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What then is the amount of all this survey ? After so much evidence has been adduced from Scripture, can nothing be founded upon it? Are we, in no respect, to be influenced or guided by it, when endeavouring to restore the human Family to its healthful and vigorous condition? Does not all this shew, whatever some persons may say, that our first and strongest hope should rest on the Parents of a Family, and that to them Christianity directs her counsels and warnings, immediately and directly ? Far gone they may be on the road to ruin, but for their ear and their conscience, we are furnished in Scripture with many serious, and tender, and awful arguments. Surely these, if used by us in faith, with constancy and patient perseverance, are able to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God? If, however, as Parents, and because they may be confirmed in evil habits, we regard them with a hopeless eye; or if aiming too low, we aim merely at amelioration and the reformation of manners, and not at their conversion, what wonder if we give them up in despair?
On the other hand, for such a mode of procedure as that which has been recommended, to say nothing more of the remarkable success which has attended it, there is one reason deeply founded in the constitu
as its instrumentality is concerned, it will introduce the Millennium. Over Judaism and the Scriptures containing it, the Jews have watched for ages. To them were committed the Oracles of God; and during their sad and long apostacy, they have never ceased to discover even a superstitious veneration for the Scriptures of the Old Testament; but, then, of both Old and New they will be the enlightened guardians; and then, too, it seems, as jealous of any addition, as they are now anxiously and vainly waiting for one ! even that which we possess.
tion of every nation. By the law of nature and of God, by far the largest proportion, in every land, are enjoined to honour the rest; the whole Children, the whole Parents. Now, as Christianity in its addresses pays regard to this arrangement, in every attempt to restore the families of a country, let us also regard it. On Parents, as such, the eye of our omniscient and final Judge is now manifestly resting: let our eye follow in the same direction. On them, and not on the legislator, or the benevolent public, does he lay the highest responsibility, and on them alone: let us also go and do likewise. Let nothing be done by us to weaken the force or tone of their obligations, nothing to render them easy and satisfied under neglect. On the contrary, let every Christian, so far as his influence can extend, contribute his mite, to bind this sense of obligation on the shoulders of those, upon whom God, in his wisdom and mercy to mankind, hath im. posed it.
The writer, however, will be greatly misapprehended indeed, if he is understood to be enforcing any thing more than the order of procedure; though the order, in the first instance, and in all cases, not only as it respects the terms of Scripture, and the order of those terms, but the necessity for our faith thus falling in with the means employed in primitive times so successfully: for although it is probable they were Parents who brought their Children, for whose encouragement and cons ation our Lord first uttered these gracious words~" Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven;" still, should Parents remain obstinate, after the means thus used by us in faith;
firmly retaining our determination not to be diverted from proceeding in the same manner elsewhere ; even as to them we are not without resource. Let us aim at the Children, first through those who have the strongest claims, and ought to feel the warmest interest in them, their Parents; and though for a season they remain unmoved, let us not despair: reach them we may still, and that through the Children, who, at all events, should not be neglected. Such exceptions to a general rule there will ever be, in a world where sin has marred and disordered all things; but these must not, by any means, in any nation, beguile us from treading in the footsteps of the harbinger of Jesus, nay, of Jesus himself, and his apostles, when turning “ the heart of the Fathers unto their Children, and the heart of Children to their Fathers.”
Without any miraculous interference, without any earthquake or voice from heaven, means we do possess of producing, under God, the same awakened state of mind, which that hardened Parent, the Philippian jailor, evinced, when he cried out " Sirs, what must I do to be saved ?” And there is still One above, who will sanction our reply, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
The positive obligation of Parents, as such, to use the means which
God, in his wisdom, hath ordained, for attaining his end or design in the Domestic Constitution.-Family Government illustrated under three heads, viz. Order-Subordination-and Harmony.
The means appointed by infinite Wisdom to reach the end of the Family Constitution now demand our no. tice: and these may be comprehended under three heads, viz. Family Government, Family Religion, and Family Education, properly so called. To these may be added, Family Maxims, or General Principles, which, if these means are understood and adopted, will then be easy of comprehension, and not difficult to apply.
Before entering on either of these, however, it ought to be distinctly understood, that the moral, and therefore positive, obligation to use these means, does in no respect whatever depend either on the inclination or the ability of the Parents. So far from this being the fact, the existence of disinclination or moral inability will merely prove the Parents to be guilty, while the obligation, in all cases, remains, and respects every Parent as a Parent-every Man as a Man, and not as a Christian only.
It is, indeed, a weak and miserable subterfuge to which some resort, when they tell us, with sinful
simplicity, that they cannot attend to these subjects, because they themselves are not Christians; while yet they will not move the short and more important previous question : Why not? And it is still more to be regretted, that some persons, professing Chris. tianity, who ought rather to blush for their ignorance and want of principle, have given their guilty sanction to such folly, by replying merely : “Well, to be sure, this is very true, and, until you are a converted individual, you cannot attend to these subjects in a manner acceptable to God.”
Now, instead of thus betraying, at once, the rights of God, and the dearest interests of humanity, let me entreat the reader, if it is necessary, to look directly and alone to this very disinclination and professed inability. These you will find are not only consistent with obligation: but this obligation regards them with the
of authority and command. This inability and disinclination are, in themselves, to your conscience, at this moment, the proof of personal guilt, and the very ground of condemnation. In other words, these are, my friend, by no means your misfortunes only, but your crimes, and therefore it becomes a shame for any
Parent to indulge, much more to plead, such dispositions.
The organization of your family, and the end proposed, with the chain of connexion between these two, or, what have been called the means in order to that end, are all to be resolved into the prerogative or peculiar privilege of Almighty God. He who creates and thus establishes the constitution, has also in the depth of his wisdom and goodness, equally established the means to his own end or design. Here, therefore, you stand, in the same situation with every Parent,