Parentsí Intercession For Their Children
If parents should thus make themselves advocates and intercessors with God for their children, constantly applying to heaven in behalf of them, nothing would be more likely not only to bless their children, but also to form and dispose their own minds to the performance of everything that was excellent and praiseworthy.
I do not suppose, but that the generality of parents remember their children in their prayers, and call upon God to bless them. But the thing here intended is not a general remembrance of them, but a regular method of recommending all their particular needs and necessities unto God; and of praying for every such particular grace and virtue for them, as their state and condition of life shall seem to require.
The state of parents is a holy state, in some degree like that of the priesthood, and calls upon them to bless their children with their prayers and sacrifices to God. Thus it was that holy Job watched over and blessed his children, he sanctified them, "he rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all" (Job 1:5).
If parents, therefore, considering themselves in this light, should be daily calling upon God in a solemn, deliberate manner, altering and extending their intercessions, as the state and growth of their children required, such devotion would have a mighty influence upon the rest of their lives; it would make them very circumspect in the government of themselves; prudent and careful of everything they said or did, lest their example should hinder that which they so constantly desired in their prayers.
If a father were daily making particular prayers to God, that He would please to inspire his children with true piety, great humility, and strict temperance, what could be more likely to make the father himself become exemplary in these virtues? How naturally would he grow ashamed of wanting such virtues, as he thought necessary for his children! So that his prayers for their piety would be a certain means of exalting his own to its greatest height.
If a father thus considered himself as an intercessor with God for his children, to bless them with his prayers, what more likely means to make him aspire after every degree of holiness, that he might thereby be fitter to obtain blessings from heaven for them? How would such thoughts make him avoid everything that was sinful and displeasing to God, lest when he prayed for his children, God should reject his prayers!
How tenderly, how religiously would such a father converse with his children, whom he considered as his little spiritual flock, whose virtues he was to form by his example, encourage by his authority, nourish by his counsel, and prosper by his prayers to God for them!
How fearful would he be of all greedy and unjust ways of raising their fortune, of bringing them up in pride and indulgence, or of making them too fond of the world, lest he should thereby render them incapable of those graces which he was so often beseeching God to grant them!
These being the plain, natural, happy effects of this intercession, all parents, I hope, who have the real welfare of their children at heart, who desire to be their true friends and benefactors, and to live amongst them, in the spirit of wisdom and piety, will not neglect so great a means, both of raising their own virtue, and doing an eternal good to those, who are so near and dear to them by the strongest ties of nature.