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SERVANTS AND CHILDREN.-By many parents this is a connection which they most of all overlook : it is indeed one to which many have scarcely ever adverted; whilst others, from a haughty and childish, not to say mean regard to the distinctions of rank, will not condescend to study it. Provided that the children are kept clean and neat if the servants also speak kindly to them in their parents' presence, and seem to entertain some degree of affection for them, nothing more is thought of. But of what principles are these servants? Have
calculated how they will or may act when out of your sight? Is it not worthy of some reflection, for what end persons of an inferior station in society should have been brought home to dwell, of necessity, in such close contact with your children? You well know, that, through a very slight failure in only one point of administration or government, mischief may be generated, which another day will sap the foundations of the whole fabric. So it certainly may be with a family: while the master is going on from day to day, during the infancy of his children, heedlessly saying, that “business must be attended to,” or, cannot attend to every little thing.” But surely the connection between servant and child can be of no inferior importance, when consequences so fatal to your future peace and your children's benefit are involved in it. By the unprincipled language, the deceitful or improper conduct of only a single servant, has an immoral pestilence or plague been introduced into many a family; the effects of which have continued to molest long after the servant was gone, or perhaps dead. And where is the safeguard against such an evil to be found, if it is not in the principles of parents ; in their conscientious proceedings when choosing servants in the first instance, and their superintendence afterwards? Think not, parents, of the kitchen, the laundry, the parlor, the table, or the manner
only, in all cases-think of the children too; and rët member, that, with these servants, or at least some of them, your children must of necessity come frequently in contact.
There was one man of whom you have heard, who, though a King upon the throne, thought not such a subject below his notice. “ Mine eyes,” said he, “shall be upon
the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with
He that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me: he that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house : he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.” Were the heads of families to act on similar principles, not only would they secure the blessing of God on their family, but prevent much evil in the church of God. This high end, among others, David had in view; for this was, in fact, one branch of his instrumentality, when resolving to cut off “all wicked doers from the city of the Lord.” So, in modern times, the character and conduct of unprincipled servants being so treated, would effectue ally prevent their being received into church-fellowship, or would prove the happy key to their being expelled from it. To return, however, to the nursery,
or rather the domestic roof-observe only, that these servants are, in truth, the first individuals, taken from the great body of civil society, with whom your children are one day to mingle and converse, and their connection with them is the first link of their connection with it. At this safe and early period, under your own eye, and in miniature, you have an opportunity of ascertaining how they are likely to conduct themselves in the wide world afterwards. Here, if your servants are persons of character, is the first little enclosure which will afford you a marked display either of the amiable or corrupt dispositions of your children. Now, for what end, need I ask, are these two parties thus
brought into contact, so far as the children are concerned ? Can it be for no valuable end to them and yourself? or is it providential ? Certainly it is. It is for you to instruct them how to behave, and how to feel towards these in= dividuals : for so important is the connection formed between them and your servant, that either a proud or tyrannical, a benevolent or gentle spirit, will be formed, by means of the conduct which they are taught to observe towards those with whom, in their earliest years, they thus so far associate. These individuals, chosen by yourself, out of the great family of mankind, have been providentially brought home to your own fireside, to answer, through domestic economy, the most valuable of purposes another day.
Such are the various connections of this all-important constitution ; and what is this but the world in miniature, or rather in the bud and blossom of its being ? Here it is that every connection of future life is presented before us : here every future affection of the heart, and every future form of duty, are called to their earliest efforts ; and these, confessedly, are the most important. Here, in their first elementary school, provided by infinite wisdom, are the actors in all the future affairs of life,
whether great or small, who will fill the world with blessings, or with mischief, when our heads lie low in the dust.
The domestic Constitution framed for this life ; in this life the
punishment is inflicted—. Visitation of the Fathers on the Children explained and illustrated by Examples—This Visitation inevitable—displaying superlative moral beauty, and, however serious in its consequences, yet involving mercy to mankind.
For the understanding of this subject, it may be necessary to remember, that the constitution of families being formed in this world, in this world they are also broken up; yet so compactly built are they, or so “fitly framed together," that, in the divine administration, as such, they are considered in most respects as we consider persons. That which is done by them at one period is visited upon them at another; and as Adam was visited in “ the cool of the evening ” for what he had done in the heat of the day, so it is here. Men may object to this, though, when all is known, the course is unobjectionable ; but though we had not been able to explain it satisfactorily to every humane and upright mind, still such appears to be the divine law in every age. When Israel was in Babylon, this part of the divine procedure was strongly resented : “ The fathers," said they, “have
eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.” The punishment of the sins of the nation, from the days of Manasseh, had fallen on that generation, and to this they objected; but when the Almighty changed his voice, as about to change the line of operation, they might soon see how much of mercy to them there had been, in all this, instead of injustice. “As I live, saith Jehovah, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel, Behold all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine ; the soul that sinneth, it shall die!" As though he had said, “ Now I will no more forbear with you as I have done, but will punish both father and son, without any delay. Every man shall now die for his own iniquity; the father shall not die for the iniquity of the son, nor the son for the iniquity of the father. This mode of treatment, intended for the humbling, and correction, and conversion of both parties to myself, shall have an end ; and the soul that sinneth, it shall die, and die without delay.”
Here the Almighty, absolutely in the way of judgment, suspends the operation of his own law,-a proof that its sanction, in his hands, far from being chargeable with undue severity, was fraught with mercy to the community as such ; for, in regard to all that has been already advanced, as well as what follows, it must be distinctly kept in view, that this is a mode of punishment, or method of procedure, which he does not, nor ever did remit to any human tribunal. “I, THE LORD thy God, am a jealous God, VISITING the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”
The longest period of human existence to which the disobedient or negligent father could look forward, was the fourth generation, and so long would the eye of divine jealousy rest upon him! Thus the Almighty appropriating to himself the execution of his own