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1. On his character. In what black colours is tened him, will not hearken unto them; then shall it here drawn! and how should it be abhorred! his father and his mother lay hold on him, and There are such monsters. There is,' says Solo- bring him out unto the elders of the city, and mon in the 11th verse, “a generation that curseth unto the gates of his place: and they shall say their father, and doth not bless their mother.' unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubThere is, in every age, a race who form a party, born and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; associate together, and encourage, and irritate he is a glutton and a drunkard. And all the men each other to disobey and insult their parents. of his city shall stone him with stones that he They even curse them; or at least, they do not die: so shalt thou put away evil from among you; bless them, or pray for them, which is a kindred and all Israel shall hear and fear. Though the wickedness. The disobedient son is represented law of our nation does not attach capital punishas mocking at his father.' Sometimes this ment to this crime, we have a striking proof of mockery is in words, and sometimes in actions: its exceeding heinousness in the circumstance that but here it is described as in the looks, "the eye such was the punishment under the Old Testamocketh.' The eye is an index to the feelings of ment dispensation. the heart. We can distinguish a look of distress, We have an example of death and ruin coming a look of joy, a look of fear, a look of expecta- on undutiful children, in the sons of Eli, as related tion, a look of love, a look of hatred, a look of in the second book of Samuel. Though Eli did respect, a look of contempt. Alas for the child not exercise proper authority to restrain them whose eye mocketh at his father, who regards his when they made themselves vile, he did say to father with looks of sourness, doggedness, impa- them, “Why do ye such things ? Nay, my sons; tience, anger, defiance, and disdain! If such be for it is no good report that I hear. Notwiththe expressions of his eye, what wickedness must standing they hearkened not unto the voice of their there be in his heart! God will certainly reckon father.' The Lord therefore foretold, by Samuel, with him, as for his words and actions, so for his the destruction of Eli's house; and his sons were very looks, which indicate such inward depravity. slain by the Philistines.-Absalom furnishes The eye of such an undutiful child also despiseth another example. He was guilty of the shockto obey his mother. He not only does not obey ing wickedness of rebelling against his wise and her, but he looks at her in a way that shows that affectionate father, and seeking his life. But let he would think it below him to obey her, and us think of him suspended from the tree as acspurns at the thought. She is the weaker of the cursed, pierced through the heart with three parents, and his base and cruel spirit takes advan- darts, and buried with ignominy; and we shall tage of that. He presumes on her sex, and on see the Lord's abhorrence of the rebellion of chilher
age and infirmities, if she be old and infirm; dren against their parents, and what should make and though he should not say it in so many us tremble at the thought of the crime. words, he declares it in as cutting a way, he de- It is not, indeed, to be inferred from such clares by rebellious and contemptuous looks, that threatenings and examples that all rebellious he will not be controlled by her, and that he des children will be brought to a violent death, and pises her. Of what wickedness is not fallen human- their carcases devoured by birds and beasts of ity capable !
prey, and their bones left to bleach in the winds: 2. The doom of the undutiful child. How but many instances occur of a premature and awful the threatening here denounced against ignominious end, as the result of a career began in him! The words seem to point to the case of a disobedience to parents; and it may here be justly criminal that has been condemned and hanged, apprehended that heavy providential judgments and left to hang; or to that of a man slain in battle, will overtake such transgressors in the majority or in some more private way, whose body is left of cases. At all events, those who despise their unburied, till, as soon happened in countries parents are a disgrace to humanity, and an abomwhere birds of prey abounded, ravens, or eagles, ination to the Lord. If they continue unparlighting on their carcases to devour them, picked doned and impenitent in that state of sin, they out their eyes, and gave them to their young must perish for ever; and they must expect to ones to eat.
die in misery. “Whoso curseth his father, or his According to the law of Moses, the obstinately mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure undutiful son was to be punished with death. “If darkness.' a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, who Let every undutiful child, of every age,
take will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice warning. Let none of them say, 'I allow that
mother, and that, when they have chas- | this description of rebellious children is awful, and
that they deserve to suffer; but I am not so bad be taken into account, from the first, and throughas this, and therefore, I need not fear.' If they out the whole process. They should be trained for are bad at all, knowingly and wilfully bad, they time and for eternity. Of how little avail to them are in the direct way to become as bad as this. would be earthly prosperity and fame, if they were If they do not stop short resolutely, and alter to live estranged from God, die in sin, and perish their course, they will be like other evil men for ever! There is much implied in the word and seducers, who wax worse and worse, deceiv- training. It implies communicating knowledge, ing and being deceived,' till they become a terror giving instruction, informing the understanding. to themselves, and intolerable to God. Let them It implies that useful and saving truth be connot stifle the remonstrances of conscience. Let veyed to the intellect, and impressed on the them not despise the warnings of God's word. memory. But proper training implies much Let them huinble themselves before the Lord, more. It is the training of the conscience to cast themselves on his mercy through the Re- correct the tender feelings, and of the will to choose deemer, and ask the assistance of his Holy Spirit the good and refuse the evil, and of the affections to enable them to act a different part for the to delight in the divine law, and to love God and future. Let them seek not only to escape the man. curse on filial disobedience, but to obtain the
in which children should go, and of blessing on filial piety. So shall they yet obtain course, the way in which they should be trained, peace of mind themselves, and rejoice the hearts is the way of faith and holiness. It is the way of their parents which they have pierced through of faith, the gospel way. It is not enough to with many sorrows.
give them some vague ideas of what unenlightened men call religion; they should be trained in the religion of the Bible. Some only tell children to
be good, without telling them how they may Ninth Day.-EVENING.
become good. They should be instructed, as soon Train
as possible, in the knowledge of their own sinful-
and when he is old, he will not depart from it; ness, and of the necessity and method of pardon when he is old, he will not depart from it, through Christ, and regeneration by the Spirit
. Prov. xxii. 6.
Children can understand the leading truths of the WHATEVER assistance parents may employ, they gospel as soon as most other things that requiro are not at liberty entirely to transfer to others the thought; nay, the display of the love of God in work of training their children; and they are Christ is peculiarly calculated to arrest their especially bound personally to instruct them, as attention, and to gain their hearts. Let there be well as to see that they are instructed, in religion. no delay in leading the young to the Saviour. These words, then, must be considered as most This is his own language, “Suffer the little chilimmediately addressed to parents; and yet they dren to come unto me. They should be trained are not to be confined to parents, for they plainly also in the way of holiness. They should be fully apply to teachers, and to all who are in any way and carefully taught their duty to God, to love concerned in the education of the young. him, to reverence him, to pray to him, to obey
Training is absolutely necessary for the safety, him, to keep his sabbath, and to attend his prosperity, and happiness, of the young, as they courts. They should be trained to the knoware incapable of guiding themselves. Accordingly, ledge and practice of their duties to their parents, the divine command to train them is express; and teachers, and friends, and to all mnen. They the same word that contains the command, also should be trained to honesty, truth, charity, contains both general and particular directions as to purity, self-denial, diligence, and humility. the way in which it should be followed out. Chil- How great the encouragment held forth to such dren are to be trained in the way they should a training of children in the promise that if they go. Doubtless, they should be instructed in such are trained up in the right way, they will not secular knowledge as is calculated to enable them depart from it! Such a result may be calculated to gain a livelihood, and to pass creditably and on generally, though in some instances the best comfortably through the present state of exis- human means may fail. Of course, in order to tence: but their education should not be confined secure the permanence of the effects of a good to this; nay, this cannot be considered as wisely Christian education, a decided impression must aimed at, if spiritual instruction be not imparted, be made on the mind. Early instruction is most and if the chief and ultimate end be not the sal-likely to be successful and lasting, because, vation of their sonls. Their whole being should I though children are sinners by nature, they are not hardened by babits of actual sin, and because
Tenth Day.—MORNING. they most readily submit to be taught, and are most capable of receiving new ideas and impres
“He that spareth his rod hateth his son : but he sions. Unquestionably, those who are early trained
that loveth him chasteneth him betimes,' Prov. in the right way do not easily, or ordinarily, for
xiii. 24. sake it. Results have shown that the far greater THERE are some theorists on education who argue number of those who have proved eminently pious strenuously for banishing punishment of every in advanced life, were well trained in childhood kind, especially corporeal punishment. Unquesand youth. Samuel, Solomon, and Timothy are tionably, it is not to any thing of that nature that eminent examples of this. Failure in many cases those who are engaged in endeavouring to train might, doubtless, be traced to faults in the train- up children in the paths of religion, should look ing, either amounting to a radical and sinful want chiefly for success. On the contrary, punishof piety, or care, or prayerfulness, or consisting ment, in whatever form, ought always to be had in a great want of judgment and good manage- recourse to with reluctance, and ought to be ment. There are cases, too, which, though they entirely avoided where it can safely be dispensed may at first sight appear exceptions to the rule, with. Whatever effect compulsion may have in are, in fact, proofs and illustrations of it. The forwarding the mere mechanical part of instrucapostle Paul, for example, was an enemy and tion, it can never succeed in producing true piety. persecutor of the Christians when first mentioned It is impossible to compel children to open their in scripture. He had received much religious hearts; their will may be gained, but it cannot instruction, however, in youth, for he was brought be forced. Gentleness and affection are the chief up at the feet of Gamaliel,' and profited in the means, under the divine blessing, of winning them Jewish religion above many of his equals in his to the love of Christ, and to the practice of own nation: and though no good effect of this Christian duty. And yet, gentleness and afferappeared for a considerable time, the knowledge tion must be accompanied with firmness and he had acquired in early life of the Old Testa- faithfulness; for, if the latter qualities be wanting, ment, was evidently of much service to him per- the former will degenerate into weakness, and sonally and officially, after his conversion. produce contempt.
Well would it be if all parents were conscien- It is too much for self-conceited men to rise up tious in doing their utmost to instruct their chil- against the wisdom and express commandment of dren in the knowledge, and to bring them under the Lord, and utterly to condemn what he clearly the influence of the truth. Would to God that teaches to be sometimes necessary. It is certainly they always acted, in this respect, as those who much better if children can be well managed withare to give an account. In most cases, they out the rod, or corporeal chastisement: but there would soon see the fruit of their labour. Nor, are cases in which this cannot be, and there is no though they may have to wait long, let them be need for running from the one extreme of harshso discouraged as to desist. Let them persevere ness into the other of the relaxation of all disciin labours, and prayers, and affectionate intreaties, pline. Natural depravity exists in all children ; and they have every encouragement to hope that and where it produces a spirit of disobedience their endeavours will not ultimately prove in vain. and obstinacy which cannot be otherwise overAugustine, who at last proved such an ornament come, measures ought to be adopted of greater and blessing to the church of Christ, was very or less severity, according to the strength of the obstinate and ungodly in his youthful years. His evil to be met. pious mother persevered in labours and prayers for The scriptural authority for such discipline is him for nine years, apparently without any good express. “He that spareth his rod, forbears effect. When she went, in agony, to a certain altogether to punish, or ceases till he carry the bishop, to beseech him to try what his interfer-point, “hateth his son,' that is, acts as if he hated ence could do, he could say nothing that would him: if he hated him, and intended to injure him, satisfy her, till at last, when she was pressing he could not do him a greater injury than not to him with much weeping, he said, “Go away, correct him, when his disobedience, and wickedness. good woman: it is impossible that the child of and obstinacy required it. But he that loveth such tears should perish.'
his son “chasteneth him betimes,' begins the discipline very early. The salutary restraint should be commenced in infancy, and continued and thoroughly established in childhood. If the principle and habit of submission to authority, and of the restraining of evil passions, be established is especially so to pious, but to easy and indulgent very early, parents will find it easy afterwards to parents. The indulgence of the wayward inclinarule by argument and affection, and safe to treat tions of children, and neglecting to do all they can their children with the utmost confidence and ten- authoritatively to check them, are offences which derness. Too great indulgence is a great evil: it the Lord will severely chastise in his own people. leads to still more unreasonable and improper ex- It is true that the most judicious discipline may pectations, and"entirely defeats the ends for which fail: but when scriptural means have been faithit is usually resorted to, namely, the ease of the fully employed and a failure ensues, the blame is parent; and the pleasing and the securing of the all on one side. affections of the child. If faults be not inquired As it is the duty of parents to govern, and, if into, or if they be passed over and allowed to be necessary, to correct, their children, so it is the persevered in, lest a child should cry, or look sad; duty of children to submit readily to such govthe bad consequences will soon appear. Better ernment and correction, and not by obstinacy to that a child should cry while it is salutary, than render very severe measures indispensable. Both that his parents should weep in vain, in seeing parents and children may derive much instruchis wickedness confirmed for life, and ruining his tion from the way in which our Heavenly Father soul for eternity. Chasten thy son while there corrects the members of his family. As the is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying,' word of God illustrates the afflictive dispensaProv. xix. 18. If he see that he can gain his tions of providence by comparisons, drawn from object by a few tears, he will not be slack in parental discipline and corresponding filial duty availing himself of that means of extorting com- among men, these comparisons plainly teach what pliance. And then, if by such mistaken lenity, the reciprocal conduct of parents and children which is real cruelty, he get the mastery in child- ought to be in this respect. The Lord unites hood, it will seldom be practicable to reduce him discipline with instruction. He has various means to obedience afterwards, except by far greater of carrying his point with the objects of his love; severity than would have been necessary at first; and one of these is the rod of his displeasure. a severity which may prove hurtful, and which Thou shalt also consider in thine hcart, that, as at all events must be dangerous and painful. a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God
It should always be remembered that correc- chasteneth thee.' • Blessed is the man whom thou tion constitutes but a small part of parental gov- chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy ernment. That government includes the whole law. plan pursued to secure obedience, attention, and improvement, and to check all evil. It includes advice, praise, blame, reproof, expostulation, influence, rewards judiciously chosen, putting to
TENTH DAY.--EVENING. shame, depriving of enjoyments and many other things. It should never be lost sight of that the And, ye fathers, proroke not your children to
wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and good of the child is the great end to be aimed at.
admonition of the Lord, Eph, vi. 4. In order to be effectual, too, correction should always be accompanied with instruction, or tui- Of the proneness of men to run into extremes, tion: indeed, the same word which in some texts the parental management of children furnishes a is rendered correction,' is in others rendered frequent example. The wise man reminds parents 'instruction. Nor is it enough to form children of the necessity of maintaining discipline with to obedience and habits of application, and to im- a steady hand, and even declares that he that part to them varied knowledge; they should be spareth his rod hateth his son, but he that loveth disciplined to self-denial and the government of him chasteneth him betimes. As, however, their passions. It is of inuch importance, also, there is, on the one hand, an extreme of laxity, that the system pursued be well balanced, of the so there is, on the other, an extreme of severity, same tenour, consistent with itself, unremitted, which should be guarded against with equal care. and steadily followed out. No pains should be "Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.' spared, no labours should be grudged, where Take care lest by an unkind, repulsive, overbearfailure would be so grievous, and where success ing, and tyrannical behaviour in general, and by would be so important.
rigorous, excessive, cruel, and unrelenting severEli was unquestionably a pious man; yet here ity on some particular occasions, you entirely was one great defect in his character, 1 Sam. ii. alienate their affections, and irritate them into iii. iv. While his history is a warning to all, it feelings of dislike and indignation which may lurk
secretly and sullenly in their hearts, and preju- they should proceed, not only with firmness and dice them against yourselves and your instruc- faithfulness, but also with real and obvious affections, or even so exasperate them as to lead them ' tion. Whoever would be instrumental in winto break out in the language and actions of ning the hearts of the young to the Saviour, violent rage. It is true that such mismanage- cannot adopt a better model than that of the ment does not excuse the wickedness of children, apostle Paul: “We were gentle among you,' said but it often awfully occasions it. When parents he, “even as a nurse cherisheth her children; are constantly finding fault, and never commend so, being affectionately desirous of you, we were what is right, or speak in accents of encourage- willing to have imparted unto you, not the gosment; when they are in the habit of confounding pel of God only, but also our own souls, because the distinction between obstinately wilful faults, ye were dear unto us.' and mere thoughtless inadvertencies; their chil- Moreover, if parents wish to bring up their dren are ready to think it is impossible to please children in the fear of the Lord, they must set them, and therefore needless to try, and are in them a good example. The force of example, danger of hating their company, and becoming either for good or for evil, is very great, even on altogether reckless of character and consequences. grown-up persons; but it is especially great on See examples, Gen. xxxi. 14; 1 Sam. xx. 30. young children. They are constantly seen imitat
When children are of a bold temper, such harsh ing others, (and especially those whom they love treatment irritates and hardens them. When, on and admire), in the actions and customs of comthe contrary, they are of a soft, timid, and very mon life. The same principle prevails in the tender disposition, severity has the effect of break- formation of their religious and moral character; ing their spirits, crushing their energies, and filling it operates with fatal influence in leading them them with terror and misery. Fathers, provoke into sin; and it would be equally powerful in not your children to anger, lest they be discour leading them to holiness, were it not for their aged, Col. iii. 21. How cruel to oppress a not natural depravity, which renders a higher than very clever it may be, but gentle child, so as, at any human influence necessary for bringing them all events, to keep him in a state of constant alarm into a state of salvation, and forming them to the and misery in the meantime, and probably, to divine image. Of how little avail, in most instances, render him unfit to pass through the world with is even good advice, when the example of those advantage, after his spirits have been so unrea- who give it leads in the opposite direction! How sonably and so unmercifully broken by a heavy happy, however, the influence of a prudent, pious, yoke in the early years of life!
consistent life! Children are much more obserTemper, disposition, opportunities, and the vant of the conduct of their parents than many various kinds and degrees of misconduct in chil- think, and often their good example is rememdren, should be carefully studied, and judiciously bered, after all their advices are forgotten, and met with corresponding treatment. Correction they are silent in the grave. administered without discrimination, or distinc- In addition to all this, parents should ever tion, is foolish, and must be injurious. What accompany the means they employ for the religions may be hardly enough to subdue one, may be education of the children with earnest prayer absolute cruelty to another.
to God. No discipline, or instruction, no means Having cautioned parents against excessive however wise, or persevering, can be sufficient severity to their children, the apostle proceeds of themselves, savingly to illuminate the mind, to exhort them positively to bring them up in or to renew the heart. For this, which always the nurture and admonition of the Lord;' that is, ought to be the chief object at which they aim, carefully to train them in such a course of dis- they must look to the gracious influences of the cipline and instruction united, as forms a religious Holy Spirit. Parents, therefore, should teach education, and as is calculated to lead them to their children how to pray, and accustom them know, believe in, love, and obey the Lord Jesus to the exercise of prayer. They should pray Christ. There seems also to be here an allusion for them fully and earnestly, in secret. They to that particular mode of instruction which is should pray with them, one by one. They commonly called catechising, which is peculiarly should pray with them all together, in family adapted to children, and which is practically found worship. So David 6 returned to bless his houseto be of most excellent use.
hold;' and Jacob blessed his sons, and thus prayed If parents wish to succeed in interesting their for his two grandsons, "The angel who redeemed children on the side of religion, and cordially me from all evil bless the lads. May the Lord
'ching them to themselves and what is good, guide Christian parents to the prudent, affection