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SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW-YORK, SS.
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the twenty-ninth day of January, in the forty-seventh year of the Independence of the United States of America, Samuel Nott, Jun. of ihe said district, hath deposited in this office, the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following, to wit:
SERMONS FOR CHILDREN, designed to promote their immediate piety. By Samuel Nott, Jun. 2. In conformity to the act of Congress of the United States entitled, “ An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts, and Books to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the time therein mentioned.” And also to an act, entitled “an Act, supplementary to an act, entitled an Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."
I HEARD a popular and pious minister the other day well remark, that the best test of a man's missionary spirit, was in his own family; and that there was little hope of exciting, and especially of keeping alive, a desire to send the Gospel to the ends of the earth, in the minds of those people who have not yet the zeal and perseverance to go the length of their own firesides, to carry its peace and piety to their own flesh and blood. A real desire that the Gospel should be preached to every créature, will show itself at home; and every parent who feels it will be a minister of mercy to his own children. The natural effect of his desires for them, will be to make him more earnestly seek the piety and salvation of all the
families of the earth; but the reaction of his efforts abroad, will increase his earnestness and labour for his own peculiar charge at home. He that overreaches that which is at hand, and gets hold only of that which is far away, shows rather the incoherent dreamings of the sleeping, than the consistent doings of the waking man. I
may have been more interested by these remarks, from having heard it, a week or two before, equally ill-remarked, that the conversion and piety of children, except in very extraordinary cases, was not to be expected until they arrived at years of discretion, i. e. not in their childhood at all. During its long period, they must remain in their own childish way, lovers of this present evil world, the enemies of God, and unfit for heaven: and only as they were passing or had passed the vorge of manhood and womanhood, was there any reasonable prospect that the Gos.
prove to them “the power of God unto salvation,” and that in their life and conversation they would “adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour."
This last opinion I have long considered as having no small influence upon the practice of
the Christian community, though I do not remember to have ever heard it so distinctly stated before; and I could not but think, that the public, in the person of my much esteemed friend, had inadvertently dropped a sentiment, which they would hardly be willing to acknowledge, or would even decidedly disavow; but which, in truth, exerts a controlling and deadly influence through half the Christian families of the land.
The direct effect of this half-formed, unspoken sentiment, which floats in the public mind, is to prevent a faithful and constant religious instruction of children; but more especially to prevent that instruction which aims at their immediate piety; which aims to bring all their present thoughts and feelings into captivity to Christ. A parent will, most certainly, be less faithful and constant in his endeavours to deposit instruction for the benefit of his children's uncertain manhood, than he will, to furnish it for the current use and benefit of each passing day; expecting to see their childhood adorned with the fruits of the Spirit, and blessed with the unchanging favour of the Lord Jesus.
If he expects adult or middle aged piety only, how naturally will his hand slacken even while
ho attempts to sow the seed for a harvest so distant and uncertain ; how surely will he fail to apply to their daily living that rule of piety which governs his own life ;-to their consciences and hearts, those Christian principles, motives, and hopes, which would have a daily and hourly tendency to renew and sanctify the soul. While on the other hand, if he looks upon his children, as even now, promising candidates for saving and sanctifying grace, what obligations and encouragements must he daily feel, to make his instructions in mildness and continuance drop as the rain, and distil as the dew; to teach his children to walk by the same rule, and mind the same thing as himself; to be ever showing forth to his family a Christian example, and ever shedding around them a Christian atmosphere.
We mean not here that there should be nothing else but religion in a family; but that every thing should be done religiously, and that children should be taught, that in all their ordinary doings they are responsible to God; and that their temper, motive and conduct, should conform to the word and example of Christ, and be ever suitable to them as beings born to die, and through death