Page images
PDF
EPUB

the precise meaning of the terms. Be sure that they at least understand the substance of that which constitutes these “glad tidings.” Not only lead them to such summaries as 1 Corinthians xv. 3, 4, but dwell on the person, and the character, and the words of the Saviour—the various incidents of his life-the expressions of his heart—and his peculiarly affecting discourses towards the close of his obedience unto death. Explain to them his whole life, as a course of steadfast, and uninterrupted, and perfect glorifying of God, by an obedience to the law; as being also at once a course of substitution for sinful men, and an all-perfect example to his followers. Nay, so explain these as to shew, that his whole life can be accounted for, on no other principles. Dwell upon

his

cross, as an atonement for sin ; by which God, who has been so dishonoured, and offended so justly, and we, who have offended without cause, may be again at-one or agreed. Follow Him to the glory to which he is gone.

Let them know that he there lives—there reigns—there triumphs before his ancients gloriously.

There are few subjects respecting which Children are more pleased to hear, than the heavenly world; as if, in effect, they were telling their very Parents, that they have been born for immortality, and have already set out upon their mysterious journey to the skies. If you then only read the Sacred Volume, with the requisite dispositions of mind, while you will be easily able to explain that state of glory, by taking away all the drawbacks and inconvenience, the griefs and sorrows of the present scene, you will be far from saying, that you can only dwell upon the subject, negatively. This, you will say, is but one view that is given to us, chiefly with the design of supporting us through this vale of tears.

No; if indeed you yourself are come “unto Mount Zion-and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem-and to an innumerable company of angels—to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven—and to God the Judge of all—and to the spirits of just men made perfect-and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant--and to the blood of sprinkling which speaketh better things than that of Abel ;" or, in other words, if your “ affections are set on things above, not on things on the earth,” then will

your Children know this, and see it, and believe it. Here a little, and there a little, by line upon line, and one casual remark after another, you may go forward without disquietude. God has promised his especial blessing; and on other days and years, your

be even heard to say—“However much we are pleased to read them, we want no arguments in favour of Christianity, external or internal. My Father and Mother, says one, speaking for the rest, I am sure, were consistent Christians, and they were truly happy, and amiable, and interesting, in the exemplification of that religion, which I can never for a moment doubt that they possessed. By all this, when alive, they allured to brighter worlds; and now that they are gone, it really seems as though it were, in a humbler sense, to prepare the

way

Jesus indeed hath done so, and perfectly; but at least it appears to us, as though such Christian Parents were not without their share of influence, in the same direction. At all events, I am sure of this, that their usefulness and

Children may

for us.

influence did not die with them; and I am also sure, that this world is not now to me, in all respects, what it was then ; and that in that world, I feel a tenderness of interest, which, but for them, I might have either never felt, or never felt to the same degree.”

Surely this would prove reward, rich and ample, for all your pains and patience, when fulfilling, from day to day, a duty which God and nature so evidently and strongly imposed. Though even this is far from reaching what often happens. Long before you leave this changing scene, they may give you the most indubitable and delightful evidence, that in due time they will follow you to that unfading inheritance “ into which no enemy can ever enter, and from which no friend ever departs."

Besides all this, Parents themselves especially have to look forward. With them the day is turned, and the days of darkness may yet be many. At such a season, oh, what value is often stamped on these patient and assiduous endeavours, in training up a Child in the

way in which he should go! Whether to Father or Mother, I would say—Is it a small matter, think you, when you are come to descend the hill of life, and the knees wax feeble, that then

66 When thou wilt need some comfort to assuage
Health's last farewell, a staff of thine old age ;
That then, in recompense of all thy cares,
Thy child shall shew respect to thy gray hairs ;
Befriend thee, though of other friends bereft,
And give thy life its only cordial left ?-
Aware then how much danger intervenes,
To compass that good end, forecast the means.
His heart, now passive, yields to thy command ;
Secure it thine-its key is in thine hand.”

In one word, with regard to Christianity, let the regulation of the judgment, a reference to the conscience, and the impression of the heart, be your habitual and ultimate aim, in all that you say or do. Care not for worldly, and, above all, what are called fashionable ideas, on this subject. Do your duty: and ever rest assured, not only that “the most important and purest source of knowledge is the simple and unprejudiced study of the Bible,” but that of all books in existence, the Scriptures, as a whole, are most intelligible to Children. The fundamental truths drawn from this source, to which I have adverted, remember also, belong to no one rank in life only. In these, Children, as such, are not only interested, but to them, they are of equal importance, whether they are rich or poor, whether they are to travel the lowest or the highest walks of society. Rely upon it, that education which does not fully, and carefully, and patiently communicate these truths, must ever prove essentially, not to say cruelly defective.

The whole circle of dispositions I need not, perhaps could not, go over ; but a few of those, for which no school ever was, or ever can be opened, will sufficiently explain what I intend, and, I would fain hope, impress the minds of some Parents more deeply, with the vast importance of this untransferrable department of parental duty.

Wisdom and Prudence. The wisest of men has long ago told us, that Wisdom dwells with Prudence; yet many there are, who never think of these, though the King and Queen of all the excellencies in the human disposition. They aim at learning, and the subtleties of speculative knowledge, rather than wisdom. They fill the memory and warm the fancy with fictitious narrative, instead of strengthening the judgment, regulating the conscience, or training the will. Instead of labouring to make their Children wise and prudent, conscientious, and considerate, and humane, their main object is to make them clever, and expert, and fine scholars; so that ultimately they may, if possible, be rich and admired. The great matter, in short, is, that, in their day, they may make a figure in the world. As the method pursued feeds at once the vanity of both parties, as well as that of their connexions, Parents are at great expense, and their Children at great pains, to gain this knowledge and these accomplishments; yet, oh, what a poor conclusion is at last gained, though often not gained! At how much less expense of money, and though more of personal labour, yet of personal profit, might they have made them wise, and prudent, and fit for the bustle and the business of life.

Parents should ever remember, that there may be those who must and will make a trade of mere learning, and who may sink it down into a mercenary, pedantic, and merely mechanical thing.

To neglect the higher ground on which nature hath placed them, and deliver over their dear Children to such, all the while conceiving that, when they have paid the schoolfees, they have done their duty, and are really deter. mined to give them, what is often strangely called, ' a good education,' is a mistake for which they will, another day, pay very dear. What they thus sow they shall one day reap; and if any Parents wish to

« PreviousContinue »