the case of other superiors is so like that of fathers, that most of them have occasionally the very name of father given them in most languages; and therefore the regard due to them also, may be very properly comprehended, and laid before you under the same head. It is likewise true, that the duty of the inferior alone is expressed in the Commandment; but the corresponding duty of the superior is, at the same time, of necessity implied; for which reason I shall discourse of both; beginning with the mutual obligations of children and parents, properly so called, which will be a sufficient employment for the present time.

Now the duty of children to their parents is here expressed by the word Honour, which in common language signifies a mixture of love and respect, producing due obedience; but in Scripture language it implies further, maintenance and port, when wanted.


1. Love to those, of whose flesh and blood we are, is what nature dictates to us, in the very first place. Children have not only received from their parents, as instruments in the hand of God, the original of their being, but the preservation of it through all the years of helpless infancy, when the needful care of them gave much trouble, took up much time, and required much expense; all which, parents usually go through, with so cheerful a diligence, and so self-denying a tenderness, that no return of affection, on the children's part, can possibly repay it to the full; though children's affection is what, above all things, makes parents happy. Then, as life goes on, it is their parents that give or procure for them such instruction of all kinds, as qualifies them, both to do well in this world, and be for ever blessed in another; that watch over them continually with never-ceasing attention, consulting their inclinations, in a multitude of obliging instances, and bearing with their

perverseness in a multitude of provoking ones; kindly restraining them from a thousand pernicious follies, into which they would otherwise fall; and directing their heedless footsteps into the right way; encouraging, rewarding, and, which indeed is no less a benefit, correcting them also, as the case requires; full of solicitude all the while for their happiness, and consuming themselves with labour and thoughtfulness for these dear objects, to improve, support, and advance them in their lives, and provide for them at their deaths. Even those parents who perform these duties but imperfectly, who perhaps do some very wrong things, do, notwithstanding, almost all of them, so many right and meritorious ones, that though the more such they do, the better they should be loved: yet they that do least, do enough to be loved sincerely for it, as long as they live.4

2. And with love must ever be joined, secondly, due respect, inward and outward. For parents are not only the benefactors, but in rank the betters, and in right the governors, of their children; whose dependance is upon them, in point of interest, generally; in point of duty, always. They ought therefore to think of them with great reverence, and treat them with every mark of submission, in gesture, in speech, in the whole of their behaviour, which the practice of wise and good persons has established, as proper instances of filial regard. And though the parents be mean in station, or low in understanding; still the relation continues, and the duty that belongs to it. Nay, suppose they be faulty in some part of their conduct or character, yet children should be very backward to see this; and it can very seldom be allowable for them to show that they see it. From the world they should always conceal it, as far as

(4) See Xenophon's Memoirs of Socrates, lib. 2. c. 2.

they can; for it is shocking beyond measure in them to publish it. And if ever any thing of this nature must be mentioned to the parents themselves, which nothing but great necessity can warrant or excuse; it should be with all possible gentleness and modesty, and the most real concern at being obliged to so unnatural an office.

3. Love and respect to parents will always produce obedience to them; a third duty of the highest importance. Children, for a considerable time, are utterly unqualified to govern themselves; and so long as this continues to be the case, must be absolutely and implicitly governed by those, who alone can claim a title to it. As they grow up to the use of understanding, indeed, reason should be gradually mixed with authority, in every thing that is required of them. But at the same time, children should observe, what they may easily find to be true in daily instances, that they are apt to think they know how to direct. themselves, much sooner than they really do; and should therefore submit to be directed by their friend in more points, and for a longer time, than perhaps they would naturally be tempted to wish. Suppose, in that part of your lives which is already past, you had had your own way in every thing, what would have been the consequences? You yourselves must see, very bad ones. Why, other persons see, what you will see also in time, that it would be full as bad, were you to have your way now. And what all, who are likely to know, agree in, you should believe, and submit to. Your parents and governors have at least more knowledge and experience, if they have not more capacity, than you. And the trouble which they take, and the concern which they feel about you, plainly show that your good is the thing which they have at heart. The only reason why they do not indulge you in the particulars that you wish, is, that

they see it would hurt you. And it is a dreadful venture for you to think, as yet, of trusting to yourselves. Trust, therefore, to those whom you have all manner of reason to trust; and obey them willingly, who, by the laws of God and man, have a right to rule you; and, generally speaking, a power to make you obey at last, be you ever so unwilling.

Not that children are bound to obedience in

all things without exception. Should a parent command them to lie, to steal, to commit any wickedness, God commands the contrary; and he is to be obeyed-not man. Or should a parent command any thing of consequence, directly opposite to the laws of the land, and the injunctions of public authority-here the magistrate being the superior power, in all things that confessedly be long to his jurisdiction, is to be obeyed rather than the parent, who ought himself to be subject to the magistrate.5 Or if, in other points, a parent should require what was both very evidently, and very greatly, unsuitable to a child's condition and station; or had a clear tendency to make him miserable; or would be certainly and considerably prejudicial to him through the remainder of his life; where the one goes so far beyond his just bounds, the other may allowably excuse himself from complying. Only the case must be both so plain, and withal of such moment, as may justify him, not only in his own judgment, which may easily be prejudiced, but in that of every considerate person, whom he hath opportunity of consulting, and in the general opinion of mankind. And even then, the refusal must be accompanied with the greatest decency and humility; and the strictest care to make amends, by all instances of real duty, for this one seeming want of duty.

(5) See Taylor's Elements of Civil Law,

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387, 388, 389.

In proportion as young persons approach to that age, when the law allows them to be capable of governing themselves, they become, by degrees, less and less subject to the government of their parents; especially in smaller matters: for, in the more important concerns of life, and, above all, in the very important one of marriage, not only daughters, (concerning whom, the very phrase of, giving them in marriage, shows that they are not to give themselves as they please,) but sons too, should have all possible regard to the authority, the judgment, the blessing, the comfort of those to whom they owe every thing. And even after they are sent out into the world, to stand on their own bottom, still they remain for ever bound not to slight, or willingly to grieve them, but in all proper affairs, to consult with them, and hearken to them, as far as it can be at all expected, in reason or gratitude, that they should.

4. The last thing, which in Scripture the phrase of honouring parents comprehends, is, affording them decent relief and support, if they are reduced to want it. For thus our Saviour explains the word, in his reproof of the Pharisees, for making "this Commandment of no effect by their tradi"tion. God commanded, Honour thy father and



thy mother; but ye say, Whosoever shall say to "his father and mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever "thou mightest be profited by me;" that is, what should have relieved you, I have devoted to religious uses; "whosoever shall say this, and

honoureth not his father or his mother, he shall "be free." In St. Mark it is, "Ye suffer him no


more to do aught for his father or his mother."7 And in other places of Scripture, besides this, honouring a person, signifies contributing to his maintenance: as 1 Tim. v. 17, 18-" Let the

(6) Matt. xv. 4, 5, 6.

(7) Mark vii. 12.

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