« ElőzőTovább »
bowels, brings them forth with pain, and cherishes them with more. tenderness and difficulty, than the father. Therefore the mother is once indeed exhibited to the cbildren as the object of this duty, before the father : "Ye shall fear every man his mother and his father," saith the Lord, Lev xix. 3.
“God's commandment is exceedingly broad," saith the man after God's heart, Psalm cxix. 96. It calls all those who are set over us our fathers and mothers. For the magistrates are fathers in the civil state:” Eliakim, having the government in his hands should be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah,” Isaiah xxii. 20, 21. Thus also the aged, “whom we must entreat as fathers and mothers,” I Tim. v. 1, 2. In the church ministers are fathers, especially they who are the instruments of a person's spiritual birth : so Paul was “ a father” of the Corinthians, * having begotten them through the gospel," I Cor. iv. 15. And in a family relation ancestors are fathers and mothers; therefore the patriarchs are called the fathers of Israel. Stephen saith, Acts vii. 11. "Our fathers found no sustenance.” Stepfathers and stepmothers are not excepted here. Joseph the husband of Mary, is called the father of Jesus, Luke ij. 48. It is thus also with fathers. inlaw and mothersinlaw, as David called Saul his father. Sam. xxiv. 12, and Naomi called Ruth her daughter, Ruth iii 1. Thus likewise guardians, who take upon themselves the care of another person's children, and treat them as their own, are fathers ; so “Mordecai took Esther for his daughter,” Esther ii. 7, 15. Masters and mistresses must also be considered as fathers and mothers of their servants; the servants of Naaman, the myrian called him their father, 2 Kings v. 13.
The Lord God is alone wise, and therefore doth nothing in vain, as it is also not without a reason, that he bestows the names of father and mother on all those who are set over us; for he teacheih us thus (a) the intimate relation and connexion of superiors and inferiors, that it is like that, which subsists between parents and children, (5) God also shows thereby, that they who are set over others ought to govern their inferiors with love and affection, as fathers and mothers, and that the inseriors ought to obey as children. (c) All the authority that one man hath over another hath originated from the, power of fathers. Before many families connected themselves together in an orderly neighbourhood, the fathers were the magistrates, teachers and priests of their families ; but after those families had connected themselves together, the fathers elected a head, even the magistrate,
as a common father, that he might govern and protect the multitude according to certain law's.
Inasmuch as fatherhood and motherhood imply a superiority and supremacy over the children, therefore the Lord requires that this should be acknowledged ; and hence he saith, with a dreadful dis. play of his supreme authority to every child, “honour thy father and mother" We do this, when we acknowledge the superiority and honourableness of our parents with reverence, with inward dispositions of mind, which we express by becoming gestures, words, actions and irties; as Solo non honoured his mother, when he rose up froin his throne to meet her, bowed himself to her, and set her on his right hand," | Kings ii. 19. We must also “honour the king." i Peter ii. 17 So Job was honoured like a prince by his people ; when he went out to the gate through the city, when he prepared his seat in the street, the young men saw him, and hid themselves, and the aged arose and stood up." &c. Job xxix 7, 8. We may not despise aged persons, but we must “rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man.” Lev. xix. 32. We must also honour our preacher ; for “ the elders who rule well must be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine,” | Tim. v. 17. and Paul commands servants " to count their masters worthy of all honour," i Tim. vi. 1.
He who honours his parents, (1) will also love them; love is indeed the mother of that fair daughter honour. It is also the law of love, that enjoins honour; as love also actually honours parents by showing a good inclination to them, by doing well to them, and fulfilling their desires. It is so narural and innate to children to love their parents, that it was not necessary to enjoin it upon them directly; neither do I know that ibis virtue is any where enjoined in the book of God, except indirectly ; " He that loveth father and mother more than me is not orthy of me,” saith the Savionr, Matt. x. 37, and he there. fore supposeth that every child naturally loves his parents. They are unnatural, degenerate children, “ without natural affection," 2 Tim. iii. 8, who are destitute of this virtue. We ought to love not only our natural parents, but the magistrates also, as fathers : we may not curse them," as Solomon saith, Eccl. s. 20. The people who cleared to their king, David, loved him so, that they would not suffer him to expose himself in the battle against Absalom, that he might not be endangered Preachers, who like good fathers, feed and nourish the churches with the word of God,"must be esteemed very highly in love for their work 's sake," according to 3 Thess. V. 13. The Galatians quitted themselves well in this re
spect toward Paul : "they would if it had been possible, have plucked out their eyes, and given them to him," Gal. iv. 14, 15. The Lord teacheth us that we must love also the aged, our forefathers and fathersınlaw, when he orders it to be recorded, as a detestable action, that “the daughterinlaw rose up against her motheriolaw," Micha vii. 6. It is also the duty of servants to love their masters and wise tresses, and to serve them from love ; for “ we cannot serve a master, whom we hate, and do not love," as Jesus speaks, Matt. vi. 24. . 2. As love is the mother of honour, so honour hath also a sister, even fidelity, who serves her parents, without bereaving them of aught that is theirs ; for ( whoso robbeth his father and mother, and saith, it is no transgression, the same is the companion of a de.. stroyer," Prov. xxviji. 24 Like Joseph, the faithful child, when it, is in his power, will sustain his father, his brethren, and ail bis father's househld with bread, even to the little ones,” Gen xlvii. !2. We must be faiti ful also to the magistrates ; · To Cæsar we must give the things that are Cæsar's," Matt. xxii. 21. Ren er tribute to whom tribute is due ; custom to whom custom," saith tat faithful apostle, Rom. xiii. 7. It is a detestable conduci to deny our preachers a proper support: even Pharaoh provided for his priests, Gen. xlvii. 22, 47. Paul also requires that people should support their preachers, 1 Cor ix. 4-10, Gal vi. 6. And thongh our fore. fathers are not so nearly related to us as our immediale parents, we must nevertheless require them,” according to I Tim, v 4. It is also the duty of servants to serse their masters and niistresses faitha fuily, and noi "to purloin from them," Titus ii. 10. "Good ser. vants," are called also “faithful servants" by the Saviour, Matt. xxx. 21, 22.
3 But if there be aught that becomes children, it is particularly " that they submit themselves to the good instruction and correction of their parents with due obedience." They must receive their instructions with teachableness : " My son,'' sailh Solomon, Prov. i. 8, "bear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” Children must receive their commands with submisa sion, like Jesus, who was subject to his parents in his youth, Luke ii. 51, and they must endure their good corrections with becoming Teverence, and with a humble patience, Paul hath respect to this, when he saith, Heb. xii. 9, “ We had fathers of our flesh, which cora rected us, and we gave them reverence." The Lord takes the stui boru and incorrigible disobedience of children. who have been comie tised by their parents, so heinously, that he orders the magistrates in punish them with death, Deut. xxi. 18-21. But are those who are set over us also our fathers, “Let every soul then be subject to
the higher powers.” as Paul speaks, Rom. xiii. 1. It is also proper to obey and submit to our preachers, “those who have the rule over us," as the same apostle requireth, Heb. xiii. 17. “ The younger must also submit themselves unto the elder," as Peter admonisheth, 1 Peter v. 5, and servants are exhorted “ to be obedient to their masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as unto Christ," Eph. vi. 5.
It is true, parents have often many weaknesses and infirmaties; they subject their children to many expences and inconveniences; they are besides fretful, yea, sometimes wicked and intolerable : but shall we therefore refuse to conduct toward them, as becomes children? it is never more proper to honour them than in such untoward conditions. Consider only what weaknesses and infirmities they have borde in their children: and thus we have only to pay our old score, by pitying them, and bearing patiently with their weaknesses and infirmities : « Hearken to thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old," saith the wise king, Prov. xxiii. 22. It was the conduct of wicked Ham lo sport with the infirmity and weakness of his father Noah: Shem and Japhet covered bis nakedness; but Ham was cursed on account of his wickedness, and his brethren were blessed on account of their virtue, Gen. ix. 21–27. Magis. trates, masters and preachers sometimes rule, like Diotrephesses, with rigour and great severity: but “ we must be subject wich all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward," 1 Pet. ii. 18. · II. Although it is very natural to honour our parents, and equity requires that we should be obedient to God, only because he commands us, the Lord nevertheless chooseth to draw us to this duty with cords slove, promising to bestow a great reward upon our keeping of this commandment, for he saith “ that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” The Lord Jehovah, was the God of Israel, on account of the covenant established with Abraham and bis seed, under the Old Testament. The Lord gave Israel, as their Cod, the blessed land of Canaan, to which this promise hath respect, for an inheritance and possession ; surely pot for Israel's only, or principal inheritance, but as a superadded promise and inheritance, a pledge of the principal promise, that the Lord would be their God, and that in the seed of Abraham, even the Messiah, “all the families of the earth should be blessed." See Gen. xvii. 7, 8. Gal. iii. 16, 17.
The Lord promiseth a long life in this land to the children of Israel, who honour their parents. This doth not imply that a man's
life can be prolonged beyond the limits, which God hath appointed by his eternal and unchangeable decree ; for “the days of man are determined, the number of his months are with God: he hath apa pointed his bounds, which man cannot overpass," as Job saih, Job xiv. 5. But a man's days are prolonged either with respect 10, Others, who are snatched away in their youth ; or with respect to bis natural strengts and especiation. Such a prolonging of days doth the Lord promise to obedient children in the land of Canaan, as in a most blessed and a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths, that spring out of vallies and hills; a land of wheat and barley, and vines and figtrees, and pomgranates, a land of oilolive and honey, a land wherein Israel should eat bread without scarceness, and in which they should not lack any thing : a land whose stones were iron, and out of whose hills they might dig brass ;" thus the Lord God himself speaks of it, Deut..viii. 1-19. The Lord saith further to his people, Deut. xi. 12. " A land which the Lord thy God careth for ; the eyes of the Lord thy God are upon it, from the beginning of the year, even unto the end of the year." Yea, it was a land which the Lord gave to the children of Israel as their God out of, and in his free favour, in which the Messiah should appear in the flesh, “ Immanuel's land, Isaiah visi. 8. Upon which God sent down all his spiritual blessings, to which he attached his worship, and which was to them a pledge of the everlasting rest. To live long in this land was a great blessing ; but to be snatched out of it early, either by death, or by exile, was a grievous judgment, as the Lord threatened and inflicted it upon Israel on account oi their sins, to their biller sorrow. See this Lev. xxvi. Deut. xxviii. 2 Kings xvii. 2 Chron. xxxvi. It belooved Israel then to suffer themselves to be allured by this promise to honour their parents.
But when God gave this commandment with such a promise to Israel, did he then excuse us from it, as the Antinomians, or adversaries of the law think? By no means : Paul shows that this commandment obligeth believers uader the New Testament also, when he saith, Eph. vi. 1-3, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord : for this is right. Honour thy father and mother, that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” As Canaan was the possession and inheritance of Israel, .so also the whole earth is the inheritance of the meek,” Matt. v. 5. “ All ibings, and the world also, is theirs, because they are Christ's and God's," 1 Cor. iii. 21-23. As the Lord was the God of Israel under the Old Testament, in like manner is he now also the God of his peo