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FOREWORD.

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It is to be regretted that the current tonë of conversation concerning marriage is so frivolous, and that its sacred duties and lofty responsibilites are so lightly assumed. The theme which should engage the most serious attention of the pulpit has been practically ignored, and has been delegated to the light pleasantries of society.

The divorce rate in the United States at present is something like 612 out of every 10,000 marriages - a greater number than that of any other so-called Christian nation. Germany lags pitifully behind us with a bare 165, and even France can show only 86. But instead of proclaiming against divorce, let our preachers speak more frequently on subjects relating to marriage and the home, giving the young people loving counsel and

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practical advice, and divorces will become less frequent.

Marriage deals with the most solemn duties young people have to do, and yet in what a thoughtless manner many enter its sacred portals. I have seen young people follow with solemn mien a loved form to the grave, but with what rashness and irreverence they rush into the sanctities and obligations of marriage, an event of such farreaching possibilities and perils, that death has more than once been the longed-for relief from the penalties of its haste.

How many ill-matched people there are among us.

It would seem that this fact should be sufficient to make men wise and women cautious, but in spite of all the wretchedness that thrills in the cry of the unfortunate, there is still a degree of blind fickleness on the subject that is alarining.

The writer believes that a wise marriage leads to the truest and happiest life. In these pulpit, platform and press utterances he seeks not to discourage matrimony, but to praise it.

Marriage is the world's civilizer, and the home the cabinet room where is devised all the great and good things of earth. Home is the cradle where the sorrows of earth are rocked to sleep.

Marriage remolds character, brightens prospects, gives meaning to words, elevates hopes, arouses ambition, and gives purpose to life. It doubles joys and divides sorrows.

Our social chariots should be attached to the stars of love. All history and experience have proven that the only permanent arrangement in the social order is love between man and woman. Marriage is not a failure when it has been true and when the wedded life is ruled by love.

God guards the marriage relation and shields the home circle making the family pre-eminent among the chosen instrumentalities for the accomplishment of the Divine purposes of mercy to our race. Let us resist every tendency to disparage this sacred rela

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tion, or to impair our sense, not only of its divine authority, but of its important influence relating to social organization and the very existence of the Church, in all their manifold blessings.

These chapters were written for the purpose of exalting the sacredness of marriage, and to point out that the God of love has made choice of the domestic relation as the depository of His grace, and there laid the foundations of that spiritual temple. from which the symbol of His presence and glory is never more to de part.

The author first published these chapters in many leading papers, including the Philadelphia Press, Philadelphia North American, New York Press, Pittsburg Leader, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Providence Telegram, Chicago Inter Ocean and others. The author hereby acknowledges permission for reproduction in permanent form.

MADISON C. PETERS.
Study of
The Baptist Church of the Epiphany,
New York.

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