« السابقةمتابعة »
the heart cannot be corrected without SERM. some pangs of repentance and stings of remorse; yet, if it is not corrected in time, sorrow without end, and pain without mitigation, are before us. Be sober and considerate, before it is too late. If it appears unpleasant, it is at least wise: if. in short, we are told, the hearts of the wise" must sometimes be "in the house
of mourning," it is only "the hearts of fools" that would always be "in the "house of mirth*'
Eccles. vii. 4.
PROVERBS XXII. 6.
Train up a child in the way be should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
THERE is something so strikingly comprehensive in this beautiful adage, that it would seem impossible but that the mind of man must be forcibly impressed by it. It is not applicable to any one distinct branch of our moral conduct only, or to any particular period or season of our earthly existence; but to the whole circle of our religious and social duties, and to the whole compass (from the dawn and morning to the evening and last close) of human life. "Train up a child," that innocent and interesting, but helpless being, just entering on the course of an uncertain journey, for which he is himself incapable of making a provision; but which will be strewed with flowers, or beset with thorns,
SERM. as those on whose care he is to depend shall set him forward on his way. Without all doubt, there is not wanting among us sufficient knowledge and experience of the snares and temptations to which the ignorant and uninstructed are exposed, to do away all doubts relative to the necessity of training up a child in the way he should go; neither, I would hope, generally speaking, is there any deficiency of feeling or sentiment, with regard to this important call upon us, that should render the task of recommending it difficult or ungrateful. The text certainly sets before us the strongest motive that can be suggested on the occasion: the care incumbent on us is not that of merely providing for the day that is passing over, or of supplying aid while the helplessness of infancy or imbecility of childhood call for it; but the future scenes of manhood and old age are concerned in the charge: it belongs to us (while their tender minds may be moulded and fashioned to any good principles whatsoever) to secure to them the best chance of becoming good
men hereafter; and of descending, with SERM. respect and the veneration of their fellowcreatures, and full of good hope of everlasting life to come, to the grave of death at the last. "Train up a child in the way "be should go," not merely because he is now feeble and tottering, and incapable of distinguishing the path of life; but because on such care depends consequences the most remote and important, "when "he is old he will not depart from it."
The season being come, in which it is the custom of this place* (founded on the canons of the church, and the laws of the land) publicly to catechise the children of the respective parishes, it may not be amiss, to bestow some consideration on that particular branch of religious instruction; and I therefore purpose to make it the subject of my present discourse: in doing which, I shall avoid entering into any methodical explication of the several articles of our public form; both because the time would not well admit of so large a dis
* Preached at St. Peter's, Oxford, 1796.