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The necessity of man and woman unto the ends of God's purpose in creation, shews the necessity of Christ and a church towards his end in redemption. The higher dignity of a wife and a mother over any one of the children, shews the higher dignity, in the purpose of God, of the Lamb’s wife, or the elect church, over all the creatures, or families of creatures, which unto God shall be gotten through all eternity. Now, herein consisteth the sacredness of this relation of husband and wife, which no marriage ceremonial can express enough; that it is God's universal type, for teaching the universal lesson that, first, out of all the creatures is a bride to be composed for his Christ; and this is the dignity, of our having a place in the New Jesusalem, of our being seated in the throne and round about the throne. Now, observe that this precious diamond of truth is encased in the most precious affections and dearest enjoyments of human nature : it is also flanked, if I may so speak, with the strongest bulwarks and entrenchments of the Divine Providence: so that it might be both very sacred, and very strong. And herein consisteth the guilt, the unspeakable guilt, of violating a relationship which is constituted of God to tell out a truth so momentous unto the world, unto worlds of worlds. Here now, is explained so much of the mystery of a family as concerneth the two heads of it, that, though of one substance, they should be exhibited in such diversity of kind.
Now, again, if I speak of father and child: why are two immortal souls so brought into being as that the one should, as it were, grow out of the substance of the other, be dependent almost for every breath upon his care, be under his responsibility and not its own (as all laws to a certain age regard him; the two forming, in the eye of the law, but one substance, until a third part of human life be overpast) --what is this mystery, but to reveal the mystery of the Father and the Son's one substance, though two persons; and especially the manifestation of that mystery, when the Son, who had been in the bosom of the Father, came forth, and, though a Son, learned obedience and fulfilled his Father's will; was his Father's image, is his Father's heir, and under his invisible Father exerciseth all power and government? Now this, again, is what constitutes the sacredness of a father's right over his son, and the sacredness 'of a son's obedience to his father. This also constitutes the right of inheritance in the person of the first-born, and many other things connected with the family, which we cannot now particularize. And to protect and préserve the integrity of this relationship, that it may rightly represent the mystery of which it stands the exponent, God hath constructed his scheme of Providence; and doth order it so, that prosperity, and blessedness, and long life, and numerous thriving progeny, should depend upon the right discharge of the parental and filial duties. Revelation bath revealed this: God's own lips did not hesitate to announce it in these words,“ That thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.' But its reality does not depend upon its being revealed ; its reality is presupposed in its revelation : it is so revealed because God hath so ordered it. And in all lands this is the ordinance of God's providence, that blessings many and precious should attend upon dutiful and well-ordered households. And the end of God in so providing it is, that by all that is dear to man; by all in prosperity which is desirable, and by all which in adversity is fearful; He might induce men to constitute and to preserve the family in such sort as may best represent and shadow forth the great mystery of Christ and his church, of the Father and his children. Just for the same reason that the high priest might not approach the holy place without the sound of the golden bells which hung around his raiment, lest he should die; so may not the blessing of families be secured, and the curses of families avoided, otherwise than by family love and duty: in both cases because they are types and symbols of the invisible realities of Christ; and, being so, must be defended by every sanction from declaring untruth. And thus, by means of a fixed and stable providence, constructed so as to hedge men in to natural wisdom and natural well-doing, it cometh to pass, that law, which secureth the good and preventeth the evil; philosophy, which teacheth the same; and poetry, which commendeth it, are all, when strictly looked into, only the interpretation of that providence, which God hath arranged so as to bless that form of life which shall symbolize Christ, and speak harmoniously with the truth which is to be revealed; while it shall curse every form of life which doth not symbolize Christ, but is in contradiction of the truth to be revealed. And this is the ground of natural religion--to wit, that all things under the Fall, as well as above it, are constituted so as to foreshew the Redeemer and the redemption that was prepared in the purpose of God before creation. Natural religion is not able to know the Godhead of Christ, which is an impossibility; but, by seeing nature, though out of Christ, to be yet a shadow of him, and so of God in him: this is natural religion ; and revelation is the giving unto us of that substance which every thing was dimly shadowing forth. Now, to return again to the relationship of human souls: this is what constitutes the sacredness of relative duties, that when fulfilled, they speak an eternal truth; when not fulfilled, they speak a hideous falsehood. A father loving his children, and ruling them in righteousness; and children honouring their father and their mother, and obeying them in righteousness; these are obeying and honouring the law of their being; and if they have no more revealed to them, they are so far forth well pleasing to God, and
I think may by us be well hoped for, even though they know not Christ, because, not knowing him, they have yet been serving him. If the animate and inanimate creation, devoid of reason, shall receive their share in the redemption because they have testified in their irrational way to the coming Redeemer, why much more should not likewise those rational creatures, who have, by well fulfilling the law of their being, and standing fast to the truth of things, have their reward in the same redemption? But, to return.
I believe, in like manner, that the relation between master and servant doth in like manner shadow forth the lordship of Christ over the creatures. For, taking this relationship in its general aspect, and not as it is in those countries where Christianity hath redeemed it; take the master and proprietor of a large household, who have been bought with his money-for example, Abraham--and what have you but a multitude of souls brought into subjection unto one soul, notwithstanding their natural liberty and equality? He hath power over them to life and death ; they eat of his bread; their labour is his, their gains are his : all that are born in the house are his. At such a picture infidelity writhes in rage; but not so a wise reflecting man, who hath reverence for the ordinance of God; not so an enlightened Christian, who can study and understand the typical character of all things. Our evangelical Chris