« PreviousContinue »
A more eminent instance of the divine blessing resting on a parent and his family, we do not meet with in the whole compass of divine Revelation. And though Eliphaz the Temanite could little imagine that his words would ever literally be verified, in the experience of his deeply-afflicted friend, yet so it was :
And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace;
Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great,
Having now "heard of the patience of Job, and seen the end of the Lord,” that he is still very pitiful and of tender mercy: having disposed of this confessedly difficult and mysterious case; let me now remind the reader, that though, in conscientious paternal conduct, when met by filial obedience, there may be a tendency to the prolongation of human ex- . istence; and certainly the opposite characters very often live not out half their days; still the blessing promised consists not in temporal or sublunary good, although this becomes a frequent, if not a general associate. In the blessing of God there is something infinitely superior. It consists in mercy, the vestibule to all spiritual good; or in righteousness, the summary of all to which mercy alone can introduce. “ The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; to such as keep his covenant, and to those who remember his commandments to do them.”
In illustration of this blessing descending, I shall,
in this section, only refer to the Father of the faithful; and I the rather select him, because here is a proof that the Almighty had been acting on the same principle, long before it was committed to writing on Sinai. Nor let it be thought that, in selecting Abraham, I point too high. There is nothing recorded respecting this eminent man, so far as my reference goes, which was recorded “ for his sake only,” but “ for us also ;" and with regard to his domestic character, in particular, there is certainly nothing recorded which is inimitable. Even “ those who are not of the circumcision" must, if his children, walk in the steps of the patriarch: and it will be found that they actually do so, just in proportion as they prize and indulge the hope of sitting down with him in the heavenly Canaan. “ Abraham," said the Lord, “I will bless thee, and thou shalt be a blessing." Full of the divine blessing, it should be his felicity to impart blessing to thousands. Accordingly, all the true blessedness which the wide world is now enjoying, may be traced up to Abraham and his posterity. “ To him and them, under God, are we indebted for the Scriptures—the Saviour--the church,--for his posterity are the stock on which the church is grafted !” The sources of some of our largest rivers are unknown; great enterprise has been shewn in tracing them up, while eager curiosity has waited and longed for certain accounts of final success. Let the Christian here observe from whence a mightier current has come, and he will at last arrive at a single tent in the land of Canaan—a single family—a single home. Among its inmates, he is directed to the Father ; for of him God had said, “ I know Abraham, that he
will command his children and his household after him; and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that (in order that) the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” What! it may be said, is it after all come to this? Was not the promise of God spontaneously free and absolute ? Did he not say, “ Abraham, I will bless thee, and thou shalt be a blessing? Yes, he did ; but still the most absolute promise may, and the most absolute promise must, have an appropriate and congruous channel in which to run. Down this channel, therefore, the Almighty sent his choicest favours, widening and deepening its course ; and though many of Abraham's posterity acted, alas! unworthy of their first father, yet there ever was a remnant who walked in his footsteps. Jehovah would keep his covenant, and preserved his posterity distinct, till out of it came the Messiah, blessing all nations ! Nay, what constitutes at this hour his greatest moral miracle, distinct he preserves that posterity still :
Mysterious race! depriv'd of land and laws,
If the cloud which burst over poor King Saul was long of drifting to leeward, and forty years afterwards was still discharging its thunders; on the other hand, the blessing of which Abraham was full, is, it seems, not even yet exhausted ! Yes; the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. Even now, in his conduct towards the Jews, there is more of design
to be seen than towards any people on the face of the earth. Their peculiar preservation is in order to their ultimate calling; and blessed indeed is the party who shall be employed, under God, as the conductor to break that cloud which has hung over them so long. Break when it may, it will burst in blessings on their head ; nor is there any single event in which the church, nay, the world is so much interested.“ Through our mercy they also shall obtain mercy; but what shall the recovering of them be, but as life from the dead ?"
Thus, however large the compass which He may fetch in his mysterious judgments, the God of Abraham, ever faithful to his word, will fulfil his promise, literally, in all its magnificence.
Under this head I might proceed to almost any length; but, presuming that the following section will be received as a practical illustration and proof of the same subject, to it I refer the reader, as affording ample evidence of the divine blessing resting on a parent's endeavours.
This Power a combination of qualities : First, The beneficial power
of the Parent over the Child, illustrated by reference to Abraham–Isaac-Jacob_Moses_Solomon-and the Parents of the Apostles. Second, The Power which the Parent enjoys of forming the Child to greatness of character, or extensive usefulness, illustrated first by reference to Scripture characters, and then to others of modern date ; viz. Alfred—Washington—Sir William JonesMilton-Boerhaave-Linnæus_Pascal -Cowper_Baxter-Hall -Doddridge_Edwards-Dwight-Lady Rachel Russel-Lady Bacon-Mrs Hutchison-Mrs Elizabeth Rowe Mrs Cecil-Mrs Dwight-Miss Smith-Miss Bacon, and many others. Third, The Power of the domestic Constitution in forming the character of Servants. Fourth, The Power of resistance to evil, inherent in the Family Constitution, illustrated by reference to Joshua, and the remarkable history of the Kenites or Rechabites.
To understand this domestic constitution aright, and to feel impressed with a sense of its importance in the
economy of nations, it becomes necessary to observe it in actual operation, and in the singular effects of which, under the blessing of God, it has been the cause. The moral power thus conspicuously displayed by it, will, I presume, furnish another most striking proof of its divine origin.
We have already remarked, that it is in a family where the parents are Christians, and of course are regulated by the oracles of God, that this constitution is seen in all its strength and beauty. Another family,