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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 deftroyed 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 perish by an unufual death for this fin? Let monfters of ungrateful children, who hate their parents, and wish them dead for the fake of their honors and property, tremble when they read his histo ry, and the bleedings of his fathers heart. What was the conduct of the wicked fons of Jacob? What was the unnatural disposition they showed 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 father with forrow to the grave. How should such ingrates of chil dren ftand aghaft and fhudder, 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 fhall fay, 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 fpeak rudely or irreverently to them, or refpe&ting 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 wife, and pious, yet you must ftill honor and refpect 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 promife 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 fon, who did it not. And furely thofe who refufe 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 rise up and call their mother blessed. The good breeding, politeness, 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 she fat "on his right hand." Here is an example for children to teach them how they fhould 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 wise son maketh a glad father, but a foolish son "is the heavinefs of his mother." The ftrongeft images in nature are portrayed to view in the condemnation of children difrespectful 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 present, 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 fiate of weakneís beyond other animals, and abfolutely unfit to nourish, provide for, or govern ourselves; hence God in the onftitution of nature hath made provifion for these circum
fances 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 eafieft thing in the world. To take pleasure to please, and to feel it grievous to give them offence, can any thing poffibly be eafier than this? The yoke of Chrift is eafy 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 happinefs. To be deprived of this privilege they could have neither comfort nor pleafure. They feel this counfel the joy of their hearts. "Hearken to thy father that "begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she 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 fo 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 difobedient children. They are always inrolled with the moft 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 epifle 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,
mediately bow your hearts to the order of heaven. "Fear 66 every man his father, and every man his mother." Here it will be enquired, muft children obey their parents when they are come to full maturity of age? The answer here is plain. God hath placed parents over you, and without an exempted cafe, enjoined your obedience; and are you wiser than Jehovah Some will be ready to rife on tip-toe to afk, how long are children under the command and government of parents ? The answer here cannot be reduced to perfed definition, more than the colours of the rainbow can be exactly difcriminated. Let it be obferved, they are never free from love, honor and reverence till death diffolves the relation, but there are various degrees of parental overfight, which prudence muft adjust to the varying circumftances of children. Some are to teach them to go and speak; fome to teach them to read, labour and good manners; fome to teach them the fear of God, and the principles of religion; fome to settle them in the world, and to put them into a state of making a livelihood for themselves. When things are thus far advanced, parental duty appears to be clofing, their obligations of ftrict obedience ceafing, and they take the place of an independent reference to God. Only let children, who have rifen into honor, wisdom, learning and power above their parents, recollect the conduct of the greatest mere man that ever appeared in our world. With all the favours of heaven and wonders he wrought, he did not feel himself exalted above the voice of reafon, the counfel and advice of a father. "Mofes hearkened to his father-in-law, " and did all that he faid."
Fourthly, another branch of filial dutifulness, is a willingnefs and pleasure to receive instruction from parents. Bleffed are the parents difpofed to give religious inftruction to their offfpring, and blessed are the children who are ready to receive it. These are matters of the higheft command to parents, and of the last importance to children. Let every child hearken to the voice of heaven in the advice of Solomon, which is
■ counsel to all children, "My son hear the inftruction of thy <father, and forfake not the law of thy mother, for they shall
be an ornament of grace unto thine head and chains about "thy neck." What an encouragement to parents, to feel their children willing to learn how they fhould acquire knowledge common, civil and divine. If they depart before them, how cheerfully should they with sweet refignation commit them to the arms of Jefus. If parents fhould die firft, with what hopes. may they leave them behind, in the comfortable expectation, that after they have ferved their generation according to the will of God they will meet with them in glory. But whe ther they live or die, or their parents live or die, how pleafing the thought, that all are and will be with God. Wherefore, my dearly beloved children and youth, the hope of the church and the hope of the world, allow me to entreat you by the love of your parents and by the mercies of God, that you liften "to the inftruction of your father, and give heed to the law "of thy mother."
Fifthly, another part of dutifulness is, patiently to fubmit to the correction of your parents. This is one of the most reluctant and painful duties of children. But, my dear little ones, it is necessary for your comfort, usefulness and happiness. The directions of heaven are wisdom. God enjoins the mea fure, and often the recipient of the fcourge is lefs afflicted than the adminiftrator. O that it could be impreffed upon your infant minds, that the parents muft hate you who correct you not for your faults. This is nature, reafon and scripture, and riper years will blefs God for the feverity. Can there be a child fo loft in unnatural affection as to wish his parents fhould bate and abhor him. But the father who correcteth not his child is confidered by infinite wisdom as a hater of him. Hearken to the heavenly adjudication. "He that fpareth the rod "hateth his fon, but he that loveth him chafteneth him by"times. Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but