We come now, at last, to the end of Ryle's applications of Proverbs 22:6. I trust it has been beneficial for you to contemplate how to train up your children in the way they should go. May God grant that High Country Baptist Church will train up a generation that knows the Lord! Here then are Ryle's final, earnest words.
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 your 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 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 send your children 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 children’s 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
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 children’s souls; I charge you for the sake of your own future comfort and peace. Truly it is your interest so to do. Truly own happiness in great measure depends upon it. Children have ever been the bow from which the sharpest arrows have pierced man’s heart. Children have mixed the bitterest cups 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 you 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 you all, that you may all be taught of God to feel the value of your own souls. This is one reason why Christian training is despised and disregarded; you feel not for yourselves, and so you feel not for your children. You do not realize the tremendous difference between a state of nature and a state of grace, and therefore you are content to let them alone.
Now, the Lord teach you all that sin is that abominable things which God hateth. Then, I know you will mourn over [the] sins of your children, and strive to pluck them as brands from the fire.
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 for eternity.