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finite God, who will accept my children as his, I would resolve to do all I can that they may be his; I would now actually give them up to God, entreating that the child may be a child of God the Father, a subject of God the Son, and a temple of God the Spirit ; that it may be rescued from the condition of a child of wrath, and be possessed and employed by the Lord, as an everlasting instrument of his glory.
II. My children would no sooner become capable of attending to my instructions, but I would often adınonish them to be sensible of their baptismal engagements to be the Lord's; often remind them of their baptism, and of the duties to which it binds them.
Often I would say to them, Children, you have been baptised ; you were washed in the name of the great God; now you must not sin against him ; to sin, is to do a very filthy thing. You must every day cry to God, that he would be your Father, your Saviour, your Leader; in your baptism, he promised that he would be so, if you sought unto him. Child, you must renounce the service of Satan, you must not follow the vanities of this world; you must lead a life of serious religion : in your baptism, you were bound to the service of your only Saviour.
What is your name ?-You must sooner forget this name that was given you in your baptism, than forget that you are a servant of Jesus Christ, whose name was put upon you
III. Let me daily pray for my children with
constancy, and fervency, and agony; yea, let me daily mention each of them by name before the Lord. I would importunately beg for all suitable blessings to be bestowed upon them; that God would give them grace, and give them glory, and withhold no good thing from them; that God would smile on their education, and give his good angels charge over them, and keep them from evil, that it may not grieve them; that when their father and mother shall forsake them, the Lord may take them up.
Most importunately would I plead that promise in their behalf: “ The heavenly Father will give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him.” 0 happy children, if by asking, I may obtain the Holy Spirit for them!
IV. I would early entertain the children with delightful stories out of the Bible. In the talk of the table I would go through the Bible, when the “ olive plants about my table” are capable of being so watered. But I would always conclude the story by some lessons of piety, to be inferred from them.
V. I would single out some scriptural sentences of the greatest importance; and some also that contain special antidotes to the common errors and vices of children. They shall quickly get these golden sayings by heart, and be rewarded with silver or gold, or some good thing, when they do it. Such as
Psalm cxi. 10.- The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
Matthew xvi. 26.-" What is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
1 Timothy i. 15.-" Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
Matthew vi. 6.- Enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret."
Eccles. xii. 14.-“ God shall bring every
work into judgment, with every secret thing."
Ephesians iv. 25.--"Put away lying, speak every one the truth.”
Psalm cxxxviii. 6.-" The Lord hath respect unto the lowly, but the proud he knoweth afar off.”
Romans xii. 17, 19.-" Recompense to no one evil for evil. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves.”
Nehemiah xiii. 18.-" They bring wrath upon Israel, by profaning the sabbath."
A Jewish treatise, quoted by Wagenseil, tells us, that among the Jews, when a child began to speak, the father was bound to teach him that verse, Deut. xxxiii. 4. “ Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.”
0 let me betimes make my children acquainted with the law which our blessed Jesus hath commanded us! It is the best inheritance I can confer on them.
VI. I would early cause my children to learn the
catechism. In catechising them, I would break the answer into many smaller and appropriate questions; and by their answer to them, observe and quicken their understandings. I would connect every truth with some duty and practice; and expect them to confess it, consent to it, and resolve
it. As we go on in our catechising, they shall, when they are able, turn to the proofs read them, and tell me, what they prove, and in what manner. Then I will take my opportunity to put more nice and difficult questions to them, and improve the times of conversation with my family, which every man usually has, or may have, for conferences on religious subjects.
VII. Unsatisfied would I be, till I may be able to say of my children, Behold, they pray! I would therefore teach them to pray. But after they have learned a form of prayer, I will press them to proceed to points which are not in their form. I will show them the state of their own souls; and on every discovery inquire of them, what they think ought now to be their prayer. I will direct them every morning to take one or two texts out of the sacred Scriptures, and form them into a desire, which they shall add to their usual prayer. When they have heard a sermon, I will repeat to them the main subject of it, and ask them thereupon, what they have now to pray for. I will charge them with all possible cogency, to pray in secret, and often say to them, Children, I hope you do not forget my charge to you about secret prayer; your crime is very great, if you do.
VIII. I would betimes do what I can to form a
temper of benignity in my children, both towards one another and towards all others. I will instruct them how ready they should be to communicate to others a part of what they have; and they shall be encouraged when they discover a loving, courteous, and benevolent disposition. I will give them now and then a piece of money, that with their own little bands, they may dispense to the poor. Yea, if any one has hurt or vexed them, I will not only forbid all revenge, but will also oblige them to do a kindness, as soon as may be, to the vexatious per
All coarseness of language or behaviour in them, I will discountenance.
IX. I would be solicitous to have my children expert, not only at reading properly, but also at writing a fair hand.
I will then assign them such books to read, as I may judge most agreeable and profitable; obliging them to give me some account of what they read; but will keep a strict eye on them, lest they should stumble on the devil's library, and poison themselves with foolish romances, novels, plays, songs, or jests, “ that are not convenient.” I will set them also, to write out such things as may be of the greatest benefit to them; and they shall have their blank books neatly kept on purpose to enter such passages as I recommend to them. I will particularly require them now and then to compose a prayer, and bring it to me, that so I may discern what sense they have of their own everlasting interests.
X. I wish that my children may very early feel the
principles of reason and honour working in them;