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language of them all is much the same, as hath often been observed, with that of Pharaoh's daughter to the mother of Moses, “ Take this child, and nurse it for “me *.” • Let there be the like tenderness in your breasts towards your offspring that there is in mine towards them and you. Do your duty, and you shall not fail to have your wages.' And such, surely, was the sentiment our Saviour meant to convey, when he "S took up little children in his arms, put his hands “on them, and blessed them t." And I must add, that the condescension of the great God, in styling himself our Father, and the measures which, as such, he takes to prepare us for the inheritance we are to enjoy in heaven, when arrived at man's estate ; furnish at once the most powerful argument to ex. cite us to our duty, and the plainest directions to guide us therein.
And now, can we find it in our hearts to resist the united force of all these motives, pouring in upon us from every quarter, and addressing themselves to every passion of the human breast? Can we annihilate all concern for the interests of our children, the welfare of our country, the glory of God, and our own comfort and honour here and hereafter ! Can we see ourselves surrounded with those dear ob. jects of our love, to whom under God we gave exiftence, beseeching us with tears to become their guarda ians, patrons, and friends ? Can we hear the cries of our country, amidst the wounds she has received from infidelity and irreligion, entreating us to have compasfion, for her fake, on our offspring? Can we hear the authoritative voice of God himself, commanding us, at the peril of all the infamy and anguish which brutal neglect will sooner or latter bring on us, to train up our children in the way they should go ;-and yet remain totally unaffected? God forbid! These motivess furely will have their effect. You do feel them, parents. Set about your duty tben in earnest. Be obedient to the voice of heaven. Convince all around you, that you have not loft fight of the interests of your coun. try. Gratify that uuconquerable paflion you feel for the happiness of your children. Realize the benefits which, through the divine favour, will result to them from your prudent care and tender love in this world and another. And follow your unwearied endeavours for their welfare, with ardent prayers to God for the defired suecess. ---So, may ten thousand blessings be poured into your bofoms by the Father of mercies! So, may your dying pillows be made easy by the tenderest offices of filial affection! And so, may you cach have the transporting pleasure, on the great day of account, of thus addressing your Jndge, “ Behold “ here am I, O Lord, and the children thou hast gra. 6 ciously given me !"
the * Exod, ii. &
† Mark. 16.
It might now very naturally be expected, that we should close this discourse with an address to children, especially to those who owe to their parents the inef. simable advantages of a prudent, virtuous, and religi.. ous education : but we forbear at present, as this will be the subject of the next discourse.
Eph. vi. 1, 2, 3. Children, obey your parents in the Lord : for this
is richt. Honour thy father and mother, (which is the first commandment with promise) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on tõe earth. THE artless fimplicity and commanding authori.
ty with which the moral precepts of the Bible are enjoined upon us, must, I think, strike the mind of every attentive reader with pleasure. No:ling could be more natural than for the apostle, after he had held up to the view of the Ephesians the exceeding riches of the grace of God in Christ, to persuade them to the duties of benevolence. A gospel that origipates in supreme love, cannot surely be believed, felt, and enjoyed, without impelling men to every office of kindness which the light of nature teaches and enjoins. Upon these grounds he had recommended, not only the more general and public duties of social life, but those particularly of hubands and wives, which
we have considered at large in a former discourse. And as families arise out of the conjugal relation, which give existence to another species of duties essentially important to the welfare of society, these duties too he explains and enforces, Parents he exhorts to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord ; and children, in our text, to behave themselves with all becoming reverence and duty to. wards their parents. The business of education, than which there is not any duty of greater consequence to the world and the church, we have largely treated in the preceding discourse. And we now go on to lay open the various offices of filial piety, and our obligations to them.
It is to children the admonition in the text is addressed. In which denomination are included both males and females, of every rank and condition of life; sons and danghters in law; adopted children ; and even illegitimate children too, for there is a duty owing from them to their parents, however unworthy and dishonourable a part such parents may have acted *. And by parents are meant both father and mother, as it is particularly expressed in the commandment which the apostle quotes. “ Honour thy “ father and thy mother.” Which shews that parental authority is not confined to the father only. Be the paternal rights what they may, there are maternal rights allo: and these draw after them duties and respects from children to the mother, as well as the former to the father. And it is further to be observ. ed, that obedience and reverence are due, not to immediate parents only, but to their parents also, that is, grand-fathers and grand-mothers, and indeed to all in the ascending line, that is, uncles and aunts.
ed, * Indeed by the law of Solon, children basely born were not ebliged to maintain their parents. In such high reputation did civilized pagans hold the marriage-relation.
Now the duties enjoined, on children in our text to their parents, are all comprehended in the two ideas of obedience and reverence.
First, Obedience. “ Children obey your parents." That is, listen to their instruction, and be obedient to their commands. In the early part of llfe, when children are totally incapable of governing themselves, absolute and unlimited obedience is required. When reason opens, and they can discein good and evil, they are still to be obedient in all things, so far as is con. fiftent with a good conscience. And ever after, on the liberal grounds of friendship, they are to accommo. date themselves to the wishes and views of their pa. rents, provided these do not clash with the duty they owe to fuperior authority. This limitation some think is expressed in the words immediately subjoined—“Obey your parents in the Lord;" that is, so far as is consistent with the regard you owe to the authority of God. Or perhaps the apostle's intention may be, to point out the piety which should iningle itself with their duty. “ Obey them in obedience to “ the divine command : have regard to Christ in your 6 obedience, and to them as his disciples and feryants.” And fo all the pleasing qualifications of affection, cor. diality, and cheerfulness, are included in the admoni. tion.
Secondly, Reverence. “ Honour thy father and mother.” That is, cherish in your breasts the most afsuctionate elteein for their persons and characters;