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should join in praising their common benefactor.
Thus have I endeavoured to show, that family-worship is not only a duty by virtue of the divine command, but is fo fit and becoining in itself, that although the authority binding us to it were less apparent, yet every man who allows himself to think, must immediately be convinced, by his own reason and conscience, that such homage is certainly due to God, and that they are highly criminal who refuse or neglect to offer it.— I proceed now, in the
Third place, To represent to you the manifold advantages which accompany the practice of this duty, and the pernicious confequences which flow from the neglect of it.
if, Then, the practice of this duty would be of great use to promote even your temporal and worldly interest. I address myfelf to you who are parents or masters; and fuưely this consideration must appear in your own eyes to merit some regard. I need not stay to prove to you, that your prosperity, as well as your comfort, depends very much upon the dutiful behaviour of your children, and the fidelity of your servants. This, I suppose, you will readily acknowledge. Now, it is evident to a demonftration, that nothing can contribute more effectually to this, than the good practice which I am recommending to you. Bring the fear of God into your families, and that will secure your authority better than any thing else can do. The influence of a religious principle will be as powerful and operative, when you are absent from them as when you are present, because God is always present; and consequently the obedience which flows from a regard to him, must in every place, and at all times, be the fame. Hereby, too, you will gain their esteem and love; which are the most powerful and permanent of all bonds of duty. There is a certain majesty in the image of God, which commands reverence to itself, even from the worst of men. Thus, we are told of Herod, (Mark vi. 20.), that he feared John, because he knew him to be a holy and a just man. And if this wicked prince was so much overawed by the exemplary
holiness of a mean subject, how venerable muit a devout parent or master appear in the eyes of his own family, when, besides that authority which his station gives him, they see him adorned with that piety and regard to God, which of themselves would dignify him, and render him worthy of their esteem and honour? How must it endear him to their hearts, to behold his anxious concern for their welfare; to hear him morning and evening commending them to the protection of Almighty God, imploring the pardon of their fins, and-earnestly soliciting the same blessings for them which he begs for himself? And how must this esteem and love influence their whole behaviour, and make them not only faithful, but cheerful, active, and zealous in every part of the duty and service which they owe him? I am aware, that many think to maintain their authority in their families by other sort of prayers than those I am recommending : I mean, by horrid curses and imprecations ; yea, fome are so abandoned as to plead the necessity of these, to render their orders effectual. But this practice
must appear fo absurd and odious to every thinking person, that, I am persuaded, I need not spend your time in exposing it. Such a vile and impious habit must evidently destroy at once all that esteem and love, which are the only sure and permanent principles of obedience. Their whole authority, therefore, must lean on the precarious foun- vo dation of a servile fear, which God, who hath the hearts of all men in his hands, can remove when he pleases; and then they shall become utterly contemptible, and may curse
on without having any person to regard · them, till their own curses overtake them. -But, -...
2dly, As the practice of worshipping God in your houses, would contribute much to your worldly prosperity, in the manner I have just now explained ; so it has likewise a manifest tendency to promote your fpiritual and eternal interest. It is not only a considerable branch of that homage which you owe to God, but it may be also of great use to restrain you from sin, and to render you cautious and circumspect in every part of your behaviour. A man will be ashamed
to do any thing against the honour of that God » :om he fo publicly acknowledges before tis family; and the very defire of appearing consultent with himself in the eyes of his children or servants, will hardly fail to produce a leait an outward decency, and to restrain him from many of those scandalous fins, which he might otherwise be in danger of committing. So that though family-worihip ierved no higher purpose than to hedge in our practice before our household, I should even think that a confiderable recommendation of it; and every wise and good man must esteem and value it upon that account. But this is one of the least of its happy effects. The practice of this duty would not only render our outward conduct cautious and decent, but would also tincture our minds deeply with a fente of God, and of divine things. It would give us greater boldness, too, in our secret approaches to the throne of grace. How can that man have any, confidence or en-' largement of heart in secret prayer, whose conscience reproacheth him with never having honoured that God in public, from