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light: do you, whofe progrefs is as yet comparatively fmall, you whofe career may to-morrow terminate in the grave, linger and loiter and trifle on your way?
II. Under the preceding head was included reverent acquiefcence in the doctrines and the commandments of the word of God. Hence the mind naturally proceeds to the fubject of docility under human inftruction.
To parents, as inftructors, the place of pre-eminence is affigned. Hear the inftruction of thy father; and forfake not the law of thy mother. For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck (b). In the parent are united in a degree not to be paralleled in the cafe of any other earthly fuperior, authority and affection: authority established on peculiar foundations; and affection impelled by peculiar motives to temper the exercise of command, and fo to guide the reins as to render controul productive of the higheft attainable benefit to the individual under subjection. But according to the general order of nature, with the ancient is wisdom,
(b) Prov. i. 8, 9.
and in length of days is understanding (c). Men live not for themfelves alone. The aged in the viciffitudes of their pilgrimage have collected experience for the young. Such is the appointment of Providence. Let youth refpect the wisdom and the mercy of the appointment. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth (d). To thofe who have the rule over you whether it be to watch for your fouls as they that must give account; or to impart their acquifitions in literature, in science, in profeffional skill, in the arts and the tranfactions of life; render, to each according to his ftation and office, the deference which is due. To God alone be infallibility ascribed. But remember that the ground-work of improvement is a teachable spirit. Diftruft yourself. Welcome with refpectful, attention the advice of your feniors: fpontaneously feek counsel from their better judgment. Your contemporaries in age, however amiable their difpofitions, however promising their talents, are expofed by youth to those very delufions by which your own opinions are likely to be mifled, by which the eyes of your elders may no
(f) Job, xii. 12.
(d) Lament. iii. 27.
longer be dazzled. On what account did the ten tribes revolt from Rehoboam? Because he forfook the counfel of the old men that had food before Solomon his father; and anfwered after the advice of the young men that were brought up with him (e). When your monitors kindle not with the admiration with which you gaze on the object before you; when they rate it at a value far inferior to that with which your fervid fancy has arrayed it; fay not to yourself; "Their feelings are chilled and "deadened by time. Their understand"ing is darkened by the mifts of years. "They are no longer competent to appre"ciate the fatisfactions within my reach, "the gratifications belonging to the prime ❝ of life." If, in the fulness of felf-fufficient confidence, you refuse them credit for fuperiority in wifdom: recollect at least the obvious advantages under which they exercise their judgement. They have trodden the length of the paths, on which you are but about to enter. They have tried by experiment the attainments, concerning which you decide only from speculation.
() 2 Chron. xx. 6, &c.
III. Clofely allied with the Chriftian obligation of docility under the inftruction of friends who are advanced in life, is the duty of habitual reverence for age. Thou shalt rife up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man: I am the Lord. Ye
younger, fubmit yourselves unto the elder (ƒ). When Timothy was commiffioned by St. Paul to correct with epifcopal control the diforders fubfifting in the church at Ephefus; mark the tenderness which he was commanded to exercife in checking the faulty proceedings of a fuperior in age: Rebuke not an elder: but intreat him as a father; and the elder women as mothers. Against an elder receive not an accufation but before two or three witnesses (g). If fuch was to be the conduct of Timothy, when invested with judicial authority over the aged: what ought to be your conduct? How repugnant to the injunctions of the Holy Ghoft, how abominable in the fight of God, is contemptuous neglect in behaviour to the old! What deteftable enormity refts on the head of those, who convert the infirmities of age into a fubject of derifion! If to
(f) Lev. xix. 32. 1 Pet. v. 5.
I, 2. 19.
(g) 1 Tim. v.
wards any aged individual neglect or derifion be thus heinous: what is the fin of those who despise or deride a parent? The eye that mocketh at his father, and defpifeth to obey his mother; the ravens of the valley Shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it. What is the first commandment with promife (b)? Honour thy father and thy mother. Obferve the impartial equality with which the command extends its protection and confirms its privileges to each of your parents. Within the fcope of this command, all periods, fituations, and circumstances are comprised. But the Spirit of God does not send you forth to the difcharge of filial duties without an injunction immediately referring to the cafe of aged parents. Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and defpife not thy mother when She is old (i). Conformable to this injunction is the admonition of the fon of Sirach
Grieve not thy father as long as he liveth. And if his understanding fail, have patience with him: and defpife him not, when thou art in thy full ftrength (k). Sustain the trembling steps, fupply the waning faculties, of the protectors who upheld thee
(b) Prov. xxx. 17. Eph. vi. 2. (i) Prov. xxiii. 22. (k) Eccl'us. iii. 12, 13.