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consequence of the interest, which he took in the affairs of his household.

All the members of a family are connected by the strong bonds of natural affection : bonds, which unite human beings together with a power, and intimacy, found in no other circumstances of life. The sympathy, here experienced, is therefore intense, and peculiar. The wants, and interests, are not only common, but near and important; reaching every heart at once, awakening instinctively a lively, vigorous concern, a powerful sympathy, and united efforts, of singular energy and ardour. The members of a family all dwell, also, in the same house ; are daily united in one common system of employments; interchange unceasingly, and habitually, their kind offices ; and are accustomed to rejoice and mourn, to hope and fear, to weep and smile, together. No eloquence, no labour, no time, is necessary to awaken these sympathetic emotions. They are caught at once from eye to eye, and from heart to heart; and spread, instantaneously, with an electric influence through all the endeared and happy circle.

In the devotions of this little assembly, parents pray for their children, and children for their parents, the husband for his

; wife, and the wife for her husband : while brothers and sisters send up their requests to the throne of Infinite Mercy, to call down blessings upon each other. Who, that wears the name of man, can be indifferent here? Must not the venerable character of the parents, the peculiar tenderness of the conjugal union, the affectionate intimacy of the filial and fraternal relations ; must not the nearness of relations long existing, the interchange of kindness long.continued, and the oneness of interests long cemented; all warm the heart, heighten the importance of every petition, and increase the fervour of every devotional effort ?

The blessings, asked for, are common to all. The parent, in speaking for one member of the family, speaks, even when he does not directly design it, for every one. For here, as in the natural body, whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it ; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

These blessings are also indispensable, and invaluable. They are no other than the health, union, peace, prosperity, forgiveness, sanctification, and everlasting life, of all this circle of beloved objects. How necessarily, then, must all the natural affections of the heart, and all the power of religion, conspire to render prayer, thus offered up, eminently fervent and devout ! The world, perhaps, does not furnish a single prospect so beautiful, so lovely, to the eye of virtuous contemplation, as a Family, thus assembled in the morning for their affectionate devotions; combining the two most charming among all the exercises of the human heart, piety to God their common Parent, and tenderness to each other; and living through the day in that course of Evangelical conduct, which is pre-eminently suited to so delightful a beginning. No priest, no minister, is so venerable, as a father; no congregation so dear and tenderly beloved, as a wife and children ; and no oblations are offered with the same union, interest, and delight, as those of a pious and affectionate household.

2. Family prayer eminently contributes to domestic Order and Regularity.

The worship of the morning, and of the evening, commences and closes the concerns of the day with an exactness of method, almost necessarily diffused through all its concerns. The regular returns of an employment, distinguished by its importance, communicate to the business connected with it, and to those who perform it, a character of regularity, unavoidably felt, and universally prevailing. The worship of God is always of the highest importance. The spirit of religion, which dictates it, is in its nature, a spirit of order. Its returns take place every morning, and every evening, after short intervals, and with exact regularity. Its influence is, therefore, necessarily diffused through the day ; operates with an efficacy wholly peculiar; and controls with a superior authority both the mind and the life. No influence is equally felt : and no minds are equally prepared to be acted upon by influence. The method established is invested with unrivalled solemnity, enforced by the sanctity of religion, regarded with singular veneration, and submitted to without a question, even in thought. But method is the soul of all business; especially of complicated business; and peculiarly of

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business, in which numbers are concerned. The method, bere produced, is formed with perfect regularity, with supreme ease, without the consciousness of any difficulty, and without a thought of any resistance. Its nature is delightful : its efficacy is com

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3. Family worship greatly strengthens Parental Government.

In the morning and evening devotion, the parent is invested with the solemn character of a Priest of God, a Minister of Christ. This character, eminently venerable in itself, adds in the highest degree, to the personal venerableness and dignity of the parent. When we think of any object, whatever may be its nature, we necessarily associate with it those ideas, which have customarily been connected with it in our minds. Children naturally regard a parent with reverence. But they cannot fail to reverence a respectable parent more, and a contemptible parent less, on account of his personal character. Whenever they have been accustomed to behold their parent daily sustaining the of fice of a Minister of God; they necessarily associate with every idea, which they form of his person and character, this solema and important apprehension. Every image of this venerable relation, presented to their minds, will include in it that of a divinely appointed guardian of their spiritual concerns; a guide to their duty, given them from above; a venerated and beloved intercessor for their salvation.

At the same time, the apparent habitual piety, thus exhibited, will persuade the children, that the authors of their being are sincere in all their religious professions, and in their various moral instructions to them; and that they are, therefore, in the Evangelical sense, virtuous. The evidence, furnished in this manner, may be, I acknowledge, and often is, overthrown by the sinful conduct even of praying parents. But I see not how this conviction can exist, where parents do not maintain the worship of God in their families. The want of such worship presents to the eye of children a palpable, and indubitable, inconsistency between their conduct, and their professions, which no child can fail to see, or feel. An unhappy conviction, will here unavoidably spring up in their minds, which cannot be stifled; and which will necessarily lessen the character of the parent, and

the weight of his commands : a conviction, that these persons, Rotwithstanding their venerable name, and their relation to himself, are unpossessed of that singleness of heart, and that integrity of profession, which he cannot avoid regarding as indispensable.

This union in their worship presents, also, in a very forcible manner to the eyes of their offspring, that peculiar union of views, end affections, of interests, and designs, with respect to the most important of all subjects, and by necessary consequence with respect to every other, without which, it is hardly necessary to observe, no parental government can be successful; and the happy influence of which is proverbially acknowledged, wherever it is found.

It is unnecessary to insist, here, upon the interesting nature of these subjects. It is unnecessary to show how indispensable it is, that children should entertain the most reverential thoughts concerning their parents ; feel an undoubting conviction of their sincerity in all things ; and realize, in the strongest manner, their cordial union in every valuable purpose. I shall only add, therefore, that, from the numerous complaints, so often made by parents concerning the difficulty of governing their children, it may fairly be inferred, that all persons, sustaining this character, and possessed of common understanding, must consider so efficacious an addition to their authority as of inestimable value.

4. This worship, in an eminent degree, perserves, and promotes, Religion in a family.

Whenever a family, or an individual, observes an exact regularity in performing the duties, and celebrating the ordinances, of the Gospel ; religion naturally becomes flourishing and vigorous in their hearts, and in their lives. From family prayers both the parents and their offspring go, happily prepared, to the devotions of the closet; and from these devotions return, with the same becoming spirit, to the worship of the house : and from the retired and affectionate services of the week, they proceed, with the best preparation, to the more solemn duties of the Sanctuary.


To children, and servants, especially, the worship of the house is of incalculable importance. The advantages of both these classes of mankind for understanding, and practising, the duties of religion, in many respects, are obviously few and limited : while their minds are imperfectly fitted to make the most advantageous use of such as they enjoy. To increase their number, and their power, and certainly not to lessen either, must naturally be the wish of every benevolent man. Among these, the household worship is eminently important. Here, so soon as they are able to understand any thing, they see religion appearing, daily, in one of its most affecting forms; celebrated by those, whom nature teaches them most to respect and love; and occupied about interests, which they easily understand, and deeply feel. Under the happy influence of these considerations they grow, speedily, into fixed habits of thinking reverentially, and believing favourably, concerning religion. The very aspect of the service teaches them, that it holds the uppermost place in the mind of the parent : while a conviction of this truth renders his opinions and conduct more venerable and affecting in those of the children. In these circumstances they naturally feel, as if God was always to be worshipped, sought, honoured, and praised; and that his blessing was to be implored in every concern, temporal and spiritual.

A family, habituated in this manner, goes from the house to the Church with the most profitable apprehensions concerning the ordinances of the sabbath. Religion, in the view of all its members, wears a solemnity and importance, ordinarily not otherwise attainable ; and a frame of mind is acquired, most happily susceptible of the best impressions in the house of God.

Thus by prayer in the family, the religion of its members, if they are religious at all, is rendered more sincere, fervent, and efficacious. They are all better beings; better husbands and wives; better fathers and mothers; better children, brothers, and sisters ; better masters and servants; than they otherwise would, or in the ordinary course of providence could, be. All the endearing interests of families; all the strong ties, the tender relations, and the vigorous affections, which grow out of this happy

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