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YOU AND YOUR HOUSE. 2. E wish to commend to our readers that resolve
which Joshua avowed in the presence of assembled Israel, shortly before he was taken from them, “ As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. xxiv. 15). If, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, we can induce you to form that resolve, and to act upon it, no words can describe the blessing it will be to you and your family. What a joy it would be if, looking round on your family circle, you could say, “ We
are all one; Jesus is our common hope ; our songs of praise go up together as one cloud of sweet incense; and our prayers are the common supplications of all our hearts"''! If that were true, would not your home be a little paradise ? Sending forth your children to fight for themselves the battle of life, you would be cheered with the happy confidence that they would be kept by a stronger and wiser hand than yours. What a preparation it would be for the sorrows which visit all dwellings, and for the separations which sooner or later must sunder all households! And what a joy, as you looked up to heaven, to be able to say, “I have now a good hope, that not only I shall be admitted there myself, but that all my family will be gathered with me."
“ Yes !” you exclaim," it would be delightful indeed if we were all God's true servants, But is it not almost too much to hope for ?" No, we reply; it is not. Whole families have been converted. The writer has in his view two families, the one numbering nine, and the other six sons and daughters, from each of which one has been taken to heaven; whilst all the rest, some of them with large households of their own, are on their way to the kingdom. Be not unbelieving. Hope in God. What He has done for others He may do for you and yours. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. At least resolve on this, that you will seek earnestly and constantly the conversion of all your house. It is in your power to do far more for your children's salvation than any one else. On you pre-eminently it devolves to " bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
You must teach them. You send them perhaps to the Sunday.school. Probably, too, the week-day school which they attend may have been selected with a view to their religious culture ;
but all this does not exonerate you. They should hear from your lips the precious truths of salvation. Opportunities are constantly arising when, if there be no opening for direct instruction, great principles may be indirectly inculcated ; but there ought to be special seasons set apart in every household for religious teaching. Do not say you have no gift for such teaching. The power grows with the effort to teach. You will be surprised to find what you can do, if you try. There is a charm in a parent's loving earnestness, too, which will compensate for many deficiencies.
Then, again, what valuable helps exist in the shape of books for children-books written in a style well calculated to attract and win! If you were to do no more than read to them such books, with the word of God, you would do them no slight service. Make them familiar with the beautiful narratives both of the Old Testament and the New. Tell them especially “that sweet story of old, when Jesus was here among men;" tell them of His love and power, of His condescension to the little ones, and of the welcome which He is ever ready to give them. Tell them what the Bible says of their sinful nature and of their guilt; how they need a new heart and forgiveness; and how both may be obtained through Jesus. You may thus fortify them against the assaults of infidelity; you may lay the foundation of a superstructure of firm and holy principle; and you may train them for useful service for God. Nay more, even whilst they are yet children, you may have the joy of seeing them walking with you in the way to heaven. Timothy, taught by his grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice, knew from a child the Holy Scriptures. Doddridge traced his love of the Bible to the lessons which his mother gave him from the Dutch tiles on the chimney-piece, painted over with Scripture subjects; and numbers are now remembering, with gratitude which will never die, the lessons they learned at their mother's knee.
Let there be family worship. Pray for your children; take them also privately with you one by one on special occasions, and whilst you impress on them such counsels as they may need, pray with them, but pray with them as a family. You are the pastor of your family, and this is a very important part of your pastoral duty. Let no morning or evening pass without family worship. Try to make your prayers simple, varied, appropriate. Let them be, as far as possible, such as your children can adopt. It does not need that they be models of beautiful composition, or that they be scrupulously correct in every expression; and least of all does it need that they be long. If you feel that you cannot command your thoughts or find language to clothe them, use a form of family prayer. Depend upon it, the influence of your neglect in the minds of your children is very evil; and be as sure that the influence for good of the right performance of this duty will be most salutary. But do not, we implore you, neglect it longer.
You are invested with parental authority, that you may exercise over your household a wise, firm discipline. God said, with great approval of Abraham, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.” On the contrary, it is brought as a solemn charge against Eli, that “his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not." Evil tempers must be checked, and a control must be exercised over speech, habits, companionships, reading-in short over the whole conduct. It is a disastrous day for a parent when he suffers his authority to be set at nought, and a still more disastrous day for the child. If there were a plant in your garden which you were very anxious to see brought to perfection, you would not only supply it with proper nutriment, and water it, but, if it were needful, you would fence it round and prune it, till at length it needed the greater part of that care no longer. Even yet more anxiously should those precious plants which God has given you to train up in your households be pruzed by a careful discipline, and kept, as far as you can keep them, from all evil,
Let everything else be sustained, as far as possible, by a uniform consistency. All inconsistency is marked.* Children are keen observers. The best teachings and the most careful discipline may be rendered unavailing by conduct not in keeping with the profession. On the other hand, many a child has been more powerfully affected for good by the right example of his parents than by all his teaching.
Be not discouraged, you have many exceeding great and precious promises. Dwell especially on that in Isaiah xliv. 3-6: “I will pour My Spirit on thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring; and they shall spring up as among the grass, and as willows by the water-courses. One shall say, I am the Lord's, and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.” You may have the joy of seeing your children early renewed by that mighty Spirit. If not, still pray and still hope. In coming years, you may hear that they have sought their father's God. And even though this should not be your joy on earth, let it be alike your prayer and your hope that you may meet them in heaven.
THE HOPE OF THE CHURCH.-Let every pastor who desponds over the effect of his ministry on the world-hardened minds turn to the lambs of the flock. Pentecost will begin for him there. Let our Sunday-school teachers seek immediately and explicitly, not the entertainment or the instruction of their charge, but their conversion; and the question of the spiritual state of the Church, the sanctity of home life, the peace and order of society, and the supply of Christian ministers and Christian missionaries, are all answered in words of hope and promise.-A. L. Stone, D.D.
ROAST GOOSE AND APPLE SAUCE.
ID you ever hear, sir, how it was that Edwards
gave up drinking ?" said a working-man to me so
one day when he was talking about the evils of intemperance.
“No," I said. “How was it ?”
“ Well, sir, one day Edwards was drinking in a public-house with the landlord, when the landlord's wife came to call her husband to his dinner.
". What's for dinner?' said the man. “Roast goose,' replied his wife. "Is there apple sauce ?' he asked. “No,' she answered.
Well, go and make some; I won't eat goose without apple “What apple sauce is,” said Edwards to himself, “I don't know; but I suppose it's something good they eat with goose.'
When the woman had left the room to prepare this wonderful delicacy, Edwards was so impressed by the scene he had witnessed, that for the first time in his life he began to think, and his eyes were opened so that he was enabled to see clearly what a fool he had been.
“Here's this man,” said he to himself, “ can't eat his dinner off roast goose without apple sauce, while my poor wife and child at home are glad to get a herring for their dinners, and very often can't have even that. Whose money, I should like to know, goes to provide this fellow with good things ? Mine, and that of other poor fools like me. Well, what's done can't be undone. It's no use crying over spilt milk; but that fellow shan't dine off roast goose again at my expense.” So he paid his reckoning and walked out of that public-house never to enter it again.
This happened some years ago, but the same thing is now going on in thousands of public houses all over the country. The landlord and his wife and children feasting on the best of everything, and the poor tipsy fools who pay for it having scarcely enough to keep themselves from starving.
Now, suppose we were to be told that a family were coming to live in one of the most comfortable houses in the village, and that every working-man was expected to give a large portion of his earnings towards the support of these people. Why, the whole village would be up in arms to resist such tyranny. Fancy the commotion there would be ! Can you not hear the people saying, “We have scarcely enough bread for our little ones, and we are to be taxed to keep a party of lazy, idle vagabonds ?" Yet the frequenters of the public-house know perfectly well that all this