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Oftentimes, also, in a large household, where the same parental care is expended on all, there is yet to be found one and another who is like a wild brier, or a noxious weed, or a stinging nettle, amidst that fragrant parterre of fruits and flowers. But still the rule of sovereignty is in accordance with that promise which assures the parent with regard to the child faithfully trained up, that “when he is old, he will not depart from it; ” as well as in harmony with the assurance—“I will be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.” What Matthew Henry, says has received countless illustrations, and the observation and recollection of many readers will attest it, that “while grace runs not in the blood, it often runs with it.” The writer is well acquainted with several families who can look back on a pious ancestry, through many generations. And is not this a lineage, nobler far in the eyes of God and angels, viewed in the light of eternity, than that which can produce the family tree of a royal and princely race P So felt Cowper when he sang—
“My boast is not that I deduce my birth
Little more than twelve months ago, there passed away from one of our congregations a venerable Christian lady, who had sat long under the ministry of the Rev. Matthew Wilks, of the Tabernacle, and had often entertained that excellent man at her hospitable board, together with Dr. Collier, her intimate friend, and many other eminent servants of God. The writer was often accustomed to call upon her, enjoying as he did her confidence and affection, and cherishing towards her almost a filial regard. One Sabbath evening, after the services of the sanctuary were over, he sat by her side, and when about to engage in family worship, his eye rested on a registry of her sisters, brothers, and parents, all of whom had passed into an eternal world. With deep emotion this aged saint spoke not only of a godly father and mother, but of a holy ancestry, extending back through several centuries, and residents for many generations in the parish of Lutterworth, where shone so long and brightly John Wycliffe, “the morning star of the Reformation.”
It is an undoubted fact then, that through and by means of parental
fidelity God has always had a line of faithful servants. It is indeed
his express design that it should be so. Truth is given to parents as a sacred deposit to be handed down to posterity. Deut. vi. Psalm
But let it not be forgotten that there is something more needed than the mere education of children in the knowledge of truth. There must be united with it, not only prayer for the Holy Spirit's teaching to accompany that truth, but o a firm, steady, and uniform discipline. In this Eli failed utterly. “His sons made themselves vile and he restrained them not.” Sin, if not winked at, is dealt by with gentleness, and with the partial fondness and cruel tenderness which only “hints a fault and hesitates dislike,” he says, “Why do ye such things, for I hear of your evil doings from all this people?”
Behold, then, the faults of the father, who excuses the wickedness of the child. Behold how that which is amiable in itself—parental love— when it is not controlled and regulated by duty and conscience, becomes
a hideous thing, a monstrous selfishness which brings down a parent's grey hairs with sorrow to the grave. While the excessive severity of parents is the one extreme against which you should guard, remember, undue indulgence is the other. Oh, how difficult to steer the middle course, to attain the golden mean! How bard is it on the one hand to abstain from that passionate violence which so often only hardens; that stern restraint which makes no allowance for the joyousness of youth, and which treats innocent recreation as if it were a sin, and makes home be regarded a prison, instead of what it might be, almost a paradise. But on the other hand, how difficult is it to abstain from that false tenderness which cannot give present pain to children, which says of the little bully of the nursery, “Let him have a little of his own way; he will have little enough of it by and by ;” and which so relaxes the reins of godly discipline, that even godly lessons and a pure example on the parent's part become utterly useless.
You cannot expect a blessing on your children if Eli's undue tenderness be yours, nor yet if the one parent does not co-operate with the other. See to it, mothers, that when the father is stern and firm, you do not encourage your children in evil, by concealing their faults, or allowing them to indulge in late hours and vicious courses. Happy indeed are the parents who in this matter are perfectly joined together in the same mind, and the same judgment. But woe, woe to the father or the mother who has the spirit of Eli! Families thus neglected, are ruined, and often are rooted out from the earth. Let all parents, then, ponder the Divine threatening, and its terrible fulfilment. For thus saith the Lord :
“Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one which heareth it shall tingle.
"In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken against Eli concerning his house: when I begin I will also make an end.
“ All the unclean of thine house shall die in the flower of their age. And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die, both of them.”
Lastly, let us look at these wicked sons of Eli. He is guilty; aye, but they are guilty, too. They made themselves vile. Their father, with all his faults and weaknesses, is not a son of Belial. He has not been to them, like many a father, a leader and tempter in the paths of wickedness. His piety, though defective, is unquestionable. He has lived a life of unblemished purity in that exalted office which he holds as the high priest of God. Precepts, too, have been added to example. But then his sons, in spite of both—not able to plead that they knew no better, or that only they did not practise what their father did-these bad men, covetously and self-indulgently snatch the flesh offered in sacrifice from the people, and more terrible still, they defile the sacred precincts of God's own house with their abominable lewdness. Religion was thus outraged, even on holy grounds, and “ the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.” Thus, in the full blaze of light, in the face of all early lessons, stilling the remembrance of a father's counsels, example, and prayers, and in stubborn defiance of the Divine command, their whole career is one of aggravated and presumptuous guilt. The ruin and the retribution are all their own, and they rush to their own destruction as the horse rusheth to the battle.
Is there no reader whose life has been a failure—none to whom—
“The remembrance of youth is a sigh,
Does the image of a too indulgent parent, whose foolish fondness let you have your own will and way, and who could not find it in his heart to reprove, save in words so hesitating that you knew you might do as you pleased, does that image of one, whose heart perhaps by your harsh words, by your wasteful profligacy, by your unnatural rebellion, by those sins gone before you to judgment, was broken at last, never rise up before you at times, and confront you at the bar of conscience, and seem to summon you, the guilty prodigal son, away to the judgment-seat of Christ? It may be so. You have thus sinned, and although restraint was lightly laid on you, yet does not conscience tell you that the responsibility and the guilt of all this madness, wildness, and wickedness of the past are your own F. You can remember how glad you were to pass away from that early home. Its atmosphere was too pure for you—you longed to be your own master. You got away from observing eyes, from a father's pure presence, from a mother's entreating looks and pleading tears.
You wanted to be free, and the freedom of the wicked was then all your own. No more family prayer—no more prescribed tasks
to commit to memory of texts of Scripture, psalms, and hymns, and
spiritual songs. No more the irksome toil of going regularly to the house of God. You would now spend your Sabbaths as you liked, and you would take your fill of pleasure.
And so you laid the reins on the neck of unlawful desire—you seized
the mantling cup from the Siren Pleasure's hand, and you forsook the covenant of your father's God. You ceased to kneel in the closet, and you hesitated perhaps at first, when wicked companions, mocking your lingering scruples, urged you to scenes of guilty excess. But at length you stifled and silenced the still small voice within and step by step, you have gone on, until, having been “almost in all evil,” you are now, like Eli's sons, on the brink of ruin, overwhelming and eternals Would to God that this paper might be the means of touching the hearts and consciences of all parents, so that, warned by Eli's failure and its consequences, they might become more faithful to their high vocation, and that they might be led in conscious helplessness and unfitness, to call down the aid of Omnipotence by fervent prayer.
And would also, that to the young the warning might come with power:
—“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour thy father and thy mother.” For otherwise, on yourselves wrath must
come to the uttermost. Profligate children, as well as unfaithful parents,
you must reap as you have sowed! But if in our families there be exhibited and maintained another spirit than that shown by Eli and his sons, God will be glorified; our households shall become nurseries for heaven, “Glory, honour, and peace” shall be ours, in contrast with that personal misery, that dis
honour of religion, and that triumph to its foes—so terribly shadowed
forth to us in Eli's punishment in his sons' destruction and his daughter's woeful death, expiring, as she did, with the cry of despair upon her lips over her fallen country's greatness.
EVENING QUESTIONS. 1.-Have I read a portion of God's Holy Word to-day! and have I earnestly prayed for the Holy Spirit to enlighten my mind, and to enable me to understand the precious truths therein contained ?
2.-How often have I retired from the world to plead with God in secret ? Have my prayers been cold and formal, or have they come from the depths of a believing heart?
3.-Have I done anything for Jesus to-day? Have I watched for opportu| nities of usefulness Has the question often risen to my lips, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do!"
4.—Haye I thought much of Jesus ? or, have I been so ungrateful as to forget my best Friend in my intercourse with the world?
5.-Have I been amiable, gentle, obliging, forgiving, cheerful? or, have I given way to unholy tempers ?
6.-Have I sought to make those around me happy to assist and help them? or, have I been forgetful of others, and thoughtful only for myself !
7.-Have I learned anything useful to-day ! 8.-Have I been diligent in business ? or, have I given way to idleness and sloth?
9.-Have I endeavoured to do well all I had to do P-have I done it with my might?
10.- Have I remembered in all my dealings with the world, that the eye of God was constantly upon me ?
11.-Have I spent too much time in attending to my personal appearance ? or, have I rather been endeavouring to cultivate my mind and heart?
12.-Has each moment of this day been spent for eternity ?
13.-Have I given way to slander? or, has my conversation been edifying, | useful, intelligent?
14.-Have I remembered the golden rule, and done to others as I should wish them to do to me?
15.-Have I been patient, and resigned under trials, crosses, and injuries !
16.-Have I remembered that I am “a stranger and pilgrim upon earth," and thought of death and eternity!
17.-Have I endeavoured to adorn the religion I profess, and sought to recommend it to others !
18.-Have I given way to pride ! or, have I tried to esteem others better than myself?
19.-Have I engaged in anything upon which I could not ask the blessing of God?
20.- In short, have I been living to-day as I shall wish I had lived when I come to die P-Wesleyan Magazine.
(Original and Selected.)
THE ARK'S RETURN.* ALL the priests chosen to bring up the ark first, the Lord our God made a breach to the city of David were commanded to upon us, for that we sought him not after sanctify themselves. “For,” said David to the due order.” Experience had taught the priests, “because ye did it not at the David ; sad when it does not teach us, yet
* By the Rey. William C. Burns, from a Hearer's Notes.
seldom does it teach presumptuous mem. David had got the sanctified use of the breaking forth of God's anger upon Uzzah. We find also in this account of the ark's return, that many persons were appointed to the giving of thanks. Surely the approach of the King of Saints ought to be welcomed by the highest praises of all creatures; yet how cold and lifeless are we in this matter! All the details here given (1 Chron. xv.) set forth typically the variety of the praises which the children of God owe to him for his varied dealings towards each. And there is a great variety in these. Some can tell of dealings which others cannot comprehend; and oh! what some souls have to praise him for. How loud will be their song to Him who liveth for ever and ever! What high notes some will reach!. How high will be the strains in which they will sing the love of Jehovah!
The form of praise was not left to chance. David delivered the psalm to Asaph with his own hand. It was the spontaneous effusion of that hour, directed by the putting forth of the Holy Ghost, and thus David was full of joy as he approached the resting place of the ark. He was clothed in a robe of fine linen, which is emblematical of the glorified state of Christ's church; for she is clothed as in fine linen, clean and white, which is the righteousness of saints. And then, filled with the Spirit, he came forth leaping for joy. This is a state in which the Lord's people can get and need expect no sympathy from the world. None but those who have some acquaintance with the Lord—source of all their gladness —will be able to bear their company when they are in a very lively state, and enabled greatly to rejoice in the Lord. At such times the world, like Michal, looks down upon them, and is filled with pity and even with hatred towards them. A. when, think you, will they be most despised ? For they will not be so at any time. Michal felt, no doubt, the greatest respect for David in general; she, no doubt, idolized him, with the thousands of Israel, when the cry was that he had slain his tens of thousands. But when David was more than usually exalted in the Lord and in the power of his might—when he could rejoice in Jehovah all the day, and boast in the God of his salvation—the man after God's own heart—it was then that Michal (who does not appear to have been a godly woman, but one with whom David was unequally yoked, being an unbeliever,) saw King David dancing and playing; and she despised him in her heart. Oh! how like to what we see now-a-days, and to what has been and will be seen in every age to exist in the hearts of the unregenerate. How perfectly does it express the contempt
of the world towards them, not at all times, observe, nor indeed at any time, but just when believers are lifted up in soul, and enabled to behold Him “whom their soul loveth.” There is the point at which the enmity of the world begins. And just as it was not a stranger who mocked David, but Michal, his own wife, so in families we find that this enmity burns hottest of all. This is indeed often quite imperceptible in times of deadness, but NoT when the Lord appears. Instead of the coming up of the ark into a place, or a congregation, or a family being a signal for peace, and a cause and means of union, it is the very reverse. People speak much about union now-a-days; union in churches, union in congregations, union in communities. prayers they make for the outpouring of the Spirit were answered, these ideas would soon pass away. Ah! when the ark of the covenant comes up and rests among us, should that blessed and longed-for day ever come, we shall hear of more disunion yet. Union among believers will indeed grow and be strengthened, and increase; but disunion from unbelievers will increase in proportion, and become more awful than ever. So it is with iron put into a furnace. Some one might put it in, with all the clay about it, to harden it and make the substances unite. Ah! but this would not be the case. All the metallic part would flow together, and run, and become pure and hardened, but the rest would consume and separate. And where the Lord appears in his glory, congregations are broken up and churches rent asunder; multitudes are seen standing back in alarm, and none are united but the Lord's true people, while they are despised by earthly relatives and acquaintances, those nearest them in the family or in the church despising them most. How little have we of his presence now ! The want of chastisement is one mark of his absence. Were he among us, there would be more strokes coming direct from the Lord's hand; judgments striking the unconverted, and judgments coming visibly upon his people. There would also be blessings coming direct from his hand upon all, and his own people would be filled with the Spirit, devoted to his glory, triumphing in his praises and separate from the world. Such a sight as that would quickly bring reproach and mockery, and trial and suffering in its train, as its sure consequence in this world. How did David answer the taunts of his wife when she said, “How glorious was the King of Israel to-day, who uncovered himself to-day in the eyes of the handmaids of
My dear friends, if the
his servants, as one of the vain fellows