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Other ends might be illustrated, and will occur in the course of these pages: let these, for the present, suffice; but in illustration of the danger and folly of interference, as well as the vanity of artificial arrangements proposed by man, I must not omit to notice one peculiar facility thus afforded by God, for the accomplishment of his own purposes.
3. By the Family Constitution, the Almighty has himself marked out the only proper and effectual division of labor,-a division which past ages show he is not only determined to preserve, but will not suffer to be invaded with impunity, and the only division, for the ends in view, on which man can warrantably expect his blessing.
God made man upright : since then“ he hath sought out many inventions,"
” and thus often been involved in a labyrinth. Infidel philosophy writes on human perfectibility, and sees no evil, but good, in promiscuous inter
To meet the demoralizing inroads of commercial speculation, or relieve the feelings of many while engaged in amassing wealth, another may propose parallelograms of the species,—but all localities, of whatever description, whether for the gratification of appetite or the acquisition of property, nay, for the promotion of benevolence, or even religion professedly, which disregard or interfere with the Family Constitution, must not only, sooner or later, break down, but they will bring their own punishment along with them; and man at last must submit to begini and go on with man, where God begins, and as he goes on with him.
Such a line of things being made ready to our hands, though it should be mortifying to human vanity, is it any hardship that an authoritative stop should have been put by the Almighty to any other ? Let but the peculiar,
the absolutely inimitable features of this division of labor be
once understood, man will not only be afraid to touch with it—he will admire it as he ought, and work only in cautious subordination.
Labor is the appointment of heaven, though man naturally is averse from it, and though it be divided, except he is brought generally to feel so far voluntary, our finest proposals are abortive. “But nere is a division of labor which is perfectly voluntary: the employment being ordinarily chosen by the individual for himself. The situation in which he stands as a Man and a Parent, and the partner with whom he is connected in life, are both the objects of his choice; and these facts, united with the common rewards of industry, furnish all the reasons which can usually exist to render it cheerful and efficacious.
“ The minuteness of this division of labor is eminently conspicuous. To preserve the order of an apostate world required the wisdom of God. The great task of establishing it among such beings as we are, selfish, revolting, and refractory, he has assigned to an innumerable multitude of hands; a multitude sufficiently great to receive it in such portions, so small and so circumstanced, as to ensure both the ability and the inclination to accomplish it effectually. These portions are so small as to involve only the Children of a single family. To this little flock are given regularly two Rulers, taking them all in all, better disposed and better qualified, in almost all instances, than
found in the world. The circumstances in which those are placed who are to be governed are more favorable to the accomplishment of the end, than any other can be. Their infancy, childhood, and youth, in succession; their feebleness, dependence, and ignorance; the affection and superiority, the care and kindness of the Parents, the instinctive love and reverence of the children, together with their necessary and long-continued residence, during their earliest years,
under the paternal 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, everything is done to keep their hearts alive to the unapproachable peculiarity of their honorable situation.