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quently heard in union, actually responding to these affecting expressions of their unchangeable Redeemer :
“ We bring them, Lord, by fervent prayer,
And yield them up to Thee ;
Thine let our offspring be.
Thy guardian care we trust;
If weeping o'er their dust !”
So far, then, from forbidden ground, it is ground to which they have been invited, on which these songs are sung ; where, fixing their eye on the Saviour himself, encouragements of the highest order are scattered all around him. For his sake alone, their Creator has become their reconciled Father, who will, with Him, most freely give them all things. Thus have they actually become heirs to all the promises ;* so that, in virtue of their interest in them, and in virtue of that singular Constitution, at the head of which such Parents stand, they enjoy the high and signal felicity of becoming blessings to their offspring. The “Fathers to the Children make known his truth.” If they are blessed, with believing Abraham, they will act, as Jehovah knew he would; and so, proportionally, they shall be a blessing. Yes, they shall, inasmuch as God hath not only given them an especial interest in the matter of the blessing, but, by his own divinely-ordered Domestic Constitution, hath given them, as guardian instruments, peculiar facilities for the communication of it. Yes, feeling an especial interest in the favour of God themselves, they not only may, but they do present, in supplication before God, the promises which he has given: in their musings and their supplications afterwards, they dwell upon the terms in which these promises are expressed, and upon the absolute character of these terms—these, at one season, they plead in the hearing of their Children-and at another, explain, with all the exuberant tenderness of parental affection. On these gratuitous expressions of divine love and mercy, it thus appears evident to such Children, that the hopes of their Parents alone do rest; while, to them, it is equally apparent, both from the style of their petitions, and their occasional conversation, that the meritorious ground, on which these promises themselves depend, or the meritorious security for their accomplishment, is, in their Parents' apprehension, the dignity and the death of our divine Redeemer-the only and all-sufficient surety of that covenant, which is ordered well in all things, and sure.
* " For all the promises of God, in Him, are yea, and in Him, Amen, unto the glory of God, by us. Now, he which stablisheth us, with you, in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." “ He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not, with him, also freely give us all things ?". I Cor. i. 20. Rom. viii. 32. See Ephes. i. 3.
In these few last words, however, I have touched a point on which the hearts of these Parents cannot remain silent.
“ Can we ever forget,” say they, some of the terms of conde. scending invitation by which we came here ? Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your souls shall live ; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David ! Do we still but imperfectly know the advantages of that peculiar and ancient ground on which we stand ? What though Gentiles once were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, nay, strangers from
the covenants of promise ? Surely now, even we may look up, and say, • Doubtless thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not : thou, O Lord, art our Father_our Redeemer ; thy name is from everlasting.' Yes, it was by an old path' indeed, and not untrodden, that we arrived here : the ground on which we stand, was marked out and occupied, even long before it was confirmed' to the Father of the faithful. Great, too, confessedly, as was the blessing conferred on him, never can we forget the Saviour's having redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us ; that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit, through faith.'
But in being thus strangely permitted to call our Creator and Governor Our Father who art in heaven,' surely we forget not, for one moment, the glorious peculiarity of his unalienable characterthat he is the Father who judgeth according to every man's work of what sort it is.' In this we see the brightness of his glory, and forget not that our Saviour is the Judge both of quick and dead. As our Maker, He is our Governor ; and the Fountain of all being, we regard as the Fountain of all rights. From the first moment of our existence, our all was his absolutely and unalienably his. It was in Him, therefore, no defect of title which induced his condescension. Publishing his very constitution, in the form of such a covenant, how can we but be filled with profound veneration and delight, ordaining it, as he has done, in the hands of such a Media. tor! Ordered well in all things,' indeed it must be, since He is the surety—and sure, with a witness, as ratified by his blood. Thus it was, that, inviting our poor consent, he hath, blessed be his name ! only more deeply obliged us to our duty."
Let your eye, then, 'my reader, be fixed on this blessing of the Almighty ; for this it is, in all cases, which alone commands success; nor need you
hesia tate to implore it, if your undivided hope rests on Emmanuel. For “ thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come, concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands, command ye me.” The arrow of such a supplicant comes, it is evident, from a bow fully
bent; but still, if you only pray in that disposition of mind which simply corresponds to the many affirmations and condescending promises of your heavenly Father, all will be well with you and yours. What though all flesh is grass, and the glory of man but as the flower of the field ?
of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto Children's Children to such as keep his covenant-to those who remember his commandments to do them.”
TO THE MINISTERS OF CHRIST.
In closing this volume with a more immediate reference to you, I have done so under an impression, that, if there are any Parents in existence, who may be considered as more interested than others in the present subject, you are the parties.
You may have observed, that, throughout, I have not confounded Parental Obligations, or the training of Children, with your obligation to fulfil the commission of our common Lord ; that I have not confounded the Domestic Constitution with the Church of the living God,—or, in other words, that, in tracing the weighty and incumbent duties of the Parental Character, I have not confounded Christian Education with the work of the Ministry, nor have I, so far as I am conscious, ever trenched on what I believe to be the special, because the ordained, means for the conviction and the conversion of a lost world. This be far from me. On the contrary, there seems No human power, however extensive, can be absolute: nor was there ever conferred by God any authority on man, but upon conditions expressed or im- • plied ; and if much is implied in your very character as Parents, certainly also, in the Word of God, much has been expressed, in direct reference to that authority with which he has clothed you.
To the word of God, therefore, would I most earnestly and affectionately commend you ; and should this attempt only induce you to use it, with greater care, as your invariable and habitual Family-book, my end is gained. The Scriptures alone, be assured, at once properly and perfectly can instruct you, into the real character and full extent of this connexion between Father and Child. They alone, without mistake, impartially and fully explain the obligations of either party; and they alone furnish motives suffi. ciently powerful to secure the regular, and even delightful performance of all that is incumbent: they alone strikingly paint to you, without exaggeration, instances of failure, whether of bad or even good men, ending in exquisite misery to themselves, and in the recorded displeasure of God himself; as well as instances of remarkable success, ending in blessings to unborn generations.
Thus, after all, you observe the advantages conferred upon you, as far as monition and encouragement go, are equal to all your responsibility, great, confessedly, as that responsibility is. Nor is even this all: there are two considerations to which, in concluding this volume, I would invite your particular attention, as involving the most powerful encouragements which can be conceived. They are encourage