God sets the solitary in families: he brings out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
I. THE FAMILY IS A DIVINE INSTITUTION. In the case of other relationships, such, for example, as those of neighbourhood and partnership, each man has been left, always, of course, under the presiding providence of God, to follow his own inclinations. It is a matter of choice with any one as to whether he shall live in town or country, but unless where God's law has been contravened, every man belongs of necessity to some family. God has instituted the home on earth. What says our Lord on this matter? (Matthew 19:4). The fitness of the family constitution as God established it at first for securing the end which I have stated will be most convincingly seen by contrasting it with other systems which men have attempted to put in its place. Take, for example, that of polygamy, as seen either in the harem of an Eastern Mussulman or in that of a Western Mormon, and you will at once perceive that the very unity of which I have spoken is destroyed, and that there are few facilities for the training of children into highest nobleness of character.
II. THE FAMILY IS INTIMATELY CONNECTED WITH OUR EARTHLY HAPPINESS. It is not in the magnificence of your dwelling, or the gorgeousness of your furniture, or the luxuries of your table, or the costliness of your attire that your home happiness depends, for you may have all these and be miserable still. Neither is it the absence of these things that causes discord and division in a house, for you may meet the highest felicity in the humblest abode. The question is, Do you honour God or not?
III. THE FAMILY INTERCOURSE HAS THE MOST POWERFUL INFLUENCE ON HUMAN CHARACTER. The law of the physical world is that action and reaction are equal, and there is something like that in the moral. We are assimilated to those with whom we come into most frequent and intimate contact. There is a family likeness, in spiritual character, as well as in outward form and feature, between the members of the same household. The husband moulds the wife and the wife the husband, until, as it has been often remarked, they come to resemble each other even in the expression of the countenance, and the one will often anticipate the very expressions which the other was about to utter. John Randolph said to an intimate friend, "I should have been a French atheist if it had not been for one recollection, and that was the memory of the time when my departed mother used to take my little hand in hers and cause me on my knees to say, 'Our Father, who art in heaven.' "The mother of John Newton died when he was but six years old, but during these six years she had stored his mind with Divine truth, and those early lessons, as he himself records, he never could get rid of, even during the wildest part of his career. Oh, mothers, what a power is yours[ See to it that you remember your trust, and seek by faith, and prayer, and perseverance to be faithful to it.
IV. THE EARTHLY FAMILY IS NOT A PERMANENT AND ABIDING THING.
(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.