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This devotion would give them another spirn it, and make them consider how to make
proper returns of care, kindness, and protection te those, who had spent their strength and time in service and attendance upon them.
If parents should thus make themselves advo. cates and intercessors with God for their children, constantly applying to heaven in behalf of them, nothing would be more likely, not only to bless their children, but also to form and dispose their own minds to the performance of ev. ery thing, which was excellent and praiseworthy.
I do not suppose, but that the generality of parents remember their children in their prayers, and call upon God to bless them. But the thing here intended is not a general remembrance of them, but a regular method of recommending all their particular needs and necessities unto God; and of praying for every such particular grace and virtue for them, as their state and condition of life shall seem to require.
The state of parents is a holy state, in some degree like that of the priesthood, and calls up * on them to bless their children with their prayers and sacrifices to God. Thus it was, that holy Job watched over, and blessed his children, he sanctified them, he rose up early in the morn
ing, and offered burnt offerings, according to the number of them all.'
If parents therefore, considering themselves in this light, should be daily calling upon God in a solemn, deliberate manner, altering and extending their intercessions, as the state and growth of their children required, such devotion would have a mighty influence upon the rest of their lives; it would make them
circumspect in the government of themselves ; prudent and careful of every thing they said or did, Jest their example should hinder that, which 'they so constantly desired in their
prayers. If a father were daily making particular prayers to God, that he would please to inspire his children with true piety, great humility, and strict temperance, what could be more likely to make
the father himself become exemplary in these * virtues ? How naturally would he grow asham
ed of wanting such virtues, as he thought necessary for his children? So that his
for their piety would be a certain mean of exaiting his own to its greatest height, 5. If a father thus considered himself as an intercessor with God for his children, to bless. them with his prayers, what more likely means to make him aspire after every degree of hoii
ness, that he might thereby be fitter to obtain blessings from heaven for them? How would such thoughts make him avoid everything, which was sinful and displeasing to God, lest, when he prayed for his children, God should reject his
? How tenderly, how religiously would such a father converse with his children, whom he considered as his little spiritual flock, whose virtues he was to form by his example, encourage by his authority, nourish by his counsel, and prosper by his prayers to God for them?
How fearful would he be of all greedy and unjust ways of raising their fortune, of bringing them up in pride and indulgence, or of making them too fond of the world, lest he should thereby render them incapable of those graces, which he was so often beseeching God to grant them?
These being the plain, natural, happy effects of this intercession, all parents, I hope, who have the real welfare of their children at heart, who desire to be their true friends and benefactors, and to live amongst them in the spirit of wisdom and piety, will not neglect so great a mean both of raising their own virtue, and doing an eternal good to those, who are so near and dear to them, by the strongest ties of nature.
Lastly. If all people, when they feel the first approaches of resentment, envy, or contempt, towards others; or if in all little disagreements, and misunderstandings whatever, they should, instead of indulging their minds with little low reflections, have recourse at such times to a more particular and extraordinary intercession with God for such persons, as had raised their envy, resentment, or discontent; this would be a certain way to prevent the growth of all uncharitable tempers.
If you were also to form your prayer, or intercession at that time, to the greatest degree of contrariety to that temper, which you were then in, it would be an excellent mean of raising your heart to the greatest state of perfection.
As, for instance, when at any time you find in your
heart motions of envy towards any person, whether on account of his riches, power, reputation, learning, or advancement, if you should immediately betake yourself at that time prayers,
and pray to God to bless and prosper him in that very thing, which raised your envy ; if you should express and repeat your petitions in the strongest terms, beseeching God to grant him all the happiness from the enjoy
, ouk. low
ment of it, which can possibly be received, you would soon find it to be the best antidote in the world, to expel the venom of that poisonous passion.
YOU are next desired to consider the nės cessity of resignation and conformity to the will of God, and to make this great virtue a subject of your prayers.
There is nothing wise, or holy, or just, but the great will of God. This is as strictly true in the most rigid sense, as to say, that nothing is infinite and eternal but God.
No beings therefore, whether in heaven or on earth, can be wise, or holy, or just, but so far, as they conform to this will of God. It is conformity to this will, which gives virtue and perfection to the highest services of angels in heaven; and it is conformity to the same will, which makes the ordinary actions of men on earth become an acceptable service unto God.