Husbands should try to make home happy and holy. It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest and a bad man who makes his home wretched. Our house ought to be a little church with holiness to the Lord over the door, but it ought never to be a prison where there is plenty of rule and order, but little love and no pleasure. Married life is not all sugar, but grace in the heart will keep away most of the sours. Godliness and love can make a man, like a bird in a hedge, sing among thorns and briars, and set others singing too. It should be the husband’s pleasure to please his wife, and the wife’s care to care for her husband. He is kind to himself who is kind to his wife. I am afraid some men live by the rule of self, and when that is the case, home happiness is a mere sham. When husbands and wives are well yoked, how light their load becomes! It is not every couple that is a such a pair, and more’s the pity. In a true home all the strife is who can do the most to make the family happy. A home should be a Bethel, not a Babel. The husband should be the “houseband,” binding together like a cornerstone, but not crushing everything like a millstone. Unkind and domineering husbands ought not to pretend to be Christians, for they act totally contrary to Christ’s commands. Yet a home must be well ordered, or it will become a Bedlam and a scandal to the parish. If the father drops the reins, the family coach will soon be in the ditch. A wise mixture of love and firmness will do it, but neither harshness nor softness alone will keep home in happy order.
Home is no home where the children are not in obedience; it is rather a pain than a pleasure to be in it. Happy is he who is happy in his children, and happy are the children who are happy in their father. All fathers are not wise. Some are like Eli, and spoil their children. Not to cross our children is the way to make a cross of them. Those who never give their children the rod must not wonder if their children become a rod to them. Solomon says, “Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight to thy soul.” I am not clear that anybody wiser than Solomon lives in our time, though some think they are. Young colts must be broken in or they will make wild horses. Some fathers are all fire and fury, filled with passion at the smallest fault; this is worse than the other and makes home a little hell instead of a heaven. No wind makes the miller idle, but too much upsets the mill altogether. Men who strike in their anger generally miss their mark. When God helps us to hold the reins firmly but not to hurt the horses’ mouths, all goes well. When home is ruled according to God’s word, angels might be asked to stay the night with us, and they would not find themselves out of their element.