He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune, for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. * * * Certainly wife and children are a kind of discipline of humanity.
A dull axe never loves grindstones, but a keen workman does; and he puts his tool on them in order that it may be sharp. And men do not like grinding; but they are dull for the purposes which God designs to work out with them, and therefore He is grinding them.
The heart must be divorced from its idols. Age does a great deal in curing the man of his frenzy; but if God has a special work for a man, he takes a shorter and sharper course with him. This grievous loss is only a further and more expensive education for the work of the ministry; it is but saying more closely, Will you pay the price?
Discipline, like the bridle in the hand of a good rider, should exercise its influence without appearing to do so; should be ever active, both as a support and as a restraint, yet seem to lie easily in hand. It must always be ready to check or to pull up, as occasion may require; and only when the horse is a runaway should the action of the curb be perceptible.