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The Cure of blind Bartimeus......Lukexviii-35.43..130 Divine knowledge........... ..2 Cor. iv. 6.......218
..Psalm lxxiv. 17...134 The barren Fig-tree....
Christians not of the World.......John xvii. 14.....136 Saul of Tarsus praying..... .........Acts ix. 10, 11....226
The Unbelief of Thomas..........John xx. 24-28...163 The Connexion between Chris
The cheerful Pilgrim.............Psalm exix. 54....180 Daniel; or, Constancy in Religion.Dan. vi. 10.......267
Sin ruins a Kingdom.............1 Sam. xii. 24, 25..184 The unspeakable Gift.............Rom. viii. 32.....271
Peter's curiosity and presumption.John xiii. 36-38..329 The Saviour's Grace in its Freeness
The Thorn in the Flesh...........2 Cor. xii. 7-9....333
The Regulation of the Tongue....Psalm cxli. 2......338
Spiritual Succour derived from ap
and Effects...................1 Tim. i. 4......370
pointed Means...............Acts xviii. 27.....341 The grand Inquiry............
......John xxi. 17......382
MASTERS OF FAMILIES.
the multitudes that drink of the streams, and spreading mischief all around.
MASTERS OF FAMILIES!-You have often | vicious, they are infected fountains, poisoning heard, and perhaps always admired the resolution of Joshua. He had gathered all Israel together in Shechem, and thus he addressed them-"If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord; choose you this day whom ye will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
THIS DETERMINATION DERIVES A CONSIDERABLE FORCE FROM THE PERSON WHO FORMS IT. It was Joshua. But who was Joshua? A soldier, a hero, a commander-in-chief of the armies of the living God, the governor of Israel, the principal man in the state. He it was who in the presence of an assembled country was not ashamed to say, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
And does religion degrade talents, tarnish dignity, disparage greatness? It ennobles titles, and adds lustre to a crown. Are they only the vulgar, the foolish, the dastardly, who profess to acknowledge God? God has been served by persons of all ranks, and of all distinctions. In every age of the world some of the wise, the mighty, the noble have been called. And no where does religion shine to more advantage than in circumstances of elevation. Nothing is more pleasing than to see a combination of greatness and goodness in the same character. And nothing can be more useful. The higher classes have more opportunities and capacities for doing good than others. They are like a city set upon a hill; they cannot be hid. They are widely visible. Their influence is extensive and powerful. Their example regulates not only manners, but morals: for it would be easy to prove that morals, equally with fashions, work downwards from superiors to inferiors. If the great distinguish themselves by the profession of truth, the worship of God, the practice of virtue, they will be sure to draw others after them. Whereas if they are infidel, irreligious,
Observe also THE INDEPENDENCE WITH WHICH THE DETERMINATION IS EXPRESSED. Joshua was by no means indifferent to the welfare of others. He wished all who heard him to choose the God he had chosen, and serve the God he served. But he could not allow himself to be influenced by them. If they will not follow him, he resolves to go alone. "O ye seed of Abraham! if you forSake him, which God forbid, not I. If you will not cleave to him, I must. If there was no individual in the nation, in the world to accompany me, I would say as I now doAs for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.'"
The case which Joshua here supposes is neither an impossible, nor an unusual one. In a thousand instances you will find yourselves alone if you are resolved to obey the dictates of truth, and the calls of duty. If "the whole world lieth in wickedness," and you will be "holy in all manner of conversation and godliness," you must be singular. If you live among fools, and are wise, you must be singular. If you live among the poor, and are rich, you must be singular. And it is presumed that you would have no great objection to be distinguished by wisdom, or wealth. And why should you be so terrified at the charge of singularity, in a cause infinitely more honourable? Nothing is so excellent as goodness, and no goodness is so praiseworthy as that which is singular. This shows a purity of motive, and a dignity of principle. This argues a grandeur of mind, a soul not meanly enslaved by custom, but asserting its own freedom, and daring to think and act for itself. Such a man does not wait for the company and countenance of others to embolden him-he can venture by himself: and despise the shame-when as he advances, abandoned crowds pursue him with their sneers and reproaches. Such was Abdiel.
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind
On such a man the Saviour fixes his eye, and cries, "Them that honour me, I will honour. He that confesseth me before men, him will I confess before my Father and the holy angels. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
It may be remarked, that THE RESOLUTION IS PERSONAL. Indeed he begins with himself: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
as well as for himself? We may consider this two ways, as expressing either his happiness or his duty.
If he could say this from a knowledge of his family; if after observation he was assured of the good and pious dispositions of all those who were under his care-we should envy his happiness. This has sometimes been the case. But the privilege is not common.
The words therefore are rather to be considered as an expression of his duty. Not that he supposed it was in the power of his resolution to make the members of his household truly pious. He knew that God alone is the author of conversion; but he knew also that God uses means, and requires us to use them: that it is only in the use of them he has promised his blessing; and therefore that it is Nothing can dispense with an obligation only in the use of them we can expect it. to personal piety. Nothing merely official, or Were we to hear a pious husbandman saying, relative; nothing we do for others, while we "This year I will have wheat in this field, are destitute of the grace of God in our own and in yonder I will have barley," you would souls, can secure us. Many will say to me not mistake him. He does not mean to intiin that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophe-mate that he can produce the grain, but he sied in thy name? and in thy name have cast can manure, and plough, and sow, and weed out devils? and in thy name done many won--he intends to do this-and then to look for derful works?" And indeed those who are the divine blessing to give the increase. regardless of their own souls are not likely Thus Joshua resolves to endeavour in the to be very attentive to the souls of others. wise and zealous use of all proper means to Mere profession and a regard to decency may render the family he governs truly religious. carry you some way; but there is nothing He would instruct, reprove, admonish, encoulike a personal experience of divine things to rage them. He would address every princiinflame zeal. Unless you serve God your-ple of action. He would rouse every passion selves, your efforts will be transient, partial, in their bosoms. He would seize every fairregular. They are also likely to be unsuc- vourable opportunity, improve every striking cessful. A drunken master is a poor preacher occurrence to impress the mind with seriousof sobriety to servants. A proud father is a ness. He would cherish every promising apmiserable recommender of humility to chil-pearance. He would lead them to the house dren. They will do as you do, rather than do as you say. Your example will counteract all the effect of your counsel; and all the convictions you would fix in the mind will fall like arrows from an impenetrable shield. "Thou therefore, which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?"
You should therefore begin "both to do, and to teach." You should be able, in a humble measure at least, to say to those who are under your care, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." Personal religion must precede domestic-therefore Joshua does not say my house shall serve him without me. But domestic religion must accompany personal-and therefore Joshua does not say I will serve him without my house: he includes both
And thus, finally, the determination is RELATIVE and EXTENSIVE: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
But the question is-How could he say this? Could he be answerable for his family
of God, and keep them from profaning his holy day. He would pray not only for them, but also with them. He would worship God not only in the closet, but in the parlour, and with his children and servants in the train.
And this, O ye masters of families! this is that which I wish to enforce upon you all. O that I could find out acceptable words, as well as words of truth! O that I knew by what arguments I could induce you to establish the worship of God in your own houses!
To render our reasoning upon this subject easy of apprehension and remembrance, let me call upon you to consider domestic religion in reference to God-in reference to yourselves-and in reference to your families.
I. Think of it IN REFERENCE TO GOD. To him family religion has a threefold relation. The first is a relation of RESPONSIBILITY. For we are required to glorify God in every condition we occupy, and in every capacity we possess. For instance: If a person be poor, he is commanded to serve God as a poor person. But suppose he should become rich. He would then be required to serve him as rich and from the time of his acquiring this wealth, he would be tried by the rule of