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SERMONS

ON THE

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

OF

CHILDREN,

PREACHED AT

NORTHAMPTON.

HOOD ENIM MUNUS REIPUBLICÆ AFFERRE MAJUS MELIUSVE POSSUMUS, QUAM

SI DOCEMUS ATQUE ERUDIMUS JUVENTUTEM? HIS PRÆSERTIM MORIBUS ATQUE
TEMPORIBUS, &c.

CICERO DE DIV. LIB. II. CAP. 1.

VOL. II.

TO THE

CHURCH OF CHRIST, IN NORTHAMPTON,

UNDER MY MINISTERIAL CARE.

MY DEAR FRIENDS!

Als I reckon the providence which fixed me with you, in the pastoral relation, amongst the most singular blessings of my life; I would always retain a sense of those engagements which it brings me under, to labour to the utmost for your spiritual improvement. And through the divine goodness, I find it a delightful work; as your candid and serious temper adds a freedom and pleasure, both to my public ministrations, and private converses with you.

I take this opportunity of renewing the assurances I have often given you, that I could gladly converse with you more frequently at home; did not the other work, in which I am engaged, as a tutor, demand so large a share of my time. I heartily thank you, that you so kindly consider it, and make all the allowances for it I could reasonably desire.

I trust, God is my witness, that it is a sincere concern for his glory, and the interest of a Redeemer in the rising age, that has determined me to undertake the additional labour of such an employment: And as you voluntarily chose to sacrifice something of your private satisfaction, to these great and important views, I hope you will have the pleasure to see them answered, and that you yourselves will not, on the whole, be losers by them. You know, it is my desire, that as my pupils advance in the course of their preparatory studies, they would endeavour by their religious visits, conversation and prayer, to supply in part, that lack of service to you, which my care for them inust necessarily occasion; and it is as a farther supply of it, that I now offer you those Sermons on the Religous Education of Children, which you heard from the pulpit some months ago.

The indulgence and thankfulness with which you then received them, is one instance, amongst many others, of your relish for plain and practical preaching: When some of you expressed your desire that they might be made more public, I confess I knew not well how to deny you; and I was the more willing to comply with your request, because it is a subject which cannot be often handled, so largely, in the course of preaching.

That tender concern for you and yours, which led me to treat of educa. tion, engaged me also to manageit in such a manner, as I apprehended might be most for your advantage and for theirs; that is, to make it, as far as I could, a warm and serious address to you. I have likewise, for the same reason, retained that form in transcribing them for the press; though I am sensible it might have appeared more fashionable and polite, to have cast them into a different mould, and to have proposed my remarks in a more cool and general way.

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