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ruption and wickedness, and not a rod of reproof used to break them of it.
It is observed of the Persians,* that they put out their children to school, as soon as they can speak, and will not see them in seven years after, left their indulgence hould do them hurt.
2. You keep your constant set times, morning and evening, to feed, water, and dress your cattle, and will by no means neglect it once: but how many times have you neglected morning and evening duties in your families? Yea, how many be there, whose very tables, in refpect of any worship God hath there, do very little differ from the very cribs and mangers at which their horses feed ? As soon as you are up in a morning, you are with your beasts bufore you have been with your God. How little do such differ from beasts? And happy were it, if they were no more accountable to God than their beasts
The end of your care, cost, and pains about your cattle is, that they may be strong for labour, and the more serviceable to you : thus you comply with the end of their beings. But how rare a thing is it to find these men as careful to fit their pofterity to be useful and ferviceable to God in their generations, which is the end of their beings? If you can make them rich, and provide good matches for them, you reckon that you have fully discharged the duty of parents : if they will learn to hold the plow, that you are willing to teach them: but, when did you spend an hour to teach them the way of salvation ?
Now to convince such careless parents of the heinousness of their
fin, let thefe queries be folemnly considered. .' Qu. I. Whether this be a sufficient discharge of that great duty
which God hath laid upon Christian parents, in reference to their families ? That God hath charged thein with the souls of their families, is undeniable, Deut. vi. 6, 7. Eph. vi, 4. If God hath not clothed you with his authority, to commard them in the way of the Lord, he would never have charged them so strictly to yield you obedience as he hath done, Eph. vi. 1, Col. iii. 20. Well, a great trust is reposed in you, look to your duty; for, without dispute, you shall answer for it.
Quest. 2. Whether it be likely, if the time of youth (which is the moulding age) bc negléted, they will be wrought upon to any good afterwards ? Husbandmen, let me put a sensible case to you; do you not see in your very horics, that whilst they are young, you can bring them to any way; but if once they have got a false firoke, and by long custom it be grown natural to them, then there is no breaking them of it: you fee it in your very orchards; you nay bring a tender twig to grow in what form you please; but when it is grown to a iturdy limb, there is no b’nding it afterwards to any other forta ihan what it naturally took. Thus it is with children, Prov. xxij. 6.
* Clark's Mir. p. 506.
teache way to hell ? Cooliderohral corruptions, will more way of
" Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he « will not depart from it.”
Qu. 3. Whether if you neglect to instruct them in the way of the Lord, Satan, and their own natural corruptions, will not instruct them. in the way to hell ? Consider this, ye careless parents : if you will not teach your children, the devil will teach them : if you shew them not how to pray, he will show them how to curse and swear, and take the name of the Lord in vain : if you grudge time and pains about their souls, the devil doth not. Oh! it is a fad consideration, that so many children should be put to school to the devil.
Qu. 4. What comfort are you like to have from them when they are old, if you bring them not up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord when they are young ? Many parents have lived to reap in their old age the fruit of their own folly and careleilneis, in the loose and vain education of their children. By Lycurgus's law, no parent was to be relieved by his children in age, if he gave them not good education in their youth; and it is a law at this day among the Switzers, That if any child be condemned to die for a capital offence, the parents of that child are to be his executioners : these laws were made to provoke parents to look better to their charge. Believe this as an undoubted truth, That that child which becomes, through thy default, an instrument to visionour God, Inall prove, sooner or later, a son or daughter of forrow to thee.
1. God hath found out my fin this day. This hath been my practice ever since I had a family A reflection for committed to my charge; I have spent more time careless parents. and pains about the bodies of my beasts, than the souls of my children: beait that I am for so doing! Little have I considered the preciousnefs of my own, or their immortal fouls. How careful have I been to provide fodder to preserve my cattle in the winter, whilft I leave my own and their fouls to perilh to eternity, and make no provision for them ? Surely my children will one day curse the time that ever they were born unto such a cruel father, or of such a merciless mother. Should I bring home ihe plague into my family, and live to see all my poor children lie dead by the walls ; if I had not the heart of a tyger, such a fight would melt iny heart : and yet the death of their fouls, by the fin which I propagated to them, affects me not. Ah! that I could say, I had done as much for them, as I have done for a beast that perisheth!
2. But, unhappy wretch that I am! A reflection for the dife God caft a better lot for me; I am the ovdient child of a gracisus off-spring of religious and tender parents, parent. who have always deeply concerned theinselves in the everlaiting state of my joul: many prayers and tears have they poured out to God for me, both in my hearing, as well as in secret ; many holy and wholesome counsels have they from time to time dropt upon me; many precious examples have they set in their own practice. before me; many a time when I have finned against the Lord, bave they liood over me, with a rod in their hands, and tears in their eyes, using all means to reclaim me; but like an ungracious wretch, I have flighted all their counsel, grieved their hearts, and imbittered their lives to them by my sinful courfes. Ah, ny foul! thou art a degenerate plant ; better will it be with the oil-pring of infidels than with thee, if repentance prevent not: now I live in one family with them, but thortly I shall be separated from them, as far as hell is from heaven; they now tenderly pity my misery, but then they shall approve and applaud the righteous sentence of Christ upon me : so little privilege shall I then have from my relation to them, that they shall be produced as witnciles against me, and all their rejected counsels, reproofs and examples, charged home upon me, as the aggravations of my wickedneis; and better it will be, when it shall come to that, that I had been brought forth by a beast, than sprung from the loins of such parents.
smily willar with the plant; by my
To careteful'At languildren once dahind parenting
There's nothing wanting that should make them fo.
« O cursed father! wretched mother! why
# Their child to endless torments. Now must I .“ With, and through you, in flames for ever lie." Let this make every parent tremble, lest He lose his child, whilst caring for his beast : Or left his own poor soul do starve and pine, Whilf he takes thought for horses, theep and kine.
When under loads your beasts do groan, think then
T their healercilels ton have If
OBSERVATION. THOUGH some men be excessively careful and tender over
1 their beasts, as was noted in the former chapter ; yet others are cruel and merciless towards them, not regarding low they ride or burden them. How often have I seen them fainting under their loads, wrought off their legs, and turned out with galled backs into the fields or high-ways to Thift for a little grass; many tiines have I heard and pitied them, groaning under unreasonable burdens, and beaten on by merciless drivers, till at last, by such cruel usage, they have been destroyed, and then cast into a ditch for dog's meat.
APPLICATION. QUCH lights as these should make men thankful for the mercy of
their creation, and bless their bountiful Creator, that they were not made such creatures themselves. Some beasts are made ad esum, only for food, being no otherwise useful to men, as swine, &c. These are only fed for slaughter ; we kill and eat them, and regard not their cries and strugglings when the knife is thrust to their very hearts ! others are only ad ufum, for service, whilst living, but unprofitable when dead, as horses ; these we make to drudge and toil for us from day to day, but kill them not: others are both ad esum, luum, for food when dead, and service whilst alive, as the ox ; tbele we make to plow our fields, draw our carriages, and afterwards prepare them for the slaughter.
Lut man vas made for nobler ends, created lord of the lower world; not to serve, but to be served by other creatures, a mercy able to melt the hardest heart into thankfulness. I remember, Luther* preshng men to be thankful, that they are not brought into Vol. V.
* Luther in 3 Precept.
the lowest condition of creatures, and to bless God that they can see any creature below themselves, gives us a famous instance in the following story: Two cardinals (faith he) riding in a great deal of pomp to the council of Constance, by the way they heard a man in the fields, weeping and wailing bitterly; they rode to him, and asked him what be ailed ? Perceiving his eye intently fixed upon an ugly toad, he told them that his heart melted with the confideration of this mercy, that God had not made him such a deformed and loathfome crcature, though he were formed out of the same clay with it : Hoc eft quod amarè fleo, said he, this is that which makes me weep bitterly. Whereupon one of the cardinals cried out, Well, said the father, the unlearned will rise and take heaven, when we with al} our learning shall be thrust into hell. That which melted the heart of this poor man, should melt every heart when we behold the mifery to which these poor creatures are subjected. And this will appear a mercy of no flight consideration, if we but draw a comparison betwixt ourselves and these irrational creatures, in these three particulars.
1. Though they and we were made of the same monld and clay, yet how much better hath God dealt with us, even as to the outward man? The structure of our bodies is much more excellent ; God made other good creatures by a word of command, but man by counsel; it was not, Be thou, but, Let us make man. We might have been made stones without sense, or beasts without reason, but we were made men. The noble structure and symmetry of our bodies invite our souls not only to thankfulness but admiration. David, speaking of the curious frame of the body, faith, “ I am wonder« fully made," Psal. cxxxix. 14. or, as the vulgar reads it, painted as with a needle, like some rich piece of needle-work curiously embroidered with nerves and veins. Was any part of the common lump of clay thus fashioned? Galen gave Epicurus an hundred years time to imagine a more commodious situation, configuration, or composition of any one part of a human body; and (as one faith) if all the angels in heaven had ftudied to this day, they could not have cast the body of man into a more curious mould.
2. How little ease or rest have they? They live not many years, and those they do are in bondage and misery, groaning under the effects of sin; but God hath provided better for us, even as to our outward condition in the world ; we have the more reft, because they hare so little. How many refreshments and comforts hath God provided for us, of which they are incapable? If we be weary with ' labour, we can take our rest; but fresh or weary, they must stand to it, or fink under it from day to day.
3. What a narrow capacity hath God given to beasts! What a Jarge capacity to man! Alas, they are only capable of a little fenfitive pleasure ; as you shall see sometimes, how they will frisk in a. green pasture; this is all they are capable of, and this death puts an