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selves, fhould probably grow up like the Brutes of the Earth; we should trifle away the brighter Seasons of Life in a thousand Crimes and Follies, and endure the Fatigues and Burdens of it surrounded with a thoufand Miseries, and at laft we should perish and die without Knowledge or Hope if we have no Instructors.
All our other Powers of Nature, such as the Will and the various Affections, the Senses, the Appetites and the Limbs, would . become wild Instruments of Madness and Mischief if not governed by the Understanding: And the Understanding itself would run into a thousand Errors, dreadful and pernicious, and would employ all the other Powers in Mischief and Madness, if it hath not the Happiness to be instructed in the Things of God and Men, And who is there among all our FellowCreatures so much obliged to bestow this Instruction on us as the Persons who, by Divine Providence, have been the Instruments to bring us into Life and Being ? It is their Duty to give their young Offspring this Benefit of Instruction as far as they are able; or at least to provide such Instructors for them, and to put the Children under their
Care", and to put inde fuch Inttey are able;
Here let us therefore enquire, what are the several Things in which Children mould be instructed ? and upon a due Survey we
Thall find the most important Things which Children ought to learn and know are these which follow,
D ELIGION in all the parts of it,
A both what they are to believe and what they are to practise, is most necessary to be taught. I mention this in the first Place, not only because it is a Matter of the highest Importance, and of most universal Concern to all Mankind, but because it may be taught even in these very early Years of Life. As soon as Children begin to know almost any Thing, and to exercise their Reason about Matters that lie within the Reach of their knowledge, they may be brought to know so much of Religion as is neceffa. ry for their Age and State. For Instance,
1. Young Children may be taught that there is a God, a great and Almighty God who made them, and who gives them every good Thing. That he fees them every where though they cannot fee him, and that he takes notice of all their Behaviour.
2. They must be told what they should do, and what they should avoid, in order to please God. They should be taught in general to know the Difference between Good and Evil. They may learn that it is their Duty to fear and love and worship God, to pray to him for what they want and to praise him for what they enjoy; to obey their Parents, to speak Truth, and to be honest and friendly to all Mankind; and to set a Guard upon their own Appetites and Paffions. And that to neglect these Things, or to do any Thing contrary to them, is sinful in the Sight of God. . 3. Their Consciences are capable of receiving Conviction when they have neglected these Duties, or broken the Commands of God or of their parents ; and they may be made sensible that the great and holy God, who loves the righteous and bestows Bleffings upon them, is angry with those who have broken his Commands and linned against him, and therefore that they themselves are become Subject to his Displeasure.
4. They may be told that there is another World after this; and that their Souls do not dye when their Bodies die : That they Thall be taken up into Heaven which is a State of Pleasure and Happiness, if they have been good and holy in this World: But if they have been wicked Children they must go down to Hell, which is a State of Misery and Torment.
5. You may also inform them that though their Bodies dye and are buried; yet
God God can and will raise them to Life again : And that their Body and Soul together must be made happy or miserable, according to their Behaviour in this Life. . 6. They may be taught that there is no Way for such sinful Creatures as we are to be received into God's Favour, but for the Sake of Jesus Chrif the Son of God, who came down from Heaven into our World, and lived a Life of pure and perfect Holiness, and suffered Death to reconcile Sinners to the Great and Holy God, who is offended by the Sins of Men; and now he lives in Heaven to plead for Mercy for them: And that as this Jesus Christ is the only Reconciler between God and Man, fo all their Hope must be placed in him.
7. They may be taught that their very Natures are finful: They may be convinced that they are inclined paturally to do Evil: And they should be informed that it is the holy Spirit of God, who must cure the evil Temper of their own Spirits, and make them holy and fit to dwell with God in
8. They should also be instructed to pray to God, that for the Sake of Jesus Chrijl the great Mediator or Reconciler, he would pardon their Sins past, and help them by his Spirit to love and serve him with Zeal and Faithfulness for Time to come : That he would bestow all necessary Blessings upon
them in this world, and bring them fafe at last to his Heavenly Kingdom.
9. In the last Place they should be informed that our Blessed Saviour has appointed two Ordinances to be observed by all his Followers to the End of the World, which are usually called Sacraments,
The one is Baptism, wherein Persons are to be washed with Water in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to signify their being given up to Christ as his Disciples or Profeffors of Christianity, and as an Emblem of that Purity of Heart and Lise, which, as such, they inust aim at and endeavour after.. · The other is the Lord's Supper, wherein Bread is broken and Wine is poured out, and distributed to be eaten and drunk by Christians in Remembrance of the Body of Christ which was put to a bloody Death, as a Sacrifice to obtain Pardon for the Sins of. Men.
The first of these, viz. Baptism is but once to be administred to any Person; but the last, viz. the Lords Supper is to be frequently performed, to keep us always in Mind of the Death of Christ, till he comes again from Heaven to judge the World.
This is the Sum and Substance of the Christian Religion, drawn out into a very few plain Articles: And I think a Child of common Cappacity who is arrived at three