“Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:4-5
1.Cleanliness.—”Have your house clean, your dress clean, your body clean, and your mind clean.”
2.”Let your mind’s sweetness have its operation Upon your person, clothes, and habitation.”
And truly the connection is much nearer than would appear at first sight; purity, commencing in the heart as the fountain, extends itself to every little rill of conduct and appearance.
3.”Cleanliness,” says the proverb, “is next to godliness;” we will not dispute about the exact degree of relationship. Cleanliness ought never to be set up as a substitute for godliness; but it certainly is, or ought to be, a constant attendant upon godliness.
4. All physicians agree that cleanliness does much to preserve and to restore the health of the body; by frequent washings, the skin is kept clear from disease, and the circulations go on freely; by frequent change of bed-linen, the sleep is more refreshing, and general health and cheerfulness are promoted. Children, in particular, have their temper, as well as their health, affected by the cleanly or the negligent habits of those who nurse them; and it is not improbable that many a fretful, irritable temper, through life, may be traced in the beginning to this very circumstance.
5. Clean skin, clean walls, and clean furniture, will do more to keep off infectious disease than all the scents and perfumes in the druggist’s shop.
6. A healthy air, like pure water, should be quite free from every kind of taste and smell.
7. To enter an unkept and dirty apartment is disgusting; but thorough cleanliness is at once inviting to the eye and refreshing to the spirits.
8.Families who are thoroughly cleanly in their habits, generally enjoy more peace and contentment than those of an opposite description; and the unexpected entrance of a visitor produces no feeling of shame or irritation. Then, again, cleanly people are generally forecasting and prudent in other respects; their furniture and clothes are carefully preserved, and so last longer. Time seems turned to a better account; a cleanly person is never indolent. Neither is half the time occupied in cleaning, by people who are habitually cleanly; hence they have more time to devote to every other proper purpose, and, in particular, more time to attend to the duties and enjoyments of religion. It is a very common excuse for neglecting public worship—”We have no decent clothes to appear in!” This is not the plea of the cleanly; however poor, they can always command a decent appearance, and are generally distinguished for their orderly attendance on public worship. Thus we make good the assertion, that cleanliness is the handmaid both of peace and godliness.
9. Keeping things to their proper uses. The three well-known rules of domestic economy ought to be affixed in some conspicuous part of every kitchen and cottage, at least until they are transcribed into the memories and habits of the inhabitants—
10. Do everything in its proper time;
Put everything in its proper place;
Keep everything to its proper use.
It is a perpetual source of vexation in families, when household articles are either mislaid or injured, in consequence of having been used for improper purposes—a good table-knife hacked with cutting wood, instead of a saw or a chopper; the prongs of forks bent or broken, by having been made to do the work of a corkscrew; a dresser or table made to serve for a chopping board, and a chair for a pair of steps; a table-cloth cut by having been used as a knife-cloth, and a good cloak or blanket scorched by being made to serve as an ironing-blanket. Many such sights may be seen in slatternly families; and they generally indicate that the owners will one day be destitute of these things for their use.
11. “Only for once,”—”It does not much matter,”—”It is not worth while to fetch it,”—with the whole train of similar foolish apologies and excuses, should always be heard with suspicion and disgust; and where young people find themselves at all inclined to set up such excuses, they should immediately stand self-convicted of the beginning of mischief, and should at once resolve to do the thing properly, and to acquire a habit of so doing.
12. Kindness to animals.—In most families, one or more domestic animals are kept: as they are removed from their natural state, in which they could have supplied their own needs, and that for the use or gratification of man, they have a claim to be properly supplied and kindly treated. “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.”
13. Every domestic animal should be distinctly understood to be the charge of an individual; else there is great danger of its being forgotten or neglected, under the idea that another person has supplied it. The person who undertakes this charge, should have a regular time allotted for fulfilling it, and a regular place assigned, in which supplies are to be put as they accumulate; the fragments of the cookery, and of the table, for the poor dog and cat, and even the crumbs for the chickens or sparrows. Let nothing be wasted that can contribute to the happiness of any living thing; there is something delightful in a benevolence resembling that of the bountiful Creator, who provides for the lowest creatures, and takes pleasure in their happiness.
14. Children should early be taught to be kind to animals; encouraged to supply them with food and water; taught to know what food is suitable for them; and never, on any account, be allowed to torment them in sport.
15. Cleanliness is as conducive to the health and comfort of animals, as it is to the human species. Even those that bear the character of the dirtiest animals, thrive astonishingly better if kept thoroughly clean; and their being kept so is essential to the health and comfort of those who live near them.
16. Borrowing.—Avoid a habit of borrowing: remember, “the borrower is servant to the lender.” The proverb runs, “He who goes a-borrowing, goes a-sorrowing;” and so, indeed, does he who lends to some people. They are only concerned for their own immediate convenience, and have no due regard to their neighbor’s property. They will even forget that the article does not belong to them, or imagine that it was returned long ago, and will feel offended when the owner applies for it. This is very frequently the case with respect to books, the benefit of which a benevolent man would wish to extend to his friends; but is often, by repeated losses, discouraged and deterred.
17. In household affairs, people should take care to have their own articles kept in good repair and fit for use, that they may not often be compelled to trouble their neighbors. If any article is borrowed, special care should be impressed on the minds of all concerned, to remember that it is borrowed, to preserve it from injury, and to return it to the owner as soon as done with.
18. It is wise to have a separate place, in which to put borrowed articles, especially borrowed books; lest, being put among others, the circumstance of their being borrowed should be forgotten, the lender injured, and the borrower disgraced.
These hints will not be despised either by Christian mistresses or Christian servants, on whom it is incumbent that the houses in which they preside or serve, should be models of good management to observers, and of comfort to the inhabitants. It is no small part of Christian duty to make all connected with us as comfortable as our means and circumstances will admit. “If a Christian,” said Mr. Newton, “is but a shoe-black, he ought to be the best in the parish.”
Gorham Abbott, The Family At Home