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SERM. be a privilege, to defcend from thofe, who VIII. have a knowledge of God, and fome juft apprehenfions of his perfections, and a ferious sense of religious things upon their minds. For thereby they are reftrained from what is evil and are obliged, engaged, and excited to that which is good. Moreover all the behaviour of fuch perfons and their treatment of others, efpecially of those who depend upon them, is pleafing, defirable, and agreeable. They therefore who have pious parents enjoy a kind and mild treatment, which many others want.
There is a benefit likewife in the inftructions received from fuch. For they who Gen. xviii. are themselves pious and religious, will teach their children, and their boufhold after them, to keep the way of the Lord. You therefore, who are defcended from pious parents, have heard of the eternal and unchangeable exiftence of God, the maker of all things. You have been informed of the goodneffe and bounty, the mercie and loving kindneffe of God to all his creatures, especially those that fear and ferve him: and that as he has all power in heaven and earth, he is able to defend and uphold all his fincere worshipers,
and to reward fuch as diligently feek and SERM. serve him. VIII.
You who are born of Chriftian parents have heard of the love of Jefus Christ in dying for us. You have heard of the mean birth, and humble life of Jefus, who has most clearly taught the way of salvation. You have been acquainted with the promise he made of everlasting happineffe to those who fincerely obey the rules of life delivered by him, who love God with all the heart and foul, and their neighbour as themselves, and who persevere in the profeffion of truth, and the practife of virtue, notwithstanding worldly difficulties and difcouragements.
You have likewife fuch a knowledge of the wonderful works he wrought, that you cannot doubt of the truth of his words. For no man could do fuch works, unless God was with him. His cures of the fick, and infirm, and that by a word, and instantly, and raifing the dead, are undeniable proofs, that he spake in the name of God, or that the Father had fent him, and that the whole of his doctrine is true, and from heaven.
You have also been instructed in the hiftorie of his refurrection and afcenfion, and the M 4
mighty works that were done by the Apostles of Jesus after he had left this world, when they preached the doctrine they had received from him. And you have no doubt, but he will come again in glorie, to judge the quick and the dead, and to give to all men according to the things done by them in this their ftate of trial.
By the advantage of your birth you have been favored with the knowledge of divers maxims and obfervations, of unquestioned truth and certainty, and of great use to the right conduct of life. You have been told, that a little with the fear of God is better than great revenues without it, or than the riches of many wicked: that the fear of God, a fenfe of his care and providence, hope in his pramifes, especially the great promise of eternal life to the truly pious and virtuous, will afford great peace and fatisfaction at all times that thefe difpofitions will encrease the happineffe of outward profperity, and abate the bitterneffe of all worldly afflictions.
To have been early inftructed in these things is a great benefit. How deplorable is the cafe of thofe, who are ignorant of them!
One thing more I fhall mention here, that SERM. to your descent from religious parents, pof- VIII. fibly, you owe divers temporal advantages. Solomon fays: The curfe of the Lord is in Prov. iii. the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the juft. From the usefulneffe, and honorable and difcreet behaviour of ancestors have inherited credit, your and reputation. And to their frugality, difcretion, diligence, fobriety and other virtues, you may reckon yourselves indebted for the competence, or the abundance of the good things you poffefs and enjoy: which, otherwife, might have been fquandered away in luxurie and exceffe.
II. They who have this advantage ought
St. Paul esteemed it matter of much joy and thanksgiving, that he had ferved God 2 Tim, i. from his forefathers with a pure conscience. He speaks to Timothie in the way of commendation, when he fays, that he was per
SERM. fuaded, the fame faith dwelt in him, which VIII. bad firft dwelt in his grandmother Lois, and bis mother Eunice.
There is an obligation to attend to wife and wholfome inftructions, from whomsoever we receive them: and to follow the good examples, we fee in any. But there is a more especial obligation, to hearken to, and follow pious parents. This is fuppofed in divers pathetic admonitions, which we meet with in Scripture. So in thofe folemn words 1 Chron. of David: And thou Solomon, my fon, know thou, own and acknowledge, fear and worfhip, the God of thy father, and ferve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind.
If thou feek him, he will be found of thee: but if thou forfake kim, he will caft thee off forever. And fays the wife fon of King David, at the begining of his book of Proverbs, or collection of wife fayings and Prov. i. 8. observations: My fon, hear the inftruction of thy father, and forfake not the law of thy ...vi. 20. mother. Again: My fon, keep thy father's commandment, and forfake not the law of thy mother. Bind them continually upon thy heart, and tye them about thy neck. When thou goeft, it fhall lead thee: when thou sleepest, it shall