Make Your Home a Bethel

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charles hodge family worshipCharles Hodge on Family Worship

Social prayer includes family prayer, and prayer in the assemblies of the people for social worship. As man’s nature is social, he must have fellowship with his fellow men in all that concerns his inward and outward life. No man lives, or can live for himself, in religion any more than in any other relation. As the family is the most intimate bond of fellowship among men, it is of the utmost importance that it should be hallowed by religion. All the relations of parents, children, and domestics are purified and strengthened, when the whole household is statedly assembled, morning and evening, for the worship of God. There is no substitute for this divinely appointed means of promoting family religion. It supposes, indeed, a certain amount of culture. The head of the family should be able to read the Scriptures as well as to lead in the prayer. Those, however, who cannot do the former, may at least do the latter. All persons subject to the watch or care of the Church should be required to maintain in their households this stated worship of God. The character of the Church and of the state depends on the character of the family. If religion dies out in the family, it cannot elsewhere be maintained. A man’s responsibility to his children, as well as to God, binds him to make his house a Bethel; if not a Bethel, it will be a dwelling place of evil spirits.

~ Charles Hodge, vol. 3, Systematic Theology, 706.

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