Summary: This Sermon is #22 from Rev. Andrew Lee’s SERMONS published in 1803 by Isaiah Thomas, Jr. at Lisbon, Connecticut.
The entire book Andrew’s Lee’s Sermons is available free at Project Gutenberg as e-Text #15031.
Parental Duties considered and urged.
Malachi ii. 15.
"And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the Spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed."
SOME general observations on the importance of education, especially parental education, were made in the preceding discourse. We are now to consider the ways and means by which parents, are _to seek a godly seed_.
ONLY general directions can here be given. Much will be left to the discretion of those concerned.
SOME of the principal parental duties are, _Dedication of their children to God, followed by instruction--restraint--good example, and prayer_.
WE shall treat on each of these briefly in their order.
1. OF _dedication of children to God. By a godly seed_, children consecrated to the service of God, and set apart for him, is commonly intended, This implies some rites of consecration. These there have been, probably, from the beginning; though we have no information what they were, till the days of Abram.
BEFORE the flood we read of "sons of God" who married "the daughters of men;" a sad union which led to the universal degeneracy of mankind. The "sons of God" are supposed to have been the descendants of Seth; "the daughters of men," to have been of the family of Cain. But why the distinction of "sons of God, and daughters of men?" It arose, no doubt, from external differences. The former had the seal of godliness set upon them, whatever that seal might be; and were trained up to attend the worship and ordinances of God--they were visibly of the household of faith; none of which were the case with the latter. * That the former were all renewed, and children of God by regeneration, is not probable--they are termed sons of God, on account of their covenant relation to him.
* TENDERS of pardon and life were made to the whole human race, through a Mediator, and the church at first included the whole family of Adam; but this did not long continue. Cain, enraged that his offering was not accepted, slew his brother, and "went out from the presence of the Lord"--left his father’s house, in which God was worshipped, and where his ordinances were administered--cast off religion, and taught his children to disregard it. His progeny were not deficient in worldly wisdom. They cultivated the arts of life, and made improvements in them, as appears from the sketch of their history given by Moses. + But they were without God in the world; having cast off his fear, and the apprehension of his presence, and their accountableness, which often follow the dereliction of the divine institutions.
+ Genesis iv. 17--22.
SO the posterity of Jacob were called "the children of God--the people of God--a holy seed--a royal priesthood," because of their external, nominal distinctions. These appropriate terms continued as long as they remained God’s visible people, and had the seal of his covenant set upon them, though they had so corrupted themselves as to be even worse than the heathen. And Jerusalem is called the _holycity_ even after it had filled up the measure of its wickedness by murdering the Lord of glory. *
* Matthew xxvii. 53.
FROM the days of Abraham, we know the seal of God’s covenant, and how parents have been required to dedicate their offspring to him, as a visible sign of their being consecrated to his service, and as a bond on parents to train them up in his fear. And those who have been of the household of faith, and been duly instructed, have considered themselves obliged to discharge these duties; nor have they neglected them.
2. DEDICATION _must be followed by instruction_. Parents must cultivate the tender mind--instill the principles of virtue--infuse the knowledge of God, and of the duties due to God and man. This is a matter of the greatest importance. If youthful minds are not imbued with knowledge and virtue, they will not remain blank; the void will be filled with that which tends to mischief, and leads to woe and infamy.
WHEN we look among pagans and savages, we are struck with their vices and follies, which raise our disgust, or excite our pity. But who hath made us to differ from them! Is it not that divine Sovereign who "divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam," who cast our lot among the civilized and enlightened, who having been taught, of God, taught us the way of happiness? Had we been born among heathens, we should probably have been heathens; if among savages, should not have differed from them--should have gloried, perhaps in those refinements in cruelty, which they consider an accomplishment, but which we shudder to hear related. It is not probable that we should have had native discernment sufficient to have raised us above our fellows--to have enabled us to discover their delusions and the absurdity of their views. Had we been denied revelation, we should probably have been ignorant of our fallen state and need of a Savior, and might have "perished for lack of vision."