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under the parental roof: all these present to the contemplative eye a combination of things which display, by their singular adaptation, one of the most remarkable proofs of infinite wisdom. Fewer hands could not possibly accomplish this mighty task: a task which cannot be accomplished by proxy, nor could substitutes be found. All the wisdom of legislation, all the energy of despotism, would be spent upon it in vain. It is beyond calculation a greater and more arduous work than all the labors of all Rulers, whether legislative, executive, or judicial, united.”
“This division of labor is, in short, the best, because it is the simplest and easiest possible,-.the best, because it has been thoroughly tried, and has always been able peacefully and happily to accomplish the ends in view,the best, because it is the established order of the universe, the result of Divine wisdom and goodness, and one leading proof of these attributes, from age to age."*
Thus it appears, that the Constitution of a human family, though the most diminutive upon earth, not only stands in the relation of cause to effect, but, like almost every other such cause appointed by God, it is one cause producing various effects, and so producing them, that neither can otherwise be fully reached by man; while the combination of effects thus produced, by any expedient, or plan, or new view of society, of our devising, is positively and altogether impossible. Nature is sparing of causes, prolific in effects, so that if men touch with but one of the former, they at once deprive themselves of many benefits. In the world of nature, this has been better understood and often admired, but, with it, the moral world is here in perfect harmony.
If the heat of the sun contributes to the life of animals and the vegetation of plants, the ripening of seeds and the
fluidity of water, the elevation of vapor and the formation of clouds : if air is so constituted as to preserve animals alive and support combustion, to convey sound to great distance and the winged fowl from place to place: if the power of gravitation, existing in all bodies, preserves all in their places, restrains the ocean to her bed, and the earth in her orbit; let us descend to the little domestic circle, constituted as divinely, and there we find one single propensity, when regulated by Christian principle, producing far more important effects, because more nearly allied to the moral image of God: nay, even when not so regulated, effects are thus produced, without which the moral world could not stand. But once suppose the Parents, Christian—then, from the single principle of natural inclination, in the heart of two individuals, we see proceed not only profitable solicitude for their offspring, but social union; the bonds of unity, genuine patriotism, goodness and prudence in those who are one day to govern; fidelity and contentment in those who are one day to obey. Hence only a single propensity keeps each individual in his appropriate sphere, becomes the bond of civil society and the principle of correct conduct, of laudable enterprise and innocent recreation.
If the domestic Constitution, therefore, is actually the divinely-appointed cause of various effects, which cannot otherwise be fully reached, with what sacred regard ought it to be viewed by every Christian, in all his attempts for the benefit of man! There is, it is true, a secret in the ways of God, but that secret once discovered, it is to be secreted no more. Let the ends to be attained, therefore, only be kept in view, then the vanity, not to say impiety of interference will be more apparent, as well as the pernicious tendency of all systematic attempts, of whatever description, which either disregard this unpretending Constitution, or tend in any degree to relax it, or relieve
Parents from duties imposed on them by God himself. That state of society must ever be most agreeable to his will, where the highest sense of responsibility rests on their shoulders, and where, instead of specious plans with a view to relieve them, every thing is done to keep their hearts alive to the unapproachable peculiarity of their honorable situation,
The power of accommodation in the Family Circle to all other human institutions.—The inimitable character, and highest end, of the Domestic Constitution.
This Constitution of a Family, at once so singular and invaluable, may have been neglected; it may have been misunderstood; and millions also, without doubt, have enjoyed its benefits with delight and comfort; although the grounds, and original cause, could not, by them, be explained.
Other forms of government, or “the powers that be,” existing at the same moment, in different quarters of the globe, the intelligent Christian regards as so many effects of a superintending Providence; and Christianity, ever friendly to order and to peace, enjoins obedience for conscience' sake. These forms, however, are so diversified, that in one he can read the mercy; in another the judgment of God: and not only so, but, with the lapse of time, he sees that these various forms, not only may, but actually do, change ; so that the same spot of ground has been occupied in succession, by the gradations and extremes of opposite arrangements. It is not so with the Domestic Constitution. Like the constitution of the church of Christ itself, indeed, that of the Family has been, at times, sadly invaded or corrupted, and abused; but still of these two constitutions, and of these alone, can the Almighty be considered, in a special and peculiar sense, as the sole and all-sufficient Founder and Ruler, Guardian and Judge. Were evidence of this even still desired, the proofs might be confined to two.
1. Their power of accommodation to human constitutions, without the smallest violation of their peculiar character.
The political and civil arrangements of men have been various and perpetually shifting; but the church and the family, which can exist, and, if let alone, can thrive under them all, remain ever the same,
As to the church, even under the Jewish theocracy, when it seemed so interwoven with the state, it remained the same under various forms of political government. Whether under the Jethronian prefects, as they have been called, in the wilderness, or the judges after the death of Joshua, the kings who succeeded them, or the priests and public-spirited individuals after the captivity, it remained the same; that is, under any of these civil arrangements, the church might have prospered; under each of them we see it revived and purified, and under each producing individual religious characters of the highest standing. But whatever may be thought of this remark, Christianity, as by Christ established, while it has symbolized with no one form in preference; yet, wherever permitted, it has purified the springs of every form of government, and shed its own peculiar blessings on them all. When let alone, it has flourished, whether in Britain or in America, --when persecuted in any land, the blood of its martyrs has, sooner or later, always proved the seed of the church. Infidel philosophy, and literary violence, the dagger and