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does a son honor his father, or a servant his master, much more will the child of adoption adore and obey his Father in heaven. This submission to his authority, this attention to his ordinances is solemnly enjoined by our redeeming Lord on all his professed followers. “ If ye love me keep my commandments.” This he pronounces the criterion by which we may discriminate the true from the false professor of his name; “ If ye continue in my word, ye are my
disciples indeed.” Whenever the incorruptible seed is savingly sown in the heart it naturally and necessarily springs up and presents the fruits of holiness in the life. Were Zacharias and Elizabeth “ both righteous before God ?” this was manifested by walking “in all his commandments and ordinances :" Was Cornelius“ a devout man?” this was expressed by “fearing God with all his house,” by giving “much alms to the people, and praying to God always. Amidst the various employments of the day, the christian considers his duty to his heavenly Father as the most reasonable and important : amidst all his enjoyments, he regards the divine fellowship in ordinances as the most refined and exalted ; amidst the anxieties and perplexities of life, this is his consolation that “ in every thing by prayer and supplication he can make his requests known unto God.”
2. We learn from this doctrine that when parents and masters are conscientious in
serving the Lord, they will recommend his service to all under their inspection ; if their own souls are deeply impressed with their obligations to God, they will aim at impressing the souls of their children and servants. It is a mistaken opinion that the rising generation should be left altogether to their own choice in matters of religion. True it is, the conscience ought not to be controled i the rational mind can be influenced only by rational arguments: but it is equally irue, that if parents consider the service of Jehovah their duty, they should admonish their children to serve him ; if they experience the ways of spiritual wisdom “to be ways of pleasantness and her paths peace,” affection to their offspring obliges them to recommend these ways. How earnestly, therefore, did the holy David expostulate with Solomon his son; “know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and awilling mind ; if thou seek him, he will be found of thee, but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.” Parents are not indifferent with their children as to the affairs of the present life; they recommend industry and temperance as conducing equally to their temporal interest and happiness; they represent virtue and integrity as the ornament of their nature; as the path to respectability and usefulness in society; if mere arguments are not sufficient, they employ the correcting rod as a means of reclaiming them from habits of wantonness
and vice. Will they interfere by instruction and correction in things temporal, and leave them to their own choice in matters infinitely more important ? Will they teach and admonish, and expostulate in order to regulate their conduct as men, and abandon them to the vanity and folly of their own minds in the weightier interests of their souls and eternity ? Besides, parental instruction and exhortation, which are founded in reason, are particularly enjoined in divine revelation : « Train up a child in the way he should go : Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And these words which I cominand thee shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in the house and when thou walkest by the way ; when thou liest down and when thou risest up.
I can not conclude this discourse without again recommending to your imitation this resolution of Joshua. My conscience bears me witness that I am pained at the thought of ceasing to expostulate until I have prevailed with you to comply. Shall a duty in which the glory of God, the peace of your own souls, the salvation of your household, I may add, the salvation of thousands yet to descend from your loins, shall a duty of this importance reinain neglected ? Need I repeat that it is a service perfectly reasonable; that it is a tribute justly due to Him who
created you at first, and who daily protects and supports you; who, in his unsearchable wisdom, has devised a plan for your salvation, and who, in his abundant mercy, offers you all the blessings of grace and glory? Is HE a Being infinitely glorious in himself, and not worthy of your esteem and adoration? Is HE the author of innumerable benefits to you, and not entitled to your affection and praise ?
Is there a parent or master present that has lived in the habitual neglect of family religion, I would on this New-Year's morning entreat them with all affection to begin the exercise. “Halt no longer between two opinions, but choose you this day whom you
will serve: If the Lord be God,” if HE is the author of your existence, and the only portion of your immortal spirits, follow him, choose bim as your God, and the God of your children.
Is there a parent or master, who has attended this duty formally or remissly, I would on this New-Year's morning entreat them, with all affection to aim at the more upright, uniform discharge of it. Let not the living God be put off with “ the torn or the lame, or the sick for an offering,” but consecrate to him the “male of your flock,” the flower of your time.
Should this feeble attempt to enforce an important duty be instrumental in introducing the worship of Jehovah into one house where it was formerly neglected, or of bring
ing one family to the more conscientious observance of it, how would my soul rejoice! how cheerfully could I hail the church in that house with a happy New Year; how cordially could I bless the Lord for establishing the word of his servant and making it, however weak and worthless, effectual to his own glory and the salvation of men: I should consider it a mutual pledge of shortly meeting and mingling with patriarchs, and apostles, and reformers, and all that honored throng who served the Lord on earth, and behold him eternally in heaven.
Now, to the FATHER, and the Son, and the HOLY GHOST, THREE electing, redeeming, sanctifying Persons in ONE JEHOVAH, let all the ransomed from among men unite with unsinning angels in offering equal thanksgiving and praise, now and everlastingly:A.MEN.
PROVERBS XXII, 6.
Train up a child in the way he should go.
THE Hebrew word which is here translated train up, has a variety of significations, and is therefore translated differentJy in different places. Sometimes it signifies to dedicale or consecrate from common to sacred uses, as the Jews dedicated by