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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 less here; but whatever was necessary for order should have been transacted elsewhere by themselves alone,-an evidence, sufficient that order is at once an effect and a proof of established government. If, therefore, we wish to follow nature, or, to speak with more correctness, its Author,
the cause must be concealed.
To the Parents, therefore, in the first instance, are we again directed, since the terms on which they live with cach other form the first and highest cause of family order, subordination and harmony.
Of confusion, in no one instance, is God the Author ; but of order and of peace He is assuredly the cause in every family properly conducted, as well as in all churches of the saints. The precise and appropriate sphere of every relation, from the head downwards, he has described in his Word, with a minute accuracy, which demonstrates the importance, in his eye, of domestic duties, and of each individual knowing his own place, as well as how to act in it. Husband and Wife, Parent and Child, Master and Servant, are again and again singled out; and the parties who will only take his Word, and study it, as their guide, need, in truth, no other Family-book.
It is here not unworthy of remark, that the progress of Divine Revelation is peculiarly distinguished by its throw
ing an increasing light on all subjects of importance and
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord : for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church ; and he is the Saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it ; that he might sanctify and cleanse it, with the washing of water by the word ; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
So ought men to love their wives as their own
he that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church; for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall be joined to his
wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the church; Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife, even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
Thus, lest there should be any mistake or misunderstanding, it is expressly revealed, that in the management of the common Family, the husband stands in a situation analogous to that in which even Christ stands to the Church. Nothing being so essential to mutual harmony, and harmonious operation, as an explanation of the grounds of authority and the true character and connection of such an intimate relation as this, in addressing the Wife, she is informed, not by the Husband, but by God himself, that, as Christ is her Governor in the Church, so is her Husband in the Family. His authority over her there, however, like that of the Saviour's over the Church, is founded in the love which he bears to her, the protection he affords, and the provision which he makes for her, of all the necessaries, and, if possible, the conveniences of life.
What a serious situation, then, and how full of responsibility, is that of every husband! The obedience enjoined by God is, it seems, not for the Husband's gratification merely, but for a higher end; and, in return for the honor which is put upon him, he is bound to the fulfilment of corresponding duties.
Should he presume to trifle with this love—this protection--this provision,—then does he vacate the obligation on which the submission of his partner in life is founded. True, she may ; and if, under the influence of Christian principle, she will act as consistently as she can; but he has no right whatever to complain, nor a single intimation as to her duty escape with grace from his lips. The connection is of the highest reciprocal character, involving a mutual endeavor to make each other happy : and the Husband, who
is conscious of failing in duty, should be led back to his own delinquency, by every failure on the part of his Wife. In one word, if the Wife is to be subject to her Husband as unto the Lord, then is he to love his Wife even as Christ loved the Church.
Parents, it is true, have their infirmities, and do not always see eye to eye; but if each is impressed, as each ought to be, with the importance of every misunderstanding being explained and settled, not in the presence of their Family, but when alone, they will mutually waive any expression of dissent till the proper season. Should this precaution be disregarded, Children will not only range under opposite sides, but they are in imminent danger of failing in duty and respect to that Parent from whom they differ. The tranquillity of both Parents, as well as the peace of all under that roof, are then and thus at an end.
On the other hand, imperfect though Parents be, and though both may and will fall short, occasionally, still success, and safety, and domestic order, depend on both aiming after the right pattern. Should their mutual love be grounded on esteem, there is a secret and instituted virtue in their example, which will descend on a constitution of things divinely adapted and appointed to receive
In every union of which God approves (and he approves of whatever he has appointed and enjoined), he intends not only the present enjoyment of two or threehe has a higher end in view; and what can that end be, in this case, if it is not to promote in all under our roof, the same mutual endeavor to make each other happy!
The foundation of order being thus laid, as securely as the present state of human nature will admit, in the inviolable and strong attachment, as well as the assiduous endeavors of both Parents; both being bound, and to be
themselves governed by law; we are prepared to illustrate the next branch of Family Government.
Subordination, or the establishment of authority.—The peculiarity of the Domestic Constitution is to be seen in a most beautiful and interesting light, by observing the manner in which subordination is established. Our Creator appears here, as on many other occasions, to know our frame and to remember that we are but dust, by making our commencement as easy as it is possible.
In his own moral government, where conscience is in operation, and reason has dawned, a society of intelligent beings, to which he is united, ruling as Head; knowing that his authority can neither be established nor maintained sufficiently, without exhibiting and enforcing methods, and rules, and ends; therefore has he surrounded us by his works, and put into our hand his own divine revelation. But a Parent he stations to watch over the seedlings or buds only of this moral government. There, in their most important, because their earliest years, neither conscience nor reason are yet in operation ; and for some time, at least, our government of our Children stands in the same relation to them which the Almighty's general government of providential disposal does to us. Men, indeed, who are but children of larger growth, often complain of Providence, and strangely desire some explanation or revelation of the scheme ; forgetting that such revelation, if understood, might deprive them of reason, or might darken and embitter all their days. But the truth seems to be, that though it were given, we should never be able to take it in. Far too vast for our present reach, it would ever be above our sphere of judgment. Such revelation, however, is not only mercifully withheld; it is not necessary, since, for every step of our mysterious journey to the skies, it is