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means for enablement. 2. Men must measure their teaching according to their abilities, and not pretend to more than they have, nor attempt that which they cannot perform, thereby incurring the guilt of proud self-conceitedness, profanation, or other abuse of holy things. For example, men that are not able judiciously to do it, must not presume to interpret the original, or to give the sense of dark prophecies, and other obscure texts of Scripture, nor to determine controversies beyond their reach. 3. Yet may such conveniently study what more learned, able men say to such cases ; and tell their families, this is the judgment of Fathers, or Councils, or such and such learned divines. 4. But ordinarily it is the safest, humblest, wisest, and most orderly way for the master of the family to let controversies and obscure Scriptures alone, and to teach the plain, few necessary doctrines commonly contained in catechisms, and to direct in matters of necessary practice. 5. Family teaching must stand in a subordination to ministerial teaching, as families are subordinate to churches : and therefore (1.) Family teaching must give way to ministerial teaching, and never be set against it; you must not be hearing the master of a family, when you should be in a church hearing the pastor : and if the pastor send for servants, or children to be catechised in any fit place or at any fit time, the master is not then to be doing it himself, or to hinder them, but they must go first to the pastor to be taught; also if a pastor come into a family, the master is to give place, and the family to hear him first. (2.) And therefore when any hard text, or controversies fall in, the master should consult with the pastor for their exposition, unless it fall out that the master of the family be better learned in the Scripture than the pastor is, which is rare, and rarer should be, seeing unworthy ministers should be removed, and private men that are worthy should be made ministers. And the pastors should be the ablest men in the congregation. Now to the proof, (remembering still that whatsoever proves it the ruler's duty to teach, must needs prove it the families'duty to learn, and to hearken to his teaching that they may learn. Arg. 1. From Deut. xi. 18—21. “ Therefore shall
you lay up these my words in your hearts, and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be aş
frontlets between your eyes, and you shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up, and thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house, and upon your gates, that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children. The like words are in Deut. vi. 6-8. where it is said, " And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children.” So Deut. iv. 9. “ Teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons.”
Here there is one part of family duty, viz. Teaching children the laws of God, as plainly commanded as words can express it.
Arg. 11. From these texts which commend this. Gen. xviii. 18, 19. “ All the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him, for I know him that he will command his children and his household after him : and they shall keep the way of the Lord :" and it was not only a command at his death what they should do when he was dead, for 1. It cannot be imagined that so holy a man should neglect a duty all his lifetime, and perform it but at death and be commended for that. 2. He might then have great cause to question the efficacy. 3. As God commandeth a diligent inculcating precepts on children; so no doubt it is a practice answerable to such precepts, that is here commended, and it is not bare teaching, but commanding that is here mentioned, to shew that it must be an improvement of authority, as well as of knowledge and elocution.
So 2 Tim. iii. 15. From a child Timothy knew the Scripture by the teaching of his parents, as appeareth, 2 Tim. i. 5.
Arg. 111. Eph. vi. 4. “ Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord;" taidéla' translated nurture,' signifieth both instruction and correction, shewing that parents must use both doctrine and authority, or force, with their children for the matters of the Lord; and vedɛsia' translated 'admonition,' signifieth such instruction as putteth doctrine into the mind, and chargeth it on them, and fully storeth their minds therewith : and it also signifieth chiding, and sometimes correction. And it is to be noted that children must be brought up in this : the word
* Ekspébere' signifying carefully to nourish,' importeth that
feed them with milk and bodily food, so you must as carefully and constantly feed and nourish them with the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It is called the nurture and admonition of the Lord,' because the Lord commandeth it, and because it is the doctrine concerning the Lord, and the doctrine of his teaching, and the doctrine that leadeth to him.
Arg. iv. Prov. xxii. 6. "Train up a child in the way where he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."
Arg. v. From all those places that charge children to “hearken to the instructions of their parents,” Prov. i. 8. “My son hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” Prov. vi. 20. is the like; and iii. 22. with many the like. Yea, the son that is stubborn and rebellious against the instruction and correction of a father or mother in gluttony, drunkenness, &c. was to be brought forth to the magistrate, and stoned to death, Deut. xxi. 18–20. Now all the Scriptures that require children to hear their parents, do imply that the parents must teach their children; for there is no hearing and learning without teaching
But lest you say that parents and children are not the whole family, (though they may be, and in Abraham's case before mentioned, the whole household is mentioned,) the next shall speak to other relations.
Arg. vi. 1 Pet. iii. 7." Likewise ye husbands dwell with them (your wives) according to knowledge ;” and Eph. v. 25, 26. “Love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it.” And this plainly implies that this knowledge must be used for the instruction and sanctification of the wife, 1 Cor. xiv. 34, 35. Women must“ keep silence in the church, for it is not permitted unto them to speak, but they are to be under obedience, as also saith the law, If they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home.” Which shews that at home their husbands must teach them. Arg. vii. Col. iii. 22–25. Eph. vi. 5–8.
“ Servants must be obedient unto their masters as unto Christ, and
serve them as serving the Lord Christ," and therefore ministers must command in Christ.
Arg. viii. 'A fortiori,' fellow Christians must “exhort one another daily while it is called to-day, lest any be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin,” much more must the rulers of families do so to wives, children and servants. “If any speak, it must be as the oracles of God b," much more to our own families. Let the Word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another C;" and much more must a man do this to wife, children and servants, than to those more remote.
Arg. ix. Those that are to be chosen deacons or bishops, must be such as rule their own children and their own household well. Now mark, 1. That this is one of those Christian virtues which they were to have before they were made officers, therefore other Christians must have and perform it as well as they. 2. It is a religious, holy governing, such as a minister is to exercise over his flock that is here mentioned, which is in the things of God and salvation, or else the comparison or argument would not suit, ver. 5. " For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he rule the church of God?” But of this more before. I would say more on this point, but that I think it is so clear in Scripture as to make it needless ; I pass therefore to the next.
Prop. 111. 'Family discipline is part of God's solemn worship or service appointed in his Word;' this is not called worship in so near a sense as some of the rest, but more remotely; yet so it may well be called, in that 1. It is an authoritative act done by commission from God; 2. Upon such as disobey him, and as such. 3. And to his glory, yea, and it should be done with as great solemnity and reverence, as other parts of worship.
The acts of this discipline are first denying the ungodly entrance into the family. 2. Correcting ; 3. Or casting out those that are in. I shall be but brief on these. 1. The first you have 2 John x.
“ If there come any to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed; for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” b 1 Pet, iv, 11.
c Col, üïi , 16.
d 1 Tim, üi. 4. 12.
2. The duty of correcting either by corporal, sensible punishment, or by withdrawing some benefit, is so commonly required in Scripture, especially towards children, that I will not stand on it lest I speak in vain what you all know already; and how Eli suffered for neglecting it, you know.
3. The discipline of casting the wicked out of the family (servants I mean who are separable members), you may find Psal. ci. 2, 3.7, 8. “I will walk within my house with a perfect heart, I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house, he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.”
Prop. iv. 'Solemn prayer and praises of God in and by Christian families is of divine appointment.'
1. For proof of this, I must desire you to look back to all the arguments which proved the dueness of worship in general, for they will yet more especially prove this sort of worship, seeing prayer and praise, are most immediately and eminently called God's worship of any ; (under praises I comprehend psalms of praise, and under prayer, psalms of prayer); yet let us add some more.
Arg. 1. It is God's will that Christians who have fit occasions and opportunities for prayer and praises should improve them, but Christian families have fit occasions and opportunities for prayer and praise, therefore it is God's will they should improve them.
The major is evident in many Scripture precepts. “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” Pray without ceasing: in every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God concerning you f.” “ Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving 8.” “Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto the Lord, and whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus; giving thanks unto God and the Father by him h.” “Continuing instant in prayer i.” “ Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all
8 Col. iv. 2.
e 1 Tim. ii. 8.
f 1 Thess, v. 17, 18.