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the endearing attachment between husband and wife, parent and child, than frequent union in addresses at a throne of grace. Servants too must feel much satisfaction from the condescension of their masters, in explaining to them the principles of religion, and in joining with them in religious addresses which re. late to every member of the family. The refection, parents, on the regular performance of this duty, will chear your minds in the time of fickness, and at the approach of death, when all sublunary enjoyments are unsatif. factory.
S E R M ON
The Subject continued.
Jos. xxiv. 15.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
the powerful inducements to familyworship, I shall now proceed to the second head, To examine the apologies for the neglect of this duty.
Some fecretly imagine, though probably they will not have the confidence to avow it, that these religious exercises are unsuitable to their rank and dignity. But why should you act upon an idea fo absurd and unworthy, which you are afhamed even to express ? Can any
rank exempt men from their duty to the Supreme Being ? Háth not he appointed our different stations? is not the highest monarch dependent upon him ? is not he the King of kings, and Lord of lords? It can be no degradation, therefore, of the noblest prince who sways a fceptre, to be his own chaplain, to lead the devotions of his family, and to offer up his tribute of humble homage to him who" bringeth princes to nothing, and count: eth the judges of the earth as vanity.”
External diftinctions should, in a great meafure, evanith, when creatures fift themselves before their great Creator and Lord. The consciousness of any favourable circumstances . in their lot, should lead them to a more grateful acknowledgement of him “ who maketh “ them to differ.” Should our Gracious Sovereign invite or admit any family in this affembly to his presence-chamber, and to a full audience, would any disdain the privilege, or think it below their acceptance ? And can you then imagine, that any dignity, or afiluence of fortune, can intitle you to despise or decline approaching, in a family-capacity, to Him by whom kings reign, and princes decree justice ? Proud, unreasonable man, be alhamed of thy folly!
Again : There are some female heads of fa. milies, who plead their fex as an apology for not maintaining the worship of God in their houses. Now, though it be more proper in most cases, that a man fhould be the mouth of a family to God; yet when there is no man in the family, or when he, from age or other circumstances, is unfit for or disinclined to the duty, it appears perfectly consistent with female modesty, and propriety, for a mother to join with her children and domestics in recommending them to the divine favour and protection, and in blefling the Almighty for his innumerable benefits bestowed on them from day to day. Should delicacy restrain women in the presence of their male servants,
they may at least affemble the female part of their household. Queen Esther, you know, fafted with her maidens. Tho' women are not permitted to speak in church, there is no fcriptural prohibition to prevent them from speaking on divine things at home. Many of them poffefs that strength of devotion, and fluency of expreflion, which qualify them for presiding in the religious exercises of the family. What spectacle can be more comely, and pleasing to a serious mind, than a venerable matron, with her defcendents around her, employed in prayer, and hymns of praise, to him who is the guide of youth and the staff of age, the wi. dow's husband and the orphan's stay!
Mothers, I need not ask you if you love your children, and desire to promote their welfare : “ Can a mother forget her fucking «« child, that she fhould not have compassion
on the son of her womb ?" Natural affection prompts you to do every thing which can preserve the health, or advance the worldly interest, of your offspring. But do not you believe that they have fouls also, which shall survive the diffolution of their bodies, and be happy or miserable through eternity? And can you be unconcerned about their infinitely more valuable part Your children are more in your company than in their father's at thal early period of life when the mind is moft susceptible of impressions. I intreat you to improve this precious opportunity, by com municating religious instruction, and by pray
ing much with your family. Some of you perhaps have lost worthy husbands, who have left you with a numerous and young charge. Accustom them to prayer. If you train them in the way in which they should go, they will prove comforts to you, and bleflings to society. That family is most likely to prosper, where God is daily acknowledged. Others of you are connected with prayerlefs hufbands, who bestow no attention
upon ligious interests of their children.
Be not partakers with them in this criminal negligence, but watch over the spiritual welfare of your family with a constant and tender anxiety. Suffer not their dear fouls to perish; use your best endeavours to counteract and defeat the effects of the negligence and bad example of their fathers; direct their attention to divine things ; teach them to pray, and join with them frequently in this duty; let the danger to which they are exposed excite you to double your diligence and activity. Whatever the character of your husbands may be, your piety and attention to the eternal concerns of your children will endear
you to them; and your labour fhall not be in vain in the Lord.
Again : There are others who urge as an excuse for their neglect, bashfulness, and inability to preside in the religious exercises of the family. They express their approbation of the duty itself, and regret that they have not courage to perform it.. But this, my