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beyond the reach of parental correction, use authoritative command, plead with them, pray with them. Restrain them from all sin that comes under your eye, especially from open and presumptuous transgression. Restrain them from pleasure promenades, and from riding and boating excursions on God's holy day. Restrain them within your doors when the shades of night allure the wicked to prowl. Restrain them from unchristian companionship; from godless clubs and drinking parties; from the theatre, the race course, and the circus; from the gambling saloon, the dancing hall, and the skating rink. Restrain them from the dancing school. Say not, Is it not a little one? Yes, but, like little Zoar, it is too near to Sodom. It is a nursery of greater evils. Grace of body-what is it in comparison of the grace of God, which adorns and saves the soul? Your children belong to Christ and His church; train them not by your parental government as subjects of the devil and votaries of the world. Bring them up in the admonition of the Lord Jesus Christ. God forbid that I should assume the harsh tone of the censor! Oh, no. I come short in all things, and am less than the least of all saints; but this has always been my testimony, and this is my testimony now. This is narrow, it may be said. Yea, but not narrower than that straight gate and that narrow way through which a few enter into life. One would not wish to be broader than Jesus. Whatever may be the case in the sphere of doctrine, in the sphere of life, the church of the present day is in danger of defection and apostasy because of her compliance with the practices of the world. O Christian fathers and mothers, it is largely in your hands to arrest the fatal tendency.
In the third place, maintain family worship. Like Noah on Ararat, building his altar, and in the midst of his family offering praise for their great deliverance, erect your altar, and in the bosom of your household render thanksgivings to God for the greater redemption effected by His Son. Like Job, invoke upon the children of your loins the sprinkling of atoning blood. Do this while you live, and when the offices of piety on earth are drawing to a close, like the dying Jacob, lean upon the staff of your pilgrimage and in the midst of your children pay your last homage to your covenant God and Saviour. Will you plead that you are ashamed to prav with your family? What! When you remember the shame to which your incarnate God went down for you? Will you plead timidity? What! Would you not, in defence of your family, face an armed and ferocious mob! Afraid? Then ask your wives to officiate for you. Will you plead poverty of language? What! Were you dumb, would it not be your duty to kneel in the midst of your family and lift your eyes and hands to heaven and groan ? As for those quack remedies for bashfulness-books of forms—it is enough to say that they are neither suggested by nature nor prescribed in our divine dispensatory. Will you plead the want of time? What! When you think of the death-bed, the meeting at the bar of judgment, and the unending ages of eternity? Let those of us who have from whatever cause neglected this great duty overcome our difficulties and address ourselves to its discharge. God will help those who make the effort. The grace of the Lord Jesus will be sufficient for them, and His strength will be made perfect in their weakness. Thus treating our families as institutes of religious instruction, government and
worship, we shall make our homes on earth preparatory schools for our glorious home in heaven. Our Father's house! There Himself will preside at the table He shall spread, and our Elder Brother will serve at the banquet of an ineffable communion. There glorified parents and children will together recount the mercies of their earthly pilgrimage, together unravel the mysteries of their afflictions below, and deriving from the review ever fresh reasons for gratitude shall blend their praises at the throne of God and of the Lamb.
THE DYING CORN OF WHEAT AND
ITS GLORIOUS HARVEST
John xii, 24:“Verily, verily I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."
The words of the text were occasioned by an application of certain Greeks, who were in attendance upon one of the feasts, to be allowed an interview with Jesus. Knowing that He was approaching His last passion, our Savior replied by stating the necessity of His death to the attainment of the grand results of redemption, and the painful conditions of that service which these applicants seemed disposed to render Him. His response contained the enunciation of a great and universal law in this world of sin—the law that sorrow is in order to joy, and death in order to life.
Its statement is in the form of an analogous law of the vegetable kingdom. The grain of wheat which we deposit in the ground does not spring up and bear the stalk, the blade, the ear, except it first passes through a process of decay. To all appearance it must die in order to live. All that is merely accidental must perish, that the vital and seminal principle may be set free, and, according to the law of species, germinate and develop itself into a new and glorious form of life.
NOTE.—There is nothing to indicate the special purpose for which this sermon was prepared. It is written in a very large hand, on every other line, and dated 1865. As Dr. Girardeau never preached from manuscript except on special occasions, there was evidently some particular reason for its preparation.
This is true of all the processes of nature, and it is equally true of our intellectual, moral and religious being. Sacrifice and mortification must be undergone in order to the production of the highest results of which our faculties are capable. Without this, as the grain unburied and undecaying would abide alone, remaining in a separate and unproductive condition, we would simply retain an isolated individuality, subsisting only for the present, and bringing forth no fruit to the glory of God or the good of man.
This law by which life is attained through death the Savior applies to His own case in view of His expected sufferings; and it is the most illustrious instance of its operation that has ever been afforded. It will now be considered, in its limited application to the case of Jesus, although it is susceptible of a much wider extension.
There are evidently two things suggested by the words of the text which demand our attention: the greatness of the sacrifice made by Christ; and the sublime and glorious results which it enabled Him to
I. It must be obvious to every reflecting mind that, on the supposition of the supreme deity of the Son of God, the sacrifice which He made when He undertook to suffer and to die for sinners, is of so stupendous a nature that our conceptions of it must, at best, be but feeble and inadequate. It was one which only God could make, and was, therefore, godlike in its design and execution. And it is, perhaps, not irreverent to say that if it be competent to Deity to make a sacrifice, that of the Son of God was the greatest that divine wisdom could devise, or divine power could achieve.