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at the head of his family. Thus, life and death, or good and evil, are, by God, set before you, as well as every other Parent; and from you and your partner, as from a fountain, will the waters proceed, sweet or bitter. Yes, the frame of the human family was created for action, and strikingly exhibits the means to an end. The moral obligations of Parents, therefore, who occupy the most important place in a family, like all other moral obligations, consist in an indispensable connexion between the means and the end ; so that, if they would gain the unspeakable blessings of the end, they are indispensably bound, that is, they are obliged, to use the means. On the contrary, if they will not, all the evils which result must follow by a necessity of consequence, and all these, too, in consequence of their negligence and impiety. You may,
indeed, not like the means, and if you require any argument, you do not. Now, upon this aversion itself I fix, and tell you that it constitutes the ground of condemnation. So conscience will also tell you every morning you rise, and she will add, too, that moral ability is not necessary to constitute moral obligation. At such a moment look round upon your infant charge, and remember that these young immortals are growing up under the moral government of God their Creator : while you are free indeed, as far as any creature can be ; that is, you are free to obey ; for to admit indifference here would be to legalize rebellion.
In these circumstances, therefore, to every Parent who objects or even hesitates, I have only three questions for conscience to answer, and the party is speechless; and, if he is so from conviction, he will then
not unnecessarily delay one hour, in considering the importance and the necessity of personal religion.
First, Have you a natural capacity; or have you a conscience, and are you possessed of reason? Se cond, Have you a Bible at home, as the means of information? Third, Is no one compelling you to act as you have done hitherto ?
These simple interrogations you will not hesitate to answer; the first, in the affirmative; the last, in the negative; and the second, just as the case may be. Then, my reader, I want, I need, no more. You are in a situation suitable enough for even me to blame you, and assuredly for God to hold you responsible, as at this moment he does. Nay, I object not even to narrow this ground for you'still farther. Answer me only the first question? Then this alone constitutes you a subject of God's moral government to the utmost extent. You are now bound to procure the means of information, if you have them not: you are now bound to resist all interference. But, in this country especially, no one dare, no one does interfere, from the king downward. You are now therefore stripped of every plea, and left with these, and many such words, in your ear“A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master. If, then, I be a Father, where is mine ho. nour? and if I be a Master, where is my fear, saith the Lord of hosts?”
Beware, therefore, reader, beware now especially, of
any subterfuge. Tell me not even that divine inAuence is requisite to your choice of these means : because, though it be, I can and do immediately reply, that this is no interference with your act of choice itself; nor has it, as you know, or may know, any con
scious influence in breaking the connexion between your present motive and choice, between your present disinclination and your incumbent duty. No, no, the question is not what moves or causes obe dience; but what is the rule of it?
Perhaps the reader, now aware of the meaning of what has been advanced, is disposed to say
say-"But stop one moment. If
you are right, I am involved indeed in a serious situation ; for it seems, my very will itself, rather than any mean, is the precise and proper object of precept and command ? I answer precisely so: now, at last, we are right. The heart, the whole heart, is demanded first by God, and to be, by him, directed for his purposes, and in entire subordination to his revealed will, whatever that will may prove. And, oh, my friend, if this is the height, it is also the measure of your being. By God's unaltered, nay, unalterable law, your heart is so demanded: now, the design of law is to bind to one side, and the design of authoritative command is to turn the will one way.
Obligation therefore admitted, you may now cast your eye upon these means : since the prodigious extent and strength of your obligation is to be seen in them, and in your natural or relative connexion with them. Indeed, with reference to them, on account of which the family has been gathered, over which you preside, the obligation on you is so strong, that I might ask you, if you can, to point out a stronger. You are bound in conscience and in duty, in law and in honesty, in gratitude and in kindness: you are bound by the nature of the Family Constitution, and by the design of its constitution : bound by regard to your
own character as a Parent, by regard to the highest
will not be able to endure even the prospect. After all, this is by no means the only line of argument which might be adopted. Did you never think of the meaning of the English word Paternity, or Fathership? This relation as such necessarily involves much. Consider it only for a moment in two points of view, as connected with God and with your family. In the first connexion, does it not involve trust ? When God places any man, before solitary, or only a şon, at the head of a family, does he not say by such a step,—“I constitute you as the trustee, the guide, the guardian of this part of mankind ? All under the roof are your charge, and to you intrusted.” Now, for what end? To be ruled, or not? to be instructed, or not? to be by your example and your precepts led to heaven, or not? The negative, in such cases, is not merely monstrous; it is profane. If the first connexion involves duty to be discharged for God, the second involves love of and care over those given to you by him. But of the body only, or of the body without
any reference to the great inhabitant within? The negative here is not less objectionable ; it is cruelty and hatred. Only act, therefore, under the influence of this trust, and this incumbent love and
care: then might one say to you," Neglect Family Government, or even Family Devotion, if you can."
The obligation to Family Government being, therefore, granted, all that is necessary in illustration of the subject may be comprehended under the three following heads, viz. Family Order, Subordination, and Harmony
Order..Every person is pleased with this exhibition of a Family, though many are by no means equally in love with its cause; just as many are pleased with the humble man, who do not love humility. But still order is but another name for an effect whose cause is government; and as it is in the world of nature where effects are viewed with delight, when their proximate cause is kept concealed by Infinite Wisdom, so the order of a Family rises in our admiration just in proportion as its cause is withdrawn from public view, or the notice of a stranger. On the other hand, nothing is more irksome to the visitors in a family, than to see the cause and its effect justle with each other, when authority and disorder are contending for the superiority. The reason of this is obvious. It is a transgression on the part of the Parents in our presence, and involuntarily, as it were, we think of them, not the Children. The government is their affair alone, not ours; the effect is ours, in part, and, on going into a family, is meant at once for our comfort, our encouragement, and our instruction. Never let Parents for one moment suppose, that any friend can be gratified with their chiding, or pointing, or bustling in his presence. This is not the way to proceed even behind the curtain, much