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mother, and shall cleave unto his wife,' Matthew xix. 4, 5. In this situation then children become parents, heads of families, invested with all the authority, possessed of all the rights, and subjected to all the duties pertaining to their own parents. It is impossible that in these circumstances they should fulfil their former duties, as children under the government of their parents, unless they neglect those which are indispensable in their present situation. From many of these duties therefore they are released.

Still, as they are more indebted to their parents than to any other human beings, and incomparably more indebted, at least in ordinary cases, their remaining duties to their parents are numerous and important. In this situation, more frequently than any other, they are required to contribute to the maintenance of their parents. This is made by our Saviour to be so important a branch of the command in our text, that he declares the Pharisees, who by a fraudulent comment on this precept had released men from the duty in question, to have 'made this command of God of none effect by their tradition.' In this period also they are bound, as much as may be, to nurse and soothe their parents in pain and sickness, to bear patiently and kindly their infirmities of body and mind, to alleviate their distresses, to give them the cheering influence of their company and conversation, and in these and various other ways to serene and brighten the evening, but too frequently a melancholy one, of old age.

The children of sinful parents have always a difficult task to perform. To a pious child, a parent visibly going down in the broad and crooked road that leads to destruction is a sight beyond measure distressing. That a child thus situated is bound in every discreet and efficacious manner to prevent, as far as may be, the awful catastrophe, will not be questioned, unless by an atheist. What is to be done in so dreadful a case it will be impossible to prescribe here, unless in very general terms. Every child will know indeed, without information, that his prayers are to be offered up for his parent, and his own pious example presented to bim, without ceasing. Every child also knows that all his own measures, whatever they may be in other respects, are to be obedient, modest, and reverential. No other measures can, in these circumstances, be hopefully followed by any good consequences. Still they may be sufficiently plain and unequivocal as to their meaning.

Among the efforts made by such a child, in addition to his own discreet personal conduct and conversation, few seem better fitted to answer the end in view, than inducing persons possessed of known wisdom and piety, especially those of an engaging deportment, frequently to visit the parent, and persuading him also often to visit them; placing books of a religious nature, written in a pleasing and interesting manner, within his reach ; alluring him regularly to the house of God, and ito private religious assemblies; and introducing, without any apparent design, religious topics, especially those which are peculiarly interesting, as often as may be with propriety. In my own view, the child is also bound modestly, submissively, and discreetly to remonstrate against the visible wickedness of the parent. I can see no reason which will justify a child in the omission of this duty, although I am not unaware of the peculiar difficulties which attend it, nor unapprized of the peculiar delicacy and prudence which it demands. Reproof, even from equals or superiors, requires more skill and care, in order to render it successful, than fall to the lot of most men. In a child to parent it must be singularly embarrassing

A less delicate task, yet still attended with many difficulties, lies in avoiding the influence, naturally presented, and often but too efficaciously, by the sentiments, precepts, and examples, of evil parents. The parental character is so venerable, so authoritative, so endearing, and so persuasive, that the child who escapes its malignant influence when employed to encourage sin, may well be considered as eminently the object of the divine favour. Still it is possible, and has existed in multiplied instances. Abijah escaped even in the house of Jeroboam, Hezekiah in that of Ahaz, and Josiah in that of Amon. Thus also has the fact often been in all succeeding ages of time. Children therefore, instead of despairing, should gird themselves with watchfulness and resolution suited to their circumstances; should continually and fervently beseech God to guard them by his good Spirit from the dangers in which they stand; should watch their own conduct with peculiar anxiety; should seek for wisdom and direction from religious hooks, especially from the Scriptures; and should ask advice,

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countenance, and assistance from those among their friends who are persons of piety. The company of such persons counteracts, in a manner invaluable, the influence of evil example. •He that walketh with wise men,' says God shall be wise.'

Having thus given a summary account of the duties of children, I shall now proceed to mention several reasons to enforce them.

1. Every considerate child will feel his filial duty strongly urged by the excellence of this conduct, and the Odiousness of filial impiety.

This is one of the few moral subjects concerning which all men are agreed. The writers, of all ages and of all countries, have taught us with a single voice, that to the common eye of mankind no object is more amiable, or more delightful than a datiful and virtuous child. This charming object commends itseif at first view to the natural feelings, the judgment, and the conscience of all men. It commends itself at once, without deliberation, and without doubt. It has commended itself to persons of every character, in every age, and in every country. It is esteemed, it is loved. The affection which it excites and the reputation which it produces are sincere, solid, and permanent. Nothing more certainly generates esteem, nothing more uniformly creates friends. It is a kind of glory, surrounding the child wherever he goes ; seen, felt, and acknowledged by all men, and conferring a distinction otherwise unattainable. All persons presage well of such a child; and he is expected of course to fill every station to which bis talents are suited with propriety and honour.

An undutiful child, on the contrary, brands his own character with odiousness and infamy. No person sees him, or thinks of him, without pain and disgust. No parent is willing that his own children should become his companions. The vilest persons regard him with contempt and abhorrence, the best, with pity and indignation. A parent on his death-bed hardly knows how to ask a blessing for him; and those who survive are still more unable to believe it will descend upon his head.

2. Considerate children will find another powerful reason for filial duty in the pleasure which it gives their parents.

Nothing which takes place in human life creates a higher,




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more genuine, or more unmingled pleasure in the minds of parents than the pious and dutiful conduct of their children. It is indeed impossible that a child should form adequate conceptions of the delight which such conduct awakens in the parental heart. Experience only can completely teach the nature of this emotion. Still, children cannot but know that their parents in this manner find exquisite enjoyment; nor can they be ignorant that to produce it is one of their own chief blessings, as well as one of their indispensable duties. Filial piety is a continual feast; an ample reward for every parental care, toil, watching, anxiety, and prayer. It sweetens all the bitterness of human life; and adds an exquisite relish to every comfort. The burdens of life it makes light and easy, and is the most supporting stay on this side of heaven to the weary steps of declining age.

An undutiful child, on the other hand, is a broken reed, on which if a man lean, it shall thrust through his hand, and pierce him.' A foolish son is a heaviness' alike to his' father and his mother;' a spot on their character, a trial of their patience, a blast upon their hopes, a nuisance to their family, and a thorn in their hearts.

3. The demands of gratitude present a combination of such reasons to every such child for the same conduct.

Parental love is unrivalled by any affection of the human breast in its strength, its tenderness, its patience, its permanency, and its cheerful self-denial. The labours which it undergoes, and the willingness with which it undergoes them, are unexampled in the concerns of man. No other affection toils with the same readiness and patience, or voluntarily encounters the same watchings, cares, pains, and anxieties. None prompts so many prayers, none awakens so many tears. Most of human life, after we arrive at adult age, is spent in

providing for the wants, alleviating the sufferings, removing the diseases, furnishing the education, guarding the conduct, securing the safety, accomplishing the settlement, and promoting the salvation of children. More is done by parents, and daily done, than children can ever realize, until they are called to do the same things for their own offspring. All at the same time are efforts of tenderness merely. These efforts are almost without number, this tenderness almost without degree. What child, who remembers that he is indebted to


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his parents for his being, and under God for almost every blessing which he enjoys, for almost all that he is, and almost all that he has, can fail to feel and to acknowledge, that the utmost which he can do in the proper course of filial piety, is an imperfect requital for such affections and such blessings as these; That there are such beings I am reluctantly compelled to confess. Children they ought not to be called. They are unworthy of the name. They are monstrous productions, out of the course of nature; and, like all such productions, fill the mind only with loathing and horror. Let such children remember that they are objects of still more abhorrence to God, than to men. Let them remember, that this great and awful Being, who bas styled himself the Father of mankind, and who has imaged his own tenderness for his creatures hy that of a father to his children, will at the final day vindicate the parental rights in a terrible manner, by inflicting the severest punishment on undutiful children.

4. The great udvantages of filial piety present strong reasons for the practice of it to children of every character.

Of the text St. Paul observes, when enjoining the duties of it upon the children of the Ephesian Christians, that it is the first commandment with promise. Accordingly, he urges their obedience to it upon the very ground of this promise, that their days also might be long upon the land, which the Lord their God had given them.' This promise, therefore, to such an extent, that an apostle thought proper to urge it upon the Ephesian Christians, extends to the Gentiles. The promises to the Jews, in most instances, announced temporal blessings only. Those which are made to Christians chiefly convey spiritual blessings. But that which is contained in the textconveys temporal blessings also. In conversing with the plain people of this country, distinguished for their good sense, and careful observation of facts, I have found them, to a great extent, firmly persuaded of the verification of this promise in our own days; and ready to produce a variety of proofs from cases in which they have seen the blessing realized. Their opinion on this subject is mine ; and with their experience my own has coincided.

Indeed, no small measure of prosperity seems ordinarily interwoven with a course of filial piety. The comfort which it

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