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pared for the devil and his angels! Did they duly consider this, they would neither eat, nor drink, nor sleep, till they had taught him a better lesson, and made him thoroughly afraid ever of giving that diabolical answer again.
9. Let me reason this case a little farther with you parents that fear God. If you do fear God, how dare you suffer a child above a year old to say, I will do, what you forbid; or I won't do, what you bid, and to go unpunished ? Why do not you stop him at once, that he may never dare to say so again ? Have you no bowels, no compassion for your child? No regard for his salvation or destruction ? Would
suffer him to curse or swear in your presence, and take no notice of it? Why disobedience is as certain a way to damnation as cursing and swearing. Stop him, stop him at first, in the name of God. Do not spare the rod, and spoil the child. If you have not the heart of a tyger, do not give up your child to his own will, that is, to the devil.
Though it be pain to yourself, yet pluck your offspring out of the lion's teeth. Make them submit, that they may not perish. Break their wills, that you may save their souls.
10. I cannot tell how to enforce this point sufficiently. To fix it upon your minds more strongly, permit me to add part of a letter on the subject, printed some years ago.
« In order to form the minds of children, the first thing to be done, is to conquer their will. To inform their understanding is a work of time, and must proceed by slow degrees: but the subjecting the will is a thing which must be done at once: and the sooner the better. For, by our neglecting timely correction, they contract a stubbornness, which is hardly ever to be conquered; and never without using that severity, which would be as painful to us as to the children. Therefore, I call those cruel parents, who pass for kind and indulgent: who permit their children to contract habits, which they know must be afterwards broken.
“I insist upon conquering the wills of children betimes; because this is the only foundation for a religious education. When this is thoroughly done, then a child is capable of VOL. X.
being governed by the reason of its parent, till its own understanding comes to maturity.
“ I cannot yet dismiss this subject. As self-will is the root of all sin and misery, so whatever cherishes this in children, insures their after-wretchedness and irreligion; and whatever checks and mortifies it, promotes their future happiness and piety. This is still more evident, if we consider that religion is nothing else but the doing the will of God, and not our own: and that self-will being the grand impediment to our temporal and eternal happiness, no indulgence of it can be trivial; no denial of it unprofitable. Heaven or hell depends on this alone. So that the parent who studies to subdue it in his children, works together with God in the saving of a soul : the parent who indulges it, does the devil's work, makes religion impracticable, salvation unattainable; and does all that in him lies, to damn his child, soul and body, for ever!
“ This, therefore, I cannot but earnestly repeat, Break their wills betimes. Begin this great work before they can run alone, before they can speak plainly, or perhaps speak at all. Whatever pains it cost, conquer their stubbornness : break the will, if you would not damn the child. I conjure you not to neglect, not to delay this! Therefore, 1, Let a child from a year old, be taught to fear the rod and to cry softly. In order to this, 2, Let him have nothing he cries for, absolutely nothing, great or small; else you undo your own work. 3, At all events, from that age, make him do as he is bid, if you whip him ten times running to effect it: let none persuade you, it is cruelty to do this: it is cruelty not to do it. Break his will now, and his soul will live, and he will probably bless you to all eternity.”
11. On the contrary, how dreadful are the consequences of that accursed kindness, which gives children their own wills, and does not bow down their necks from their infancy. It is chiefly owing to this, that so many religious parents bring up their children that have no religion at all; children, that when they are grown up, have no regard for them : perhaps set them at naught, and are ready to pick out their eyes! Why is this, but because their wills were not broken at first, because they were not inured from their early infancy, to obey their parents in all things, and to submit to their wills, as to the will of God! Because they were not taught from the very first dawn of reason, that the will of their parents was, to them, the will of God: that to resist it was rebellion against God, and an inlet to all ungodliness:
II. 1. This may suffice for the explication of the text: I proceed to the application of it. And permit me first to apply to you that are parents, and as such concerned to teach your children. Do you know these things yourselves? Are you thoroughly convinced of these important truths ? Have you laid them to heart? And have you put them in practice, with regard to your own children: Have you inured them to discipline, before they were capable of instruction ? Have you broken their wills from their earliest infancy? And do you still continue to do so; in opposition both to nature and custom? Did you explain to them, as soon as their understanding began to open, the reasons of your proceeding thus ? Did you point out to them the will of God, as the sole law of every intelligent creature ? And shew them, it is the will of God, that they should obey you in all things? Do you inculcate this over and over again, till they perfectly comprehend it? O never be weary of this labour of love: and your labour will not always be in vain.
2. At least; do not teach them to disobey, by rewarding them for disobedience. Remember! You do this every time you give them any thing because they cry for it. And herein they are apt scholars: if you reward themi for crying, they will certainly cry again. So that there is no end, unless you make it a sacred rule, to give them nothing which they cry for. And the shortest way to do this is, Never suffer them to cry aloud. Train them up to obedience in this one instance, and you will easily bring them to obey in others. Why should you not begin to-day? Surely you see what is the most excellent way: best for your own soul. Why then do you disobey? Because you are a coward; because you want resolution. And doubtless it requires no small patience, more than nature ever gave. But the grace of God is sufficient for you: you can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth you. This grace is sufficient to give you diligence, as well as resolution : otherwise laziness will be as great a hindrance as cowardice. For without much pains you cannot conquer: nothing can be done with a slack hand, labour on : never tire: lay line upon line, till patience has its perfect work.
3. But there is another hindrance that is full as hard to be conquered as either laziness or cowardice. It is called fondness, and is usually mistaken for love: but, 0, how widely different from it! It is real hate: and hate of the most mischievous kind, tending to destroy both body and soul in hell! O give not way to it any longer, no, not for a moment! Fight against it with your might! For the love of God; for the love of your children; for the love of your own soul!
4. I have one word more to say to parents; to mothers in particular. If, in spite of all the Apostle can say, you encourage your children by your example, to adorn themselves with gold, or pearls, or costly apparel, you and they must drop into the pit together. But if they do it, though you set them a better example, still it is yours, as well as their fault. For if you did not put any ornament on your little child that you would not wear yourself, (which would be utter distraction, and far more inexcusable than putting it on your own arms or head,) yet you did not inure them to obey you from their infancy, and teach them the duty of it, from at least two years old. Otherwise they would not have dared to do any thing, great or small, contrary to your will. Whenever, therefore, I see the fine-dressed daughter of a plain-dressed mother, I see at once the mother is defective either in knowledge or religion. Either she is ignorant of her own or her child's duty; or she has not practised what she knows.
5. I cannot dismiss this subject yet. I am pained con-' tinually, at seeing religious parents suffer their children to run into the same folly of dress, as if they had no religion at all. In God's name, why do you suffer them to vary a hair's breadth from your example? “Why, they will do it?” They will! Whose fault is that? Why did not you break their will from their infancy? At least, do it now: better late thản never. It should have been done before they were two years old. It may be done at eight or ten, though with far more difficulty. However, do it now: and accept that difficulty, as the just reward for your past 'neglect. Now, at least, carry your point, whatever it costs. Be not mealy-mouthed, say not, like foolish Eli,“ Nay, my children; it is no good report which I hear of you;” instead of restraining them with a strong hand; but speak (though as calmly as possible, yet) firmly and peremptorily, " I will have it so ;” and do as you say. Instill diligently into them the love of plain dress, and hatred of finery. Shew them the reason of your own plainness of dress, and shew it is equally reasonable for them. Bid defiance to indolence, tó cowardice, to foolish fondness, and at all events, carry your point; if you love their souls, make and keep them just as plain as yourselves. And I charge you, grand-mothers, before God, do not hinder your daughters herein. Do not dare to give the child any thing which the mother denies. Never take the part of the children against the parent; never blame her before them. If you do not strengthen her authority, at least do not weaken it: but if you have either sense or piety left, help her on in the work of real kindness.
6. Permit me now to apply myself to you, Children : particularly, you that are the children of religious parents. Indeed, if you have no fear of God before your eyes, I have no concern with you at present: but if you have, if you really fear God, and have a desire to please him, you desire to understand all his commandments, the fifth in particular. Did you ever understand it yet? Do you now understand what is your duty to your father and mother? Do you