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The Will-Its Force-Then forming Character no hap-
FAMILY IN HEAVEN.
GOSPEL reunites broken Families - The "Father's House,"
on Earth. The Social Principle― Affections must have
She dwells, appearing, as in truth she is,
Heaven-born, and destined to the skies again." COWPER.
THE FAMILY ON EARTH! What delightful associations are awakened by the mention of this theme! With what speed does it send the thoughts of every reader to some glad retreat where his soul is bound by ties too various and dear to be designated by other appellation than that of FAMILY! What memories linger around the bright borders of that home-spot, even to those whom an inscrutable Providence has expelled from its domain! What emotions, deep, lasting and true, start into being, and fly along the heart-strings, as the subject falls upon the ear! What a rush of feeling at the fair scenes and images which rise at its suggestion! Father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter-what hopes, fears, loves, ties, wait upon these blest relations! It requires not the power of fancy to portray these intimate connections in colors sufficiently vivid to enlist all the feelings. of the heart. For them nature has a strong affinity, and. needs only the most casual allusion to stir the fountain of her emotions.
HOME! The term is one of the choicest in the English language, and is mated with that of FAMILY. It is where the Family is, or was. The mention of one suggests the other. It is the dearest spot of earth, hallowed by a thousand delightful recollections,
Of love, of joy, of peace, and plenty, where,
And dear relations mingle into bliss."*
In all ages and nations mankind have expressed similar sentiments, and indulged kindred feelings in relation to HOME. However stinted in the measure of earthly goods, it has ever wielded attractions more powerful than those of lordly "pleasures and palaces." A glad response has been wakened in every heart to the beautiful sentiment of the poet,
"'Mid pleasures and palaces tho' we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.”†
Luther could engage in battle-scenes for social and religious reform with dauntless mien; he could stand up against the fierce anathema of Pope and Cardinals without a trembling nerve; he could face the angered Diet of Worms with all the courage and calmness of a Christian hero; but when, upon a journey to meet the Counts of Mansfield, he came in sight of his own native Eisleben, the great man was overcome with emotion, and he bowed his head and wept. It was an unfeigned recognition of the power of home, or family attractions.
The power of the Family Relation is augmented by the inquence which God gives to every member of it, and to every object connected with it. Even the little infant wields a power that controls the plans and efforts of an entire household. We are wont to look upon the prattling boy or girl in babyhood solely as an object of attachmentbeautiful plaything till its mind demands some positive culture for immortality. We scarcely think that from its natal day it is swaying our hearts and directing our efforts, with
greater effect than the laws of the land. A little reflection will surprise us that so many of our purposes, so much of our business, so many of our steps, have reference to it— that such a share of our purest sympathies and kindest feelings owe their existence to the child—and that it so materially affects the character and destiny of the family.
Every object, we have said, connected with home makes more or less impression upon the heart. Home may be the place of our birth. How vivid and delightful is the recollection of its scenes which transpired in our childhood! Fresh as of yesterday's occurrence, they still draw our hearts back to the homestead where the united family gathered in fond and unbroken fellowship. The mind's eye rests gladly upon the shady trees, and the meandering stream on whose verdant banks we plucked the mint and cowslip; and we seem to see the merry warblers, the robin, thrush and jay, skipping from branch to branch, and filling the air with the music of their mellifluous songs. Fond parents, now possibly in the grave, we behold as when we moved obedient to their mandates, and their voices seem to fall upon the ear with the same tones of authority, and their eyes beam with the same kindling expressions of love, as when our childhood nestled under the wing of their affection. Even the sacred hymns that we were wont to sing in happy concert live in blissful recollection, and the antique painting and portrait seemingly hang upon the parlor-wall as when we used to gaze upon them in childish delight. These are some of the bright mementoes of childhood's home, surviving the perishing scenes of meridian manhood, which we shall carry with us, impressing our hearts continually to the goal of life the grave.
Most of human life is spent in the family. Most of human duties are mediately or immediately connected with the family. This renders the institution one of paramount interest and importance. Surely that which absorbs so much
of life, and imposes so many of our duties, has a claim upon our prayerful consideration. It is well to compass, if possible, a relation which radiates in every direction of life, and creates obligations with every phase of the heart.
Too often the Family is regarded only as a sort of retreat or refuge from the storms of life, where one may delight in the exercise of the natural affections, independent of all influence and responsibility abroad. Generally it is supposed, that a man is wielding an influence, which affects our social and civil interests, only when he is heartily engaged in secular and public affairs. Few stop to reflect, that within the quiet family the father-citizen is doing more, indirectly, for the weal or woe of society, than he is upon the arena of public effort. There he does not act simply upon the surface of things, but moulds, and even creates the essential elements which are to enter into the social structure in coming time. His affections may, indeed, delight in the homecircle as a quiet retreat from the din of business, and a place in all respects congenial; but then, the very ties that make it a social luxury to abide in the family increase the force of every word and act upon minds and hearts, which are to constitute eventually the life and soul of society.
Volumes have been written, and prolonged discussions multiplied in relation to the form of civil government best suited to the wants and welfare of the human race. Systems of private and public education have been originated, and variously applied. Theories, in respect to government and education both, have been reduced to practice, often to prove a failure, for no other reason than a disregard of the importance of the Family Relation, which underlies all civil and religious institutions, as the foundation underlies the fabric. Reformers have even become so wild in their speculations about a social millennium, as to advocate the abolition of the family, instead of its improvement. The wild experiment would not reorganize society, but shiver its organism into