« ForrigeFortsæt »
be attended to, as far as the word bane of our satisfaction in almost of God consists with their conclu- every situation.
sions. When the union hath taken When both parties are real Chrisplace, the married persons should tians, their reciprocal duties will be consider each other, not only as the comparatively easy and pleasant: objects of their own choice, but yet even in this case the preceding also of the Lord's choice for them, cautions will not be found unnecesand should constantly desire and sary. The general rules of conduct pray to be perfectly satisfied with for the wife, and for the husband, it. From that moment, the eye, the are laid down by the apostle, with the imagination, the heart, must reference to the union between be carefully closed against all other Christ and his espoused church, persons, and every word and action from whom all our motives must be cautiously shunned, which may ex- deduced, and who in one way or cite an uneasy thought in each other's other is our perfect example in mind, or which may give the least every thing (Eph. v. 22—33). This reason to suspect an abatement or allusion instructs the "wife to subchange of affection. They should mit herself to her own husband, as remember from the first, that they unto the Lord," for his sake, and as are both sinners, and must expect the church is subject to him, the to be sufferers; that they are abso- preserver and Saviour of the whole lutely insufficient to each other's body. As therefore the Lord has happiness; and that whilst the placed the husband to be the head Lord may render them instrumental of authority, protection, and counsel to each other's comfort and welfare, to the wife; so she ought "to be they must expect to be also sources subject to him in all things;" that of anxiety and sorrow to one another is, provided nothing be commanded in many respects, and at last be contrary to the will of God. The separated by the stroke of death. example of the true church shows, That idolatrous, selfish, and carnal that the wife should render obedilove, therefore, to which nature ence willingly, from love and gratileads, should be steadily counter-tude, with alacrity, and a steady acted, and grace should be sought desire of promoting the advantage, to change it gradually for a more credit, and comfort of her husband, rational, subordinate, and spiritual even when this is connected with affection: otherwise it will at such things as thwart her own length either abate, be turned into inclinations, and seem to be condisgust, transferred to another ob- trary to her own interests in less ject, or prove the source of the matters: it teaches her to honour keenest anguish. The mind should and reverence her husband, and to also be prepared by every conside- be very reluctant to discover his ration, for all that forbearance, infirmities, or induce his frown; to sympathy, mutual concession, and consider herself as no longer her self-denial, without which the most own, to be at her own disposal, but promising prospects of connubial as her husband's; to make it the happiness will soon he covered with business of her life, in subserviency dark clouds: and it should never to the glory and will of God, to be forgotten, that there is much promote his happiness; and espeamiss in every human character, and cially to sooth him when discompo much alloy in all earthly comforts; sed by the various troubles of life, for too high expectations are the to accommodate herself to his sta
tion, to avoid every expense that misconduct, few serious interrupmay involve him, to concur in every tions of domestic harmony would prudent regulation to support their follow.
family, and above all to assist him To these general hints a few with her prayers and endeavours more special may be added. Somein every part of personal and family times it is discovered after marriage religion. On the other hand, the that a mistake hath been fallen into husband may learn from this con- as to the religious character of the perdescending pattern, "to love his son with whom the union has been wife as his own body," notwith-formed. In this trying case, great standing her defects and miscon- care must be taken, that the mind duct; to treat her with the most per-be not alienated, or amicable intersevering kindness and affectionate course interrupted on that account; sympathy; to endure hardship, and that no disgust be excited by remeet danger, in order to protect and proach, or any expression importing provide for her; to employ his autho- repentance of the union. On the rity wholly for her good, and espe- other hand, wisdom and grace cially in promoting her sanctification should be immediately and earnestly and salvation; to admit her to a full sought, to enable the party to bear participation of all the advantages the cross cheerfully; to win upon attached to his station in life; to the other by kindness and attention; sooth all her sorrows with a tender to induce a concurrence in family attention, and a self-denying endea- worship, and attendance on the vour to alleviate them; not to despise means of grace; and to use a pruher because of infirmities, nor to dent caution, that the circumstances allow others to despise or injure her, may only be a cross, and not a snare "but to give honour to her as the to the soul. By whatever means a weaker vessel;" to be as careful pious person is thus united with an not to give her needless pain or unbeliever, the same cautions are in uneasiness, as he would be not to a measure needful, and others may be wound his own flesh; and to give added. The apostle hath expressly up his own humour, nay even some-directed, that believers should not times his reasonable inclination, on any such account withdraw from rather than ruffle her temper, or give their partners, but should abide her umbrage, when by any means with them, in hopes of being instrua temporary peevishness hath been mental to their salvation (1 Cor. vii. excited, and so to behave in all 12-17). In this case, the wife, things, that she may find it easy to whose husband " obeys not the respect and esteem him. In gene- word," should endeavour" to win ral, both of them are required to him without the word," not so much watch over each other, or tend each by frequent and earnest discourse other in sickness, to alleviate one on religious subjects, (which ought another's cares and sorrows, to pray to be introduced very cautiously, for and with one another, and to modestly, and affectionately), as by avoid whatever may hinder those a "chaste conversation, coupled prayers. Above all, each of them with fear," or an union of circummust be sure to remember to be spect fidelity and respectful submost attentive to their several du- mission; and to render herself ties when the other is most defi- agreeable to him, not by the vain cient; for if only one party at once decorations of elegant and costly indulge a wrong temper, or fall into attire, but " by the ornament of a
meek and quiet spirit," and the prayers to a merciful God to pardon exercise of all those holy tempers, and to overrule for the best what the seat of which is in the heart, cannot now be disannulled, should and which are "in the sight of be considered as above all things God of great value." In such cir- needful: to this the observance of cumstances, it may be advisable to the foregoing rules should be added; bear unkind usage or neglect with and the consideration of the sin by patience, or to wait for oppor-which the cross hath been incurred, tunities of mild expostulation, in should constitute an additional mohumble prayer and persevering sub-tive to persevering patience, meekmission. Thus the cross may be ness, and kindness, even in return lightened, which a contrary conduct for harsh treatment; and in one commonly increases; and the best way or other the Lord will support, method taken of " adorning the comfort, and rescue such humble doctrine of God our Saviour," and penitents, and make all to work toof giving an unbeliever an affecting gether for good to their souls. proof that the truths he rejects are These hints indeed are very inademost excellent in their nature and quate to the full discussion of so tendency. Many of the same rules copious and important a subject; may properly be adopted by the but they may throw some light upon pious husband, whose wife dislikes the believer's path, who reads them his religion; but in the superior with prayer, and compares them relation there may be a propriety with the sacred Scriptures. in more explicitly and frequently II. We proceed to consider the proposing religious conversation; reciprocal duties of parents and in urging attendance on the means children. Some observations have of grace, and concurrence in family already been made on this subject, worship. In both cases, such com-(Essay IV.) but a few hints must pliances as cannot be conscientiously here be subjoined, beginning with made, should be firmly, but mildly the duty of children to their parents, refused; and in proportion to the which will finish the first part of degree in which a decided conduct this Essay. The apostle exhorts is adopted, where the will of God" children to obey their parents in is concerned, an obliging and yield- the Lord," in obedience to the will, ing disposition should be manifest-for the honour of the gospel, from ed, where personal inclination only grateful love to the name, and in is at stake, or where the matter is imitation of the example of the rather expedient than obligatory. Lord Jesus, this being also right in
But there is a case of still greater itself, and required by the holy law difficulty, viz. when a believer has of God. The general grounds and married an ungodly person, after nature of this duty have been stated; having been competently acquaint-it remains for us to consider it, as ed with the truth and will of God practised by a believer from evangein this respect. In general, such lical motives. If such a young disciple persons flatter themselves with the have the blessing of pious parents, hope of being the instrument of good in honouring and obeying them, he to the object of their choice, though will commonly honour and obey the the reverse is by far the more com- Lord: and gratitude for the spirimon effect. Yet this hope should tual benefits derived to him by not afterwards be abandoned: but means of their instructions, examdeep humiliation, with earnest ple, and prayers, will be an addi
tional incitement to a respectful, matters, or in a harsh and disobligsubmissive, and obliging deport-ing manner, but where evident ment; to a steady concern for their duty requires it, and with calm and comfort, ease, interest, and reputa- mild declarations of the grounds on tion; and to a self-denying, frugal, which they proceed: thus it will and diligent endeavour to ward off appear, that a Scriptural conscienwant and distress from their old age, tiousness (and not caprice, selfas pious Joseph maintained his will, or self-conceit) compels them father and family just as many years to act in this manner; and in proin his old age, as his father had portion as this is done, redoubled maintained him in his youth. In diligence and self-denial should be this case, it will be peculiarly pro- used, to oblige their parents in all per to bear with their infirmities, other things. In general, children and conceal them from others; to are not required to preach to their submit to inconveniences and res-parents; at least, every word should traints, in compliance with their be spoken in modesty, tenderness, wishes, and to sooth their sorrows; candour,and unassuming gentleness: to consult them in every undertak- and they should rather aim to induce ing as long as they live; to pay a them to hear sermons, to read books, deference to their opinion, even or to converse with pious and pruwhen it is in a measure unreason-dent Christians, than themselves to able, if it do not interfere with give instructions, or engage in arguother duties; and never to grieve ments with them, except in very them by a contrary behaviour, with- particular circumstances; for paout a very satisfactory reason, and rents will seldom become docile with the most evident reluctance. scholars to their own children, On the other hand, it sometimes especially if they teach in magistehappens that pious children have rial and reproving language. The parents, whom they cannot but con- most conclusive argument they can sider as strangers to the power of use consists in an uniform, consciengodliness in which case, it must tious conduct, an obliging attention, be a leading desire of their hearts to silent submission to undeserved rewin them over to the doctrine and bukes, diligence in business, fidelity grace of the Lord Jesus: but in to every trust reposed in them, and order to accomplish this purpose, a disinterested regard to the temit is peculiarly needful to watch poral advantage of the whole family. against a hasty zeal, and a violent When a young person uniformly spirit. They should expect to be acts in this manner, he will have opposed in their religious pursuits: opportunities of speaking or writto be assailed by arguments and au- ing a few words with weight and thority, and perhaps by reproaches propriety, which, being joined with and menaces; to be restrained by persevering prayer, may at length various methods from attending he crowned with the desired suc divine ordinances; and to be allured cess; whilst a contrary conduct will into such companies and diver-close a parent's ear against the sions as are inconsistent with their choicest arguments and most zealprofession: they should therefore ous discourse. But however that beg of God to give them the meek- may be, in this way he will adorn ness of wisdom, as well as a stead- the gospel, and will be sure of meetfast mind; that they may not refuse ing with the gracious acceptance and obedience in frivolous or doubtful blessing of his heavenly Father,
Many difficulties, indeed, must be encountered in adhering to such a
On the Believer's Attention to Rela- plan of education, and the success
will not always answer the expectations which have been excited by (In Continuation of the preceding Essay). it; but more may be done than HAVING given some brief hints on many parents so much as attempt; the conduct to which the principles and the general education of both of the gospel will influence the true sexes at present, seems calculated believer in the filial relation, we to answer any purpose, rather than must subjoin a few observations on that of regulating the judgments the reciprocal duties of parents, and improving the minds of the whom reason and revelation unite rising generation, of preserving in appointing to be the guardians of their principles and morals from their offspring, in respect of their contamination, and of qualifying present and future welfare. Their them for usefully filling up the attention therefore, must not only station in life for which they are commence from the time when designed.
they actually become parents, but The word of God directs parents many things should previously be to rule their children during their arranged, with reference to the pro- tender years, by compulsion, and to bability of this important event; im- repress their self-will and rebellious portant, because every human being spirits by correction: that they that is brought into existence must may be early habituated to obedibe completely happy or miserable ence and submission to authority, to all eternity. From the very first, which will be of the greatest advanconscientious parents will do nothing tage to them during their whole for the sake of ease, indulgence, or lives, both in secular and religious other selfish purpose, which may matters; for the more any man endanger the life, limbs, senses, con- studies human nature, and repeats stitution, understanding, or morals the actual experiment, the fuller of their children: they will person- will be his conviction, that all atally attend to every thing relating tempts to educate children without to them, as far as they can; and correction and to treat them as will be very careful not to entrust rational and independent agents, them with such persons as are before they are able to use their merely influenced by worldly inte- reason or liberty, arise from forgetrest in what they do for them. fulness of their innate depravity, They will perceive the importance and oppose the wisdom of man to of inuring them early to action, that of God: and let modern manapplication, and observation, and of ners evince with what success this storing their minds, as they become has been attended (Prov. xiii. 24; capable of it, with information on xix. 18; xxii. 15; xxiii. 13, 14; xxix. every subject which can couduce to 17; Heb.xii. 5-11). Chastisement render them useful members of the should indeed be inflicted at an early community. They will endeavour period, dispassionately, and in moto accustom them to such things as deration, yet sufficient eventually to are of beneficial tendency, to pre-attain the end proposed by it, viz. serve them from habits of indolence to establish the parent's authority or self-indulgence, and to prevent over the mind of the child. It is their forming improper connections. therefore generally improper to con