« PreviousContinue »
And it is here supposed, that thc only condition prerequisito on thc Infants part, that he may have right to this Covenant, and its blessings, is that he be ibe feed of a true Believer, and de dicated in Covenant to God by tbe Parents will or aä. Actual Faith is not prerequired: Seminal grace may be inherent, but 1. Not knopen to the Baptizer : 2. Nor prerequired as a condition; but liker to be given by vertue of the Covenant. Nothing else therefore being prerequisite as a condicion, it followcrh, chat as che Parents dedicating ibemselves to God, if bsprized at age, is the condition of tbeir certain title to the present blessiigs of the Covenant (viz. that God be their Fatber, Cbrift tbeir Saviour, axdobe Spirit in Covenant to operate in tbem to San&tification, and their fins are all pardoned, and tbey are beirs of Heaven) even so upon the Parents dedication of tbeir cbildren to God, they have right to the same blessings;else why do wc baptize them, secing Baptism in the truc nature and use of it, is a solener dedicating them to God, in that feme Covenant, and a folemn investing tbem in tbe relations and rights of that fume par. dozing Covenant, and not in any other.
I do not say that all baptized Infants, so dying, arc faved, be they the children of Infidels, or Hearbens, and remaining their true propriety; nor those that are offered and baptized never so wrongfully, or hypocrisically; nor will I lay to dispute for what I have affered. But i. I cxhort Christians believingly 7o dedicate their children in Covenant with God in Chrift: And 2. To bclicve that if they rodys, that Covenant of Chrift forbiddeth them to doubt of their Glvation. Dirca.
4 Let your Dury be answerable to your bope: And do not only pray for your childrens fandification, but if they live, endeavour it by al psible care, in a wise and godly education:
Remember that nature, and your dedicating them to God, do both oblige you to this care for their balvation. And that the education of children, is one of the greatest duties in the world, for the service of Christ, and the prosperity of Church and Scato : And the neglect of it, not the smallest cause of the ruine of both, and of the worlds calamity.
Many a poos, forrilh, lazy Profeffor have I known, who cry out again
ignorant, dumb and unfaithful Ministers, as guilty of the blood of foals, and arc so religion, as to separate from
the Assemblies that have Minifters that are but partly fuod ; when as their own children are almoft as ignorant as Heathens, and they only uic them to a few customary formal duties(while they think they are enough against forms) and turn over the chicf care of their inftrudion to the Schoolmaster. And are tbemselves so ignorant, dumb and idle; unfaithful and unnatural to thcir poor childrens souls, as that it is a doubt whether in a well-ordered Church they ought not to be denyed communion themselves. They so little pra&ise, Deut. 11. 18, 19. & 6.7. Epbof. 6.4, &c.
. Dired. s. If your children live to the fleste in an ungodly course of life, contrary to the Covenant wbieb by you they made, tbey forfeit allobe benefits of the Covenant : And you can bave no assurance by any thing tbat you can do for obem, ibat ever. obey Mal be conversed (thougb it is not past bope.) And if they be con. verted at age, tbeir pardon and adoption will be tbe
effed of Gods Covenant, as tben it was newly entered witb tbemselves, and not as it was made before for ibem in infancy.
Dirca. 6. Tit because tbat til wbile tbere is life, there is bope, you owgbt not by despair or negligence to omit prayer, ex'hortation, or any other duty which you can perform in order to their recovery: And though now they have wills of their own, shoir Galvation is not laid su much upon you, as it was in Infancy, at their firft covenancing with God ; yet fill God will show his love to his servants in thcir feed; and faithful endeavours are not vain nor hopeless; and therefore ic is full one of your greated dutics in the world, to rock their true tccovery to Chrift,
Dirca. 7. If God make your children ofcourge, or a bears. breaking to you, beer and improve it as becomes Believers : That is;
1. Repent of your own former fin ; your own youthful lufts; your disobedience to your Parents ; your carnal fond, acls on your children ; your loving them too much, and God roo little; the cvil examples you have given them; and your manifold negle&t of a prudent, seasonable, earneft, unwcaried instructing them in godliness; your bearing with their fin, and giving them their
own wills, till they were mifterlels, &s. Renew your Repentance, and you have got some benefir.
2. Think how unkindly and unthankfully you have dealt with a gracious Saviour, and a heavenly Father.
3. Let it take off your affections from all things under the Sun, and call them up the more to God : For who would love a world, where none are to be trufted, and where all things are vexatious, even the children of your love and bowels.
Dirca. 8. If tbey die impenitently, and perifs, mours for them, but with the moderation of Believers : That is, 1. Consider that God is more sbe owner of your children, chan you are ; and may do with his own as he lift. 2. And he is morc wife and merciful than you; and therefore not to be murmured at as wanting cither. 3. And it is an unvaluable
your own soul is fanctified, and shall be faved. 4. And the mot gode ly have had ungodly children before you.
Adam had a Cain, Noah had a Cbam, Ifaac had an Esau, David had an Abfalom, &c. 5. And if all the godly that pray for their childrens Galva. cion must be therein gratified, all the world would shen have been saved, For Noab would have prayed for all his children, and they for theirs, and fo to the worlds end.
Obje&t. Ob but my conscience telleth me, that it is my own fin wbich batb bada band in their undoing. wie Anfo. Suppofe it befo; it is certainly a pardonable fin. Do you then repent of it, or not? If you repent ; as you mourn for your relations ; fo you should rejoyce that God hath forgiven you. For repented sin is certainly pardoned to you, and perdoned fin to you, is as great cause of joy, as unpardoned fin in your relations is caufc of forrow. Therefore mourn with such moderation, and mixed comfort and thanksgiving, as becometh one that liveth by faith. The affli&ion indeed is neer and great ; and heavier than any calamity that could have befallen their bodics, and is not to bc slighted by an unnatural infenfibility ? But yet you have a God who is better to you than a thousand children, and your cross is but as a feather, if you set it in the billance againlt your bleffings, cven the Love of God, and your part in Chrift, and life cternal.
CHAP CHAP. XXIV.
H.00 by Faith to order our Affections to publick Societies, and
the unconverted world.
Dircat. 1. Ake beed ibat you lose not that common Love
@bicb you owe to wankind, nor that defire of the increase of tbc Kingdom of Cbrift, obicb muft kera up in you a conftant compaffion to tbe unconverted world, viz. Idolaters, Infidels, and ungodly Hypocrites.
It is pittiful to observe the unchristian fenflcsocss of most z:alous Professors of Religion in this point: Though God hath purposely put the three-publick Peticions first in the Lords Prayer, to tell them what they must first and most dcfire, that is, the ballowing of his Name, and tbe coming of bis Kingdom, and sbe doing of bis Will on Earth as it is in Heaven; yet they scem not to underft andit, or to regard ir: But their thoughes and desires are as selfish, and private, and narrow, as if they kocw nothing what the World or the Courcb is, or cared for neither. Their mind and talk is all of their own matters, for body or soul, or of their several Parties and particular Churches i or if any extend his care as far as this spot of Land in Brittain and Ireland, or some of the Reformed Churches, they go further than their companions; their selves, and their fide or party is almost all chat moft regard : Perhaps the poor scattered fewer have a few words in the prayers of some; but the miscrable cafc of the valt Nations of the Earth, who seem to be forsaken of God is neglected by them. five parts in fix of the carth arc Heathens and Mahometancs : and of the fixth Protestants are but about a fixth, compared with the poor ignorant Abbaffincs, Armenians, Syrians, the Greek Churches, and the Papifts; (to say nothing what the most of the Protestants themselves arc.) Yet are almost all these put by, with a word or two, or nonc at all, in the daily prayers of moft Professors : And it is rare to hear any to pray with any importunity for their conversion. Is this mens love to mankind? Is this their love to the Kingdom of Chrift? or to God and Godliness ? Is God of as narrow a mind as you? Are you and your party ou up
all the world, or all the Church? or all that is to be regarded and prayed for?
Dirce, 2. Do not only pray for tbem, but study wbat is withe in the reacb of your power to do for tbeir converfion. For though private men can do licelc in comparison of what Christian Princes might do who must not be told their duty by such as 1.) Yet somewhat might be done by Merchants and their Chaplains, il skill and zcal were well united ; and somewhat might be done by writing and translasing luch books as are ficced for this ulc: " And greater matters might be done, by training
up fome Scholars in the Persian, Indoft an, Tarterien, and “luch other languages, who arç for mind and body fitred for “that work, and willing with due encouragement to give up "themselves thercro. Were such a Colledge created, natives "might be got to teach the languages: and no doubt bus “God would put into the hcarts of many young men, to de“ yote chemfelves to fu excellent a service ; and of many rich
mon, to secile Lands fufficient to maintain them; and many “Murchants would help chem in their expedition. But whether those that God will so much honour, bc yet born, I know not.
Dirca. 3. Pray and labour for the Reformation and Concord of al.ibe Cbriftian Churches ; as ibe most probable means to win to Christ tbe world of Heatbers and Urbelievers.
If the Proteftant Churches were more pure and peaceable, more holy, and more unanimous and charitable to each other, it would do much to win che Papifts that are near them: And if the Papills, and Greeks, and Armenians, and Abaflincs were more reformed, wisc and holy, it would do much ro win the Heathens and Mahometancs round about them. They would be thc salt of the carth, and the lights of the world, and the leaven which mutt lcaven the whole lump : The neighbouring Mahometancs, and Heathens, would see their good works and glorific God, Metrb. 5. 16. A boly, barmless, loving conversa. tion, is a Sermon wbicb men of al languages can understand: Thus as Apoftles we might preach to men of several tongues, though we have but onc. O that the sandifying Spirit would teach Chriftians this art, and reform and unite the Churches of Chrift, that they might be no longer a scandal, to hinder the