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the righteous. Lay out your family-fins, wants and mercies fully and plainly before God in family prayer.
II. Confer about the fermons, and repeat over what you have heard; for the Lord, Deut. xi. 18. 19. requires you not only to lay up God's words in your
hearts, but also to “ speak of them when you fit in your · houses, and to teach them your children.”. You ought
also to call your servants and children to an account, as to what they remember, and how they have profited by the fermons. When you send your servants to the market, you examine what market they have made: Now, the public ordinances are heaven's free market for their souls, and will you never enquire what they have gained thereat? This way of rehearling the sermons, is very refreshing and advantageous, and hereby one of you would be useful to another; for, what one forgets, ano. ther may remember.
III. Let parents and heads of families take fome time this evening in catechising and instructing their children and servants in the knowledge of the principles of religion, and of their duty towards God, their neighbours, and themselves. We may obferve, from the iv. of Mark, and xiv. of Luke, that after our Lord had inftructed the people as a public preacher on the Sabbath day, he afterwards did examine and teach his twelve disciples as a private master of a familly. .
1. Begin with children, as soon as they are capable, and inform them, that there is such a Being as God, whom they ought to honour, reverence and love above all things: That they are his creatures, the work of his hands : That he preserves them, and gives them all the good things they enjoy; and that every good thing is to be sought from God by prayer, and thanks returned to him for the same. Shew them the evil and danger of in, and how much God hates it: That they have immortal fouls: That there is a life after death in ano. ther world, wherein men shall receive a great and etesa nal reward, or a fearful endless punishment, according as they have done or neglected their duty in this world: And that God loves those who keep his commandments sud pray to him ; but hates wicked men, and those who
do not pray. 'If these principles were early inftilled and rooted in children, they would in some measure stick with them all their days. Likewise, as, they are capable, shew them the great degeneracy and corruption of human nature, derived to us by the fall of our first parents : Also, shew them the way of our recovery from this miserable state by Jesus Christ, who was sent by God to redeem and five us from the bondage of sin and fatan, and from the damnation of hell. ..in
2, Before they are capable to read, or get and repeat our Shorter Catechism, you ought to frame many short questions and answers concerning the foresaid principles, such as they are able to mind, and frequently examine them upon them :· And, for your help in this matter, you may consult the little catechism I have published, called The Mother's Catechism for the young child. But afsoon as your children are able to repeat our Shorter Catechism, injoin them, and your servants also, to commit it to their memories, prescribing so much of it to them every week, and duly examine them upon it every Lord's day: for it contains an excellent scheme both of the principles of our religion which we ought to believe, and also of the duties thereof which we should practise. And is it not far better to repeat this, than ballads and idle stories, wherewith many burden their memories ?
3. As you ought to learn them to read, so you Should this day folemnly injoin them to read the bible and other pious books, and enquire at them what they have been reading through the day and the bygone weck. And because of the natural backwardness that is both in young and old to holy duties, you ought to contrive the most wife and effectual methods you can think on, to engage them to delight and diligence in reading of the bible; such as these ; viz. Teach children the most profitable, pleasant and affecting histories and paffages of the bible; such as, “ the creation of man, Adam's fall, the flood, the destruction of Sodom, the facrificing of Isaac, the selling of Joseph, Pharoh's cutting of the infants, and Moses's preservation; Mofes his going up to the mount, and getting the tables of
i . the
the law; the passages concerning Şamfon's killing the Philistines, and David's killing Goliath; the forty-two children destroyed by bears; the three children in the fiery furnace' ; Daniel in the lion's den ; Jonah in the whale's belly; Herod’s destroying the young children," and the like. Endeavour to tell them these passages as much as ye can in their own language, and this will 'engage them to the greater delight and attention, and cause them to remember them the better ; also, you would put them to rehearse them over again to you. 7° Again, cause them read a chapter of the Bible every night, and tell you some of the principal things in it before they ly down; or, when you read a chapter in the family, appoint each of them some one verse of it to repeat the next day. Moreover, when they come to learn to write, it is a good way to give them paper. books, to write down what passages they think most considerable in the Bible, or what remarkable sayings and histories they find in other books. They might well fpend the Saturday's afternoon this way, when they have most leisure. . . . . . 170 » In the next place, it would be of good use, when you examine them, to teach them to prove every point of religion by some pregnant place of scripture. This would be the way to beget in them firm, strong and fixed persuasions of the truths of Christianity. Many, alas ! profess Christianity, merely because it is the national religion, and they were so educate: They build their faith more upon the affertions and teachings of men, than upon the sure foundation of God's word, and all because they were not put to it when young, to acquaint themselves with the scriptures, or to bring proofs from them for the truths they learned. Are not there many professors of Christianity, who, if they were put to it, could not give one text of scripture to prove fo much as the great fundamentals of their religion? It cannot be expected that such will be close adherers to it in a day of trial and persecution. A good way to mend this fault is, to get the Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms, which are printed with the VOL. IV.
scripture proofs set down at large, and make much use thereof. Lastly, As you ought to cause them attend punctually this day upon the ordinances, so you ought carefully this night to ask an account of the text, and their notes of the lecture and sermons; reprove them for careless hearing, encourage them when they give any tolerable good account, and promise them some reward to do better the next Sabbath.
4. You ought this day to learn and enjoin your children to pray, and to ask a blessing, and give thanks for their meat: you may see some helps for them in the end of the Mother's Catechism before mentioned. Children cannot pray at first without help: Therefore it is fit to teach them some short forms; and, in the first place, the Lord's Prayer, the great pattern of all prayer. Teach them to retire every morning and evening to pray, and to pray frequently on the Lord's day; and also cause them go and pray together by turns; this would be a good mean to engage their love to one another, and to cause them ftudy to be more grave, and exact in their prayers : and therefore it were fit also to cause them pray sometimes in your own hearing. Enjoin them aiso to be fervent and fincere in prayer, and to pray with a lively sense of God's all seeing eye that beholds in secret, and with an awful regard to the judga ment of the great day. Likewise, when they come to any capacity, tell them, That they must not restrict themselves to their forms, but must make additions of their cwn framing; tell them, That God loves these words best that come from the heart; and, for their help therein," tell them often of their fin and misery by nature, and of their need of Christ, and his blood to wash and save them ; direct them frequently to say, “ Lord teach me to pray, give me thy Spirit to help me to pray.” Allo every Sabbath night enquire at them what new words and expressions they have got and added to their prayers, and encourage and reward them according to their diligence. O parents, neglect not to icach your poor chiluren to pray and read : Will yoų teach them to work, and not teach them to pray? If you do it not, the devil will teach them to ban, lie, and
play on the Lord's day. And will it not be a fearful reckoning that you will have to make ere long for their prayerless and perithing souls ? A great many children neglect prayer, not so much from their averfion to it, as from this, that'rione takes care to teach them how to do it ; and hence it is, they often neglect it all their days. Whir-as, if they were ear'y taught and put on the duty of prayer. the habit and custom of the thing would make it turn easy and delightful; but, when this is neglected, they cannot afterwards be brought to it, without great reluctance and difficulty. So that you fee, O parents, if ye in prov; not the season of youth, the blood of your chi'drens Touls will be laid to your door.
5. It is very proper on this day, afsoon as your child. ren are capable, to take them aside, and solemnly to tell them the vows you took on at baprism in their name, and as sponsors for them, and how you publily engage ed “that they would be the Lord's, and renounce the world, the devil, and the flesh :" And therefore, for your own exoneration, you should take them folemnly engaged to do and perform all those things which you promised in their name. Put them to it personally and explicitly to own and renew their baptismal covenant, to Thew themselves Christians, not only by their parents dedication, but also by their own deed and voluntary consent. Let each of them profess and fay, “ I chute God the Father for my God and Father, I chuse God the Son for my Redermer and Saviour, I chuse the Holy Ghost for my Guide and Sanctifier, God's word for my rule, God's people for my companions, holiness for my way, and heaven for my home."
6. Take care this evening to give both them and your servants, many serious and affectionate admoni. tions concerning their foals, and their duties to God. and man. Warn them folemniy against fin and vice, and particularly those vices that are too common among us; Audy to check and discourage the beginnings of vice in children; observe and watch the first appearances thereof, and pluck them up by the roots : For, if vice be conníved at in the beginning, it will turn afterwards too strong for you ; but when it is never suffered Ff2..