Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

with the token of his gracious covenant, and who diligently bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, that he will pour out his spirit upon their seed, and bis blessing upon their offspring (Isaiah 44.) and so it makes them with their pious, faithful pa. rents, heirs together of the grace of life. We not only think that such a covenant might consistently be made"; but that there is abundant proof from the scriptures, that such a covenant is made. This it is conceived, is the very spirit of the covenant made with Abraham, the father of the faithful. In the 17th chapter of Genesis, Jehovah promises to be the God of Abrahanı and of his seed; and in the 18th chapter 19th verse, he speaks of Abrahams's faithfulness issuing in the piety of his children, and as being the condition upon which he would bestow promised blessings. All the promises, made to the friends of God, of blessing them in their seed, children and offspring, are built upon the plan, which has been just now exhibited. I cannot but think, that it is in view of a mutual en, gagement between the most merciful God and beliering, godly parents (for none others ever did sincerely covenant with God) in which they engage to bring up their children for God, and that He engages, in case they do so, he will bless their children with says ing blessings ; that it is in view of such a covenant, infant circumcision and infant baptism have all their significancy and importance,

FIFTHLY. It is thought, that this view of the connexion between parents and children, in which parents are considered, as giving complexion to the character of their children, not only clears the divine Being from the imputation of injustice, but that it very gloriously exhibits his infinite regard to holiness, and his perfect opposition to sin. Since God is the Sove . reign Potter, he has a most undoubted right to make vessels of honor or of dishonor, as it seemeth good in his sight. What a proof did he give Adam of his

infinite complacency in moral goodness, by assuring him that bis obedience alone should infallibly secure holiness andhappiness to the countless millions which should proceed from his loins. What a proof also has he given of his infinite hatred of moral evil, by causing öne sin to plunge them all into a state of ruin. There is no wrong done to his posterity for the state of ruin into which we are plunged is also a state of sin ; indeed, this is the thing in which our ruin very much consists. . Again, what a proof did God give of his pleasedness with Abraham's faith, by his promise to him of building up the church in his family. Why did God build up his church in the family of Abraham, rather than in the family of Abimelech, who was a cotemporary with the patriarch? Was it not evidently to manifest, that through Christ, God accepted of the fåith of Abraham, and disapproved the unbelief of Abimelech? The God of Israel also manifested a peculiar delight in David, in distinction from Saul, by setting his son upon the throne after him. And since the Most High had an original right to make the descendants of Ham, servants to their brethren, was there not wisdom in this being done in a way of a curse upon their progenitor? In this way there is an infinite stigma placed upon his want of filial respect for his father; also, this sin in all others is made to appear exceedingly sinful. The father has given a much fuller display of his displeasure with the crucifiers of his well-beloved son, by entail. ing their sin and wretchedness on so many genera tions, proceeding from their loins, thàn he would have done, had he only punished them in their own per

Our children are dear to us all, whether we be frends or enemies to religion. Keeping this truth in view, we can all see, that God gives a striking proof of his love of obedience, and hatred of rebellion, by telling the onė, that he will bless, and the other that he will curse the fruit of their body.

sons.

[ocr errors]

The representation which has been given, in the last of these two discourses, of the moral, as well as natural relation between parents and children, will no doubt, appear to some extravagant, and of a dangerous tendency. If it appeared so to me, I could not, with a clear conscience, make such a representation. But the representation appears to me, not only scriptural, but highly important, and the less it is understood, the more necessary it seems to be, that it should be made public. Let me ask, what is the dangerous tendancy of this sentiment? Is it not calculated to make parents fall of whom have natural affection for their children) look about them, when they find, that they do, in an important sense, hold in their hands the eternal destiny of the offspring of their own bowels? Will pious parents be less determined, that for themselves and their house they will serve the Lord; that they will command their children and their household after them, by being told, that, if they do so, God will bless their children, and incline their hearts by his free spirit to walk in wisdom's ways ? This will, it is presumed, above any thing, stir up parents to live holy lives and to be faithful to their children.

Will it do any thing towards making ungodly, prayerless parents feel easy in their sinful course, to read, that the curse of the Lord is upon the house of the wicked, and that the seed of evil doers shall not be renowned? These curses, which the scripture denounces on the children of those, who are out of Christ, are calculated to operate powerfully to deter them from going on in impenitence.

To the children of unbelieving parents I have a word to say, your case is by no means hopeless. There is not an unalterable connexion between the state of your parents and your own.

There is a noticeable distinction in the second commandment, between God's visiting the iniquities of ungodly parents

on their children, and his showing mercy unto the children of those who love him and keep his commandments. Take into view all that has been said, and you must be convinced, that if you die, it will be for your own sin and impenitence. If you see your father's sin, and do not the like, but turn unto God with your hearts, you shall not die, you shall shurely live.

Let the children of the pious feel the necessity of personal piety: Your parents must leave you behind them, when they go to glory, if you do not hear their counsel and follow their example in this, the day of your peace : for without holiness no man shall see the Lord.

[ocr errors]

NATURE AND POWER OF TRUTH,

ILLUSTRATED IN

TWO DISCOURSES,

.BY

DAVID PORTER,

PASTOR OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN CATSKILL, N. YORK.

SERMON I.

John xviii. 38.
Pilate saith unto him, what is truth ?

AFTER Jesus was apprehended by Judas Iscariot, he was first conducted to Annas, father-in-law to Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. In the next place, Jesus was bound and led to the palace of the high priest himself. Caiaphas, immediately, entered into conversation with him, respecting his disciples and doctrine. It was the intention of the high priest, that Jesus should be condemned and crucified; he did not, therefore proceed to try him, because the Jews had no authority, in any case, to inflict capital pu: nishment. From Caiaphas's palace, the chief priests removed Jesus to Pilate's judgment-hall

. It will be recollected, that at this time Judea was a Roman province, of which Pilate was governor. No sooner had the chief-priests surrendered up Jesus into the hands of Pilate, than he went out and conferred with them; for they did not themselves enter into the judgment-hall, as to tread on the floor of an uncircumcised heathen, they conceived would disqualify them to eat the passover, which was then

« VorigeDoorgaan »