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change his skin, or the leopard his spots ? Then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil.” Does not the experience of all the world show you the power of education? What else makes all the children of Jews to be Jews, and all the children of Mohammedans to be Mohammedans, and of Christians to be by profession Christians, and of each sect or party in religion to follow their parents, and the custom of the place ? Now, what an advantage have you to use all this for the furtherance of the eternal happiness of your children, and possess them strongly beforehand against sin, and so Satan would come to them under some of those disadvantages under which Christ now comes to them!
(2.) You have the affections of your children more than any others. None in the world has the same interest in their hearts as you. Persons will receive that counsel from a friend which they would not receive from an enemy or a stranger. Now, your children cannot but know that you are their friends, and, when you advise them in love, they cannot but love you in return. Their love is loose and arbitrary to others, but to you it is determinate and fast. Nature has almost necessitated them to love you. O, therefore, improve your interest in them for their eternal good.
(3.) You have also the greatest authority over them. You may command them, and they dare not disobey you, or else it is for the most part your own fault, for you can make them obey you in your business in the world, yea you may correct them to enforce obedience. Your authority is the most unquestioned authority in the world; and, therefore, if you do not use it to constrain them to the works of God, you are without excuse. Besides, their whole dependence is on you for maintenance and support. They know you can either give them, or deny them what you have, and so punish and reward them at your pleasure. But on ministers or neighbours they have no such depend
(4.) You know the temper and inclinations of your children, what vices they are most inclined to, and what instruction or reproof they most need; but ministers that live not with them cannot know this.
(5.) You are always with them, and so have opportunity, not only to know their faults, but to apply the remedy. You may be often talking to them of the word of God, and reminding them of their state and duty, and may set home every word of advice, as they are in the house with you, or in the shop, or in the field at work. O what an excellent advantage is this, if God but give you hearts to use it! Especially you mothers, remember this. You are more with your children while they are little ones than their fathers; be you, therefore, often teaching them as soon as they are capable of learning. Plutarch mentions a Spartan woman, who, when her neighbours were showing their apparel and jewels, brought out her children virtuous and well taught, and said, “ These are my ornaments and jewels.” Oh how much more will this adorn you, than gold or pearls! You are naturally of more tender affections than men; and will it not move you to think that your children may perish for ever? O then, I beseech you, for the sake of the children you love, teach them, admonish them, watch over them, give them no rest till you have brought them to Christ.
Thus I have showed you reason enough to make you diligent in teaching your children, if reason will serve, as methinks among reasonable creatures it should.
A DIRECTORY FOR GETTING AND KEEPING THE HEART IN HEAVEN, BY THE PRACTICE OF THAT EXCELLENT DUTY OF HEAVENLY MEDITATION.
In the last book, I have chiefly pressed those duties which must be used for the attainment of this everlasting rest. In this I shall chiefly handle those which are necessary to raise the heart to God, and to an heavenly and comfortable life on earth. It is a truth too evident that many of God's children do not enjoy that sweet life, and blessed estate in this world, which God their Father has provided for them, that is, which he offers them in his promises, and charges upon them in his precepts, and brings even to their hands in all his means and mercies. God has set open heaven to 'us in his word, and told every humble sincere Christian, that they shall shortly there live with himself in inconceivable glory: and yet where is the man that is duly affected with this promise ? Whose heart leaps for joy at the hearing of the news? and who is willing, in hopes of heaven, to leave this world ? Even the godly have as strange thoughts of it, as if God did but delude us, and there was no such glory; and are almost as loath to die as men without hope. The consideration of this strange disagreement between our professions and affections, caused me to suspect that there was some secret lurking unbelief in all our hearts. And because I find another cause to be the carelessness, forgetfulness, and idleness of the soul, and not keeping in action that faith which we have, I have here attempted the removal of that cause, by prescribing a course for the daily acting of those graces which must bring celestial delights into the heart.
I have here prescribed thee, reader, the most delightful task to the spirit, and the most tedious to the flesh, that ever men on earth were employed in. I did it first only for myself, but am loath to conceal the means that I have found so consolatory. If thou be one that wilt not be persuaded to a course so laborious, but wilt only go on in thy task of common formal duties, thou mayest let it alone, and so be destitute of delights, except such as the world, and thy forms can afford thee: but then do not for shame complain for want of comfort, when thou dost wilfully reject it; and be not such an hypocrite as to pray for it, while thou dost refuse to labour for it. If thou say, thy comfort is all in Christ, I must tell thee it is a Christ remembered and loved, and not a Christ forgotten or only talked of, that will solidly comfort thee.
This is the great duty, which I chiefly intended when I began this subject, and which I have reserved to the last, because I know men's memories are treacherous, yet apt to retain the last thing that is spoken, though they forget all that went before. My dear friends, it is a pity that one should forget any thing of that which so nearly concerns us as does this eternal rest of the saints; but if you must needs forget something, let it be any thing else rather than this; -let it rather be all that I have hitherto said, than this last use of HEAVENLY CONTEMPLATION.
MOTIVES TO HEAVENLY MINDEDNESS.
Is there a rest remaining for us? Why then are our thoughts no more upon it? Why are not our hearts continually there? Why dwell we not there in constant contemplation? Brethren, ask your hearts in good earnest, what is the cause of this neglect. Has the eternal God provided us such a glory, and promised to take us up to dwell with himself? And is not this worth thinking upon ? Should not the strongest desires of our hearts be after it, and the daily delights of our souls be fixed on it? Do we believe this, and can we yet forget and neglect it? How freely and how frequently do we think of our friends, our pleasures, our labours, our lusts, our studies, our news,-yea, our very miseries, our wrongs, our sufferings, and our fears! But where is the Christian whose heart is on his rest? Why, brethren, what is the matter? Why are we not taken up with the views of glory? Are we so full of joy, that we need no more? Or is there no matter in heaven for our joyous thoughts?
But let me turn my reprehension to exhortation. And here I have the more hope, because I address myself to men of conscience, that dare not wilfully disobey God, to men whose relations to God are many and near, and therefore methinks there should need the fewer words to persuade their hearts to him. Yea, I speak to no other than those whose portion is there, whose hopes are there, and who have forsaken all that they may enjoy this glory. And shall I be disdiscouraged from persuading such to be heavenly minded? Why, my fellow Christians, if you will not hear and obey, who will? Well may we be discouraged to exhort the poor, blind, ungodly world, and may say as Moses, “ Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me, how then shall Pharaoh hear me?” Whoever thou art, therefore, that readest these lines, I require thee, as thou tenderest thy allegiance to the God of heaven, as ever thou hopest for a part in this glory, that thou immediately take thy heart to task. Chide it for its wilful strangeness to God; turn thy thoughts from the pursuit of vanity ; bend thy soul to study eternity ; busy it about the life to come; habituate thyself to such contemplations, and let not these thoughts be seldom or cursory, but settle upon them; bathe thy soul in heavenly delights; drench thine affections in these rivers of pleasure, or rather in the sea of consolation; and if thy backward