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be employed on the destinies of eternity. And thus, alas! they exchange the immortal felicities of heaven for pursuits and pleasures which terminate in everlasting misery. Would you save your children from this tremendous destiny, you must animate them with a lively sense of their exalted privileges as heirs of the kingdom of heaven. You must teach them, that the hopes of those who are permitted to aspire after the eternal felicities of God's presence, should not be bounded by the highest enjoyments of this perishing world; that it is the extreme of folly in immortal beings to forego everlasting joys for temporary gratifications, and to incur, for a few years of corrupting pleasures, miseries intolerable and endless. You must teach them, that all the pursuits which agitate the hopes and fears of the world are of no avail but as subservient to their eternal salvation; and that they will indeed have lived in vain, if it shall appear that, at the close of life, they have made no provision for their eternal home. You must urge them by every motive which can cherish their hopes or rouse their fears, to devote themselves to the work of their salvation as the great business of life, and to seek with supreme solicitude the favour of God their heavenly Father, whose children they were made in the sacrament which ranked them among the members of Christ, and to seek those satisfying joys for which, as heirs of the kingdom of heaven, they are destined.
Thus impressing on them the habitual recollection of their eternal destiny, and teaching them to act as candidates for an immortal existence, as those whose inheritance is in heaven, undefiled and fading not away, you will send them forth into the VOL. II.
world fortified against its temptations, prepared to contemn those frivolous and corrupt gratifications which so often occupy the thoughts and the time, and prostrate the talents, and blast the prospects of youth. You will have inspired them with those hopes which the world cannot confer, and which the world cannot take away; and which, leading them to virtuous attainments, to the vigorous and faithful discharge of the duties of life, will secure to them the favour of their heavenly Father, will supply them with rich consolation under the adversities which may assail them in this changing world, will support them in the hour of death, and, through the Saviour's merits, inspire them with humble confidence even at the tribunal of their almighty Judge.
Teach then these things, and aid the church and its ministers in teaching these things to your children. You cannot commence the important work The character, the dispositions, the habits of the future man are in no small degree formed by the impressions made upon the child; and as soon as the child is capable of receiving impressions, surely diligence and care should be applied, that among those impressions should be those of religion and virtue. Aid the wise provisions which the church has made for impressing divine truths on your children, by causing them to learn their catechisms at home, and by attending to recite them to the minister, whereby the instruction is more deeply impressed, and security afforded to him that the learning of the catechism is not neglected. Let it not be said that catechetical instruction is a mere exercise of memory-that the children cannot comprehend it. This is an
erroneous sentiment. The truths and duties of religion may be understood by children so far as is necessary to excite their affections, to inform them what they ought to believe and to practise; and farther than this they need not know. With regard to the essence of the Divine Being, to the mode by which certain truths relative to the plan of redemption, and to divine and spiritual things, are possible and real, the sagest philosopher sinks to a level with the humblest child-they are equally ignorant. Still the truths themselves may be understood, though not comprehended-their practical results may be known and felt; and it is even useful early to store the infant memory with those religious truths, which the mature mind may afterwards more fully understand. The memories of ehildren will be filled with knowledge of some kind-Why should that which will make them wise unto salvation be excluded? Let then no endeavours be spared to teach the truths of religion, the duties of their Christian calling, to your children; and for this purpose see that they receive that apostolic ordinance of confirmation, where the obligations of their Christian calling are assumed, and its privileges renewed to them. For thus only can you lay the foundation of their future usefulness and honour-of their happiness in this life, and their everlasting happiness beyond the grave. They are a trust-how important and responsible!-committed to your care: and remember, that for this trust, as for every other, you must render an account-and how awful that account!-it is of the souls of immortal beings-it is not to man, but to God.
ON THE DUTY OF DOING GOOD TO ALL MEN, AND
GALATIANS Vi. 10.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
THIS injunction of the apostle finds a responsive answer in the dictates of our judgments and the feelings of our hearts. The mutual dependence of the individuals composing the great family of mankind, is an indication that if one member suffer, all the members should suffer with him. No one, in this sense, lives for himself; but is bound to do good, as far as he has opportunity, to all men. To this course of universal benevolence he is prompted by those powerful feelings within him which attach him to his fellow-men, as partakers of the same nature, the same wants, and the same sorrows.
But there is a portion of the great family of mankind to which Christians are bound by stronger ties than those which unite them to the mass of the human race-the household of faith, that spiritual family who, in the faith of the same Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, are gathered into the same fold, under the protection and guidance of the same Holy Spirit, and in the enjoyment of the same blessed hope of eternal life. These are those
ON THE DUTY OF DOING GOOD TO ALL MEN. 203
brethren in Christ Jesus to whom we are bound especially to do good; and the highest good that we can do for them, is to provide for them as we have opportunity, and they have need, all the means of religious instruction and consolation provided in the word, the ministry, the ordinances, and the worship of the Gospel, as professed in apostolic and primitive purity by that branch of the Christian church of which we are members.
Let me then, my brethren, at this time, illustrate this duty-the duty of extending our church among those who, destitute of its ministrations and worship, are desirous of enjoying them.
1. In extending our church, we extend a rational system of religion.
Rational, not in the sense of excluding from our belief every religious doctrine which transcends the comprehension of our feeble faculties, and defies the grasp of our finite intellect. A revelation from heaven, in its very character as a revelation, must include what the highest efforts of reason could not discover, and from the subjects of which it treats the uncreated mind, the invisible and eternal realities of a future world-must demand belief in much that no finite understanding can comprehend. It is in the highest degree irrational to expect, in the sense in which the term is in these last days used, as denoting the exclusion of every thing from our belief which we cannot comprehend, a rational system of religion.
But though reason, exercising her legitimate powers, will implicitly receive divine truths well attested, however they may transcend her comprehension, she ought not to be called on to receive