Billeder på siden



Only Man has a Home.-The tired lark sinks in the evening shades down to its quiet nest, and offers its grateful anthems for the boon of a house; but man, wearied with the strifes of the mart and of the field, seeks shelter in his home, the sacred retreat of the heart. Foxes have holes, birds have nests, lions have dens, tigers have lairs, dogs have kennels, but men have homes. The supreme putting of divine love is found in Jesus, when he forsakes his home, and wanders a stranger, not having where to lay his head; while the extreme display of human sinfulness is found with those human creatures who are "without natural affections."

Virtues of the Hearth are the Securities of the Peoples.-The home is the cradle of the great virtues. The Church was organized in the family. The power to command his household and his children after him was the spring of Abraham's call to be the Father of the faithful and founder of the Church. There is one bond that encircles earth and heaven. It is woven from the most tender longings and hunger of the heart. It binds the humblest home on earth to the Home of our Father on High. It domesticates the angels in cabins. The love of mother is often the last cable that holds a youth to his moorings. Beaten upon by the storm of his passions, every other stay gives way. Every other anchor drags. But the love of mother, that was dropped deep into his soul's substance before he got out of the nursery, holds. While that holds he is almost certain to outride the wildest gales. So the Home, which is the sanctuary where this spirit presides, is a perpetual protection. It is an ark floating with us down the tide of the years. It carries the virtues that make the citizen, and the inspirations that develops the saint. It is not merely a shelter from the storm, it is also a workshop, where the grandest characters are built. It is a pre"eminent opportunity for the achievement of good. To miss this chief purpose of the home is to lower its grade.

The Home builds the House.-The divine idea of home-life types the building. There is something in every germ of life which determines its form. Time and opportunity bring out only this ideal. The germ of a ker


nel of barley can be matured, not into a stalk and head of wheat, but into a stalk and head of barley. The germs of the fish and of the bird and of man are, at certain stages of development, indistinguishable. But there is always present a superintending spiritual power, too subtle for our microscopes and chemistries, that determines what form each shall wear. The fish grows into a fish. The bird becomes a bird. The man matures into a Each obeys its inner bias. Thus the inner instinct, or thought of the home, fashions the house. Its apartments grow upon this stalk. From the kitchen where the animal is fed, the nursery where the training is ordered, the chamber where the recuperative forces are stored, the sitting room where the social life is nourished, to the reception room or parlor, where the life of society is met and mastered-all these grow about the deeper idea of home. It is this subtle and powerful spirit, born out of the innermost heart, that invariably locates the home where the heart is. The settler's cabin and the peasant's hut, clothed with this inspiration from the heart, become centers of comfort and contentment that time is unable to drive from the mind. Life rises out of this inspiration to its highest values. Thus the home becomes the measure of a nation's stability. A tramp may become a hired soldier, but he can hardly rise to the promptings of patriotism. His life has too little in it to be worth much defending. His life is cheap. He waits for whatever may happen. When a man has a home he becomes immediately interested in the peace of the community. He has given hostages against mobs. It is important for him that the pavement stones should keep their places, and not go flying through the air. Both heads and windows acquire a sacredness from those in which he is interested. A man without a home has little motive for standing against public perils. If a land does not furnish a man so much as a home, he can drift away when it becomes dangerous to remain anchored. Fill any land with good homes, and it must be a good place in which to live. It is one peculiarity of the Anglo-Saxon peoples that they abound in homes. The walls about the hearth shut out all the world, and shut in a kingdom. This is the fort; keep it clean and free, and religion will thrive and liberty will dwell in the land forever.

The Origin of the Family.-The most ancient organization in the race is the Family. It was God's first appointment for man. Other means might easily have been devised for the perpetuation of the race, but God saw that it was "not good that the man should be alone," so he put "the solitary in families."

How the Family Develops Character.-The family is the oldest school known among men. Its molding and educating work begins in that university where the mother's lap is the recitation room, the mother is the professor, and the mother's eye is the text-book. Schools come as public

examinations, to determine or show how much the pupil has learned elsewhere. The Church is an after-thought. The family furnishes the elements out of which later character and knowledge are constructed. Other means of influence and instruction touch the soul in spots, but the family furnishes an enveloping atmosphere, that presses upon the absorbing faculties at every point and through every moment. It is too easy to trace family marks through successive generations. Blood runs in channels prepared by nature, but these channels may be reversed or broken over. A given amount of capacity, that is, so much blood and so much brain, may be brought by opposite environments to results as widely separated as the opposite poles of the moral universe. The man with a brogue in his speech, and a club in his hand, and a low passion in his heart, may differ from the statesman with a richness in his accents, and the reins of government in his hands, and a universal philanthropy in his heart, only by so much as the influences of the family in which his capacities were surrounded.

The Family often Ripens Rapidly Those who Carry its Burdens.— Two young people fall into the conviction of approaching oneness. They seem but children. He is trifling, and she is foolish. He divides his time between his old boyish sports and his new boyish love. She turns from her dolls to her lover. They are children, and too young to be thought of as marriageable. But in the courage or folly of their love they take the outer Vow. Now watch them. Often they have blundered, but nearly always, when the union was a marriage performed under the sanctions of their hearts, we see them straighten up and sober down. They cease suddenly to be children. We wonder at their dignity and stability. We trembled when they passed into the cloud. But they are clothed upon with higher character. It seems as if nature, fearing lest she should disparage her divinest ordinance, hastens to forgive the folly of premature obedience, and corrects, as far as possible, the mistakes of youth.

The Family Multiplies Happiness.—The road into happiness is always the road out of self. When one has no one for whom he cares more than for himself, the cup of his happiness is very small. The babe, only able to use a rattle, can have but little joy compared with its delight when it can pour itself out for some loved one. Other friendships than those of the family last with the sunshine. But into every life some rain must fall. Then, worn with the rude shocks against the rough world, one returns to his quiet family to be soothed and re-established in the eternal verities of fidelity and integrity. The comforts may be few, but so long as these are not placed above their true rank, and the deeper and abiding realities of the heart are emphasized, there is sure to come a flood of comfort that makes one ready for another strife with the world.

Washington Irving says that “a married man, falling into misfortunes, is more apt to retrieve his situation in the world than a single one, chiefly because his spirits are softened and relieved by domestic endearment and selfrespect." The happiness he imparts and receives adds wings to his speed and spurs to his purpose, and difficulties that otherwise would have been too great for a half-formed resolution yield before the supreme impulse from the family.

The Family Blesses in Necessitating Housekeeping.—It is one of the glories of a family that it must come to housekeeping. Boarding is a necessary evil in exceptional cases, but it is not a part of the plan. It may sometimes be an expedient, like a tent, while a house is being built, or on hard campaigns where houses cannot be built. The order of life is home-keeping. A family is a unit in society, not a fraction. The home is a man's castle, and he must be the lord of it. To live in a trunk with the feeling that some one else owns the key, and may lock you out by day or in by night, dwarfs the best part of a man's faculties. Boarding houses have their mission, just as any other remedial agency for the sick or deformed or unfortunate in society has its work. People should go to a boarding house just as they do to a hospital, when they must, and then be thankful that they can get a good one.

Housekeeping separates the family unit from the fragments of families, and gives it a chance for religious and individual life. The little girl who said to her Sunday-school teacher, "We have not got any Bible, we board," told a secret much deeper than she knew.

Have some house, little if it must be, but have it, and live by yourselves. There you can suit your living to your income. There you can train your children influences which you can command. There you can create and preserve a Christian atmosphere which shall determine their destiny, and possibly your own. There you will find a fort which you command, a door which you only can open; a place where you are constantly built up into kingship.

According to Jeremy Taylor: "Home is the proper scene of piety and patience, of the duty of parents, and the charity of relatives; here kindness is spread abroad, and love is united and made firm as a center. Marriage hath in it less of beauty, but more of safety than single life; it hath more care, but less danger; it is more merry and more sad; it is fuller of sorrows and fuller of joys; it lies under more burdens, but is supported by all the strength of love and charity, and those burdens are delightful." The family gathered in a Christian home is the type of the eternal home where the whole family of God shall be finally gathered.

So important is a home that it is worth much to give any hint that may improve its order, hallow its precincts, sweeten its atmosphere, purify its communions, increase its efficiency, unfold its relations, elevate its affections, ex

[ocr errors]

alt its intelligence, protect its virtues, perpetuate its faith, or impress its importance. If we can aid in giving to America men and women who shall abide in the comforts and securities of home, if we ca aidn in rendering more honorable this altar of religion and cradle of patriotism, this model of the Church and unit of the State; if we can aid in checking the worldly rush out of the home into the chase for pleasure, the struggle for gain, and the brawl for fame which sweeps away so many men and infects so many women in our time, we shall be content. If by hints, practical suggestions, rules wrought out of the experience of the good and wise, and instructions gathered from the world's teachers every-where, we can aid the father in being a providence and a parent, the mother in being a queen and a companion, the boy in becoming a vigorous and manly man, and the girl in ripening into the graces of an intelligent, refined woman; if by the words of this book we can help to perfect and actualize the Christian home, so that here and there throughout the land a barefooted boy, or a poor girl, or a weary mother, or a tired father, finding some new hope, or better culture, or higher life, shall rise up and bless these pages, then we shall not be sorry on account of the work, nor on account of the criticism of those who may most need these suggestions.


What God Thinks of Marriage. In the beginning God created man, and then created for him one woman, because it was not good for him to be alone. He created for him only one woman because it would not be good for him to want to be alone. It is not without a providential purpose that the number of the males is kept so nearly equal to the number of the females for so many ages. "They twain shall be one flesh," said the great Teacher. Not they twenty shall be one flesh, but twain. He shall cleave unto his wife, not unto a score of wives. The Lord avoids the perils of both extremes. wants a man to be the husband of only one wife. It is almost as unnatural for him not to have one as it is wicked to have more than one. For "the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to MARRY." 1 Tim. iv, 1–3.


Principles Governing Marriage.—The following principles are formulated with the full knowledge that it is not possible to give infallible directions for every case. But it is also believed that the chances that these rules will apply are immeasurably greater than that your case is really an exception to the laws that generally obtain over people. Let it not be for

« ForrigeFortsæt »