Claws of the Devil, and eternal Bands and Captivities of the Prince of Darkness?
O Fathers ! O Mothers ! I call your own Consciences to witness ! Would it not be grievous for you that your most dear Infants, by the violent Hands of a Tyrant, should be murdered? Alas, how would the Eyes of the tender hearted Mother, swim in brakish
Tears ! How would the (in Agony of Soul) wring her Hands! With what Grief would her Heart be affečted ! And what a dreadful howling would she raise, when a furious Tyrant should break with Force into the House and take hold of her innocent Suckling, which lays in the Cradle, ftabing and turning the same on the Point of his Lance. Oh! how would the tender Heart of the Mother be stung and pierced through with Sorrow! How would she run, and stretch out her Hands after the Child ! The more when this innocent Babe, yet living, should be offered up to the consuming Flames of Fire. How would the feeble Voice, the ghastly writhing of the little Members, and the last Sight of such a dying Lamb, cut through her Heart and Reing, and mortaly strike her! And what Father would not to the utmost be aftonished, yea fwoon away by the chilling Fright, when he should see with his own Eyes, his Son, the Joy of his Life, the Hope of his Posterity, tortured, chained, and condemned to Death? It seems to me that the penetrating View, and the melancholly Remembrance of such a tragical Scene, would confume his Flesh and drink up his Spirits, and his grey Hairs would with Sadness and Pains go down unto the Grave. But are you not more cruel Murderers of
your own Children, if you do not take care of their immortal Souls, and that they may be educated in the Fear of God, by which they may be snatched away from the Paths of Hell. And if you, by Negligence of your Duty in despising the Means so highly necessary for their learning and observing the true Religion, the only Method of becoming favourite Children of God, should without natural Affection, suffer their immortal Souls to fall a Prey to the Devil, the World, and several erroneous Spirits, till they are catched by their violent Enemies; should not God (who has given them to your Care) ark their Blood at your Hands ? Certainly; and your Children shall hereafter, in that awful Day
of Judgment, rise against you, curse you to your Faces, and lay their Punishment to your Charge.
Consider then, Parents, that your Love towards your Children not only consists, in providing for them, as far as they can live happily in this temporal Life, yet inore, than that, the greatest Love you can fhew to them, is, when you endeavour to lead them unto their Redemption in Jesus Christ, out of their everlasting Ruin, and to practise all such Means, by which they can be instructed in the true Principles of the pure Doctrine and Fear of the Lord, as the Beginning of Knowledge, Provb. i. 7. Having Promise of the Life that nowis, and of that which is to come, I Tim. iv. 8. And also that you may have Joy of them, Provb. xxiii. 24. 25. T. such a Practice of Means, the great Scope, which every one ought to have in Matrimony, namely, to raise unto the Lord a holy Seed, will oblige us, according to the Promise which all married People before God and Witnesses have sworn. Would you perform this Oath ? it is your Duty to stir up your Children, (by Words and Christian Examples) to a holy Life and virtuous Behaviour, else you have sworn falsly, and it
will appear that the Intention in your Matrimony :' has only been carnal.
And shall I speak of the folemn Dedication, which you have made of your Children, by the Miniftration of Baptism? Do not you remember how you have offered up these innocent Infants unto the holy Trinity, the God of the Covenant, when they are baptized in his Name? Do not you remember, that it has been your Promise to educate them in the Knowledge of the Truth, and instruct them in the Religion you had them baptized in, when they should come to a ripe Understanding ? Yea, to separate them wholy to God and his Service: Unless you perform that, woe ! then to the Souls of them, who have engaged before the Face of the Lord, and his Servant, with such an insensible or feined Heart !