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Ir is not great talents, or showy gifts, but feriousness, folemnity and fervor, which render prayer prevalent with God and beneficial to man, as a means of exciting to other duties, and producing religious awe and reverence.
THIS duty is alfo important, as tending to draw down the divine bleffing on the devout worshipper and on his connexions.
EVERY good gift cometh down from God; but his gifts are usually beftowed in anfwer to prayer"Ye have not because ye afk not-Afk, and it shall be given you--for every one that afketh, receiveth."-Spiritual mercies are feldom given but in answer to prayer; and feldom long denied to earneft perfevering prayer. This is the fpirit of one of our Savior's parables,* and the purport of many paffages in the word of God.
AND when a perfon hath omitted nothing in his power to make his children wife to falvation, what fo natural, what so reasonable, as to bring them to God, and pour out his foul before him, for his bleffing upon them? And what fo prevalent with "him who heareth prayer ?"
IT is ftoried of Auguftine, who lived in the fourth century, that though the fon of an eminently pious mother, he was a very vicious youth -that a Chriftian feeing him pafs in the street, fpake of him as an abandoned character, with whom it was difgraceful to affociate-which anoth. er hearing, obferved, that he was the child of fo many prayers, that he could not believe that he would be
* Luke xviii. 1, &c.
loft-nor was he loft. Those prayers were heard. He was called of God, and like Saul of Tarfus, made a chofen veffel to bear God's name to a fcoffing world, and do much in the cause of the divine Redeemer.*
THE fervent prayers which godly parents offer up for their children, ascend like the prayers and alms of good Cornelius for a memorial before God. When fincere and perfevering, they return not empty. They often draw down the divine blessing on those for whom they are offered up. If they fail through filial obftinacy and perverseness, they draw a blef. fing on themselves, to their eternal joy.
THESE are fome of the ways in which parents should feek a godly feed. But, alas! These duties are much neglected; therefore the declension of religion, and the prevalence of vice.
THOSE who enter into covenant with God, bind themselves to discharge these duties. Others are not devoid of obligation to do the fame. They are duties which rife out of the parental relation, and are indiffolubly connected with it.
PARENTS have a fondness for their children, and with their felicity. But do not fome who believe them made for eternity, take care only for the mortal part, which after all their care muft ere long become food for worms, and turn to duft! Are there not parents who neither dedicate their children to God, nor teach them his fear, nor *Witherspoon's Sermon on Education.
walk before them in the right way, nor commend them to the divine mercy! Cruel parents! Un. happy children! How difficult, how dangerous. their situation! By nature disposed to error-affaulted by fubtil enemies, whofe temptations fall in with their natural bias, and are ftrengthened by the conduct of those whom they love as friends and revere as guides! Little chance have such unexperienced and unsuspecting creatures to escape the fnares which furround them! Dangerous, and almost defperate is their situation!
PERHAPS the endless mifery of fome may be greatly chargeable on those who under God, gave them being! Affecting thought! It concerns parents to think on these things. If they confider, they must feel their obligation to feek a godly feed, and be afraid to neglect it.
AND let pious parents be perfuaded to labor and not faint in the discharge of the duties which they owe to God, and the young immortals committed to their care. Though their counfels may be con. temned, and their prayers feem not to be regarded by him who hath power to change the heart, let them not be discouraged, but persevere. "Thofe who fow in tears shall reap in joy." Though the feed lie long under the clods, it will not be loft, but fome how, bring forth fruit.
THE Counsels, warnings, and examples of faithful godly parents commonly make fome impreffion on the children who affect to disregard them. The most diffolute have their ferious moments; their pangs of remorse and terror. At such seasons their
parents' warnings, prayers and tears recur to their minds, and seem to rife up before them. This often happens after parental labors have ceased; and after the impreffions they might have made, were fupposed to have been effaced, they fometimes produce happy effects.
FEW children who have been dedicated to God, taught to know and ferve him, and the confequences which will follow their condu&t here, and witneffed their parents' deep concern, and earnest cries to God in their behalf can forget them-they must, they do, at times, affect them. While any thing of this nature remains, there is hope.
SOME, who in early life, fcoff at warning and counsel, are afterwards brought to repentance : And fuch often teftify, that impreffions made by parental faithfulnefs in their tender years, were the means of their awakening and amendment. This fhould encourage those whofe children give them little hope, to persevere in the discharge of duty.
"THE Lord faid of Abraham-I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they fhall keep the way of the Lord, to do juftice and judgment, that the Lord might bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” What? The richest and most lafting bleffings— because "he would command his children-to keep the way of the Lord.”
"It is not a vain thing to ferve God. Then(when he maketh up his jewels) fhall ye return and difcern between the righteous and the wicked; between him that ferveth God, and him that
ferveth him not." In no other way can we ferve him more acceptably than by following Abraham's example" commanding our households to ferve the Lord," and fetting them the example. Whofo doth it," fhall in no wife lofe his reward."
AND happy the youth who fecond the endeavors of their parents to render them a godly feed. Such "will find life and obtain favor of the Lord." Here, they rejoice the hearts of thofe who love them, and smooth the rugged path of age. The years which to others have no pleasures in them, are not devoid of comfort to those who witness filial piety and hope to live again in a godly offfpring. Such parents rejoice in death, and their godly feed, will rejoice with them forever, in heavenly manfions.