Archibald Forbes.

The Christian library: a weekly republication of popular religious ..., Volume 6 online

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this is maintained at home, there should not be disie-
spectful neglect in company. It is painful for a risler
to find herself more neglected than the veriest stran-
cer, and thus exposed to othen as one in whom her
brother feels no interest.

Brothen ought not, even in lesser matten, to be
tffnmtM over theur stiten, and expect from them the ob-
sequiousness of slaves. The poor ffirls are sometinMs
sadly ueated, and rendered miserable by the caprice
and freaks, and iron yoke of some insolent and lordly
boy. Where the parents are living, they ought not
to suffer such oppression. Of sudb a despot let all
joanfg^ women beware, for he that is a tynni to his
sister is sure to be a tyrant also to a wife.

It is of i^at consequence, tliat brodien and aisten
should maintain epistolary correspondence when ab-
sent from each other. It must be a veiy strong regard
which separation, especially when it is for a long time,
does not diminish. Flames bum brightest in the vi-
cinity of each other. An affectionate letter, received
fh>m an absent friend, tends to fkn the dying spaik
of affection. They who can be long separated witooot
such a bond as this, are already in a state of indifTei^
ence to each other, and are in rapid progress to still
wider alienation.

Brothen and sisten sboold be very careful not fole-

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Wbiefa tiwn is alwavi loaie danger. While
one mureat remaint, though the other he gone to the
■epolchre, there ia a commoo oentre of fiunily affeo-
tion still led, hy drawing near to whieh, the memhen
are kept near to eaeh other; hot when Ifaia sonriror
has ako departed, the point of onion ia cone, and the
hooMhold ia likely, wittioat great walehnilneai, to be
cfirided and distracted. How often doea this happen
by the dirision of the ianuly property.* The grave
1m8 searcehr closed orer the parental remains, Mfoie
sirile, Gonnision, and erery evil woik begin in reftr-

enoe to the patrimonial possessions. To guard against
this, the &tber should ever have his will made, a will
made upon the obvions prindples of wisdom and eqni-
Qr. Any attempt, on the part ofoneehUd, to torn a pa-
rent's mind from the Ime of strict hnpartiality and
equity towards the others; any advantage taken of op-
portunities of more fivquent a ccess to the parental ear
and prejudices, to gain mors than a just share of his
property, is an act so base, so foul, and wicked, as to
deserve the most severe, and impassioned, and indig-
nant reprehension. Even in this ease, however, tSe
injured branches of the familv shonk] not so far resent
the matter, as to withdraw nrom all '

be proper, and even neoesmry, for the property of nn-
' si st e rs to be empkiyed in the trade of tfac^
; but as a general rule, it is —rfwwWe .* and

duct be

it does happen, the latter should let aO their con-
« conducted on the piindplea of the greatest
1, the most rigid integritv, and the nobleit gene-

the sopplanter: remonstrate they may, and abate
eoaetbing of their esteem and regard they must, but
still they are required by Scripture to forgive him, and
not to cnerish hatred, or to manifest revenge. Unless
in eases of nnusual and extraordinary rapacilv, the fra-
ternal intercourse oucbt not to be stopped by unfair
advantages of this kind.

There are instances, however, in which an mmfml
Aviskm of propertv is not an mguti one, and ought
not to be feh as such, bv the party wbksh receives die
leswr share. If one child ms become posssased of
weahh from another source, I do not think that he
oagbt to oonsider himself unfairly dealt with, if he do
not receive so lar^ a portion of the fkmily property as
hk brotfiers and sistars do. Or if there m one branch
of the ikmily prevented, by the visitatioiis of Provi-
dence, fVom all active labor, the rest ought not to think
it nnikir, if a parent make a larger provision for this
deformed or Impless ohiki, than for the other branches.
The aHenalion of brothers and sisters on aeoount of
pecuniary matten, as usually a matter of deep disgrace
to them «0; not only to the spoiler, but slso to the rest
But fn yhat terms shall I depict the atrocious wick-
edness of a vilkmoiw brother, who, after the death of
their parents, would employ his influence to wheedle
and swindle an unmarried sister out of her property,
and reduce her to poverty and dependanoe, to indulM
hb own rapacity, or to avert cabmity firom himsetf T
Such wretcnes me existed, and do exist, who, taking
advantage of a sister's strong afieetion, combined wim
her ignorance of money matters, never cease, tiH, by
all tiM arts of subtlety, they have got out of her poss es -
sioo the kut shilling she has in the worM; and then,
perhaps, when she has nothing more for them to pil-
fer, aoandon the victim of their cruelty, with the rs-
mors cle ssness of a highwayman, to want and misery.
Let such monstera remember, tiiat there is one in hea-
VMi whose eye has been upon aU their wicked arts and
cruel robbery, and whu. for all these things, will bring
them into judgment It is an act of cruelty in any
bretiwr, who, without any dishonest intentkm, perhaps,
would wish to iei^rdiae the property of a sister, in
ofdor either to increase his own gains, or to avert his
own drended mj^oitunes. 8h$ may be vBry unfitted
to sCmggle with poverty, and altoffether disqmdified for
earning snpport by her own industry, and therefore
ought net to be exposed to the danger of losing her
pr operty. Caaes do oeeor somelimee in which it may

* This, psfhape, rather bebngs to the third division
ei the 8Uib|eet


Brotfaen ought ever, after the death of their parentis
to conskier themselves as the natural guardians of un-
married sisters ; their advisers in difficulty, their com-
forters in di s tre ss, their protectors in dan^, thefar sin-
cere, tender, liberal aau unchancing fiiends, amidst
an the scenes and vidssimdes of life. It is rarely \^
visable that a sister should permanently dwell with a
married brother; but then, even the much 8troii|er
claims of the wife ou^t not to cancel or throw into
dbKvion those of the sister.

I wfll now suppose the case of one or more branches
of the family, ^o are brought by divine grace to be
partakers of true religion, aind point out what is their
duty to the rest, and what the duty of the rest to them.
In reference to die former, it is manifbsdy their solemn
and irrevocable obligadon to seek, by every afieetioo-
Bte, scriptural, and indicioos effort, the real oonvenion
of those of the fiimuy who are yet living widiont heart-
felt religion. O, bowoften has die leaven of pie^,
when, by divine mercy and power, It has been lud m
tho heart of one of the family, spread duroogh nearly
the whole household ! How often has fraternal knre,
when it has soared to its sublimest height, and, widi a
heaven-kindled ambition, aimed at the kAiest olgeet
whteh benevolence can possibly pursue, by seekinf
the salvation of a broUier's soul, secured its priie, and
received its rich reward! Young people whoae hearts
are under the influence of pietjr, but whoee hearts also
bleed fbr dioee who, diough they are the children of
the same eardily parent, are not yet the cfaUdren of
your Fadier m fieoven, I caM upon yon by aU die tovo
yon bear your broUiers and aisters; by aU the ailbctioii

Chear fbr your parents; bv all the higher knre you
to God and Christ to seek by every prbper means
the conversion of diose who, though bound to 70a hy
die tiee of nature, are not yet umted by die bond of
moe. Make it an object widi you to win dieirsouls.
Pray fbr it constandy. Put forth in your own oxmd-
pleaHdiebeautiesofhoUness. Seek fer die most un-
deviating consistency, since a single want of this wonkl
only strengthen the prejudice you are anxkws to sub-
due. Let diem sas your reliffion in your conseientioas-
ness, your joy, your humility, your meekness, your
love. In all die general duties of life, be more than
oidinarily exact Win dietr aflbedons by die kindest
and most conciliadng conduct. Avoid all consetona-
ness of superiority. Attempt not to scoU diem out of
their sins. Avoid die language of reproach. Disw
them w'rth die cords of love, for tkm are the bands of a
man. Now and dien recommend to their perusal a
valuable book. When they are absent wriie to them
on die subject of religion. But at die same time, do
not disgust diem by boring diem widi religion. Seise
favorable opportonidea, and wisely improve them.
Point them to eminendy happy, oonsislent end ussftil
ChrisUans. Comply with all meir wishee diat«rs law-
ftil, but give not up one atom of your oonsisteney.
Pliancy on your part to meet their tastes and pursuits,
if diey are contrary to God's word, will only discnst
diem : miki firmness will secure dMir respect And
crown all widi e a r n est prayer for dMt grace, widiout
which no means can be soeoessfhl. How knowest
diou but diou shalt gain diy brodMr f And, O, what
a conquest f

And what shall be sakl to die wmeammUiputyJ
Shall such means be u n suco cs sftil t Will you resist
this holy, benevoient mfluoBoet Will you oppoaa
dieseeAirts to draw you to heaven t WiHyouleave
your sister to travel akme to dMskiea,aMl delenniM

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to aeparato firom her for ever, and puriue vour coane
tOf^erditioD? Will 70a leek the dreadml, the fatal
dJBuootiofi, ofbeing alone in your family as tha enemjr
of God, the captive of Satan 1 Shall a aialer's aolici-
tode for your aalvalion, and all the active effort! which
it palf forth, be only a nvor of death unto death to
yon? Pause and ponder, young man 7 Alter your
purpofs; take bar hy the hand, andeay tojiar, "Your
affection hat cooqnered; I will go with you, for I
Juow that God it with you." But, perhaps, instead
of this, you are a persecutor. What, a persecutor of
religion, and of a sister, at the. same time 7 Yes, you
reject with acorn these efforts for your aalvation, and
trett her with ridicule and unkindness by whom they
are made. Is it so t What, wicked enough for this !
What, cany jrour enmity to pieQr so far as to embitter
the life of a sister, for no other reason than because
■be bowfl her heaurt to its influence! RecoUect, the
contest is not between yon and her, but between you
and God. It is not as a sister, but as a Christian, that
she is the object of your displeasure, and, therefore,
yoor ill will is against religion, and if against religion,
then against G(M, for religion is the image of God in
the soul of his rational creatures. Did you ever read
-or hear that fearful denunciation 1 u not, read it
now,^" Wo to him that contendeth with his Maker."
This wo is nttered against every persecutor of reli-
gion, and therefore is against yon.

The rseponsibilihr of dder brothers and sisten,
especially that of the fibst borh, is great indeed.
They are kwked up to by the younger branches of the
fiimuy as examples, and their example has areat influ-
ence, in some oases greater than that of the parent :
it ia the eacample of one more upon a level witn tham-
nlvee, more near to them, more constantly before
them than that of the parent, and is, on these accounts,
more influential. It is of immenee consequence,
lh^«efor6» to their jumora, how these conduct them-
<«alvai. If tbe^ are bad, they are likely to lead all the
nst aatmy ; if^^ood, they may have great power in
Wading then anght. They bring companions, books,
ieereations, before the vest, which are proper or im-
proper according as theur own taste is. It is a most
Mressuig spectode to see an elder brother or sister
tBuning np younger ones, by his own conduct and
praeapt, in Ihe ways of wkkedness. Such a youth is
an awful ehameter : like Satan, be goeth about seeking
whom, by his temptationa, be may desd^y ; but worse,
-in MMM respeolB more wicked and more cruel than
his prototype, he marks out his own brother as the vic-
tim of his oroelty, and the dupe of his wiles. Whole
families have, in sobm cases, been schooled in iniquAQr,
by one unprincipled elder son. What will such a
brother have to answer for in the day of Judgment,
and what will be his torment in bell, when the souls of
tjioee whom be has mined shall be nearhim, and by
oeaseleas reproaches become his eternal torment-
In other oases, what a blessing to a family has
1 a steady, virtuous, and pious elder brother or sia-
tar ! Many a weak and sickly mother has given daily
thanks to God for a daughter, who by her attentions
was a kind of second mcSber to the younger members
of tha family, whom she did her uttermost to train up
in her own nseftil and holy habits. Many a father
has fek with equal gratitude the bJessinc of having in
his first-born son, not only a help to himself in the
cares of business, but in the work of educatron ; a son
who lent all the power of an amiable and religious ex-
ample, to form the charMster of his younger brothers.
Let such young persons consider their responsibility,
and at the same time let those who are their juniors in
the family consider tkar duty. If they have a good
axample m their elder brethen and sisters, they should
make it not^oly the object of attention and admiration,
bat also of imitation : but, on the other hand, if, un-
happily, the coadoct of their senion be bad, let them

not follow them in thehr evil coarse \ let no thraalaf
no bribes, no persuasions, induce them to comply with
she temptation to do what is wropg.

J have BOW to allude to the discharge of fraternal
4utieadiff^(A6toAo(«j9m(^</oiir2ttMs,i^tAs asa-
aai» ef ifotstk Aos jNVSsd aioay, This has been antici-
pated in part already. Families are soon brokcin up ;
the parents die, the children marry and form aepaimto
establishments, and bring around them separate fami-
Jies of their own. This division aC the original stook
does not, however, destroy, although it necessarily
must weaken, the fraternal tie. Pope beautifutty re-

' Thus beast and bird their conunon charge attaod.
The meUwa nume it, and the sires defend :
The young dismissed to wander earth or air.
There atops the instinct, and there ends the oavai
The link dissolves, eaohaeeks a fresh embraoa;
Another k>ve snoceeds, another race.
A longer care man's helpless kind demands;
That toiler care contracts more lasting bands.
Still as one brood, and as another rose.
These nolnro^ love maintained, AoitteaZ, those.
Refleotien, reason, still the ties improve.
At onoe extend the interest and the love;
And still new need^ new helps, new habits riaa»
That graft benevolenee on charities."

Great care is necessary, however, that when the
cenon of fraternal charities is ^one, and each chihl
becomes himself a cenore of similar emotions and im-

Kises, the inlsreet of brothers and sisters in each ether
not altogether cease. Brothers and sisters are
brothers and sisters stiJl, though they dwell in differ-
ent quarters of the globe, are each at the head of fh-
miiies of their own, are distinguished in their eiroom-
Btances by the varietiea of affluence and poverbr, and
have attained to the age of threescore yean and tan :
and the tie that unites them <u]gbt to be /A coiling
round their hearts, and its inflnlnce ou|^ to be seen
in producing all tbooe tender officea, which a common
relatiohship to the same parent certainly demands.
The next generation may, from various cauaes, lose
their interest in each other. Recard for remote wettt-
tM>ns beoemea, in every country, less and less, aoooid-
ing as law extends ita protecUon, conamerce diffuses

its' wealth, and civilization multiplies iy
Where clanship is necessary for mutoafprotactioo,
** the families that spring from one common stock ceo-
tinne to ding to each other for aid, almost aa if they
lived together under the same roof; it is truly one
wide fomily, rather than a number of families ; the
history of the tribe in its remote years of warfare and
victory, is the history of each individual of the tribe ;
and the mere remembrance of the exploits of those
who fought with one common object, around the re-
presentative of their common ancestor is like the feel-
mg of the fraternal or filial relation, prolonged from age
to age." This is not the ease, however, in that state
of socie^ in which we are placed, where the feeling
of affectionate interest, of fraternal k>ve, rarely sur-
vives the next generation from the father, and ofVeo
dies lone before that has completed its course. nBro-
thers and sitters ought, however, to keep up, aa lone
as they live, their mutual love. They should not ani-
fer new, and, it is confessed, still nearer relatione, to
produce a total oblivion of, or ahenatioo from, each
other. If dwelling in distant nary of the kingdom,
epistoUry correspMdence should be maintained, sym-
pathy in their mutual pays and sorrows should be che-
rished, oocaskinal visits, as opportunity might aUow.
should he paid, and, every thing done, by mutual kind
offices, to comfort each other, oh the rough and stormy
jouaiey of life. If dwelling together in tha same
town, their intercourse should be such as to <

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spectaton to exclaim, " Behold how good and pleasant
it is for brethren to dwell together in anity t" There
ahonki be that tenderness, which would lead to all the
delicate attentions that affsction delichts to pay, and
at the same time that confidence, which woaki prevent
offence from beinc taken, when these were hindered
by accident from being paid. How utterly discraoe-
liil is it to see brothers and sisters dwelling together in
the same town ; yet tiding in a state of continual strife,
and sometimes m an ntter suspension of all inter-
coarse ! In such cases, there most be faults on both
sides, though not, perhaps, in equal proportions.
Those who marry into a nmily should be very cao-
tious not to carnr discord into it Not unfreouently
has it happened, that brothers haye been embroiled
by their wives, and sisters by their husbands; and
they who, till they were married, scarcely ever had an
angry word from each other, scarcely ever lived in
peace aAerwards. Happy and honorable is that family,
wliich though it consist of numerous branches, and
those perhaps, nearly all married, and dwelling in the
same vicinity, maintains, not, indeed, a state of cold-
daas and formal intercourM, of which the highest
praise is that it is free from strife, but a fellowship of
synipatfay, helpfulness and love!

Iff by the vicissitudes of life, and the various allot-
ments of divine Providence, one branch of the family
baa been more successful than the rest, peculiar care
most be ezerdsed, that the latter should not expect too
moeh from him in the way of attention and relief, nor
the fonner yield too little. For any man to be asham-
ed of his poor brothers and sisters, to treat them with
cold neglect or insultiug pride, discovers a littleness
of mind which deserves contempt, and a depravity of
heart which merits our severest indignation: it is at
oDoe ingratitude to God and cruelty to man. It must
be admitted, however, that it is extremely difficult to
meet the demands and satisQr the expectations of poor
relations, especially in those cases where their poverty
b the fruit of theurlown indolence or extravaganoe.
Tbey havf claims, it is acknowledged, and a good
brother or sister will readily allow and cheerfoUj^ meet
them ; but it must be for prudence, under the guidance
of affection, to adjust theur amount It is unquestion-
able, however, that though there are some few who
have most indiscreetly impoverishod themselves to
help a needy, perhaps an nndoserving, brother or sis-

ter, the multitude have erred on the other side. Men
or women of wealth, who choose to live in celibacy,
and who have needy brothers and sisters, are cruel and
hard-hearted creatures, if they suffer such relatives to
want anv thing for their real comfort " Whoso bath
this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and
shutteth up his bowels of oompasrion from him, how
dwelleth the love of God in hunt" And what shall
be said of those, who, in bequeathing their property,
forget their poor relations f The man who passes
over a poor brother or sister and their families to en-
dow a nospital, or enrich the fbnds of a religious
society, to which, perhaps, he gave next to noUiing
while he lived, offers robbery for a burnt-offering.

I have now said all that appears to me to be impor-
tant on the subject of fraternal duties. Is it necessary
to call in the aid of motives to enforce the discharge of
9uek obligations 7 If so,

Let yourparmU* eantfort be a plea with you. How
often have the hearts of such been half broken by the
feuds of their children .' And even where the calami-
t3r has not gone to this extent, their cup has been im-
bittered by the wrangles, quarrels, and perpetual
strifes of those who ougnt to have lived in nndismrbed

Vmr oum comfort and homr are involved in an at-
tention to these duties. You cannot neglect the
claims of a brother or a sister, without suffering a
diminntbn in your happiness or your reputation, or

Dbe MtervKf rfood^ demand of yon an attention to
fraternal claims. As a son, yoa learn te be a jpod
subject ; as a brother, you learn to be a good dnsen.
Rebellious chikhren are traitors in the End ; and be
who has none of the right feelings of a brother, is train-
ing up for a parricide.

And as to refMm, fraternal daties neoeasarily arise
out of its general principles, are enforced by its pre-
vailing spirit more than by particular precepts, and aie
recommended bv some of its most striking examples ;
for the first murder whksh stained the earth with haman
sprung from a want of brotheriy aflbction ; and
imily in which the Son of God found his loved re-
treat on the earth was that where, in the persoiwof
Blary, and Bfartha,and Lazams, fraternal k)/ve wan
imbodied and adorned.


B DOMXsno o om r iTU Tioy, utD tbx mvtixal

















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Auraoi or cflEiiTiAif chaeitt, thi family monitoe, *c *e.

"And thou, SolomoB, myioo, know tboa the God of thy father, and wnro him withaj^rlbet heart,
and with a willioc mmd. For the Lord aeareheth all hearti, and nndenlandeth all the unaginatioM
of thedMMichu; ifthoaaeek him, he will he found of thee; hatiftheaforaakehim,hewiDcaitthee
offforerer." 1 Oitwi. 88, 89.

** I have no groaterjoy than to hear that my children walk in tmth." JJUbi3.



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Aft a CkrisHant the author of the fbUowing vo-
lumes betieves that there is a state of everlt^tiiig
h^>pines8^ prepared beyond the erave for those, and
those only, who are partakers of pure and undefiled
religion ; and, as di parent, he wiU freely confess his
supreme solicitude is, that hi^ children, by a patient
continoance in well doinf, might ^eek for glory,
honor, immortality; and finally possess themsdves
of eternal Ufe, He in not insensible to the worth of
temporal advauta^ ^ he is neither cynic nor as-
cetic} he appreciates the true value of wealth,
learning, science, and repotation, which he desires,
in such measure as Gkxl shall see fit to bestow, both
for himself and his children; he hafl conquered the
WDiid, but does not de^pi^ it ; he resists its yoke as
a master, but values its ministrations as a servant.
Still, however, he views the present state of sublu-
nary affairs as a splendid pageant, the fashion of
which passeth away, to give place to the glory
which niall never be mov^ : he looketh not at the
things which are seen, but at the things which are not,
seen : for the thines which are seen are temporal,
but the things which are not seen are eternal. It is
OD this ^nud that he attaches so much importance
to a reli^ums education. To those, if such there
should be, who imagine that he is too anxious about
this matter, and has said too much about it, he has
simply to reply, that " he believes, therefore has he
spoKen.** The man who does not make the religious

Online LibraryArchibald ForbesThe Christian library: a weekly republication of popular religious ..., Volume 6 → online text (page 43 of 121)