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divert even to sacred uses what is required for the relief and comfort of a parent in want, the holy treasury is defiled by our gifts, and loaths the offensive offering,
But though Almighty God will not allow any honour offered to himself to excuse the neglect of our parents ; yet our kindness to them, will stand us in great stead, when He calls us to account for our forgetfulness of Him; and visits us for our transgressions, Hear me your Ecclusüi. father, O children, and do thereafter that ye may be safe. For the Lord hath given the father honour over the children, and hath confirmed the authority of the mother over the fons. Whoso honoureth his father maketh an atonement for his fins; and he that honoureth his mother, is as one that layeth up treasure. – My son, help thy father in his age, and grieve him not as long as he liveth. And if his understanding fail, have patience with him; and despise him not when thou
art in thy full strength. For the relieving of thy father shall not be forgotten: -- in the day of thine affliction it shall be remembered; thy fins also shall melt away, as the ice in the fair warm weather.
But we are not left to rely wholly on the authority of the Son of Sirach, or of any man; God himself in the express words of this commandment has been pleased to promise, that he will bless those that keep it; and this in a manner peculiar and remarkable. Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. The long and happy poffeffion of the land of Canaan, was the reward
proposed to the Jews for the keeping of Deut. v. all God's commandments. You shall walk
in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you; that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall poless. And yet in the folemn delivery
of the ten Commandments, the reward is not subjoined to the whole; but an. nexed, it seems, to one diftinguished precept: as if respect to this one of the divine laws had a superiour efficacy in drawing down that blessing, which indeed was only due to the observance of all,
Nor is this reward a confideration of no weight even to Christians.
First, Children that obey their
parents are the most likely to do well and prosper, to live long and happily, according to the natural course of things. The whole of life is apt to take it's colour from the employment of our youth; and that employment of it which is the most agreeable to our parents, will commonly be most to our advantage.
Secondly, St. Paul alleges as obligatory and yet in force this very commandment, with the promise annexed to Ephes, vi. it. Honour thy father and mother, which %, 3.
is the first commandment with promise, that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long upon the earth. — Dutiful children may yet hope for the blessing of God even in this life: he still interposes in favour of those, who are obedient to this commandment.
Thirdly,Or suppose the rewards offered to Christians were only the blessings of the world to come; the promise here subjoined to this commandment may still be made use of, and applied with great justness for their encouragement. Is it of no consequence, to know what virtues are most acceptable in the fight of God, because He reserves his recompence to the day of Judgment? If obedience' to parents was entitled to an eminent share of God's favour, when the tokens of it were temporal; may we not trust, that he still views this amiable virtue with the same eye; and will distinguish it in a proportionable degree, but with much greater honour, when he makes us citizens of the new Jerusalem, and receives us into everlasting habitations?
Lastly, As the willing observance of this law is peculiarly pleasing to Almighty God, so the violation of it is eminently offensive to Him, and will be attended or followed by an exemplary vengeance.
According to the law of Moses, to which our Saviour refers us, a signal outrage against parents was capital. God Matth.xv. commanded, saying, Honour thy father and Exod.xxi. mother; and he that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
If a man have a stubborn and rebellious Deut. xxi.
18,&c. fon, which 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; - all the men of his city shall stone him with stones that he die: