I suppose that most professing Christians are acquainted with
the text at the head of this page. The sound of it is probably
familiar to your ears, like an old tune. It is likely you have
heard it, or read it, talked of it, or quoted it, many a time. Is
it not so?
But, after all, how little is the substance of this text
regarded! The doctrine it contains appears scarcely known, the
duty it puts before us seems fearfully seldom practised. Reader,
do I not speak the truth? It cannot be said that the subject is a
new one. The world is old, and we have the experience of nearly
six thousand years to help us. We live in days when there is a
mighty zeal for education in every quarter. We hear of new
schools rising on all sides. We are told of new systems, and new
books for the young, of every sort and description. And still for
all this, the vast majority of children are manifestly not
trained in the way they should go, for when they grow up to mans
estate, they do not walk with God. Now how shall we account for
this state of things? The plain truth is, the Lords
commandment in our text is not regarded; and therefore the Lords
promise in our text is not fulfilled.
Reader, these things may well give rise to great searchings of
heart. Suffer then a word of exhortation from a minister, about
the right training of children. Believe me, the subject is one
that should come home to every conscience, and make every one ask
himself the question, "Am I in this matter doing what I can?"
It is a subject that concerns almost all. There is hardly a
household that it does not touch. Parents, nurses, teachers,
godfathers, godmothers, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, all
have an interest in it. Few can be found, I think, who might not
influence some parent in the management of his family, or affect
the training of some child by suggestion or advice. All of us, I
suspect, can do something here, either directly or indirectly,
and I wish to stir up all to bear this in remembrance.
It is a subject, too, on which all concerned are in great
danger of coming short of their duty. This is preeminently a
point in which men can see the faults of their neighbours more
clearly than their own. They will often bring up their children
in the very path which they have denounced to their friends as
unsafe. They will see motes in other mens families, and
overlook beams in their own. They will be quick sighted as eagles
in detecting mistakes abroad, and yet blind as bats to fatal
errors which are daily going on at home. They will be wise about
their brothers house, but foolish about their own flesh and
blood. Here, if anywhere, we have need to suspect our own
judgment. This, too, you will do well to bear in mind.
Come now, and let me place before you a few hints about right
training. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost bless
them, and make them words in season to you all. Reject them not
because they are blunt and simple; despise them not because they
contain nothing new. Be very sure, if you would train children
for heaven, they are hints that ought not to be lightly set aside.
1. First, then, if you would train your children rightly,
train them in the way they should go, and not in the way that
Remember children are born with a decided bias towards evil,
and therefore if you let them choose for themselves, they are
certain to choose wrong. The mother cannot tell what her tender
infant may grow up to be, tall or short, weak or strong,
wise or foolish he may be any of these things or not, it is
all uncertain. But one thing the mother can say with certainty:
he will have a corrupt and sinful heart. It is natural to us to
do wrong. "Foolishness," says Solomon, "is bound
in the heart of a child" (Prov. 22:15). "A child left
to himself bringeth his mother to shame" (Prov. 29:15). Our
hearts are like the earth on which we tread; let it alone, and it
is sure to bear weeds. If, then, you would deal wisely with your
child, you must not leave him to the guidance of his own will.
Think for him, judge for him, act for him, just as you would for
one weak and blind; but for pitys sake, give him not up to
his own wayward tastes and inclinations. It must not be his
likings and wishes that are consulted. He knows not yet what is
good for his mind and soul, any more than what is good for his
body. You do not let him decide what he shall eat, and what he
shall drink, and how he shall be clothed. Be consistent, and deal
with his mind in like manner. Train him in the way that is
scriptural and right, and not in the way that he fancies.
If you cannot make up your mind to this first principle of
Christian training, it is useless for you to read any further.
Self-will is almost the first thing that appears in a childs
mind; and it must be your first step to resist it.
2. Train up your child with all tenderness, affection, and
patience. I do not mean that you are to spoil him, but I do mean
that you should let him see that you love him.
Love should be the silver thread that runs through all your
conduct. Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance,
patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish
troubles, a readiness to take part in childish joys, these
are the cords by which a child may be led most easily, these
are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his
heart. Few are to be found, even among grown-up people, who are
not more easy to draw than to drive. There is that in all our
minds which rises in arms against compulsion; we set up our backs
and stiffen our necks at the very idea of a forced obedience. We
are like young horses in the hand of a breaker: handle them
kindly, and make much of them, and by and by you may guide them
with thread; use them roughly and violently, and it will be many
a month before you get the mastery of them at all.
Now childrens minds are cast in much the same mould as
our own. Sternness and severity of manner chill them and throw
them back. It shuts up their hearts, and you will weary yourself
to find the door. But let them only see that you have an
affectionate feeling towards them, that you are really
desirous to make them happy, and do them good, that if you
punish them, it is intended for their profit, and that, like the
pelican, you would give your hearts blood to nourish their
souls; let them see this, I say, and they will soon be all your
own. But they must be wooed with kindness, if their attention is
ever to be won. And surely reason itself might teach us this
lesson. Children are weak and tender creatures, and, as such,
they need patient and considerate treatment. We must handle them
delicately, like frail machines, lest by rough fingering we do
more harm than good. They are like young plants, and need gentle
watering, often, but little at a time.
We must not expect all things at once. We must remember what
children are, and teach them as they are able to bear. Their
minds are like a lump of metal not to be forged and made
useful at once, but only by a succession of little blows. Their
understandings are like narrow-necked vessels: we must pour in
the wine of knowledge gradually, or much of it will be spilled
and lost. "Line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a
little and there a little," must be our rule. The whetstone
does its work slowly, but frequent rubbing will bring the scythe
to a fine edge. Truly there is need of patience in training a
child, but without it nothing can be done.
Nothing will compensate for the absence of this tenderness and
love. A minister may speak the truth as it is in Jesus, clearly,
forcibly, unanswerably; but if he does not speak it in love, few
souls will be won. Just so you must set before your children
their duty, command, threaten, punish, reason, but if
affection be wanting in your treatment, your labour will be all
Love is one grand secret of successful training. Anger and
harshness may frighten, but they will not persuade the child that
you are right; and if he sees you often out of temper, you will
soon cease to have his respect. A father who speaks to his son as
Saul did to Jonathan (1 Sam. 20:30), need not expect to retain
his influence over that sons mind.
Try hard to keep up a hold on your childs affections. It
is a dangerous thing to make your children afraid of you.
Anything is almost better than reserve and constraint between
your child and yourself; and this will come in with fear. Fear
puts an end to openness of manner; fear leads to
concealment; fear sows the seed of much hypocrisy, and
leads to many a lie. There is a mine of truth in the Apostles
words to the Colossians: "Fathers, provoke not your children
to anger, lest they be discouraged" (Col. 3:21). Let not the
advice it contains be overlooked.
3. Train your children with an abiding persuasion on your mind
that much depends upon you.
Grace is the strongest of all principles. See what a
revolution grace effects when it comes into the heart of an old
sinner, how it overturns the strongholds of Satan, how
it casts down mountains, fills up valleys, makes crooked
things straight, and new creates the whole man. Truly
nothing is impossible to grace. Nature, too, is very strong. See
how it struggles against the things of the kingdom of God, how
it fights against every attempt to be more holy, how it
keeps up an unceasing warfare within us to the last hour of life.
Nature indeed is strong.
But after nature and grace, undoubtedly, there is nothing more
powerful than education. Early habits (if I may so speak) are
everything with us, under God. We are made what we are by
training. Our character takes the form of that mould into which
our first years are cast.
We depend, in a vast measure, on those who bring us up. We get
from them a colour, a taste, a bias which cling to us more or
less all our lives. We catch the language of our nurses and
mothers, and learn to speak it almost insensibly, and
unquestionably we catch something of their manners, ways, and
mind at the same time. Time only will show, I suspect, how much
we all owe to early impressions, and how many things in us may be
traced up to seeds sown in the days of our very infancy, by those
who were about us. A very learned Englishman, Mr. Locke, has gone
so far as to say: "That of all the men we meet with, nine
parts out of ten are what they are, good or bad, useful or not,
according to their education."
And all this is one of Gods merciful arrangements. He
gives your children a mind that will receive impressions like
moist clay. He gives them a disposition at the starting-point of
life to believe what you tell them, and to take for granted what
you advise them, and to trust your word rather than a strangers.
He gives you, in short, a golden opportunity of doing them good.
See that the opportunity be not neglected, and thrown away. Once
let slip, it is gone for ever. Beware of that miserable delusion
into which some have fallen, that parents can do nothing
for their children, that you must leave them alone, wait for
grace, and sit still. These persons have wishes for their
children in Balaams fashion, they would like them to
die the death of the righteous man, but they do nothing to make
them live his life. They desire much, and have nothing. And the
devil rejoices to see such reasoning, just as he always does over
anything which seems to excuse indolence, or to encourage neglect
I know that you cannot convert your child. I know well that
they who are born again are born, not of the will of man, but of
God. But I know also that God says expressly, "Train up a
child in the way he should go," and that He never laid a
command on man which He would not give man grace to perform. And
I know, too, that our duty is not to stand still and dispute, but
to go forward and obey. It is just in the going forward that God
will meet us. The path of obedience is the way in which He gives
the blessing. We have only to do as the servants were commanded
at the marriage feast in Cana, to fill the water-pots with water,
and we may safely leave it to the Lord to turn that water into
4. Train with this thought continually before your eyes that
the soul of your child is the first thing to be considered.
Precious, no doubt, are these little ones in your eyes; but if
you love them, think often of their souls. No interest should
weigh with you so much as their eternal interests. No part of
them should be so dear to you as that part which will never die.
The world, with all its glory, shall pass away; the hills shall
melt; the heavens shall be wrapped together as a scroll; the sun
shall cease to shine. But the spirit which dwells in those little
creatures, whom you love so well, shall outlive them all, and
whether in happiness or misery (to speak as a man) will depend on
This is the thought that should be uppermost on your mind in
all you do for your children. In every step you take about them,
in every plan, and scheme, and arrangement that concerns them, do
not leave out that mighty question, "How will this affect
Soul love is the soul of all love. To pet and pamper and
indulge your child, as if this world was all he had to look to,
and this life the only season for happiness to do this is
not true love, but cruelty. It is treating him like some beast of
the earth, which has but one world to look to, and nothing after
death. It is hiding from him that grand truth, which he ought to
be made to learn from his very infancy, that the chief end
of his life is the salvation of his soul.
A true Christian must be no slave to fashion, if he would
train his child for heaven. He must not be content to do things
merely because they are the custom of the world; to teach them
and instruct them in certain ways, merely because it is usual; to
allow them to read books of a questionable sort, merely because
everybody else reads them; to let them form habits of a doubtful
tendency, merely because they are the habits of the day. He must
train with an eye to his childrens souls. He must not be
ashamed to hear his training called singular and strange. What if
it is? The time is short, the fashion of this world passeth
away. He that has trained his children for heaven, rather than
for earth, for God, rather than for man, he is the
parent that will be called wise at last.
5. Train your child to a knowledge of the Bible.
You cannot make your children love the Bible, I allow. None
but the Holy Ghost can give us a heart to delight in the Word.
But you can make your children acquainted with the Bible; and be
sure they cannot be acquainted with that blessed book too soon,
or too well.
A thorough knowledge of the Bible is the foundation of all
clear views of religion. He that is well-grounded in it will not
generally be found a waverer, and carried about by every wind of
new doctrine. Any system of training which does not make a
knowledge of Scripture the first thing is unsafe and unsound. You
have need to be careful on this point just now, for the devil is
abroad, and error abounds. Some are to be found amongst us who
give the Church the honour due to Jesus Christ. Some are to be
found who make the sacraments saviours and passports to eternal
life. And some are to be found in like manner who honour a
catechism more than the Bible, or fill the minds of their
children with miserable little story-books, instead of the
Scripture of truth. But if you love your children, let the simple
Bible be everything in the training of their souls; and let all
other books go down and take the second place. Care not so much
for their being mighty in the catechism, as for their being
mighty in the Scriptures. This is the training, believe me, that
God will honour. The Psalmist says of Him, " Thou hast
magnified Thy Word above all Thy name" (Ps. 138:2); and I
think that He gives an especial blessing to all who try to
magnify it among men.
See that your children read the Bible reverently. Train them
to look on it, not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the
Word of God, written by the Holy Ghost Himself, all true,
all profitable, and able to make us wise unto salvation, through
faith which is in Christ Jesus.
See that they read it regularly. Train them to regard it as
their souls daily food, as a thing essential to their
souls daily health. I know well you can not make this
anything more than a form; but there is no telling the amount of
sin which a mere form may indirectly restrain.
See that they read it all. You need not shrink from bringing
any doctrine before them. You need not fancy that the leading
doctrines of Christianity are things which children cannot
understand. Children understand far more of the Bible than we are
apt to suppose.
Tell them of sin, its guilt, its consequences, its power, its
vileness: you will find they can comprehend something of this.
Tell them of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His work for our
salvation, the atonement, the cross, the blood, the
sacrifice, the intercession: you will discover there is something
not beyond them in all this.
Tell them of the work of the Holy Spirit in mans heart,
how He changes, and renews, and sanctifies, and purifies: you
will soon see they can go along with you in some measure in this.
In short, I suspect we have no idea how much a little child can
take in of the length and breadth of the glorious gospel. They
see far more of these things than we suppose.
Fill their minds with Scripture. Let the Word dwell in them
richly. Give them the Bible, the whole Bible, even while they are
6. Train them to a habit of prayer.
Prayer is the very life-breath of true religion. It is one of
the first evidences that a man is born again. "Behold,"
said the Lord of Saul, in the day he sent Ananias to him, "Behold,
he prayeth" (Acts 9:11). He had begun to pray, and that was
Prayer was the distinguishing mark of the Lords people
in the day that there began to be a separation between them and
the world. "Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord"
Prayer is the peculiarity of all real Christians now. They
pray, for they tell God their wants, their feelings, their
desires, their fears; and mean what they say. The nominal
Christian may repeat prayers, and good prayers too, but he goes
Prayer is the turning-point in a mans soul. Our ministry
is unprofitable, and our labour is vain, till you are brought to
your knees. Till then, we have no hope about you.
Prayer is one great secret of spiritual prosperity. When there
is much private communion with God, your soul will grow like the
grass after rain; when there is little, all will be at a
standstill, you will barely keep your soul alive. Show me a
growing Christian, a going forward Christian, a strong Christian,
a flourishing Christian, and sure am I, he is one that speaks
often with his Lord. He asks much, and he has much. He tells
Jesus everything, and so he always knows how to act.
Prayer is the mightiest engine God has placed in our hands. It
is the best weapon to use in every difficulty, and the surest
remedy in every trouble. It is the key that unlocks the treasury
of promises, and the hand that draws forth grace and help in time
of need. It is the silver trumpet God commands us to sound in all
our necessity, and it is the cry He has promised always to attend
to, even as a loving mother to the voice of her child.
Prayer is the simplest means that man can use in coming to God.
It is within reach of all, the sick, the aged, the infirm,
the paralytic, the blind, the poor, the unlearned, all can
pray. It avails you nothing to plead want of memory, and want of
learning, and want of books, and want of scholarship in this
matter. So long as you have a tongue to tell your souls
state, you may and ought to pray. Those words, "Ye have not,
because ye ask not" (Jas. 4:2), will be a fearful
condemnation to many in the day of judgment.
Parents, if you love your children, do all that lies in your
power to train them up to a habit of prayer. Show them how to
begin. Tell them what to say. Encourage them to persevere. Remind
them if they become careless and slack about it. Let it not be
your fault, at any rate, if they never call on the name of the
Lord. This, remember, is the first step in religion which a child
is able to take. Long before he can read, you can teach him to
kneel by his mothers side, and repeat the simple words of
prayer and praise which she puts in his mouth. And as the first
steps in any undertaking are always the most important, so is the
manner in which your childrens prayers are prayed, a point
which deserves your closest attention. Few seem to know how much
depends on this. You must beware lest they get into a way of
saying them in a hasty, careless, and irreverent manner.
You must beware of giving up the oversight of this matter to
servants and nurses, or of trusting too much to your children
doing it when left to themselves. I cannot praise that mother who
never looks after this most important part of her childs
daily life herself. Surely if there be any habit which your own
hand and eye should help in forming, it is the habit of prayer.
Believe me, if you never hear your children pray yourself, you
are much to blame. You are little wiser than the bird described
in Job, "which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth
them in the dust, and forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or
that the wild beast may break them. She is hardened against her
young ones, as though they were not hers: her labour is in vain
without fear" (Job 39:14-16).
Prayer is, of all habits, the one which we recollect the
longest. Many a grey- headed man could tell you how his mother
used to make him pray in the days of his childhood. Other things
have passed away from his mind perhaps. The church where he was
taken to worship, the minister whom he heard preach, the
companions who used to play with him, all these, it may be,
have passed from his memory, and left no mark behind. But you
will often find it is far different with his first prayers. He
will often be able to tell you where he knelt, and what he was
taught to say, and even how his mother looked all the while. It
will come up as fresh before his minds eye as if it was but
Reader, if you love your children, I charge you, do not let
the seed-time of a prayerful habit pass away unimproved. If you
train your children to anything, train them, at least, to a habit
7. Train them to habits of diligence, and regularity about
public means of grace.
Tell them of the duty and privilege of going to the house of
God, and joining in the prayers of the congregation. Tell them
that wherever the Lords people are gathered together, there
the Lord Jesus is present in an especial manner, and that those
who absent themselves must expect, like the Apostle Thomas, to
miss a blessing. Tell them of the importance of hearing the Word
preached, and that it is Gods ordinance for converting,
sanctifying, and building up the souls of men. Tell them how the
Apostle Paul enjoins us not "to forsake the assembling of
ourselves together, as the manner of some is" (Heb. 10:25);
but to exhort one another, to stir one another up to it, and so
much the more as we see the day approaching.
I call it a sad sight in a church when nobody comes up to the
Lords table but the elderly people, and the young men and
the young women all turn away. But I call it a sadder sight still
when no children are to be seen in a church, excepting those who
come to the Sunday School, and are obliged to attend. Let none of
this guilt lie at your doors. There are many boys and girls in
every parish, besides those who come to school, and you who are
their parents and friends should see to it that they come with
you to church.
Do not allow them to grow up with a habit of making vain
excuses for not coming. Give them plainly to understand, that so
long as they are under your roof it is the rule of your house for
every one in health to honour the Lords house upon the Lords
day, and that you reckon the Sabbath-breaker to be a murderer of
his own soul.
See to it too, if it can be so arranged, that your children go
with you to church, and sit near you when they are there. To go
to church is one thing, but to behave well at church is quite
another. And believe me, there is no security for good behaviour
like that of having them under your own eye.
The minds of young people are easily drawn aside, and their
attention lost, and every possible means should be used to
counteract this. I do not like to see them coming to church by
themselves, they often get into bad company by the way, and
so learn more evil on the Lords day than in all the rest of
the week. Neither do I like to see what I call "a young
peoples corner" in a church. They often catch habits
of inattention and irreverence there, which it takes years to
unlearn, if ever they are unlearned at all. What I like to see is
a whole family sitting together, old and young, side by side, men,
women, and children, serving God according to their households.
But there are some who say that it is useless to urge children
to attend means of grace, because they cannot understand them.
I would not have you listen to such reasoning. I find no such
doctrine in the Old Testament. When Moses goes before Pharaoh (Ex.
10:9), I observe he says, "We will go with our young and
with our old, with our sons and with our daughters: for we must
hold a feast unto the Lord." When Joshua read the law (Josh.
8:35), I observe, "There was not a word which Joshua read
not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women and the
little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them."
"Thrice in the year," says Ex. 34:23, "shall all
your men-children appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel."
And when I turn to the New Testament, I find children mentioned
there as partaking in public acts of religion as well as in the
Old. When Paul was leaving the disciples at Tyre for the last
time, I find it said (Acts 21:5)," They all brought us on
our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city:
and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed."
Samuel, in the days of his childhood, appears to have
ministered unto the Lord some time before he really knew Him.
"Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of
the Lord yet revealed unto him" (1 Sam. 3:7). The Apostles
themselves do not seem to have understood all that our Lord said
at the time that it was spoken: "These things understood not
His disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then
remembered they that these things were written of Him" (John
Parents, comfort your minds with these examples. Be not cast
down because your children see not the full value of the means of
grace now. Only train them up to a habit of regular attendance.
Set it before their minds as a high, holy, and solemn duty, and
believe me, the day will very likely come when they will bless
you for your deed.
8. Train them to a habit of faith.
I mean by this, you should train them up to believe what you
say. You should try to make them feel confidence in your
judgment, and respect your opinions, as better than their own.
You should accustom them to think that, when you say a thing is
bad for them, it must be bad, and when you say it is good for
them, it must be good; that your knowledge, in short, is better
than their own, and that they may rely implicitly on your word.
Teach them to feel that what they know not now, they will
probably know hereafter, and to be satisfied there is a reason
and a needs-be for everything you require them to do.
Who indeed can describe the blessedness of a real spirit of
faith? Or rather, who can tell the misery that unbelief has
brought upon the world? Unbelief made Eve eat the forbidden
fruit, she doubted the truth of Gods word: "Ye
shall surely die." Unbelief made the old world reject Noahs
warning, and so perish in sin. Unbelief kept Israel in the
wilderness, it was the bar that kept them from entering the
promised land. Unbelief made the Jews crucify the Lord of glory,
they believed not the voice of Moses and the prophets, though
read to them every day. And unbelief is the reigning sin of mans
heart down to this very hour, unbelief in Gods
promises, unbelief in Gods threatenings,
unbelief in our own sinfulness, unbelief in our own
danger, unbelief in everything that runs counter to the
pride and worldliness of our evil hearts. Reader, you train your
children to little purpose if you do not train them to a habit of
implicit faith, faith in their parents word,
confidence that what their parents say must be right.
I have heard it said by some, that you should require nothing
of children which they cannot understand that you should explain
and give a reason for everything you desire them to do. I warn
you solemnly against such a notion. I tell you plainly, I think
it an unsound and rotten principle. No doubt it is absurd to make
a mystery of everything you do, and there are many things which
it is well to explain to children, in order that they may see
that they are reasonable and wise. But to bring them up with the
idea that they must take nothing on trust, that they, with their
weak and imperfect understandings, must have the "why"
and the "wherefore" made clear to them at every step
they take, this is indeed a fearful mistake, and likely to
have the worst effect on their minds.
Reason with your child if you are so disposed, at certain
times, but never forget to keep him in mind (if you really love
him) that he is but a child after all, that he thinks as a
child, he understands as a child, and therefore must not expect
to know the reason of everything at once.
Set before him the example of Isaac, in the day when Abraham
took him to offer him on Mount Moriah (Gen. 22). He asked his
father that single question, "Where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?"
and he got no answer but this, "God will provide Himself a
lamb." How, or where, or whence, or in what manner, or by
what means, all this Isaac was not told; but the answer was
enough. He believed that it would be well, because his father
said so, and he was content. Tell your children, too, that we
must all be learners in our beginnings, that there is an alphabet
to be mastered in every kind of knowledge, that the best
horse in the world had need once to be broken, that a day
will come when they will see the wisdom of all your training. But
in the meantime if you say a thing is right, it must be enough
for them, they must believe you, and be content.
Parents, if any point in training is important, it is this. I
charge you by the affection you have to your children, use every
means to train them up to a habit of faith.
9. Train them to a habit of obedience.
This is an object which it is worth any labour to attain. No
habit, I suspect, has such an influence over our lives as this.
Parents, determine to make your children obey you, though it may
cost you much trouble, and cost them many tears. Let there be no
questioning, and reasoning, and disputing, and delaying, and
answering again. When you give them a command, let them see
plainly that you will have it done.
Obedience is the only reality. It is faith visible, faith
acting, and faith incarnate. It is the test of real discipleship
among the Lords people. "Ye are My friends if ye do
whatsoever I command you" (John 15:14). It ought to be the
mark of well- trained children, that they do whatsoever their
parents command them. Where, in deed, is the honour which the
fifth commandment enjoins, if fathers and mothers are not obeyed
cheerfully, willingly, and at once?
Early obedience has all Scripture on its side. It is in
Abrahams praise, not merely he will train his family, but
"he will command his children, and his household after him"
(Gen. 18:19). It is said of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, that
when "He was young He was subject to Mary and Joseph" (Luke
Observe how implicitly Joseph obeyed the order of his father
Jacob (Gen. 37:13). See how Isaiah speaks of it as an evil thing,
when "the child shall behave himself proudly against the
ancient" (Isa. 3:5). Mark how the Apostle Paul names
disobedience to parents as one of the bad signs of the latter
days (2 Tim. 3:2). Mark how he singles out this grace of
requiring obedience as one that should adorn a Christian minister:
"a bishop must be one that ruleth well his own house, having
his children in subjection with all gravity." And again,
"Let the deacons rule their children and their own houses
well " (1 Tim. 3:4,12). And again, an elder must be one
"having faithful children, children not accused of riot, or
unruly" (Tit. 1:6).
Parents, do you wish to see your children happy? Take care,
then, that you train them to obey when they are spoken to, to
do as they are bid. Believe me, we are not made for entire
independence, we are not fit for it. Even Christs
freemen have a yoke to wear, they "serve the Lord Christ"
(Col. 3:24). Children cannot learn too soon that this is a world
in which we are not all intended to rule, and that we are never
in our right place until we know how to obey our betters. Teach
them to obey while young, or else they will be fretting against
God all their lives long, and wear themselves out with the vain
idea of being independent of His control.
Reader, this hint is only too much needed. You will see many
in this day who allow their children to choose and think for
themselves long before they are able, and even make excuses for
their disobedience, as if it were a thing not to be blamed. To my
eyes, a parent always yielding, and a child always having its own
way, are a most painful sight; painful, because I see Gods
appointed order of things inverted and turned upside down; painful,
because I feel sure the consequence to that childs
character in the end will be self-will, pride, and self-conceit.
You must not wonder that men refuse to obey their Father which is
in heaven, if you allow them, when children, to disobey their
father who is upon earth.
Parents, if you love your children, let obedience be a motto
and a watchword continually before their eyes.
10. Train them to a habit of always speaking the truth.
Truth-speaking is far less common in the world than at first
sight we are disposed to think. The whole truth, and nothing but
the truth, is a golden rule which many would do well to bear in
mind. Lying and prevarication are old sins. The devil was the
father of them, he deceived Eve by a bold lie, and ever
since the fall it is a sin against which all the children of Eve
have need to be on their guard.
Only think how much falsehood and deceit there is in the world!
How much exaggeration! How many additions are made to a simple
story! How many things left out, if it does not serve the speakers
interest to tell them! How few there are about us of whom we can
say, we put unhesitating trust in their word! Verily the ancient
Persians were wise in their generation: it was a leading point
with them in educating their children, that they should learn to
speak the truth. What an awful proof it is of mans natural
sinfulness, that it should be needful to name such a point at all!
Reader, I would have you remark how often God is spoken of in
the Old Testament as the God of truth. Truth seems to be
especially set before us as a leading feature in the character of
Him with whom we have to do. He never swerves from the straight
line. He abhors lying and hypocrisy. Try to keep this continually
before your childrens minds. Press upon them at all times,
that less than the truth is a lie; that evasion, excuse-making,
and exaggeration are all halfway houses towards what is false,
and ought to be avoided. Encourage them in any circumstances to
be straightforward, and, whatever it may cost them, to speak the
I press this subject on your attention, not merely for the
sake of your childrens character in the world, though
I might dwell much on this, I urge it rather for your own
comfort and assistance in all your dealings with them. You will
find it a mighty help indeed, to be able always to trust their
word. It will go far to prevent that habit of concealment, which
so unhappily prevails sometimes among children. Openness and
straightforwardness depend much upon a parents treatment of
this matter in the days of our infancy.
11. Train them to a habit of always redeeming the time.
Idleness is the devils best friend. It is the surest way
to give him an opportunity of doing us harm. An idle mind is like
an open door, and if Satan does not enter in himself by it, it is
certain he will throw in something to raise bad thoughts in our
No created being was ever meant to be idle. Service and work
is the appointed portion of every creature of God. The angels in
heaven work, they are the Lords ministering servants,
ever doing His will. Adam, in Paradise, had work, he was
appointed to dress the garden of Eden, and to keep it. The
redeemed saints in glory will have work, "They rest not day
and night singing praise and glory to Him who bought them."
And man, weak, sinful man, must have something to do, or else his
soul will soon get into an unhealthy state. We must have our
hands filled, and our minds occupied with something, or else our
imaginations will soon ferment and breed mischief.
And what is true of us, is true of our children too. Alas,
indeed, for the man that has nothing to do! The Jews thought
idleness a positive sin: it was a law of theirs that every man
should bring up his son to some useful trade, and they were
right. They knew the heart of man better than some of us appear
Idleness made Sodom what she was. "This was the iniquity
of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of
idleness was in her" (Ezek. 16:49). Idleness had much to do
with Davids awful sin with the wife of Uriah. I see in
2 Sam. 11 that Joab went out to war against Ammon, "but
David tarried still at Jerusalem." Was not that idle? And
then it was that he saw Bathsheba, and the next step we read
of is his tremendous and miserable fall.
Verily, I believe that idleness has led to more sin than
almost any other habit that could be named. I suspect it is the
mother of many a work of the flesh, the mother of
adultery, fornication, drunkenness, and many other deeds of
darkness that I have not time to name. Let your own conscience
say whether I do not speak the truth. You were idle, and at once
the devil knocked at the door and came in.
And indeed I do not wonder; everything in the world
around us seems to teach the same lesson. It is the still water
which becomes stagnant and impure: the running, moving streams
are always clear. If you have steam machinery, you must work it,
or it soon gets out of order. If you have a horse, you must
exercise him; he is never so well as when he has regular work. If
you would have good bodily health yourself, you must take
exercise. If you always sit still, your body is sure at length to
complain. And just so is it with the soul. The active moving mind
is a hard mark for the devil to shoot at. Try to be always full
of useful employment, and thus your enemy will find it difficult
to get room to sow tares. Reader, I ask you to set these things
before the minds of your children. Teach them the value of time,
and try to make them learn the habit of using it well. It pains
me to see children idling over what they have in hand, whatever
it may be. I love to see them active and industrious, and giving
their whole heart to all they do; giving their whole heart to
lessons, when they have to learn; giving their whole heart
even to their amusements, when they go to play.
But if you love them well, let idleness be counted a sin in
12. Train them with a constant fear of over-indulgence.
This is the one point of all on which you have most need to be
on your guard. It is natural to be tender and affectionate
towards your own flesh and blood, and it is the excess of this
very tenderness and affection which you have to fear. Take heed
that it does not make you blind to your childrens faults,
and deaf to all advice about them. Take heed lest it make you
overlook bad conduct, rather than have the pain of inflicting
punishment and correction.
I know well that punishment and correction are disagreeable
things. Nothing is more unpleasant than giving pain to those we
love, and calling forth their tears. But so long as hearts are
what hearts are, it is vain to suppose, as a general rule, that
children can ever be brought up without correction.
Spoiling is a very expressive word, and sadly full of meaning.
Now it is the shortest way to spoil children to let them have
their own way, to allow them to do wrong and not to punish
them for it. Believe me, you must not do it, whatever pain it may
cost you unless you wish to ruin your childrens souls.
You cannot say that Scripture does not speak expressly on this
subject: "He that spareth his rod, hateth his son; but he
that loveth him, chasteneth him betimes" (Prov. 13:24).
"Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul
spare for his crying" (Prov. 19:18). "Foolishness is
bound in the heart of a child: but the rod of correction shall
drive it from him" (Prov. 22:15). "Withhold not
correction from the child, for if thou beatest him with the rod
he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver
his soul from hell" (Prov. 23:13,14). "The rod and
reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his
mother to shame." "Correct thy son, and he shall give
thee rest, yea, he shall give delight to thy soul" (Prov. 29:15,17).
How strong and forcible are these texts! How melancholy is the
fact, that in many Christian families they seem almost unknown!
Their children need reproof, but it is hardly ever given; they
need correction, but it is hardly ever employed. And yet this
book of Proverbs is not obsolete and unfit for Christians. It is
given by inspiration of God, and profitable. It is given for our
learning, even as the Epistles to the Romans and Ephesians.
Surely the believer who brings up his children without attention
to its counsel is making himself wise above that which is
written, and greatly errs.
Fathers and mothers, I tell you plainly, if you never punish
your children when they are in fault, you are doing them a
grievous wrong. I warn you, this is the rock on which the saints
of God, in every age, have only too frequently made shipwreck. I
would fain persuade you to be wise in time, and keep clear of it.
See it in Elis case. His sons Hophni and Phinehas "made
themselves vile, and he restrained them not." He gave them
no more than a tame and lukewarm reproof, when he ought to have
rebuked them sharply. In one word, he honoured his sons above God.
And what was the end of these things? He lived to hear of the
death of both his sons in battle, and his own grey hairs were
brought down with sorrow to the grave (1 Sam. 2:22-29, 3:13).
See, too, the case of David. Who can read without pain the
history of his children, and their sins? Amnons incest,
Absaloms murder and proud rebellion, Adonijahs
scheming ambition: truly these were grievous wounds for the man
after Gods own heart to receive from his own house. But was
there no fault on his side? I fear there can be no doubt there
was. I find a clue to it all in the account of Adonijah in 1
Kings 1:6: "His father had not displeased him at any time in
saying, Why hast thou done so?" There was the foundation of
all the mischief. David was an over-indulgent father, a
father who let his children have their own way, and he
reaped according as he had sown.
Parents, I beseech you, for your childrens sake, beware
of over-indulgence. I call on you to remember, it is your first
duty to consult their real interests, and not their fancies and
likings; to train them, not to humour them to profit,
not merely to please.
You must not give way to every wish and caprice of your childs
mind, however much you may love him. You must not let him suppose
his will is to be everything, and that he has only to desire a
thing and it will be done. Do not, I pray you, make your children
idols, lest God should take them away, and break your idol, just
to convince you of your folly.
Learn to say "No" to your children. Show them that
you are able to refuse whatever you think is not fit for them.
Show them that you are ready to punish disobedience, and that
when you speak of punishment, you are not only ready to threaten,
but also to perform. Do not threaten too much. Threatened
folks, and threatened faults, live long. Punish seldom, but
really and in good earnest, frequent and slight punishment
is a wretched system indeed.
Beware of letting small faults pass unnoticed under the idea
"it is a little one." There are no little things in
training children; all are important. Little weeds need plucking
up as much as any. Leave them alone, and they will soon be great.
Reader, if there be any point which deserves your attention,
believe me, it is this one. It is one that will give you trouble,
I know. But if you do not take trouble with your children when
they are young, they will give you trouble when they are old.
Choose which you prefer.
13. Train them remembering continually how God trains His
The Bible tells us that God has an elect people, a family
in this world. All poor sinners who have been convinced of sin,
and fled to Jesus for peace, make up that family. All of us who
really believe on Christ for salvation are its members. Now God
the Father is ever training the members of this family for their
everlasting abode with Him in heaven. He acts as a husbandman
pruning his vines, that they may bear more fruit. He knows the
character of each of us, our besetting sins, our
weaknesses, our peculiar infirmities, our special
wants. He knows our works and where we dwell, who are our
companions in life, and what are our trials, what our
temptations, and what are our privileges. He knows all these
things, and is ever ordering all for our good. He allots to each
of us, in His providence, the very things we need, in order to
bear the most fruit, as much of sunshine as we can stand,
and as much of rain, as much of bitter things as we can
bear, and as much of sweet. Reader, if you would train your
children wisely, mark well how God the Father trains His. He
doeth all things well; the plan which He adopts must be right.
See, then, how many things there are which God withholds from
His children. Few could be found, I suspect, among them who have
not had desires which He has never been pleased to fulfil. There
has often been some one thing they wanted to attain, and yet
there has always been some barrier to prevent attainment. It has
been just as if God was placing it above our reach, and saying,
"This is not good for you; this must not be." Moses
desired exceedingly to cross over Jordan, and see the goodly land
of promise; but you will remember his desire was never granted.
See, too, how often God leads His people by ways which seem
dark and mysterious to our eyes. We cannot see the meaning of all
His dealings with us; we cannot see the reasonableness of the
path in which our feet are treading. Sometimes so many trials
have assailed us, so many difficulties encompassed us, that
we have not been able to discover the needs-be of it all. It has
been just as if our Father was taking us by the hand into a dark
place and saying, "Ask no questions, but follow Me."
There was a direct road from Egypt to Canaan, yet Israel was not
led into it; but round, through the wilderness. And this seemed
hard at the time. "The soul of the people," we are
told, "was much discouraged because of the way" (Exod.
13:17; Num. 21:4).
See, also, how often God chastens His people with trial and
affliction. He sends them crosses and disappointments; He lays
them low with sickness; He strips them of property and friends;
He changes them from one position to another; He visits them with
things most hard to flesh and blood; and some of us have well-
nigh fainted under the burdens laid upon us. We have felt pressed
beyond strength, and have been almost ready to murmur at the hand
which chastened us. Paul the Apostle had a thorn in the flesh
appointed him, some bitter bodily trial, no doubt, though we know
not exactly what it was. But this we know, he besought the
Lord thrice that it might be removed; yet it was not taken away (2
Now, reader, notwithstanding all these things, did you ever
hear of a single child of God who thought his Father did not
treat him wisely? No, I am sure you never did. Gods
children would always tell you, in the long run, it was a blessed
thing they did not have their own way, and that God had done far
better for them than they could have done for themselves. Yes!
And they could tell you, too, that Gods dealings had
provided more happiness for them than they ever would have
obtained themselves, and that His way, however dark at times, was
the way of pleasantness and the path of peace.
I ask you to lay to heart the lesson which Gods dealings
with His people is meant to teach you. Fear not to withhold from
your child anything you think will do him harm, whatever his own
wishes may be. This is Gods plan. Hesitate not to lay on
him commands, of which he may not at present see the wisdom, and
to guide him in ways which may not now seem reasonable to his
mind. This is Gods plan.
Shrink not from chastising and correcting him whenever you see
his souls health requires it, however painful it may be to
your feelings; and remember medicines for the mind must not be
rejected because they are bitter. This is Gods plan.
And be not afraid, above all, that such a plan of training
will make your child unhappy. I warn you against this delusion.
Depend on it, there is no surer road to unhappiness than always
having our own way. To have our wills checked and denied is a
blessed thing for us; it makes us value enjoyments when they come.
To be indulged perpetually is the way to be made selfish; and
selfish people and spoiled children, believe me, are seldom happy.
Reader, be not wiser than God; train your children as He
14. Train them remembering continually the influence; of your
Instruction, and advice, and commands will profit little,
unless they are backed up by the pattern of your own life. Your
children will never believe you are in earnest, and really wish
them to obey you, so long as your actions contradict your counsel.
Archbishop Tillotson made a wise remark when he said, "To
give children good instruction, and a bad example, is but
beckoning to them with the head to show them the way to heaven,
while we take them by the hand and lead them in the way to hell."
We little know the force and power of example. No one of us
can live to himself in this world; we are always influencing
those around us, in one way or another, either for good or for
evil, either for God or for sin. They see our ways, they
mark our conduct, they observe our behaviour, and what they see
us practise, that they may fairly suppose we think right. And
never, I believe, does example tell so powerfully as it does in
the case of parents and children.
Fathers and mothers, do not forget that children learn more by
the eye than they do by the ear. No school will make such deep
marks on character as home. The best of schoolmasters will not
imprint on their minds as much as they will pick up at your
fireside. Imitation is a far stronger principle with children
than memory. What they see has a much stronger effect on their
minds than what they are told.
Take care, then, what you do before a child. It is a true
proverb, "Who sins before a child, sins double." Strive
rather to be a living epistle of Christ, such as your families
can read, and that plainly too. Be an example of reverence for
the Word of God, reverence in prayer, reverence for means of
grace, reverence for the Lords day. Be an example in
words, in temper, in diligence, in temperance, in faith, in
charity, in kindness, in humility. Think not your children will
practise what they do not see you do. You are their model
picture, and they will copy what you are. Your reasoning and your
lecturing, your wise commands and your good advice; all this they
may not understand, but they can understand your life.
Children are very quick observers; very quick in seeing
through some kinds of hypocrisy, very quick in finding out what
you really think and feel, very quick in adopting all your ways
and opinions. You will often find as the father is, so is the son.
Remember the word that the conqueror Caesar always used to his
soldiers in a battle. He did not say "Go forward," but
"Come." So it must be with you in training your
children. They will seldom learn habits which they see you
despise, or walk in paths in which you do not walk yourself. He
that preaches to his children what he does not practise, is
working a work that never goes forward. It is like the fabled web
of Penelope of old, who wove all day, and unwove all night. Even
so, the parent who tries to train without setting a good example
is building with one hand, and pulling down with the other.
15. Train them. remembering continually the power of sin.
I name this shortly, in order to guard you against
unscriptural expectations. You must not expect to find your
childrens minds a sheet of pure white paper, and to have no
trouble if you only use right means. I warn you plainly you will
find no such thing. It is painful to see how much corruption and
evil there is in a young childs heart, and how soon it
begins to bear fruit. Violent tempers, self- will, pride, envy,
sullenness, passion, idleness, selfishness, deceit, cunning,
falsehood, hypocrisy, a terrible aptness to learn what is bad, a
painful slowness to learn what is good, a readiness to pretend
anything in order to gain their own ends, all these things,
or some of them, you must be prepared to see, even in your own
flesh and blood. In little ways they will creep out at a very
early age; it is almost startling to observe how naturally they
seem to spring up. Children require no schooling to learn to sin.
But you must not be discouraged and cast down by what you see.
You must not think it a strange and unusual thing, that little
hearts can be so full of sin. It is the only portion which our
father Adam left us; it is that fallen nature with which we come
into the world; it is that inheritance which belongs to us all.
Let it rather make you more diligent in using every means which
seem most likely, by Gods blessing, to counteract the
mischief. Let it make you more and more careful, so far as in you
lies, to keep your children out of the way of temptation.
Never listen to those who tell you your children are good, and
well brought up, and can be trusted. Think rather that their
hearts are always inflammable as tinder. At their very best, they
only want a spark to set their corruptions alight. Parents are
seldom too cautious. Remember the natural depravity of your
children, and take care.
16. Train them remembering continually the promises of
I name this also shortly, in order to guard you against
discouragement. You have a plain promise on your side, "Train
up your child in the way he should go, and when he is old he
shall not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6). Think what it is to
have a promise like this. Promises were the only lamp of hope
which cheered the hearts of the patriarchs before the Bible was
written. Enoch, Noah, Abrahanm, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, all
lived on a few promises, and prospered in their souls. Promises
are the cordials which in every age have supported and
strengthened the believer. He that has got a plain text upon his
side need never be cast down. Fathers and mothers, when your
hearts are failing, and ready to halt, look at the word of this
text, and take comfort.
Think who it is that promises. It is not the word of a man,
who may lie or repent; it is the word of the King of kings, who
never changes. Hath He said a thing, and shall He not do it? Or
hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good? Neither is
anything too hard for Him to perform. The things that are
impossible with men are possible with God. Reader, if we get not
the benefit of the promise we are dwelling upon, the fault is not
in Him, but in ourselves.
Think, too, what the promise contains, before you refuse to
take comfort from it. It speaks of a certain time when good
training shall especially bear fruit, "when a child is
old." Surely there is comfort in this. You may not see with
your own eyes the result of careful training, but you know not
what blessed fruits may not spring from it, long after you are
dead and gone. It is not Gods way to give everything at
once. "Afterwards is the time when He often chooses to
work, both in the things of nature and in the things of grace.
"Afterward" is the season when affliction bears the
peaceable fruit of righteousness (Heb. 12:11). "Afterward"
was the time when the son who refused to work in his fathers
vineyard repented and went (Matt. 21:29). And "afterward"
is the time to which parents must look forward if they see not
success at once, you must sow in hope and plant in hope.
Cast thy bread upon the waters," saith the Spirit, "for
thou shalt find it after many days" (Eceles. 11:1). Many
children, I doubt not, shall rise up in the day of judgment, and
bless their parents for good training, who never gave any signs
of having profited by it during their parents lives. Go
forward then in faith, and be sure that your labour shall not be
altogether thrown away. Three times did Elijah stretch himself
upon the widows child before it revived. Take example from
him, and persevere.
17. Train them, lastly, with continual prayer for a blessing
on all you do.
Without the blessing of the Lord, your best endeavours will do
no good. He has the hearts of all men in His hands, and except He
touch the hearts of your children by His Spirit, you will weary
yourself to no purpose. Water, therefore, the seed you sow on
their minds with unceasing prayer. The Lord is far more willing
to hear than we to pray; far more ready to give blessings than we
to ask them ; but He loves to be entreated for them. And I
set this matter of prayer before you, as the top-stone and seal
of all you do. I suspect the child of many prayers is seldom cast
Look upon your children as Jacob did on his; he tells Esau
they are "the children which God hath graciously given thy
servant" (Gen. 33:5). Look on them as Joseph did on his; he
told his father, "They are the sons whom God hath given me"
(Gen. 48:9). Count them with the Psalmist to be "an heritage
and reward from the Lord" (Ps. 127:3). And then ask the
Lord, with a holy boldness, to be gracious and merciful to His
own gifts. Mark how Abraham intercedes for Ishmael, because he
loved him, "Oh that Ishmael might live before thee" (Gen.
17:18). See how Manoah speaks to the angel about Samson, "How
shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?" (Judg.
13:12). Observe how tenderly Job cared for his childrens
souls, "He offered burnt-offerings according to the number
of them all, for he said, It may be my sons have sinned, and
cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually" (Job 1:5).
Parents, if you love your children, go and do likewise. You
cannot name their names before the mercy-seat too often.
And now, reader, in conclusion, let me once more press upon
you the necessity and importance of using every single means in
your power, if you would train children for heaven.
I know well that God is a sovereign God, and doeth all things
according to the counsel of His own will. I know that Rehoboam
was the son of Solomon, and Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, and
that you do not always see godly parents having a godly seed. But
I know also that God is a God who works by means, and sure am I,
if you make light of such means as I have mentioned, your
children are not likely to turn out well.
Fathers and mothers, you may take your children to be
baptized, and have them enrolled in the ranks of Christs
Church; you may get godly sponsors to answer for them, and
help you by their prayers; you may send them to the best of
schools, and give them Bibles and Prayer Books, and fill them
with head knowledge but if all this time there is no regular
training at home, I tell you plainly, I fear it will go hard in
the end with your childrens souls. Home is the place where
habits are formed; home is the place where the foundations
of character are laid; home gives the bias to our tastes,
and likings, and opinions. See then, I pray you, that there be
careful training at home. Happy indeed is the man who can say, as
Bolton did upon his dying bed, to his children, "I do
believe not one of you will dare to meet me before the tribunal
of Christ in an unregenerate state."
Fathers and mothers, I charge you solemnly before God and the
Lord Jesus Christ, take every pains to train your children in the
way they should go. I charge you not merely for the sake of your
childrens souls; I charge you for the sake of your own
future comfort and peace. Truly it is your interest so to do.
Truly your own happiness in great measure depends on it. Children
have ever been the bow from which the sharpest arrows have
pierced mans heart.
Children have mixed the bitterest cups that man has ever had
to drink. Children have caused the saddest tears that man has
ever had to shed. Adam could tell you so; Jacob could tell you
so; David could tell you so. There are no sorrows on earth like
those which children have brought upon their parents. Oh! take
heed, lest your own neglect should lay up misery for you in your
old age. Take heed, lest you weep under the ill-treatment of a
thankless child, in the days when your eye is dim, and your
natural force abated.
If ever you wish your children to be the restorers of your
life, and the nourishers of your old age, if you would have
them blessings and not curses joys and not sorrows Judahs
and not Reubens Ruths and not Orpahs, if you would not,
like Noah, be ashamed of their deeds, and, like Rebekah, be made
weary of your life by them: if this be your wish, remember my
advice betimes, train them while young in the right way.
And as for me, I will conclude by putting up my prayer to God
for all who read this paper, that you may all be taught of God to
feel the value of your own souls. This is one reason why baptism
is too often a mere form, and Christian training despised and
disregarded. Too often parents feel not for themselves, and so
they feel not for their children. They do not realize the
tremendous difference between a state of nature and a state of
grace, and therefore they are content to let them alone.
Now the Lord teach you all that sin is that abominable thing
which God hateth. Then, I know you will mourn over the sins of
your children, and strive to pluck them out as brands from the
The Lord teach you all how precious Christ is, and what a
mighty and complete work He hath done for our salvation. Then, I
feel confident you will use every means to bring your children to
Jesus, that they may live through Him. The Lord teach you all
your need of the Holy Spirit, to renew, sanctify, and quicken
your souls. Then, I feel sure you will urge your children to pray
for Him without ceasing, and never rest till He has come down
into their hearts with power, and made them new creatures.
The Lord grant this, and then I have a good hope that you will
indeed train up your children well, train well for this
life, and train well for the life to come; train well for earth,
and train well for heaven; train them for God, for Christ, and