Sivut kuvina
[ocr errors]

The law of Moses strongly inculcates this duty; instances of it are frequent in the Old Testament, of which no one is more affecting than the conduct of Joseph. The writings of Solomon, the wisest of mankind, abound in such exhortations : “My son, (says he) hear “ the instruction of thy father, and forsake “6 not the law of thy mother.” He gives honour to his father, for the care of his education, and for instructing him in true wisdom. Our blessed Saviour affords a strong example of the most meritorious obedience and affection to his parents; even he, the Son of God, soon after his coming into the world, “ was subject unto them;" and just before his leaving the world, he provided for his afflicted and distressed mother, by placing her under the protection of his amiable and beloved disciple. He said to his mother, 66 Woman," or (as the refinement of modern language would render the word in the most respectful terms, for it is the same in which Augustus Cæsar addressed the Queen of Egypt), “ Madam, behold thy Son;" he will be to thee, in that capacity, as a protector and near relation: and immediately that disciple took her to his own house. He also severely rebukes the cruelty and hypocrisy of the Jews, in finding excuses to evade the discharge of this duty. Christ says to the Scribes and Pharisees, “ Why do ye trans6 gress the commandment of God by your 6 tradition? for God commanded saying, Ho“6 nour thy father and thy mother. He that ““ curseth father or mother, let him die the So death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to « his father or mother, it is a gift, by whatso66 ever thou mightest be profited by me, and 66 honour not his father or his mother, he shall 6 be free. 9* The meaning of which passage is as follows: The commandment of God


* Matthew xv. 3.

in the second table of Moses, has enjoined you to honour your father and mother; which means, amongst other things, to relieve and assist them: but you presume to say, that if that sum, which should enable you to relieve the wants of your parents, be laid upon the altar, as an offering in the temple, you may justly plead that you cannot afford such assistance, and that you have put it out of your power, by a meritorious act of religion, to do any thing for them. My positive command, says the Almighty, is to honour your father and your mother; I have said, “I will have “ mercy and not sacrifice;” the traditions of men have falsely taught you otherwise, they have furnished you with an excuse to neglect an indispensable obligation, and to leave the authors of your being to beggary and contempt. The most essential duty, therefore, of children is, undoubtedly, piety to their parents, and this word must be taken

in a most extensive sense, it must include love and reverence for their persons, a dutiful submission to their commands, a close atténtion to, and a strict observance of, their injunctions and advice: “Children, obey “ your parents in all things, (says St. Paul) 66 for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.”* Moreover, let children shew, in a more advanced age, a strong attachment to them, and a grateful sense of the obligations they have received. Ingratitude is the basest of all immoralities; and what are the benefits we receive from others, compared to the anxieties of parental tenderness in our infancy, of right and religious education in our nonage, of provision for our riper years? Happy ought we to esteem ourselves, if we can add to the support and comfort of their old age; we are clearly fulfilling that duty, next to the service of God. Again, as all our teach

* Col. iü. 20


ers and governors are set over us by our parents, and receive their delegated authority, to them also must be shewn reverence, respect, and obedience; we must lend a patient and attentive ear to their advice and instruction also; we must feel a desire and emulation to excel in every laudable and useful accomplishment. As the wax must be softened, before it can be stamped with a beautiful and permanent impression, so the youthful mind inust be warmed by the nobler feelings of ingenuous pride, and a desire of excellence, before it can receive with effect the lasting marks of liberal education. Let young persons duly consider, that the figure they will hereafter make in the world, that their success in their several situations, must depend greatly upon themselves, upon the exertions of their early years; they must not fail to do their part, and endeavour to acquire the requisite knowledge, or skill, to



« EdellinenJatka »