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Must not your sympathy in their work of salvation, animate and fortify them? Can there be any thing more calculated to transmit to the succeeding generation principles of virtue, which may thus secure to your children's chitdren the rewards of faith?
Let not the gentleness of childhood combine with parental tenderness to deceive you, in regard to the necessity of such means. There is no circle so secluded that the enemy of God and man may not enter in; no young heart so pure that it may not be contaminated; no natural principles so sound that they may not be warped by the example, and vicissitudes, and trials of the world. And lookiug upon your offspring in all the freshness, and purity, and gladness, of infancy, ask yourself, where is the wretchedness, and guilt, so dark, and desperate, and abandoned, that they may not sink into it, unless they are made the adopted children of God, and early trained in his love, and faith, and fear? What know you of the vicissitudes and trials of principles which may attend their future path? Mark, as a wholesome study and admonition, the characters and habits of such young persons as appear to you threatened with dishonor and ruin. Imagine for a moment such to be eventually the description of your own offspring. See them vain, idle, dishonest, profligate, or victims of the diabolical arts of the gaming table. What could compensate you for such a calamity ? Should you
once realize the existence of such sorrows, where is the estate so vast, what are the personal privileges so valuable, that you would not gladly sacrifice them all for the redemption of your child from threatened ruin? Out of the abodes of eternal despair, can there be any anguish so insupportable, as a parent's secret conviction that the ruin of his child was the result of his own negligence, impiety, and sloth? ' What can you do, most effectually, to defend at the same time, your own soul from this unavailing bitterness, and your children from the destructive snares of their own hearts and of the world? Bestow upon them the privileges and the consolations of Family Religion. You have the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ himself, that if you bring them together in his name, he will be in the midst of them. Day by day does the Son of God solemnly propose to meet your assembled household ; night after night to sprinkle their consciences, stained perhaps by the sinful vanities and passions of the world, with his atoning blood; morning after morning to renew their virtuous principles, to guide their fallible judgments, to ripen them more and more for his glory. And will you, Oh rash parent! Oh, soul, heedless of all the appeals of a fast coming eternity, will you assume the awful responsibility of denying your children this stated daily meeting, with their God and Saviour ? Will you send them abroad into the world, to encounter perils, to employ talents, to
contend with lusts, and foes, and sorrows, and spirits accursed, without the seal on their foreheads, the hallowing love in their hearts, the guide for their steps, the helmet for their heads, which Christ would bestow upon them? They can pray, you may reply, without your aid, and in their own chamber. But, if not encouraged by your example, have you reason to believe that they will? If sanctioned by your real or apparent neglect, is it not almost certain that they will not ? They owe to you the life which may prove an everlasting curse. Shall they not owe to you, also, the knowledge of a crucified Saviour, acquaintance with the words of eternal life, the nursing and training for immortalny? Oh, Christian reader, they should be powerful arguments, mighty obstacles, to tempt you to discard all the benefits which would flow to your offspring from the exercises of Family Religion. But if I have failed to prevail with your understanding or conscience; if not withstanding all that can be urged, that duty is to be neglected, strive to provide yourself now with some plea or refuge for the hour of retribution, which may not be far off. Imagine now what that plea will be.
" It costs too much time, and trouble, and feeling," some reply, “to persevere in such a duty.” And can a few minutes, morning and evening, be too great a price, at which to invite Christ into your little assembly, when you are proud to invite the world there, the heartless, deriding, thankless, though flattering
world; to invite them at the expense of ease, and gold, and many precious hours ? At what a price do you procure for them all the vain accomplishments of the world? And is the cost of time and care only too great when it would engage for them all the benefits which Infinite Love could bestow? Can the cost be too much, that you may be enabled to say, by and by, as their characters are developing, I thank God for my children-I thank God for what they are, in their reverential tenderness for me; and for what they are in society and to their fellow-men! Can it cost too much to be warranted now in saying, I thank God for what I have reason to believe they will be under the changeless doom of the tribunal of Jesus Christ! Reader, should any one of the little flock perish, through your reluctance to consume some time, and incur some trouble in their behalf, count the cost of your consternation and despair, when you shall meet that impenitent child at the bar of God, an everlasting outcast from his love-about to be branded with his sentence of exterminating wrath.
Take care so to live with them, and so to pray for them, that gathering together once more in that fearful hour, from the East and from the West, wherever their destinies have carried them, you may find Christ, your Saviour, still in the midst of you, although then disclosed in all the majesty of his throne. Then might you almost forget for a