« PreviousContinue »
to make the attempt for you. Or if, on the contrary, your child should have been fortunate enough to meet with a good setting off at school; as it is to be hoped he may in some respects, do not suffer him to relax in discipline at home. It were a shame for you to be obliged to send a great boy to school to learn to get up. That is why some young people are so fond of home-that it pleases them, or the evil principle which has got possession of them, to be free from moral restraint; more than for any pleasure that they take in the beauties of the country, or the society of their friends. No holiday should ever be considered by the scholar as a boon, if it be not rather brought to appear otherwise: no more should any other sort of life be made by any means, to seem more agreeable than one of utility and improvement: but to give the youth extra holidays is clearly the way to make him hate learning, and look upon idleness as his greatest good.
In such cases, too, it will be likely, that the mothers have no better views for their children, than they for themselves, until it be too late to reform them: and as the children lend themselves to idleness and dissipation, so the mothers shall abandon, if they do not rather betray, them to these stubborn enemies; as it is written, "They offered their sons and their daughters unto devils." (Ps. cvi. 36.) I do not know what mothers may think of yielding to such connexions for their children, or of shaking them off. When a mother happens to be surrounded by a flourishing progeny, and all her circumstances are flourishing, she is not often likely to look forward to such consequences, as either the dissolution or continuance of her present relations in a future state. But that is no reason why she should not. What should hinder the prosperous mother from looking forward as well as the unfortunate, and endeavouring in prospect of futurity to reform her children as well as herself? It may be a difficult task, I own: but if she betake herself to it
heartily, prudently, and perseveringly, she may find help from above, and certainly will have no reason to repent her undertaking. She may not be able to command much; but AS MUCH IS DONE IN GENERAL BY PERSUASION, AS BY COMMAND: her authority may be continually declining; but she will find a better dependence in gentleness and discretion, and the best that is to be found any where, in a merciful God. "And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you; and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him." (Isai. xxx. 18.)
THE REWARD OF THE RECHABITES.
"Therefore, thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, Jonadab, the son of Rechab, shall not want a man to stand before me for ever."
JER. XXXV. 19.
WE read in the chapter now cited of a certain family, or house, as it is called,-not native, but domesticated in Israel; which, among all the truckling and backsliding of that inconstant people in a higher respect, gave a rare example of the opposite virtue in a lower. For while "the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem would not receive instruction, to hearken unto the words of the Lord, (Jer. xxxv. 13,) this pious family adhered to those of only an human ancestor. It was the house of the Rechabites, of the race of the Kenites, or Kenezites, of the Midianite tribe of Arabs, a medley of runagates and outcasts, including the promiscuous offspring of Abraham,
The Korashites, to whom Mahomet belonged, are probably some of their descendants, if not also descendants of the Kenites; being originally settled in the same quarter.
Isaac, and Jacob. Which tribe of the Midianites being descended from Abraham by his second marriage in a mean degree between Isaac and Ishmael, this particular house of the Rechabites had the farther honour of being legally related to Israel also; and that by no less a medium than their great Lawgiver about the time of his flying from Egypt. For Moses having then married a daughter of Reuel, or Jethro, or Raguel, the priest of Midian, and found in her brother Hobab, Hemath, (Chron. I. ii. 55,) or Rechab, Jethro's son, a valuable friend, and a sharpsighted; one that might be instead of eyes to him in the wilderness, (Num. x. 31,) as Aaron had been instead of a mouth to him in Egypt, (Exod. iv. 16,) and was also as clever in encamping from his manner of life as the Israelites were become deficient from their long residence in the land of bricks,-did not care to leave him behind, any more than he did to leave his own wife and children, as he went forward with God's people in the wilderness. And though Hobab, feeling like an Arab, as he was most probably, did not relish at first the idea of leaving his brethren and his native soil, he yielded at length to the solicitations of that eminent leader; who plied him hard, not only by shewing him what great things the God whom they equally acknowledged meant to do for Israel, with a promise that what goodness the Lord should do unto Israel they would do unto him: but by working at the same time on his friendship, as well as his ambition. "And he said, Leave us not, I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes." (Num. x. 31.)
So the Kenite (and his little family, perhaps,) left his strong dwelling-place,-his " nest in the rock," (Num. xxiv. 21,) and went along with Moses and his people through the wilderness which may account for the favour* that
Of this favour, beside the more general indications which occur in sacred history, (Sam. I. xv. 6,) I might mention, as a particular instance,
Israel afterwards received occasionally from his tribe in their difficulties. And if this branch was highly honoured by matching with so illustrious a person as Moses, the leader of Israel, the people of Moses were remunerated in some measure not only by these present services of the Kenites and other Midianites, as the travelling merchants, for example; but also in the sequel by the admixture of a fine, free, and active race, a great advantage for those who had been dreadfully depressed for ages in "the house of bondage."
About forty years after the departure of Israel and their miraculous escape from that wretched abode, and soon after their arrival in the promised land, this family of the Kenites, of the tribe or country of the Midianites, after assisting at the fall of Jericho, "the city of palm trees," went up from its ruins under the conduct of their father Hobab, or Rechab, according to Moses's forecited engagement and his successor Joshua's appointment, (Josh. xv. 1, &c.,) "with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went, and dwelled among the people" (Judg. i. 16) in the same manner as the Jebusites continued to dwell with the Benjamites in Jerusalem after its conquest, (Josh. xv. 63,) but rather more amicably, it may be pre
And there, in the wilderness of Judah, the Rechabite branch of the Kenites might have led the same kind of life as their fathers led before they, and before Jethro in the land of Midian, with some occasional deviation, perhaps, some partial enjoyment of the shelter of stone walls, with the fair red wine and other civic luxuries, till
the important service of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, in nailing Sisera's head where it was: an action that shewed her sympathy with Israel; whatever one might think of its honour and consistency for the wife of an Arab and the ally of Jabin, Sisera's Lord, besides. (Judg. iv. 11, &c.)
about the reign of Jehosaphat, a period of 550 years; when an hero of the name of Jonadab, or Jehonadab, happened to be father or chief, and, what is more, a reformer of the clan. He flourished also under the reigns of Jehoram and Athalia, (if we should not say rather under the single reign of that infamous woman,) who was a worthy daughter of Ahab: was the chief companion in arms, as well as reformation, of Jehu before his exaltation to the throne of Judah: had the honour of attending him in his dreadful execution upon the priests of Baal; (Kings II. x. 23-25.;) and was to Jehu then in respect of a sword, perhaps, what his father Hobab had been to Moses in respect of eyes. He had seen a terrible invasion of his adopted country by the united forces of Moors and Arabs; (Chron. II. xxi. 16;) and a more terrible invasion of its morals by the rulers of the country before-mentioned; to which that invasion was owing under Divine Providence, the prime Director of judgment, as well as encouragement. And to the same invasion of morals by a wicked government and wicked priests, (Kings I. xviii. 18, &c.,) was also owing, perhaps, this hero's successful attempt to reclaim his countrymen, who might have been learning to swim with the tide of corruption, and fix them again, or some of them, it is to be hoped, in the way of their forefathers as far as it was commendable.
It appears, however, that this Jonadab had the merit of reclaiming his tribe in the days of Jeremiah, the prophet, from a passage in their fortune to which my text refers, so far as the rule of leaving off wine; which, as every public regulation is of consequence, might signify
* This illustrious person should be carefully distinguished from another Jonadab, the cousin of David by Shimeah, and an unlucky one for his family; (Sam. II. xiii. 3, &c. ;) as should Jonadab's father, Rechab, from another of that name, being one of the two sons of Rimmon, a Beerothite, of the children of Benjamin; (Ib. iv. 2;) who murdered their master, Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, and were paid for it as they deserved by David: (Ib. 12:) for such a Jonadab as the last-mentioned would be enough to spoil the example here cited.