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nearer oversight no more. . When any one of these ends are fully attained, and you have all that your parents' government can help you to, then you are past that part of their government. But still you owe them, not only love, and honour, and reverence; but obedience also in all things in which they are still appointed for your help and guidance : even when you are married from them, though you have a propriety in your own estates, and they have not so strict a charge of you as before; yet if they command you your duty to God or them, you are still obliged to obey them,
Direct. iv. Be contented with your parents' provision for you, and disposal of you.' Do not rebelliously murmur against them, and complain of their usage of you; much less take any thing against their wills. It is the part of a fleshly rebel, and not of an obedient child, to be discontent and murmur because they fare not better, or because they are kept from sports and play, or because they have not better clothes, or because they have not money allowed them, to spend or use at their own discretion. Are not you under government? and the government of parents, and not of enemies ? Are your lusts and pleasures fitter to govern you, than your parents' discretion ? Be thankful for what you have, and remember that you deserve it not, but have it freely: it is your pride or your fleshly sensuality that maketh you thus to murmur, and not any wisdom or virtue that is in you. Get down that pride and fleshly mind, and then you will not be so eager to have your wills. What if your parents did deal too hardly with you, in your food, or raiment, or expences? What harm doth it do you? Nothing but a selfish, sensual mind would make so great a matter of it. It is a hundred times more dangerous to your souls and bodies to be bred too high, and fed too full and daintily, than to be bred too low, and fed too hardly. One tendeth to pride, and gluttony, and wantonness, and the overthrow of health and life; and the other tendeth to a humble, mortified, self-denying life, and to the health and soundness of the body. Remember how the earth opened, and swallowed all those rebellious murmurers that grudged against Moses and Aaron, Num. xvi. ; read it, and apply it to your case : and remember the story of rebellious Absalom; and the folly of the prodigal, Luke XV.; and desire not to be at your own dispose ; nor be eager to have the vain desires of your hearts fulfilled. While you contentedly submit to your parents, you are in God's way, and may expect his blessing; but when you will needs be carvers for yourselves, you may expect the punishment of rebels.
Direct. v. Humble yourselves and submit to any labour that your parents shall appoint you to.' Take heed as you love your souls, lest either a proud heart make you mur+ • mur and say, ' This work is too low and base a drudgery for mez' or lest a lazy mind and body make you say, “This work is too hard and toilsone for me;' or else a foolish, playful mind do make you weary of your book or labour, that you may be at your sports, and say, " This is too te dious for me. It is little or no hurt that is like to befal you by your labour and diligence; but it is a dangerous thing to get a habit or custom of idleness and voluptuousness in your youth
Direct. w. . Be willing and thankful to be instructed by your parents, or any of your teachers, but especially about the fear of God, and the matters of your salvation.' These are the matters that yoų are born and live for; these are the things that your parents have first in charge to teach you. Without knowledge and holiness all the riches and honours of the world are nothing worth : and all your pleasures will but undo you. O what a comfort is it to understanding parents to see their children willing to learn, and to love the Word of God, and lay it up in their hearts, and talk of it, and obey it, and prepare betime for everlasting life! If such children die before their parents, how joyfully may they part with them as into the arms of Christ, who hath said, “ That of such is the kingdom of heaven b." And if the parents die first, how joyfully may they leave behind them a holy seed, that is like to serve God in their generation, and to follow them to heaven, and live with them for ever. But, whether they live or die, what a heart-breaking to the parents are ungodly children, that love not the Word and way of God, and love not to be taught or restrained from their own licentious courses.
Direet. vir. Patiently submit to the correction which your parents ląy upon you. Consider, that God hath.commanded them to do it, and that to save your souls, from hell, and that they hate you, if they correct you not when there is cause, and that they must not spare for your crying It is not their delight, but for your own necessity. Avoid the fault, and you may escape the correction. How, much rather had your parents see you obedient, than hear you cry. It is not long of them, but of yourselves, that you are corrected. Be angry with yourselves, and not with them. It is a wicked child, that instead of being better by correction, will hate his parents for it, and so grow worse. Correction is a means of God's own appointment; and therefore go to God on your knees in prayer, and entreat him to bless and sanctify it to you, that it may do you good.
a Read Mr. T. White's little book for little children. Mark ix. 86. X. 14. 16. b Matt, xix. 14.
Direct. VIII. • Choose not your own company, but use such company as by your parents is appointed you.' Bad company is the first undoing of a child. When for the love of sport you choose such play-fellows as are idle, and licentious, and disobedient, and will teach you to curse, and swear, and lie, and talk filthily, and draw you from your book or duty; this is the devil's highway to hell. Your parents are fittest to choose your company.
Direct. ix. . Choose not your own calling or trade of life, without the choice or consent of your parents. You may tell them what you are most inclined to, but it belongeth more to them than to you to make the choice: and it is your part to bring your wills to theirs. Unless your parents choose a calling for you that is unlawful ; and then you may (with humble submissiveness) refuse it. But if it be only inconvenient, you have liberty afterward to change it for a better, if you can, when you are from under their dispose and government.
Direct. x. 'Marry not without your parents' consent.' Nay, if it may be, let their choice determine first of the person, and not your own : unexperienced youth doth choose by fancy and passion, when your experienced parents will choose by judgment. But if they would force you to join yourselves to such as are ungodly, and like to make your lives either sinful or miserable, you may humbly refuse them. But you must remain unmarried, while by the use of right means you can live in chastity, till your parents are in a better mind. But if indeed you have a fat necessity of
Prov. xiii. 24. xxii. 15. xxix. 15. xxiii. 13, 14. xix. 18.
marrying, and your parents will consent to none but one of a false religion, or one that is utterly unfit for you; in such a case they forfeit their authority in that point, which is given them for your edification, and not for your destruction; and then you should advise with other friends that are more wise and faithful: but if
fond af fections to contradict your parents' wills, and pretend a necessity (that you cannot change your affections) as if your folly were uncurable: this is but to enter sinfully into that state of life, which should have been sanctified to God, that he might have blessed it to you.
Direct. XI. ' If your parents be in want, it is your duty to relieve them according to your ability ; yea, and wholly to maintain them, if there be need. For it is not possible by all that you can do, that ever you can be on even terms with them; or ever requite them for what you have received of them. It is base inhumanity, when parents come to poverty, for children to put them off with some short allowance, and to make them live almost like their servants, when you have riches and plenty for yourselves. Your parents should still be maintained by you as your superiors, and not as your inferiors. See that they fare as well as yourselves, yea, though you got not your riches by their means, yet even for your being, you are their debtors for more than that.
Direct. XII. 'Imitate your parents in all that is good, both when they are living, and when they are dead. If they were lovers of God, and of his Word and service, and of those that fear him, let their example provoke you, and let the love that you have to them, engage you in this imitation. A wicked child of godly parents is one of the most miserable wretches in the world. With what horror do I look on such a person! How near is such a wretch to hell! When father or mother were eminent for godliness, and daily instructed them in the matters of their salvation, and prayed with them, and warned them, and prayed for them, and after all this the children shall prove covetous, or drunkards, or whoremongers, or profane, and enemies to the servants of God, and deride or neglect the way of their religious parents, it would make one tremble to look such wretches in the face. For though yet there is some hope of them, alas, it is so little, that they are next to desperate;
when they are hardened under the most excellent means, and the light hath blinded them, and their acquaintance with the ways of God hath but turned their hearts more against them, what means is left to do good to such resisters of the grace of God as these? The likeliest is some heavy, dreadfal judgment. O what a woeful day will it be to them, when all the prayers, and tears, and teachings, and good examples of their religious parents shall witness ágainst them! How will they be confounded before the Lord! And how sad a thought is it to the heart of holy, diligent parents, to think that all their prayers and pains must witness against their graceless children, and sink them deeper into hell! And yet alas, how many such woeful spectacles are there before our eyes! and how deeply doth the church of God suffer by the malice and wickedhess of the children of those parents that taught them better, and walked before them in a holy, exemplary life! But if parents be ignorant, superstitious, idolatrous, popish, or profane, their children are forward enough to imitate them. They can say, Oar forefathers were of this mind; and we hope they are saved, and we will rather imitate them, than such innovating reformers as you. As they said to Jeremy; " As for the word that thou hast spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken to thee. But we will burn incense to the queen of heaven_kas we have done, we and our fathers, our kings, and our princes in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem; for then we had plenty of victuals, and wete well, and saw no evil: but since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famined." Thus they walk " after the imagination of their hearts, and after Baalim (the false worship) which their fathers taught theme." " And they forget God's name as their fathers did forget it f.” ** They and their father's have transgressed to this day." Yea, They harden their necks, and do worse than their fathersh." Thus in error and sin they can imitate their forefathers, when they should rather remember, that it cost Christ his blood "to redeem men from their vain convera Jer. xliv. 16–18.
i Jer. xxiii. 27. Ezek. ii. 3.
e Jer, ix. 14.
Jer. vii. 26.