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and to whom he ought to look up with respect and reverence, is indeed most dreadful. Let such young people remember, and reflect upon the awful threatenings denounced in the word of God against disobedient children. The eye that mocketh his father and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pluck it out, and the young eagles shall eat it a. Let them reflect too upon the punishment of the disobedient son in the Mosaic law. If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them; then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gates of his place ; and they shall
say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice ; he is a glutton and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones that he die". Again, Every one that curseth his father or his mother, shall surely be put to death. And again, Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother'.
These three latter passages, it is true, are taken from that law which, in the letter, is not binding upon us; and the passage from the book of Proverbs is expressed in a manner that is highly figurative. They all however proceeded from God himself, and shew the heavy displeasure and indignation of God against those who treat their parents with disrespect. Let young people remember also, that in the New Testament those who are disobedient to parents, and without natural affections, are ranked with haters of God and covenant-breakers, and the perpetrators of the greatest enormities.
a Prov. xxx. 17,
b Deut. xxi.
One branch of your duty to your parents consists in succouring them, in helping them in every way, and, so far as you can, in ministering to their wants, in increasing their little stock of comforts. There are, I trust, many instances of young men in the labouring classes, who take pleasure in thus requiting their parents; who are glad, out of what they earn when they are at their full strength, to make some return to their parents for their trouble and expense in rearing, in bringing them up. But, on the other hand, there are, I fear, too many young men, who think they are at liberty to spend upon themselves all that they can get, who perhaps waste in drinking and other indulgences that money, a small part of which would materially add to the comfort of their parents. Some of them, too, long before they have attained the age of twenty-one years, if they chance to earn a little more than is sufficient for their bare maintenance, seem to think that they have a right to separate themselves from the parents' family, in order that they may spend all they earn upon themselves. This is a great mistake. So long as a young man is under the age of full maturity, and residing in the same family, his father has a legal control over his earnings. And even after that age, the voice both of Scripture and of nature would suggest to a son that he ought to do all in his power to add to the comforts of his parents, that he ought to deny himself any indulgence, rather than suffer them to want. It is indeed most unnatural and disgraceful for a young man to spend upon his own lusis, perhaps in drinking with riotous companions, that money, which ought to relieve those from whom he derives his being. You may remember the censure cast by our Saviour upon those, who refused to give such assistance to their parents, upon pretence, that the money which they could spare was corban, that is, devoted to the services of the temple, destined to religious uses. Such conduct he calls selling aside the commandments of God. But how infinitely worse is it for a young man to refuse to do ought for his father or his mother, in order that he may spend all upon himself, may consume it upon
his own lusts! You, I trust, will never be guilty of such disgraceful conduct. You are bound by the voice both of nature and of Scripture to love, honour, and succour your father and mother. By complying with their suggestions you will promote your own well-being, your own credit and comfort and happiness in this world, and will do that which is right, and well-pleasing to the Lord,
The Prayer. Almighty Father, I humbly pray thee to dispose my heart at all times to love, honour, and succour my father and mother. Incline me dutifully to attend to their instruction and advice, and to receive their reproofs with meekness and submission. Enable me to bear with all their infirmities, whether of body or mind, and make me willing to minister to their necessities, and by all the means in my power to contribute to their comfort and happiness. Grant this, O Lord, for the sake of thy well-beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Lord, my heavenly Father, I humbly beg thy blessing, grace, and mercy upon my parents. Cast them not away in the time of old age, forsake them not when their strength faileth them; but have compassion on their infirmities, and help them in all their weaknesses. O remember not against them any of their former iniquities; but according to thy mercy remember them for thy goodness sake in Christ Jesus. Grant that true wisdom may ever be with them; that their hoary heads may be found in the way of righteousness, and their souls be ever precious in thy sight. The longer they live in this world, make them still the readier to die, and the fitter for life eternal. Be thou the strength of their hearts and their portion for ever, through Jesus Christ.
Texts to be committed to memory. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with promise, that it may be well with thee. Eph. vi. 1, 2, 3.
Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Col. ii. 20.
My son, hear the instructions of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. Prov. i. 8, 9.
Keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother. Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. Prov. vi. 20, 21.
Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old. Prov. xxiii. 22.
The eye that mocketh his father and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pluck it out, and the young eagles shall eat it. Prov. xxx. 17.
Every one that curseth his father or his mother, shall surely be put to death. Lev. xx. 9.
Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. Deut. xxvii. 16.