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Man. Or should a Parent command any Thing of Confequence, directly oppofite to the Laws of the Land, and the Injunctions of public Authority: here the Magistrate, being the superior Power, in all Things that confefredly belong to his Jurisdiction, is to be obeyed, rather than the Parent, who ought himself to be subject to the Magistrate Or if, in other Points, a Parent should require what was both very evidently, and very greatly, unsuitable to a Child's Condition and Station; or had a clear Tendency to make him miserable; or would be certainly and confiderably prejudicial to him through the Remainder of his Life: where the one goes so far beyond his just Bounds, the other may allowably excuse himself from complying. Only the Case must be both so plain, and withal of such Moment, as may justify him, not only in his own Judgment, which may easily be prejudiced, but in that of every considerate Person, whom he hath Opportunity of consulting, and in the general Opinion of Mankind. And even then, the Refusal must be accompanied with the greatest Decency and Humility; and the strictest Care to make Amends, by all Instances of real Duty, for this one seeming Want
In Proportion as young Persons approach to that Age, when the Law allows them to be capable of governing themselves, they become by Degrees less and less subject to the Government of their parents, especially in smaller Matters : for in the more important Concerns of Life, and above all, in the very important one of Marriage, not only Daughters, (concerning whom, the very Phrase of giving them in Marriage, shews, that they are not to give themselves as they please) but Sons too, should have all possible Regard to the Authority, the Judgment, the Blessing, the Comfort of those, to whom they owe every Thing. And even after they are sent out into the World, to stand on their own Bottom, Ni) they remain for ever bound not to flight, or willing
• See Taylor's Elements of Civil Law, p. 387, 388, 389.
ly to grieve them ; but in all proper Affairs, to consult with them, and hearken to them; as far as it can be at all expected, in Reason or Gratitude, that they should.
4. The last Thing, which in Scripture the Phrase of honouring Parents comprehends, is affording them decent Relief and Support, if they are reduced to want it. For thus our Saviour explains the Word, in his Reproof of the Pharisees, for making this Commandment of no Efect by their Tradition. God commanded, Honour thy Father and thy Mother: but ye say, whosoever shall say to his Father or Mother, it is a Gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me: that is, what should have relieved you, I have devoted to religious Uses ; whosoever should say this, and honoureth not his Father or bis Mother; he shall be free. In St. Mark it is, Yè suffer him no more to do ought for his Father or his Mother 8. And in other Places of Scripture, besides this, honouring a Person signifies contributing to his Maintenance: as 1 Tim. V. 17, 18. Let the Elders that rule well, be counted worthy of double Honour: especially they who labour in the Word and Doctrine; for the Scripture faith, the Labaurer is worthy of his Reward.
How worthy Parents are of this, as well as the other Sorts of Honour, when they need it, fufficiently appears from all that hath been said. If they deserve to be loved and respected; surely they are not to be left exposed to Distress and Want, by those whom they have brought into Life; and for whom they have done so much: but Children, even if they are poor, should both be diligent in working, and provident in saving, to keep their helpless Parents from Extremities : and if they are in competently good Circumstances, should allow them a liberal Share of the Plenty, which they enjoy themselves. Accordingly St. Paul directs, that both Children and Nephews, that is Grand-children, for so the Word Nephew always means in Scripture, should learn first to phew Piety at Home, and to requite their Parents : for that
f Matito xv. 4, 5, 6.
8 Mark vii, 12
is good and acceptable before Godh. Indeed Nature, as well as Christianity, enjoins it so strongly, that the whole World cries out Shame where it is neglected. And the same Realon, which requires Parents to be aslifted in their Necessities, requires Children also to attend upon them, and minister to them, with vigilant Affiduity and tender Affection, in their Infirmities; and to consúlt on every Occasion, their Defires, their Peace, their Ease. And they should confider both what they contribute to their Support, and every other Instance of Regard, which they shew them, not as an Alms, given to an Inferior : but as a Tribute of Duty, paid to a Superior. For which Reason perhaps it may be, that relieving them is. mentioned in Scripture under the Notion of honouring them.
One Thing more to be observed, is, that all these Duties of Children belong equally to both Parents ; the Mother being as expressly named, as the Father, in the Commandment; and having the fame Right in Point of Reason. Only, if contrary Orders are given by the two Parents to the Child; he is bound to obey that Parent rather, whom the other is bound to obey also: but still preserving to each all due Reverence: from which Nothing, not even the Command of either, can discharge him
And now I proceed to the Duties of Parents to their Children: on which there is much less Need to enlarge, than on the other. For not only Parents have more Understanding to know their Duty, and stronger Affections to prompt them to do it: but indeed, a great Part of it hath been already intimated, in setting forth that of Children to them. It is the Duty of Parents, to take all that kind Care, which is the main Foundation of Love; to keep up such Authority, as may secure Respect; to give such reasonable Commands, as may engage a willing Obedience: and thus to make their Chil
* 1 Tim. v. 4. ' Pietas Parentibus, etfi inæqualis eft eorum po.. testas, æqua debebitur. D. 27. 10. 4.
dren so good, and themselves so esteemed by them, that they may depend, in Case of Need, on Afliftance and Succour from them,
More particularly, they are bound to think them, from the first, worthy of their own Inspection and Pains; and not abandon them to the Negligence, or bad Management of others : so to be tender of them and indulge them, as not to encourage their faults ; fo to reprove and correct them, as not to break their Spirits, or provoke their Hatred : to instill into them the Knowledge, and require of them the Practice, of their Duty to God and Man; and recommend to them every Precept, both of Religion and Morality, by what is the strongeft Recommendation, a good and amiable Example: to breed them up as suitably to their Condition, as may be; but to be sure not above it; watching over them with all the Care, that conduces to Health ; but allowing them in none of the Softness, that produces Luxury or Indolence; or of the needless Diftinctions, that pamper Pride: to begin preparing them early, according to their future Station in Life, for being useful in it, to others and themselves : to provide conscientiously for their spiritual and eternal, as well as temporal Good, in disposing of them; and bestow on them willingly, as soon as it is fit, whatever may be requisite to settle them properly in the World: to lay up for them, not by Injustice, Penuriousness, or immoderate Sollicitude, all that they can; but by honest and prudent Diligence and Attention, as much as is sufficient; and to distribute this amongst them, not as Fondness, or Resentment, or Caprice, or Vanity, may dietate; but in a reasonable and equitable Manner; such as will be likeliest to make those who receive it, love one another, and esteem the Memory of the Giver.
These are, in brief, the mutual Duties of Parents and Children: and you will easily perceive that they are the Duties in Proportion of all who by any occasional, or accidental Means, come to stand in the Stead of Parents or of Children. The main Thing which wants
. 189 to be observed, is, that from the Neglect of these Duties on one side, or on both, proceeds a very great Part of the Wickedness and Misery, that is in the World. May God incline the Hearts of all that are concerned either Way in this most important Relation, so to praca tise the several Obligations of it, as may procure to them, in this World, reciprocal Satisfaction and Joy, and eternal Felicity in that which is to come, through Jesus Christ our Lord !
L E C T U RE
The Fifth Commandment.
N my last Discourse I began to explain the fifth 1 Commandment: and having already gone through the Duties of Children and Parents, properly so called, I come now to the other Sorts of Inferiors and Superiors: all which have sometimes the same Names given them, and are comprehended under the Reason and Equity of this Precept.
And here, the first Relation to be mentioned, is, that between private Subjects and those in Authority over them: a Relation so very like that of Children and Fa. thers, that the Duties on both Sides are much the same in each.
But more particularly, the Duty of Subjects, is, to obey the Laws of whatever Government Providence hath placed us under, in every Thing which is not contrary to the Laws of God; and to contribute willingly to its Support, every Thing that is legally required, or may be reasonably expected of us: to be faithful and true to the Interests of that Society, of which we are Members; and to the Perfons of those, who govern it ;