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that they may go safe to heaven without christianity.” And this I apprehend will ever be the consequence, if we so lay the whole stress of our moral obligations, on the reason and fitness of things, as to neglect that Saviour who gave himself for us, to redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. When christian preachers seldom mention redemption and salvation by the Son of God, unless it be to expose an absurd sense, which some have put upon those doctrines; and thereby more artfully slur them, than by a direct and open attack; they cannot expect their hearers should bave any great regard for them. Their people will be insensibly led into this conclusion, that they have little concernment with any thing in the New Testament but the morality of it, and that the other parts of the gospel may be neglected, without bazard to their souls. And when they have advanced thus far, the next step will be, to set the inspired writings on a level with heathen authors, whose moral sentiments are admired, though there are many pɔetical fictions and fabulous stories intermixed with them.

The apostles took a different method, and constantly supported their instructions, by considerations peculiar to the gospel of Christ. And if our schemes in religion will not permit us to follow their example, and we feel a secret unwillingness to form ourselves on their model, lest our discourses should not be polite and rational, we have reason to fear, we are declining from that faith which they once delivered to the saints. But if we copy after these wise m'ister-builders, we may hope the hand of the Lord will be with us; and that we shall see something of that divine success attending our labours, which so remarkably accompanied theirs, when many believed and turned unto the Lord. And they, who have experienced the powerful infuences of the gospel, in forming their hearts and lives for God, will be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight and craftiness of men, nor easily prevailed upon to part with it. And I am confirmed in this opinion, by observing that deism makes little progress in those auditories, where the distinguishing doctrines of christianity are frequently and judiciously considered.

For this reason, I would humbly propose the following composures to the imitation of younger ministers. And I cannot but indulge a reasonable expectation, that those who are forming for the service of the sanctuary under the instructions of the learned and worthy author, having so good a pattern daily before them, will appear in our assemblies with a fixed resolution to exalt a Redeemer ju all their ministrations ; that they will stand as pillars in the temple of our God, and be the ornaments and supports of the christian cause, when their fathers shall sleep in the dust.

As the subject of these sermons is no matter of controversy, but plain and important duty, one would hope, they will not fall under the severe censure of any. At least, I am fully persuaded, that humble aud serious christians, whose chief concern is to know, and do their duty, will find agreeable entertainment, and much profitable iostruction, in the perusal of them.





On the Way in which they should be trained up.

Prov. xxii. 6. ---Train up a Child in the way he should go; and when he is

old, he will not depart from it. I

T is a most amiable and instructive part of the character which Isaiah draws of The great Shepherd of the church, that he should gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom*: A representation abundantly answered by the tender care which our Redeemer expressed for the weakest of his disciples; and beautifully illustrated by the endearing condescension, with which he embraced and blessed little infants. Nor is it foreign to the present purpose to observe, that when he recommends to Peter the care of his flock, as the most important and acceptable evidence of his sincere affection to his person, he varies the phrase; in one place saving, feed my sheep, and in the other, feed my lambst. Perhaps it might be in part intended to intimate, that the care of a gospel-minister, who would in the most agreeable manner approve his love to his master, should extend itself to the rising generation, as well as those of a maturer age, and more considerable standing in the church. It is in obedience to his authority, and from a regard to his interest, that I am now entering on the work of catechising, which I shall introduce with some practical discourses on the education of children, the subject which is now before us.

I persuade myself, that you, my friends, will not be displeased to hear, that I intend to handle it at large, and to make it the employment of more than a single Sabbath. A little reflection may convince you, that I could hardly offer any thing to your consideration of greater importance; and that, humanly speaking, there is nothing in which the comfort of families, the prosperity of nations, the salvation of souls, the interest of a Redeemer, and the glory of God, is more apparently and intimately concerned.

* Isai, xl, 11.

+ John xxi. 15, 16,

I very readily allow, that no human endeavours, either of ministers or parents, can ever be effectual to bring one soul to the saving knowledge of God in Christ, without the co-operating and transforming influences of the blessed Spirit: Yet you well know, and I hope you seriously consider, that this does not in the least weaken our obligation to the most diligent use of proper means. The great God hath stated rules of operation in the world of grace, as well as of nature; and though he is not limited to them, it is arrogant, and may be destructive, to expect that he should deviate from them in favour of us or ours.

We live not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God*; and were he determined to continue your lives, or the lives of your children, he could no doubt feed or support you by miracle: Yet you think yourselves obliged to a prudent care for your daily bread, and justly conclude, that were you to neglect to administer it to your infant offspring, you would be chargeable with their murder before God and man; nor could you think of pleading it as any excuse, that you referred them to a miraculous divine care, whilst you left them destitute of any human supplies. Such a plea would only add impiety to cruelty, and greatly aggravate the crime it attempted to palliate. As absurd would it be for us to flatter ourselves with a hope that our children should be Taught of God, and regenerated and sanctified by the influences of his grace, if we neglect that prudent and religious care in their education, which it is my business this day to describe and recommend, and which Solomon urges in the words of my text: Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

I need not offer you many critical remarks on so plain and intelligible a passage. You will easily observe, that it consists of an important advice, addressed to the parents and governors of children, Train up a child in the way he should go; and also of a weighty reason by which it is inforced ; and when he is old he will not depart from it. The general sense is undoubtedly retained in our translation, as it commonly is; but here, as in many other places, something of the original energy and beauty is lost.

The Hebrew wordt, which we render train up, does some

# Mat. iv. 4. +39 imbuere, prima rudimenta dare, erudire, docere, dedicare. Pagn. initiare. Cocc. The LXX. render it, with an exactness which our language will not admit, by Eyramides. It is used also of those attendants of Abraham, who in the text are called his trained, and in our margin, his instructed Servants; Gen. xiv. 14.

times signify, in the general, to initiate into some science or discipline ; and, very frequently, to apply any new thing to the use for which it was intended*. It is especially used of sacred things, which were solemnly dedicated, or set apart to the service of Godt: And perhaps it may here be intended to intimate that due care is to be taken in the education of children, from a principle of religion, as well as of prudence and humanity ; and that our instructions should lead them to the knowledge of God, and be adapted to form them for his service, as well as to engage them to personal and social virtue.

It is added, that a child should be Trained up in the way in which he should gof; which seems to be more exactly rendered by others, at the entrance or from the beginning of his way, to express the early care which ought to be taken to prevent the prevalency of irregular habits, by endeavouring from the first dawning of reason to direct it aright, and to infuse into the tender unpractised mind, the important maxims of wisdom and goodness.

To encourage us to this care, the wise man assures us, that we may reasonably expect the most happy consequence from it: That if the young traveller be thus directed to set out well in the journey of life, there is a fair prospect that he will go on to its most distant stages, with increasing honour and happiness. Train up a child in the way he should go ; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

I shall endeavour to illustrate and enforce this important advice in the following method, which appears to me the most natural, and for that reason the most eligible :

I. I shall more particularly mark out the way in which children are to be trained up.

II. Offer some plain and serious considerations to awaken you to this pious and necessary care.

i. e. probably, formed to military discipline, though religious instruction is not to be excluded. Gen. xvii. 19.—79977, a word derived from the same root, in the rabbinical writings signifies a catechism; and therefore the margin of our text reads catechise a child, &c.

* Thus it is applied to any new built house, Deut. xx. 5. to that of David, Psal. xxx. tit. and to the wall of Jerusalem, Neb. xii. 27.

+ Thus it is applied to the dedication of the altar, Numb, vii. 10, 11, 84, 88. 2 Chron, vii. 9. and to that of the temple, 1 Kings viii. 63. 2 Chron. vii. 5.

# 1977 Sy, which the French version renders “a l' Entree de son train :" Yet I am sensible in when used with Sy is sometimes an expletive, as Gen. xliü .7. Numb. xxvi. 56. and the learned Glassius, as well as our translators, thought the text another instance of it. Gļase. Phil. Sac. p. 482, VOL. II,


III. Direct to the manner in which the attempt is to be made, and the precautions which are to be used in order to render it effectual. And then,

IV. I will conclude the whole with a more particular application, suited to your different characters, relations, and circumstances of life.

I am very sensible, that it is a very delicate as well as important subject, which is now before me; I have therefore thought myself obliged more attentively to weigh what has occurred to my own meditations, more diligently to consult the sentiments of others, and above all, more earnestly to seek those divine influences, without which, I know, I am unequal to the easiest task; but in dependence on which, I cheerfully attempt one of the most difficult. The result of the whole I humbly offer to your candid examination; not pretending at any time to dictate in an authoritative manner, and least of all on such an occasion as this ; but rather speaking as to wise men, who are themselves to judge what I say* May the divine assistance and blessing attend us in all!

First, I am to describe the way in which children are to be

trained up

Our translation, as I have told you, though not very literal, is agreeable to the sense of the original, The way in which the child should go. And undoubtedly this is no other than the good old wayt, the way of serious practical religion : The way which God has in his word marked out for us; the way which all the children of God have trodden in every succeeding age ; the way, the only way, in which we and ours can Find rest to our souls.

But it is not proper to leave the matter thus generally explained. I would therefore more particularly observe, that it is the way of piety towards God,-and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ;—the way of obedience to parents,—and of benevolence to all ;-the way of diligence,-and of integrity:the way of humility,--and of self-denial. I am persuaded, that each of these particulars will deserve your serious attention and regard. 1. Children should undoubtedly be trained up in the way of

piety and devotion towards God.

This, as you well know, is the sum, and the foundation of every thing truly good. The fear of the Lord is the beginning

* I Cor. x, 15.

+ Jer. vi. 16.

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