Page images

there the bashful new attendant was seen, and marked out for destruction. His companion informed him, that he was a member of a friendly society of young men, to whom he had mentioned his name, and where his company was requested. His companion offered to introduce him; he accepted the invitation, and the deceiving and the deceived spent the evening in songs and mirth. He returned home delighted. The second time he visited his new friends, religion was attacked; but he looked down and was silent, and began to think his religious professions, and his remaining serious ideas his disgrace. The third time he went, religion was again assailed. He saw himself pointed at, and informed the company his views were different from what they had been; and he confessed, that he thought religion only a delusion. The next time he went, religion was again derided; now he joined with them in treating it with sovereign contempt, and avowed himself one of the worst of its enemies. All this while his neighbours observed a difference in his behaviour; he was not seen so frequently at his usual place of worship. Soon he renounced all appearance of religion. The sanctity of the Sabbath was disregarded. His manners were completely corrupted. He was as vile as the vilest, the pest of the neighbourhood, and the scandal of his age. His visage, his poverty, his rags, all bespoke him to be a wretch undone !-Surely, evil communications corrupt good manners!" Take heed, O youth, that ye "walk not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, lest ye should sit down in the seat of the scornful," and your "latter end should be like his."

[ocr errors]

D. Tyerman.


I SHALL consider the nature of that discipline which ought to be maintained in every family. The objects of it, 'tis almost needless to remark, are all the domestics-children and servants. And it comprehends family devotion, religious instruction, and all needful correction of faults.

Family devotion must ever be considered an essential part of domestic discipline. Wherever this is neglected, that family cannot be under a proper discipline. But how awfully is this important and delightful employment disregarded! Cyprian introduces Satan as triumphing over Christ, in the following manner :- "I never died for any that serve me, as Christ died for his. I never promised mine that serve me so great a reward as Christ hath done to his; yet I have more servants than Christ. Christ hath here and there a family that serves him; but I have long streets, great towns, and large cities, that serve me.' "What was true in the days of Cyprian, alas! is too true in ours. How few are the families where prayer is wont to be made, and how many exposed to the fury which God threatens to "pour out upon the families that call not upon his name!" The Heathen had their penates, their household gods, which they worshipped. They thought it of importance to have a god in their families, though it were but a god of wood or stone; whilst many thousands of families in this Christian country never bow the suppliant knee to that God in whom they live, and move, and have their being. The true God offers "to come in unto them, and dwell with them," but they force him like a menial stranger from their door, and say, "We desire not the knowledge of thy ways." If ye are concerned to bring up


household in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, you must erect an altar in your families, and offer up your morning and evening sacrifices of prayer and praise. Twice a day, at least, ye should call upon him. The early business of the morning, nor the late employments of the evening, should drive devotion from your hearts, nor keep you from calling your families to "bow before the Lord their Maker," to praise him for mercies enjoyed, and to supplicate a continuance of his favours. That day is neither well begun, nor well ended, which is not begun and ended with God. These devotions should always, if possible, be preceded by reading a portion of the Sacred Scriptures, that your domestics may know what is the mind and will of the Lord. Regular family worship will render effectual, under a divine blessing, all your attempts to support, and carry on, the order and discipline of your families; but without this, all your attempts will prove abortive.

Family devotion must be connected with religious instruction. In this your children and servants are to share. I take it for granted, that you give your children as good an education, to fit them for the world, as your circumstances will permit. This you justly deem important; but how much more important is religious instruction! as much more important as eternal things exceed those of the present world. And shall this be entirely neglected? Shall all your care extend to their bodies, and their souls be utterly disregarded? It is this which will tend most effectually to stem the torrent of their natural depravity; to harmonize their discordant passions; to dispel the darkness of their understandings; to reduce their wills to submission; to rouse their consciences to a faithful discharge of their important offices; to disentangle their affections from the objects of a perishing world; and

to form them for a better state. This will tend to give the whole soul a new bias, and to bring it to him from whom it has revolted.

Your family should be taught to read the Sacred Scriptures frequently. It is here God reveals his mind to mortals; here life and immortality are brought to light, and exhibited to a world perishing in ignorance and folly here God teaches the uninformed what they are to do to be saved:

""Tis Revelation satisfies all doubts,
Explains all mysteries, except her own,
And so illuminates the path of life,
That fools discover it, and stray no more."

Endeavour to ingraft its holy doctrines, its divine precepts, its interesting histories, its alarming threatenings, and its alluring promises upon their tender minds, that if they perish, it may not be for lack of knowledge. "And these words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart, and thou shalt teach them DILIGENTLY unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." And while you teach them to read the Bible, inculcate this upon them frequently,-that it is the word of God, which is able to make them wise unto salvation.

[ocr errors]

Catechising is indeed a method of instruction which is generally despised, but unjustly despised, and only by those who are destitute of principle, or who are indifferent what principles are embraced. This is not a proof of the wisdom of mankind, but of their degeneracy, and tends to prove what I am inculcating the necessity of domestic discipline. The world never had

better divines, nor better men, than when catechising was most generally practised. If we wish to see primitive piety, we must return to primitive modes of instruction. Let heads of families, therefore, attend conscientiously to this mode of discipline, and we shall have more hope of the rising generation than of that which precedes it.

Your efforts indeed may not be immediately effectual. After all the instructions you give them, your children may be sons of Belial. But where there is a constant and conscientious attention to the means of divine appointment, sooner or later the desired point will be generally gained. How many have been brought to a saving knowledge of divine things in their youth by these means? And should this felicity not be afforded you at present, at a future period the good seed which you have sown may spring up in an abundant harvest. It has often been seen, that these holy principles have germinated many years after they were sown. recipient of them has been called into a more friendly atmosphere; and when they were supposed to be dead, those principles have, like seed in the ground, began to expand, to strike deep root downward, and bear fruit upward to the glory of God, and the joy of the anxious parent; and not unfrequently, after the hand that scattered it was mouldering in the dust. Let these reflections encourage pious parents in a diligent and persevering attention to the inculcation of divine truth on the minds of their domestics.


After all the care of the most assiduous parent, there will be faults and improprieties in his tender charge-these must be corrected. This is another important branch of domestic discipline. And here all the wisdom of the most eminent Christian will scarcely be enough. However numerous your children, you will find their dispositions as various as their features,

« PreviousContinue »