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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 of him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; and they shall say unto the elders of the 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; so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear and fear." written, Levit. xx. 9, curseth his father or his
And again it is
Every one that mother shall be surely put to death." You see, my dear young friends, the great severity with which the sin of disobedience to parents was visited among the Jews: as a long and prosperous life was promised to those who honoured their parents; so those who dishonoured and disobeyed them were not thought worthy to live. Now all this is useful to show you how very great ac→
count God takes of children's behaviour to their parents, and how closely He watches them, to see whether they pay them due honour or no: there is not one of you, dear children, who is old enough to know right from wrong, but God has His all-seeing eye upon you, and marks whether you mind the voice of your father and mother. Now try to remember this : try to remember that God gave you your parents, and put you in their power, and made you dependent upon their kindness for food and clothing when you were too weak to help yourselves; and that in return for the care and the pains which they took for you, and the love which they have shown towards you during your infancy, He has commanded you to honour them. Your parents stand in the place of God to you: He made you, and sent you into this world, and He has committed His authority over you to those who are your earthly parents: He is
your heavenly Father; and He commands you to
obey, and honour, and respect your
earthly father and mother. He even promises a reward in this world to such obedience. Now, although we may not always be able to see this promise fulfilled toward those who are dutiful children, yet we may be quite sure that it is fulfilled, and that an especial blessing rests upon such persons through their lives. Nobody ever was a loser in the end by obeying God's commandments: "in keeping his commandments," we are told in the Psalms, "there is great reward."* Now I am sorry to say I have often been told by parents, when I have complained to them about their children's bad conduct, that they have often told them of it, but they will not mind them. Now, my dear children, I hope this is not the case with you. I hope you do not set your parents at nought, particularly if they are kind and indulgent to you, and cannot bear to correct you you must be very careful not to let this spirit of rebellion against the restraint of home grow upon you; for it
* Psalm xix. 11.
is generally the beginning of all that is evil: if I see a child despise the words of its father and mother, I cannot help saying to myself, here is the beginning of an ungodly life; if that child does not obey his parents, whom he has seen, how shall he obey God whom he has not seen?—if he sets at nought the authority of his parents at home, is he not very likely to set at nought the laws of the land, and to disobey the rulers of his people?—and if he grows up, how can he expect to make his children honour and obey him? Can he hope for God to bless his family when he by his misconduct brought his father's gray hairs in sorrow to the grave? Remember, then, my young friends, that it is written in the word of God, that what a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Now all of you are in the seed-time of your lives; and as you now sow, you will reap when you grow up. I mean that your future life is most likely to be happy or unhappy, according as you are now
* Gal. vi. 7.
attentive or inattentive to your duties. If, while you are young, and are consequently put in subjection to others, you are disobedient and undutiful, you cannot hope that hereafter, when you come to have children of your own, they will obey you any better. If you sow disobedience now, you will reap disobedience by-andbye. And above all remember, that even supposing you may not seem to reap as you have sown here upon earth, at the day of judgment you will surely reap as you have sown. If you have obeyed your parents upon earth, you will then receive the reward of your obedience; and if you have despised them, you will be called to account for having disobeyed and despised God's commandments, and having set at nought those whom He set over you in His stead as your earthly parents. You must not think, too, that you have any excuse for disobedience, because your parents may be sometimes passionate, or correct you, as you may think, unreasonably you are not now allowed to judge