« AnteriorContinua »
society of the faithful above; “ let us now have fervent charity among ourselves, and abound in love one towards another, and towards all men.” And now, what more shall I say to recommend this benevolent affection.
We have seen in what respects it should exhibit itself; that every man, in whatever station of life he is placed. may have an opportunity of manifesting his kindness and brotherly love to others, whether as superiors, inferiors, or equals; that the rich should condescend to men of low estate, and the poor submit to those who are placed over them in lawful authority; that we may be friendly to our neighbours; compassionate to the afflicted; and charitable to the poor ; that we may not envy the prosperous; nor defame a rival; that we may not be easily provoked by the injurious; but long-suffering and forbearing; preserving the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.—We may be persuaded, that it is reasonable thus to treat our fellowcreatures with affection and humanity, because we would expect to receive the same treatment, whenever our circumstances are such as require their sympathetic regard; that the exercise of brotherly love rendere our characters amiable, because it preserves the peace and tranquillity of our own minds; and because it renders us useful in diffusing happiness among others. Would we wish to possess these advantages, would we desire thus to do good; let us cherish the love of mankind which is the only means of becoming "blessings in our generation.-Shall we not be prompted to this duty, by the high estimation in which it is held in the Christian system as it is the sum of practical religion : shall we not be instigated to it from regard to the intention of our Maker, who hath bestowed on us benevolent affections that they might be cherished: from our connection with society in which love is necessary for rendering our interconrse delightful; from sympathy to many objects who might be benefited by our liberality? Surely we cannot disregard these considerations, and be blameless.-Above all, shall we not be excited to love one another, in imitation of the goodness of God; in compliance with the example of Christ; in obedience to his command; and as a means of rendering us ineet for the kindom of heaven? These are motives which should stir up all our energies to abound in this heavenly grace; these are motives which should prevail with us, to love our neighbour as ourselves. And let us not excuse ourselves from its exercise, under the notion that it is a moral precept; but let us be persuaded that such a precept which is so essential a branch of Christian duty, so earnestly enjoined by our Lord and his Apostles; recommended in almost every page of scripture; and declared to be necessary for our salvation, is indeed of the last importance to be observed : and“ let us love one another not in name and in word only, but in deed and in truth.”
Prov. XXIL 6. Train up a child in the way he should go ; and when
he is old he will not depart from it.
THE education of children is one of the most important duties which devolves upon a Christian parent; and a task which the instructors of youth have always found most difficult to perform. For such is the frowardness of the human mind in the years of childhood, that it is unapt to receive the lessons of instruction; and resists the first attempts to nurture it in the school of discipline. “ Idleness,” says Solomon, " is bound in the heart of a child;" and we see that experience confirms his assertion. The infant faculties are naturally prone to engage in such amusements as afford delight; and averse to such pursuits as require exertion. As the employments which education imposes, are so contrary to the inclinations of youth ; hence arises the opposition we meet with in overcoming their reluctance, and inspiring them with a relish for those exercises proposed for their improvement.-If, indeed, their minds might be permitted to remain without culture, their education might be delayed, till they were better disposed to imbibe the instructions of wisdom; but when it is considered, that youth is the proper season for sowing the seeds of knowledge, and infusing the principles of virtue in the soul; and that if it pass away without receiving these, no other period of life can be applied to the same purpose; hence arises the necessity of
“ giving line upon line, and precept upon precept; here a little and there a little,” for training up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. In childhood, the mind is flexible, and easily susceptible of any impression which parents and teachers may impart, and may be rendered submissive to any mode of discipline which they are desirous to recommend. Now, therefore is the time to form the character for future life; now is the time for communicating such information as may be necessary to qualify them for actiog their part as men and Christians. --Besides, in a few years those little ones, who are now under the charge of their parents, must enter into the world, and provide for their own subsistence; when they shall no longer have such an opportunity of devoting their time, to improve themselves in useful and religious knowledge. Now therefore is the time for acquiring the ele. inents of education, which may enable them to hold a respectable rank in society.
It is a wise provision made by the legislature of this country, that by means of public institutions for the instruction of youth, the poorer classes of society may have their families taught, at a small expense, the most important branches of knowledge, which may be subservient both to life and to godliness. And it is the duty of every parent to avail himself of the facilities hereby afforded, for obtaining for his children such a competent share of education, as may be serviceable in future life. It is no less incumbent on them to impart religious information to their rising offspring ; that they may acquire betimes the knowledge of those truths which are able to make them wise unto salvation. Accordingly it is here recommended in the text, to train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it. As the education of children, both by parents and teachers, is a subject well deserving our most serious attention ; it may perhaps tend to our edification, if we consider in the remainder of this discourse,
1. The nature of that education, which every child should receive from religious parents,
II. The proper method of conducting it to beneficial purposes.
III. The great advantages resulting from a good education.
IV. The motives which should induce parents and teachers to assiduity, in discharging this important duty.
And then, apply the subject to practice.
I. The nature of education is often misunderstood, as it is conceived to be nothing more, than affording them a few years attendance at a place of literary instruction. And when parents have entrusted their children to the charge of one, who is capable of teaching them the ordinary system of education ; they frequently absolve themselves from all further concern for their increase in knowledge and growth in grace. It is no doubt the duty of public instructors to convey, from time to time, such lessons of religion and morals, as are expedient for training the minds of youth to habits of serious reflection. Bus as their province is more especially confined to scholastic discipline; it becomes the peculiar duty of parents to train up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.—This includes many particulars, which we shall now consider more fully in detail. After they have initiated them by baptism, as members of the Christian church, they should regard the salvation of their souls as the one thing needful; and employ all the usual means which may be effectual for promoting their edification. For this purpose, as soon as children are capable of knowing good and evil ; parents should instantly begin to inform them of the great truths of religion, in a plain and familiar manner, as they are able to bear them. The youthful mind is sooner capable of understanding subjects which may be deemed abstract, and above the level of its capacities, than most people are aware of. Very soon does the power of reflection discover itself, and draw inferences from the facts which are presented to its observation.- Whenever, therefore, the first dawn of reason appears ; let parents instruct their children concerning their Creator, and the relation in which they stand to him aş