Gorham D. Abbott.

The family at home : or, Familiar illustrations of the various domestic duties : with an introductory notice online

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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1834,

By Carter, Hendee & Co.

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.

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The following volume was placed in my hands by one of tJie most
active members of the Executive Committee of the London Religious
Tract Society, with an earnest request, that I would introduce it to
the American Christian community. And I do this the more readily,
and with more pleasure, from the conviction which I have, that it is
calculated to shed a most happy influence over the relative duties of
domestic life.

It seems to me, so far as I am able to understand the spirit of the
Bible, that more is implied in the religious obligations involved in the
famihj tic, than is ordinarily recognized at the present day.

If we look back upon the history of the world, with a view to dis-
cover the principles of the government of God from his dealings with
men, there is evidently no unimportant design in the arrangement, which
he has constituted, for dividing the whole race into distinct and sepa-
rate family circles. This is equally obvious, whether we regard the
nature of the relations which are thus established, or whether we re-
flect upon the consequences, which have grown out of them, as they
are developed in every page of history, sacred or profane.

Perhaps we have no certain assurance, that, even if our first parents
had continued faithful and obedient, their children would have follow-
ed their example, and that all successive generations of parents and
children, in their turn, down to the end of time, would have perpetu-
ated tl)c example and the imitation of parental and filial obedience to
the divine commands, and consequently have secured the enjoyment
of divine favor. But of this we are certain, that, among every nation^
kindred, tongue and people, the example of disohcdicnce has been, and
certainly will be followed, except where Sovereign Mercy interposes
and rescues the parent or the child from the deadly influence of the
examples of sin, which they have witnessed and imitated.

It is perfectly evident, in the patriarchal days, that God regarded
the head of the family as, in some measure at least, responsible for the
religious character of the whole household. He was to be the repre-
sentative of Jehovah himself, in making known to the whole domestic


circle the moral duties and ceremonial observances, which the Almighty
had enjoined. He was, in this capacity, to act as the family Prophet,
In offering the sacrifices, and in leading the devotions of the social
circle, the head of the family was obviously the family Priest. And
every where, the authority of the master of the house is manifest to
have been supreme. He was, to all intents and purposes, the absolute
King. The movements of all that appertained to the Patriarch were
directed by his will. And guilt in the family was guilt and shame up-
on his head. The consequences of disobedience and sin, not the of-
fender alone, but the parent and all the family were to share.

In conformity with this view, the sin of Esau, in selling his birth-
right, appears in a stronger and clearer light. Not only did he alien-
ate from himself the birthright of an earthly inheritance, conveyed by
primogeniture, but he lightly esteemed the sacred and priestly preroga-
tive of the head of the household. And for this it was, that his story
stands so conspicuous in the oracles of God, as an instance of tlie
guilt of s^ich sin in the eyes of the Father of all, for future genera-
tions to ponder and avoid,

A most striking proof of the peculiar manner in which the family
relation is regarded by the Lord appears in the promise to the Father
of the Faitliful — '' In tliee shall all the families of the earth be

Whatever may tend to turn the attention of God's people to this
subject, must be considered as a token for good. The multiplied avoca-
tions of the religious world at the present day, which are calculated
to divert the mind from the duties, responsibilities, and privileges,
that lie appropriately " at home," need some restraining influence.
There is danger of diverting our Christian sympathies, efforts and
prayers, unduly away from our homes. This vineyard should be sa-
credly cultivated.

This book, we hope and believe, will be found a useful and interest-
ing volume. And we commend it to the kind blessing of Him, who is
the God of all the families of the earth.

On putting the present volume to press, it was ascertained, that an-
other work was announced in Philadelphia, under the title of " The
Family Book," which was the original title of this work. In order to
prevent mistakes, the name of this was changed. Appropriate articles
from different sources have been added, so that the work is nearly
double the size of the original English copy.

Boston, Dec. 22, 1833.



?^ I pi*



How children may be benefited by errors of parents. First step to obtain true wisdom. The heart the
orig'in of idleness, extrava'gance, &c. The true Cliristiaii the only complete character. Principles that
secure uniformity of character. Source of wliat is bad in conduct. Source of what is good p. 9

Chap. I. — Mtj Family and Friends.

My parents. Their humble station. My elder sisters. My brothers. Benefits firom the establishment of
a Sunday school. How our evenings were spent. My father's death.. ■..•. p. 12

Ch.\p. l\.—The Sutton Family.

Mr. Sutton's object in retiring from business. The wealthy man. Dangerous sickness of Miss Sutton.
Old Mary. Robert. Believing in Christ. The sinner nmst seelf him for himself. Why Robert expected to
go to heaven, when a stranger to repentance. Fanny, Her influence in the kitchen. Her management
of the children. Robert attends Fanny's place of worship. Change in all the servants. How the Sabbath
was spent by the Suttons. Death oi' two of their children. How their parents were afiec'ed. Little
Herbert. His happy deatli. What Fanny said to her mistress. Fanny's sickness and death. Change
in tlie religious view's of Mr. and Jlrs. Sut'on. Its happy influence. Miss Sutton's recovery..... p. 15

Chap. III. — Deference to Parents.

young persons ofien guilty of a want of deTerence to parents, from thoughtlessness. Daugliter's negligence
in providing for her father's conifort- The reproof. How her parents erred. Their gratification in her
improvement of character. Why proper behavior to parents is the safeguard of many virtues. Associates
whom parents disapprove often worthless in after life. How parents should be treated. The wicked son.
The neglected mother. Anecdote. Filial affection.- ....- ,,...p. 33

Chap. YV .—Specidation and Suretiship.

My father's uncle. His speculations. Consequences of signing a note for him. A similar favor requested.
The lefusal. My uncle's dissatisfaction p. 41

Chap. Y .—Self- Conceit.

Molly, the servant girl. Her self-conceit. The batter-pudding. The ladder. Her self-confidence leads io
her ruin. Value of humility - .-...-. p. 45

Chap. VI. — Punctuality.

a punctual family. No method without punctuali'y. Gives weight to character. Rev. T. Brewer.
Melancthon. Consequences of a hurry. George III. Success of Lord Nelson. The committee of ladies.
Valuable remarks from Jay.. p. 49

Chap. VII. — Procrastination.

Procrastination. The unfastened window. The stolen money. Kitclien chimney. The neglected win.
The sick child. Consequences of procras'inatiiig religious duties. The minister. Intervals of time be-
tween stated employments, no small part of life p. 52

Chap. WW.'— Decision of Character.

Indecision evidence of a weak mind. Learn to say, No. Story of Jones. p. 58

Chap. IX. — Mutual Forbearance.

Duties of a peace-maker very important. How to promote harmony. Natural differences require mu'ual
forbearance p. 60

Chap. X. — Maxims on Waste.

Economy in little things often necessary for liberality. Maxims for all. The Creator of the world allow-s no
was'.e. Frugality a Christian virtue. Nine useful rules p. 61

Chap. XI. — Female Dress.

What the example of judicious ladies should be. Love of dress a great snare. Finery, unnecessary to
beauty, makes ugliness more conspicuous. The real lady oftener distinguished by plain dress ratlier than
finery. Showy dress no recommendation to the wearer. Betsy and Mary. The fashionable lady and
the minister. Newton's rule for female dress. St. Paul's descrip'ion of a well-dressed woman; St,
Peter's, Importance of female education. Judicious resolution of a father ...p. 64

Chap. XIL — Sobriety and Moderation.

Nancy Cos. Who are in danger of takinj too much food. Consequences injurious. Nancy's return to
cottage fare. The intemperate woman. Maxims inculcating strict sobriety and moderation. Saying of a
celebrated physician. What the Christian should recollect when he sits down to his meals. ' One glass
more.' "rhe drunkard's will p- 68

Chap. XIII. — Nursing.

Customs among poor women in our village. What provisions were ma.de in one charitable family for tlie
poor. Influence of the lady over my mother. Complaints of a sick neighbor. The lady's visit to her.
Persuades her to give up brandy in sickness. Neighbor Brown's opinion. Her death the consequence of
imprudence p. 75



Chap. XIV. — Health and Sickness.

How to be heal'hy. Four rules for the preservation of health. Whj' the ' head should be kept cool.' What
will tend to ' keep the feet warm.' uousequences of eating hearty food just before going to bed. Early

keep the feet warm.' Consequences of eating hearty food just before going to bed. Early
i\. r.any •••■■•■■"■■
ike sleepine
be generair
I aired. Religious subjects not to be kept out of sight. The Bible and prayer a refreshment to the Chris-

nan m sickness. The sick person unprepared foi death, his danger not to be concealed p. 80

Chap. XV. — Accidents.

Presf nee of mind to be cultivated. Instances where presence of mind saved lives. Anecdote of a young lady.
Account of the means used to restore a boy who had been apparently drowned. What is to be done wlien
a cbininey is on fire - when a person's clothes take fire. Anecdote. Maxim to be committed to memory.. p. 93

Chap. XVI. — Looking for Things in the Wrmig Places.

Tlie search for the key. Dick Rogers. How admiration is to be found. When Christians look for things in
the wrong places p. 97

Chap. XVII. — Good ThougMs in the Midst of Business.

Op.e duty often an excuse for neglecting another. How to prevent bad thoughu. The shepherd. The
siioemaker. Prayer may be offered every where p. 99

Chap. XVIII. — Wliere there is a Will there is a Way.

The Florence oil. Jem Price. Mary Jones. John Richajds. Sam Driver. Ned Turner p. 101

Chap. XIX. — Correcting Mistakes.

Pride prevents the acknowledgment of mistakes. Confession and prayer of a good man p. 105

Chap. X.'K.— 'Conquest of evil Tempers.

We are accountable for the manajemeni of our tempers. A master's direction always to be followed. Ir-
ritation of temper in families often results ft'om petty vexations. Advice to one conscious of a bad tem-
per. Martha. Susan. Story of Socrates. Texts to be committed to memory p. 106

Chap XXL-^-Ill-gotten Goods.

Farmer Hunter. Stoiy of Madam West p. Ill

Chap. XXII. — Removals.

My eldest brother— liis -wish to move— reasons against it p. 114

Chap. XX.1U.— Providence.

How providence is regarded by the improvident. Maxims on providence p. 117

Chap. XXIV.— Peace and Forgiveness.

Rules for living in peace. The blighted tulips. The noble revenge. The easy chair. Anecdote of Bruce
the traveller p. 119

Chap. XXV. — Kindness among Neighbors.

Who deserve rot the name of goo:! neighbors. Character of a good neighbor. Kind offices peculiarly v.-\lu-
able in sickness. Maxims on friendship and company p. 125

Chap. -KKW.— Self Denial.

Spirit of seltdenial to be cultivated. Want of self-denial cause of misery in the heart and family. • . .p. 129

Chap. ^-KWl.— Usefulness.

Directions how to be useful. Anecdote of a shoemaker. Christians useful in patiently suffering the will
of God. The Scotch divine and the poor Cripple. The great secret of Christian usefuhiess. Meianc'hoa
and liis good servant. Masters and mistresses to strive to make their domestics servants of God. Reso-
lutions of a master p. 130

Chap. XXVIII. — Courtship and Marriage.

Advice given to my brother Richard. Beauty in itself of little value. Inquiries to be made before an en-
garment is formed. Characters that never make a valuable husband or wife. Advice to wives — to
hu^ands. Fable of the sun and wind. Considerations to reconcile discontented married people to their
lot p. 135

Chap. XXIX.— Care of Children.

Directions to mothers to promote the health of infarts. Obedience to be learned in infancy. Union in the
government of parents. Parents' example must be good. Children never to be deceived. Parents must
have no favorites. Severity and laxity to be avoided. Sparing u=e to be made of rewards and punisj>-
ments. Children should be early taught to be Indus rious— to attend regulariy public worship — to respect
Ministers of the gospel. Effects of criticisinj sermons. Sabbath schools not to be neglected. Cares of
a family no excuse for neglecting persnnal religion. Religious duties no excuse for the neslect of domes-
tic duties. Cecil's mother. His conversion. Mrs. Huntington's mode of educating her children. Pun-
ishment to be proportioned to the offence '. P- 1^1

Chap. XXX.— Family Prayer.

Familv prayer the fii^t familv duty. Five special daily errands which every family should carry to the
thro'ue of jrace. Benr-fils' of family prayer. Want of ability no excuse for the neglect of it. How it
should be commenced, if it has been neglected P- ^^


Chap. XXXI.— Observance of the Sabbath.

Sabbath-breaking. The Sabbath to be kept in mind during the week. Preparations on Saturday for the
Sabbath. Saturday evening of the pious family — ihe Sabbath p. 160

Chap. XXXII. — Advice to young Tradesmen.

How to maintain the character of an honest man. Punctuality. How books should be kept. Honesty.
Government not to be defrauded. Credit. The jealous tradesman. Integrity and industry. Appear-
ance of diligence advantageous. The young tradesman's best instructers. Pride. Small jobs not to be
despised. Anecdote of Tranklin. Always act by a plan. Appearances to be regarded. Public-houses
to te shunned. The wife, a young tradesman should choose. Economy in dress. Style of living to be
conformed to situation in life. Blessing of God to be sought — dependence for success upon him. Her-
vey's letter to his brother when an apprentice. The master to be treated with respect. Commands to be
obeyed. Faithfulness in business. Eye-service p. 167

Chap. XXXIII. — Helping one another.

Rules for promoting family happiness. The well-regulated family. House-maid and the coachman, .p. 187

Chap. XXXIV .—Changing Places.

Highest wages not the first thing to be considered. Constant moderate wages to be preferred p. 189

Chap. XXXV.— Superstition.

Friday an unlucky day. The spoiled bacon. Signs and omens. No such thing as luck, Paper-makinsr.
Knowledge of the future wisely withheld. Fortune-tellers never to be trusted p. l50

Chap. XXXVl.'— Housekeeper's Chapter of Sundries.

Cleanliness. Keeping thines to their proper uses. Kindness to animals. Borrowing. Vessels used in