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for fulfilling the great and continued and extended plans of Providence. Under God, mothers form the character and the destiny of the whole human family. As the infant, the boy or girl is, so, with very few exceptions, will be the full grown man or woman. The great and leading features of the mother's character, are indelibly stamped upon every son and daughter of Adam. It is the great law of our nature, “ Like everywhere produces and cherishes and perfects its like.” Had it not been for the continued operations of this law, meekness, and gentleness, and goodness, and all the amiable and endearing qualities of humanity would probably have long ago been extinct, and utterly unknown in all those countries where the gospel is unknown. And in those countries and districts which have enjoyed the gospel, the influ. ence of the pious and active wife and mother, has at all times been seen and felt and acknowledged by all, as one of the principal means by which gene. ration after generation have served the Redeemer. The prospects of every particular church and congregation, have always been encouraging, as to the continuance of the gospel among them, just in proportion to the good character of the majority of the mothers.
Nor can there be any other individual so well qualified for forming human character, as a pious mother. Her affection for her own offspring is sincere and strong and lasting. She knows the value of the human soul; and is not unacquainted with the state of the world, and the realities of eternity. She has access to the understanding, and to the heart, and to the conscience of her children, as no other human being can have. She knows in her own expe. rience, the truth of God's promise, and the efficacy which Jehovah has been pleased to attach to the prayer of faith. How often has she the opportunity of whispering in the ear of her child, and into the ear of her God at the same time, “ I love them that love me, and they that seek me early shall find me. As for me, this is my covenant with them saith the Lord; my spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.”
A worthy father in the ministry, who has seen much of domestic society in all the departments of life, has said, that he has yet to find a respectable family of sons and daughters where the mother was an ignorant or imprudent woman; but he has seen and known many respectable sons and daughters whose fathers were worthless, but whose mothers were the excellent ones of the earth.
We now consider, II. In what respects a good wife is peculiarly and specially from the Lord. 1. The woman was originally formed to be an essential and special help to
Read and study attentively, Genesis ii, 18—20. The man was set at the head of the lower world; he was made the lord of the earth, and of all that it contained—was to have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; but he could have no enjoyment of any one of these, or of them all collectively, till another being was made. There was not as yet in the whole range of creation, an help meet for him. Hence woman, the last and the best and the noblest of all that was created, was formed. And was formed expressly to fill up the blank, and to supply the deficiency, and to put man into a situation in which he would be capable of enjoying his ample domain. And infinite wisdom and infinite power and infinite goodness adapted all belonging both to the body and to the mind of the woman, to that high and dignified rank, which was originally allotted to her in the scale of being. She commanded the heart of the man, and held in her hand the property and the destiny of millions upon millions. And if woman has ever been degraded, and rendered unfit for such a dignified station, it has been by the mutual transgression of
the man and the woman. It has been because our common nature has lost its original dignity, and has become depraved and corrupted.
2. Almost every pious man can trace very distinctly a special providence, in the arrangement of the circumstances, which connected him with the woman of his choice.
“ House and riches are the inheritance of fathers; but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” The son may know at a very early period of life, and long before he is of age, what will probably be the amount of his earthly inheritance. But he knows not till he has obtained her, what kind of wife he is to have; and in cases without number this great and important matter is settled very expeditiously, and without much reasoning and reflection-in the common language of men, it is wholly a matter of feeling and of accident; yet the pious man who has been blest with that best of earthly blessings, a good wife, will often review with astonishment and gratitude, the manner in which a vast number of otherwise unconnected contingencies were at that most important period of his sojourn here below, all over-ruled, and all concentrated towards that one object.
Again, “ House and riches are the inheritance of fathers; but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” It makes no matter how extensive, or how valuable the landed, or the funded estate of the young heir may be. Unless Jehovah in his goodness shall
bless him with a prudent wife, it soon may be squandered to the four winds. The destiny of thousands upon thousands in high life, may be appealed to for the illustration of this fact.
What a caution is here suggested to parents, while they are making pro. spective arrangements for their children! How important also is it that young people should early acquire the habit of acknowledging God in all their ways; and that they be particularly urgent, and make it a matter again and again of special prayer, that they may be directed in their feelings and in their social intercourse with one another!
3. It is by the special arrangements of Providence, that a good wife is continued to any man, and continued as a blessing and enjoyment.
When we take into view the daily and nightly fatigues; the cares and anxieties which in many cases fill up the whole life of an affectionate and active wife and mother, it is a matter of astonishment that so many of them maintain their vigor and activity to the last stage of their earthly existence. There certainly is a sense in which the woman is not the "weaker vessel.” There is certainly in the very constitution of most of women, a something which fits them for enduring labors day after day, and night after night, which would crush in a very short period the most robust constitution known among men.
Consider again, that the whole domestic happiness depends upon an infinite variety of modifications of little things, and that all these little things, in all their various modifications are agreeable, or disagreeable, according to the temper, and disposition, and habits of the wife. All the world over, just in proportion as the wife is in good humor and has the full command of herself, is the enjoyment of the husband, and of the children, and of all the domestics. But he who commands the heavens and the moving of the mighty deep, can only effectually command the movements of the human heart in either man or woman. How important then is it, that a good husband should daily and hourly pray for his affectionate and pious wife; and how important is it, that every son and daughter should offer up sincere and fervent, and continued prayers for their mother.
III. We attend to the practical improvement of the whole subject. And,
1. Some of us once had good mothers, who are now in glory. We knew not their full value when we were under their care and protection. Nor can we at this day form any proper estimate of what we daily enjoy, as the fruit of their labors and prayers. What shall we render to the Lord for all his benefits towards us ? Let each of us say, "O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant and the son of thine handmaid.”
The most of us who are young have still good mothers. Let us tremble at the thought of rejecting their authority, or treating them in any degree, or on any occasion with disrespect. “ The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.”
It is presumed that the most of us (who have wives) have good wives; but if
any of us are not so comfortable in that connection as we could wish to be, it may be well for us to remember, that the blame may be in the man rather than the woman.
And to all, whether young or old, married or unmarried, the admonition of the apostle applies : “ Brethren the time is short. It remaineth, that both they that have wives, be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not ; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it. For the fashion of this world passeth away."
2. The subject suggests the importance and necessity of an extended and perfectly Christian course of education, for the female mind. The Redeemer always has made, and always will make, extensive use of females in his great and extended plans of mercy. The whole plan of salvation has for its object the restoring of our lost race and our apostate world, to something like their original dignity and glory. Hence we have every reason to believe, that the whole body of women will be renovated and elevated, as an essential and effi. cient part of the great system of means for accomplishing this great and glorious end.
Were all the mothers within the bosom of the church, the good mother of the Bible, all the children of the church would be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and every family would furnish in a very few years, one or two missionaries for the heathen world.
Were all the mothers in the land, the industrious, economical, and pious mother of the Bible, the whole face of society would be changed to the better in half a generation, and the government of the nation, the conducting of all national affairs, would become a very simple and easy operation.
3. To any husband who has lost by death a good wife, and to any children who have by death lost a good mother, the subject suggests not only a reason for the most cordial resignation, but reasons also for holy joy and elevation of mind.
A pious lady, whose husband had died in the evening, being asked next yoorning by a friend, how she felt, answered: “I have just been thinking how happy my good husband must be this morning, as he has been one night with the Redeemer in glory."
It was your new covenant God, who gave the good wife and the good mother, who made her a blessing and comfort, while she was continued here below. And she was preserved and made a blessing, under the protection of the prayer of the Mediator, “I pray not that thou shouldst take her out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep her from evil.” And when she had served her God in her day and generation, she was removed in answer to another prayer of the Mediator, “Father, I will that she whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that she may behold my glory which thou hast given me." And it is no mean honor to have a wife and a mother thus exalted.
And heaven is the home of the great family of the redeemed. They shall come from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God. And thrice happy will that mother and father, and those sons and daughters be, who having been united in the closest ties on earth, shall as an unbroken family, become a constituent part of that one great assembly above. BY REV. DAVID MAGIE,
THE SABBATH A NATIONAL BLESSING.
Mark ii. 27. The Sabbath was made for man.
No one, who believes in a future retribution and makes the Bible the basis of his sentiments, can fail to see that the Sabbath is associated with all our dearest interests for eternity. The command to keep one day in seven holy unto the Lord is grateful to his heart, because he is deeply sensible of the value of such a season of spiritual refreshment. It is on the Sabbath, more than on any other day of the week, that he rises above the world, holds fel. lowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ, and ripens for the rest which remaineth for the people of God. On this account every real Christian prizes the fourth precept of the Decalogue, and is ready to offer his devout prayer, that its authority upon the minds of the community may never be weakened.
Thus far all is plain. But has the Sabbath no blessings to scatter along the path-way of men, through the life which now is ? Is this institution so exclusively spiritual in its character and aims, and so entirely blended with the high concerns of eternity, that it bestows no regard upon mankind as dwellers upon earth ? Every attentive reader of the Bible, every candid observer of passing events will answer, that the Sabbath was intended to exert, and actually does exert, a most benign influence upon all the personal, domestic, and social relations of the present life. No individual or family, no neighborhood or community, ever kept the Lord's day holy without reaping rich temporal blessings from it. So well established is this truth, that the sanctification of the Sabbath may be forcibly urged, without taking one step over the confines of our civil and social enjoyments, or casting a single glance at the awful realities of the world to come.
The minister of the gospel can indeed take very high ground in enforcing the observance of one whole day in seven, as a season of rest. point his hearers to 1?e cijuds and darkness which enveloped Mount Sinai, and bid them listen to the voice of the Almighty, saying: "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” He may come forth to his people encom. passed with arguments from the bed of death, the scenes of the last judgment, and the bliss or wo of the eternal world. These are the most cogent motives he can urge.
But why should he not, for once, change his position, and trace the influence of the Sabbath upon the every day, the fireside, the temporal condition of mankind? This is not divesting religion of its sacredness ; it is only spreading that sacredness over the surface of society, so that its benefits may be apparent even to worldly men.
The Sabbath, our Savior says, was made for man. This is true, not in the sense of those who advocate so liberal an exposition of the fourth commandment as to rob it of its hallowed character; but as understood by those who regard the day as, in every point of view, an inestimable blessing to the world. This sacred season was scarcely less intended to cheer our residence on earth, than to prepare us for a better residence in heaven.
My sole object, on the present occasion, is to show that the Sabbath is peculiarly adapted to raise the character and improve the condition of men in this world. I beseech you to hear me candidly and patiently, and then say, whether the Lord's day is not fairly entitled to the affectionate regards of
He may all those, who would identify themselves with the great interests of public and private happiness. If religion is deemed of little account, I solicit your attention on other grounds. My appeal is to you as philanthropists, as patriots, as genuine republicans, as citizens of this free and favored land, in behalf of an institution which, as will be shown, stands connected with the welfare of our common country. You are called upon to see what respect you ought to pay to the Sabbath, and what efforts you ought to make to preserve it from desecration, from the relation which it bears to your dearest earthly comforts. My train of reasoning will be simple and unambiguous.
1. The provision which the Sabbath makes for rest from labor, is in itself a great blessing.
This is confessedly lowest in the scale of considerations for ; observance of the Sabbath, but no benevolent man will affirm that it is a consideration unworthy of regard. We all feel more or less the effects of the curse: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread;" and it ill becomes us to tum away in disdain from the very institution which was designed to alleviate that curse. It is owing to the goodness and mercy of our God that we are per. mitted, every seventh day, to rest from the cares and toils in which the “fall” has involved us.
Man is so constituted that he cannot be incessantly putting forth his energies, without almost necessarily bringing upon himself premature debility and decay. This point has been decided, again and again, by the unerring test of experience. There must be seasons of relaxation for the laboring classes of society, regular days on which the mental and physical powers may unbend, or they soon lose their strength and elasticity. Both mind and body have their limit of care and toil, and the God who made them knows just what suspension of effort is necessary. This exigency of man's nature he has mercifully consulted, in the appointment of the Sabbath as a day of entire and uninterrupted rest from every secular pursuit and concern.
Go to the industrious, enterprising farmer, mechanic, or merchant, and ask his opinion on this interesting subject. He will tell you, from his own experience, that six successive days are long enough for close and constant exertion, and that one seventh part of the time is not more than is requisite to recruit his exhausted strength. He rejoices when the cares and perplexities of the week are ended, so that he may withdraw himself for a little from life's busy scene. On the Sabbath he can lay aside every worldly labor and anxiety, go to the house of God, mingle with kind friends, and have his mind occupied with cheering and refreshing truths. Thus passes away the day, and he rises the next morning with a peaceful bosom and an invigorated frame, to resume the duties of his proper calling. Such an one, mark it when you will, can accomplish more for this world than he who sets at naught the institution of the Sabbath. One of the most distinguished civilians of our country has given it as his deliberate and fixed opinion, that six days in a week for either labor or study are better than seven.
There is no lack of competent and credible witnesses to testify to the truth of these remarks. The late excellent William Wilberforce declares, that at one period of his parliamentary career, his duties were so multiplied and exhausting, that his health must have been utterly prostrated, had it not been for the seasonable relief which the Sabbath afforded him. The stillness and serenity of this holy day refreshed his spirits, after they had been jaded by the arduous debates of the British senate. It is encouraging to see a man, every where regarded as an honor to the land which gave him birth, and a benefactor of the race, paying such decided homage to the Sabbath, and acknowledging his deep indebtedness to its gracious provisions.
Still more important is this arrangement to that portion of the community, whose time is very much at the disposal of others. One reason, and a per. manent one too, why the Israelites were required to observe the Sabbath was, that their man servant and maid servant might rest as well as themselves. How merciful is the aspoct of such a requisition towards all the poor and