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when the very first ends of civil society, mutual security and protection, are defeated; when neither life nor property are for a moment secure from the ruffian that walketh in darkness or the robber that assaulteth at the noon-day; when the most respectable members of the community are forced to tremble before the basest and most abandoned; when the vindictive powers of the law have lost their terror, and even the wisest provisions of the legislature are either eluded by legal chicane, or defeated by an injudicious and ill-timed lenity. It can hardly be said, that existence in such a society is at all preferable to the state of the solitary traveller in the desert, who startles at every shadow, trembles at every breeze, and expects every moment to become the prey of the wild beasts which howl around him.
With regard to those who are grown old in iniquity, though perhaps young in age, little I fear can be done to stop them in their fatal career. They will have their course, and the grave its premature
M2 , prey, prey, in spite of every friendly remonstrance, in spite of every terrific warning.
: But with respect to those, who are yet untainted with the dangerous corruptions of the age, it is in the power of every master of a family to; do much, by a faithful and diligent discharge of his duty, ! in the several articles, which it has been the business of this discourse to recom-.. mend. Much too has been done, and I trust still may be done, by those, who lave patronized and supported the various charitable foundations, which do so much honour to this kingdom; and especially those, which have for their object the instruction of young persons on the Sabbath, day. For, if there be a possibility of restraining the lower orders of people from brutal violence and licentiousness, it must. be by early culture and instruction ; by instilling into them a deep sense of God and religion, and by imprinting on their minds a constant and awful consideration of that solemn account they must one day give. ......
And though in these, as in all other human institutions, success may not always keep an equal pace with our wishes and endeavours; though the seed we have sown may not always bring forth fruit unto perfection; yet we may reasonably hope, that we have saved some precious souls from destruction ; that we have laid the foundation of better days to come, and contributed to the future welfare and tranquillity of our posterity and country, which is no inconsiderable object to every generous and rational mind, this.?
But there is still a higher consideration, to animate us all in the faithful discharge of these duties; that is, the approbationi of our own consciences, and an obedi
ence to the commands of God. We may . wish indeed, that 'our labour's may be ef fectual, both for the good of those who are entrusted to our care, and for the ad vantage of society in general : nay. fara ther, we cannot but earnestly be solicitous, that the children we love may never depart from the good way, in which they have been trained, but may go on from M 3
strength strength to strength; yet whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, we shall have the satisfaction of knowing that we have done our own duty, and therefore may rest assured of meeting with a due reward. Whenever therefore the uplifted arm of death shall smite us, we shall lie down on the bed of mortality with an undisturbed mind: we shall take our last leave of the dear pledges of conjugal affection without any wounding reflections or painful remembrance on our side ; and having done all for their happiness, which prudence, precept and example empowered us to do, we shall address them in some such language as this : 4. Behold, my children, I go the way of all the earth, and I know that ye shall see my face no more. My faultering tongue is now unable to add to the friendly precepts I have already given, and my example will soon be no more before your eyes. I can only therefore now entreat you to call to mind, how I have walked before you in all righteousness, and to remember, that by the space of many years I ceased not to warn every one of you, night and day, with tears. And now, having fought the good fight of faith, and finished my own course, it only remains for me, finally, to commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.'
I am sensible, I have already trespassed long, much too long upon your patience: yet suffer me to request your indulgence one moment longer on a subject of such general concern; whilst I entreat every vicious or careless parent to consider, how much, besides their own sins, they have to answer for; even no less than the present and eternal welfare of their chil
And, on the other hand, let me no less earnestly request those, who have virtuous and honest parents, to consider seriously, how much they have to answer for, if they deviate from their good example; to consider, how heavy a crime it is to bring down grey hairs with sorrow to the grave; M 4*