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on the alert, if sickness clouded thy brow. Thy opening manhood was watched with intense solicitude, and into all thy plans for future life, they entered with a feeling in which none others could fully participate. Thy joys were their joys, thy sorrows their sorrows. In every adversity, however the world might frown, their bosom was thy sanctuary; and is it a hard duty to render them filial reverence and obedience? thou ever fully recompense their care and kindness? Thy sacred duty to them should be accounted thy sweetest privilege.
Filial reverence is one of the ten subjects which Jehovah signalized when he delivered his law from Sinai. To this he especially appended a promise: "Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long on the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." If peculiar blessings are insured to the obedient, peculiar judgments are threatened against the disobedient. The holy Scriptures insist on this subject, and characterizing the flagrant ingratitude and wickedness of unfilial conduct, mete out to it a punishment proportionally great.
The actions of a child which bring shame and dishonour on a parent, are a violation of this commandment, as palpable as if those actions were personally undutiful and disrespectful. He that shames his father by being a companion of the riotous, or is a heaviness to his mother by his folly, is under a similar condemnation with him who mocketh at his father or despiseth to obey his mother. As a natural guardian, the directions of a parent should be followed; as a counsellor, his opinions should be treated with deference; as a progenitor, affection is due to him from his offspring.
In all things lawful and proper his commands should be law. Even where a parent is not all he should be, the duty of a child is not diminished, but should be cheerfully rendered. Attention and affection to a parent should be uniform, and protection and support extended when necessary; he should be reverenced through life, comforted in old age, and encouraged and sustained in his passage to the tomb. O, never, should a father's care and a mother's enduring love be forgotten or ill-requited. Living they should be honoured, and their memory cherished when they are dead.
O my soul, if thou art indebted to earthly relations, if thou hast received kindness from them, and perhaps those early impressions, which have led thee to choose the one thing needful, for this thou shouldst be thankful. If love and duty should be cheerfully extended to an earthly parent, thou occupiest a higher relation, thou art a son of God, and to thy heavenly Father is due a still purer love, a holier obedience. Grieve Him not by thy perverseness; forfeit not his favour by thy rebellion, but when he says, "seek ye my face," let thy reply be, "thy face, Lord, will I seek." Let his service be thy delight, his glory thy aim; and as he can do thee no wrong, but ever in his chastenings, corrects thee as a son whom he loveth, be submissive to his dispensations. Now he permits thee to call him Abba, Father, and receives thee by adoption into his household-wait, and thou shalt be made a member of his one glorious family in heaven.
A WHIP for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back.
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
The rod and reproof give wis
dom; but a child left to himself, bringeth his mother to shame.
Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
Withhold not correction from the child; for if thou beatest him with the rod he shall not die.
WE are the "degenerate plants of a strange vine,” and the earliest buddings of life but too sadly prove the corruption of the stock from which we spring. "We go astray as soon as we be born," and although the passions may be in their infancy, yet they furnish unequivocal evidence of their evil nature and tendency. Youth, childhood, and even infancy, need restraints to keep in subjection the unhallowed propensities, which are innate, and which would otherwise break forth in acts of misrule and violence. A child is supposed to possess little knowledge and less discretion to guide its own steps; it must therefore be indebted for salutary restraint to its elders, and especially to those who are entrusted by God with its training. The duty is at once delicate and difficult. Many err in it, and the sad consequences of their error may be traced in the moral and spiritual ruin of their offspring. In a charge so precious and responsible, parents need to be endued with heavenly wisdom.
They must act upon fixed principles; their authority must be felt and acknowledged, and while their disci
pline is kind and affectionate, it must be uniform, firm, and decided. How many, to escape trouble, or in the exercise of a false kindness, suffer tempers which might be nipped in the bud, to grow up beyond the reach of control! Injudicious treatment has not only entailed misery on children, but brought the gray hairs of parents in sorrow to the grave.
All admit the necessity of early and careful instruction, as well as of persuasion and entreaty, to induce children to walk in the right way; but it is to be feared, that many have discarded from their theory of education, those sage maxims of wisdom and Scripture, which enforce the necessity of chastisement. Children are by nature perverse, wayward, and lawless, and they early commence the struggle for the mastery. If not seasonably checked; if not taught to respect the authority of their parents and to fear power, the consequences may easily be foretold-they will become disobedient and disrespectful, and grow up the pests of the community. Where the law of reason will not avail, the rod of correction must be substituted. There should not be undue severity; correction should never be administered on slight occasions; the child should be made to see that it is resorted to from a sense of duty and not in an ebullition of passion; to do him good, and not to gratify angry feelings; and in a word he should be made to associate his sufferings with his faults.
The wisdom of such inspired maxims, as those quoted above, has been verified in the experience of many, who have had reason to be thankful for the results of their application.
Let me remember, if a parent, that the souls of my
children shall be required at my hand. If I unduly indulge, I may ruin them; if I pass by their faults, I may confirm them in evil. To train them for usefulness here and immortality hereafter, I must not only commend them to God, and impart to them sound counsel; but repress their lawless desires and curb their rebellious feelings, by punishment judiciously inflicted. It is false kindness to abstain from just severity, for "he that spareth his rod hateth his son, but he that loveth him, chasteneth him betimes." My heavenly Father scourgeth every son he receiveth, and when he chastens, it is not for his pleasure, but their good. Surely I may safely follow his example. Have I not experienced the benefit of a parental love which could sacrifice its own feelings in correcting me for my faults? and shall I not deny myself, in chastening my child, while there is hope, and before evil habits become too firmly fixed to be eradicated?