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obstruction he met with from his eldest children, for all were not alike obstinate and refractory, as the two eldest were ; and the mother was but too true a prophetess of the consequence from their obstinacy.
From the discourse between the husband and wife, under their convictions, may be seen something of the duty of such relations.
1. To communicate to one another their griefs, and most inward afflictions of mind, as well as their common disasters and troubles in the world. This is one part of the duty of husband and wife to one another, though understood by few, meant and included in that pbrase, an help-mate. And it is observable, wher such near relations do affectionately communicate to one another, their souls' concerns in such a manner as I speak of now, God is often pleased so variously to act in the minds of such by his Spirit, that they shall in their turns be mutually able to assist, comfort, direct, and counsel one another. This, if it were well observed, would be very useful and encouraging to Christian relations, in their most serious and reserved reflections; where they might take notice how that party that is discouraged and dejected to-day, and receives support and encouragement, relief and direction, from the counsel and comforting assistance of the other, shall be restored and eomforted, and perhaps enabled the next time to give the same encouragement, counsel, advice, and comfort to the other, who may in like manner be sunk under his own fears and temptations !
This I thought fit to recommend in the most earnest terms, and, from just experience, to the consideration of Christian relations, as an useful observation, in hope it may be improved by the experience of others, to the glory of God, and their own comfort.
2. The duty of parents may be seen here, as it respects the necessity of setting about the great work of family reformation, however late, and whatever the discouragement may be. The father here expresses this a sectionately to
his wife :-“ Our children," says he, “ may be lost, not, withstanding our endeavour; but we are sure to be lost, if we continue to neglect it."
From these considerations, the father resolves to see about the work, and immediately gives his wife an account of the method he proposes to himself to go upon: in which method, like a prudent man, and a good Christian, he proposes a serious mutual humiliation to bis wise, for their former neglect of their duty, and a fervent praying to God for his blessing upon their endeavours in their family reforma tion.
Hence it is intimated, and seriously recommended to parents and heads of families, the great work which is so much neglected, or rather so little regarded, of a family joining in confession of those sins, I mean of husband and wife, which they have joined in the committing. Would husbands and wives join seriously in bumbling themselves together before God, for those family sins which they joined in the guilt of, family reformation would be set about with much more earnestness and application, than we now see it is, and many obstructions to it, which bappen by our willingness to excuse ourselves, would be removed.
From the manner of the busband and wife's discourse here, may be noted, that where thorough conviction works in the mind, both partics are, as it is here, forwardest to accuse themselves; whereas, in most family cases, the heads of families seem always forward to shift off the fault from themselves, though they acknowledge the error, and see plainly the defect and consequences of it also in the ruin of their children; yet they are diligent, like Adam and Eve, in throwing the guilt of it off from themselves, either upon one another, or upon accidents and circumstances, which they think may serve to excuse themselves. But if they were thoroughly touched with the thing itself, with the guilt of it upon themselves, and the fatal consequences of it upon their children, they would mutually own the first, and deprecate the iast, as our two penitent parents do here.
40! I have ruined all my children,” says the mother. “ No, no, you have not ruined them; it is I that have ruined them,” says the father. “I have neglected my duty to them.” “ But I have been the cause of your neglecting your duty,” says the mother.
Here is a complete view for parents, both of the error, the repentance, and the reformation ;-the disease, the effects of it, and the manner of the cure. And as these are the foundation of what follows, so the following dialogues are an exemplification of most of the things contained in these discourses of the two parents, and the connection of them will be taken notice of throughout the whole work.
THE FOURTH DIALOGUE.
For the better understanding this discourse, it is to be understood, that the father and mother, according to their resolution in the last dialogue, had set effectually about the reformation of their family, and about proper methods for reducing their children to an obedience to and sense of their duty.
Their children were most of them grown up, and had run a great length; they had been indulged in all possible folly and levity, such as plays, gaming, looseness of life, and irreligious behaviour: not immodest nor dishonest. These they were not yet arrived to. But they were bred
in gaiety and gallantry, as being of good fortunes and fashion; but nothing of religion more than just the common course of going to church, which they did because it was the custom and fashion, rather than with any other view. And being thus unhappily educated, we shall find the instruction they are now to bear met with the more opposition in them; and we shall see how it had a various effect, according to the different tempers and constitutions of the children.
Their eldest daughter was about eighteen years old ; and her mother, it seems, began with her first. Her mother found it a very difficult matter to deal with her; for when she came to tell her of laying by her foolish romances and novels, of which she was mighty fond, -leaving off her patches and play-books,--refusing her going to the park on the Sabbath-days, and the like,-she flew out in a pas. sion, and told her mother, in plain words, that she would not be hindered, she was past a child, she would go to the park, and to the play, and the like, aye, that she would.
But the mother, whose resolution was too well fixed, after such an occasion as has been said, to be conquered by her daughter, having tried softer methods to no purpose, took her roundly to task, and told her, that as she took those measures with her for her good only, and that she could not satisfy her own conscience, to see her ruined, body and soul together, so she was resolved to be obeyed; and that, since she would not comply by fair means, she would take another course. This course, it seems,
beside other things, which will appear in the following part of this dialogue, was particularly, that it being Sabbath-day, after they came from church, when her mother began this discourse, her daughter called for her coach to go to the park, as their custom, it seems, had always been; but her mother would not suffer her to stir out; and, upon her being a little stubborn or resolute, had used some little violence with her in showing her resentment, and threatened her, as will appear presently.
Upon this repulse, she flings up stairs into her chamber, where she sat crying; when her elder brother, whom the father, it seems, bad not yet begin with, came to her; between which couple begins the following dialogue.
Bro. Sister! what, in tears: what's the matter now? [She cries on, but makes no answer.]
Bro. Dear sister, tell me your grievances? I say, tell me what is it troubles you?
Talud pulls hier by her clothes.]
Sist. I won't. Don't trouble me: I won't tell you: let me alone.
[Sobs and cries still.]
Bro. Pr’ythee, what is the matter, sister? Why, you will spoil your face, you won't be fit to go to the park. Come, I came to have you go out, we will all go to the park.
Sist. Ay, so you may if you can.
Bro. If I can! what do you mean by that? I have oro dered Thomas to get the coach ready.
Sist. "Tis no matter for that, I assure you he won't do it.
Bro. I'll cane the rascal if he don't, and that presently too. Come, do you wipe your eyes, and don't pretend to go
abroad with a blubbered face.
Sist. I tell you, Thomas will not obey you, he is otherwise ordered. You will find, that neither you nor I are to go out to-night.
Bro. Who will have the impudence to binder us?
Sist. I have been hindered already; and my mother bas told me in so many words, I not only shall not go to-night; but never any more on a Sunday; though I think I shall fail her.
Bro. What does my mother mean by that? Not to the park! I must go, and will go, as soon as sermon is dove. What harm is there in't? I warrant you we will go. Come, get you ready, and wipe your eyes.
Sist. You'll find yourself mistaken in my mother. I'll assure ye, I told her I would go, as you do me; and she was in such a passion with me, she struck me, which she never did in all her life before, and then read me a long lecture on the Sabbath-day, and being against her conscience, and I know not what; things I never heard her talk of in my life before. I don't know what ails her to be in such an humour.
Bro. Conscience! What does my mother mean by that? Why, have we not gone every Sunday to the park, and my mother always gone with us? What, is it against