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A BOOK FOR THE FAMILY.

BY THE

REV. W. K. TWEEDIE, D.D.,

AUTHOR OF “SEED-TIME AND HARVEST; OR, SOW WELL AND REAP WELL,"

"LAMP TO THE PATH," ETC. ETC.

“I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.”—PSALM CI. 2.

LONDON:
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW ;

EDINBURGH ; AND NEW YORK.

MDCCCLVIL

141. d. 476

PREFACE.

It is a •favourable sign of our times to see so much attention now concentrated upon Home, its laws, and its general constitution, as a great medicating power in society. Both in this country and America—the only two nations in the world where the Divine Institution has full scope for development—the works now published and the efforts put forth upon this subject are full of promise for the future, as well as of present joy to a Christian philanthropist.

Nor are these efforts either too soon employed or too wide in their range. Dreaming speculators would supersede that Institution, which we owe exclusively to the Bible, and abolish all its venerable sanctities. An erring philanthropy would supplement it, as if God's method of governing our families were not sufficiently wise. One man would transform the Homes of a nation into a series of parallelograms, and there cure our social ills as if by some charm. Others, with a similar object, prefer the circle. A third party would transmute a nation into one

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vast workshop, and elaborate there a remedy for whatever is found or fancied to be wrong. Others still would withdraw the young from the plastic power which God has placed in the hands of fathers and of mothers, and commit them to hospitals, asylums, and similar retreats, where the social nature of youth would be mutilated, or some of its deepest feelings overlaid and extirpated. To all these, priestcraft adds its distempering influence wherever it can, and causes alienation or divergence where there should be unison the most complete.

But against all such attempts, he who believes in the Divine Wisdom, and honours the great Father of all, will emphatically protest. Home influence, home maxims, home example, home piety, and home endearments should first be made what they ought to be, and then upheld in all their pre-eminence as vital forces in the souls of men. Where they are either abolished or neglected, we are conspiring against the highest interests of society, and all human substitutes for Home, except where a literal home is impossible, are counterfeits and corruptions. Man was made for the family, and the family for man, as surely as the eye and light are correlatives; and he alone escapes the shoals of folly here who recognises and honours the radical law by which God would regulate our abodes.

Farther, The philanthropy of our age has become proverbial. It takes one class after another under its gene

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rous protection. By a “Song of the Shirt” it agitates alike the metropolis and the hamlet. In Prison and Penitentiary, in Ragged Schools and Ragged Churches, among shoeblacks, sweeps, gipsies, and beggars, benevolence is at work upon all the phases of misery. The crowned and the coroneted unite with the poor but pious visitant to his fellow-poor, in thus soothing. sorrow, and trying to roll back the flowing tide of wretchedness.

And all these things are a joy. Yet that should not blind us to the fact, that much of that benevolence has not begun its work at the beginning. We can never clear our streets of youthful depredators, if ill-conditioned homes be constantly pouring forth new criminals, just as we can never lave a flowing fountain dry. The fountain-head must be medicated, ere the cure be radical and Home is that fountain-head.

In studying this subject, conviction has deepened from hour to hour as to the solemn importance of a mother's duties. Hers is really the influence which moulds the world. Not warriors and their armies; not masters and their schools; not printing-presses and their products; not even ministers and their pulpits — but Christian mothers by their love, their lessons, their prayers, their example, their tears. The land in which such mothers are rife has a defence which no standing army can impartthe land where such mothers are rare is either hastening

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