Abbildungen der Seite

and that I may carry on their education, chiefly on those principles. Therefore I will wholly avoid that fierce, harsh, crabbed usage of the children, that would make them tremble and abhor to come into my presence. I will treat them so, that they shall fear to offend me, and yet heartily love to see me, and be glad of my returning home when I have been abroad. I would have it looked upon as a severe and awful punishment for a crime in the family, to be forbidden for a while to come into my presence. I would excite in them a high opinion of their father's love to them, and of his being better able to judge what is good for them, than they are for themselves. I would bring them to believe that it is best for them to be and to do as I would have them. Hence I would continually state to them what a charming thing it is to know the things that are excellent, and more so to do the things that are virtuous. I would have them to propose it as a reward of good behaviour at any time; “ I will now go to my father, and he will teach me something that I knew not before.” I would have them afraid of doing any base thing, from a horror of the baseness of it. My first animadversion on a smaller fault shall be, an expression of surprise and wonder, vehemently expressed before them, that ever they should be guilty of doing so foolishly, with an earnest hope that they will never do the like again, and excite in them a weeping resolution that they will not. I will never use corporeal punishment, except it be for an atrocious crime, or for a smaller fault obstinately persisted in. I would ever proportion


the chastisements to the faults ; not punish bitterly for a very small instance of childishness; and only frown a little for some real wickedness. Nor shall my chastisements ever be dispensed in passion and fury; but I will first show them the command of God, by transgressing which they have displeased

The slavish turbulent manner of education too commonly used, I consider as no small article in the wrath and curse of God upon a miserable world.

XI. As soon as we can, we will advance to still higher principles. I will often tell the children what cause they have to love a glorious Christ who has died for them; how much he will be pleased with their well doing; and what a noble thing it is to follow his example, which example I will describe to them. I will often tell them that the eye of God is upon them; that the great God knows all they do, and hears all they speak, I will frequently tell them that there will be a time, when they must appear before the judgment seat of the holy Lord; and they must now do nothing which may then be an occasion of grief and shame to them. I will set before them the delights of that heaven which is prepared for pious children, and the torments of that hell which is prepared for wicked ones. I will inform them of the good offices which the good angels perform for little ones who have the fear of God, and are afraid of sin; how the devils tempt them to do bad things; how they hearken to the devils, and are like them when they do such things; and what mischiefs they may obtain permission to do them in the world, and how awful it would be to dwell among the devils, in

the “place of dragons.” I will cry to God, that he may make them feel the power of these principles.

XII. When the children are of a proper age for it, I will sometimes closet them, have them with me alone, and converse with them about the state of their souls; their experiences, their proficiency, their temptations; obtain their declared consent to every article in the covenant of

grace ;
and then


with them, earnestly imploring that the Lord would be stow his grace upon them, and thus make them witnesses of the agony with which I am travailing to see the image of Christ formed in them. Certainly they will never forget such exercises.

XIII. I will be very watchful and cautious about the companions of my children. I will be very in quisitive to learn what company they keep. If they are in danger of being insnared by vicious company, I will earnestly pull them out of it, as brands out of the burning; and will try to find for them proper and useful companions.

XIV. As in catechising the children, so in the repetition of the public sermons, I would use this method: I would put every truth into the form of a question, to be answered with yes, or no.

By this method I hope to awaken their attention, as well as enlighten their understandings. And thus, I shall have an opportunity to ask, Do you desire such and such a grace of God; with similar questions. Yea, by this I may have an opportunity to demand, and perhaps to obtain, their early, frequent, and, why not, sincere consent to the glorious articles of the

new covenant.

The Spirit of grace may fall upon them in this action, and they may be seized by him, and possessed by him as his temples, through eter

nal ages.

XV. When a day of humiliation arrives, I will make them know the meaning of the day; and after some time given them to consider of it, I will require them to tell me, what special afflictions they have met with, and what good they hope to get by those afflictions. On a day of thanksgiving, they shall also be made to know the intent of the day; and after consideration, they shall inform me what mercies of God to them they take special notice of, and what duties to God they confess and resolve to perform under such obligations. Indeed, for something of this importance; to be pursued in my conversation with the children, I would not confine myself to the solemn days, which may occur too seldom for it; but, particularly, when the birth-days of any of the children arrive, I would then take them aside, and remind them of the age, which, having obtained help of God, they have attained; how thankful they should be for the mercies of God, upon which they have hitherto lived ; and how fruitful they should be in all goodness, that so they may still enjoy their mercies. And I would inquire of them, whether they have ever yet begun to mind the work for which God sent them into the world; how far they understand the work; what attempts they have made to perform it; and how they design to spend the rest of their time, if God still continue them in the world.

XVI. When the children are in any trouble or sickness, I will take advantage of this, to set before them the evil of sin, the cause of all our trouble; and how fearful a thing it will be, to be cast among the damned, who are in unceasing and endless trouble. I will set before them the benefit of an interest in Christ, by which their trouble will be sanctified to them, and they will be prepared for death, and for fulness of joy in a happy eternity after death.

XVII. I incline, that among all the branches of a polite education, which I would endeavour to give my children, each of them, the daughters as well as the sons, may have such an acquaintance with some useful trade or business, (whether it be painting, or the law, or medicine, or such other occupation, to which their own inclination may lead them) that they may be able to provide for themselves a comfortable subsistence, if they should ever be brought, by the providence of God, into destitute circumstances. Why should not they, as well as Paul the tent-maker? Children of the highest rank may have occasion to bless the parents who made such a provision for them. The Jews have a saying which is worthy of being remembered :-“ Whosoever teaches not his son a trade, does, in effect, teach him to be a robber."

XVIII. As early as possible, I would instruct my

children in the chief end for which they are to live; that so they may, as soon as possible, begin to live, and their youth not be altogether vanity. I would show them that their chief end must be to ac

« ZurückWeiter »