Angell James, 1785—1859)
Children have their eyes always upon their parents,
and are quick to discern any violations of consistency.
If they see us as worldly-minded, as grasping and
anxious after riches, as solicitous to be surrounded
by splendid furniture, luxurious gratifications, and
fashionable habits, as the people of the world--if
they see us deceitful, implacable, or malicious--what
can they conclude but that our religion is mere sham?
In such a case, of how little service is our attempt
to impress upon their minds, those claims which we
ourselves 'practically' deny? It were far better for some
parents to say nothing to their children about religion,
for until they alter their own conduct, their admonitions
can produce no other effect than to excite disgust!
It is enough to make every parent tremble--to think
what a parent should be! Without a godly example,
everything else that we do is most lamentably deficient!
As has been often said, it is only pointing them the
way to heaven--but leading them in the way to hell!