Page images

taken, and that in this case, as well as takers, then are ye bastards, and not in others, God is true, and men, when sons. But how many children are there opposed to him, are liars. So true is it amoug us at this day, who from the that a child left to himself bringeth his want of proper chastisement, are more mnother, in other words, his parents to likc illegitimate than acknowledged shame; that such a child always car- sons; who grow up as untutored as do ries with him the badge of his own and those unfortunate beings alluded to, their disgrace. His want of subordina-cast off from the birth, unacknowleged, tion betrays itself in every successive groping into manhood without a guide, stage of life ; at home and abroad ; in and without a helper ! Need parents to his boyish pastimes, and in the pursuits be exhorted to rescue themselves and of manhood; in private and in public their children from the imputation of relations. How common is it to re- such disgrace? mark, that such an one shows his bring Let it be admitted, then, that chiling up ; that he betrays his breeding ;dren ought to be trained to obedience, that he learned his bad habits at home; and, if necessary, to receive chastiseand to conclude with saying, it is no mcnt; at what age shall parental auwonder, for his parents always indul- thority be exerted for this purpose ? I ged him. Such remarks are not made answer, there is little danger of its bedirectly to the parents themselves ; ing exerted too soon; the danger is they, in the mean while, are congratu- altogether on the other side. I know lating themselves secretly, and perhaps not that a child was ever injured by publicly, on their superior wisdom in commencing the habit of obedience managing, or rather not managing their too young; very many have been ruchildren; idolizing them in imganina- ined by neglecting it till too late. A tion, at the expense of their fellows.-child will learn either to obey, or disoNo fault is told a person with more re-bey; there is no middle ground. If he luctance, than that he fails in family learns the first, you have your desire, government; hence he commonly con- and your subsequent task to continue tinues ignorant of his mistake, till some the habit will be comparatively light. flagrant misconduct convinces him of First impressions ought to be good; it, and he is usually brought to shame they are easiest made, and usually strong at a time, and in a manner, which he and abiding. But if the child first achad least expected, and while priding ||quires the habit of disobeying, you himself that his children thus left to have then not only to teach him a new themselves would bring him to honor. habit afterwards, but have also an old Again, it is commanded, Chasten thyone to obliterate ; and you need not be son while there is hope, and let not thy told how much easier it is to establish, soul spare for his crying. That is, de- than to destroy a habit. If a child is fer not this duty until it shall be too taught to obey, and knows of no way late, nor let false compassion keep you to avoid it, he will obey of course, and from its performance. It is here wor- do it cheerfully. If you compel him thy of remark that an Apostle teaches only now and then to listen to your Christians to infer, from the chastise- commands, and suffer him at other ments which they receive, that they are times to do as he pleases, he will obey the children of God, in the same man- you only from compulsion, and never ner, and for the same reason, as they from habit. But in beginning to estabwould infer, that a child which receiv- Jish your authority over him, it is advied correction from an earthly parent, sable that your first commands shquld was not illegitimate. If ye endure chas- be of the negative kind. Order him tening, God dealeth nith you as with not to do a thing, rather than to do it. sons : for what son is he whom the fa- You can more easily compel him to ther chasteneth not. But if ye be with desist from an action, than to perform out chastisement, whereof all are par. lone; and in that way you eştablish


your anthority to the full as well, for without punishment and without a conyou teach him to obey, and that is the test. I have known the experiment to whole which you have in view. When || be made in part, and so far with entire once taught to obey your negative success. But on this particular topic, commands, he will readily submit to and the subject of education generally, such as are positive. I have known I cannot do so well as to refer iny readparents spend more time, use severerers to the author bimself in his “ Letmeasures, and put their children to ters on Education;" a work which evemore pain, in endeavoring to procure ry parent ought to read, and wbich contheir submission to one single positive tains more practical good sense on the command, and give up the point at last, subject in hand, than I remember to than would have been necessary to se- have seen in any other book, the Bible cure their obedience for life, had the excepted. business been undertaken in season, Many parents will not hesitate to acand conducted properly afterwards.- knowledge themselves culpable in negIt is unnecessary, perhaps impossible, lecting the proper discipline of their to assign any precise age at which this children. The task, they say, is difficult, work of obedience is to be commen- and one to which they are not equal: ced. It is sufficient to say, that as soon their will is good, but their resolution as a child is old enough to form wishes i feeble. Having said this, they seem to that ought not to be gratified, to be feel as if they jhad disburdened their malignant, obstinate and turbulent, if consciences by so frank a confession, he is crossed in obtaining them, it is and then very quietly pursue the same time to deny him the gratification of path which they had previously trodhis desires, and to restrain his resent- den. But in such a case, something ment which may in consequence en- more is required than empty confessue. If he is old enough to be spiteful,sions of allowed faults, to remedy the and vindictive, when you interfere with mischief which they have occasioned. the objects which he covets, it is time If they have erred, this furnishes no that you teach him self-denial, and reason for continuing the error, but duce him to a better temper. Here be- very strong one for relinquishing it.gin; here interpose your parental au-Nor is proper discipline so difficult a thority; accustom him to be denied, task as it is represented. The real diffi& to take it patiently; habituate him to culties lie on the other side ; the obgubmit his will to yours, and to takeject of discipline is to avoid, not to crepleasure in gratifying you, as well as ate them. Who meets with most diffihimself. My own opinion is, that by culties; the parent who has his chilthe time a child is two years old, the dren under due subordination, or he important work of securing his obedi. | thạt suffers them to live without any ence may and ought to be accomplish-||control ? But allow the task to be as ed; often times still earlier; and that difficult as it is represented; are you the business is better and more effectu- unwilling to encounter a few obstacles ally done then, than at a later period. for the sake of your children? Had you It was the advice of the late president rather ruin them by your neglect, than Witherspoon, that sagacious observer|| promote their best interests at the exof human nature and truly great man, pense of a pittance of your present ease? to begin with the infant, as soon as he Is a plain and obvious duty to be abanshould manifest a fondness for a play doned, because some trifling obstacle thing, and, before he should óbātinately| may oppose its fulfilment? The truth covet it, to take it from him, and so is, great numbers of our countrymen gradually habituate him to self-denial, have gone very far in the neglect of and to his parent's authority. It was parental discipline, and are more wilhis opinion that in this way, the childling to acknowledge or paliate the fault, might be taught the habit of obedience than they are to renounce it. Every

one can talk on the subject, as it hap- instances, her members have been so

pens to strike his humor at the mo- sensible of the interpositions of heaven - inent; can condemn or justify him- in her behalf, as to exult in their God - selt, ag circumstances vary, or the oc- with joy unspeakable and full of glory. casion suits him. But without seri-|Of this we have an example in the ous, pains to produce a reformation, lipsalın before us. The occasion on the evil has taken too deep root to wbich it was penned seems to have Ive easily eradicated. The united ef- been this: There was presented to forts of all, who rightly estimate the the Psalmist a scene in which God apiipportance of obedience to parents, lpeared to be gloriously attentive to the are necessary to arrest the progress best interests of his church. The goodof the mischief complained of, and ness of the Most High burst to view, to restore us to that better course, clothed with almighty power, and atwhich our fathers took in training up tended with knowledge equally unlimtheir children for public and private ited. The transporting prospect awakusefulness. In the number of those ened every power of his soul, agrandiagainst whom, the Apostle tells us, zed his views, inflamed his love, fixed the wrath of God is revealed from his confidence, and, at once refined Heaven, are the disobedient to parents, and exalted his joys. Exulting with and such as are without natural af triumph in the irresistible power and feclion. At the present day too ma- | matchless love of his divine Protector, ny can be found who answer to this he penned this psalm. The justice of description. A multitude of parents this representation is clear from the daily contribute to the revelation of seven first verses. In the eighth, dethis wrath, by their neglect in edu- || sirous that others might at the same cating their children to obedience ; || time share and augment his satiskerein manifesting their own want of faction in God, he cries aloud,“ Come, proper natural affection, and teaching behold the works of the Lord, what them also the same impiety. Haddesolations he hath made in the earth!'' we our choice, with which genera-| And then, in the ninth, recites some of tion should we wish to have our lot; the wonders with which he himself was with such an one as lived fifty years ravished. " He maketh wars to cease ago, or such, as from present pros- unto the end of the earth, He breaketh pects, without a special interposition the bow and cutteth the spear in sunof Providence, is like to be on the der, Ile burveth the chariot in the fire.” stage of action at the end of half a This he said with reference to the sixth century to come ? May our efforts be verse where he had told us, such, and such be the blessing atten- heathen raged, the kingiloms were modant upon them, that future genera-ved, He uttered his voice, the earth lions may account themselves happy melted.” What particular occurrences in being descended from those, who gave birth to this psalm, we know not, put a just value on faithful parental but certain it is they were such as comdiscipline, and filial obedience. posed a noble prospect, which lost

Crispus. none of its force with the devout Psalm

ist. He felt it all. On him it had its TIIE PERFECTION OF GOD THE FOUN-proper effect; for it was to him, what

it was in itself, the voice of the living 7'zo Sermons delivered at Torring ford, in God, saying, Be still and know that I

Connecticut, Lord's day, Dec. 21st, 1777, am God. So significant and forcible by Nuthaniel Niles, A. M.

was it on the mind of David, that like SERMON I.

a mighty voice in the mountains, it rePSALM 46.10.-Be stills knem that I am God. verberated from his heart and pen in

The church of God hath, in all ages,||an echo,“ Be still and know that I am noyed the divine faror; and in many | God.” Those works spake this laur

5 The


guage by the sure marks they bore of||ing to exist, or to be less powerful, less the divinity of their Author. Words knowing, or less wise. All this is es are in some degree expressive of the sential to Deity. attributes of the speaker; but works In the scene presented to the Psalmare much more expressive of the attri-ist, the author appeared to be God inbutes of their author. Some works deed, possessed of divine perfection, discover one property in their author and worthy of divine adoration, togethand some another. Here malice is er with the most unlimited obedionce, displayed, there goodness; here re- love, and confidence. In the text, this venge, there forbearance ; here knowl-|| sentiment seems to be laid as the edge, there ignorance; here power, ground and reason of the command, there impotency; here stability, and "Be still.” Let us now, in the first there its contrary. In some efforts, place, endeavor to investigate the true these properties are expressed more import of this command, and then conclearly than in some others; and insider how strongly it is enforced by the some instances more of them are ex-reason suggested in the text, namely, pressed than in others.

Sometimes that the governor of the world is God the real worthiness of the autbor is rep-indeed. First, then we attend to the resented, and sometimes the contrary. import of the command, "Be still." When they carry with them obvious The word still, properly used, refers to marks of the absolute and supreme matter, and signifies a state of rest, or perfection of their original; then they want of motion. The rest of bodies tell us they are the effects of one wor-| is either absolute or relative. Absothy to be esteemed God, and treat-lute rest is that state of bodies in which ed as such. To do this, they must they are supposed to have no kind of make it manifest that their author is motion; which, however, seems hardthe controller of nature, and, of conse-|| ly, in fact, to belong to any body whatquence, its author: since none but he, ever; as every thing in the material who framed the worlds, can be worthy world appears to be in motion ; Yet of divine homage and adoration. They there are innumerable instances of relmust, too, display unlimited skill; oth-ative rest. This is exemplified in everwise they do not exhibit their authorery case where one body moves in exas being free from imperfection in an act conformity to another. Thus, article so material, as that imperfec- whatever is borne along the current of tion here, saps one fundamental notion a river, so as to move precisely with of divinity. It is also not less necessa- the moving waters, is at rest with ry, that they should discover him to respect to those waters. Thus, too, be infinitely good; since infinite powevery thing fixed on the earth, as mouner and knowledge, unattended by e- tains, rocks, &c. though they move -qual goodness are, at best, a just occa- with incredible velocity, are yet, in a sion of regret.

state of perfect rest with respect to the The honest soul, in quest of a God, earth. Concerning things which are cannot take up with any thing short of thus borne by the earth, it is oba being, both able, and perfectly dis-servable that they do not direct their posed to do whatever is best to be done, | own motion; but are, together with evand to prevent whatever is best to beery thing to which they are united, prevented, and that, without any fa- committed to the earth to be moved tigue or difficulty. He must not hesi- and disposed of according to the motate in choosing the best in any in-| tions of the earth, without having any stance; nor must he, in any instance, tendency to detach themselves from be at a loss what is best to be done, the earth. On the contrary, they have nor can such an inquirer admit a possi- in themselves, a strong propensity, cak bility, that one, proper to be chosen led gravitation, to unite themselves for his God, should be capable of ceas || with the earth, to rest on it, and of cop.


sequence to be borne by it. Thoughs aged and disposed of by him at pleas-
this principle doth not cause the mo-ure.

tion of which we speak, yet it is essen When a traveller finds himself bedok! tially necessary in order to it. wildered and lost among pathless ge In like manner they who are still, mountains, the haunt of savage beasts, eje

in the sense of our text, volunta- where dangers of various kinds threatale rily commit themselves to the conducten him on all hands, how doth his heart

and disposal of God, together with ev-leap for joy on the approach of some ery thing, to which they are united.-humane person acquainted with those It is observable too, that the very still- wilds! How cheerfully doth he comness of the mountain or the rock, infers | mit himself to his guidance! With their motion, and not only so, but also, what confidence doth he rely upon it!

that their motion is similar and uni- His fearful apprehensions vanish, and de form to that of the earthi. Were they he bids adieu to anxiety. This is a

not to move with the earth, but rising faint representation of the man who hafrom its surface, remain in a state of ving found himself unable to direct his

absolute rest, they would lose the steps, and conduct Himself and his afe rest they before had with respect to the fairs in the manner he could wish, or

earth : In like manner also that stillness so as to secure another breath, has his of soul commanded in the text, neces- eyes open to behold the universality, sarily implies such exercises of our perfection and glory of the divine govminds as are uniform with the excerci-ernment. No sooner doth the prosses of the divine mind.

pect open, than he flings himself and Our most obvious notions of the mo- I all his concerns into the arms of the tion and rest of material things, have glorious Author of nature, to be manareference to the most important object ged and disposed of by him according in view. Thus, notwithstanding the to his own pleasure. He sees in the river is still with respect to the straw works of creation & providence, somefloating on its surface, yet we say it what of the character of God. Divine moves, because it is not still with res- revelation, raises & clears the prospect. pect to its banks, which are stable parts There he beholds such evidence of the of the earth. Since the earth is more im- perfcction and loveliness of the Most portant & weighty than any thing on its High, as ravisheth his heart. The persurface,we,very justlý, considerit as the fection of God is a sovereign balm for standard by which to determine wheth-, every wound, and the glory of every er things of a material kind in the thing valuable. Take from him a view world are in motion or at rest: So that of the perfection of the Deity, and you whatever moves uniformly with the leave an infinite chasm; nay, worse ; earth, appears to be still, and is spoken you leave a world of confusion, where of in that style, even in an absolute every thing awakens painful apprchensense, notwithstanding the rapidity of sion. For however promising things its motion.

The case is the same in may be in their first appearances, yet the moral world. God, the supreme he knows not where or how they may moral agent, is the standard of rest.-- terminate. Restore to him his God, That created mind, which acts in har- and again by faith, he sees all things mony with the eternal mind, is at rest;|moving on in perfect harmony, toward while those who deviate from his pleas- the most noble end; even while sense ure cannot enjoy rest.

represents every thing in a distracted But to be a little more particular|| career to ruin. Thus, as Abraham, a

gainst hope, believed in hope, though 1. The person who is still in the the mountains shake, and the sea rage,

toxt, voluntarily commits and the earth tremble, and the nations

his concerns and inter-bea}l in commotion, yet he sits secure,
els of God, to be man- ||Nothing moreş him. His habitation is





« PreviousContinue »