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the law himself, and command his children and household after him. God knew this because he had determined it, and because, speaking after the manner of men, he had made proof of Abraham and had confidence in his integrity. God has determined to bestow blessings upon his people, not whether they desire and ask them or not, but he hath determined their prayers as will as the answers. "I the Lord," says he, "have spoken it and I will do it." Here is no hesiation, no uncertainty in the purpose, and yet he adds, "For this will I be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them." Ezek. xxxvi. 36, 37. God hath chosen a certain number to eternal life, and determined the very persons who shall compose the elect; yet hath he also ordained the means by which they are to be brought in and built up. He had promised to Abraham a seed which should inherit the land of Canaan, who should be a peculiar people to the Lord, and from whom He should arise. in whom all nations should be blessed: yet he had not determined that this should be the case, whether Abraham walked with God and commanded his household in his ways or not; but he had determined that Abraham should be faithful in his duty as really as that himself would be faithful to his promise. And not only had he determined the faithfulness of Abraham, but also the success of the means from generation to generation, that the children and household of Abraham should keep the way of the Lord, and do justice and judgment.
That which God knew of Abraham is the duty of all heads of families: they should command their children and households in the way of the Lord. On a subject so important as the management of households and involving so deeply the interests both of families and churches much has been said, and little that is new can be added; yet we often forget what we once knew and neglect the improvement of what is familiar, so that it is needful to put in mind of those things which are known and to stir up by putting in remembrance. It is proposed to consider some of these duties which devolve upon the heads of families..
I. Though not directly taught in the text yet as connected with the subject, it may be observed, that it is the duty of heads of families to provide for the support and comfort of their households. The scriptures give no tolerance to idleness, no countenance to carelessness respecting our worldly concerns. Industry was the duty and happiness of man in a state of innocence. Adam was placed in paradise not merely to behold its beauties and regale in its pleasures but to dress and keep it. The same precept which requires us in the most solemn manner to devote a seventh part of our time to the direct worship of God, requires
that the other six days should be devoted to labour. The apostle tells us that he who provides not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. He may be a professor but he practically denies the faith; because his conduct gives the world a false view of its influence. He is worse than the infidel who may in some respects be a useful member of society. The idle man is a curse to his connexions, and a pest to society in general. He shows himself not only destitute of christian but of common feelings. He suffers those to want whose happiness is confided to his care, and whom every principle of honour, justice and humanity require him to support and his idleness together with the unchristian conduct to which it leads,militate more against the cause of religion than all the arguments and influence of infidels. Religion is most deeply and dangerously wounded in the house of its friends. The improprieties of christians have done more injury to christianity than all the labours of its enemies: for these improprieties have furnished infidels with their strongest armour. Industry and frugality in the things of the world are by no means to be confounded with avarice and worldly mindedness. On the contrary those who are indolent and prodigal seldom have the means and still more seldom the heart to be liberal. Those who are diligent and frugal will have wherewith te serve the Lord and minister to the necessities of the poor, and they will generally have the best heart to do so. Our Saviour has ennobled labour, having wrought as a carpenter till the thirtieth year of his age. He gave a striking lesson of economy when he who created the world and the banquet on which the multitude feasted, ordered the fragments to be gathered that nothing might be lost. And many of his apostles thought it neither a hardship nor disgrace to do that which if now required would greatly thin the ranks of ministers and sink them in the estimation of the people; with their hands they ministered to their necessities. That labour which was originally pronounced as a curse is overruled to our advantage. The sleep of the labouring man is sweet, the bread of industry pleasant and healthful; while the idle are dull and discontented-devoured by cares and sinful lusts. They yawn away time and groan under the load of existence.
But to provide for an household is not to heap up riches without using them. There is nothing more foolish than to deny ourselves every thing comfortable for the present that we may guard against want in the future. A kind providence is a better security than all the property you may collect or the precautions you may adopt. You know not that you will ever see
that time for which you are so anxiously providing; and if you do, you know not but that the provision you are making will be vain; for riches often take wings and flee away, and the wise are taken in their own craftiness. The very wit of men sometimes ruins them. Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof. Every day brings as great a load of trouble as can well be carried, and why should we overload ourselves by adding the cares of to-morrow? Should we not rather freely use what providence is freely giving, trusting that while we are diligent in business and fervent in spirit he will never fail nor forsake us?
Heads of familes ought to guard equally against indulging their households in sloth or extravagance, and against oppressing them with labour or withholding from them more than is meet. And while religion is undoubtedly the principal thing, they ought not to neglect such a culture of the mind, the disposition and habits as will render their children happy with each other, rerpectabie. agreeable and useful in the world.
II. It is the duty of heads of families to instruct their households. It was in this way Abraham commanded his children and household in the way of the Lord, for until his way is known it cannot be observed. This was a duty very strongly enjoined upon the Israelites, Deut. vi. 6. "And these words which I command thee this day shall be in thy heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up; and thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes; and thou shalt write them on the posts of thy house, and on thy gates." And Asaph in the 78th Psalm beautifully describes the way in which according to the divine command, one race after another transmitted down the knowledge of the praises, the strength and the wonderful works of God. The Apostle exhorts parents not to provoke their children to wrath, but to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, Eph. vi, 4. Solomon acknowledges himself indebted to the instruction of his parents as the means, for that wisdom which made him the wonder of the world." I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother; he taught me also and said unto me, let thine heart retain my words; keep my commandments and live." Prov. iv. 3,4. And mothers as well as fathers are under obligations to attend to this duty, and have good encouragement. King Lemuel repeats to us a most instructive prophecy which his mother taught him Prov. xxxi. And Paul speaks of Timothy as indebted to the faith which dwelt first in his grand-mother Lois and in his
mother Eunice for that faith which dwelt in him also, 2 Tim. 1,5. Parents should begin early to attend to this duty. Children soon begin to imbibe principles of some kind, and as Satan is active in perverting their minds, we cannot begin too soon to counteract his works. Children should be taught some form or forms of sound words and taught to understand them. Much of the Sabbath, and much of the other days of the week according to the forecited command to the Israelites, should be spent in acquainting them with the nature, the importance and practical influence of the truth. "It is through this truth they must be born to God, made free, sanctified, defended and saved. Parents should be careful to suit themselves to the years and capacities of children. They should be careful to teach nothing wrong, for a little leaven of mistake or error may soon affect the whole character. They should rather teach a few things correctly than hazard conjectures where they are not well informed themselves. They should never cast the whole care of their instruction upon others, but while using helps should remember that they are the divinely appointed teachers of their children: and that if they be lost for want of instruction their blood will be as really required at their hands as at the hands of na unfaithful ministry. The intimacy of the relation gives an authority and power to the instructions of parents which no others can possess. And without their co-operation the instructions of others will be of little avail. Perhaps some may be discouraged on account of the weak capacities of children. They are so slow to learn and so dull to comprehend, that you have not patience to instruct them. But remember the patience of your parents and your God, and weary not in well-doing. Besides, though children may be slow to learn, that which is learned in youth long retains its hold of the mind, and its influenc over the conduct. Perhaps you are disSeek then to acquire
couraged by your own want of capacity. capacity, and seek it in the way of exercising what you have. It is of this as of every other gift and grace, it will be increased by use. And though you have but one talent beware of burying that one in the earth. Perhaps you think the time spent with them lost to yourselves. You weary in repeating things to them which have long been familiar to your minds, and would rather be increasing your own store than instructing others. Never think any thing lost which is given in the service of God. Never say, "why this waste of precious ointment," if the Lord have need of it. Besides it is by no means useless to ourselves to be employed in teaching. There is that giveth both of money and instruction, and yet increaseth, while there is that withholdeth
of both and it tendeth to poverty. There is no better way of fixing in the mind what we know,-of increasing our stock of knowledge, and deriving pleasure and profit from the truth, than to be much employed in teaching it. Perhaps you say that your teaching will never change the hearts of children, will never make them wise to salvation; this is the work of the Spirit, and you will wait and pray for this rather than be so careful in instructions. These things ye ought to do, and not leave the others undone. There are means through which God works in saving the soul as well as in providing for the body; and the means through which the foundation is generally laid for a saving Change are the instructions of parents.
(To be continued.)
CONSTITUTION OF THE AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY, In the last number of the New-York Tract Magazine the Editor remonstrates against an expression of ours, respecting the American Tract Society, as being an institution from which, according to its Constitution, no truly evangelical tract can issue," and referring to the Tract No. 45, "On the Christian Atonement," as a refutation of our opinion. We are sorry to be under the necessity of differing from the respectable Editor, respecting the constitution of the American Tract society, and still more so, that the expression of this should give offence. We take this opportunity of explicitly declaring, once for all, that we cherish no hostility to the American Tract Society; that we wish to throw no obstacles in the way of its usefulness; nay, on the contrary, we shall even rejoice in its prosperity: and we earnestly desire and hope that it may, under the divine blessing, prove a benefit to many. We cannot think it is any evidence of hos tility to a public institution to state wherein we think its constitution defective, and what the consequence of these defects will be, in its operations. We have given at length in our last volume (page 46 and 145) the reasons of our judgment respecting the constitution of the American Tract Society. Nothing has been said to shew that they are incorrect; nay, that they are correct seems to be admitted by the Editor himself; for he refers to the tract on the "Christian Atonement," as an evidence, that many things are very possible in practice, which seem impossible to the eye of speculation." This would seem to admit, that to the eye of speculation at least, our offensive expression appears correct. Whatever it does to others, we confess it still appears so to us. And it will not invalidate the truth of this, though, in practice, it may be possible that a tract thoroughly and truly