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hearers only deceiving their own selves! Did glorified.” Long for the day when the Scripyou never observe the complaint that God ture shall be found in every family. Be conaddressed to Ezekiel ? “Son of man, the cerned to furnish those around you with the children of thy people speak one to another, Bible who may be destitute of it
. Take peevery one to his brother, saying, Come I pray culiar care early to awaken in those whom you, and hear what is the word that cometh God has graciously given you, an affectionate forth from the Lord. And they come unto and a familiar regard to it. It is the order of thee as the people cometh, and they sit be- Heaven. " These words, which I command fore thee as my people, and they hear thy thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and words, but they will not do them: for with thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy chiltheir mouth they show much love, but their dren, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest heart goeth after their covetousness. And, in thine house, and when thou walkest by the lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song way, and when thou liest down, and when of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for play well on an instrument: for they hear thy a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be as words, but they do them not." Does this ap- frontlets between thine eyes.” ply to none of us? It characterizes thousands O precious Bible! I could for ever enlarge who attend even where the Gospel is preached in thy praise.—Read it, ye mourners in Zion; in its purity. We say therefore again, that it will wipe away your tears. Read it, ye
few pay a due regard to the word of God; bereaved: 'it will assure you that a father of few imbibe its spirit; few fear its threatenings; the fatherless, and a husband of the widow, is few embrace its promises; few obey its com- God in his holy habitation. Read it, ye poor: mands; few practically own its authority. it will soothe you under your privations. Read
But to conclude. The charge is not uni- it, ye rich: it will sanctify your abundance. versally true. Blessed be God, there are Ye old, read it: it will support your tottering some exceptions; and we trust in the num- age. Ye young, read it: it will preserve your ber of exceptions some of you are found. I giddy steps.
• Bind them continually upon hope some of you are daily kneeling before thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. this sacred volume and praying, “ Teach me when thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when unite my heart to fear thy name.” Good men thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For have always been attached to their Bibles ! the commandment is a lamp; and the law is Many have shed their blood, rather than even light; and reproofs of instruction are the way conceal their regard to it. We read in the of life.” book of martyrs of a husbandman who gave a whole load of hay for one leaf of one of the epistles ! Boyle, that great philosopher, said,
DISCOURSE LX. speaking of the Scripture, “: I prefer a sprig of the tree of life to a whole wood of bays.” Judge HALE, that ornament of his profession
THE ADVANTAGE OF HAVING
GODLY PARENTS. and country, said, that “if he did not honour God's word by reading a portion of it every | A good man leaveth an inheritance to his chilmorning, things went not well with him all dren's children.--Prov. xiii. 22. the day.” Job said, “ I have esteemed the What so interesting as children ? Chilwords of thy mouth more than my necessary dren are pledges of mutual and hallowed affood.” David exclaimed, “O how love I thy fection. Children recall the early scenes of law! it is my meditation all the day! More our own lives; they renew our image; they to be desired are they than gold, yea, than embalm our memory; they multiply and permuch fine gold; sweeter also than honey and petuate ourselves. Other attachments lose the honeycomb.
their influence over us with age, but love to Can you express yourselves in similar lan- children warms the heart in death. It is the guage? Are these your sentiments? You source of numberless and unutterable hopes ought to be thankful —and to be thankful not and fears, and pains and pleasures. only that you possess such an invaluable bless- What is the emblem of divine compassion ? ing as the Scriptures, but that you have been Like as a father pitieth his children, so the taught to prize it
, and enabled to use it. You Lord pitieth them that fear him.” Rachel have found it to be, in your own happy expe- weeps for her children, and “will not be rience, a compass to guide you; a remedy to comforted, because they are not.” Who heal you; a sword to defend you; a balm for does not feel for the venerable patriarch as every wound, a cordial for every fear. he exclaims, “ Me have ye bereaved of my
But let me urge upon you a still greater children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not attention to the word of God. Let it not only and will ye take Benjamin away? All * dwell” in you, but dwell in you“ richly," these things are against me.” Who can reand " in all wisdom." Pray for the spread fuse to mourn with the king of Israel as he of it, that it may have "free course and be I retires from the shouts of a victory that had
saved his own life; and, as he goes up into | are not born Christians, but are made such. his chamber over the gate, weeping, ex- * If any man be in Christ, he is a new creaclaims, O my son Absalom! my son, my ture.” But some are saved by the washing son Absalom ! would God I had died for thee, of regeneration, and the renewing of the O Absalom, my son, my son !" When the Holy Ghost. God has begun “a good work woman came to our Lord on the behalf of in them;" and the work denominates the her daughter grievously vexed with a devil, subjects of it. Such is the origin of the how does she express herself! Thou Son character. But what are the features of it? of David, have mercy on me.” The mother In a good man we must have piety. He suffered as much by sympathy as the daugh- trusts in God, and subunits to him; he loves ter by disease; and the deliverance of the one and fears him. He keeps holy the Sabbath would have been the relief of the other. of the Lord his God. He enters his house;
But if parents are affected by the condition he reads and hears his word; he comes to of children, children are affected by the con- his table; he approaches his throne for mercy duct of parents. Thus we read that God and grace to help him in time of need. And “ visits the iniquities of the fathers upon the while others live without God in the world, children unto the third and fourth generation he is actuated by a desire to please and of them that hate him." Which is certain- glorify him in all his actions. Unless the ly unjust,” some are ready to exclaim; “ and heart be right with God, we are nothing. is sufficient to condemn the book in which Without principle and motive, whatever the assertion is found.” And yet we con- noise we make in religion, we are but stantly see children, 'in ways innumerable," sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal." suffering for the vices of their ancestors. By In a good man we must have sincerity. the idleness and drunkenness of one father, You would not think of applying the word to his infants are reduced to rags and ruin. By a mere pretender; to one whose actions were the licentious guilt of another, disease carries always at variance with his words and bis off his newborn babe—the babe is not crimi- heart; to one who was all form and varnish nal, yet it is tortured with pain and dies. The in religion; a whited sepulchre, which looks fact is undeniable; and deism has to encoun- fair outwardly, but is within full of death and ter the same difficulty with revelation. Re- corruption. But you feel no reluctance to ligion is no more chargeable with it than the appropriate the term to one, even though he course of nature. If the Bible be not the has not much light, and is not free from inword of God, the world is the work of God; firmities, who is what he appears to be ;
and and where is the difference between his an- of whom our Saviour would say, “ Behold an nouncing such a rule, or his acting upon it? Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile."
On the other hand, goodness operates In a good man we must have uniformity. powerfully and beneficially in descent; and He is not one thing alone, and another in we read that “God showeth mercy unto company. He is not a meek follower of the thousands of them that love him and keep Lamb in the house of God, and a tyrant in his commandments :" that “his mercy is his own. He is not prayerful in sickness
, from everlasting to everlasting upon them and prayerless in health. He is not humble that fear him;" and “his righteousness unto in adversity, and proud and rigorous in proschildren's children." And among the vari- perity. He is the same essentially in all the ous subjects that come under the observation varieties of human condition: the changes of Solomon, is that of a godly father entailing of life serve only to prove his character, and blessings on his family. "A good man to develope it. They are trials, and often leaveth an inheritance to his children's chil- severe ones; but they meet with gold; and dren."
it will «
appear unto praise and glory and Let us premise three things.
honour at the appearing of Jesus Christ." I. THE CHARACTER IN QUESTION IS A GOOD In a good man we must have benevolence
Some persons are prejudiced against and beneficence. It is not enough to be barely the very use of the term: but they would do moral; and to render to all their due. A well to remember that it is one of the words good man does not keep just within the the Holy Ghost tencheth.” It is needless to precincts of legal obligation; but goes forth repeat passages to prove this; but it may be where no human statute would punish him necessary to observe that the term is to be for neglect; and having freely receivel, he taken with limitntions. None are good per- freely gives. The love and gratitude which fectly: for “there is not a just man upon the he cannot extend to God, overflow upon his earth that doeth good and sinneth not.” Paul fellow-creatures. Ile has imbibed the Spirit confessed that he had not attained—that he of him who went about doing good; and as was not already perfect; but only pressing he has opportunity, he does good unto all towards the mark. None are good natural- men, especially unto them that are of the ly: for as we are all derived from the same household of faith.” This part of his characsource, and this is a depraved one, “who can ter the Scripture makes a test of the reality bring a clean thing out of an unclean ?" Wel of every other part: “ He that loveth not his
brother whom he hath seen, how can he love in reference to the man, the woman is by no God whom he hath not seen? Whoso hath means excluded. Though she moves less this world's good, and seeth his brother have publicly and visibly, her influence, like that need, and shutteth up his bowels of compas- of the more primary and hidden springs in a sion from him-how dwelleth the love of machine, is certainly great and efficient. To God in him?" It is this that attaches others a family, a good mother, no less than a good so firmly and inviolably to him: “scarcely father, is an invaluable blessing. To whom for a righteous man will one die, yet per- under God did the Jewish Church owe a adventure for a good man some would even Samuel ? To a wise and pious Hannah. To dare to die." It is this that draws so pecu- whom did the Christian Church owe liarly the gracious notice of God himself. Timothy ? “ From a child he had known " To do good and to communicate, forget not, the Scripture; which is able to make us wise for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. unto salvation;" and the secret is laid open : A good man showeth favour and lendeth: he “ When,” says the Apostle, “I call to rewill guide his affairs with discretion. Sure- membrance the unfeigned faith that is in ly he shall not be moved for ever: the right- thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother eous shall be had in everlasting remembrance. Lois
, and thy mother Eunice, and I am perHe shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his suaded that in thee also.” It is not to Jesse, heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.” but to Jesse's wife, that David so tenderly
Secondly. Solomon supposes that such a and devoutly refers, when he says, “ O Lord, good man may be found in connected lifc. truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and And what is there in his goodness that is the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed likely to hinder this? what is there in his my bonds. O turn unto me, and have mercy goodness that does not render it the more upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, probable? His religion will improve all and save the son of thine handmaid.” those views and feelings that tend to make These things being premised, let us exhim social and useful. Some have attached amine what that inheritance is, which a good I know not what kind of holiness and pre- man leaves to his offspring. eminence to celibacy; but the Scripture I. It comprehends RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTIONS. knows nothing of it. There we read that There are some who are unfriendly to the “marriage is honourable in all.” There we practice of infusing into children any doctrinal find the doctrine-of forbidding to marry, principles; and plead for leaving their minds branded with infamy. Jesus graced a wed- quite free and unbiased, till they are able to ding with his own presence, and wrought his judge for themselves. But can a parent forfirst miracle to aid even the festivity of the bear to impart to those who are peculiarly scene. God himself in paradise instituted dear to him what he knows to be of unspeakmarriage, and said, “ It is not good for man able importance, and of immediate necessity ? to be alone.” And who will rise up and give Will the mind of his child remain free and his Maker the lie? Enoch married earlier unbiased through infancy and youth? If than his cotemporaries, and begat sons and empty of good, will it not be filled with the daughters; and yet "he walked with God; evil that so pressingly surrounds it in a world and was not, for God took him.” Compare like this? Will the enemy check his march, this man, early surrounded with family con- and leave the passes unoccupied till you nexions, with a wretched, sordid monk in a choose to possess them yourselves ?-If our cell, or with any of those poor, selfish, cold-children do not remember God in the days of hearted beings who refuse to serve their their youth, they are not very likely to regeneration according to the will of God—and member him at all. The promise is, “I love which of them rises or sinks in your estima- them that love me, and they that seek me tion !-Yea, it is supposed that this good man early shall find me:” but can they love him has offspring too-another natural conclusion, without knowing him? Do they seek him and sanctioned generally by the promise of by instinct, or from motive? We are comGod. “Blessed is every one that feareth the manded to use means even by him who works Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou in us both to will and to do of his good pleashalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy sure: and if we regard his authority, the disshalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. pute is ended : “ Train up a child in the way Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the he should go : and when he is old, he will sides of thine house: thy children like olive not depart from it.” Fathers, provoke not
plants round about thy table. Behold, that your children to wrath: but bring them up | thus shall the man be blessed that feareth in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." the Lord. The Lord shall bless thee out of Hear how Moses charges the Jews : “ And Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusa- these words, which I command thee this day, lem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach see thy children's children, and peace upon them diligently unto thy children, and shalt Israel."
talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, Thirdly. Though the subject is spoken of ) and when thou walkest by the way, and when
thou liest down, and when thou risest up. A good man will not fail to present to the
in general. But in the case before us there Here the duty is not only enjoined, but ex- are peculiar probabilities that it will not be plained: and we see in the performance of in vain in the Lord. When the image is de it nothing harsh, nothing formal; it is a fa- rived from a relation so near; when it is miliar, a domestic employment. The father presented so early; when it is seen so congoes not before the child, but follows him; stantly during a tender period; when it is he answers; and the inquiries of the child associated with so many recollections to renremind him of the information he needs, and der it interesting—the impression it makes show him the state and opening of the mind will not, cannot, be easily worn off
. Even on which he is called to attend. How has when going astray, in a solitary hour, the God the father of all taught us? What is young man will recall the season when, emthe Old Testament but a collection of im- bosomed in his native home, it was better agery, of maxims, and proverbs ? but a nar- with him than now; when his father, the rative of great and interesting events, the minister too of the household, read the Scripcreation of the world, and the operations of ture, led his charge daily to the family altar; Providence from age to age. What is the maintained order and harmony without vio Gospel ? A body of divinity? A system of lence or severity ; was devout, but equally theology? No. It is history. It consists of cheerful; exemplifying " whatsoever things facts and reflections. It is in this way alone are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatthat the young can be interested and taught soever things are just, whatsoever things are to purpose.
pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoA good man will withhold no useful inform- ever things are of good report, whatsoever ation from his children: but while he does things have any virtue or any praise in them." not overlook them as inhabitants of the pre- And what is mere occasional and often mosent world, he views them as the awful heirs rose admonition, compared with such an exof immortality; and is principally concerned ample? What are rules pressed by mere that they should know the things that belong authority, compared with a temper, a life so to their everlasting peace. What is every inviting? Children are more likely to pracother acquisition, if they are not wise unto tice what their parents do than what they resalvation!
commend. They are much more led by the A good man will cherish in the minds of eye than by the ear. And it would be well his chidren a belief of divine truth, however for some children if they saw more of religion, mysterious; and maintain in them a sense of and heard less. It would be well for them if the limitation and weakness of human reason; they lived in a mild religious region, instead but he will not lead them to metaphysical of being placed by fits of irregular and passubtleties, and “ doubtful disputations, that sionate zeal in religious stocks. We are no gender strife rather than godly edifying." enemies to active and direct efforts ; but we He will even distinguish in his endeavours are persuaded that where few of these are between what may be true, and what is im- made, impressions will be left by a consistent portant. “ Secret things belong unto God; and amiable life; and that the effect of exbut things that are revealed belong to us and ample will be more deep and durable than to our children." And unto man he said, Be- those of precept and reproof. hold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; UI. It takes in BELIEVING PRAYERS. A and to depart from evil, that is understand- good man is a man of grace and supplication; ing."
and if he prays for his fellow-creatures al
large, can he forget those of his own body? | and of the poor perhaps much of it has been With what earnest appropriation will he the effect of positive fraud or oppression; the think of them when the minister in the sanc- cries of many have been lodged with it, and tuary is interceding for the young! With these “cries have entered the ears of the what ardour will he pray for them, when he Lord God of Sabaoth.”—Thus unclean and is praying with them in the family! How accursed it descends, and the children reoften when kneeling--when walking alone, ceive it as the Israelites the quails—at once will he sigh, “O that Ishmael might live be- gratified and undone. " A little that a rightfore thee!"
eous man hath is better than the riches of When children grow up and go forth, at many wicked :" and this is as true with rethe call of education or business, the hour of gard to his family as with regard to himself. separation is trying, is painful : then their He that multiplied the oil and the meal of parents resign them, and follow them with the widow and son ; of a servant that feared devotional anxieties. In the world they are him ; often wonderfully provides for those his exposed to scenes of temptation and danger; people leave behind them. “I have been then their parents resemble Job, who was young, and now am old,” says David ; " yet praying while his children were feasting: have I never seen the righteous forsaken, or for he said, It may be that my sons have his seed begging bread.” sinned and cursed God in their hearts: thus Shall I mention, Fifthly, the Death of a did Job continually." But when, casting off good man as another part of this inheritance ? the fear of God, they become victims of vice In some cases nothing is said by a saint in -0 the feelings of a prodigal's father !- his last moments. His testimony and advice A minister said to Monica, the mother of are prevented by the nature of his disease, or Augustine, weeping over him in his profli- the suddenness of his removal. Yet even gate youth; “ A child of so many tears and then a dying father may do what a living one prayers cannot perish.” This is going too could not. The blessing may be valued when far. But prayer has power with God, and lost. But the dying experience of a good prevails when offered for others, as well as man is sometimes rendered peculiarly imfor ourselves. The effectual fervent prayer pressive. The expressions of his faith and of a righteous man availeth much. * Î bless hope recommend religion by showing that it God," says Mr. Flavel, “for a religious ten- can bear up the mind when every thing else der father, who often poured out his soul to fails. His supplies and consolations prove God for me: and this stock of prayers I esteem that he serves a good master, who never above the fairest inheritance on earth." leaves him, nor forsakes him. But a dying
IV. It consists of SANCTIFIED SUBSTANCE. admonition from a father-added to all this ! Some good men have not much to leave be- “See,” said Mr. Bolton to his children, “ that hind them: and this is frequently best. It is none of you meet me in an unregenerate often disreputable for a Christian to die very condition at the day of judgment!" David wealthy: it implies that he has not been called Solomon, and said, " And thou Sologenerous enough in his day and generation. mon my son, know thou the God of thy father; And as it is no honour to his character, so it and serve him with a perfect heart and with is seldom a benefit to his offspring : it ren- a willing mind. For the Lord searcheth all ders them independent of motives to diligence, hearts, and understandeth all the imaginaand makes “provision for the flesh to fulfil tions of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he the Justs thereof." It is a large stock laid will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, up for their pride and luxury; and it is soon he will cast thee off for ever.” Who can squandered away. But “he that provideth rebel against this? “ Shall I trouble his rest not for his own, especially those of his own by departing from truth and integrity ? Shall house, hath denied the faith, and is worse I unkindly frustrate the strong desire of his than an infidel.” There are few good men departing spirit? Can I wish to see him no but have something to leave behind : for reli- more? To part with him for ever? I am gion has the promise even of the life that now now a stranger in the earth. I will seek is:" it renders a man diligent and frugal; and unto God-he is my father's God. I will go gains him confidence and esteem. What is in search of heaven-it is my father's house." piously acquired is likely to be usefully ex- Finally. GOD BEARS A REGARD TO pended. A few years ago a religious officer DESCENDANTS OF HIS FOLLOWERS. As David called his son to his dying bed, and address asked, Is there any left of the house of Saul, ing him by name, said, “ My son, I have not that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's much to leave you ; but what I have, will sake;" so by the same noble rule of friendwear well; for not a mite of it has been taken ship does God act. “ The children of thy from the bodies of my men.” All could not servants shall continue, and their seed shall make such an avowal. There are even pro- be established before thee. Blessed is the fessors of the Gospel who have laid up what man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth ought to have been laid out. The hoard they greatly in his commandments. His seed shall leave has been taken from the cause of God be mighty upon earth: the generation of the