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gift Tappan Prerb, Asser,
One of the most favorable indications of the present period is the fact, that so much attention is directed to the consideration of domestic relations and duties. The prominent feature of the dreadful degeneracy which Malachi and other prophets foretold would prevail among God's ancient covenant people, just before the coming of the Messiah, and bring the desolating curse of Heaven upon them, if not reformed, was the alienation of parents from their children, and of children from their parents——the general neglect of domestic obligations and duties, Mal. iv. 6. And the way in which the nation was to be respited from deserved and impending destruction, was by turning the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers '-bringing back the people to a degree of proper attention to domestic obligations and duties, ' lest Jehovah should come and smite the land with a curse.'
And who that is informed in regard to the calamities with which a righteous Providence has visited certain nations in modern times, and in regard to the state of degeneracy into which domestic society had sunk in those nations, does not see that the principle involved is applicable to all nations, in all ages?
How important, then, the domestic constitution ! The Family, more emphatically than any other social organization, except the Church, is God's own production. He himself directly ordained it, and has ever shown to it a special regard. No other constitution of which we have any knowledge is so exact a similitude of his own moral government. Though, in every instance of its existence, itself brief and transitory, and to cease with the last generation of men on the earth, its influences go down, from generation to generation and from age to age, into and all along the ages of eternity. They, more than any other, commonly, form the future man and woman, and direct their influences, in their various relations, and on succeeding generations; and affect their eternal condition, and their influence on the eternity of others from generation to generation. It is, in its Author's design, the grand instrument of making men and women happy and useful in all the circumstances and relations of life, and happy and useful in His moral kingdom for ever. And how dreadfully reverse in the results, when its design is frustrated, no tongue of mortal can tell-eternity alone will disclose.
How vitally important, then, to every child, and brother and sister, and employer and domestic, and especially to every parent, to understand the nature and influences, the responsibilities and duties, of this constitution. In this view, it is matter of congratulation that such works as the Family Monitor, the Mother at Home, the Child at Home, are published in such quick succession, and so extensively read. These works exhibit, in an instructive and interesting manner, the details of the obligations and duties of the various family relations. In connection with them there is wanting, to be read and studied, an exhibition of the principles on which those obligations and duties rest, and by which they are enforced. To exhibit these is the design of the following treatise. And this most important design its author has ably and successfully accomplished. A bare inspection of the table of contents will show that the discussions in the work are fundamental. Its exhibitions are eminently scriptural, presenting a richness and variety of illustration, drawn from that inexhaustible storehouse, often new, and always pleasing and instructive. Its reasonings are sober and conclusive; its appeals to observation and experience just and convincing. Its style, though not elegant, is not repulsive. To thinking persons, both its argument and its style will be acceptable, and its conclusions and counsels highly satisfactory.
If some of the remarks, particularly in Part I., Sect. 7, and Part II., Sect. 4, should be thought, at first view, to have an unfavorable bearing on a portion at least of the Sabbath school and other kindred efforts of the present day, a closer examination will show that this is not their design. They are directed to plans and efforts which would supersede the responsibilities and duties of the parental relation. Sabbath school and other kindred efforts, when properly regarded and applied, are helps to the discharge of those duties and responsibilities. If intended, in any instance, or allowed, to supersede them,