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fore how dangerous the neglect of it will be to the several persons concerned in it.
It is impossible to lay down all the particular rules necessary for the right discharge of this duty. But there are three things which the wisdom of our Church hath specially recommended; and therefore I think it my duty briefly to touch upon.
The first of these is Baptism. This the Church hath enjoined for every Christian to begin his life with, and also hath commanded us to pray, that every Christian's life may be according to this beginning. We cannot, therefore, bring our children too soon to this initiatory rite. For, as all are born in sin, it is our concern to rescue them from it by the laver of regeneration, which is the seal of the covenant thereby entered into with God, and the sign of their admission into the church and flock of.. Christ. And as parents ought not to neglect or delay this necessary sacrament, so they ought to attend the administration of it with piety and decency; considering it at once as a solemn dedication of their children to God's service, and as reminding themselves of the covenants they entered into at their own baptism.
The second thing which offers is Catechising; which, as I have before observed, is of divine institution, and hath ever been practised by the Church of God in all ages, as the best method of instilling divine knowledge; insomuch that a * good author informs us, that there never was a kingdom for forty years after Christ's passion, which did not receive the Gospel in this method only. And therefore Julian the Apostate began his attempt to undermine Christianity by a suppression of catechising, as well knowing that the main support and growth of religion depended upon it. And for a proper form of catechising we need look no farther than to that, which is enjoined by the authority of the Church; which, from its plainness, is easy to be understood; from its brevity, is easy to be learned and retained; and yet is sufficiently full to inform and instruct the young Christian in every necessary point of faith and duty. This, therefore, every parent should carefully teach his children in private ; and I hope it is the practice, as I am sure it is the duty of every parochial minister, to call upon them, at stated seasons, to repeat it in public; that even the elder sort may take occasion from thence to be instructed, to examine the grounds of their faith,
to renew their vows, and from thence to enlarge their spiritual meditations.
Lastly, To catechizing succeeds Confirmation, which not only advances, but compleats the institution of a Christian. By this he undertakes, in his own name, every part of his baptismal vow, and receives the prayers and benedictions of the Church; which henceforward admits him, as a compleat member, to the holy Sacrament, the highest and most sacred of her mys: teries, as being now sufficiently trained in the way, wherein he must ever hereafter persevere to go...
And here the public institution of our children ends. All has been done for them, which is in our power; and, in all likelihood, what has been done will be sufficient to lead them on to salvation, if they are not wanting to themselves, Only, in the use of the means, parents should always be careful to set a good example before their children, to maintain a prudent discipline over them, and to recommend them by daily prayer to the grace and protection of God, who alone is able to build them up unto salvation...
Suffer me, then, to exhort you, who are paFents, seriously to charge yourselves with the
performperformance of this duty towards your children; in the neglect whereof, you can never acquit yourselves in the sight of God, or of your own colisciences, in the great day of account. Consider how valuable a treasure is committed to your charge,' even the eternal salvation of those, who ought to be most dear to you, and for whom Christ shed his most precious blood. Think it not, therefore, much to bestow some labour on so important a matter : think it not much to set apart some leisure hour for this very purpose; if on every day, it would not be too often ; but on the Lord's day, at least, it is indispensably necessary. We all complain, and that but too justly, of the profligacy and wickêdness of the times in which we live. And consider with yourselves how it can be otherwise, so long as the education of your children is so shamefully neglected. —When you neither will take the necessary pains to instruct them yourselves, nor even send them, or suffer them, to hear our instructions.' Nay, what is worse, when you openly teach them, by your owp examples, the most powerful of all teaching, to neglect or violate every divine ordinance; when the child catches oaths and curses from the parent's lips; when he breaks the Sabbath by his parent's commands : when he abstains from the
public worship of Almighty God, from seeing his parent always absent.
Believe me, my friends, you may now make, light of these matters, as too many of you do: you may shew your contempt of God and his ministers, as too many of you do, by seldom or, never approaching either his church or altar ; you may bring up your children, as too many of you do, in heathen ignorance and brutal impiety :--but a day will come, when these things will sit heavy upon your minds. Whilst health and strength support your spirits, you may put off the intrusions of conscience and the reproaches of wisdom.
But we, to whom the melancholy office is assigned of attending your last moments, well know what a change of sentiments a bed of sickness will produce. When a deadly paleness overspreads the cheek; when anguish hovers on the brow; when the review of your past lives strikes you with horror; when the dread of a just God and impending judgment distracts your guilty thoughts; where then is all your boasted fortitude? where then is all your contempt of divine things? which of
you then does not wish that he had served God more, and the world less ? which of you then does not wish that his life was to come over again, that he might bring up his children in