« AnteriorContinuar »
LUKE X. 5.
Peace be to this habitation,
Peace to every soul therein;
Peace, the fruit of cancel'd sin!
Peace to sensual minds- unknown;
THIS direction admirably accords with the character of Christ as Prince of PEACE, who by the blood of his cross has made peace between provoked justice and re. bellious man; and therefore commissioned his disciples to publish that peace into whatsoever house they should enter. If we receive the text in the form of a prayer, it imports the dependence of the disciples upon their Lord, to confer the blessing. If to be used as a Gospel saluta. tion, it expresses their generous disposition, that, let the family among whom they should enter be either religious or vain, they wished that they might enjoy the celestial blessing of peace, and be crowned with prosperity.
With such sentiments we commence the pleasing duty of DOMESTIC INSTRUCTION, by a series of discourses, sentimental and practical, constituting a BODY OF Divi. NITY in miniature, which, we hope, under the benediction of the Almighty, may contribute to your personal and social felicity. With such cheering expectation, I pur
pose, in this introductory Lecture, to explain to you what I presume to be essential to constitute domestic happi
A family is a little society usually consisting of parents, children, and servants; but in this term we comprehend all who inhabit the same dwelling and compose the same household, be they more or less numerous. Domestic felicity is one of the most essential blessings of human life, and has a very material influence upon
the more ample circles of society. If we are deficient in this, it imbitters almost every enjoyment of life. It is acknowledged that the habits of education and rank may sometimes curb the passions, and produce a degree of order and amiableness. Real felicity, however, cannot dwell in that heart, nor under the same roof, where practical vice is cultivated in any form ; and, it is equally true, that one vicious person in a family may become the baneful source of disquietude to the whole. It is the GOSPEL OF CHRisT which opens those sources that are adequate to create substantial blessedness in a family. What some of these are, I shall now briefly explain, sincerely wishing you may know their charming imports by happy possession !
1. The first I shall name is the personal experience of that peace which the Saviour commanded his disciples to proclaim; for, as the heart of individuals, so generally is the happiness of the domestic circle. It is a fact as humiliating as it is true, that we have sinned against the being, the perfections, and the law of our Maker; and that thereby our souls are extremely depraved, and are exposed to numerous evils, and eventually to condign punishment. No man, therefore, can be deemed happy while his crimes are unpardoned, and his heart unre. newed. A sensibility of this fallen, wretched, condemned state is essential to the reception of Gospel peace. When this conviction is properly received, nothing will satisfy the mind and ease the pangs of the heart till reconciliation with God be enjoyed. The spirit of a man may sustain his infirmities, but a wounded spirit who can bear? Present obedience is not admissible by the laws of God or man, as an atonement for past transgressions, Punishment, or complete satisfaction, by a substitute, must determine the all-important case between the sinner and his Judge! Not a line in the volume of nature will tell him how God can be a just God, and yet a Sa. viour! To a person of this sensibility how beautiful are the feet of them that publish peace, that bring good tid. ings of salvation by the Son of God? who became the sinner's friend, obeyed the injured law, atoned for crimes of deepest dye in his own blood, and is now exalted at his Father's right hand, a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sin. The enjoyment of this blessedness is from the influencing power of the Spirit of God, by creating faith in the heart to receive the inviting word of Christ, Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
How truly great the felicity such peace conveys! sins pardoned; the person accepted; communion with God enjoyed; the blessings of grace secured; the privileges of Zion unfolded; death disarmed; eternity, with all its glory, promised by a faithful God! What great things are here? Thus we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and we rejoice in hope of the glory that is to come. This peace rules in the heart, sanctifies the passions, influences the whole conduct, while the lips incessantly praise the Lord for that peace which passeth
' all understanding. This is a short description of the religion of that heart which is born again of God. It is the broad basis of grace, on which the superstructure of per. sonal as well as social virtue and happiness must be raig. ed. It forms the leading features of a child of God, let his external profession or denomination be what it may, never failing to issue in the praise of free, distinguishing, persevering grace. Happy are you who possess it! A family composed of such children of peace, must certainly be like an heaven upon earth! and, even an individual of that description to be found among an household, by his temper and example, will prove an ornament and a blesa sing. Thus Laban said unto Jacob, “ I have learned by experience, that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake." This felicity is still heightened, when the master of a family is endowed with the possession of sacred peace, and, like venerable Joshua, the servant of the Lord, who, in the face of multitudes, at the head of a numerous household, publicly announced his religion, he may say, “ As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
2. A disposition to fill every respective RELATION and STATION in which God hath placed you, is an important mean to promote domestic felicity. That there is an equality in the worth of our souls, in our interest in Christ, the privileges of grace, and a title to glory, together with the rights of civil freedom, none but those who are lost to the dictates of reason and Revelation will attempt to deny. But sacred and inviolable as those equal rights may be held, their misapplication, when suffered to counteract the relation of parents and children, of masters and servants, becomes subversive of all social happiness, and the baneful source of discord and irregu.