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lead a godly, righteous, and sober life, and, in all respects, gone through what may at least be called a general form of repentance, without regarding either the import or the end of it? : Thus far with respect to the necessity of a practical repentance, one part of which must necessarily be an attention to that FAMILY RELIGION, which is the last thing suggested to us in the subject of this discourse. IV. Were once the important points of repentance and reformation gained, scarce any arguments would seem requisite to enforce this charge; but as the narrowness and weakness of the human capacity is such, that a due attention is seldom paid to the most obvious points of duty, the friend of Job added nothing superfluous when he recommended domestic piety to the penitent. Every principal of a family, whether his household consists only of such as are connected to him by nature, or of menial dependents, or of both, ought always to remember, that as the first have a natural, so the last have a moral right to his patronage and direction; and that in proportion as the ingagements of this, he ought, in reason, to exert that care for the spiritual welfare of his family, which, in humanity, he would exercise for their temporal advantage. - The parent is led by the dictates of nature to consult the happiness of his children, but it is not always that his cares are wisely or effectually employed. To promote the present interest, and to increase the fortunes of their offspring, most parents are, indeed, sufficiently solicitous; and this no doubt is a laudable, but ought only to be a secondary concern. The obligations of moral honesty, the duties of religion, and the care of the immortal soul, ought to be the first objects of every parent's attention. It is a happier, it is a nobler thing, to make one child honest, than to make many rich. To direct the steps of youth to tread firmly in the paths of virtue, to instruct them how to guard against the solicitations of unlawful and destructive pleasures, and to fortify the unpractised heart against the insinuations of vice, is a necessary and a glorious task; a task, which, to every parent who has a rightlyfounded affection for his offspring, brings the reward of its labour along with it. " Can any human action be more meritorious than those that tend to the everlasting happiness of our fellow-creatures? To open the blind eyes, to direct the simple in their way,
and to instruct the ignorant in the road that leadeth to life - As a proof how excellent and how acceptable are these duties, we are told, that they who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars in the firmament. But were there no promissory rewards annexed to the performance of these generous offices, the benevolent affections of nature should surely have sufficient influence with us to recommend them. If the affections of nature are overborne, yet political considerations might induce us to the practice of family religion. A society that daily unites in private prayer must have strong inducements to mutual faith and affection : for that member of a family must be abandoned indeed, and utterly lost to all influence of conscience, who can abuse the confidence of a friend, in whose prayers he bears a part, and whom he accompanies in the solemn worship of the Almighty God. I leave these several arguments to your consideration, and entreat the God of mercies to direct you in the use of them.
S E R M O N XVIII.
THE SUFFERINGS AND EXPECTATIONS OF THE * APOSTLES AN ARGUMENT IN FAVOUR OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. *
I Con. xv. 19. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are - of all men the most miserable.
THOUGH the genius and temper of the Christian religion render almost every other argument in its favour unnecessary, yet, perhaps, the circumstances of its early state afford the most convincing proofs that its origin is divine. If we consider, that the persons appointed by our blessed Redeemer to plant the Gospel in all nations were, most of them, without learning, and without influence, the conclusion is obvious, that nothing but an Almighty hand could have supported them against the pride of wisdom, and the insolence of power. D d