Here is a tool to inspire early piety in the rising generation. This book is a series of sermons that pastors in Boston preached under the ministry of Increase Mather and his son Cotton. At the time of writing, Increase was at the end of his life at age 83, and his son Cotton was 58 years old.
They were very concerned about the loss of godliness in the rising generation. To meet this critical moment in the history of New England, they gathered eight ministers in Boston to address the youth directly. They did this through Thursday afternoon lectures.
This book is an excellent tool for young people to examine their souls. I recommend that all young people read this book. And, further, if possible, that their parents would read it out loud with them. I feel this would achieve the greatest good.
Give Your Whole Self
"It is to give up yourselves and all you have entirely to Him in your early days. You must give up your bodies and all its parts and members and especially the tongue to God. You must give up all your senses to Him: your strength and vigor, and your health and beauty. You must likewise give up your spirit, temper, and all your various appetites and passions to Him. And to be sure you must also give up your most precious souls, with all their faculties, abilities and powers to God: your imagination, understanding, reason, judgment, conscience, affection, will, and memory. Finally, you must give up all your knowledge, wit and ingenuity, and all the treasures and endowments of your minds. You must entirely give them all to god without the least reserve."
"If repentance is delayed, you will not be brought to it without more pains and groans; more tears and terrors. The longer you sleep in carnal security, the opening of your eyes will grow more difficult, and the scene more terrible; more of Hell must be flashed in your face, and there will be more amazing aggravations of sin to rack the conscience, and rend the heart and consequently greater horrors will take hold of you. The stings of sin will be more in number and greater in pain, the wounds of spirit deeper and the workings of conscience more violent afterwards than in youth. Delays will not mollify the anguish but double the torment of painful convictions. It is wretched folly then to let go the present season. It is contrary to right reason which teaches us the wisdom of prevention, and forbids our doing that (however grateful at present,) which will lay a foundation for later sorrow and regret. How great then is your madness, O sinner in that by your present security in the day of youth, you are making work for a bitter repentance hereafter, and taking an unhappy method to render your conversion more dolorous and difficult, if you do at length obtain mercy."
“We need to feed our children’s souls. Behind the quaint language of the early eighteenth century, we find both spiritual milk for babes and meat for young men and women. The authors address the different relationships children have, and put all of life under the banner of fearing God. This book is a valuable tool for parents to teach us how to pray for and train our children, and a voice calling to young people in the wilderness of this world to live and walk soli Deo gloria! May God use this excellent book to instill true piety or godliness early in the lives of many. I highly recommended Early Piety as a book that meets one of the greatest needs of our day.”
—Dr. Joel R. Beeke,
President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan
"These sermons are unique in that they not only provide careful instruction in the gospel, but also, in the godliness or true piety that springs forth from it. If these sermons are read thoughtfully by parents and older youth, if they are explained carefully and diligently to younger children, then they are bound to bear an abundant harvest. Such a blend of gospel, wisdom, and piety is very rare."
Director of HeartCry Missionary Society
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For People Raised in Christian Homes
by Dr. Increase Mather
The Pious Parent's Wishers, by Dr. Cotlon Mather
The Nature of Early Piety as It Respects God, by Mr. Wadeworth
Early Piety as It Respects Men, by Mr. Colman
Early Piety as It Respects Ourselves, by Mr. Sewall
The Obligations to Early Piety, by Mr. Prince
The Advantages of Early Piety, by Mr. Prince
Objections Answered, by Mr. Cooper
Exhortations and Directions to Young People
Preface to the Final Chapter
That You Might Receive Dr. Increase Mather's Testamony
Advice to the Children of God'ly Ancestors