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wish them to rest on something better than the things of time and sense. Youth is sanguine. You are looking forward to years of enjoyment, but I must tell you, that life has many sorrows. You are, perhaps, calculating on the pleasures you shall enjoy, when released from all restraint, but
the pleasures of sin are but for a season,' and if the heart is not speedily weaned from them, they will end in the most bitter sorrow; • for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. The world passeth away, and the fashion thereof, but whosoever doeth the will of God abideth for ever.'
May God bless you with wisdom, so that you may not seek the shadow but the substance. All things below the sun are vanity and vexation of spirit, but if we have the love of Christ shed abroad in our hearts, this will sweeten all our sorrows, enliven all our comforts, afford us the most delicious pleasures, and inspire our souls with hopes that go beyond the gravc, and that are full of a blessed IMMORTALITY.
THE POCKET PREACHER.--No. V.
FAMILY RELIGION. Gen. 18, 19. For I know him, that he will command his children, and his household afler him, that they shall keep the way of the Lord, to'do justice and judgment.
• Them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. How frequently has this declaration been verified in the conduct of God towards his saints; and those who have particularly devoted themsclves to his
service have been made the particular subjects of divine honour-sometimes by their exaltation in this world, and generally by the distinguishing records given of them in the Scriptures, that we might learn to emulate their examples, by seeing that “the memory of the just is blessed,' and that we might be engaged by the amiableness of their characters to walk in their steps.
Classed among these imitable worthies, we find Abraham, the father of the faithful; his religion was not faith without practice;—not pretension without reality-not a fabric without foundation; the Great God whose prerogative it is to search the hearts and try the reins of men,' and from whom no secrets are hid,' gives us this honourable testimony of him, For I know him, that he will command his children, and his household after him, that they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.'
We may draw from this passage two important observations:
1. That every good man will command his children, and household, in the duties of religion.
II. That this conduct is a duty of the highest importance. We observe,
I. That every good man will command bis children, and his household, in the duties of religion.
lč has been frequently remarked, that every house should be considered as a church, every family as composing its members, and every master of that family as its Prophet, its Priest, and its King. To him are committed all the concerus of those under his care; and as one having authority, he says unto one, 'come, and he cometh, and unto another, go, and he goeth;' he acts as King, in his temporal concerns; and nothing is considered as proper, being done without his knowledge and approbation. But it behoves a man who has the wills of his household thus at his disposal to proceed farther than temporal affairs; he must act as Prophet to instruct, and as Priest to offer up oblations. God has placed him in an eminent situation in his sphere; he has honoured him by entrusting others to his care: as a Christian, he should feel a desire for their welfare, both in time, and for eternity; but as a Christian father, a Christian friend, and a Christian master, he should be doubly excited to instruct them, and to pray for them. He should be solicitous to come under the description here given of Abraham, “I know him, that he will command, &c."
How will a good man command his children, and his household, in the duties of religion ?
1. By keeping a strict watch over their conduct.-Gen. 35, 2. Here we have an eminent example of watchfulness and piety and thus will the good Christian act not merely as one interested for his own pecuniary welfare in so doing, but as one who feels the value of immortal souls, as knowing the worth of his own. To such an one it will become habitual, to reprove the language of defamation; to check the risings of rage and anger; to reconcile the family breach; to rebuke the daring oath; to detect, with tender jealousy, the subtle lie; to lecture on the infant theft; and point out the dangers incidental on such pursuits. He will be jealous over the conduct of his family, with a godly jealousy, not as an austere master for the sake of punishing, but as one who would command his family and househlod, and teach them the fear of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.'
The good man will command his children and household,
2. By cautiously regarding their company. Evil communications corrupt good manners.' The minds of youth are more particularly endangered by evil associates. The tender sprig will bend beneath every veering blast of wind, and many blasts in one direction will fix its growth. You may have seen even large trees, in certain situations, answering to this description. So when the mind is once bent by vice from the path of duty, it is difficult to reclaim it. Thus Solomon uses that excellent proverb, Train up a child in the way in which he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.' The good man will, therefore, endeavour to practice this proverb in this instance, by pointing out the errors of following vicious company, and the final tendency of such companions. To his children, he will say, “My sons, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.' To his servants, he will urge the blessedness of that man,
who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”—Ps. i. 1. Thus ‘he will command his children, and his househould after him, that they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.'
He will do this,
The soil that is left without cultivation soon produces poisonous weeds, and these flourish in such abundance, that they at length exclude every valuable flower. The mind that is left without instruction naturally produces iniquity. Upon us, then, who are the masters of families, does this task devolve, to cultivate the barren soil, to sow those seeds of knowledge, which shall be for a
advantageous to ourselves, profitable to our servants and children, and pleasing and honourable to God. I would urge some means of completing this requisite duty.
(1.) A reading of the Scriptures in our families. -Deut. vi. 6. 7. 8. 9. Many a servant in a nominally Christian family, although an inhabitant under the same roof for months, perhaps for years, has never perused one page of the Bible. That invaluable director, that unerring guide, has never been consulted as a counsellor,-aninstructor. And although servants are blameable--highly blameable for their neglect, this does not exclude masters of families from criminality also. If God has imparted to them more wisdom, and if they are endowed with authority, they should devote a portion of morning and evening for this important work. Our Great Teacher hath said, 'Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.' Thus by imitating the noble Bareans, who daily attended to those valued pages, their own minds will enjoy much spiritual intelligence, their children being brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, • will well repay their paternal prudence, and by their increasing piety, will pleasingly evince, that they have been taught to know the holy Scriptures, which are able to make them wise unto salvation.'
(2.) Expounding will be found useful. If we cultivate a free acquaintance with the Scriptures, they will soon become familiar to us. By these means our minds will become living concordances; and while we attend to our professional occupations, our thoughts may be engaged in this delightful study. Our servants and children will reverence our instructions, and feel a secret esteem