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How important, then, the domestic constitution? The Family, more emphatically than any other social organization, except the Church, is God's own production. He himself directly ordained it, and has ever shown to it a special regard. No other constitution of which we have any knowledge is so exact a similitude of his own moral government. Though, in every instance of its existence, itself brief and transitory, and to cease with the last generation of men on the earth, its influences go down, from generation to generation and from age to age, into and all along the ages of eternity. They, more than any other, commonly, form the future man and woman, and direct their influences, in their various relations, and on succeeding generations; and effect their eternal condition, and their influence on the eternity of others from generation to generation. It is, in its Author's design, the grand instrument of making men and women happy and useful in all the circumstances and relations of life, and happy and useful in His moral kingdom forever. And how dreadfully reverse in the results, when its design is frustrated, no tongue of mortal can tell-eternity alone will disclose.
How vitally important, then, to every child, and brother and sister, and employer and domestic, and especially to every parent, to understand the nature and influences, the responsibilities and duties, of this constitution. In this view, it is matter of congratulation that such works as the Family Monitor, the Mother at Home, the Child at Home, are published in such quick succession, and so extensively read. These works exhibit, in an instructive and interesting manner, the details of the obligations and duties of the various family relations. In connection with them there is wanting, to be read and studied, an exhibition of the principles on which those obligations and duties rest, and by which they are enforced. To exhibit these is the
design of the following treatise. And this most important design its author has ably and successfully accomplished. A bare inspection of the table of contents will show that the discussions in the work are fundamental. Its exhibitions are eminently scriptural, presenting a richness and variety of illustration, drawn from that inexhaustible storehouse, often new, and always pleasing and instructive. Its reasonings are sober and conclusive; its appeals to observation and experience just and convincing. Its style, though not elegant, is not repulsive. To thinking persons, both its argument and its style will be acceptable, and its conclusions and counsels highly satisfactory.
If some of the remarks, particularly in Part I. Sect. 7, and Part II. Sect. 4, should be thought, at first view, to have an unfavorable bearing on a portion at least of the Sabbath school and other kindred efforts of the present day, a closer examination will show that this is not their design. They are directed to plans and efforts which would supersede the responsibilities and duties of the parental relation.
Sabbath school and other kindred efforts, when properly regarded and applied, are helps to the discharge of those duties and responsibilities. If intended, in any instance, or allowed, to supersede them, they are so far justly liable to the censure expressed, and which was designed by the author for other plans and efforts, in their nature of such an unhappy tendency. The remarks referred to may also excite profitable reflection and inquiry whether, while our exertions for the intellectual and moral improvement of the mass of the children of the ignorant and irreligious portions of the community are not remitted, but prosecuted with increased vigor, more direct attention should not be given to the parents of such children, that the order, and thus more effectually the reality, of the divine prediction may be secured, “He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the
children, and the heart of the children to their fathers;' and thus 'make ready a people prepared for the Lord.'
The volume which it is the object of these remarks to introduce to the American public is a very able discussion of a most important subject, nowhere else, within my knowledge, treated in the same radical and thorough
It is eminently adapted to be useful; and I cannot but hope that it will be highly acceptable, especially to those sustaining the solemn and weighty responsibilities of the parental relation.
B. B. WISNER.
Boston, May, 1834.
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Some individuals, who have professed to look deeply into the structure of human society, tell us that analogy has much in store for man; because, though it is not infallible, it is that powerful engine or telescope of the mind, by which it is marvellously assisted in the discovery of both physical and moral truth. The great expectations which are entertained, they would found upon the extraordinary discoveries which have been made in physics, under the guidance of analogy: that powerful engine, they say, in the mind of a Newton, having discovered to us the laws of other worlds; and in that of Columbus, having put us in full possession of our own. “Shall some discoveries in physics,” it has then been said, “ be so important as to produce a complete revolution in society, and others 80 powerful, that the very inventors of them have not as yet dared to apply them; and shall not discoveries in morals be allowed a still more paramount and universal influence-an influence the greater in proportion as matter is inferior to mind?” Under the influence of these anticipations, says the same individual, “I foresee the period when some new and parent idea in morals, the matrix of a better order of things, shall reconcile us more completely to God, to nature, and to ourselves."
Between discoveries in physics, and, what have been called, morals, there is, unquestionably, one strong analogy—that they are new only to us; all such discoveries being merely the observation of what has been true, from the beginning of the creation. To this parent idea in morals, therefore, many will not object, if it is shown to be older than the ages of nations and cities, and if it involves nothing more than what has been already revealed by God in his word ; just as all discoveries in physics, though not sooner observed, acquire peculiar interest from the conviction, that the same objects
had been before the eyes of all preceding generations. At the same time, never let it be forgotten, that there is one material distinction between, not only the investigation, but the effects of discovery, in physics and in morals. Discoveries in the former are often flattering to human vanity, and conducive to the comfort or convenience of this transitory life only. Morals, if they deserve the name, carry us above the starry firmament, and point beyond the grave; and in morals, since man has thrown off his allegiance to God, any discovery, if we may so speak, mușt be expected, not only to remind him of his apostacy, or rebellious disposition, but to be resisted by all the vicious propensities of our nature; and before it can meet with a practical attention, it must be accompanied or followed by an influence from above-precisely the same quarter from whence the Revelation of God itself has come.
Yes, all the discoveries which man can make, or expect, in morals, are already before his eye, in the pages of divine revelation; and although “ he who believes the Scripture to have proceeded from Him who is the Author of Nature, may well expect to find the same sort of difficulties in it, as are found in the constitution of nature; still he will tell you, that, as the Sun and the Moon have been apparent from the beginning, to every man endowed with eyesight, so there are cardinal truths, in the firmament of divine revelation, to which every enlightened mind, in all ages, has cordially subscribed. But, oh! were Christians, under the power of a docile spirit, only once brought to bestow but the same patience of research on that blessed Book, which the astronomer, and naturalist, or geologist, have done upon the world of Nature, then would they serve their generation with superior effect indeed, and leave discoveries behind them too, which their successors might follow up, when even these heavens and this earth were no more. The discovery of only one fixed star interests the world, and points the telescope to the same spot, in every land where it is known to be visible; but Christians in general, though living under a finer light, and placed in more favorable circumstances, are, alas ! yet far from discovering, as they ought, a deeper and more general sympathy for discovery, in their appropriate sphere of research. When that day arrives, and arrive it will, benefits will accrue to man, infinitely superior to any which have resulted, from the most splendid secret that has ever been evolved from the firmament of heaven, or the bowels of the earth; and then will men say-“Thou hast magnified