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relative to urging on children the things of God! - Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, showing the generation to come the praises of the Lord;
- For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children that should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set. their hope in God, and not forget the works of God; but keep his commandments. This is a law of God of prime importance at all times; and especially at this day of innovation and wickedness. When families neglect religion and a godly discipline, how soon do they become receptacles of vice and error.
Voltaire and his disciples made their highest calcu. lations on corrupting the rising generation, and direct. ing the education of youth. Various of their first arrangements was to effect this object. Family prayer, the reading of the Bible, pious parental instructions and examples, the holy santification of the Sabbath, with salutary and effectual corrections and restraints, are most important to the proper education of a fam. ily. And these are means of the first importance towards withstanding the seductive arts of Infidelity. Happy, if all heads of families properly felt the weight of this sentiment. They will feel it, when they meet their children in the final judgment! They will feel it in eternity, where the infinitely weighty consequences of their faithfulness, or unfaithfulness will be clearly exhibited before the eyes of the universe.
9. The employing of pious, as well as able instructors of our children.
School instructors have a great influence in forming the sentiments and morals of our youth. They have a great opportunity to sow the seeds of virtue, or of vice.
On this principle, the Illuminees, as we have just observed, placed great dependence. Among the fatal arts of disseminating their sentiments, getting into their hands the management of reading schools, held
a high rank. In this way they gradually formed young minds to their views. And unsuspecting youth became an easy prey to their wiles.
The schoolmaster has an influence over the minds of his young charge, which ought never to be unguarded by their parents; nor misimproved by the instructor. His examples, and any remarks made by him, are weighty with the listening pupils, who are accustomed to rev: erence their instructor. Surely then he ought to be a person of correct religious sentiments and habits, as well as of good information. And those communities, who have enacted strict laws relative to this object, have set an example worthy to be imitated by every part of the world, Would you hire a nurse who would poison your children? Or is the poisoning of their souls of less importance than that of their bodies? The want of properly guarding this principle, and the ex. clusion of Bibles, of prayers, and of religious instruction, from our schools, have opened a wide door to irreligion and Infidelity; the consequences of which are alarming. And a speedy and thorough reform in this particular, is a remedy of great importance against the present threatening evils.
And due caution relative to the books read by our youth, is a duty of no inconsiderable importance. It was a remark made by a shrewd observer of mankind, “Let me compose the ditties, and I care not who en"acts the laws of a community.” There is vast weight in this observation. The minds of youth may be imperceptibly perverted by ditties, songs, novels, tracts, and little books for children, (which appear beneath the notice of adults) as well as by subtile publications of more importance. The greatest depend. ence was placed, by the adepts of the Voltaire school, on this method of disseminating their poison through communities and kingdoms. And it is an avenue of corruption, which ought to be kept closed with cautious attention.
10. Wisdom and prudence in the choice of our civil rulers.
The framers of the code of Illuminism combined in their object “revolutions, and the doctrines of Atheism." This is a point expressly ascertained by the develope. ment of their scheme; and clearly exhibited in all their operations. And the subtilty of the old serpent is here displayed, to give the most deadly effect to this scheme of his operations against the cause of re. ligion. Virtuous rulers are a terror to evil doers, and they constitute a bulwark to the cause of religion, which the propagators of Infidelity dread; while they naturally conjecture, that they have little or nothing to fear from rulers destitute of religious principles; but that they have much to hope from them. One great object of their scheme would therefore naturally be, to get rid of the restraints occasioned by virtuous rulers; and to bring forward men of the opposite character. In this way republics have been enslaved and ruined. And in many ways, revolutions and tumults aid the cause of Infidelity.
Our rulers proceed from ourselves. And on their character our national weal, or woe depends. The sacred word will be fulfilled, which informs, that When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked bear rule, the people mourn: And thai The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted. In ancient sacred history we uniformly find, that good rulers were a blessing; and evil rulers were for judgment. The nation of Israel ever found the truth of this remark. And it will not be found less true under the blessings of Gospel light, and of a free republican government.
In the latter, the moral character of the mass of the people will be indicated by that of their rulers. If their rulers be men of irreligion, and such be contiņued from time to time in office, irreligion marks the character of the mass of the people. In such a case, the Most High is insulted; and may be expected to manifest his displeasure in judgments. Notwithstanding the sentiment of many in modern times, that an Infidel will make as good a civil ruler as a believer, yet in sacred Writ we find it otherwise taught. It is a sentiment
running through the Bible, that He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. Hence meni notoriously of the opposite character ought never to be selected for our rulers. And when they are, God is contemned, and Infidelity is encouraged. The experience of men, as well as the word of God, confutes the opinion, that Infidels, or openly irreligious men, may make the best of rulers. The examples and influence of such men will operate with dreadful effect against the cause of religion, and in favor of the cause of wickedness. Such men are not to be confided in. They have no correct principles of morality in their hearts. If men reject the word of the Lord, we are Divinely informed, that there is no wisdom in them;* unless it be a subtile kind of wisdom to do evil.f And the judgments of Heaven in such a case may be expected.
The modern sentiment that there is no connexion between religion and national concerns, is among the deceptive arts of the Infidelity of the last days. Had the arch tempter believed this sentiment, he would not have instigated his agents of Illuminism to have combined in their object, “revolutions, and the doctrines of Atheism.” He well knows the connexion there is between religion and good civil government; and their kind influence on each other. The sentiment, that there is no connexion between them, however many well meaning people may be deceived into the belief of it, must have originated in wicked design. Lis- ten to its import. What is it short of this? “Religion “has nothing to do with worldly concerns! And world"ly concerns have nothing to do with religion! They stare so disconnected, as to have no influence on each "other. Consequently there is nothing of a moral na"ture in worldly affairs. And no religious discourse "ought ever to contain any thing concerning them!” Are such sentiments as
these imbibed in a Gospel land? The ancient heathen, who believed there were gods, would have blushed at them! Would it do the above
• Jer. viii, 9.
+ Jer. iv, 22.
sentiments much injustice to read them in the following language; “God doth not see, neither doth the “Most High regard. The Lord seeth us not; the Lord “hath forsaken the earth. God hath forgotten; he hid. "eth his face. The Lord shall not see; neither shall "the God of Jacob regard it. Our tongue is our own; "who is Lord over us? Thou wilt not require it. We “are lords: we will come no more unto thee." In other words: We are not accountable for our conduct; and we will hear no more of any accountability!
We are sure this sentiment, of "no connexion be. "tween religion and the secular concerns of a nation," was not the sentiment of the God of ancient Israel. He ever taught that rebellious people, that religion and their national concerns were most intimately connected. Will it be said, We have learned, more wisdom? or are more correct? The prediction of the Most High to the Church in the Millennium, that Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and queens thy nursing mothers, indicates, that He is indeed of one mind upon this point, however men have changed. The above prediction more than hints the intimate connexion there shall be between religion and national concerns, when the unnatural distortions of Infidelity, and the days of licentiousness shall cease; and things shall come to be as they ought. Rulers, whatever may be their form of government, will be eminently pious, and nursing fathers to the Church; and all the concerns of nations will be made subordinate to her best interest. The kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it.
In the choice of rulers, beware of flatterers. Re. member the ambitious, deceptive fatteries of ancient Absalom. * Remember those of the great French assassin, Marat; whose professions of republicanism, and of concern for the people, in the midst of all his horrid mur. ders of a countless throng of innocent men, women, and children, were in the most pathetic and soft strains of à lover. Men of the worst views may make the highest
* 2 Sam. xv, 1-6.