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ate, faithful, prayerful, and persevering discharge | acter, temper, and conduct, are wanting! Where of the duties of parental government and instruc- there is neither sincere attachment, nor good tion; and may be open the understandings and principle, where there is nothing but alienation, hearts of their offspring, giving them an humble distrust, suspicion, strife, hatred, confusion, and and teachable disposition, and creating a clean every evil work, what a complication of miseries heart, and renewing a right spirit within them. is there! What wretchedness for life! and what
danger of making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience for ever!
And how may these dreadful evils be evaded, ELEVENTI Day.—MORNING.
and the opposite advantages secured in the mar
ried state ? Plainly, by the conscientious dis* Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also lored the church, and gare himself for it,' duties are mutual, though we are, at present,
charge of its duties on both sides. Most of these Eph. v. 25.
concerned chiefly with conjugal duties as they How intimate and endearing the conjugal rela- relate to the husband. These duties are sumtion! If things are as they ought to be, and as
up in the one word “love. •Husbands, lovo they often are, husband and wife are one in your wives.' This should include what is comresidence, in property, in feeling, in desire, in monly called love. Such love, in the rational affection. They are to each other the most valued sense of decided preference and cordial attachsociety; and absence only makes them more ment, (though not in any foolish and romantic sensible of the strength of the chain that binds sense), is necessary to the true happiness of the them together. They contrive and act together, married state. But in addition to this, there for each other's advantage and happiness. They should be Christian love, enlightened benevolence, do all they can to ward off evil, and to secure good a wishing well in every way. Now, one peculiar for each other. They mutually make known feature of Christian love is that it takes the soul their secrets, and unbosom their cares.
What into account, and desires to promote the spiritual is lost to the one, is lost to the other; and what and eternal welfare of its object. This love in the is gained to the one, is gained to the other. most extensive sense, once kindled, should be Their hopes and fears, their joys and sorrows, carefully cherished. Married persons should their comforts and bereavements, are mutual. guard against whatever would destroy, or damp Each would willingly undergo pain to relieve the it. They should leave off strife before it be other. Their distresses are alleviated by each meddled with; and, if any slight misunderstandother's sympathy; and their enjoyments are ing unhappily arise, they should not follow out doubled by the circumstance of their being keenly the cause of dispute, but should drop it, and shared with the object whose happiness is dearer be thoroughly reconciled, as soon as possible. to each party than its own. They commune The duty of love especially requires on the together, and read together, and pray together, part of the husband, as well as of the wife, faithfor their soul's eternal welfare; they take sweet fulness to the marriage cow. Let no man deal counsel together, and go into the house of God treacherously against the wife of his youth; she is in company. Nor is the attachment lessened by his companion, and the wife of his covenant.' time, or change of circumstances; it rather grows Supposing husbands to be faithful and inwardly according to the time it has existed; and the very affectionate, their love should be manifested in inroads of age and of increasing infirmities only their words and actions, in the whole way in render it more certain and more tender. And which they treat their wives. Let not the head then, with what affecting interest is this relation become a tyrant, and quarrel with his partner invested by the consideration that it is for life! for every trifle, and deny her reasonable comforts, What God hath joined together, let not man and abuse, or grieve her, by opprobrious or unput asunder.' A tie is formed by marriage which kind language, and act so overbearing a part to is only dissolved by the dissolution of one of the her, as shall at all events, render her life unhappy, parties. When two thus join hands and hearts, and as may even break her heart, and shorten her on together they go, till death come in between days. Where is he that is guilty of conduct so them, and bid them part.
inhuman? Let him stand forward, if not to the As, however, this connection is productive of hiss and execration of the community, at least as 80 much happiness, where things are as they a beacon to others; and let the husband that canought to be, so, on the other hand, how great the not now bear even to think of such conduct misery which it occasions when the proper char-'beware of all approaches to it.
down to us recommended by the example, and here the frame of mind described which becomes sealed by the martyrdom of our forefathers. At us on the Lord's day. We are here taught that all events, let us resolve, in God's strength, to the law of the sabbath should be not only observed remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. And but loved by us, and that we should keep it joymay our remaining sabbaths on earth prove to fully and gratefully. us days of profit and pleasure, and foretastes of Are we, on this day, to commemorate the the joys of that blessed state whose duration great work of the creation of the world ? that calls shall not be measured by days and weeks, but for adoring gratitude and praise.
When God in which we shall enter on an eternal sabbath - laid the foundations of the earth,' the morwhere such things shall be seen, and heard, and ning-stars sang together, and all the sons of enjoyed, as will soothe all our old cares into obli- God shouted for joy: and it well becomes us vion, and awaken into transport our songs of end- whom he has called into being, when we think less praise.
of the displays of his wisdom, power, and goodness in his works, to praise him also, and with a solemn yet happy mind, to sing the song
of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the SEVENTH DAY.-EVENING.
Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy
works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are • This is the day which the Lord hath made ; we will rejoice and be glad in it,' Psalm cxviii. 24. fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou
thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not We have often heard it said that dedicating the only art holy. Above all, what reason of joy do whole of the sabbath to the public and private we find in the glorious work of redemption, of exercises of religion must render it a day of gloom, the finishing of which our Saviour's resurrection, and excite a dislike to all its duties; and it is too as on this day of the week, was the chief proof! true that there are many who feel a strong aver- • The stone which the builders refused is become sion from such a way of spending the day. But the head-stone of the corner. This is the Lord's then, it becomes us wisely to consider what this doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.' "Blessed proves, and how it can be remedied. It surely is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.' does not prove that such strictness is not binding; To the spiritually-minded, the exercises of the for, the commandment remains in full force, Lord's day are truly refreshing and delightful; whether men approve of it, or not. Nor can this may they prove so to us! We would take dislike ever be remedied by departing from the pleasure in acts of prayer and praise. We would doctrine of the full sanctification of the sabbath; regard God's testimonies as the joy and rejoicing for, that would be not to reconcile careless men of our souls. We would be glad when it is said to the sabbath; but to give up the sabbath to unto us, “ Let us go into the house of the Lord.' careless men. It is true that the employments We would listen with delight to the preaching of ought to be judiciously managed and varied, and the gospel, the glad tidings of great joy; and seek that direct exercises of worship ought not to be un- the blessedness of the people that experimentally reasonably protracted: but to yield up any thing know the joyful sound. How happy when we of the principle of the sabbath, to allow that any personally realize the blessings of a present salvapart of it should be diverted from sacred to com- tion, when the light of divine truth shines into mon purposes, that be far from us; for, that our understanding, when the spirit of grace would be a carnal and unjustifiable policy, which sanctifies and comforts our hearts, when we rejoice could never do any good. The plain truth is, that in the sense of our heavenly Father's love, when the dislike in question is only one of many symp- our affections go forth in tenderness and power toms of a state of alienation from God; and, in on every right object, when our faith is strong order to such persons being brought to relish the and our hope lively, when the peace of God that duties of the Lord's day, something more than an passeth all understanding, keeps our hearts and argument on this one point is necessary, namely, minds through Christ Jesus, and when we hona radical change of state and of heart. Where our, in all his offices, our divine Redeemer, whom that change has taken place, and vital religion having not seen, we love; in whom, though now exists in any considerable degree, God's holy day we see him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy is a day of much enjoyment.
unspeakable and full of glory! This verse is found in a passage part of which is There is another view of the sabbath which applied to Christ and gospel times by the apostle should make it a day of rejoicing and gladness to Peter, first Epistle ii. 7; and therefore, we have us, and that is as it is a type of heaven. This
idea is unfolded in a very full, instructive, and portance of these duties. While young children, comforting way, in the fourth chapter of the and persons in early life, may be considered as Epistle to the Hebrews. The apostle there treats most generally and fully concerned with this of the weekly sabbath, the day of rest to be observed commandment, because, in most instances, their by every human being, and of Cannan, the earthly parents are alive, and they are usually most rest provided for the Israelites as a nation, and of dependent on them; it becomes us all to rememboth these as a figure of the eternal rest of heaven. ber that its duties do not cease at any age. • If Jesus,' that is, Joshua, “had given them rest,’ | Though we may be considerably advanced in life perfect and perpetual rest, “then would God not ourselves, yet, if we are so happy as to have afterwards have spoken of another day. There both, or either, of our parents spared with us, we remaineth therefore a rest,' a sabbatism, or a are still bound, and should still delight, to cultikeeping of a sabbath, to the people of God.' vate every filial affection, and to discharge every * They who have believed do enter into rest; - filial duty, as scripture may direct, and circumbelievers have rest and peace in Christ; they have stances require and permit. The word “honour' rest even in this life, in comparison of the wicked is very fitly and happily chosen, it is so definite to whom there is no peace, and who are like the and so strong as to be quite intelligible, and to troubled sea that cannot rest. But still, their command attention, and yet so comprehensive as rest ó remaineth,' perfect rest is in store for them to include all the duties. This commandment is in glory; and of this the sabbath of earth in every justly viewed as intended to regulate the reciprosense, is a type. Heaven is perfect and eternal cal duties of all different classes, in their several rest from labour, sorrow, and sin. Let, then, relations, as superiors, inferiors, or equals. We every day of sacred rest here lead forward our shall, however, confine our thoughts, at present, thoughts, our faith, and our hope, to the eternity to the duties of children to their parents. Of of rest hereafter. Let us tremble at the idea these duties the following are some of the chief. of
coming short of that rest. · Let us fear, I. Reverence, or respect. “We have had fathers ii
a promise being left of us entering in, of our flesh who corrected us, and we gave them any of us should seem to come short of it.' reverence,' Heb. ix. 3. A son honoureth his · Let us labour to enter into that rest, lest any father, and a servant his master,' Mal. i. 6. Supinan fall after the same example of unbelief.' pose parents have weaknesses and faults, their chilLet us comply with the invitation to come to dren should not notice these with pleasure, or with Christ, and he will give us rest even now. Let bitterness. They should never think or speak of, is give all diligence to acquire a meetness for the or treat their parents with contempt. If parents inheritance of the saints in light. In particular, have estimable qualities, filial affection will recoglet us hail the weekly sabbath with gladness; let nise these with delight. us improve it to the utmost, as a preparation II. Obedience. Children, obey your parents in for the rest that still remains for us; and let it the Lord, for this is right,' Eph. vi. 1. “Chilcontinually keep us in mind of that blissful and dren, obey your parents in all things: for this is glorious state of which it is so instructive and so well-pleasing unto the Lord, Col. iii. 20. Let pleasing an emblem. Dear to us be its opening, us observe the extent of this duty; it should be is closing, and its every hour: and may the Lord 'in all things,' 'in the Lord,' that is, in every
bleas to us abundantly the meditation of this pre- thing lawful. Lent evening.
III. Attention to their instruction. Parents are enjoined to teach the things of God diligently to their children,' and 'to bring them up in the
nurture and admonition of the Lord.' But, on Eighth Day.-MORNING.
the supposition that parents are qualified and
disposed to do this, in order to success there Himour thy father and thy mother ; that thy days must be a corresponding readiness to receive in
may be long upon the land which the Lord thy struction. My son, hear the instruction of thy God giveth thee, Exod. xx. 12.
father, and forsake not the law of thy mother : Tule important place assigned to the command for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy lisent relating to the duties which children owe head, and chains about thy neck. to their parents, (for it is placed the first in the IV. Lore. This is due to all, even to our becond table of the moral law, and next to the com- enemies. But the precept of love applies here with mandments which enjoin piety to God himself) singular force. Our hearts must be steeled against is no doubt, intended to show us the great im- every thing that is good, if they are not deeply
impressed with this feeling. There is, indeed, as their own good to those who keep the commandnatural attachment without religion, which is little ment; but, with that explanation, the promise is more than an instinct, but let our filial love be not only sure, but precious; indeed, any thing something more and better than this. Let it consist more than this would not deserve to be called a in rational good-will, an enlightened and earnest promise. desire for the welfare of our parents, both in time Let disobedient children repent, ask forgiveand in eternity. Let it express itself in affec- ness of God for the Saviour's sake, and grieve tionate words; and let it appear in the kindness their parents no more. Let those who are on of our actions, in the readiness and satisfaction the whole dutiful to their parents feel admonwith which we do all we can to contribute to ished to consider wherein they are deficient, that their external comfort, and their spiritual good. they may supply it; and let them habitually, Let it also vent itself in earnest and persevering cheerfully, and affectionately study to promote, prayers that the Lord would shower down his in every way, the happiness of those from whom, richest blessings on their heads.
under God, they derive their existence, and to These are the strongest reasons why we should whom they are bound by the strongest ties of attend to all these duties to our parents. We nature and of religion. should honour our parents,
1. Because it is the express command of God. Not to advert to other precepts, the fifth com
Eighth Day.--EVENING. mandment is peculiarly positive and solemn. Had · But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his fathT, we no reason but this, it ought to be enough. 2. We should honour our parents, because it
or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thoi is a debt of gratitude due to them.
mightest be profited by me, and honour not kis If we have
father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus any ingenuous feeling at all, this motive will be
ye made the commandment of God of none irresistible. What have they felt, and suffered,
effect by your tradition,' Matt. xv. 5, 6. and done for us! What care and kindness did they exercise over us in infancy and childhood! How In the extensive range of meaning to be assigned many restless nights have we cost them! As they to the word “honour' in the fifth commandment, sat by our bed-side, or hung over us in our we must remember that it includes the duty of sickness, how did their eyes fill with tears, and contributing to maintain. So the word signifies their hearts with unutterable tenderness! How in other cases; as in the passage, ‘Honour widows have they denied themselves in many respects, that are widows indeed,' 1 Tim. v. 3, 16. Childthat we might want for nothing! And how did ren may generally be said to have nothing but what they labour and pray for our everlasting welfare! belongs to their parents, having either received Shall we, then, act an ungrateful, cruel, and everything from them, or been greatly indebted to undutiful part to such friends as these! Shall we them for the means of procuring it. Reason and behave so as to grieve those who have so loved the common feelings of nature combine in teachus, and to bring down their gray hairs with ing, that to neglect one's parents when they are sorrow to the grave? God forbid! We can in distress and poverty, is most inhuman. As never altogether repay them; but let us study to for scripture, it enjoins the duty of relieving them do so in as far as we can.
in the strongest terms. What is included in this 3. We should honour our father and mother, respect, in the word “honour,' is plainly and because of the promise annered: that thy days fully expressed in 1 Tim. v. 4, 16, "if any may be long upon the land which the Lord thy widow have children, or nephews, (grandchildGod giveth thee.' •Honour thy father and thy ren,) let them learn first to show piety at home, mother, (which is the first commandment with and to requite their parents; for that is good promise), that it may be well with thee, and and acceptable before God.' • If any man or thou mayest live long on the earth,' Eph. vi. 2. woman that believeth have widows (really destiDutiful children, by their very dutifulness, are tute) let them relieve them, and let not the kept out of the way of many evils, liave a special church be charged; that it may relieve them promise of God's blessing, and, in so far, are that are widows indeedIf their parents stand in the likely way to prosperity and long life. in need of it, it is the duty of children to minister All temporal promises, indeed, are conditional, to their wants, and afford them pecuniary assisand the particular promise specially annexed to tance, according to their ability. the fifth commandment is to be viewed as made The incumbency of this duty is also insisted only in so far as it shall be for God's glory and I on by our Lord, in the passage before us this
evening. He had brought forward against the excuses for neglecting one's parents, it may be Scribes and Pharisees the general charge of trans- truly said, that they are not piety, but superstigressing the commandments of God by their tra- tion and injustice, and displeasing to God. 'I ditions; and here he substantiates a particular hate robbery for burnt-offering,' saith the Lord. example. The law of God enjoining filial duty What hypocrisy or delusion must influence those was express, and it was enforced on the Jews by who can hold that it is in their power so to bind the most awful sanctions; but their blind guides themselves by a vow, as that they shall not be found an expedient by which it might be quite able, without great sin, to do what the law of evaded. The Scribes and Pharisees taught, God requires, and that their vow must stand,
Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, though his law should be thereby made void! It is a gift,' (Mark vii. 11, Corban') by what- Let such notions be far from children professing soever thou mightest be profited by me, and godliness. Let them beware, too, of what are honour not his father or his mother, he shall be much more frequent causes of such cruel neglect free;
' (in Mark) “And ye suffer him no more in our day, thoughtless extravagance, and base to do ought for his father or his mother.' Some selfishness: for there are too many who will not are of opinion, that this means, that it was taught live frugally, or deny themselves in any respect, that a man by simply having made a vow that but who will have their own desires gratified, he would not give anything to his parents, was though their parents should be pining in neglected thereby religiously released, nay, bound up from age and want. Instead of this, let us, if our doing so. And, no doubt, this idea is involved. parents are in need of pecuniary aid, cheerfully But on the whole, and especially when it is con- render it, in so far as we have it in our power, sidered that the Hebrew word Corban signified other claims of equal urgency being attended to. any offering, any thing given, devoted, or conse- Let us also remember that there are other ways crated to God by a worshipper in approaching of promoting their comfort which we should carehiin ; the meaning of this seems to be, that these fully adopt. One of these is, a discreet, wise, teachers inculcated, that if any man chose to pious, and virtuous conduct. "A wise son makdevote any part of his substance, or what he could eth a glad father,' says Solomon, but a foolish spare, to the sacred treasury, he was free from son is the heaviness of his mother.' My son, if the duty of assisting his parents, nay, it then thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even became sin in him to assist them. That was mine.' There are various kinds of attention too, entirely reversing the maxim, God will have which the truly filial disposition will suggest, and mercy, and not (or rather than) sacrifice. It the truly parental heart will appreciate. If they was like what became so common under the great do not live in the same family with us, we should, apostacy from pure Christianity, namely, giving if possible, see them frequently. We should or bequeathing property to the church, or to reli- study to promote their bodily comfort. We gious houses; and charitable endowments, under should, with that respect which is due to the relathe influence of superstition, or terror of con- tion they bear to us, affectionately encourage them science, or in the expectation of thereby purchas- to attend to the things which belong to their evering salvation, while the calls of ordinary benevo- lasting peace. We should cheer them with our lence, and the just claims of near relations were company and conversation. We should patiently neglected. In some countries, a great part of and kindly bear with their infirmities. We should the land had in this way fallen into the hands of nurse and comfort them in pain and sickness; and the Romish priests. In the charters making over do all we can to enliven and brighten the cloudy these gifts, this was a common form,—. For my evening of their days. wwn salvation, for the salvation of my predeces- “Me, let the tender office long engage Eors, for the salvation of my successors, and for
To rock the cradle of reposing age; the salvation of my wife, &c., I give and bequeath
With lenient arts extend a mother's breath,
Make languor smile, and smooth the bed of death. to God and the church,' &c. This was always a complete supplanting of the scriptural doctrines
NINTH DAY.-MORNING. of the atonement, faith, and justification, and often a sinful neglect of the claims of relations and The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth friends. Monastic vows fall justly under the
to obey his mother, the ravens of the ralley shall same condemnation, as amounting, in all cases, to
pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it,' a dereliction of the duties owing to the public,
Prov. xxx. 17. and, in many cases, to a cruel disregard and deser- We are here called on to meditate on the chartion of parents and cther relations. Of all such | acter and the doom of the undutiful child.