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Ir is a fact conceded by all, that the constitution of the Christian family, and its social and spiritual relations, are not as fully developed as they should be. In this age of extreme individualism, we have almost left out of view the mission of home as the first form of society, and the important bearing it has upon the formation of character. Its interests are not appreciated; its duties and privileges are neglected; husbands and wives do not fully realize their moral relation to each other; parents are inclined to renounce their authority; and children, brought up in a state of domestic libertinism, neither respect nor obey their parents as they should. The idea of human character as a development from the nursery to the grave, is not realized. Home as a preparation for both the state and the church, and its bearing, as such, upon the prosperity of both, are renounced as traditionary, and too old and stale to suit this age of mechanical progression and "young Americanism."
As a consequence, the influence of home is lost; the lambs of the flock are neglected, grow up in spiritual ignorance,
and become a curse both to themselves and to their parents. The vice and infidelity which prevail to such an alarming extent in the present day, may be ascribed to parental neglect of the young. The desolating curse of heaven invariably accompanies neglect of domestic obligations and duties; it was this that constituted that dreadful degeneracy which preceded the coming of the Messiah. The parents were alienated from the children, and the children from their parents. And the only way in which the Jews could avert deserved and impending ruin, was by "turning the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers."
We must adopt the same method. We need in the pres ent day a deeper and more scriptural sense, both in the state and church, of the importance of the family, and of its position in the sphere of natural and religious life. The attention of the people should be directed to the nature, the influences, the responsibilities, the prerogatives, duties and blessings of the Christian home.
Any work which contributes to this end is worthy of our high regard and subserves a noble purpose; for it is only when the details of home-life are given to the public, that proper interest in them will be developed, and we can hope for a better state of things in this first form of associated life.
The following work is an humble contribution to this important cause. It is intended to excite interest in the religious elements of family life, and to show that the development of individual character and happiness in the church and state, in time and in eternity, starts with, and depends
upon, home-training and nurture. The author, in presenting it to the public, is fully conscious of its many palpable imperfections; yet, as it is his first effort, and as it was prepared amid the multiplied perplexities and interruptions of his professional life, he confidently expects that it will be received with charitable consideration. It is now published as an introduction to a work on the historical development of home, to which his attention has for years been directed. If this unassuming volume should be instrumental in the saving of one family from ruin, we shall feel ourself fully compensated. THE AUTHOR.
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa., 1859.
THE RELATION OF HOME TO THE CHURCH.-It must be Churchly.