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and holy precepts and laws, which the child will feel and know to be in accordance with his Nature, its necessities and uses.
But there is more than this: Mental or verbal teaching is not always moral teaching. To act upon a moral truth is to learn it -to cause to act is to teach ;-hence, the relation of the child to the parent in the Home, demands of the parent, first, that his own life be holy and true. Moral teaching that is merely verbal will not do; as for a parent in the Home to act is to teach. Children are taught by actions: if holy, just, sober, true, honest, holiness, justice, sobriety, truth, honesty, are taught; and so of the contrary.
Thus children may be educated spiritually, by their parents first acting themselves, then causing them to act, upon principles of true morality ;-causing them to act first, and then trusting that expanding mental powers and increasing experience will manifest the truth of the principles.
From this it follows that the Child has a claim upon the Parent for sanctity in his own life and sanctity in the Home; and not only for instruction, but also for guidance and governance in the ways of true morality.
And then, if Baptism be not merely a sign of profession, but also a seal of the Covenant of Faith-a“ means of grace,” as the Church holds it, so that “by baptism we are members of Christ, children of God, inheritors of the kingdom of heaven,”if this be so, and the faith of parents can place the children in covenant with the Incarnate Word, through the Life-giving Spirit, then is the parent bound, by the Spiritual nature and wants of the child, to secure to it that blessing of being consecrated unto God in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;" and thereby unto them, as the Elect of God, assuring the teaching of God's providence, “so that all things shall work together for good to them;" assuring to them the Redeeming influences of the Son; and the instruction and influence of the Holy and Infinite Spirit upon the spirit of the child; the Spiritual teachings, too, of the Church of God, with all its ministries, from Angel and Archangel, Cherubim and Seraphim, in heaven, downward unto the ministration of God's Church and ministers on earth. All these benefits is the parent bound to procure for his children. And all these are consummated and completed through the parent's faith and vows, and by
the dedication solemnly by Baptism of the child unto God, the bringing of it thus within the Church, the fold of God's Elect.
But upon this point of Christian morality, having already, in a separate treatise more than once referred to, discussed this subject, I shall direct my reader's attention to it, merely remarking that therein the right of the infant to baptism, and the effects of it in sanctifying the Home, are fully examined.
Here, then, is the last right of children upon parents—the right of being dedicated to God by the formal act of their parents. And from it, how many consequences flow !—the right that they should be trained up in His name and His word,--that his Law should be made the rule of their lives,—that the Written Word should be their study,--that the Home should be a Sanctified temple of God's presence and graces, and not a mere abiding-place to eat and drink in, but a temple, wherein father and mother shall be, as it were, “priests and kings," sanctified
, teachers and sanctified governors of their household in Christ perpetually!
This is the last claim the Child has upon the Parent; and this claim is verified and established by all parts of the human nature of the child, which cry aloud for such a consecration; and are then, and then only, placed in their proper position towards man and God, when so dedicated, so united in covenant to the Eternal Son through the Eternal Spirit. This is the highest teaching to the Spiritual Nature, and the most complete and perfect education that its faculties and its necessities require and demand.
And for them who have placed their children in this position, and then themselves have, through the sense of their responsibility and the grace of God aiding them, lived up to the requirements of their position,- for them we have seen the highest grace
of the Christian Home to ensue,—the “living in Love." We have seen them, not by constraint nor compulsion, not by the interposition of any Human Law, but by disinterested Love and unselfish devotion, fulfilling all duties, gladly and rejoicingly.
And from this spirit of Love in parents, we have seen the spirit of affection and love arise on the part of the children. And we have seen that all legal thoughts of right on the one part and obligation on the other have ceased to have any influencethe affection of parents to children, and of children to parents, joyously and overflowingly fulfilling all duty, almost without feeling it. So that here we have seen the truth that “Love is the fulfilling of the law;" and all its duties are done through no external compulsion, but by that internal principle that makes them all, pleasures and springs of happy feeling.
This, then, we count the perfection of the relation of parents to children and of children to parents, of wives to husbands and of husbands to wives—the perfection of the Christian Home:that all within it be sanctified and duly dedicated unto God, and live up to the sum and completion of their profession—that is, live in Christian Love: the completion, not only of all happiness, but of all Christianity.
And this being done in the spirit of Christian Faith, we fear not that love, and honour, and reverence, and gratitude, and respect will flow forth naturally from the child unto the parent, ----that children so educated will feel the truth and incumbency of the precept, “Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God hath given thee.”
Our readers may then say, “But cannot parents and children, apart from religion, live in a state of love ?''
In respect of this we say, that the feeling is natural to the heart of man, a natural affection, and so comes forth naturally from parent to child, and from child to parent: and so we do not deny but that natural affection may exist in a very great degree; but not to that degree we have spoken of; never to that perfection.
And that for this simple reason that our Nature, made in God's image, only obtains its completion and perfection when in direct covenant with the Almighty Father, through his Son, the Mediator, ----and therefore directly taught and trained and formed by the Grace of his Holy Spirit.
With this remark we shall end this book, having brought the duties of the Home upward, until we have seen in it, as in all else that concerns Man's Nature, that duty is perfected by religion, and Nature is crowned by Grace.
THE HUMAN WILL.
Arguments upon the Will generally mere thorny quibbles.—The opinion of
Milton to this effect.-Censure upon its harshness.—The opinion of Bishop Beveridge.—The sentiments of Hooker as to the Will of God and the nature of His Decrees. St. Augustine, his character and temper.--Two ideas held by him to be connected, Grace and Predestination.—These are not so connected naturally.—Evil consequences on both sides of taking it to be so.-The Theological Controversy waived.—The Will discussed as a faculty of our nature.
In the works of Thomas Aquinas, there occurs an argument to prove that God has a body,-is, in other words, material, which the great Schoolman states gravely, and then as gravely refutes.
It is from a passage in the book of Job, which reads thus : “Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty to perfection? He is as high as heaven, what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the
Therefore, says the ingenious fool whom Thomas refutes, “God has length, breadth, and thickness, (depth or height,)—these are expressly attributed to him in the passage of Job,—but these are the three dimensions of body; God then has the dimensions of body!—therefore, God is body!"
Whatever one may say about the argument above given, we must admit that it is a most ingenious absurdity; so absurd, indeed, that its very folly makes it startling: and yet no one would give any weight to it; it is merely verbal, a knot of words that expresses nothing.
* The quotation is from the Vulgate.
Such, we humbly conceive, and we have bought our knowledge hy dear experience, is the staple of almost all books upon the Will that we have read-ingenious absurdities, startling paradoxes, knotted words that bind not nor define the realities, definitions gravely laid down, that, like conjurors' magic boxes, hold secretly all consequences afterwards drawn from them,-fruitless ears that seem full, and yield no fruit, and are yet always seeming-ready for threshing. Such are the disputes upon the Will as we have seen them managed, and we believe that the man who has had the most of such discussions, that man will the most see the fruitlessness of them on the one side and on the other. With all due respect to the illustrious dead, in this quality of a fruitless and thorny verbal logic, the argumentations for “Free-will,"* anil those for “Slave-will,”† are upon a par,--the one about as unsatisfactory as the other.
Such has been the effect of them upon many of the greatest, and soberest, and most judicious of men. Such, too, was the effect upon one, who, although certainly great, was as certainly neither sober nor judicious, but fiercely fanatical, and injudicious in the highest degree: we mean John Milton. IIe places his demons in hell, arguing upon these themes:
“Others apart sat on a hill retired,
In thought more elevate, and reason'd high
This, then, is the opinion upon this matter of the great poet who, in his younger days, had been most conversant with these argumentations; that they are lost in such labyrinths that no clue is to be found; that they are so difficult, so unsuitable to the calmness of Christian faith, that only in the evil angels
“ Late fallen, and weltering on their bed of fire,”
could be found intellect enough, and fierce restlessness enough, to discuss these subjects. In the opinion of John Milton, fallen angels in Pandemonium are the only fit and proper disputants upon the Calvinistic and Arminian controversy! We excuse not Milton for this strange poetic license. We only point it out as
* “ Liberum Arbitrium.”_Erasmus. † “Seryum Arbitrium.”-Iruther and Calvin.