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it. It will not appear wonderful, therefore, that we do not grow in grace, if we consider how few and faint are our prayers for this blessing; how little we are acquainted with the promises of God; what strangers we are to the state of our souls; and how careless and formal in our observance of the public or private duties of religion. We have more reason to be astonished that the Lord has not cut us down, as cumbering the ground, and cast our souls into unquènchable burnings.
I would again remind you, that if ever you grow in grace, you must receive your nourishment from Christ; and that faith is the means by which this spiritual supply is imparted. You have a precious promise for your encouragement in tliese words of God, by his prophet; “I will be as the dew unto Israel ; he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon." Go, therefore, to God, and thus plead it before him : Lord, I am fruitless and withering; my graces, my duties, my comforts withering; and the things which remain are ready to die. But if thou wilt condescend to be as the dew to me; if thou wilt accompany thy word with power to my heart; if thou wilt send down thy Spirit to quicken and strengthen me, I shall revive, and speedily flourishı.” Do this, and you will not be disappointed; for “ he gives power to the faint"; and to, them that have no miglit, he increases strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and mot faint."
ON THE RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION OF CHILDREN
Deut. VI. 6, 7.
And these words, which I command thee this day,
shall be in thy heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children; and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
The season is now returned when the lambs of the flock demand our particular attention. Few parts of my ministerial work have cost me more labour, or given me more pleasure, than Catechizing; and I take this opportunity publicly to acknowledge my obligations to all those who are, or have been, my Catechumens. With peculiar satisfaction I have observed your readiness and eagerness to learn ; so that'there was no occasion to importune you to appear in public; but more have frequently offered than could be conveniently admitted. God is my witness how sincerely I desire your salvation ; and I am not without hopes, that the seed which has been sown in these exercises will hereafter spring up; and that, among the rising generation, I shall be able, through all eternity, to glory in many, as my joy and crown of rejoicing.
But as this important and difficult work ought not to rest entirely on me, I propose to begin with an address to parents, that they may see what the Lord their God has required of them, and may be incited to enforce those instructions and exhortations upon the minds and consciences of their children in private, which can only be transiently suggested in pub: lic. No words have occurred to me, as more suitable to my design, than those which have been read as the foundation of this discourse. They were spoken first by Moses to the children of Israel, and contain a very solemn charge to parents to look well to the state of their families; and to see that they were instructed in the principles of their holy religion, and the various dealings of God with their nation. The words which he commanded them, and which they were to treasure up in their own hearts, and teach diligently to their children, were not the devices of his own imagination, but what he had received by express
and immediate revelation from God, and therefore he could require their attention with authority. A regard to the principles and morals of children, is a duty which both the law and the light of nature enjoin on all parents : and on this account you are as much concerned in the exhortation of the text, as if Moses were to appear in this congregation, and, addressing himself to every one of you by name, should
" These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart,” &c.
I shall hence take occasion to mention some of those things which parents are commanded to teach their children ; to suggest a few directions to assist them in this duty; and to show what encourage
ments they have to be early and diligent in it. I propose,
1. To mention some of those things which parents are commanded io Itach their children. I can suge gest but a few; for if I were to lay before you all, I nust go over the Bible, and particularize all the doctrines and duties contained in that sacred volume.
In the first place, then, inculcate upon them an early reverence for God. Teach them this duty even before they can understaud who and what He is; and let them see it exemplified in yourselves, by your seriousness in spcaking of him, and by your humility in every act of divine worship. Make them sensible of his greatness and glory ; and convince them, that every thing that is magnificent in the world is less than nothing when compared with the grandeur. and majesty of God. Explain to them his infinite power, by which he inade them and all creatures, with a word; and can as easily speak the whole creation out of existence again; and by which, if they provoke him, he could stop their breath in a moment, and destroy both body and soul in hell for ever. Endeavour. to afleet them with the exceeding riches of his goodness: teach them how he maintains them, and all the world, out of his inexhaustible treasures : how He opens
his hand, and satisfies the desires of every living thing: and how he is able to do abundantly above all that they can ask or conceive. Convince them of his extensive and unsearchable wisdom and knowledge: inform them, thaillesees what passes in their chambers; that He knows what thoughts arise in their hearts; and that He is better acquainted with every thing they do,
or speak, of think, than they are themselves. Teach them their relation to this great and glorious Being ; their dependence upon Him for daily breath, and daily bread; and the nécessity of praying to him for all that they want, of praising him for all that they bave, and of aiming at his glory in every action. Habituate them betimes, to a veneration for the name, the word, the day, and the worship of God, Never let the profanation of either of them pass unrebuked. Tell them that God is jealous of his honour; that he will not hold them guiltless who take his name in vain ; and that there is “ no standing before him when once he is angry.” Accustom them, by every method that you can devise, to the highest reverence for God. Teach them also an early hatred of sin. It would be happy if infancy and childhood were as innocent and pure as some' would wish us to believe ; but surely those who make any observations on that period of life, must see the early effects of deprayity. Now the streams could never be foul so near the head, and before they had contracted any external defilement, if the fountain itself were not sadly corrupted. Experience verifies the assertion of the wise man, that “ foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;" and thiat of his royal father, of a similar -import; “The wicked is estranged from the womb;;. they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.”. Here, then, the watchful eye and strict hand of a parent are particularly necessary.' Tell them, therefore, wliat sin is, and caution them against it. Let thein know. betimes that to take the Lord's name, in vain, that to tell a lie, even though it were in sport, that to be stubborn and disobedient