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Matth. xxv. 30, “ Cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” No man can profit God, but every man may and ought to profit others, Job xxxv. 7, 8, laying out their talents for the good of others : and if they do it not, they will be cast into outer darkness, as those who would not work when they had the light.

OBJECT. But they are froward, and will not receive instruction, nor take advice. Answ. That is a part of their natural disease, Job xi. 12. Men take pains to break young beasts, till they make them tractable : and shall they not be at pains with those of their own kind? The waters wear the stones; and what has often slipped off, may at length come to stick. And a word spoken to them for their good, may lie long under the clod, but spring up at length. But our success is not the rule of our duty; we must do our part.

But more particularly, let heads of families be exhorted to propagate religion to their children and families.

Mot. 1. Consider ye have a charge of their souls from God who has committed them to you. Hence the fourth commandment, the bond of all religion, is directed to heads of families. And in Abraham’s example their duty is laid before them : Gen. xviii. 19,"I know him, (says the Lord), that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.”

Mot. 2. They are born like wild asses' colts, and have a natural bent to the way of sin and destruction : Psalm lviii. 3,“ The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." It is too fond and blind a love to your children, that makes you take no notice of the corruption of their nature. And if they are naturally corrupt, what can ye expect but that they will run to their own ruin, if ye are not at pains with them for their souls' good ? Hence says Solomon, Prov. xxix. 15, “ The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself, bringeth his mother to shame.”

Mot. 3. Parents propagate that corruption of nature to them, by natural generation. The sinful nature of children is a glass wherein the parents may get a humbling view of their own: Gen. v. 3, Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth.” Compared with Job xiv. 4, “ Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? not one.” Have ye been instrumental in conveying the poison to them, and will ye not be thereby stirred up to minister the antidote to them?

Mor. 4. They are in the midst of many snares, entered into a world wherein offences abound, Matth. xviii. 7. Their youth makes

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them raw and unexperienced, and disposes them to be rash and heedless. They have need of a monitor, and instructor and guide. How shall they learn if they are not taught ?

Mot. 5. Ye must die ; and it is like will die before them, and leave them in this evil world. Will ye not be concerned for them, that it may be well with them when ye are away? Your concern for their temporal provision will not make it well with them, while ye are not concerned to sow the seeds of religion in their hearts. That will be but to give much sail to an empty ship without ballast, that may sink her in the deep sea, as is seen in the sad experience

of many.

Mot. 6. They must die; and it may be they may die before you, and leave you; and then they will have no use for all the temporal provision ye have laboured for, for them. But religion propagated, by you to them, will then appear a precious treasure. But if ye have neglected that duty to them, that will then appear a criminal neglect which ye will never more be capable to mend ; and it will leave a galling sting in your conscience, if ye be not quite stupid.

Mor. 7, Lastly, What comfort can ye have in their case, while ye can have no comfortable prospect of their eternal happiness? If they were to be lords and ladies in this world, but to perish eternally in another world, what comfort can be there? The barren womb and dry breasts are preferable to the bringing forth children to the murderers; much more to the bringing forth children for hellfire.

Let these things work upon your consciences, and on your patural affection, to bestir yourselves towards the propagating of religion to the rising generation. If ye have any conscience of duty towards God, any humanity towards your fellow-creatures, neglect it no more. For particular directions, I propose,

Doct. III. ult. The true way of propagating religion, the standing to the rising generation, is, That the former make God known to the latter, so as they may betake themselves unto him, his truth and faithfulness, by faith and trust. This is the sense of the words of the text, and agreeable to the matter, Hezekiah's life being prolonged in virtue of that promise, 1 Kings viii. 25,—“There sball not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou bast walked before me.” So this notification is not a matter of speculation, but a practical thing, that the rising generation may be brought to God.

In discoursing this doctrine, we shall consider,

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I. The end to be aimed at in our teaching the rising generation. II. The means to be used with them for that end.

III. Give the reasons why this is the true way of propagating religion, the standing to the rising generation.

IV. Lastly, Apply.

1. We shall consider the end to be aimed at in our teaching the rising generation. And that is, that they may be brought to betake themselves onto the truth of God by faith and hope. This is expressly taught, Psalm lxxviii. 6, 7, “That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born : who should arise, and declare them to their children: that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God; but keep his commandments.” Now, here we are to consider,

1. What is this truth of God we are to endeavour to bring the rising generation to. 2. How one betakes himself unto God's truth, which is that we should aim to bring the rising generation to.

First, What is this truth of God we are to endeavour to bring the rising generation to ? The truth of God may be considered

three ways.

1. In the divine doctrine in general. And thus whatever the Lord teaches in his word, is true to a tittle. Hence says David, Psalm cxix. 160, “ Thy word is true.” All the discoveries made to as therein, are to be relied on as most firm truth. But that truth of doctrine is not here meant; for it belongs to the means, the object to be made known.

2. In the divine threatenings. They are not mere scarecrows, as the wicked world looks on them, and disregards them, Deut. xxix. 19; but shall have a certain accomplishment in their true meaning and intention : for which cause believers of God's word tremble at them, Isa. lxvi. 2. But neither is this here meant; since it is not the object of hope, but of fear.

3. In the divine promises. These are of two sorts.

(1.) Law-promises; as, “ He that doth them, shall live in them." This cannot be here meant neither; for no man can be happy that way, Rom. viii. 3. (2.) The gospel-promises ; such as, John iii. 16, “ God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Heb. viii. 10, “ This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” The belief of these is more difficult; but it is by them a soul can only be made happy, 2 Pet. i. 4. Therefore it is the truth or faithfulness of God in the promise of the gospel that is here meant. That is it we are to endeavour to bring the rising generation to.

Now, the promise of the gospel is held forth under the notion of God's truth, on these accounts.

1. In respect of the weight of the things promised therein. They are so great and weighty, that were not the infallible truth of God impawned for them, they could not be believed by sensible guilty creatures : 2 Pet. i. 4,“ Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature.” Compared with Luke xxiv. 25, 26, “ Then Jesus said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets havo spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” That the eternal Son of God should take on man's nature, and suffer the most ignominious death therein, for sinners—who could have believed on another than God's own testimony? That God freely gives eternal life in him to sinpers, as 1 John v. 11, who otherwise could believe?

2. The foundation of believing it, is in God only. A true believer "receives the kingdom of God as a little child,” Mark x. 15, on the mere testimony of his Father. There is nothing in nature's light to bring us to the belief of the gospel. So faith is called "the evidence of things not seen," Heb. xi. 1. The threatening of death in the law, a natural conscience prompts men to believe, Rom. i. ult. and ii. 15. But the promise of life in the gospel, depending allenarly on revelation, the belief of it rests on the truth of God only; yea, nature rises up against it. The corrupt mind looks on it as foolishness; the corrupt will rejects it; the corrupt affections muster themselves up against it; and the natural conscience, the more it is awakened, the more hard it makes the belief of it. So the truth of God has all these to drive over, and pull down. Hence says the apostle, 2 Cor. x. 4, 5, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

3. In opposition to the falsehood, vanity, and lies of the world, which sinners naturally betake themselves to.

1st, The world swarms with lies, and has always since Satan hatched the first lie in it. The things of the world are lies, 1 John ii. 16; the men of the world are liars, Rom. iii. 4; yea the best of them a lie, Psalm lxii. 9. There is no trusting of them, Jer. xvii. 5, 6.

2dly, The world itself is one great lie, Eccl. i. 2. Its appearauces are unfair and deceitful ; it appears to vain man quite another

Vol. VII.


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thing than it is; its shadows appear substantial, and so catch the unwary heart, Hos. xii. 1, 8. Yet it is that which is not, Prov. xxiii. 5. It is not what it seems to be. Its promises are false, it never performs them : the good things of it are always greater in expectation than fruition; they disappoint, which is lying in scripture style, Hab. iii. 17.

Secondly, How one betakes himself unto God's truth, which is that we should aim to bring the rising generation to. It lies in these five things,

1. In a conviction of the vanity of the world, and its deceitful lasts. Hence says David, Psalm cxix. 96, “I have seen an end of all perfection; but thy commandment is exceeding broad." The false and vain world offers itself as a satisfying portion to the rising generation, as soon as reason begins to dawn in them. To the infant it makes its court by the lust of the flesh in meat and drink; to the child by that and the pride of life in clothing ; and it is long ere they know there is any thing better than these. To the youth it spreads out its all," the lusts of the flesh, the last of the eyes, and the pride of life ;” and whatever notions of religion they may hare in their heads, till grace open their eyes, they will never truly see any thing to be better. Now, we should labour to convince them of the vanity of the world, that it will never satisfy, nor afford a rest to the heart; that its lusts are deceitful, and there is a running hook hid under that bait.

2. In renouncing the world for a portion, and its lasts for our way, as being a broken reed, that will not only not bear our weight, but run through the hand that leans on it. Hence it is said, Jer. xvi. 19,—"The Gentiles shall come unto the Lord from the ends of the earth, aná shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.” It is natural to man, and therefore to the rising generation, to stick by it, and not to give over the pursuit; but after a thousand disappointments still to hope for bet:er from it, Isa. lvii. 10. And the little experience youth has, makes them the more ready to do so. But we should endeavour to bring them to part with it, as a hopeless thing they will never mend themselves of, Psalm iv. 2.

3. In believing that there is an upmaking portion held forth in the promise of the gospel. This is the finding of the treasure hid in the field, Matth. xiii. 44. The carnal mind looks on the promise of the gospel but as idle tales; it is a treasure hid in a field, which men go over without noticing what is in it, because they see it not. But Christ is there, and in him the fulness of the Godhead, and with him all things, enough to satisfy the boundless desires of a soul.

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