C.H. Mackintosh, in his Miscellaneous Writings have much exhortations and admonishments in the daily walk of Christian's lives and families. The Lord used his writings to help me rear my children years ago, along with His precious Word, mercy and grace, for sure. Praise Him !!
[b]The Management of our Children[/b]
The next point suggested by the expression, "Thou and thy house," is the management of our children.
This is a sore and deeply-humbling point to many of us, inasmuch as it discloses a fearful amount of failure. The condition of the children tends, more than anything, to bring out the condition of the parent.
The real measure of my surrender of the world, and my subjugation of nature, will constantly be shown in my thoughts about and treatment of my children.
I profess to have given up the world, so far as I am personally concerned; but then I have children. Have I given up the world for them as well?
Some may say, How can I? They are in nature, and must have the world. Here again the true moral condition of the heart is revealed.
The world is really not given up, and my children are made an excuse for grasping again what I professed to have given up, but my heart retained all the while.
Are my children part of myself, or are they not? Part of myself, assuredly. Well, then, if I profess to have relinquished the world for myself, and yet am seeking it for them, what is it but the wretched anomaly of a man half in Egypt and half in Canaan?
We know where such an one is wholly, and in reality. He is wholly and really in Egypt. Yes, my brethren, here is where we have to judge ourselves. Our children tell a tale.
The music master, and the dancing master, are surely not the agents which the Spirit of God would select to help our children along, nor do they, by any means, comport with that high-toned Nazariteship to which we are called.
These things prove that Christ is not the chosen and amply sufficient portion of our souls. What is sufficient for me, is sufficient for those who are part of me.
And shall I be so base as to train my children for the devil and the world? Shall I minister to and pamper that in them which I profess to mortify in myself? It is a grievous mistake, and we shall find it so.
If my children are in Egypt, I am there myself. If my children savour of Babylon, I savour of it myself: If my children belong to a corrupt worldly religious system, I belong to it myself, in principle.
"Thou and thy house" are one; God has made them one; and "what he has joined together, let no man put asunder".
This is a solemn and searching truth, in the light of which we may clearly see the evil of urging our children along a path upon which we profess to have for ever turned our backs, as believing firmly that it terminates in hell fire.
We profess to count the world's literature, its honours, its riches, its distinctions, its pleasures, all "dung and dross,"
yet these very things, which we have declared to be only hindrances to us in our Christian course, and which, as such, we have professed to cast aside, we are diligently setting before our children as things perfectly essential to their progress.
In so doing, we entirely forget that things which act as clogs to us, cannot possibly act as helps to our children.
It were infinitely better to throw off the mask, and declare plainly, that we have not given up the world at all; and nothing ever made this thoroughly manifest but our children.
The Lord, I believe, in righteous judgement, is taking up the families of brethren, to show in them the actual condition of the testimony amongst us.
In many cases, it is well known, that the children of Christians are the wildest and most ungodly in the neighbourhood.
Should this be so? Would God accept a testimony at the hand of those who have it so? Would it be thus if we were walking faithfully before God as to our houses? These enquiries must be answered in the negative.
If only I get the principle of "Thou and thy house" firmly fixed in my conscience, and intelligently wrought into my mind, I shall see it to be my place to count upon God, and cry to Him, just as much for the testimony of my house as for my own testimony.
In reality I cannot separate them. I may attempt it, but it is vain.
How often has one felt a pang at hearing such words as these, "Such an one is a very dear, godly, devoted brother; but, oh! he has the boldest and wildest children in the neighbourhood, and his house is a sad mess of misrule and confusion".
I ask, what is the testimony of such an one worth, in the judgement of God? Little indeed.
Saved he may be; but is salvation all we want? Is there no testimony to be given? and if there is, what is it? and where is it to be seen?
Is it confined to the benches of a meeting room, or is it to be seen in the midst of a man's house? The heart can answer.
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