Abbildungen der Seite

knowledge the great God and his glorious Christ, and to bring others to acknowledge him; and that they are never acting wisely nor well, but when they are so doing. I would show them what these acknowledgments are, and how they are to be made. I would make them able to answer the grand question, “For what purpose do they live, and what is the end of the actions that employ your lives? Teach them how their Creator and Redeemer is to be obeyed in every thing, and how every thing is to be done in obedience to him. Instruct them how even their diversions, their ornaments, and the tasks of their education, must all be designed to fit them for the further service of Him to whom I have devoted them, and how, in these also, his commandments must be the rule of all they do. I would therefore sometimes surprise them with an inquiry, “ Child, what is this for? Give me a good account why you do it.” How comfortably shall I see them“ walking in the light,” if I may bring them wisely to answer this inquiry; and what “ children of the light" they will be!

XIX. I would sometimes oblige the children to retire, and ponder on that question: “ What should I wish to have done, if I were now dying?” And having reported to me their own answer to the question, I would take occasion from it, to inculcate upon them the lessons of godliness. I would also direct and oblige them, at a proper time, seriously to realize their own appearance before the awful judgment seat of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to consider what they have to plead, that they may not be sent

away into everlasting punishment; what they have to plead, that they may be admitted into the holy city. I would instruct them what plea to prepare ; first, show them how to get a part in the righteousness of him who is to be their judge, by receiving it with a thankful faith, as the gift of infinite grace to the distressed and unworthy sinner: then show them how to prove that their faith is not counterfeit, by their continual endeavour in all things, to please Him in all things who is to be their Judge, and to serve his kingdom and interest in the world. And I would charge them to make this preparation.

XX. If I live to see the children arrive at a marriageable age, I would, before I consult with heaven on earth for their best accommodation in the married state, endeavour the espousal of their souls to their only Saviour. I would, as plainly and as fully as I can, propose to them the terms on which the glorious Redeemer will espouse them to himself, in righteousness and judgment, favour and mercies for ever; and solicit their consent to his proposal and overtures; then would I go in to do what


be expected from a tender parent for them, in their temporal circumstances.

From these parental resolutions, how reasonably, how naturally may we pass on to say,

CHILDREN, the fifth commandment confirms all your other numberless and powerful obligations often to inquire, “ Wherein may I be a blessing to my

An ingenuous disposition would make this the very summit of your ambition, to be a credit and a comfort to your parents; to sweeten, and, it


may be, to lengthen the lives of those from whom, under God, you have received yours. And God the Rewarder, usually gives to such dutifulness, even in this life, a most observable recompense.

But it is possible, you may be the happy instruments of more than a little good to the souls of your parents; (will you think how?) Yea, though they should be pious parents, you may, by some delicate methods, be the instruments of their growth in piety and in preparation for the heavenly world. O thrice happy children, who are thus favoured! Among the Arabians, a father sometimes takes his name from an eminent son, as well as a son from his reputable father. Truly, a son may be such a blessing to his father, that the best surname for the glad father would be, 66 the father of such a one."

MASTERS, yea, and MISTRESSES too, must have their devices how to do good to their servants; how to make them the servants of Christ, and the chil. dren of God. God, whom you must remember to be “your Master in heaven,” has brought them, and placed them in your family. Who can tell for what good he has brought them?

What if they should be the elect of God, fetched from Africa and the Indies, and brought into your families, on purpose that, by means of their situation, they may be brought home to the Shepherd of souls? O that the souls of our servants were of more account to us! that we might give a better demonstration that we despise not our own souls, by doing what we can for the souls of our servants, and not using them as if they had no souls ! How can we pretend to Chris

lives are so

tianity, when we do no more to christianize our servants? Verily, you must give an account to God concerning them.

If they be lost through your negligence, what answer can you make to “ God, the Judge of all?” Methinks, common principles of gratitude should incline you to study the happiness of those by whose obedient labours your much accommodated. Certainly, they would be the better servants to you, more faithful, honest, industrious, and submissive, for your bringing them into the service of your common

Lord. But if any servant of God may be so honoured by him, as to be made the successful instrument of obtaining from a British parliament, an act for the christianizing of the slaves in the plantations; then it may be hoped, something more may be done than has yet been done, that the blood of souls may not be found in the skirts of our nation, a controversy of heaven with our colonies may be removed, and prosperity may be restored; at all events, the honourable instrument will have unspeakable peace and joy, in the remembrance of his endeavours. In the mean time, the slave trade is a spectacle that shocks humanity.

“ The harmless natives basely they trepan,
And barter baubles for the souls of men;
The wretches they to Christian climes bring o’er,

To serve worse heathens than they did before.” I have somewhere met with a paper under this title, the RESOLUTION OF A MASTER; which may here be properly introduced :

I. I would always remember, that my servants

are, in some sense, my children; and by taking care that they want nothing which may be good for them, I would make them as my children; and, as far as the methods of instilling piety into them, which I use with my children, may be properly and prudently used with my servants, they shall be partakers in them. Nor will I leave them ignorant of any thing, wherein I may instruct them to be useful in their generation.

II. I will see that my servants be furnished with Bibles, and be able and careful to read the lively oracles. I will both put Bibles and other good and proper books into their hands, and allow them time to read; but will assure myself that they do not misspend this time. If I can discern any wicked books in their hands, I will take away from them those pestilential instruments of wickedness. They shall also write as well as read, if I am able to bring them to it.

And I will give them, now and then, such things to write, as may be for their greatest advantage.

III. I will have my servants present at the religious exercises of my family; and will drop either in the exhortations, or in the prayers, of the daily sacrifices of the family, such passages as may have a tendency to quicken a sense of religion in them.

IV. The business of catechising, as far as the age or state of the servants will permit to be done with decency, shall extend to them also. And they shall be concerned in the conferences in which, in the repetition of the public sermons, I may be engaged with my family. If any of them, when they come

« ZurückWeiter »