We observed yesterday, Gospel-success may be helped by teaching our children about the biblical doctrine of Hell. I am reminded (and rebuked!) by the example of the Puritans in general and our "homeboy," Jonathan Edwards, in particular.
Much of Puritan upbringing was designed to teach children to recognize how insecure their lives were. Every child knew of brothers, sisters, cousins, or friends who had suddenly died… Parents nightly reminded their children that sleep was a type of death and taught them such prayers as 'This day is past; but tell me who can say / That I shall surely live another day.'Flee the false security of the Western world that presumes your children will live to a ripe old age and that there will be plenty of time to teach them about the realities of sin, death, and hell. Teach them young and teach them plainly and teach them with love that they are sinners, they will die, and God judges sinners in hell.
...One of the Edwards children’s surviving writing exercises reads, ‘Nothing is more certain than death. Take no delay in the great work of preparing for death’… ‘In Adam’s fall, we sinned all,’ was the first lesson in the New England Primer.
- George Marsden, Jonathan Edwards, p. 27.