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“They study medicine so much, that they forget both the patient and his health.” To look into nature and not see God, is as to see the creatures, and not the light by which we see them ; or to see trees and houses, and not to see the earth that beareth them. For God is the Creating, Conserving, Dirigent and Final Cause of all. Of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things; He is all in all. And if they know not that they are the subjects of this God, and have immortal souls, they are ill proficients in the study of nature, that know no better the nature of man. To boast of their acquisitions in other sciences, while they know not what a man is, nor what they are themselves, is little to the honour of their understandings. You that live still as in the sight of death, should live as in the sight of another world, and excel others in spiritual wisdom, and holiness, and sobriety, as your advantages by these quickening helps excel. Direct. v1. ‘Exercise your compassion and charity to men's souls, as well as to their bodies; and speak to your patients, such words as tend to prepare them for their change.’ You have excellent opportunities, if you have hearts to take them. If ever men will hear, it is when they are sick; and if ever they will be humbled and serious, it is when the approach of death constraineth them. They will hear that counsel now with patience, which they would have despised in their health. A few serious words about the danger of an unregenerate state, and the necessity of holiness, and the use of a Saviour, and the everlasting state of souls, for aught you know, may be blest to their conversion and salvation. And it is much more comfortable for you to save a soul, than cure the body. Think not to excuse yourselves by saying, “It is the pastor's duty;” for though it be theirs “ex officio,' it is yours also “ex charitate.” Charity bindeth every man, as he hath opportunity, to do good to all; and especially the greatest good. And God giveth you opportunity, by casting them in your way; the priest and Levite that passed by the wounded man, were more to be blamed for not relieving him, than those that never went that way, and therefore saw him not". And many a man will send for the physician, that will not send for the pastor: and many a one will hear a physician that will despise the b Luke x. 32. V O L. V. I. i
pastor. As they reverence their landlords, because they hold their estates from them, so do they the physician, because they think they can do much to save their lives. And alas, in too many places the pastors either mind not such work, or are insufficient for it; or else stand at odds and distance from the people; so that there is but too much need of your charitable help. Remember therefore, that he that “converteth a sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins “.” Remember that you are to speak to one that is going into another world, and must be saved now or never! And that all that ever must be done for his salvation must be presently done, or it will be too late. Pity human nature, and harden not your hearts against a man in his extreme necessity. O speak a few serious words for his conversion (if he be one that needs them) before his soul be past your help, in the world from which there is no return.
Directions to Schoolmasters about their Duty for Children's - Souls.
Pass ING by all your grammatical employment, I shall only leave you these brief Directions, for the higher and more noble exercises of your profession. Direct. 1. ‘Determine first rightly of your end ; and then let it be continually in your eye, and let all your endeavours be directed in order to the attainment of it.” If your end be chiefly your own commodity or reputation, the means will be distorted accordingly, and your labours perverted, and your calling corrupted, and embased (to yourselves), by your perverse intentions. See therefore, 1. That your ultimate end, be the pleasing and glorifying of God. 2. And this by promoting the public good, by fitting youth for public service. And, 3. Forming their minds to the love and service of their Maker. 4. And furthering their salvation, and their welfare in the world. These noble designs will lift up your minds, to an industrious and cheerful per
* James v. 20.
formance of your duties! He that seeketh great and heavenly things, will do it with great resolution and alacrity; when any drowsy, creeping pace, and deceitful superficial labours, will satisfy him that hath poor and selfish ends. As God will not accept your labours as any service of his, if your ends be wrong, so he useth not to give so large a blessing to such men's labours as to others. Direct. 11. “Understand the excellency of your calling, and what fair opportunities you have to promote those noble ends; and also how great a charge you undertake; that so you may be kept from sloth and superficialness, and may be quickened to a diligent discharge of your undertaken trust.” 1. You have not a charge of sheep or oxen, but of rational creatures. 2. You have not the care of their bodies, but of their minds; you are not to teach them a trade to live by only in the world, but to inform their minds with the knowledge of their Maker, and to cultivate their wits, and advance their reason, and fit them for the most man-like conversations. 3. You have them not (as pastors) when they are hardened in sin by prejudice and Hong custom; but you have the tenderest twigs to bow, and the most tractable, ductile age to tame; you have paper to write on, (not wholly white, but that) which hath the fewest blots and lines to be expunged. 4. You have them not as volunteers, but as obliged to obey you, and under the correction of the rod; which with tender age is a great advantage. 5. You have them not only for your auditors in a general lecture (as preachers have them at a sermon); but in your nearest converse, where you may teach them as particularly as you please, and examine their profiting, and call them daily to account. 6. You have them not once a week (as preachers have them), but all the week long, from day to day, and from morning until night. 7. You have them at that age, which doth believe their teachers, and take all upon trust, before they are grown up to self-conceitedness, and to contradict and quarrel with their teachers (as with their pastors they very ordinarily do). All these are great advantages to your ends. Direct. 111. ‘Labour to take pleasure in your work, and make it as a recreation, and take heed of a weary or diverted mind.’ 1. To this end consider often of what is said above; think on the excellency of your ends, and of the worth of souls, and of the greatness of your advantages. 2. Take all your scholars as committed to your charge by Jesus Christ; as if he had said to you, Take these whom I have so dearly bought, and train them up for my church and service “. 3. Remember what good one scholar may do, when he cometh to be ripe for the service of the church or commonwealth ! How many souls some of them may be a means to save. Or if they be but fitted for a private life, what blessings they may be to their families and neighbours And remember what a joyful thing it will be, to see them in heaven with Christ for ever ! How cheerfully should such excellent things be sought! If you take pleasure in your work, it will not only be an ease and happiness to yourselves, but greatly further your diligence and success. But when men have a base esteem of their employment, and look at children as so many swine or sheep, or have some higher matters in their eye, and make their schools but the way to some preferment, or more desired life, then usually they do their work deceitfully, and any thing will serve the turn, because they are weary of it, and because their hearts are somewhere else. Direct. 1 v. “Seeing it is divinity that teacheth them the beginning and the end of all their other studies, let it never be omitted or slightly slubbered over, and thrust into a corner; but give it the precedency, and teach it them with greater care and diligence, than any other part of learning ; especially teach them the catechism and the Holy Scriptures.” If you think that this is no part of your work, few wise men will choose such teachers for their children. If you say as some sectaries, that children should not be taught to speak holy words, till they are more capable to understand the sense, because it is hypocrisy, or taking the name of God in vain; I have answered this before, and shewed that words being the signs, must be learned in order to the understanding of the sense, or thing that is signified; and that this is not to use such words in vain, how holy soever, but to the proper end for which they are appointed. Both * Many of the greatest divines have given God great thanks for their schoolin divine and human learning, the memories of children must first be furnished in order to the furnishing of their understandings afterwards. And this is a chief point of the master's skill, that time be not lost, or labour frustrated. For the memories of children are as capacious as men's of riper age; and therefore they should be stored early, with that which will be useful to them afterwards; but till they come to some maturity of age, their judgments are not ripe for information, about any high or difficult points. Therefore teach them betimes the words of catechisms, and some chapters of the Bible; and teach them the meaning by degrees as they are capable. And make them perceive, that you take this for the best of all their learning. Direct. v. ‘Besides the forms of catechism, which you teach them, speak often to them some serious words, about their souls, and the life to come, in such a plain, familiar manner, as tendeth most to the awakening of their consciences, and making them perceive how greatly what you say concerneth them.’ A little such familiar, serious discourse, in an interlocutory way, may go to their hearts, and never be forgotten, when mere forms alone are lifeless and unprofitable. Abundance of good might be done on children, if parents and schoolmasters did well perform their parts in this. Direct. v1. ‘Take strict account of their spending the Lord's day.” How they hear, and what they remember; and how they spend the rest of the day. For the right spending of that day is of great importance to their souls And a custom of play and idleness on that day, doth usually debauch them, and prepare them for much worse. Though they are from under your eye on the Lord's day, yet if on Monday they be called to account, it will leave an awe upon them in your absence. Direct. v11. ‘Pray with them, and for them.” If God give not the increase by the dews of heaven, and shine not on your labours, your planting and watering will be all in vain. Therefore prayer is as suitable a means as teaching, to do them good; and they must go together. He that hath a heart to pray earnestly for his scholars, shall certainly have himself most comfort in his labours; and it is likely that he shall do most good to them.
masters, and left their names on record with honour, as Calvin did by Corderius, Beza by Melchior Volinarius, &c.