We have, with the Lord's gracious help, considered the Christian family relationships in their different parts, and the privileges and responsibilities connected with the Christian household, as laid down in the Word of God, the entrance of Whose words giveth light and understanding unto the simple. May the God of all grace grant His own blessing upon these pages and upon the souls of their readers. In days like these, where Egyptian judicial darkness is rapidly thickening in the open, and in the professing religious world; amidst the general shipwreck of all religious establishments, and the sad failure of testimony on every side, where the lurid, infernal torchlight of rationalism and infidelity only serves to increase the prevailing darkness; it is a comfort and encouragement to the weary Christian pilgrim, on approaching the precincts of a Christian household, to see heavenly day-light brighter than that in Israel's dwellings in Goshen, shining through the windows upon poor stray wanderers, who are groping their way through the surrounding darkness. Such a household is like a Pharos to the storm-tossed mariner, shedding its light upon the troubled waves around, and warning against the hidden rocks and shoals. And its interior is to the wearied pilgrim and stranger, like Elim with its twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees, where he may rest for a little while, and "encamp by the water," and "lie down in the green pastures," and be "led beside the still waters" by the Good Shepherd, Who led Israel through the wilderness like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron, and Who is the foundation stone of that Christian household and the Centre, from whence every one starts, towards which everything tends, and around which everything moves; and the glorious Head to Whom everyone looks up, and depends upon for daily wisdom, daily grace, faith to rise above difficulties and trials, and for patience to bear up under them. Blessed household, where grace and truth diffuse warmth and light, because Jesus Christ is the Liege Lord in every heart, and in every conscience, and the thoughts of their minds have been brought into captivity to His obedience; and where His Word is the lamp for their feet, and the light for their path, because it is the daily pasture of their souls.
With reluctance, but refreshed, and strengthened, and encouraged for the remainder of his wilderness journey, the privileged guest in such a household, leaves its bright fire-side praising God for His grace, and praying for His hundred-fold blessing upon every member of that "Household of Goshen."
I knew such a household in a village of the West of England. It was but small, within the limits of an humble cottage. The master of that household was just going to destroy himself, being in despair about his sins, and Satan ringing in his ears the words: "Lost! Lost!" That very night an old well-known servant of Christ preached in the village. Poor J. S. was prevailed upon to go and hear the Gospel. The subject was the prodigal son. That night the Lord spoke "Peace" to dear J. S., and he "rejoiced, believing in God with all his house." Since then, like the jailer at Philippi, he has considered it his privilege, to "set meat" before all the Lord's servants who minister to hungry souls the Bread of life which came down from heaven, "that a man may eat thereof and not die," and his wife has been the kind hostess of Christian wayfarers, saying like Lydia "If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and abide there."
One day J. S. and his partner had the privilege to entertain one of the Lord's most honoured servants, who has entered not long since into his Master's joy. Early in the morning, after having taken leave of his hosts, the Lord's hoary servant stepped into the road, and, turning to the house, with uplifted hands, said: "Peace, peace, peace, be upon this house!"
That prayer has been heard. The writer of this has several times had the privilege of being a guest under J. S.'s hospitable roof, and never has he been in a Christian household where the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, and the peace of Christ, which the world can neither give nor take away and the savour of the Spirit, Whose mind is life and peace, so pervaded and breathed through the whole house as in J. S.'s quiet and peaceful tent. Peace be with him and his house!
And now, before concluding, may I be permitted to repeat to myself and the reader the question, in the opening lines of these pages: "What about the light in our houses amidst the growing darkness around us? Have we like those Israelites in Goshen, "light in our dwellings?" And is that light shining brightly, "giving light to all that are in the house?" And is it "seen by them that come into the house?"
The God of all grace grant it! And may His peace, which passeth all understanding, keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, waiting for His coming from heaven!