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parental neglect. What if after the lapse of a few years, your neglected child be taken from you, and consigned to the cold grave, think you not that when you meet it before the bar of God, it will rise up as a witness against you, and pour down its curses upon your head!
But suppose that child grows up, unprovided for by you in its early life; and profligacy mark his pathway, and demon guilt throw its chains around him in the prison cell; and he trace back the beginning of his ruin to your unfaithfulness, oh, with what pungency would the reflection send the pang of remorse to your soul!
"Go ask that musing father, why yon grave
So narrow, and so noteless, might not close
Because of the bitter and heart-stricken memo. ries of a neglected, ruined child that slumbers there!
Or suppose that you die before your neglected children, think you not that the recollection of your past parental unfaithfulness will plant thorns in your pillow, and invest with deeper shades of horror your descent to the dark valley of death? And oh, when you meet them before the bar of the avenging judge, most fearful will be your interview with them. Tell me, how will you dare to meet them there, when the voice of their blood will cry out from the hallowed ground of home against you! And then, eternity, oh,
eternity! who shall bring out from the secrets of the eternal world, those awful maledictions which God has attached to parental unfaithfulness?
Provide, therefore, for your family as the Lord commands. Remember that if you do not, you deny the faith and are worse than an infidel;" and in the day of Judgment "it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomor rah than for you.”
"Lo! where yon cottage whitens through the green,
THE Christian home demands a family religion. This makes it a "household of God." Without this it is but a "den of thieves." It is "the one thing needful.”
What is "family religion?" It is not an exotic, but is indigenous to the Christian home. It is not a "new measure," but an essential ingredient of the home-constitution, coëxistent with home itself. The first family "began to
call upon the name of the Lord;" the first parent acted as high-priest of God in his family.
It is not individual piety as such, not simply closet devotion, but family service of. God,-religion taken up in the home-consciousness and life. Hence a family, and not simply a personal religion.
Such religion, we say, is as old as the church. We find it in Eden, in the tents of the patriarchs and in the wilderness of the prophets. We find it in the tent of Abraham in the plains of Mamre, in the "house" of Moses, in the "service" of Joshua, in the "offerings of Job, and in the palace of David and Solomon. It is also a prominent feature of the gospel economy. The commendation bestowed by Paul upon Timothy, was that "from a child" he enjoyed the "unfeigned faith" of his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois. Paul exhorts Christians thus: "Rule well your own houses; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." The same family religion was a prominent feature of the homes of the primitive Christians. With them, every house was a sanctuary, and every parent a minister in holy things to its members. The bible was not only a parlor ornament, but a lamp to their feet and a guide to their path, used, meditated upon, prayed
Says Turtullian of its members, "They are united in spirit and in flesh; they kneel down together; they pray and fast together; they teach, exhort and support each other with gentleness.”
How, alas! have Christian homes degenerated since then in family piety! They received a reviving impulse in the Reformation; yet even this was meteor-like, and seemed but the transient glow of some mere natural emotion. The fire which then flashed so brilliantly upon the altar of home, has now become taper-like and sepulchral; and the altar of family religion, like the altar of Jehovah upon Mt. Carmel, has been demolished and forsaken. Only here and there do we find a Christian home erect and surround a Christian altar. Parents seem now ashamed to serve the Lord at home. They have neither time nor inclination. Upon the subject of religion they maintain a bashful, sullen, wonderful silence before their families. They seem to be impressed with the strange idea that their wives and children put no confidence in their piety, (and may they not have reason for it?) and that it would, therefore, be vain for them to pray, or exhort their households. 66 Many walk thus,' says Paul, "of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ!" Upon them shall be answered the prayer of Jeremiah, “Oh Lord, pour out thy fury upon the families that call not upon thy name!"
Thus, therefore, we see that the Christian home demands a family religion. The private devotion of the individual can be no effectual substitute for it.