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tender mercy: having disposed of this confessedly difficult and mysterious case ; let me remind the reader, that though, in conscientious paternal conduct, when met by filial obedience, there may be a tendency to the prolongation of human existence; 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.
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
Mysterious race ! deprived of land and laws,
With a religion none can now obey ;
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 endeavors.
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 Jones Milton-Boerhaave-Linnæus-Pascal-Cowper-Baxter–Hall -Doddridge-Edwards-Dwight--Lady Rachel Russell-Lady Bacon--Mrs. Hutchinson-Mrs. Elizabeth Rowe- Mrs. CecilMrs. 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, though of the same constitution, resembles an apparatus, in motion indeed, but shattered and deranged; while, in this, we see the same apparatus in order, proceeding harmoniously, and reaching the end intended by its Maker. The moral power to which I allude is not so much the power of numbers, for these are not great; but various modifications of power, which are found scattered elsewhere, yet individually moving and sustaining other bodies, are here combined. There is much of power in authority, much in precept and in example, much in union and in sympathy: they are here all united. Here each of these have an appropriate sphere of operation, in which they thrive and grow to the greatest extent; and not only so, but they grow best in harmony with each other, growing and strengthening with each other's growth and strength.
There seem to be, at least, four different points of view in which this power ought to be regarded. These contemplated, first separately, and then in union, will display both its peculiar character and prodigious extent. First, The influence or power which the judicious parent acquires over the child, and the beneficial purposes to which this power, in such hands, naturally tends. Second, The power which the parent enjoys of forming the child to greatness of character or extensive usefulness. Third, The power inherent in the domestic constitution to form, or reform, and improve the character of servants. Fourth, The irresistible energy inherent in the constitution itself, as a whole, for preserving religion or morality, and repelling evil or the corruption of manners.
First, THE INFLUENCE OR POWER WHICH THE JUDICIOUS PARENT ACQUIRES OVER THE CHILD, AND THE BENEFICIAL PURPOSES TO WHICH THIS POWER, IN SUCH HANDS, NATURALLY