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every secret thing you must give account; why, then, is it . not madness to defer the confession and renunciation until it it is dragged forth before the universe ? Now, you may whisper it in silence into the ear of Him who is mighty to save; who has said to the penitent, Your sins and your iniquities will I remember no more. If it were possible to find some place where God is not ; if it were possible for the unforgiven to elude the eye of the Omniscient, it would still not he wise to do it, so long as conscience lives to upbraid and torment; the darkness which would hide you from the Searcher of hearts would not hide you from your own soul ; but when we know that if we ascend into the heavens God is there, and if we descend into the deep he is still there, that his eye seeth through the thlck cloud, and the darkness and the light are alike open to his view, oh, what folly to defer repentance until it shall be too late! Now it is possible that the transgression, if for fessed and nourned over with a godly sorrow, may be blotted out as a cloud from the sky, so that there shall no trace of it be left anywhere in all the universe of God. But, if this duty is deferred until your sins have become babitu:), then cometh tribulation and anguish, indignation and wrath, upon every soul that doeth evil and repenteth not. I repeat it, my impenitent friend, the only reasonable course is now to confess and forsake your sins ; it is only in this way you can be shielded from the dreadful revelations of the great day. Will you not take the matter into consideration ? Will you not in the midst of alluring and destroying scenes inquire, " How shall it be in the end thereof ?” Will you not cast your minds but a short distance beyond the present moment and remember, that although friends may look
upon you now with pride, and God in his forbearance seem not to notice your delinquency, yet there is an hour coming, when, unless forgiven, friends will shrink away with shame from the form they once confided in, and God in grief will pronounce your doom.
I seem to hear the poet say:
When will man learn to bear
This doctrine, like all laws that are necessary and universal, is not without its consolation to the righteous. His good
acts will not be forgotten. God has treasured them up, and will bring them forth. A cup of cold water given to a disciple in the name of a disciple, shall not lose its reward. If you have to say, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? Verily, inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, His brethren, ye have done unto Him.
BY REV. M. T. ADAM,
PARENTS THE DIVINELY APPOINTED TEACHERS OF THEIR
FAMILIES. Therefore shali ye lay up these my words in your heart in yonr soul, and
bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thine house, and upon thy gates : that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon earth.”-DECT. xi, 18--21.
Of all the relations which man sustains in this life, no one is more important and responsible than the parental. For, as children in their early years are naturally entirely under the care of their parents, and are susceptible of impressious from the very dawn of observation, so from this very early period they are to be considered as in a school of instruction. As early impressions are also generally the most durable, so it will be found, as a general rule, that according to their tendency, so is the future character. Hence, if a child draws his first breath, and spends his early years under the baleful influence of a general neglect of God, or, it may be, of open impiety, the natural, and it may be said, the almost inevitable consequence of this will be, that he will grow up without any knowledge or fear of God, and live in the commission of the vices which he sees around him, as far as his phy. sical and intellectual powers may enable him to commit them. And so far is this from being a matter of mere theory, that the history of unnumbered multitudes has so fully illustrated it as to put it beyond the possibility of being justly called in question. Hence the many instances of early profanity, and of youthful profligacy and crime, which may everywhere be seen around us, and which, if not checked, are ominous of the most fearful consequences with regard to the future state of society. A relation, therefore, which ex
erts so powerful an influence for good or evil upon the future generations of the human race, cannot be otherwise than fearfully responsible. And as the sacred Scriptures are designed to point out the appropriate duties of every station and relation which men are called in Providence to fill, so we find that they contain many directions to parents, defining the duties which are incumbent upon them, and pointing out, with infallible precision, the mannar in which these duties should be discharged ; and of these injunctions, the text forms a distinguished example. It may be regarded, indeed, as a command solemnly addressed by God to all parents, in reference to the duty which they dwe to their offspring and the manner in which they are to perform it, and as pointing out the encouragement which they have, constantly to regard it. But before directing our attention to these, let consider
I. The light in which we ought to view the family relation. From the scope and design of the text, it is obvious that God contemplates the family as a school, in which the young immortal minds which he has committed to the care of parents, are to be trained for his service and for heaven. This is obvious from the nature of the instruction which they are commanded to give them ; and it is a great and fatal mistake to regard it in any other light. Indeed, such is the nature of the developments of the infant mind, that from the moment it becomes a sentient and observant being, it is placed in a school of learning, and parents cannot alter this constitution of things. From the principles of perception and imitation, which begin to act at the very dawn of our being, it cannot be otherwise than that children should be learning from every object with which they are connected. And the character of the persons and objects with which they are constantly surrounded, will give direction and tone to their intellectual and moral being; for it is at this early period that the seeds of future character are planted—and thus the family is the nursery of those who will be the moral scourges of the world, and will descend at last into neverending infamy and woe, or of those who will be examples of all that is holy and lovely, prove signal blessings to their generation, and be made the heirs of heaven. Parents, therefore, should never forget, that the family is the school in which they are training the men and women of the future age, from whom the world will gain its votaries, the church its members, heaven its redeemed spirits, and hell its victims; and that their example, their very looks, as well as words and deeds, and every thing that surrounds the young immortal minds which are confided to their care, are making impressions which will be lasting as life, and which may extend their blissful or baleful influence on their eternal destiny. For, as the plant or twig is bent, so will be the tree when it grows to maturity : just so will it usually be found that, according as the infant mind is trained and bent either to good or to evil, just so will be its character in manhood. It is thus that the child becomes the parent of the future man. And, when we look at this subject in all its bearings on the church and on the world-on the future and eternal well-being or woe of our children—and on the joys and sorrows of parents themselves, we cannot fail to see that it is not possible for us to form too high an idea of its importance. What a weight of responsibility, therefore, is evidently connected with the parental relation, and how necessary and desirable is it that parents should duly feel it, and seek the qualifications which will enable them to serve their generation by raising up a seed for God and the church on earth and in heaven. Let us consider
II. The teachers and their qualifications. While the text is evidently designed to lead us to contemplate the family as a school, when it says—" And ye shall teach them your chlldrən,” it points out with no less clearness who the teachers are to be. We have already remarked, that children from the dawn of their observation, are learning from everything that surrounds them; and, as parents, in their earliest years, are most frequently with them, so in the nature of the case, they are also their graatest teachers. This, too, they may be without any design on their part. But, though this is unquestionably the case, yet our text contemplates something far higher than this, and enjoins a duty which must take precedence of eveay other that pertains to the parental relation; namely, the special and direct communication of that knowledge which God has revealed and commanded to be communicated to them. In multitudes of instances, however, it would seem as if the character of teacher were in a great measure dropt, in the present age, from that of the parental, whilst all our modern arrangements and appliances for training the young seem to have a strong tendency toward taking the formation of youthful character altogether out of the hands of parents. But, it should never be forgotten, that parents are constituted the teachers of their children by the express appointment of God, and that any arrangement that overlooks this great fact, or that sets aside this appointment, can neither be wise nor safe. The family, indeed, is the great primary school of the world, in which the infant mind receives its first impressions and its first lessons, by which it must, in the nature of the case, be in a great measure moulded. And in place of overlooking or setting aside this great fact, all our educational arrangement appliances should
have a tendency to aid this, by rousing parents to pay a just measure of attention to it, and endeavoring to qualify them for the due performance of their duty in this matter. So plain and explicit, too, is the command of God, that no parent can be justified in neglecting or transferring the duty to others, unless he is placed in such circumstances as to incapacitate him for discharging it. So long, therefore, as it is said—“And ye shall teach them your children," parents are to be regardnd as the divinely appointed primary teachers of their offspring ; and they cannot neglect or transfer this duty to others, without neglecting or setting aside the ordinance of God.
As God has thus clearly defined who are to be the teachers, so he has no less clearly pointed out what are to be their qualifications—" Therefore," says he, “shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes." In these words, we have a beautiful and highly instructive description of what every parent should be, as the head and instructor of his family. The words of God, thereby referring to the doctrines to he believed, the commands to be obeyed, the ordinances to be observed, the prophesies to be fulfilled, the promises to be realized, and the threatenings to be dreaded and shunned, are to be laid up in the heart and in the soul, that they may enlighten the understanding, regulate the conscience, and sanctify the affections, that they may from thence flow out into the actions of the life, and qualify them for teaching the whole will of God, and for being living examples of all that the Lord our God requires of us. The soul, in all its views, emotions and exercises, is to be entirely under their influence; and this it cannot be, without being at the same time " a living epistle of Christ, known and read of all” who behold it. The allusiou, also, to a sign or signet upon the hand, and frontlets between the eyes, beautifu
beautifully illustrates the prominence which should be given to the “ words of God,” in their practical bearings on the life. The religious parent is not to be ashamed nor afraid to give the utmost prominence to his piety before his family. On the contrary, his deep and abiding reverence of God, his faith in Christ, and supreme love and devotedness to him and his cause, and his constant obedience to his commands and ordinances, in private as well as in public, are to mark all his course, and infuse their influence into his whole character, if, as a religious parent, he would be duly qualified for training up his children for God and for the church, either in this world or in heaven. Having thus glanced at the qualifications of the teachers, let us consider
III. The matter and the manner of the teaching which