« PredošláPokračovať »
ishment will of itself by its correspondencies reveal the nature of the deed for which it is awarded. It gives more meaning to the scenes of eternity, and does not go beyond the meaning of Scripture to say, that in a most literal and characteristic sense, whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. Such is the nature of moral government that the reward or retribution to come must be proportionate and corresponding to the deeds done in the body. Hell is then but the reproduction and judicial consequence of particular sins, the harvest from single transgression; a harvest which determines whilst it multiplies the transgressions, and thus corroborates the truth that, “there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be made known."
In this subject we find matter for anxious reflection to the wicked. It furnishes matter for great solicitude to one who has never repented. The sins which he has committed, unless confessed and forgiven, must come out and be displayed, and in the most painful and humiliating form. There is every reason to believe that in the day of revelation he will be his own accuser. Not on the testimony of angels, not by the witnessing of saints are we told he will be confounded, but, standing trembling before the judgment bar and the assembled universe, he will stammer out his own sad and guilty story of deep transgression ; out of his own mouth will he be condemned, and if he should attempt to conceal anything, the terrible harvest of avenging retribution will reveal the rest. Just as on earth, there are diseases and punishments, natural and judicial, which, whilst they avenge, reveal the sin: just as the inebriate's trembling limbs, and sometimes the maniac's frenzied words, indicate the cause of all their misery, so, in the endless moral harvests beyond the grave have we reason to believe, that so strict will be the correspondence between the avenging consequences and the guilty deeds, that the one will reveal the other.
Now, in view of this awful day, what will you do, my impenitent friend? You have sinned ; it will be known, in all its minuteness and all its extent, and to every eye; what will
do ? What can you do, but confess your guilt here on earth into the ear of an offended God? Perhaps the thoughts of thine heart may be forgiven thee. They must be told at some time ; for every secret thing you must give account: why, then, is it not madness to defer the confession and renunciation until it is drag. ged forth before the universe ? Now, you may whisper it in si. lence into the ear of Him who is mighty to save; who has said to the penitent, Your sins and your iniquities will I remember no more. If it were possible to find some place where God is not ; if it were possible for the unforgiven to elude the eye of the Om
niscient, it would still not be wise to do it, so long as conscience lives to upbraid and torment; the darkness which would hide you from the Searcher of hearts would not hide you
your own soul : but when we know that if we ascend into the heavens God is there, and if we descend into the deep he is still there, that his eye seeth through the thick cloud, and the darkness and the light are alike open to his view, oh, what folly to defer repentance until it shall be too late! Now it is possible that the transgression, if confessed and mourned over with a godly sorrow, may be blotted out as a cloud from the sky, so that there shall no trace of it be left anywhere in all the universe of God. But, if this duty is deferred until your sins have become habitual, then cometh tribulation and anguish, indignation and wrath, upon every soul that doeth evil and repenteth not. I repeat it, my impenitent friend, the only reasonable course is now to confess and forsake your sins; it is only in this way you can be shielded from the dreadful revelations of the great day. Will you not take the matter into consideration ? Will you not in the midst of alluring and destroying scenes inquire, “How shall it be in the end there. of ?” Will you not cast your minds but a short distance beyond the present moment and remember, that although friends may look upon you now with pride, and God in his forbearance seem not to notice your delinquency, yet there is an hour coming when, unless forgiven, friends will shrink away with shame from the form they once confided in, and God in grief will pronounce
I seem to hear the poet say:
When will man learn to bear
This doctrine, like all laws that are necessary and universal, is not without its consolation to the righteous. His good acts will not be forgotten. God has treasured them up, and will bring them forth. A cup of cold water given to a disciple in the name of a disciple, shall not lose its reward, If you have to say, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or sick or in prison, and came unto thee ? Verily, inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, His brethren, ye have done unto Him.
BY REV. M. T. ADAM,
PARENTS THE DIVINELY APPOINTED TEACHERS
OF THEIR FAMILIES.
Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest hy the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thine house, and upon thy gates : that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.”Deut. 11 : 18-21.
Of all the relations which man sustains in this life, no one is more important and responsible than the parental. For, as children in their early years are naturally entirely under the care of their parents, and are susceptible of impressions from the very dawn of observation, so from this very early period they are to be considered as in a school of instruction. As early impressions are also generally the most durable, so it will be found, as a general rule, that according to their tendency, so is the future character. Hence, if a child draws his first breath, and spends his early years under the baleful influence of a general neglect of God, or, it may be, of open impiety, the natural, and it
be said, the almost inevitable consequence of this will be, that he will grow up without any knowledge or fear of God, and live in the commission of the vices which he sees around him, as far as his physical and intellectual powers may enable him to commit them. And so far is this from being a matter of mere theory, that the history of unnumbered multitudes has so fully illustrated it as to put it beyond the possibility of being justly called in question. Hence the many instances of early profanity, and of youthful profligacy and crime, which may everywhere be seen around us, and which, if not checked, are ominous of the most fearful consequences with regard to the future state of society. A relation, therefore, which exerts so powerful an influence for good or evil upon the future generations of the human race, cannot be otherwise than fearfully responsible. And as the sacred Scriptures are designed to point out the appropriate duties of every station and relation which men are called in Providence to fill, so we find that they contain many directions to parents, defining the duties which are incumbent upon them, and pointing out, with infallible precision, the manner in which these duties should be discharged; and of these injunctions, the text forms a distinguished example. It may be regarded, indeed, as a command solemnly addressed by God to all parents, in reference to the duty which they owe to their offspring and the manner in which they are to perform it, and as pointing out the encouragement which they have constantly to regard it. But before directing our attention to these, let us consider
1.—The light in which we ought to view the family relation. From the scope and design of the text, it is obvious, that God contemplates the family as a school, in which the young immortal minds which he has committed to the care of parents, are to be trained for his service and for heaven. This is obvious from the nature of the instruction which they are commanded to give them; and it is a great and often fatal mistake to regard it in any other light. Indeed, such is the nature of the developments of the infant mind, that from the moment it becomes a sentient and observant being, it is placed in a school of learning; and parents cannot alter this constitution of things. From the principles of perception and imitation, which begin to act at the very dawn of our being, it cannot be otherwise than that children should be learning from every object with which they are connected. And the character of the persons and objects with which they are constantly surrounded, will give direction and tone to their intellectual and moral being; for it is at this early period that the seeds of future character are planted—and thus the family is the nursery of those who will be the moral scourges of the world, and will descend at last into never-ending infamy and woe, or of those who will be examples of all that is holy and lovely, prove signal blessings to their generation, and be made the heirs of hea
Parents, therefore, should never forget, that the family is the school in which they are training the men and the women of the future age, from whom the world will gain its votaries, the church her members, heaven its redeemed spirits, and hell its victims: and that their example, their very looks, as well as words and deeds, and every thing that surrounds the young immortal minds which are confided to their care, are making impressions which will be lasting as life, and which may extend their blissful or baleful influence on their eternal destinyFor, as the plant or twig is bent, so will be the tree when it is grown to maturity; just so will it usually be found that, according as the infant mind is trained and bent either to good or to evil, just so will be its character in manhood. It is thus that the child becomes the parent of the future man. And, when we look at this subject in all its bearings on the church and on the world-on the future and eternal well-being or woe of our children-and on the joys and sorrows of parents themselves, we cannot fail to see that it is not possible for us to form too high an idea of its importance. What a weight of responsibility, therefore, is evidently connected with the parental relation, and how necessary and desirable is it, that parents should duly feel it, and seek the qualifications which will enable them to serve their generation by raising up a seed for God and the church on earth and in heaven.
Let us consider
II. -The teachers and their qualifications. While the text is evidently designed to lead us to contemplate the family as a school, when it says—“ And ye shall teach them your children,” it points out with no less clearness who the teachers are to be. We have already remarked, that children from the dawn of their observation, are learning from everything that surrounds them : and, as parents, in their earliest years, are most frequently with them, so in the nature of the case, they are also their greatest teachers. This, too, they may be without any design on their part. But, though this is unquestionably the case, yet our text contemplates something far higher than this, and enjoins a duty which must take precedence of every other that pertains to the parental relation, namely, the special and direct communication of that knowledge which God has revealed and commanded to be communicated to them. In multitudes of instances however, it would seern as if the character of teacher were in a great measure dropt, in the present age, from that of the parental, whilst all our modern arrangements and appliances for training the young, seem to have a strong tendency toward taking the formation of youthful character altogether out of the hands of parents. But, it should never be forgotten, that parents are constituted the teachers of their children by the express appointment of God, and that any arrangement that overlooks this great fact, or that sets aside this appointment, can neither be wise nor safe. The family indeed, is the great primary school of the world, in which the infant mind receives its first impressions and its first lessons, by which it must, in the nature of the case, be in a great measure moulded. And in place of overlooking or setting aside this great fact, all our educational arrangements and appliances should have a tendency to improve and to aid this, by rousing parents to pay a just measure of attention to it, and endeavouring to qualify them for the due performance of their duty in this maiter. So plain and