Imatges de pÓgina
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trates this great truth. Did not God punish the first born of Israel, because their fathers had sinned? And is it not a matter of daily observation that the wickedness of the parent is entailed upon the child? Such is indeed the affinity between them that the child cannot, unless by some special interposition of Providence, escape the curse of a parent's sin. "If one member suffer, all the members suffer with it."

The guilt and condemnation of unfaithfulness to the home-mission may be inferred from its importance and responsibility. Those who are unfaithful are guilty of "blood." We see the curse of such neglect in that deterioration of character which so rapidly succeeds parental delinquency. They must answer before God for the loss which the soul, the state, and the church sustain thereby. "It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for them."

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The Christian home should be qualified for this mission. There can be no such qualification, however, where the marriage alliance involves inequality-one of the parents a Christian, the other not; for they cannot "dwell together as heirs of the grace of life," neither can they effectually dispense that grace to their offspring. When thus "the house is divided against itself, it must fall." "Be ye not, therefore, unequally yoked together." If one draws heavenward and the other hellward, there will be a halting between Baal and God, and the influence of the

one will be counteracted by that of the other. "What communion hath light with darkness? What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? What part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" Thus divided, their home will be unfit for its high vocation. Hence parents, in their marriage alliance as well as in their individual character, should qualify themselves for the responsible mission of home. Can the ungodly wife or husband fulfill this mission? Can the irreligious parent bring up his offspring "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord ?"

Many parents disqualify themselves for their home-mission by devoting too much attention to society,-by spending more time abroad, at parties, theaters and masquerade balls, in gossiping and recreation, than at home with each other and with their children. They commit their children, with all the family interests, to nurses and servants. They regard their offspring as mere playthings to be dandled upon the knee, brought up like calves in the stall, and then turned out to shape their own destiny.

This is a sad mistake! There is no substitute for home, no transfer of a parent's commission, no adequate compensation for a parent's loss. None can effectually take the parent's place. Their influence is overwhelming and absolute.

"With what a kingly power their love

Might rule the fountains of the new-born mind!”’

Not even the dark villainies which have dis

graced humanity can neutralize it. Gray-haired and demon guilt will weep in his dismal cell over the melting, soothing memories of home. Their impressions are indelible, "like the deep borings into the flinty rock." To erase them we must

remove every strata of their being. They give texture and coloring to the whole woof and web of the child's character. The mother especially preoccupies the unwritten page of its being, and mingles with it in its cradle dreams, making thus a deathless impress upon its soul.

'The mother in her office, holds the key

Of the soul; and she it is who stamps the coin

Of character, and makes the being who would be a savage But for her cares, a Christian man!"

What a folly and a sin, therefore, for Christian parents to give over their holy mission to another, while they immerse themselves in the forbidden pleasures and recreations of the world! Oh, if you are loving, faithful parents, you will love the society of your household more than the fashions and the fashionable resorts of the world; you will not substitute the "nurse" and the "boarding school" for the more efficient ministrations of the Christian home.

"If ye count society for past time,-what happier recreation than a nursling,

Its winning ways, its prattling tongue, its innocence and mirth? If ye count society for good,-how fair a field is here,

To guide these souls to God, and multiply thyself in heaven!"

ness.

"Walk, therefore, worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness." 66 'Magnify your office." Be faithful to your home-mission. Draw your pleasure from it. Souls are committed to your trust and hang upon your hire. Your regard for the temporal and eternal welfare of your children should prompt you to faithfulness to the holy mission of your family. You love your children, and desire their welfare and happiBut do what you will for them, if you are unfaithful to their souls, you wrest from thém the means of safety and of happiness; you aid in their misery in this and in the world to come. You are more cruel to them than was Herod who slew the bodies of children. You murder their souls. He murdered the children of others; you murder your own; he employed others to do it for him; you do the work of slaughter yourself! If, then, you love your children; if their souls are committed to you; if your unfaithfulness to them may result in their ruin; if God blesses the holy mission of your home to their temporal and eternal welfare; if its fulfillment by you be "like words spoken in a whispering gallery, which will be heard at the distance of years, and echoed along the corridors of ages yet to come;" and if it will prove to them in life like the lone star to the mariner upon the dark and stormy sea,-should you not be faithful to your home-vocation!

Not only so, but your regard for your own comfort and happiness here and hereafter should impel you to this faithfulness. Do you love

yourself? Do you regard your own comfort and welfare? Would you avoid painful solicitude, bitter reflection, heart-burning remorse, dreadful foreboding? Then be faithful to the home-mission. If you are, God will bless you What a comfort

for it through your children. it will be to you to see them become Christians, enter the church, and, at their side around the Lord's Table, hold communion with them in the joys of faith and in the anticipations of heaven! And should God remove them from you by death, you will be cheered amidst the agonies of separation by their dying consolation. The hope of a speedy reunion with them in heaven would afford a sweet solace to your bereaved heart.

Or should you be taken before them, what a comfort would they afford you in your last moments! With the glow of Christian faith and hope, they would whisper to you the consolations of the gospel, and bless you for your faithfulness to them. And when you and they shall meet at the bar of God, they will rise up and. call you blessed.

But, on the other hand, should you neglect them; and, as a consequence, they grow up in wickedness and crime; oh, what a source of withering remorse they would cause you! No sin more heavily punishes the guilty, and mingles for him a more bitter cup, than the sin of

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