It has been said that the mark of a good teacher is that he can explain deep truth to little children. William Swan Plumer was a good teacher. His book The Ribbon Room is written for children, and speaks at such a simple level that even a 3 or 4 year old could listen attentively to what he has to say. Here is his introduction, "To My Little Friends," to whet your appetite:
Benjamin Morgan Palmer's book The Broken Home: Lessons in Sorrow is a poignant, powerful journey through the deaths of Palmer's children, wife, and mother. He writes to bind up the broken-hearted by sharing the depth of his own feeling as he watched the Lord take his loved ones home to heaven. If you are grieving the loss of a family member, especially a child, this book will be a healing balm to the soul.
Erastus Hopkins (1810-1872) was a Princeton Seminary graduate, and a Presbyterian pastor in South Carolina, New York, and Connecticut. His book The Family A Religious Institution: or Heaven Its Model is much needed reading for Christian families today, for in it he reminds us that the family is as truly a religious institution as is the church. After establishing this fact from the Scriptures, and showing how heaven is the model of the family, he examines the family from several different aspects: childhood piety, the habits of childhood, parental duties, the season of parental effort, the culture of childhood obedience, on guiding the affections to God, and the covenantal sign and seal of baptism. How we need to be reminded of these things today - and sometimes hearing it from a voice of a different century is just what we need to be awakened to our dutie anew.
Regular family worship is one of the forgotten habits of family discipleship in the 21st century. But lest we imagine that the 19th century was a golden age of family worship, listen to James Waddel Alexander, in his book Thoughts on Family Worship:
In a period when the world is every day making new inroads on the church, it has especially invaded the household. Our church cannot compare with that of the seventeenth century in this regard. Along with Sabbath observance, and the catechising of children, Family-Worship has lost ground. There are many heads of families, communicants in our churches, and (according to a scarcely credible report) some ruling elders and deacons, who maintain no stated daily service of God in their dwellings. It is to awaken such to their duty that this volume has been prepared.
Alexander covers the following topics in his book:
1. The Nature, Warrant, and History of Family Worship
2. The Influence of Family Worship on Individual Piety
3. The Influence of Family Worship on Parents
4. The Influence of Family Worship on Children
5. The Influence of Family Worship on Domestics
6. Family Worship as a Means of Intellectual Improvement
7. The Influence of Family Worship on Domestic Harmony and Love
8. The Influence of Family Worship on a Household in Affliction
9. The Influence of Family Worship on Visitors, Guests, and Neighbors
10. The Influence of Family Worship in Perpetuating Sound Doctrine
11. The Influence of Family Worship on the Church
12. The Influence of Family Worship on the Commonwealth
13. The Influence of Family Worship on Posterity
14. Practical Directions as to the Mode of Conducting Family Worship
15. The Reading of Scripture, as a Part of Family Worship
16. Psalmody, as a Part of Family Worship
17. The Household Exhorted to the Duty of Family Worship
18. Difficulties and Objections - Conclusion
Share this book with your family and friends!
William Buell Sprague, author and editor of wonderful biographies of American pastors (soon to be posted here!), also wrote beautiful and instructive letters to his daughter. Her mother (his wife) had passed away some time previously, and so he desired to set down in writing his hopes and dreams and directions for her as she prepared to go out from his household. These letters are not only of historical significance, but also are of great practical value even to us in the 21st century today. To be sure, times have changed - but with chapters such as "Early Friendships," "Marriage," "Improvement of Time," "Practical Religion," and "Humility," surely our Christian daughters could benefit from Sprague's book. It can be found in its entirety here.