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displeasure. A total disregard to parents, a disposition to feel indifferent about their happiness, or to behave rudely, disrespectfully, or unkindly to them, is threatened with the sorest judgments. “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it b.” Those who are wanting in dutiful esteem for their parents, or expose their indiscretions, act the disgraceful part of the wicked Hambb, and bring down a curse upon their heads.
3. Obedience to parents is required as a duty incumbent on children. Both father and mother are entitled to this attention. Thus runs the Divine command : “ Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is righto.” But how far does this duty extend? The Scripture informs us that it reaches to every command which is lawful and properd. Children must not cavil at, or refuse to comply with, any reasonable injunction of their parents, nor expect the reason to be assigned for it; but cheerfully obey it, though it should require self-denial, or the giving up of their own wishes.
But the command is not to be pushed beyond things lawful. Should either parent require obedience from their children in things contrary to the law of God—things which directly militate against the interests of their souls, and things plainly sinful in themselves; in all such instances, the line of conduct which they ought to pursue is evident; they must not hesitate, for a single moment, “ to obey God rather than men,” and abide by the consequences. Prov. xxx. 17.
bb Gen. ix. 21–26. • Eph, vi. 1. Col. iii. 20. e Acts v. 29. ib. x. 4, 19.
And when the refusal to comply with an unlawful command arises from conscientious motives, God will honour those who thus obey him, and deliver them from every harm and evil.
But children must never forget, that it is not only reasonable, but well-pleasing to God, that they should unreservedly obey their parents in all things lawful, and not manifestly injurious to their spiritual welfare, however disagreeable or unpleasant it may be to comply with their will. Such behaviour honours the Lord, who has appointed parents to exercise a just authority over children, for their good both here and hereafter. Next to serving God with all their hearts, children cannot take a more certain step to secure the Divine blessing, than to submit themselves quietly to the government of their parents.
4. Should parents be unable, through misfortune, or infirmity, or incapacity, or old age, to maintain themselves, children are bound, if able, to labour for their support, and thus to repay them for that tender solicitude with which they nourished them, when they were incapable of providing food and raiment for themselves. So far from feeling it a burthen and a grievance thus to support and comfort their infirm, sick, impoverished, or aged parents, let children esteem it a privilege as well as a duty : for what child is there, who is not destitute of humanity and religion, but would rejoice to prove as helpful to his needy and distressed parents, as they were to him in his childhood and youth? God approves of this kind of gratitude to aged parents and relations in want, by marking the neglect of it, not only as a renunciation of the Gospel, but as a crime which many Pagans would abhor. “ If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel'.”
si Tim. v. 8.
ON THE DUTY OF SERVANTS TO THEIR MASTERS.
Col. iii. 22. Servants, obey in all things your masters ac
cording to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers,
but in singleness of heart; fearing God. SERVANTS should always remember, that it is God who has instituted the different ranks and conditions of men; and has appointed some to rule over others, for the same reason that he has assigned to the several members in the body their separate offices, namely, for the common benefit of the whole. It is the duty of all to approve of the station which God appoints for them, as the best situation in which they can be placed ; and to aim at the performance of their peculiar duties with the strictest fidelity to God and inan.
1. Servants are required by God to render a cheerful obedience to every lawful command of their master. The maintenance and wages received by a servant are the price which his master pays for his time and labour. Common justice, then, requires that his orders should be obeyed with alacrity. St. Paul thus exhorts them: “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers ; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing
that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ."
For servants to refuse to execute the reasonable commands of their masters, or to set about them with reluctance, and in a sour, sullen, or angry spirit, is not only the direct way to dishonour God, and provoke their masters, but to render their service unacceptable, and their persons offensive.
2. They will use the utmost diligence in the performance of their duty, not only in the presence, but also in the absence of their masters. They will be attentive to the business of their station, from a desire to honour God, whose eye is upon them; as well as to avoid disgracing the religion which they profess, and losing that good name which industry and diligence ensure. Of course, to neglect any part of their work, and to waste their time in sloth and inactivity, is a breach of the contract made with their masters, by which they bound themselves to render them a true and faithful service; and it is no less contrary to the Divine law, which enjoins on all men the punctual fulfilment of every
3. Servants must be faithful to the trust reposed in them, by a strict attention to every thing which may conduce to the advantage of their masters. They will conscientiously devote their time and skill in their service, watching every occasion to consult their credit, comfort, and wishes, both in health and sickness. They will be scrupulously honest in the management of the affairs with which they are entrusted, speaking the truth on all occasions. They will never embezzle or steal the property of their
a Col. iii. 22-25.
masters ; nor will they waste it; but, on the contrary, by the exactest frugality, use it with as much carefulness as if it were their own. They will not allow any one to defraud their master in the smallest matters, by a connivance at his dishonesty, however it may be sanctioned by custom, or whatever ill-will and contempt they may incur by their conscientiousness. Thus speaks St. Paul: “Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again, not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things b."
4. They must consider it a duty incumbent on them to behave respectfully to their masters, whom God has set over them. They will study to give them no offence by word or deed; but treat them with civility and respect, as superiors to whom they ought to be in due subjection. Instead of behaving with an unbecoming familiarity, or neglecting their orders, “they will count them worthy of all honour," and render them the best service in their power. Nor should servants speak freely to others concerning the faults of their masters, or assume the office of dictating to them; for no man can be pleased with reproof from one who is bound to submission. It is important, also, for them to follow peace with their fellow-servants. Though they will not join with others in injuring or wasting their master's property; yet they will not quarrel with them on every little occasion ; nor report and protest against trifles, but only against manifest evils. 5. It is the duty of servants patiently to bear re
Tit. ii. 9, 10.