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pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase."
And thus you have in Job's history,1st, his intercession as a father for his children; 2ndly, the assurance that such as do look to the soul's health of their children shall not be unblessed,-yea, doubly blessed, in their offspring, and in themselves. For, if according to the Proverb of Solomon, "A wise son,"-wise, that is, unto salvation, which is the only real and enduring wisdom,-"maketh a glad father," that other proverb is none the less true, "A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children!"
Then, Christian Brethren, admitting that all children are born in sin, and that the stain of Adam's transgression passeth upon all that are born into this world of sadness, of sickness, and of sorrow; let us all be mindful as parents,
that our children be admitted, as soon as may be, within the borders of the covenant, from whence afterwards they can only be cast out by their own transgression; "for it is certain by God's Word, that children which are baptized, dying before they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved." So that the first step towards EARLY PIETY is Christian Baptism, in the which most sacred rite, our most merciful Father which is in heaven doth regenerate infants with his Holy Spirit, receive them for his own by adoption, and incorporate them into his holy Church, purchased by the blood of his only and all-beloved Son. As one said; "It hath been the doctrine constantly with general consent delivered in and by the Catholic Church, that to all persons, by the holy mystery of Baptism duly initiated into Christianity, and admitted into the communion of Christ's body, the grace of the Holy Spirit is communicated, enabling them
to perform the conditions of piety and virtue which they undertake; and continually watching over them for accomplishment of those purposes; which Spirit they are admonished not to resist, to abuse, to grieve, to quench; but to use it well, and to use its grace to the working out their salvation." Clearly, then, the first duty of a parent is to bring the child to the font. The steps of it are the first access to EARLY PIETY. They who are thus grafted into God's house have "a nail in his holy place!"
Next, for the increase of EARLY PIETY, the infant lip must be taught to lisp its prayers at a mother's knee, and to "perfect praise" with its little "stammering tongue." And then, as reason dawns, children, whose perceptions are alive to every thing, and on whom early impressions sink the deepest, must find piety at home. The bent knee of the parent will bow their hearts, and, almost before they know their right
hand from their left, they will become habituated to reverence and devotion. And such prayers are not unaccepted at the throne of grace-yea, accepted, rather for such as are grounded, through faith in Christ, in the artlessness, and truthfulness, and unfeigned simplicity of infancy, are the nighest heaven. "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." So spake He who spake as never man spake, holding up children as an example. And therefore, as I said before, parents must "seek unto God betimes" for their children, "and make" their "supplication unto the Almighty." As far as their sinful nature will admit, they must be "pure and upright," that their children may walk evenly in their steps, and not be scared by their starting madly out of the right way; which, if they do, in Scripture phrase, the Lord will "awake" for
them, "and make the habitation of" their "righteousness prosperous." Ordinarily, as the Shuhite said, "God will not cast away a perfect man ;"-one that teacheth his children to serve and worship Him. On the contrary, He will fill his "mouth with laughing," and his "lips with rejoicing." And methinks the Psalmist's words will fall into an acceptable prayer: "Save me and deliver me from the hand of strange children; whose mouth talketh of vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of iniquity. That our sons may grow up as the young plants, and that our daughters may be as the polished corners of the temple!"
And thus cherished in holy instruction, which is what St. Paul calls "the nurture and admonition of the Lord,”— the child will be advancing into boyhood, and "being now come to years of discretion," he must be brought to be confirmed by the Bishop, in other words, to