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these things most attentively, to make themselves well acquainted with his law, and to teach it sedulously to their children, that they might not resemble their forefathers in such ill conduct. “He made a covenant 66 with Jacob, and gave Israel a law, which “ he commanded our forefathers to teach “ their children; that their posterity might “ know it, and the children which were yet “ unborn; to the intent that when they also 56 were grown up, they might shew their 66 children the same, that they might put “ their trust in God, and not to forget the “ works of God, but to keep his command“ ments ;” “ and not to be as their forefa“thers, a faithless and stubborn generation, “ a generation who set not their heart aright, 6 and whose spirit cleaveth not stedfastly 66 unto God.”
Amongst all the important duties of life, certainly there is no one of higher con
sequence, than the right education of children. Those to whom that serious charge is committed, should be well aware of what they have undertaken, and of the particular attention and steadiness requisite, that neither weak indulgence may encourage the seeds of vice and passion, nor over-strict severity destroy the rising virtues, depress a manly energy of mind, nor smother, under dread, the modesty of genius. The management of different tempers, will call forth all the skill and patience of the teachers, to raise the timid and to awe the bold; this, therefore, must be their peculiar care, as they will answer it to God, and to their country. But in order to proceed systematically, and fully, upon this important subject, I shall divide my discourse into two parts.
Under the first, I shall comprise the duty of parents and instructors to children; under the second, that of children to their pa
rents, and to all those who are placed in authority over them. · The first grand point in the education of youth, is the inculcation of religious principles; “to bring them up in the fear and “ nurture of the Lord,” or, as the text expresses, “that they may put their trust in “ God, and not to forget the works of God, 66 but to keep his commandments;” to imprint upon their minds, the over-ruling providence, and constant presence, of an Almighty, all-wise, and just Being, who is ever witness to every part of their conduct, who will bring every counsel and every secret work into judgment, whether it be good, or whether it be evil, and who will most certainly, finally reward and punish the actions of mankind. Further, let them be properly grounded in all the rudiments of the Christian religion, enforce their attendance on, and their attention to, the Christian church; they will M 2
soon acquire a love of that duty, as a religious habit, and, if proper care be taken to confirm them well, and inform them thoroughly, in the faith of Christ, they will ever continue steady members of his holy communion ; “ when they are old, they will not de6 part from it,” their minds will neither be unsettled by the sophistry of the unbeliever, nor their morals corrupted by the example of the prophane.
The second branch of instruction for young persons, should contain their duty to their neighbour, and to themselves. Every such one should be taught, that his own particular happiness is closely interwoven with that of society, or in other words, with that of the persons about him. Bad subjects disturb the government under which they live, and introduce public confusion and turbulence, which must ultimately fall on their own heads: as bad subjects in the gross, destroy
the public peace, so bad men, individually, interrupt the happiness, and ruin the comforts, of private life. Idleness, debauchery, and ungoverned passions, naturally lead to beggary, sickness, and domestic misery; how essentially necessary, therefore, it is, to imbue the infant mind with the strongest impressions of honour and of justice, more especially to remember, on all occasions, that sacred rule of Christianity, “the doing to 66 others as they would wish to be done by “ themselves;” to practise truth and candour in all their words, honesty and integrity in all their actions. The duties they owe to themselves are, temperance, sobriety, the restraint of every angry revengeful passion; frugality, care, and industry, in their worldly affairs ; contentment of mind, a patient acquiescence in that state of life in which it has pleased God to place them: let them consider, it is not how high a rank they