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Holy Spirit into his ignorant mind and dark heart, and teach
MY DEAR SIR,-The following hints for meditation were drawn up for private use, on occasion of a monthly season of humiliation and prayer, in remembrance of the death of a beloved child, an "only son;" they are now offered for insertion in your "Friendly Visitor," in the humble hope that they may thus become more extensively useful, by the Divine blessing, even to some parents who have not, as well as to others who have, sustained a similar affliction.
I remain, my dear sir,
Ipswich, August 1, 1844.
PRACTICAL LESSONS FOR OUR OWN PRIVATE IMPROVEMENT, SUITED FOR THIS DAY'S SOLEMN STUDY AND REMEMBRANCE-NOVEMBER 16, 1842.
1. To exercise deep humiliation, on account of our past failures in parental duties-"looking upon Him whom we have pierced, and mourning for Him as one mourneth for an only son;" increased watchfulness, lest we lose the benefit of this afflictive bereavement, and fall again into the same errors and sins, with greater guilt, as committed after such solemn warnings, and repeated vows of amendment; and lively thankfulness, for the distinguished honour and privilege bestowed upon us, as Christian parents, of having, as we trust, notwithstanding our conscious unworthiness, two dear children safe in heaven.
2. To consider our remaining children as loans intrusted to us
by God for a season; not our own, but to be returned to him, with interest and improvement, when he calls for them. His by original right-his by baptismal consecration-his by daily dedicationhis by a special offering on the late solemn occasion of his reinvestment of a precious deposit, lent to us for a little time, in the treasury of heaven.
3. To observe due reverence to them, as the LORD's children. To maintain a reverential remembrance of Him in all our dealings towards them, so as not to exceed, or give way to inordinate, selfish, or carnal affection, either in respect of indulgence or severity; so as not to fondle, idolise, or spoil them, on the one hand; and not to neglect to cultivate or lose an interest in their best affections, on the other. Also to keep up a constant recollection of their presence in our daily intercourse with and behaviour towards each other; and of the influence of all present impressions, arising from what they observe in our conduct, upon their future life and character.
4. To call to mind, from time to time, that our children are sin. ful, responsible, dying creatures; that from ourselves they have inherited guilt, corruption, and mortality. To deal with them as for eternity, as rational and spiritual agents, and never to defer religious instruction, when there is opportunity of imparting it, upon any pretence or plea whatever. But, in season and out of
season, at all events, and by all means, and to win them to Christ.
to seek to save their souls,
5. To maintain, watchfully and prayerfully, a spirit of love in all our administration of reproof, correction, and chastisement, when needful; and to cultivate the same spirit among themselves, and all around them. To try to make, by God's blessing, the parlour, the nursery, and the study, hotbeds of Christian love; where the atmosphere of love is breathed by all, and circulates freely among all the members of an united family, as a holy and happy household of faith.
6. To contemplate Death as approaching silently, indeed, yet certainly and speedily to ourselves and our children; and to be daily "setting our house in order," in expectation of its sudden arrival. Also to avoid every mode of conduct, or principle of action, which, in a dying hour, or at a death-bed scene, would be likely to cause regret; or which we should mourn over, and deprecate the effects of, either as respects them or ourselves.
7. To live more by faith, and less by sight: faith in the
boundless love, and complete, soul-satisfying promises of the covenant in Christ: casting all our care for the future upon our allsufficient God and Saviour, and ceasing from all outward satisfac. tions and regrets as much as may be; as respects the health, personal appearance, gifts (natural and acquired), and other temporal advantages or disadvantages of ourselves or our children.
8. To be much in prayer, pleading with God for the children he has given us, after the example of the Father of the faithful: "O that Ishmael might live before thee!" (Gen. xvii. 18.) To be often urging and reminding them to pray for and by themselves, and never to leave to servants the duty, or rather the privilege, of hearing them pray.*
9. To be always observing our children, but not often interfering with them. As we would watch their bodily health, but seldom give medicine; so to have a constant eye upon their conduct, but not too frequently find fault with them. To be careful lest irritability in our tempers spoil correction by overdoing it; or partiality in our feelings make us too severe in one case, and too lenient in another. To remember, in short, that a child may be ill, when it only seems naughty; and may have many reasons for its conduct which it is unable to produce; which yet may not only be real, but well understood by the supposed offender.
The God of all grace vouchsafe to bless these lessons, and shew mercy to the reader and the writer, through the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ! Amen.
Mark x. 14. John xxi. 15. Acts. ii. 39.
WHICH OF THESE MOTHERS ARE YOU?
The Christian Mother 1. Feels the value of her own soul, and therefore is most anxious about the souls of her children.
2. Takes her baby to be christened; and why? Be
The Worldly Mother
1. Is blind to her own soul's danger, and is therefore indifferent about her children's souls.
2. It does not much matter to her whether her child is christened
* The following short and simple prayer is suitable for a child to offer by and for itself: "O Lord, convert my soul by thy Holy Spirit, and pardon all my sins, and shew me that I am, indeed, thy child, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen."
cause its soul is her chief anxiety. She wishes to follow the example of Hannah, and give her child to the Lord. It is too young to think and speak for itself; she will therefore act for it. She presents her child to Christ in his temple, and prays that it may be a real Christian-a follower of Jesus here, and an heir of glory hereafter.
3. Seeks to take those with her to her child's baptism who will really pray for its soul; and thus become spiritual friends, or sponsors.
4. As her children get out of babyhood, she labours to impress on their young minds the great reality of eternity, and the shortness of time. She prays with them, and for them; and as soon as they can speak, she teaches them how to pray. 5. Her chief desire is, that the Sabbath-day should be kept holy. She will not allow her children to be out in the streets with others on that day, but sees that they are punctual at school and church; and what time is over she employs in talking to them, hearing them read, or in singing hymns with them.
6. Pays great importance to
or no: she does not mind delaying its baptism. But when she does take it to church, what motive induces her? She has a pride in belonging to the church, and wishes her child to belong to it also. She thinks it convenient to have her child christened, or it may be refused Christian burial when it dies. She takes it because other mothers take theirs; and she goes to church without really presenting it to God -without ever offering up one sincere prayer for a blessing on its precious soul!
3. It is a matter of little moment what kind of people are chosen as sponsors, so long as she gets them; and perhaps she does not care about having any at all.
4. She thinks most of this world, and her children do the same. She has no time to pray, nor to teach her children to pray. As soon as they can speak, they employ their tongues in the service of sin and Satan.
5. The Sabbath-day is regarded as a convenient day for taking pleasure, paying visits, or receiving visitors; their children are allowed to play, or to loiter on their way to church or school. What time they are at home on the Sabbath is spent in noise and merriment; and all this they have learnt from their ungodly mother.
6. Delights in seeing her child
her child's dress. She is particular that it should be neat, clean, and plain. Neck-laces, flowers, and ornaments of all descriptions, she forbids her children to wear; and tries to get them to seek for the "or nament of a meek and quiet spirit."
7. Enforces obedience upon her children, knowing it to be one of God's commandments. She values a Sunday-school, and loves those teachers who take pains with her little ones. Nothing distresses her more than to see her child disobedient or disrespectful to its teacher.
8. Is very particular to allow no loose or low conversation. She checks the careless mention of God, and it grieves her much to see religion made fun of.
9. Is very careful of the company her children keep, and will allow no foolish companions, whether men or women. She asks herself, "Will that companion do my child any good?"
10. Seeks to make her chil. dren find a higher pleasure than that which this world can
decked out. She laughs at neat dressing; and bestows a deal of time and thought on the various articles of dress which she thinks may improve her child's looks. The soul is forgotten, and the body thought much of.
7. Thinks nothing of requiring obedience. She talks much about it, but never gets it: she does not go the right way to get it. She often laments her children's way. wardness. She thinks lightly of a Sunday-school, cares little about its teachers, and listens to all the whims and fancies of her children. Disobedience to teachers she regards as a light evil, and listens to all the tales of her little ones with the ear of a foolish and partial mother.
8. Thinks she has no time to watch her children's conversation. Their irreverent manner-the vain use of the name of God—the laugh at religion-give her no pain; so she takes no notice of it.
9. She does not mind who her child is with, so long as it is with no one beneath her. She allows her child to mix with the gay and giddy, till she finds out, perhaps, that she has given too long a rope, and the child is becoming quickly ruined.
10. Finds her own pleasure in this world, though it does not satisfy her. She hails with joy days