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ONE thing defigned is the comfort and advantage of the feveral members of these little communities. But to the attainment of these ends, they must keep refpectively, in their places, and act faithfully in them. The heads muft live together in harmony, and unite in ordering the common affairs of the fociety; and the inferior members must submit to their authority, and do the duties of their stations.
HUMAN happiness greatly depends on the temper and conduct of those who are connected in the nearest relations, and live together. Suppofe trouble abroad, yet if one hath peace and friendfhip in his family, and finds order and affection at home, he will not be very unhappy. He will often "retire to his fecret chambers, and shut the doors about him, till the evils are past." But the houfe divided against itself, is a scene of confufion and trouble. Contentions there, are like a continual dropping.
THE man who hath affluence and honor; who is respected or envied abroad, is but a wretch, if his retirements are unquiet; if his family connexions are peevish and disagreeable, and the inferior members rife in rebellion and refufe obedience to his reasonable requirements, or neglect the duties of their stations. Fidelity and affection in the neareft relations, yields the greatest temporal felicity; the want of them occafions the moft pungent grief which is experienced in life; that which arifes from fenfe of guilt excepted.
THE part acted by every member of a family, affects the whole. None can rejoice or mourn
alone. All participate in the joy or grief. All are affected by the discharge, or neglect of relative duties: Joy and forrow keep pace with them.
NEITHER are the evils which arife from these abuses to be avoided by celibacy, without incurring others of a ferious nature. Man is formed for fociety. An help meet was necessary even in Eden. To have remained alone would have rendered an earthly paradise a tiresome place. Therefore was a fuitable companion given of God, to crown the joys of innocence.
THE comfort and advantage of the members is manifeftly one defign of family inftitution; but where the duties of the feveral relations are neglected, or counteracted, the ends are fruftrated, and the bleffing changed into a curse. "It is better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and angry woman." And the woman who instead of a kind and virtuous companion, is joined to a tyrant, or a man of Belial, muft have forrow upon forrow, till death comes to her relief.
BUT the defign of family inftitution expreffed in the last claufe of the text-That he might feek a godly feed, will be chiefly attended to.
We are here taught that God made one, and only one to be man's companion and helper-that he might feek a godly feed. One is necessary for this purpose; more would rather hinder than help. With one there is a joint intereft; more would caufe divifions.
To answer the ends propofed, the connexion must be for life. It must not be left to the par
ties, or either of them, to diffolve it at pleasure, as the Jews of that age contended. This liberty the prophet fhews to be contrary to the spirit and defign of marriage. He obferves that though God had the refidue of the Spirit-all power, and could eafily have made many, he made only one, to be the companion and helper of man-that this indicated the defign of marriage to be an indif_ foluble connexion, which was ordained to continue till death. This which is intimated in the text, is confirmed by our Savior in his reply to the Pharifees who queftioned him on this fubject.*
In farther difcuffing our fubject, after a few defultory obfervations on the importance of education, efpecially parental education, we fhall inquire in what ways, and by what means parents are required to feek a godly feed.
MUCH culture is neceffary to man's attaining his proper rank in creation. This fhould begin at an early period, and naturally devolves on parents, who, by providential appointment, are guardians of the infancy and childhood of their offspring.
BRUTES need no inftruction in order to fill the places defigned for them of the Creator. Neither do they need example. Inftinct fupplies their pla. ces-teacheth all which they need to know; and teacheth perfectly. The feveral kinds of beafts and birds, fhut out from their dams, and fecluded from their own fpecies, act according to their na
Matthew xix. 3-10,
tures, in the same manner, as though brought up with them-difcover the fame difpofitions-use the fame methods of feeking their food, and providing for themfelves and their young-and exprefs themselves in the fame language, or by the fame notes. Nature left to herself, respecting every thing which belongs to them, is a fufficient, yea an infallible inftructor. Some of the brutes may be taught to mimick man; others to know and serve him; but these are foreign to their rank. Every thing, properly belonging to them, is taught by nature, independent of man. Had man never existed, some of them might have lived and filled their places in creation without him.
Bur man, the head of this lower world, requires particular attention. His mind requires more than his body. Should man come forward to act his part here, with only the fame kind of attention which nature teacheth the brute to beftow on her young, what would he be? How would he appear? Suppose fome favage horde toattend only to the bodies of their offspring, during infancy and childhood, and then fend them abroad to follow nature!-Uncultivated nature! Living at large like the brutal inhabitants of the foreft! Can we form an idea of ought more fhocking? Surely fuch a people would be more brutal than the brutes !
To prevent these dreadfuls, and render man the noble creature for which he is defigned, happy in himself, an honor to his Creator, and a bleffing among God's works, are the ends proposed in ed
ucation. These ufually originate in that culture which is begun by parents. The foundation of honor or infamy, usefulness or mischief, happiness or mifery, is commonly laid in the morning of life. The impreffions then made, are deep and lafting; the bias then given to the mind, goes far to form the character of the man. We fee therefore the goodness of God in an inftitution which hath such important objects in view-which is defigned to plant in infant minds the feeds of virtue, and form mankind for usefulness and honor.-And wherefore one? That he might feek a godly feed.
THIS work would have been incumbent on man had he retained his firft eftate. It would then have belonged to parents to cultivate the tender mind and direct it in right ways. Marriage was instituted before the apoftacy, of which a principal defign is that mentioned in the text: For the prophet speaks of man in his original ftate. In innocence man had his work affigned him-was made for action. Idleness would have conftituted no part of his felicity, had he remained upright. When he came out of the Creator's hand, he was
put into the garden to dress it and to keep it." His difpofition to idleness may have been occafion. ed by the fall. Had man retained his maker's image, it is not probable that young minds would have received habits of virtue, and been imbued with knowledge, without parental aid—that inftin& would have fupplied the place of inftruction, and fuperfeded the use of it.