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place of authority, and He requires of the children obedience.
The parents are the best teachers and the best guides. They hold their right, not from the sovereign, nor from any man or body of men under the sovereign, but directly from God. Their commission to rule is more than a royal commission; it is divine. The lessons imparted by them are the most nourishing lessons. The control exercised by them is the sweetest and the most effectual control. The example set by them is the most powerful example by which their children can be guided to righteousness.
God calls us to obey this sacred authority. Speaking to us by one into whose heart He put His words, He says, “ My son, hear the instruction 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." A child distinguished by obedience to his parents has about his person decorations far more to be admired than the most massive chains of gold or the most splendid jewels. Such is the opinion of Him who made all the jewels in the universe, and to whom they all belong. “Receive instruction,” He says, “ rather than silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom
is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” It ought to be the highest ambition of the young, therefore, to be thus adorned. When they are remarkable for obedience to their parents, they have upon them an ornament which makes the simplest dress beautiful; whereas the want of it mars and destroys the beauty of the finest attire. Let all without exception desire this distinction ; for the poorest as well as the richest child may possess it. Let them wear it constantly. Let them go out with it in the morning ; let them come in with it at night; let it be upon them all the day. It is not wasted by wearing; it is improved. The more it is worn it increases in splendour. “Keep thy father's commandment,” says our divine Counsellor, “and forsake not the law of thy mother; bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.”
Further, we ought to honour our parents by gratitude and kindness. It is not little they have done for us. In this respect also they stand next to God. When we think of the grateful returns which we are called upon to render, our parents stand at the head of all the earth. God has from the beginning given us life, and all the necessaries and comforts of life; but He did so at first by placing us under our parents' wings. He has protected us from the very day of our entrance into the world; but He did so at first by laying us tender and unfledged in the warm nest of our parents' home. He has made us to grow in knowledge and understanding ; but He did so at first by appointing our parents to sow in our young minds the seeds of knowledge. He made them, for many years, the authors to us of innumerable blessings. If, therefore, we are called to be grateful to them, it is not without cause. Surely the duty which God requires us to perform to them is most reasonable. He has made them more than any other to us, and he asks us in return to be more than any other to them.
“Be grateful to them,” He says. Be grateful and kind to them when, during childhood's years, your bodies are expanding, and intelligence is beginning to light up your yet unwrinkled brows. Be grateful and kind to them when you are rejoicing in the full strength and vigour of manhood, and when, far it may be from their abode, you are fighting the battle of life, and gathering around you new friends, and riches, and honours. Be grateful and kind to them when you are enjoying the noontide of your days, and when the shadows of evening are descending around their aged heads. Let them feel the warmth of your love. Let it be your ambition to be a joy to them. Remember that whatever good you do, they experience the delight of it; and that whatever evil you do, they experience the burden and the disgrace of it. Remember that when you are exalted they feel the honour of your exaltation, and that when you are degraded they feel the shame of your degradation. While it is impossible for any to pass through this world of sin and of sorrow with hearts unwounded, seek with all your might that you may heal your parents' wounds, and that you may cause them none. Dry up their tears with loving hands, and seek that they may never have reason to shed a tear of grief over any misdeed of yours. Be a joy to them, not a sorrow. “The father of the righteous,” says the Scripture, “shall greatly rejoice.” His joy shall be more than ordinary. But when the case is reversed, the grief of the parent is more than ordinarily bitter. “A foolish son,” says the Scripture, “is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.” Such a return is not kind. It is not grateful. It is the worst of all ingratitude—it is the worst of all unkindnesses—by folly and misconduct to wring a parent's heart with sorrow.
They may have abundance of this world's goods, and may not need our help; but if in other ways we show to them the love which would have helped them to the utmost, had they required it, that proof of our affection will more than double the sweetness of their store. It may be, however, that they are in less favoured circumstances. It may be that, when we are rising in worldly prosperity, they are descending into the vale of indigence. It may be that, when their eyes are becoming dim, and the vigour of their arms is decreasing, and the tide of their spirits is ebbing, their growing infirmities are called on to bear the grievous burden of poverty. Then it is for us to hear the call of Heaven, saying to us, “ Honour thy father and thy mother.” If they once gave food to us, it is not too much that we should be asked to give food to them. If they once cherished us under their wings, it is not too much that we should be asked to cherish them under ours. When parents are thus supported by their children, it gives them not merely bare life, but joyful life. The proof of love which