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urfing, educating, and providing for them, during that state in which he had neither difcretion or ftrength to provide for himself, the feelings of his own heart will declare to him, that he owes to them many peculiar duties. The facred oracles of God dwell much upon the dutifulness of children to parents, and greatly exhibit in ftrong colourings the angry displeasure of heaven against the refractory and difobedient. Peradventure no text more comprehenfive of this relative obligation, than the one selected for the fubject of this difcourfe. 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 extenfive latitude, comprising every thing contained in the term dutifulness. "Children be dutiful to your parents in all things, for this is "well pleafing to God." They muft in all things be dutiful; not merely in fome things or fuch 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 fo foolish or wicked, as to iffue orders of this nature, then God is to be obeyed rather than man. No other filial disobedience is excufable from fin but this. But when the child fweetly and readily performs his duty in all things, it is well pleafing unto the Lord. Not only pleafing, but well pleafing unto him. It is a thing agreeable to the mind of heaven, and moft acceptable to the Most High.
When God commands children to be dutiful to their parents, and they comply with the requifition, they not only obey their parents, but God; not only are they pleafing to their fathers according to the fleth, but well pleafing to the Father of their immortal fpirits. Hence this dutifulness hath a pecu liar promife 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 mayeft live long on the "earth."
All that fhall be attended to at prefent, will only be a few obfervations upon fome 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 unfeignedly love their parents. Next to the Supreme God, none fhould poffefs a fuperior fhare of their efteem and affection. Remember what love you owe them in reason and justice for all their love, care and tendernefs to you. How great has been their anxiety and trouble in your nurfing and education ? How many have been the wakeful nights they have watched your fick pillow with tearful eyes and bleeding hearts, left you fhould die, and not live? They take your happiness of mife. ry to be in a great measure the happiness and mifery of their own lives. Let not children therefore deprive their parents of comfort, by their misconduct-let them not render them miferable, by ruining themselves. Tho' they fhould chide, restrain from, and even correct you for doing amifs, 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 lefs, because he is rebuked for doing wrong, or reftrained from having his own perverfe will. Even though you fhould perceive many faults and infirmities in your parents, you must manifest your du tiful affection by bearing with, and covering thefe failings and weakneffes. Children who act this part are a bleffing to their parents, and comfort and rejoice their hearts. Let children remark the awful judgements of heaven upon those who have
conducted themselves bafely and wickedly. What was the dreadful fate of thofe unhappy children, who ran forth and ridiculed. and mocked the aged prophet as he paffed by, crying out upon him, "Go up, bald head, go up, bald head." Bears from the woods rufhed forth and destroyed forty and two of them. An awful punishment for an awful crime.-Wicked ones who difre gard and hate their parents, to what fhameful and untimely deaths are they often brought? Did not Abfolem perifh by an unusual death for this fin? Let monsters of ungrateful children, who hate their parents, and wish them dead for the fake of their honors and property, tremble when they read his hifto ry, and the bleedings of his fathers heart. What was the conduct of the wicked fons of Jacob? What was the unnatu ral difpofition they fhowed towards their brother and aged father? Their want of natural affection, and indulgence of the odious paffion of hatred, had well nigh deftroyed Jofeph, and brought down the grey hairs of their unhappy fatherwith forrow to the grave. How fhould fuch ingrates of chil dren stand aghast and shudder, when they hear fuch words as thefe iffuing in a voice of thunder from the mouth of Jehovah, "Curfed be he that fetteth light by his father or mother, and "all the people shall say, amen."
Secondly, the next particular branch of dutifulness is honor. Children must honor their parents in thought, word and behaviour. They must not even think difhonorably or contemptuously of them in their hearts. They must not speak rudely or irreverently to them, or respecting them. They must by no means behave themselves in an impudent or unbecoming manner before them. Yea, tho' your parents be never fo poor in the world, feeble in their understandings, and even ungodly, notwithstanding you cannot honor them, as rich, and wise, and pious, yet you must still honor and respect them as parents, would you defire to be found well pleafing to the Lord. Remember, that the whole will of heaven for the direction of man
when comprised in ten commandments, this is one, and a ve ry diftinguishing one too, for it has a promise annexed. "Hon"or thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in "the land" "A fon," fays God, by the prophet, "Hon"oreth his father." I he words feem to have a peculiar emphafis, as if he could be no son, who did it not. And furely thofe who refuse to give honor to their parents, are unworthy of the filial character. Tremendous was the curfe which fell upon Ham for difhonoring his father, that a fervant of fervants fhould he be, and his children after him.-Good children will rife up and call their mother bleffed. The good breeding, politenefs, and dutifulness of Solomon to his mother, is recorded for our inftruction and imitation. "Bathsheba went in "unto king Solomon, and the king rofe up to meet her, and "bowed himself unto her, and fat down on his throne, and "caufed a feat to be fat for the kings mother, and fhe fat "on his right hand." Here is an example for children to teach them how they should treat and honor their parents. Let this copy be conftantly imitated by all. Then you will acquire the character of wife children, that make glad your parents. "A wife fon maketh a glad father, but a foolish fon "is the heaviness of his mother." The ftrongest images in nature are portrayed to view in the condemnation of children difrefpe&ful to their parents. "The eye that mocketh at his "father and defpifeth to obey his mother, the ravens of the "valley fhall pick it out, and the young eagles fhall eat it."
Thirdly, the text in our extended contemplations is reduced to a particular place in the enumeration. Obedience is an univerfal term, and inclufive of every thing, yet at prefent, we will treat it in a more limited fituation. "Obey your pa"rents in all things, for this is well pleating unto the Lord." When we are introduced into this world, it is in a fate of weakneís beyond other animals, and abfolutely unfit to nourish, provide for, or govern ourfelves; hence God in the onftitution of nature hath made provifion for these circum
ftances of feeble man. From this fituation originates in a great measure the propriety, reafon and neceffity of obedience to parents. In order to obey their commands and refrain from what they forbid, nothing more is requifite than a natu. ral and predominant efire to please them. One would fup. pofe this was the easiest thing in the world. To take pleasure to please, and to feel it grievous to give them offence, can any thing poffibly be easier than this? The yoke of Christ is easy and his burden is light. And of all the parts of the yoke furely none can be more foft and pleasant than for children cheerfully to obey their parents. To good children it is delight and happiness. To be deprived of this privilege they could have neither comfort nor pleasure. They feel this counsel the joy of their hearts. "Hearken to thy father that «begat thee, and defpife not thy mother when fhe is old.” An heathen philofopher could fay, "To pay honor to parents and make them the returns of obedience, is only to discharge the oldeft, best, and greatest of debts." This obedience is so interwoven in the conftitution, that not to conduct accordingly, feems to be a contradiction to inftinctive nature. Nothing ftrange then that an awful doom is pronounced upon disobedient children. They are always inrolled with the most heinous finners. In the catalogue formed by St. Paul they are ranked with the most atrocious tranfgreffors. The difobedient to parents, are claffed with murderers, haters of God, covenant breakers, &c. This fame apoftle in another epiftle makes up another lift, like an inrolment of hell, but alas, it is drawn from life in this wretched world. Look into the black return. "Blafphemers, traitors, truce-breakers, and difobedient to
parents" This one fin will croud evil children amongst the worst orders in the infernal regions. Wherefore, my precious immortal youth, guard against disobedience as a moft damnable crime, and tarry not on the fulphurious plains of Sodom. If you have ever been guilty of this dreadful offence, repent, and fly to the blood of purification or you perish forever. Im,