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Tojustify the application of such a name, a family must be under wholesome discipline and prudent government. There must be in it order and regularity. Each member must know his own station, and observe his proper place. The heads must preside with wisdom and dignity; and the subordinate members must obey with cheerfulness, and submit with reverence. Stated worship must be maintained, the scriptures read, instructions communicated, reproofs administered, love diffused through all the branches, and peace unite them in one body. Such is the proper state of a church, and such the state of a fainily which resembles a church. Such then was the household of Aquila, which the Apostle salutes by this honourable name.
A house, in which there is no peace or order; no social worship or religious instruction; but every one walks in his own way, and pursues his own inclination; the heads contend with each other, and the children despise both; the former treat religion with neglect, and the latter grow up in ignorance and vice; such a house is not a church,, but a Babel.
We, then, who have the care of families, ought to make them churches. For this end we must dedicate our children to God, and bring them up in his fear, instruct them in the doctrines of the gospel, govern them with wisdom, lead them in prayer, encourage their attendance on the ordinances of the sanctuary, and inculcate on them the necessity of a heart devoted to God.
The Apostle's commendation of the example under consideration, is a severe reproof on those, who call not on God's name, nor train up their children in the way in which they should walk.
The growth and prosperity of the church of Christ, depend much on family religion. As this is attended or neglected, that will increase or decline.
Greater societies are formed from smaller; churches grow out of families; and the spirit and complexion of the latter will be transfused through the form
When family religion sinks into disuse and discredit, publick worship will be more and more neglected, ordinances will be despised, the sabbath profaned, or but carelessly observed, and the number, or, at least, the proportion of open professors, will diminish more and more.
But when families become little churches, real societies of religion; when prayer is maintained, instruction communicated, government exercised, and order preserved, according to the commands of Christ, then will the young, under these benign influences, spring up as among the grass, and as willows by the water courses, and will yield the pleasant fruits of righteousness, as plants which God has nourished. They will come and join themselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant. They will encourage one another, and say, Come, let us turn to the Lord, let us go up to his house, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths. The church here below, thus growing out of godly families, will bear a beautiful resemblance to the church above. And the saints, translated to the superiour world, will find themselves in the midst of that society, for which they were preparing on earth. The church will then be properly the gate of heaven, and easy will be the passage through this gate into the city of God.
MATTHEW xxi. 15. 16.
And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, and said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; Have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise ?:
THE prophet Zechariah foretold, that the
King of Sion would come to her, meek and lowly, sitting on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass. this manner, the evangelist tells us, Jesus once made his publick entry into Jerusalem. "In the eastern countries, riding on horses was anciently reckoned the greatest ostentation of magnificence.. It was therefore becoming the meekness of the lowly Jesus, that, in his entry into the capital city, he chose to ride on an ass. At the same time, there was nothing mean or ridiculous in it, asses being. the beasts, which the easterns commonly made use of in riding." The particular reason of his riding
into the city, might be the throng, which now, at the time of the passover, attended him, and which would have much incommoded him, had he walked on foot, as usual. Besides; as he was about to perform some mighty works in the city, he might choose, on this occasion, to be distinguished from the multitude. However, to avoid unnecessary ostentation, he rode in the humble manner abovementioned.
It was become a prevailing opinion, that he was the Messiah, and would soon take the government into his hands. Many, probably, expected that he would do it at this passover. Some therefore spread their garments in the way, and others cut down the boughs of trees, and strewed them along the road: A kind of honour, which was sometimes paid to kings when they entered into populous cities. When the front of the procession, which attended Jesus, had reached the descent of the mount of Olives, where the royal city rose to view, they were met by a multitude coming from the city, to join them, with palm branches in their hands. As soon as these from the city met the procession, they exclaimed-Hosanna, blessed is the King of Israel, who cometh in the name of the Lord. The disciples attending Jesus, echoed back the salutation-Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. When he came to Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? The multitude answered-This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth.
Jesus now enters the temple, purges it of the various articles of commerce which he found there, and reproves the traders for turning it into a house of merchandize. Awed by the acclamations of the imultitude, they submitted to his authority.
While he was in the temple, the blind, lame, and sick, in great numbers, were brought to him
to be healed. The youth, who attended the passover, as they usually did from the age of twelve years, were astonished at the works which he performed. When they observed, how the blind, who had been led groping along, now dismissed their guides, and walked whither they would-how the cripples, who had been laid down at his feet, rose up and walked nimbly away-how the dumb, on a sudden, burst forth into praise; and the deaf, catching the song, joined their joyful voice-they felt the power of conviction, and proclaimed him the promised Messiah.
The scribes and Pharisees, seeing his wonderful works, and hearing the acclamations of the children, were much displeased; but being restrained, by fear of the multitude, they made no violent opposition. They only expostulated with him-Hearest thou what these say? Insinuating, perhaps, that the children ascribed to him glories, which he had no right to claim; or that they uttered things which they did not understand. He answered them by a passage from the eighth Psalm "Have ye never read-Out of the mouth of babes and suckling's thou hast ordained praise ?"
That Psalm was probably composed by David, on the victory which was obtained over the Philistines, when he slew the giant of Gath. And the expression may be intended to celebrate the power of God, in accomplishing so great an event by so feeble an instrument. Or, it may allude to the songs, in which the women, coming out of the cities with their children, celebrated this wonderful victory. By applying to the present case these words of David, Jesus signified, that the meanest of God's works display his power; and as the Father receives praise from the least of his creatures, so the Son disdains not the honours offered him by