A Plea For The Family -- By: Jesse Hill

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 062:248 (Oct 1905)
Article: A Plea For The Family
Author: Jesse Hill


A Plea For The Family

Rev. Jesse Hill

One cannot read the New Testament with any degree of thoughtfulness without being impressed with the different modes in which Christ treated the various perplexing problems of human life. Remarkable for his utterances, he was not less remarkable for the things which he did not say. Every day he saw the widow and the orphan, but he did not build a house of mercy or an asylum. He saw his nation rent in twain by hostile forces, and contented himself without an expression of his preference for a particular form of government. He saw the terrible traffic in human beings, called slavery, but no Garrisonian tirade against it ever fell from his lips. Palestine was seething with sedition, but he never suggested a Hague tribunal. The drunkard was found on the streets of the Holy Jerusalem, but he never asked him to sign a pledge; the courtesan was there, but he did not stop to found a house of prayer. His followers have done all of these things. With divine discretion, and wisdom unparalleled, he left a few great principles, by which men could remedy many of the world’s wrongs. On many of the political, theological, and social institutions of his day, he manifested almost absolute silence, which has been a disappointment to the reformers, and has perplexed many of his disciples, ever since. The notable exception to this rule is Christ’s attitude on the nature and obligation of the family.

The uniformity of the Synoptic Gospels in giving the utter-

ances of Jesus on this subject indicates how profound an impression they must have originally made upon the minds of the writers. On this particular subject the legislation which he prescribed was specific. When they tempted him, he explained with candor and thoroughness the Christian law of the family, and its relation to the old dispensation. He uses the analogy of the family to teach his theology. God is a Father: man is a child. His habitual sympathy for the life in the home, his presence at a wedding feast, his subjection to his parents, his attitude toward Martha, and the woman at the well of Samaria, his refuge in the home at Bethany, his last thought upon the cross for his mother,—all of these constitute a marked feature in the teaching of our Divine Lord.

To all of this there is a striking contrast in modern society, with its twofold theory of marriage. One conception of it, embracing a philosophy of bloodless individualism, holds that the only interests involved are those of the contracting parties; while the other conception recognizes the family as the unit of civilization, and a great factor in problems of social structure and social obligation. Dr. Peabody says: “Domestic instability tends in a mo...

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