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And it is here supposed, that thc only condition prerequisito on thc Infants part, that he may have right to this Covenant, and its bleffings, is that he be ibe feed of a true Believer, and des dicated in Covenant to God by tbe Parents will or a&t. Adual Faith is not prerequired: Seminal grace may be inherent, but 1. Not knopen to the Baptizer : 2. Nor prerequired as a condition; but liker to be given by vertue of the Covenant. Nothing else therefore being prerequisite as a condition, it followeth, that as the Parents dedicating tbemselves to God, if bsprized at age, is the condition of their certain title to the present bleffiigs of the Covenant (viz. that God be their Fatber, Cbrift tbeit Saviour, and the Spirit in Covenant to operate in tbem to sanctification, and their fins are all pardoned, and tbey are beirs of Heeven) even so upon the Parents dedication of tbeir cbildren to God,ibey have right to the same blessings;else why do wc baptize them, secing Baptism in the truc nature and use of it is a solens se dedicating them to God, in that same Covenant, and a solemn investing them in tbe relations and rights of that same pare dozing Covenant, and not in any other.
I do not say that all baprized Infants, so dging, are saved, be thcy the children of Infidels, or Heatbens, and remaining their true propriety; nor those that are offered and baptized never fo wrongfully, or hypocritically; nor will I lay to dispute for what I have affered. But i. I cxhort Christians believingly to dedicate their children in Covenant with God in Chrift: And 2. To belicve that if they rody, that Covenant of Chrift forbiddeth them to doubt of their Clvation, Dirce.
Let your Duty be answerable to your bope: And do not only pray for your cbildrens fan&ification, but if tbey live, endeavour it by al p. fible care, in a wise and gedly education:
Remember that nature, and your dedicating them to God, do both oblige you to this care for their falvation. And that the education of children, is one of the greatest duties in the world, for the service of Christ, and the prosperity of Church and State: And the negled of it, not the smallest cause of the suinc of both, and of the worlds calamity.
Many a poos, forrilh, lazy Profeffor have I known, who cry out againt ignorant, dumb and unfaitbful Ministers, as guilty of the blood of foals, and are so religion, as to separate from
the Assemblies that have Minifters that are but partly fuob; when as their own children are almoft as ignorant as Heathens, and they only uic them to a few customary formal duties( while they think they are enough against forms) and turn over the chicf care of their inftru&ion to the Schoolmaster. And are tbemselves so ignorant, dumb and idle; unfaithful and unnatural to their poor
childrens souls, as that it is a doubt whether in a well-ordered Church they ought not to be denyed communion chemselves. They so little pra&ise, Deut. 11. 18, 19. & 6.7. Epbof. 6. 41
&c. Dired. s. If your children live to be fleste in an ungodly course of life, contrary to the Coven ext wbicle by you they made, tbey forfeit allebe benefits of tbe Covenant : And you can bave no surance by any thing tbat you can do for them, ibat ever i bey Mall be conversed (thougb it is not past bope.) And if tbey be con. verted at age, tbeir pardon and adoption will be the effed of Gods Covenant, as tben it was newly entered witb tbemselves, and not as it was made before for ibem in infancy.
Dire&. 6. Tit because tbat Aib wbile tbere is life, there is bope, you ougbt not by despair or negligence to omit prayer, ex'hortation, or any other duty which you can perform in order to their recovery: And though now they have wills of their 0001, their salvation is not laid su much upon you, as it was in Infancy, at their fir covenanting with God, yet Atill God will (hew his love to his servants in thcir feed; and faithful endeavours are not vain nor hopeless; and therefore it is All onc of your greated dutics in the world, to seck their cruc tccovery to Chrift.
Dirca. 7. If God make your children a scourge, or a bears. breaking to you, beær and improve it as becomes Believers : That is;
I. Repent of your own former fin; your own youthful lufts; your difobedience to your Parents ; your carn al fond. nels on your children ; your loving them too much, and God roo little; the cvileximples you have given them; and your manifold neglect of a prudent, Teasonable, earneft, unwcaried instructing them in godlincss; your bearing with their fin, and giving them their own wills, cili they were mafterlels,&c. Renow your Repentance, and you have got some benefic.
2. Think how urkindly and unthankfully you have dealt with a gracious Saviour, and a heavenly Father.
3. Let it take off your affections from all things under the Sun, and call them up the more to God : For who would love a world, where none are to be trusted, and where all things arc vexatious, even the children of your love and bowels.
Dirca. 8. If tbey die impenitently, and perigh, mours for tbom, but with the moderation of Believers : That is, 1. Conlider that God is moresbe owner of your children, than you are ; and may do with his own as he lift
. 2. And he is more wife and merciful than you; and therefore not to be murmured at as wanting either. 3. And it is an unvaluable
your own soul is fan&tified, and shall be faved. 4. And the mof god. ly have had ungodly children before you. Adam had a Cain, Norly had a Cham, Ifanc had an Esau,. David had an Abfalom, &c. 5. And if all the godly that pray for their childrens falvacion must be therein gratified, all the world would then have been saved, For Noab would have prayed for all his children, and they for theirs, and so to the worlds end.
Obje&. Ob but my conscience telleth me, that it is my own fin wbicb batb bad & band in their undoing.
Answ. Suppofc it befo; it is certainly a pardonable fin. Do you then repent of it, or not? If you repent ; as you mourn for your relations; fo you should rejoyce that God hath forgiven you. For repented sin is certainly pardoned to you, and perdoned fin to you, is as great cause of joy, as unpardoned fin in your reltrions is causc of forrow. Therefore mourn with such modcration, and mixed comfort and thanksgiving, as becometh one that liveth by faith. The affiliation indeed is necro and great, and heavier than any calamity that could have bcfallen their bodics, and is not to be slighted by an unnatural infenfibility ? But yet you have a God who is better to you than a thousand children, and your cross is but as a feather, if you see it in the ballance against your bleflings, even the Love of God, and your part in Chrift, and life cternal.
CHAP CHAP. XXIV.
Hw by Faith to order our Affections to publick Societies, and
the unconverted world.
Dire&. 1. TA
Ake beed ibat you lose not that common Love
wbich you owe to mankind, nor that defire of the increase of tbe Kingdom of Cbrift, wbicb muft kera up in you a conftant compaffion to tbe unconverted world, viz. Idolaters, In. fidels, and ungodly Hypocrites.
It is pittiful to observe the unchristian fenflcsacfs of most z:alous Professors of Religion in this point: Though God hath purposely put the three publick Peticions fisst in the Lords Prayer, to tell them what they must first and most dcfire, that is, the ballowing of bis Name, and the coming of bis Kingdom, and i be doing of bio Will on Earth as it is in Heaven; yet they scem not to underft and it, or to regard it: But their thoughes and desires arc as selfish, and private, and narrow, as if they know nothing what the World or the Courcb is, or cared for neither. Their mind and talk is all of their own masters, for body or soul, or of their several Parties, and particular Churcbes i or if any extend his care as far as this spot of Land in Brittain and Ireland, or some of the Rcformed Churches, they go further than their companions ; their selves, and their fide or party is almost all that moft regard : Perhaps the poor scattered feres have a few words in thc prayers of lomc; but the miserable cafc of the valt Nations of the Eurth, who seem to be forsaken of God is neglected by them. five parts in fix of the carth arc Heathens and Mahomcrancs : and of the fixth part, the Protestants are but about a fixth, compared with the poor ignorant Abbaffincs, Armenians,Syrians, the Gscck Churches, and the Papifts; (co say nothing what the most of the Protestants themselves arc.) Yet are almost all these put by, with a wird or two, or nonc at all, in the daily prayers of moft Profeffors : And it is sarc to hear any to pray with any importunity for their conversion. Is this mens love to mankind? Is this their love to the Kingdom of Chrift? or to God and Godliness ? Is God of as narrow a mind as you? Are you and your party
all the world, or all the Church ? or all that is to be regarded and prayed for?
Dirca, 2. Do not only pray for them, but study wbat is witke in the reach of your power to do for tbeir conversion. For though private men can do little in comparison of what Christian Princes might do who must not be told their duty by such as 1.) Yet somcwhat might be donc by Mercbanis and their Chaplains, if skill and zal were well united ; and somewhat might be done by arriting and translasing such books as are ficrea for this ulc: "And greater matters might be done, by training
up fome Scholars in the Persian, Indoft an, Tartarian, and “such other languages, who are for mind and body fired for “that work, and willing with due encouragement to give up “themselves thereto. Were such a Colledge created, natives "might be got to teach the languages: and no doubt bus “God would put into the hcarts of many young mon, to de“ yote themselves co fu excellent a service, and of many rich
mon, to secile Lands sufficient to maintain them; and many “Merchants would help chem in their expedition. But whether thosc that God will so much honour, bc ye born, I know not.
.Dirca. 3. Pray and labour for the Reformation and Concord of al.ibe Cbristian Churches; as she most probable nie ans to win to Cbrist i be world of Heasbers and Urbelievers.
If the Protestant Churches were more pure and peaccable, more holy, and more unanimous and charitable to cich other, it would do much to win the Papifts that are ncar them: And if the Papias, and Grocks, and Armenians, and Abaffincs were more reformed, wisc and holy, it would do much to win the Heathens and Mahometanes round about them. They would be the sale of the carth, and the lights of the world, and the leaven which mutt lcáven the whole lump: The neighbouring Mahomecanes, and Heathens, would see their good works and glorific God, Metsb. 5. 16. A boly, barmless, loving conversa. tion, is a Sermon wbicb men of all languages can understand: Thus as Apostles we might prcach to men of several tongues, though we have but one. O that the sandifying Spirit would reach Chriftians this art, and reform and unite the Churches of Christ, that they might be no longer a scandal, to hinder the