Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

THE

FAMILY MAGAZINE.

No. XIII.

JULY, 1835.

VOL. II.

EPHRAIM HOLDING; OR, THE FAMILY VISITOR.

No. IV.

EPHRAIM HOLDING TO FATHERS. The longer Ephraim Holding lives in the world, the more is he convinced of the advantage of plain speaking, whenever any thing is to be said likely to do good. He has spoken plainly to mothers, and now he will do so to fathers also.

There is that in the name of father that disposes me to pay respect. Show me a father who desires, in the midst of his manifold infirmities, to be a guide or protector, and an affectionate counsellor to his family; to promote their welfare in this world, and to lead them to a better ; show me, in a word, a God-fearing, affectionate father, and I will respect and honour him, whether he dwell in a lordly mansion or a strawroofed cottage.

In whatever light I look at a father, I always regard him as the pivot on which the whole domestic concern moves; the house-band, the corner-stone that binds the edifice together; the roof-tree of the family habitation. If the father be not looked up to, there is something deficient in his head; and if he be not loved, there is a string out of tune in his heart. Make the best of the matter you can, and, after all, if the father plays a second part, there must be an infirmity in his body or his mind, in his judgment or his affections.

I know this is plain speaking and plain dealing, but not a whit the less worth attending to on that account. Ephraim Holding has told you before that he loves to see things in order, and there can be no order when persons or things are out of their proper places. If I were to paint a family portrait, the father should stand erect in the centre, the wife should lean upon him lovingly, the children should gaze on him with affection, and the faces of the servants should manifest respect.

There is something of an ennobling character in this position, whose

influence every father ought to feel. It is not the idle vanity, the poor pitiful pride, that a little brief authority too often excites in a weak mind, that I would provoke; but a sense of honourable responsibility, that calls forth the best energies of a man, and prompts him to apply them to the best purposes.

Many a good wife has fallen into the mistake of striving to get the mastery, considering it a kind of credit to her, a plume of feathers in her cap, to rule her husband. Now Ephraim Holding is not the man to keep back any honour that can be paid to a good wife, but he dares not give more than God allows. The word of God is a better guide in these matters than our poor opinions. Ephraim will give a text or two that seems to put the matter beyond all doubt as to whether the husband or the wife should be the head of the family. In the Old Testament it is written thus of the wife--" Thy desires shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee;" and in the New Testament are the words, -"The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the church.” “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands.” Now if as many texts can be found in Holy Scripture, setting forth the contrary opinion, then will Ephraim Holding acknowledge that he is too great a stickler for the point which he has not sufficient authority to maintain. · Fathers ! your post is the head of your family; but if, instead of affectionate guides, you become tyrannical rulers, you are unworthy the honourable position in which God, in his wisdom, has placed you. Ephraim Holding would willingly raise you to honour; but if you abuse it by pride, tyranny, injustice, cruelty, and unreasonableness to your wives, he would be the first to abuse you. “Love your wives," as husbands ; love them for their sakes and your own; and as fathers, love them for the sake of your children.

As a bird, beat about by the tempest, finds an asylum in his downy nest, so should a father find a refuge from care and anxiety in the peaceful bosom of his family. . : Wrangling and jangling, of any kind, is bad enough ; but of all wrangling and jangling, that between a husband and wife is the worst. What an unnatural sight it would be, could we behold the members of the same body violently opposing each other; the tongue railing against the foot, the heart burning against the head, the teeth tearing the arms, and one hand wrenching and grappling with the other. And are not man and wife one? Is it not written,"And they twain shall be one flesh ?” Again, I say, as husbands, love your wives; and as fathers, love your children.

· But let me ask, with all the kindly feeling of a friend, how you are bringing up your children? This is a point in which we ought to be honest and faithful in our observations, because it is a weak point with many of us. Eli, of old, was a good man, but what was his sin ? “His sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.” Happy is that father who can say, in the integrity of his heart, I have neither ruled my children with a rod of iron, nor allowed them to do evil without restraining them. It is by no means an easy thing to “ train up a child in the way he should go.”

The persons who think themselves best qualified to bring up children, are usually those who have no children to bring up. They would do this and that, if they had a son or a daughter; and such and such things they would never allow. Alas! a father's affection often leads him sadly astray, blinding his eyes when he should see clearly, and warping his judgment from that unbending standard it ought to assume. But though instances are too often seen of diligent, moral, and pious parents having idle, immoral, and infidel children, let us not be swift to conclude, on this account, that good example is of little avail.

In these instances it will generally be found that, notwithstanding the diligence, the morality, and the piety of the parents, they have been culpably negligent of some duty that they ought to have performed. They have done nothing, perhaps, which they ought not to have done, but they may have left undone much that they ought to have done.

Fathers, be not weary in training up your young olives; be not satisfied till they bud, and blossom, and bear fruit. Let them see nothing in you to avoid, and every thing to imitate. Be not content in pointing out to them the road to heaven, but walk before them in the way that leads to everlasting life.

There is a joy, an inexpressible delight, that gathers round the heart of a pious parent when he sees his children walking in the ways of the God of their father, and acting an upright and an honourable part among mankind ; and there is a joy, too, for the pious parents of pious children, when those children are taken away.

“Parents, reflect! reflect and weep no more!

To you the precious privilege is given,
Better than adding thousands to your store,

Of adding angels to the host of heaven." O that Ephraim Holding could make the heart of every father glow with the desire that his children, as slips of his right-hand planting, might flourish and bloom in the paradise of God! Oliver Honton was a thoughtless schoolfellow of mine. He was well brought up; married happily, and had one son. Oliver thought that he loved his son, but he loved him not enough either to set him a good example, or to reprove his errors. William Honton took to bad ways, and ran a rapid course of sin and sorrow, till, laden with heavy irons, he lay a convicted felon in the condemned cell, waiting for the hour of his execution.

In this extremity of distress he was visited by his father, whose grey hairs he had almost brought down with sorrow to the grave. “I will tell you now," said William, “what I never have told you before. I will tell you how I have been brought to this wretched end. I have been led on, encouraged, and betrayed by one who pretended to be my best friend; he has brought me to ruin.”

“Who was it,” anxiously asked Oliver Honton, “ that acted so cruel a part ?" It was,” said William, looking earnestly and upbraidingly in the face of his afflicted parent, “it was my own father!"

Ephraim Holding could add many to this one melancholy instance of a father's infirmity, but this one is enough. Thank God, examples are not wanting of an opposite kind; for the Giver of all good has been abundant in his blessings, and shown mercy to thousands of the children of those who have loved him, and kept his commandments.

THE STATE OF THE JEWS. The peculiar and exclusive character of the Jewish theology found its professors, in their dispersion, without any allies in the countries into which they emigrated. Their deep impression of the Divine origin of their religion, and its multiplied ceremonies, preserved them from slavery; while their unsettled and restless state of mind, and their unceasing anticipations of a return to the land of promise, led them to the cultivation of commercial habits, and the unvarying maintenance, even from the earliest periods, of friendly intercourse with their brethren.

The intimate connexion of the fine arts with the heathen mythology, added to the wandering habits of the Jews, prevented any indulgence in these attractions, as well as any extension of their education beyond the mere requirements of commercial life, to which they were more entirely limited by their political insecurity, and their disqualification to hold fixed property.

In addition to the Hebrew, known to a considerable number, but not universally as a living language, they have been generally sufficiently conversant with the Spanish and German tongues to employ them as mediums of communication in their extensive commercial transactions.

The very liberal toleration which they enjoyed in Spain and Portugal, up to the 14th and 15th centuries, led to their cultivation of the arts and sciences, in which many of them rose to a considerable

eminence, as is manifested in Spanish biography; but their connexion with the discussions and publications of the liberal party against the Roman Catholic religion and power, called forth the animosity of the clergy, by whose influence they, with the Moors, who were the mechanics of Spain, were expelled from their territories.

Acquiring the confidence of their brethren in traversing from pole to pole, they very generally command, not only the floating capital of their own people, but that of a large Christian connexion which they have thus the facility of forming.

They have the command of European finances, and are engaged in a large proportion of the bill and fund transactions of the whole world; and from their commercial intelligence, and well-known personal and domestic economy, acquire a superiority over their Christian competitors.

The Jews brought with them to England and Holland their commercial habits and almost unbounded connexion, opening new sources for industry, and striking the first blow at the commercial prosperity of these hitherto flourishing countries, mainly affected by the influence of the mercantile Jews, and the withdrawment of their capital and industry.

The facilities for religious inquiry, opened by the Jewish translation of the Bible, had, in all probability, a powerful influence in separating the liberal part of the Catholic world from Romish domination, and the consequent severity of the Inquisition laws.

The division of Europe, at the period of the dispersion of the Jews into two distinct classes—the aristocracy, comprehending the military and priests, and the great mass of the people, being soldiers, mechanics, or labourers, with little spirit or intelligence-left almost exclusively to the mercantile and commercial Jews the formation of a middle order of society, for which their general knowledge of reading and writing, derived from and combined with their religious and traditional advantages, peculiarly fitted them ; and it is not improbable that the general increase of the middling ranks, and the desire of free and enlightened governments to promote an increase of this class, and to estimate its advantages, may be mainly attributable to the Jewish dispersion.

The relative position of the Jews, in different nations, varies materially, although their actual position is much the same.

In Barbary, their intelligence is superior to that of the highest class, and their intellectual superiority has frequently advanced them to the first offices of the state ; but, from their want of science and influence, added to the despotism of the government, their power has seldom been more than transient.

In Poland, the middle class of society is made up of Jews and foreigners, and they have much command over its financial resources ; but the peculiarity of existing national institutions, and their ignorance of all science, preclude their elevation to any higher sphere.

In Russia, they are much in the same state as in Poland.

In Germany, they form a very considerable portion of the mercantile and commercial class, and are much more intellectual than in either Poland or Russia. Music and the fine arts are encouraged amongst

« VorigeDoorgaan »