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Duke Street, L. M.
ASSISTANT TO FAMILY RELIGION.
A DISSERTATION ON FAMILY RELIGION.
THE resolution of Joshua, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” ought to be adopted by every head of a family. The meaning of this passage of Scripture, in its connexion, is, Let others do as they will, serve the living and true God, or false gods; I am determined, most decidedly and deliberately, to serve the Lord of hosts, and to exert my authority and influence to induce my family to unite with me in this sacred duty. The phrase "serve the Lord” usually signifies in the Old Testament, worship him. This undoubtedly is the meaning of it, as used by this ancient servant of God and commander in Israel, for it stands opposed to the worship of false or strange gods. Family religion, then, was the duty, the discharge of which was resolved on by Joshua. This is of vast importance, as it respects the prosperity and happiness of individuals, families, states and nations,
and as it respects not only the present, but future well being of man. This as a duty God has authoritatively
. imposed on every family.
In discussing this subject, we will, First, present some arguments in favor of Family Religion.
These arguments are derived from the light of nature, and from the Sacred Scriptures. From the character of God, and from the relation which man sustains to Him, the duty of Family Religion may be clearly inferred. Jehovah is possessed of all possible perfections and excellencies. He is, therefore, worthy of our highest love, praise, and service. His perfect and adorable nature challenges our unceasing homage. It is this, which makes Him the object of individual worship; and it is this, also, which makes Him the object of family worship. Families owe to God no less homage than individuals.Besides, God has created us with social natures to be improved for religious purposes. Consequently, our social natures bind us to social devotion, and to family devotion, for a family is a radical and natural society, and the first society, which was established. Further, God is the Founder, Preserver, and Benefactor of families. Their existence, at first, depends on His will; so also, does their continuance. Should He withdraw from them His all supporting hand, their domestic connection would be dissolved. All the blessings they enjoy as families, whether temporal or spiritual, flow from the Father of mercies. He is their kind and munificent Benefactor. And should they not render the full homage of their hearts to Him, from whom they derived their existence, on whom they constantly depend, and from whom they receive every good and perfect gift, which they enjoy? Yes; propriety and gratitude demand it.
The principal design, in the establishment of families, is another argument for Family Religion. They were
instituted, that God might seek a seed to serve Him and thus promote His own glory; and, that religion might be transmitted from generation to generation, and extended throughout the earth. In order to this, religion in families must be maintained.
The duty of Family Religion may, also, be argued from the personal benefit, which is derived from it. Religion is the one thing needful—the pearl of great price. It restrains from those vices which are ruinous to the soul, subdues rebellious dispositions and passions, quiets the troubled conscience, removes the bitterness of affliction, consoles the distressed, delivers from eternal wretchedness, and prepares for eternal glory. It places its possessor under the immediate guardianship of God. How vastly important, then, is Family Religion, which is a great means of promoting piety in households! In families, where the Scriptures are devoutly read, suitable religious instructions given, and prayers and praises, solemnly of fered, the consequence must be happy. In such little worshipping assemblies, husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters pray for each other, Here oblations are presented with union, interest and delight. Were Family Religion thus observed, would not heads of families be more careful to 'abstain from all appearance of evil?' would they not suppress the turbulence of passion, and walk more in the fear of the Lord? and would not those under their care experience salutary effects! The language of family devotion is to all concerned in it, “There is a God;There is a spiritual world; -There is a life to come.” It tends to promote obedience in children, fidelity in domestics, and propriety of conduct in all. Besides, it is an appointed means of obtaining the blessings of Heaven. God will hear, and answer the prayers of pious families. Speaking of family worship, Dr. Scott remarks: “On this I look back with