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of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name; and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it, with the timber thereof, and the stones thereof." Did not this entire consumption of the house indicate that the divine displeasure rested on the family of the sinful parent? while the dishonest and the profane are selected as fit and awful representatives of the violators of both tables of the law.
What! it will be said by some who do not yet fully understand the subject, is there no way of escape-no way by which the entail of the curse may be cut off? Even natural evil, or natural and hereditary disease, may be so far ameliorated, and often eradicated or prevented, by the regimen or temperance of any one link in the chain of generations. Precisely so; and here also is revealed to us the moral check to moral disorder or deformity: it is simply by a recurrence to this very statute. So said the Psalmist long after Moses,—" He established a testimony* in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know, even the children which should be born, who should arise and declare them to their children : that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their hearts aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.”
Suppose now, if you will, that parents have even generally neglected their duty in a town—in a city-in a
* Such was the title given to the moral law (Exod. xxv. 16.), as to be deposited in the Ark, which was covered by the mercy-seat. There securely kept, it testified at once God's authority and his regard ; that though merciful, he required obedience; while in case of failure or neglect, it testified against every transgressor.
nation,—then to this statute, taken from the moral law itself, must we have immediate recourse, if we desire to arrest the plague, and restore the tone of society. It is for the legate of the skies, and for every judicious Christian, to lay the axe to the root of the tree. It is for them to look to the Parents, all corrupt and abandoned though they be. Their hearts must be turned, and then will these hearts turn to their children. Not that the children are to be forgotten by such; oh, no—in no wise ; but let the parents, as to conversion, be regarded, not with a hopeless or unbelieving eye-let them be primarily regarded. Let us not be told of their corrupt, and formed, and confirmed habits, and let no Christian's heart fail him here. We tread in the footsteps of the word of God, and follow the order marked out to us by Heaven. “He shall,”—yes, and John did “ turn the heart of the parents to the children, and the heart of the children to their parents.” He did, and we may; nay, we shall, if we have faith in God, when treading in the footsteps of John: otherwise what has become of our blessed Saviour's assurance—“He that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he ?”
THE BLESSING CONNECTED WITH OBEDIENCE,
DESCENDING TO POSTERITY.
Though this Blessing, revealed in Scripture, and confirmed by experience, seems acceptable to the human heart, no man believes in it, who disregards or rejects the punishment in contrast.—The descending Blessing illustrated by example.
To prove that this moral connection between a parent and his family is of God's own institution, it seems now only necessary to notice the blessing which he has graciously connected with our regard to it. To the blessing descending, men in general profess to feel no objection; and the language in which it is expressed is indeed peculiarly affecting: “I, the Lord thy God-am shewing mercy to thousands," or a thousand generations “ of them that love me, and (as the proof of their love) keep my commandments.” It is, however, very questionable whether there is not as little faith in the blessing descending, as the curse; and it deserves consideration, that he only believes in one, who believes in both; since, in producing conformity to the law, faith in both is absolutely requisite. The curse secures attention and consideration, caution and forethought; the blessing produces pleasure and hope, perseverance and success : the threatening is intended to maintain the fear of God, and to prevent the entrance of the fear of man, or undue regard to him in the management of one's family; while the promise is meant to teach parents, that if they really desire to have the blessing of God entailed on their posterity, they must labor chiefly to implant piety. Oh, blessed indeed is that Parent who herein fears God, and herein hopes in his mercy!
Under this head, however, we require carefully to observe, that death, in itself considered, is by no means to be regarded as an unequivocal mark of the divine displeasure. Death, indeed, in all instances, must ever prove a trial, and it is sent as such; but it does not, it even cannot interrupt the descent of this blessing. Nay, however strange it may seem, death, which generally breaks the chain of connection between most sublunary things, when God becomes his own interpreter, may prove to be a link in the chain of the Christian parent's blessings. “ All things,” sin only excepted, “work together for good;" or, as Tyndal says, “ for the best, to them that love God,- to them who are the called according to his purpose.” But, in such a case, is this possible ? says the confounded, or distressed and bereaved Christian parent. I reply, it is not merely possible : it is certain ; because “all things are yours.” Death is yours—even death, is, by a peculiar right, and by an emphasis of interest, yours : nay, “ whether life or death, things present or things to come : all things are yours; for ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." Thus it is, that though such bereavements produce an anguish which painful experience alone can explain, the Christian comes to understand that there is in the house of God "a place and a name, better than of sons and of daughters.” Besides even cases, which, to the careless eye, may seem like judgment, and like nothing else, under the emollient hand of time, admit of an explanation, and, to the afflicted party, of an experience which has not unfre-quently constrained them to say with Milton :
This is my favor'd lot,
These remarks I have here preferred, as I am fully aware of at least one instance, recorded prominently in the sacred page, which may seem to militate against the general doctrine of conscientious training being followed with its reward in this life. This instance, however, constitutes a link in by far the most mysterious chain of providential dealing towards a human being of which we read. Still, let it be laid before us, with all its distressing accompaniments. It may turn out to be confirmatory of the blessing of God, resting on a conscientious and consistent parent, and of that blessing descending to his posterity. I refer to Job, and the loss of his ten children in one day!
“The loss of one child has often been more than an affectionate parent could support with decent resignation ; but for a whole family, educated with pious care, and for years insinuating into their father's affections; who were all grown up; living in harmony and in affluence, in health and credit ; who were likely to perpetuate his name and prosperity;"—for such a family to be all cut off at once-suddenly—when engaged in feasting together, on their eldest brother's birth-day !-" this, added to all the preceding unprecedented misfortunes, was sufficient, and more than sufficient, to have driven most men distracted."*
And what advantage was it now to Job, that he had done his utmost to secure the divine favor resting on his