Page images

dren, to their forrow, disobedient, stubborn, felf-willed, neither minding their commands, nor-their-advice.

There are parents fo little concerned for their children's welfare, that they let them have their own will and ways. They see their children keep idle and wicked company; they fee them given to lying, to swearing, to the taking of God's name to idle and wicked purposes, to the profaning of the Lord's day; and often without rebuking them, seldom chaftising them, though they are in the ready way to destruction.

Lastly. Too many parents deprive their children of a comfortable subsistence, many by drinking away their estates, others by, idleness, prodigality, litigiousness, and many such extravagant ways, by which their children are exposed to hardships and misery, and are tempted to take unlawful ways to get their bread. This is a crime so barbarous, so cruel, fo unnatural, that a thief, in comparison of such a parent, is a better man.

One might insist much more upon the faults of too many parents, by which they leave a miserable or a wicked posterity behind them, for which they must answer in another world. But this is not what the subject we are upon leads us to; for this is, To Thew what parents ought to do, what is in their power to do, in order to make themselves and their children happy in this and in a better




world. These words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children; that is, You shall take all occasions of instructing your children in the knowledge and fear of God.

God himself compares his love for such as fear him, to the love of parents for their children. As a father pitieth his own children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.

Let us consider how parents should shew their love and pity for their children:

The first and most necessary duty of parents is, to pray for their children.' Parents should know, and they should consider, that their children have from them a nature corrupt, and prone to evil; and that if they are not hindered by the grace and providence of God, they will ruin themselves as sure as they live; and when they die, they will be lost for ever. Wretchedly careless and wicked, therefore, are those parents, who do not carefully beg the blessing of God upon their children, and earnestly pray that God's grace may prevent and follow them all the days of their life.

It was the observation of a very good man, “ That the children of many prayers and “ tears do not often miscarry.” I would to God that every parent who hears it would remember this.

And so we proceed to the next duty of parents; which is, to watch over that corrupt nature of their children, which is prone to evil • PL. ciii. 13.


[ocr errors]

continually. We must be very particular upon this head, as ever we hope to do any great good.

A proneness to the sin of lying is one of the first fruits and signs of a corrupt nature. Whether children tell lies in jest, or to excuse their faults, or to abuse those they do not love, they ought to be told over and over again, that it is really the devil that tempts them to lie; for, faith our Lord Christ, be is a liar, and the father of lies.' That it is one of those sins, which the Lord hateth in an especial manner. They ought to be put often in mind, that it is an odious and a žhameful vice to be caught in a lie, and that it is seldom that one lie is not followed by another to excuse it. Let them know how much better it is, and becoming a good child, to tell the truth, and take blame upon themselves, rather than excuse a fault by a lie. Lastly; let your child know for certain, that it is a vice much harder to be left off than they are aware of. If all this will not prevent or cure a child of this vice, repeated correction ought to be made use of; left

, as the Spirit of God assures us, he bave his portion with liars, in the lake that burnetb with fire and brimstone.

There is another evil which children, through bad examples and the temptation of the devil, are very prone to; and that is, taking God's name in vain; making use of the John viii. 44.


[ocr errors]

• Prov. vi.

M 2

name of the great God on every foolish and idle occasion. Parents should be very careful to admonish and to correct their children betimes, to prevent them from falling into this sin, which is so offensive to God, that he has threatened to punish it in a most especial manner.

And indeed it very naturally leads to many more damnable fins, to cursing, to swearing, and even to perjury. They that are prone to lie, and to swear in common conversation, will be strongly tempted to forswear themfelves, when a great temptation comes in their way; they having grieved the good Spirit of God, and an evil spirit having taken poffelfion of them. That it really is fo, is plain from a man's being tempted to a crime of fo high a nature, that it is, in effect, the denying of God. • Too many, I am afraid, are ignorant of the greatness of this fin; otherwise no Christian would be guilty of perjury, either to gain the whole world, or to escape the greatest pnnishment that man can suffer.

For every man that perjures himself faith, in effect, I do not fear what God can do unto me. A man that takes an oath calls upon God to be a witness of what he is going to swear to. If he swears to what he knows to be false, he cannot put a greater contempt upon God, as if God did not know what men do and swear, or that he could not punish the affront.


[ocr errors]

SO HELP ME God! is an expression which should never be lightly repeated, either by such as administer an oath, or by those that take an oath; forasmuch as 'every man who repeats these words to countenance an untruth, renounces the help of God, and this not only for himself, but even for his family. A curse—(faith God')-A curse mall enter into the house of every one that sweareth falsely by my name, and shall consume it.

You see what reason all parents have, not to suffer their children to make use of the name of God to any idle or wicked purposes, this being the ready way to perjury when they come to be men, having in their youth lost the fear of God, and a reverence for his name.

Profaning the Lord's day is another great fin, which children are but too apt, if not timely restrained, to run into. They have, when young, little or no knowledge of the necessity of God's grace, or mercy, or help, or blessing; and therefore are not much concerned to go to church to ask these favours.

This indifference, if not corrected, will grow up with them, and they will live and die in a careless neglect of the ordinances of God.

Parents therefore should let their children know betimes, That they are by nature sinners, and prone to evil; that without the grace of God they will be undone for ever that as 'ever they hope for God's pardon and { Zech. v. 4.


« PreviousContinue »