« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
you see, that both children and youth are encouraged to forsake sin, and love and serve the Lord.
9. Suffer me also to insist on obedience to your parents. There are many reasons why they should be obeyed. The near and tender relation which exists between you and them, calls on you to treat them with veneration and submissive respect. All relations bave their peculiar obligations and duties, and the nearer the relation is, the stronger is the obligation to these duties. Consider then, for a moment, how nearly you are related to your parents, and then say, what is the strength of your obligation to obey them, and what will be the amount of your criminality if you disobey ?- Add to this, a consideration of the kindness received from them in infancy and childhood. No labor, no watching, no expense has been thought too much, if they could relieve, or prevent your distress. In a thousand ways they express the high interest they feel in your prosperity. And shall all this meet no return, or be repaid only by stubbornness and disobedience ? Consider also you were unable to supply your own wants, or to be your own guides. These have been cheerfully supplied by your parents. A house to shelter you from the storm, clothing to put on, and food to eat; have all been provided at their expense ; and they ask no other reward, than a few years of obedience to their reasonable commands. And you cannot think this too great a price-pay it then with cheerfulness and delight.
The general consent of mankind requires obedience at your hands. Not a nation on the face of the globe, however uncivilized and savage, but has exacted in some degree, and had paid the debt of respectful obedience. And the most refined nations have carried this requisition and the fulfilment of it, to the greatest perfection. Some nations have looked on the crime of disobedience to parents so great, as to authorise them to punish it with death ; and God commanded the . Jews to deliver up a stubborn and rebellious son to the trial of the elders, and if found guilty, to be stoned to death. Among the Chinese, if a son laid violent hands on a parent, he was ordered to be cut in pieces, and afterwards burnt. And do not forget, or at least, try to know, that God has constituted your parents your guardians and governors; because they have inore knowledge and experience, and are better able to direct your steps, to impose restraints and set bounds to your liberty, tban you can possibly be. You may some
times imagine these restraints unreasonable and hard; but in future years, you will look on them as having flowed from kindness and wisdom; and be grateful to your parents, that you were not allowed to follow inclinations, which would have led to ruin.
'The unhappy consequences which follow disobedience to parents, ought to impose on children a strong restraint. Most of those who have been notorious for wickedness, and have come to a disgraceful and untimely death; have commenced their career by rebellion against parental authority. And some aged and observing men have said, that such as were stubborn and disobedient when children ; if they live to be parents, are reminded of their past conduct, by having the same treatment from their own children. They also run the risk of breaking the hearts of kind and tender parents; and of bringing down their grey hairs with sorrow to the grave. Nor can they expect to escape the guilt and future punishment of such accumulated crimes. When death stares them in the face, or when they stand before their judge, they must be overwhelmed with guilt and anguish; and the piercing reflections such must feel, through the rounds of eternity, are pot to be described. And are any of you prepared, or preparing to meet all these evils ? I hope not; let me be persuaded better things of you.
God has also revealed his mind by express commands on this subject. His words are ; “ Honour thy father and thy mother. Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right." Can you think therefore of disobeying God, of going against the consent of all men; of grieving your parents, and of piercing yourselves through with many sorrows, only to gratify an obstinate, wicked temper? Under these views, do I not hear you say,
we will never more offend-we will obey our parents in the Lord we will endeavor to love and serve God with them on earth, and enjoy God with them eternally in the heavens."
All these duties are plainly taught in the Bible, which I advise you to read with great seriousness and care.' It is the best book, and all other books should be read with some kind of reference to it. If you cannot read but one book, let that one be the Bible. Never read love novels, and coinmon fictions ; for they will corrupt your minds. Sermons, books of experience, histories, &c. may be read with profit. Butlet much of the Sabbatb be taken up in the study of the Scrip
tures. Here you will meet with entertainment and instruction.
I could add much more, but I have now exceeded what I intended at the beginning. I shall only add, this advice is accompanied with a warm desire, that it may be treasured up in your minds, and be reduced to practice. It will add to my happiness, to hear you are making advances in useful knowledge; are. pious to your God, and obedient to your parents. In so doing, you will be useful and respected on earth, and happy in a future world. Adieu, my pupils; with great respect and affection, adieu !
CHARLES OBSERVATOR, having arrived at twenty-two years of age, and thinking that he might now consistently leave his father's house, to become more acquainted with the world, disclosed the intention to his father ; who tried to dissuade him from it, by such arguments as parental authority and tenderness suggested. These dissuasives were not treated lightly by his son, who had ever regarded his parents with affectionate and submissive respect ; he, therefore, gave himself further time to weigh, with the utmost seriousness, the advice which had been given, to counteract his design. After revolving the subject in his mind, for a whole year, and endeavoring to anticipate his feelings, at parting with those for whom he had the most dutiful and tender affection ; le respectfully declared it as his fixed resolution, arising from convictions of duty, to leave his father's house; and after travelling a little, fix for himself a place of future residence. On hearing this, his parents left off persuading, and began to make preparations for his departure. Some time elapsed before the whole was completed. On the evening before he was to leave home, his father gave him such advice, concerning his future conduct, as he judged useful and necessary.
My son, said he, it seems that the hour of separation is at hand. It will be a painful hour to me, and to your fond mother. But bent as you are, on leaving us, we submit to your choice. When once separated, we may never meet
again. Your mother and myself are considerably past the meridian of life, and a few years, at most, must put a period to our mortal existence. Life is uncertain, and you, though now in the bloom of life, may be cut down by some unforeseen stroke, and numbered with the dead. On this occasion, I cannot help calling to mind that divine mercy, which has permitted us to live together for so many years. I look back on the years of your helpless infancy, when dandled on the knee of kindness, and on your growing years, which were beheld with the tenderest solicitude; lest some unhappy bias should lead your mind astray, involve you in ruin, and rend my heart with sorrow. But I have reason to be thankful, that my endeavors have been blest by a wise and gracious God; so that his providence has hitherto guarded you; and I have great reason to hope, his unmerited goodness has converted you from the power of sin, and brought you to a saving acquaintance with the truth. This has been, and still is, a subject of great joy to me, and your pious mother. Under the belief, that the principles of true piety are planted in your heart, we are more reconciled to the thoughts of the approaching separation, than it would be possible for us to be, if you were yet in an unconverted state. And though we do not imagine you are beyond the reach of temptation, and the power of evil; yet an unconverted mind is much more likely to be corrupted by prevailing vices, than one guarded by the principles and habits of righteousness. It is our duty to feel an interest in your future conduct and welfare ; our age, experience and relation, bestow this obligation. It will doubtless be expected, that I should give you some particular advice.
As religion is of the greatest importance, it will be proper to offer some advice, first, on this subject.
Never be so confident of having experienced the grace of God, as to imagine self-examination unnecessary.
Examine yourselves, prove your own souls, was the language of an inspired apostle, to his brethren. This exhortation will fitly apply to all Christians, in all ages. Unwillingness and nego lect of self-examination, is a mark of self-deception. To be deceived in the great concerns of the soul, because one will not try himself by the rule God has given, discovers a degree of stupidity and folly, which wants a name. The tempers of the mind, the words of the lips, and actions of the life, should be closely tried ; that you may learn whether
they correspond with the pattern. I do not mean, however, to be understood, that persons of your age in experience, will find their graces possess all that strength and manhood, wbich may be found in those who have long walked in Christ Jesus, as they received him, and have thereby grown to the stature of men in Christ. Though you may, and ought to advance toward this state ; yet if at present, they are found in such a degree as to constitute you a child of grace, it will serve to guard against the other extreme, of despising the day of small things, and of casting away that confidence which hath great recompence of reward.
Watchfulness and prayer, are important duties to prevent relapses into evil-especially on going into the world, and mixing with such as have not the fear of God; some of whom will not fail to lay before you enticements to evil. The world and Satan hold out many powerful allurements and temptations ; which will steal into an unwatchful mind, and draw it from the sovereign good. Therefore, wherever you may be, whatever is your employment; neglect not to pray fervently, to watch incessantly ; that Almighty grace may keep you blameless to eternal life.
Whenever a place of future residence is fixed upon, do not fail to become a member of some religious community; where the ministry of the word, and the ordinances of the house of God, may be enjoyed. For one can neither walk nor be warm alone. Christians need all the helps to a holy life wbich have been ordained by the great Head of the Church. To stand in covenant relation with a religious community, to enjoy their watch care, admonitions, and encouraging advices ; to be under the pastoral charge of a faithful minister of Christ ; to sit under his godly ministry, and to be favored with the holy sacrament, and Christian fellowship, are real helps ; as I have proved by many years' experience. If such covenant engagements were not a duty, and if they did not afford assistance to a pious life, there would not be so many examples of these in the apostolic age ; nor would such blessings have resulted to the observers of them in all ages of the church. Let me hope, therefore, that you will attend to this, as well as to other duties; and will receive from it that lasting and extensive benefit, which a gracious God desigus.
In regard to the doctrines of the gospel, you, doubtless, already, have formed some opinion. But do not suppose your