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It afflicts me, my brethren, that time commands me abrupt. ly to break off this important subject, and leave it with scarcely the outlines of it drawn. May the few observations which have been now made, sink deep into the hearts and influence the practice of all. We should hereby distinguishingly ferve our country and our God, we should have orderly families and pious congregations. It would exceedingly tend to promote morality, and virtue, and practical religion. “ Ye fathers “provoke not your childron to wrath, but bring them up in " the purture and admonition of the Lord."
The Duty of Children to Parents.
Col. iii. 20. Children obey your parents in all things, for this is
well pleasing to the Lord.
AMONG all the branches which spring from religions root, none produces flowers more amiable and beautiful than docile and obedient children. The effects of religion wheresoever they appear, are always charming in the view of the pious mind, but in youth they shine with a peculiar lustre. The fruits most lovely to the fight frequently grow upon small trees; fo piety affords a most pleasing aspect, when it appears in tender years. How melancholy the thought to behold multitudes of amiable youth adorned with every agreeable qualification of mind and body, so that did Jesus look upon them as he did upon the young man in the gospel, he would love them, yet in them there is one thing lacking? A well proportioned body and a beautiful fet of features, what are they? Like the flowers of the field they foon vanish away. A well accomplished mind, what is it without religion? The former will quickly be too loathrome for the light, and the prey of worms, and the latter must be thrust down into eternal burnings, and be united with the accursed company of devils and damned fpirits, where the smoke of their torment shall ascend forever and ever. In few congregations can there be obferved a more lovely and beautiful class of youth than in this, but alas ! how many are deftitute of the one thing needful? O! why, my precious children, will you act such a part against yourselves, and cast a gloomy cloud over all your excellencies, by neglecting to put on the attire of pure and undefiled religion, which would be the richest ornament of the whole ? As the head is the ornament of he body, fo religion would be a crown more excellent than gold, to all your other qualities, of which you are the subjects. O! that many could be persuaded to give up their names to Christ, to join themselves unto the Lord, and bring forth the fruits of piety in their hearts and lives. Could you be prevai. led upon from the principles of love to God and faith in Jesus, to perform all the focial duties incumbent upon you, especially the exalted duty of obedience to parents, for this will be truly well pleasing to God.
The duty enjoined in our text is one of the first perhaps, of which human nature is capable. “Children obey your parents “ in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.” Parents are among the earliest objects of a child's knowledge and attention; he becomes soonest acquainted with them, looks to them with a fond affection, and seems to expect support and protegica from them, leans upon and reposes confidence in them. Thus nature dictates the first lines of filial duty, even before a due sense of the connection is formed. When a child is somewhat grown, acquired a few ideas, and arrived at some measure of understanding, he must begin to be sensible of the obligations he is under to his parents. When he can consider their tender and disinterested affection, their incellant care and labour, in
aursing, educating, and providing for them, during that state in which he had neither discretion or strength to provide for himself, the feelings of his own heart will declare to him, that he owes to them many peculiar duties. The sacred oracles of God dwell much upon the dutifulness of children to parents, and greatly exhibit in strong colourings the angry displeasure of heaven against the refractory and disobedient. Peradventure no text more comprehensive of this relative obligation, than the one selected for the subject of this discourse. When
the Holy Spirit expreffes fummarily the duties of children to their parents, the term obedience is generally employed. “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right." The word obedience must be taken in the most extensive latitude, comprising every thing contained in the term dutifulness. “ Children be dutiful to your parents in all things, for this is “ well pleasing to God.” They must in all things be dutiful; not merely in some things or such as they please, which is the unhappy case with too many froward children, but in every matter commanded by the parent, which is not plainly contrary to the will of God. When parents are so fuolish or wicked, as to issue orders of this nature, then God is to be obeyed rather than man. No other filial disobedience is excusable from sin but this. But when the child sweetly and readily performs his duty in all things, it is well pleasing unto the Lord. Not only pleasing, but well pleasing unto him, It is a thing agreeable to the mind of heaven, and most acceptable to the Most High.
When God commands children to be dutiful to their parents, and they comply with the requisition, they not only obey their parents, but God ; not only are they pleasing to their fathers according to the fleth, but well pleasing to the Father of their immortal spirits. Hence this dutifulness hath a pecu. liar promile annexed to it. “ Honor thy father and thy mo"ther, which is the first commandment with promise, that it
#may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the Heartb.
All that thall be attended to at prefent, will only be a few observations upon some of the branches of filial dutifulness. And O! that the children and youth of this flock may receive and understand the fame, lay them up in their hearts and continu. ally practise them in their lives.
The first branch I fhall mention, is that children fhould un. feignedly love their parents. Next to the Supreme God, none fhould posfefs a fuperior share of their esteem and affection. Remember what love you owe them in reason and justice for all their love, care and tenderness to you. How great bas been their anxiety and trouble in your nursing and education ? How many have been the wakeful nights they have watched your fick pillow with tearful eyes and bleeding hearts, left you should die, and mot live? They take your happiness of misery to be in a great measure the happiness and misery of their own lives. Let not children therefore deprive their parents of comfort, by their misconduct - let them not render them miserable, by ruining themselves. Tho' they should chide, restrain from, and even correct you for doing amiss, let not any of these things abate your affection to them. These are duties which God requires of them, and they are performed for your good, in order to form you for usefulness in the world, and to promote your happiness. It is an evidence of a froward child, that loves his parents the less, because he is rebuked for doing wrong, or restrained from having his own perverse will. Even though you should perceive many faults and infirmities in your parents, you must manifest your du. tiful affection by bearing with, and covering these failings and weaknesses. Children who act this part are a blessing to their parents, and comfort and rejoice their hearts. Let children icmark the awful judgeidents of heaven upon those who have