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confidential bond of nature. “Every family apart, and their Wives apart !”
If the reader will now turn to the twelfth chapter of Zechariah, he will see what is immediately to follow this great mourning. The fountain opened for sin and uncleanness, to the eyes of these Parents is now opened indeed. Satisfied now that there is no other Messiah than Jesus of Nazareth, they become most jealous for the honor of his name and worship; the ancient and prevalent plague of the Church-idolatry, is extinct; the very names of Jupiter and Baal, of the Pope and Mohammed, are repeated or remembered no more; and even antichristian abominations have passed away (v. 2.) Satisfied, too, that the Volume of Inspiration is completed, as we now have it; that no more messages from Heaven are to be expected, nor any more necessary; nay, that the smallest addition is profanity of the highest order: “it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his Father and his Mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live, for thou speakest lies to us in the name of the Lord : and his father and Mother that begat him shall thrust him through, when he prophesieth. This deep penitence, then, ending, as it will do, in a piety and in a holy jealousy for God; such as perhaps the Christian Church has never yet witnessed; when the guardians of this distinguished. piety and penitence are introduced to us, we see these are spoken of as Parents, alluding, it is true, to the power of the Parent then existing under the Mosaic economy.
Thus when the Spirit of God would describe to us the depth of penitence and the height of Christian zeal, or denote the prompt and vigorous measures, even the glory of the latter day, it seems as if more energetic terms could not be found, than those which are drawn from the
Domestic Constitution, and its powerful natural attachments. *
What then is the amount of all this survey? After so much evidence has been adduced from Scripture, can nothing be founded
it ? Are we, in no respect, to be influenced or guided by it, when endeavoring to restore the human Family to its healthful and vigorous condition? Does not all this show, 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 regarded them with a hopeless eye ; or if aiming too low, we aim merely at amelioration
* What a striking contrast is there between these two effusions of the Spirit, so far as the Jews are concerned, between the prophecy of Joel and that of Zechariah? In the former case, Parents and Children, Sons and Daughters, and Servants, were endowed, and prophesied ; but now Revelation is complete, and so complete, that the Parents, as guardians, are thus represented. Is not this one proof, at least, that miraculous and prophetic gifts are not to be revived or employed in the last grand triumph of Christianity ? No; the Bible, as it is, is so full and so perfect that, as far 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 apostasy, 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.
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 constitution of every nation. By the law of nature and of God, by far the largest proportion, in every land, are enjoined to honor 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 imposed it.
The writer, however, will be greatly misapprehended indeed, if he is understood to be enforcing anything 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 consolation 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 notice : 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