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rare a thing is it to find these men as careful to fit their pofterity to be useful and serviceable to God in their generations, which is the end of their beings ? If you can make them rich, ar.d provide good matches for them, you reckon that you have fully discharged the daty of parents : if they will learn to hold the plow, that you are willing to teach them : but, when did you spend an hour to teach them the way of salvation?
Now to convince such careless parents of the heinousness of their fin, let these queries be solemnly considered.
Qu. 1. Whether this be a sufficient discharge of that great duty which God hath laid upon Christian parents, in reference to their families ? That God hath charged them with the fouls of their families, is undeniable, Deut. vi. 6, 7. Eph. vi. 4. If God had not cloathed you with his authority, to command them in the way of the Lord, he would never have charged them so strictly to yield you obedience as he hath done, Eph. vi. 1. Col. iii. 20. Well, a great trust is repoled in you, look to your duty; for, without dispute, you shall answer for it.
Qu. 2. Whether it be likely, if the time of youth (which is the moulding age) be neglected, they will be wrought upon to any good afterwards ? Husbandmen, let me put a fenfible cafe to you;
you not see in your very horses, that whilst they are young, you can bring them to any way; but if once they have got a false stroke, and by long custom it be grown 'natural to them, then there is no breaking them of it: yea, you see it in your very orchards ; you may bring a tender twig to grow in what form you please; but when it is grown to a sturdy limb, there is no bending it afterwards to any other form than what it naturally took. Thus it is with children, Prov. xxii. 6. « Train child in the
and when he is “ old, he will not depart from it.”
Qu. 3. Whether if you neglect to instruct them in the way of the Lord, Satan, and their own natural corruptions, will not inftruct them in the way to hell ? Consider this, ye carelefs parents : if you will not teach your children, the devil will teach them : if
you shew them not how to pray, he will shew them, how to curse and swear, and take the name of the Lord in vain : if you grudge time and pains about their fouls, the devil doth
Oh! it is a fad consideration, that so many children should be put to school to the devil.
Qu. 4. What comfort are you like to have from them when they are old, if you bring them not up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, when they are young? Many parents have lived to reap in their old age the fruit of their own folly
and carelesness, in the loose and vain education of their children. By Lycurgus his law, no parent was to be relieved by his children in age, if he gave them not good education in their youth ; and it is a law at this day among the Switzers, That if any child be condemned to die for a capital offence, the parents of that child are to be his executioners: these laws were made to provoke parents to look better to their charge. Believe this as an undoubted truth, That that child which becomes, through thy default, an instrument to dishonour God, shall prove, sooner or later a fon or daughter of forrow to thee.
1. God hath found out my sin this day. A reflection for This hath been my practice ever since I had careless parents. a family committed to my charge; I have spent more time and pains about the bodies of my beasts, than the fouls of my children : beast that I am for so doing ! little have I considered the preciousness of my own, or their immortal fouls. How careful have I been to provide fodder to preserve my cattle in the winter, whilft I leave my own and their souls to perilh to eternity, and make no provision for them ? Surely my children will one day curse the time that ever they were born unto such a cruel father, or of such a merciless mother. Should I bring home the plague into my family, and live to see all my poor children lie dead by the walls ; if I had not the heart of a cyger, such a sight would melt my heart : and yet the death of their souls, by the lin which I propagated to them, affects me not. Ah! that I could say, I had done as much for them, as I have done for a beast that perisheth!
2. But, unhappy wretch that I am ! God cast a better lot for me ; I am the A reflection for the difoff-spring of religious and tender pa. obedient child of a grurents, who have always deeply con
cious parent. cerned themselves in the everlasting State of my foul; many prayers and tears have they poured out to God for me, both in my hearing, as well as in secret ; many holy and wholesome counsels have they from time to time dropt upon me; many precious examples have they set in their own practice before me; many a time when I have sinned against the Lord, have they stood over me, with a rod in their hands, and tears in their eyes, using all means to reclaim me; but, like an ungracious wretch, I have slighted all their counsel, grieved their hearts, and imbittered their lives to them by my linful courses. Ah, my soul! thou art a degenerate plant ; better will it be with the oif-spring of infidels than with thee,
if repentance prevent not : now I live in one fan.ily with them, but shortly I shall be separated from them, as far as hell is from heaven; they now tenderly pity my misery, but then they shall approve and applaud the righteous sentence of Christ upon me: fo little privilege fhall I then have from my relation to them, that they Thall be produced as witnesses againft me, and all their rejected counsels, reproofs and examples, charged home upon ine, as the aggravations of my wickedness; and better it will be, when it shall come to that, that I had been brought forth by a beast, than sprung from the loins of such parents.
The PO E M.
There's nothing wanting that thould make them lo.
“ O cursed father! wretched mother! why
have been to me. “ How did you spend your thoughts, time, care, and coft “ About my body, whilst my foul was loft ? « Did you not know I had a foul, that muft « Live, when this body was diffolv'd to duft! “ You could not chufe but understand if I, * Without an intereft in Christ did die, * It needs inuft come to lis. O how could
« With, and through you, in flames for ever 'lie."
Or left his own poor foul do starve and pine,
CH A P. II.
Upon the hard Labour and cruel Usage of Beafts:
their beasts, as was noted in the former chapter; yetothers are cruel and merciless towards them, not regarding how they ride or burden them. How often have I seen them faint
ing under their loads, wrought off their legs, and turned out
cy of their creation, and bless their bountiful.Creator, that they were not made such creatures themselves. Some beasts are made ad efum, only for food, being no otherwise useful to man, as swine, &c. These are only fed for flaughter; we kill and eat them, and regard not their cries and strugglings when the knife is thrust to their very hearts ! othexs are only ad ufum, for service, whilst living, but unprofitable when dead, as horses; these we make to drudge and toil for us from day to day, but kill them not: others are both ad efum, et ufum, for food when dead, and service whilst alive, as the ox's these we make to plow our fields, draw our carriages, and afterwards prepare them for the slaughter.
But man was made for nobler ends, created lord of the loWer world; ; not to ferve, but to be served by other creatures ; a mercy able to melt the hardest heart into thankfulness. I remember, * Luther; presling men to be thankful, that they are not brought into the lowelt condition of creatures, and to bless God that they can see any creature below themselves, gives us a famous instance in the following story: Two cardinnls, faith he riding in a great deal of pomp to the council of Constance,
* Luther in 3d Precept,
by the way they heard a man in the fields, weeping and wailing bitterly; they rode to him, and ask'd him what he ailed ? Perceiving his eye intently fixed upon an ugly toad, he told them that his heart melted with the confideration of this mercy, that God had not made him such a deformed and loathsome creature, though he were formed out of the same clay with it: Hoc eft quod amare fleo, said he, this is that which makes me weep bitterly. Whereupon one of the Cardinals cries out, well, said the Father, the unlearned will rise and take heaven, when we with all our learning shall be thruft into hell. That which melted the heart of this poor man, should melt every heart when we behold the misery to which these poor creatures are subjected. And this will appear a mercy of no flight confideration, if we but draw a comparison betwixt ourselves and these irrational creatures, in these three particulars.
1. Though they and we were made of the same mould and day, yet how much better hath God dealt with us, even as to the outward man? The structure of our bodies is much more excellent ; God made other good creatures by a werd of command, but man by counsel ; it was not, Be thou, but, Let us make man. We might have been made stones without sense, or beasts without reason, but we were made men. The 'noble structure and symmetry of our bodies invites our souls not only to thankfulness' but admiration. David, speaking of the curious frame of the body, faith, “ I am wonderfully made,” Pfal. cxxxix. 14. or, as the vulgar reads it, painted as with a needle, like some rich piece of needle-work curiously embroidered with nerves and veins. Was any part of the common lump of clay thus fashioned? Galen gave Epicurus an hundred years time to imagine a more commodious situation, configuration, or composition of any one part of a human body; and (as one faith) if all the angels in heaven had fudied to this day, they could not have cait the body of man into a more curious mold.
2. How little ease or rest have they? They live not many years, and those they do are in bondage and misery, groaning under the effects of (in; but God hath provided better for us even as to our outward condition in the world; we have the more rest, becausethey have so little. How many refreshments and comforts hath God provided for us, of which they are uncapable? If we be weary with labour, we can take our rest; but fresh or weary, they must stand to it, or sink under it from day to day.
3. What a narrow capacity bath God given to beasts!