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thereto, by consideration of the honour of God, and their eternal welfare, that depend on it.
II. The second general head was to shew, Who are the standing and rising generation, the fathers and the children, among whom this propagation of religion is to pass. And this must be stated according to the language of the Holy Ghost, and the analogy of other parts of scripture, if we would rightly see whose is this duty. In general I Mall premise,
1. All superiors and inferiors are in scripturestyle comprehended under fathers and children. This is plain from the fifth commandment, which under the name of father and mother, whose relatives children are, prescribes the mutual duties of superiors and inferiors. Therefore every one is to propagate religion to his inferiors.
2. Forasmuch as there is no perfect and absolute equality among men, but some who are inferior in one respect to others, may be superior to them in another respect; it is the duty of equals and inferiors to propagate religion among themselves, and to their superiors, mutually communicating their light and warmth.
3. Some may belong to the standing generation in one respect, who belong to the rising one in another; as a person who is inferior to fome, and sue perior to others. So they are to have it propa. gated to them, and they are to propagate it to others again.
4. lastly, The same command of God that binds the standing generation and fathers to propagate religion, binds the rising generation and children to receive it. God by binding parents to instruct, binds the children to receive instruction. And they that are the rising generation now, will be the standing in a little. But more particularly,
1. Fathers of the state, magiftrates fupreme or subordinate, are to propagate religion to their political children, their subjects. They are God's vicegerents on earth, clothed with dominion and authority over others, to be employed for God 'in whose name they aet. Hence is that promise, If. xlix. 23. Kings Mall be thy nursing-fathers, and their queens thy nursing-mothers. And it is one of the blackest symptoms of the corruption of the world, that oft-times they are found ferito extirpate religion.
2. Fathers in the church, ministers and other ruling church-officers, to their ecclesiastical chila dren, the people whom they are set over, 2 Kings
It is for this very end they are put in of. fice. Hence fays the Apostle, Heb. xiii. 17. O. bey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves : for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account : that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. Jesus Christ brought this religion from heaven, employed his apostles to propagate it: 'toi them they succeed in the office of propagating religion ; and must see to make it their business, as they will be answerable.
3. Fathers of families to their children. For every family ought to be a church, wherein holy worship, doctrine, discipline, and government ought to be maintained, by the heads thereof. And particularly,
1/t, Fathers and mothers to the children procreated of their bodies. This is the chicf thing in the
text, The father to the children shall make known thy truth.Com pa ed with Gen. xviii. 19. I know him, that he will command his children, and his household af. ter him, and they mall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment. It is but an inferior part of your charge, to provide meat and cloaths for your chil. dren, and to put them in a way of living : the chief part is to see to their souls, that they may be recovered out of the loft Nate they are in by nature. It will be but a sorry kindness, to be concerned for their provision in time, if ye neglect them as to their eternal concerns. It is by them your name is to be propagated, and you are to propagate God's name to them, in point of gratitude to God, juItice and natural affection to them.
2dly, They are to do it also to all others in their family, whether they be servants, or whatever they be, if they be members of the family for fhorter or longer time. Being in your family, ye are instead of fathers and mothers to them, and owe them that benefit.' Hence masters are called fathers, 2 Kings v. 13:; and the duty of propagating religion is expressly extended to one's household, Gen. xviii. 19. forecited. And whosoever have the chief authority in a family, though they be servants themselves, are the fathers of it in this sense.
4. Fathers in gifts or grace, to those who are children in these respects in comparison of them, 1 John ii. 12. 13. So Jofeph was a father to Pharaoh, Gen. xlv. 8. If God has bestowed on you more gifts or grace than on others; mind ye are thereby made fathers to those that are weaker than you, and are obliged to communicate your light to them, 1 Cor. xii. 7. So teachers are called fathers, Geis.
iy. 20.; and the Spirit of God the common father, í Sam. X. 12. It will then make a dreadful reckoning, for men to have gifts, and not lay them out for the benefit of others; to use their brangle, and confound, and perplex the weaker gifts just for ostentation, and instead of helping ? with them.
5. Fathers in years, to those who are children in respect of age to them, i Tim. v. 1. 20 It is Elihu's observe; Job xxxii
. 7. 'that days Should Speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. The more days the more experience, the more access to improve in knowledge ; and so to be the more useful to the younger. Mind then, that your superiority in years constitutes
you fathers to those younger than you. Ye will po not forget it in point of the regard ye expect from
them, and God allows you it, i Pet. v. 5. ; but then ye should make conscience of the daty too, propagating religion to them.
Thus ye see the standing and rising generation.
And if these fathers would set themselves to the w propagating of religion to their respective children,
the work would go on.
III. The third general head was to shew, In what respects it is the special business of life. The
business of life appointed by the great Mafter is 14 manifold; but the sum of it is to honour God,
Rom. xi. ult. ; and the chief branch thereof; the met fpecial business of life, is to propagate religion, on the standing to the rising generation. This will appear in the following particulars.
1. It is the business of life, that would have cs.Com deen the business of it though sin had neves entera
ed into the world. The business of the lawyer, and physician, and many handicrafts now in the world, owe their original and necessity to fin's entrapce. Nay, the very business of our own salvation does so too; for if Adam had stood the time of trial, all his posterity's eternal þappiness would have been thereby secured to their hand. But God having settled the manner of the propagation of mankind, as Gen. i. 28. it was an evidence that the succeeding generations were not to be created in their prime as Adam was; but to be born infants, and grow up by degrees, in knowledge of religion and other things, as appears from Luke ii. ult. And this would have afforded this business.
2. It is the business of life, that most singly looks to the honour of God. God is honoured by our working out our own salvation : but then our own advantage bears great stroke in it allowably, as well as his honour; but this is a business carried on not for ourselves, but for God allenarly; and in that respect is the more noble. Hence we find the Apostle willing, for the great end of the propagation of religion, either to live or die, to put off his own eternal happiness for a time, Philip. i. 26. downwards. And he prefers one's edifying the church, to his own comfort, I Cor. xiv. 4. 5. He edifies the church that edifices his house, Neh. ii.
3. It is the business of life, that is the end of life and salvation given to the elect, and all their comforts and enjoyments. Hence said our Lord to Peter, Luke xxii. 32. I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. We get life and salvation by believing in Chrift; and are as really