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men, to set before our households the reasonableness of the thing, as well as the thing itself. appeared to me; he is my friend : I bid you put away idols; and I bid you do it, because they incense my friend."
If any one should say to me, “ What reference has this to us? What idols have we in our houses?”. I ask, Have you nothing in your houses, that takes the place of God in
you never read of a covetous man being called an idolater ? What is the pleasure-taker, who will sacrifice every thing to folly and appetite? What is the poor gay worldling, who will banish every religious consideration that he may follow his entertainments? What is the man who makes a god of the creature, and slights the truth of God? Could such an one say to a poor stupid idolater, “ I disclaim your conduct as abominable," when his own is far more so, considered in reference to the light under which he lives?
Family reformation is very difficult; as every family-man feels: but let us set forward with the resolution of Jacob, remembering that a sincere desire to reform our houses is a considerable step towards the accomplishment of this reformation, because we work with God: God is on our side. It is never too late to attempt it: yet it can never be attempted too soon.
Some people suppose that they cannot succeed without a special call. My Dear Hearers, much
more can be done than men generally suppose, when it is sincerely and resolutely attempted. Utterly remove those evils, which have a tendency to turn a pious man's house into a seat of idolatry. Bad books poison a house : so do bad company, whose very breath is contagious : your family is injured by dangerous'amusements, wrong notions, customary sentiments that will not endure the trial of the Scriptures. To the law and to the testimony: if they will not bear that light, it is because they are deeds of darkness. It matters not what you think, or what those persons may think on whose opinion you lean. What does God say? The judge is to try us: let us hear his opinion, before the trial comes on. “ Put away the strange gods that are among you,” says Jacob. “ They will not stand. They will eat out my increase. I cannot build an altar with simplicity, while they remain."
Brethren, as you love your children, and would perform your duty to your children and servants and dependants, teach them the principles and doctrines of Christ. Quote his own words to confirm those truths: and if they reject or neglect them, it were better for them that they had never been born: more tolerable will it be for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for them. Depend upon God's blessing your endeavours, in thus setting up his altar; and, while you feel the influence of these truths yourselves, call upon them to walk after you in obeying them. “Let us arise,” says Jacob: “ let us go together:” no man knows, even when your heads are laid in the dust, the blessing which God may give to your endeavours : and the seed which
have sown in weakness, perhaps weeping, shall be raised in power; and the harvest be great in the day of judgment. If you say,
“ It is a difficult duty!"-I would ask, Do you think it was an easy one to Jacob? Do you think there were no remonstrances ? that the idols were parted with readily?-that the ear-rings were buried under the oak without regret, by the other part of the family? But let us consider, whether we had not better suffer the present remonstrances and objections of our families, than be the means of their enduring the worm that never dies and the fire that never will be quenched: “ for whatever,” says a certain author, “ is added to your life by regard to your own will and way, must either become food for the worm that never dies, or be torne from you with the acutest pain.”
: Once more, here is in the passage before us
III. CONSOLATION TO EVERY PIOUS MAN WHO UNDERTAKES THE REFORMATION OF HIS FAMILY.
God was with Jacob, while he walked in this way; and, whatever he had to fear from man, the
terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them. The path of duty is the path of safety. If God be for us, who can be against us ? He, that spared not his Own Son, but freely gave him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things ? God pledges himself, in that act, that he will withhold nothing that is good. He knows our wants, occasions, and necessities : he knows what we have to meet with in his way, and for his name's sake. You may depend on being specially protected, while working the work of God. You cannot expect too much, with respect to his assistance and protection in his way, Leave the event to him : that is not your affair. But, if you go out of his way, you take events upon your own shoulders ; you must bear consequences : and who can bear consequences? Fear nothing in a right pursuit: in a wong one, you have every thing to fear.
There is a fine example, in the case of Moses, of consolation in a difficult duty. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child: and they were not afraid of the king's commandment. “ You shall put the child to death,” says the king. “ We see,” say the parents, “ it is a proper child; and we will fear God, and obey God, rather than man: therefore we will hide the child. We will leave the case to God: he is able to protect him, to take him up, and to carry him through, notwithstanding the dangerous circumstances in which he is born." And I would ask, What became of that child ?- This was their faith :-By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter ; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.
Them that honour God, he will honour. The terror of God was upon the inhabitants of the cities of the plain: not a man went out to revenge the outrage of Jacob's sons, though as great a one as ever was committed.
No doubt but every man would feel cause of terror presented to his eye and ear, when the sons of Belial rise up, saying, Our tongues are our own! who shall be lord over us? I will overtake: I will. destroy: my hand shall divide the spoil! We are not to wonder, if Israel cried out in such a case as this. The sight of terror is overwhelming. But let us remember the case of Peter : he looked at the waves, and he sunk: and he, that looks only at the waves and storms of life, must sink; for sense will bring reports that will overwhelm us. Nothing can then support us but seeing him that is invisible; and considering that creatures are all in his hand, and moved by him at his pleasure.
A secret terror was upon the inhabitants of these