« ZurückWeiter »
their refuge, and the Holy One of Israel is yet their King. Therefore we should still build an altar and rear a pillar to his name. Every Christian dwelling should still have its family altar, and its monumental record of what God has said and done. If indeed as the Apostles say, the Christian people are severally and collectively, "a habitation of God through the Spirit,”“ a holy temple," "a spiritual house”-then I ask, Should not their dwellings be houses of prayer and of song, and in them “be heard the melody of praise " continually?
Wo come, then, directly to the point, and affirm it is our conviction that all Christian dwellings should be Bethels-houses consecrated to God, in which his word should be read, his praises sung, and his name invoked on all the days of the year. Wherever the people of God under the first dispensation pitched their tents, they erected their altars to the Lord. Under the second dispensation they were, by divine commandment, daily to read or teach the word of God to their families. Then it became a proverb, that "the voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous."*
May we not then say to the righteous under the third dispensation, “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous, and shout for joy, all you that are upright in heart: "_"for praise is comely for the upright.” “Thy statutes,” said a Jewish king, “have been my song in the house of my pilgrimage; ” and will not a Christian father
say as much of himself and his house as a Jewish king? Are not Christian householders as much bound by divine authority to bring up their families for the Lord to nurture and train them for the royal
* Psalm cxviii. 15.
family of heaven! And what son of God is there who has a heart, a tongue, and a Bible—children and servants under his care, and will not anoint his pillar, erect his altar, and worship the Lord constantly in his family? Thus teaching his children by his example how much he loves and delights in God, and with what pure affection and tender love he seeks their moral excellence and their eternal life.
Needs it be proved that those children who morn and even receive the parental benedictions along with their stated lessons from God's own book, have brighter evidence not only of the piety and godly sincerity of their parents, but also of their parental tenderness and affection ! What knowledge or belief can the sons and daughters of prayerless professors have of the piety or Christian benevolence of their parents ? Surely they afford them no unequivocal demonstrations of genuine tenderness, no convincing proof of unsophisticated affection, who seldom or never bow the knee with them, and invoke in their own language the blessings of God upon
their sons and daughters. Natural or animal affection for their offspring they may have; so have inferior animals. But where, I ask, are the proofs of that heaven-born Christian affection and feeling that looks to the true and eternal interests and honours of our offspring! It cannot be seen, and as little can it be imagined, in the absence of those demonstrations of parental piety.
The two branches of religion are piety and humanity. These in all their developments towards Creator and fellow-creature, contain the whole. They are visible, sensible, and demonstrable things. They are to each other in equal ratios
18 BETHEL; OR, THE CHRISTIAN'S HOUSE. -as cause and effect: the more of one, the more of the other. Theories, or doctrinal views of these things, are not the things themselves. We want to see the things, the effects, the fruits of piety more fully displayed in our generation, and more especially amongst those of our brethren who certainly are standing on higher and holier ground than other professors; and from whom all men expect not merely a more rational, a more scriptural theory; but a purer, a holier, a more divine and heavenly practice. Every one in our ranks is by profession a saint,-a "partaker of the heavenly calling;" and from such all men look for a more scriptural piety, a more perfect morality than can be developed or displayed under a party dispensation of opinionism and sectarism.
Family instruction and social prayer are as indispensable means of family salvation as any other means to any other desirable ends in a moral system. Besides, what pleasure does it afford all householders and heads of families to believe that the angel of the Lord encamps around their dwellings, and that their places of repose are houses consecrated to the Lord in which he deigns to dwell. This persuasion sweetens all social and domestic enjoyments, and greatly elevates the dignity and moral excellence of all the inmates of such consecrated homes. No person who has long lived in a Bethel can ever after relish the tabernacles of ungodly men. Some instructions for those about to consecrate their dwellings into habitations of piety and righteousness, will be found in the subsequent Conversations at the Carlton House.
CONVERSATIONS AT THE CARLTON HOUSE.
INTRODUCTION TO THE FAMILY CIRCLE. To foretell the fortune of a family with unerring certainty, is not more difficult than to estimate how much good, present and future, direct and indirect, may be achieved in any neigbourhood by only one person of great energy of character, of superior intelligence and moral worth, who sincerely and devoutly undertakes the improvement of society. The excellent Olympas, long resident and master of the Carlton House, in Carmel Place, and his beloved Julia, are yet living monuments of the great moral force of well disciplined minds, energetically and affectionately employed in advancing the religious and moral conditions of human existence. Their philanthrophy was rational, pure and fervent; and sought the most natural and capacious channels through which to communicate its blessings to society. While their commiserations and sympathies embraced the Turk, the Jew, and the Indian, they wasted not their time nor their substance in the formation of Utopian schemes for their conversion; but supremely employed their energies in family and neighbourhood advancement in the paths of literature, religion, and morality. They felt the
impulses of heavenly charity to be warmest and strongest for those at home; and therefore superlatively sought the moral excellence and eternal salvation of their children, relatives, and neighbours. Yet did they not look with a cold indifference on the destitute and wretched of other climes and languages ; but, reversing the policy of some of their more popular compeers, they contributed their pence to Hindostan and spent their pounds at home.
But their domestic administration and manner of disciplining and training their own immediate family, is that which at this time most especially interests us, because it very happily exemplifies, in an intelligible and practical form, those prin. ciples and rules of family culture which both our theory and experience would commend to those who are supremely devoted to the eternal honour and happiness of their own dear households. To further our aims and wishes we shall be at some pains to give in detail a few of those lessons in which we had the pleasure to participate under their consecrated roof, around the family altar, at the morning and evening hour of domestic instruction and social
prayer. The family was large, consisting of nine children, natural and adopted, with some half dozen of domestics, of different ages. All were arranged in classes according to their ages and capacities. The first consisted of three, under seven years old; the second of four, under fourteen, and all the rest made up the third class. All that could fluently read, with book in hand, sat round the room, and in turn read their several portions of the daily lesson. After the