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the parent be solicitous for the child, if the child has no reason to be concerned for himself? Besides, to whom should application be made, that the words and Spirit of God may never be withdrawn from our seed, but to God himself, the source of light and divine influence? God requires prayer, as a part of worship, and allows his servants to hope for a gracious answer, to such prayers as are offered with faith and submission. As God has appointed parents to be the guardians and instructors of their children, he requires them to perform the duties of such a relation, relying on his strength, and expecting from bim a joyful issue. It is not the habit of God to require his people to pray, and then to disregard their prayers.

When Christian parents, having peculiarly strong desires that their children may experience a moral renovation, supplicate the grace of God, with corresponding importunity and perseverance, they can read with peculiar pleasure and animated hope, such promises as are contained in the following language: I will pour my Spirit on thy seed, and my blessings on thine offspring; and they shall spring up, as among the grass, and as willows by the

, water-courses. One shall say, I am the Lord's, and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand to the Lord, and surname bimself by the name of Israel.

But children should find instructors and guardians, not in their parents only, but likewise in the church of Christ. That those who have received the ordinance of baptism, sustain to the church a relation different from that of other children, will not be denied by any who believe that the ordinance is to be administered to infants. The treatment which they receive from the church, should doubtless correspond with their relation to it. If the one is peculiar, so likewise should be the other. Such, it appears, was the prevalent opinion aipong the fathers of New England. “The General Court of Massachusetts in the year 1677, considered the neglect of care over the children of church members, as among the causes which brought down the judgments of God on the land ; and recommended a re


formation to the elders and brethren.” The opinion of such a

. body clearly shows what had once been, not only the common sentiments on this subject, but the customary practice. The judgments of God, under which the province was then laboring, would not have been attributed to the negligence of churches, unless such negligence, either in whole or in part, had been peculiar to the age, then present, unless it had been a departure from the practice of better times. In what manner the offspring of the church are to be distinguished, and in what way it is most expedient, that the duties which we owe them should be performed, it becomes not me to determine. Perhaps I may be allowed to inquire, whether a general agreement among churches, to assemble at stated periods, such children as pertain to them respectively, for the purpose of instruction, admonition, and prayer, would be either impracticable, or without

Can churches very confidently hope, that the word and Spirit of God will not depart from their seed forever, if no special efforts are made to teach them these words--if no seasons are devoted to prayer for the effusions of divine grace?

4. If Christians of the present generation, are desirous that religion should flourish among their descendants, they must now make it apparent, both by word and deed, that they themselves hold it in bigh estimation. By which I mean, that they must not only speak of religion, as that in which they feel a lively interest, but must be constant in their use of its means and ordinances, and be ready to make pecuniary. sacrifices for its support. If permanent establishments are now made for the advancement of religion, they will be our witnesses in years to come; they will indicate to posterity our views of religion, and augment their ability to maintain it.

It is a fundamental máxim in Christianity, that no man liveth to himself. Our care, next to that which has for its object our own salvation, is naturally directed to our families, and to those parts of the Christian church, with which we are respectively united. But here must not be the limits by which, either our attention, or beneficence is to be circumscribed. . The waste

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places of Zion are to be sought out, visited, and, if possible, repaired. The whole of religion is, by our Saviour, comprehended in love to God, and our neighbor. This elevated principle will not suffer us to be indifferent, either to the divine honor, or to human salvation. Many places there are, in our country,

in which, either through inability, or indisposition, the Christian religion is not preached—its ordinances are not enjoyed. The Sabbath may be distinguished from other portions of the week, by indolence, apathy, or dissipation, but not by public worship, or private devotion. Domestic religion does not usually long survive the stated worship of the sanctuary. The Scriptures will not long be read with interest in the family, when they have ceased to be explained in public assemblies. All, indeed, which constitutes the difference between a Christian, and pagan community, will gradually disappear. As Christianity retires, men lose sight of immortality, and a retribution ; restraints are removed from human passions; present advantage or gratification, is contemplated as the only good ; the character of man is ex

; changed for that of an animal, soon to perish; and all practical morality is comprehended in this sentence : Let us eat and drink, for 10-morrow we die. It is no ordinary or light guilt, which is contracted by Christians, when, without an effort to prevent it, they suffer desolations like these, to occur within the sphere of their influence. If the apostles had good reasons for attempting to convert pagans to Christianity, we, so far as the prevention of it lies within our power, can never be justified in suffering Christianity to be exchanged for paganism. The opinion, that the obligations of a Christian, as to supporting the institutions of religion, are all circumscribed within the limits of a single parish, though it seems long to have been acquiesced in, can be reconciled, neither with the dictates of reason, nor the commands of Scripture. Christianity is a boon, originally bestowed on men without their seeking. But they who do not desire the gospel, you say, do not deserve it. But, neither did the Jews deserve it, to whom it was first proclaimed; nor the Gentiles, to whom the apostle was nevertheless commanded to


preach “the unsearchable riches of Christ." The object of the apostles was to create a desire for religious instruction, and to excite love to the Redeemer, where neither had been previously felt. But, in many places, it is well known, the institutions of religion are already appreciated in some good proportion to their real value, where there is, undeniably, inability adequately to remunerate an established teacher. The claims, which are made by individuals and families, thus unhappily situated, on the charitable attention of Christians, more highly favored, have the support of reason, humanity and Scripture. When St. Paul was planting churches in the different parts of Greece, he made known to his converts, though but recently imbued with the Christian doctrine, the temporal wants of their far distant brethren, the poor saints at Jerusalem. While soliciting their benevolence for this object, be proceeds on this ground, that there should be sympathy through all parts of the Christian church, and that the wants of particular sections of the church should be relieved by those on whom the bounties of Providence had been inore liberally bestowed : I mean not, saith he, that others should be eased, and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance may be a supply for your want; that there may be equality. As it is written, He that gathered much, had nothing over, and he that gathered little, had no lack. Now the argument is evidently more powerful, in reference to the spiritual wants of our destitute brethren, than it was in its original application.

The bearing which these reflections have on the main subject of this discourse, is not less real or important, than their reserence to the interests of our Missionary Society. Exertions for the establishment of Zion, or for the rebuilding of her waste places, are calculated to make, at present, salutary impressions on the rising generation. Reverence for religion in their minds, is thus, insensibly, but effectually increased. Their own mental habits are gradually accommodated to the measures and efforts, requisite to perpetuate, enlarge, and improve those purposes of Christian benevolence, which are now formed. These institutions, which are established and maintained with some expense and labor, will, as already observed, be a standing admonition and witness against them, should they apostatize from the faith of Christ. Besides, by being the means of increasing religion in some places, and of preventing its decline in others, we shall, if God bestow his grace, purify the atmosphere for our own descendants, and render it more conducive to moral soundness, and spiritual life.

In addition to these considerations, it should be observed, that, in revolution of years, the state of churches, now flourishing, may be so greatly changed, as to render the aid of other churches indispensable to the support of Christian institutions. Our successors, both in the church and family, may receive assistance and encouragement from the posterity of those, to whom we are instrumental of communicating the means and blessings of religion. No one accustomed to notice the mutability of human affairs, will assert, that the facts here supposed, are very unlikely to occur. The argument, therefore, which the apostle used with the Corinthians may, with pertinency and justice, be applied to ourselves : Now, at this time your abundance may be a supply to their wants, that their abundance may be a supply to your wants.

5. Solomon has taught us that “it is not good for the soul to be without knowledge.” There is, indeed, no necessary or invariable connexion between intellectual, and moral improvement. The mental powers may be highly cultivated, while the heart and character are deeply debased. Or real virtue, and that in a high degree, may exist, where intellectual improvement is exceedingly limited. It is, however, a truth generally known, that knowledge is more favorable than ignorance, to piety and moral character. The religion of Christ was introduced by its divine Author, during an age of literature and refinement. This religion has never shunned, but always challenged investigation. This matter seems to be well understood both by its friends and its enemies. The emperor Julian, it has been often re

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