Bound to obey
‘Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest live long on the earth.’ Ephesians 6:1–3
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Proverbs 4:1–27
The duty and obligation of children is to obey and honour. This is a precept of the moral law, and the first, and indeed the only, command to which there is a special promise annexed. It partly is founded upon natural obligation. We came into the world in a helpless, pitiable state; and what would become of us in infancy when our wants are so many, when we occasion so much trouble, if God had not put a natural affection into our parents? Though a child is brought into the world with pain and danger to the mother, yet as soon as it is born she forgetteth her sorrow for joy that she is the mother of a living child. And an affection which is quite a new feeling takes place in the father also. And what care have parents while their offspring are in a state of childhood, and afterwards for their comfortable settlement in life. Thankful as they are if the Lord has quickened their own souls, they know not how to be satisfied unless their children are saved too. They tremble at the thought of seeing them hereafter at the left hand of the judgement seat. It shall be no trouble to them then, yet they know not how to think of it now. On these accounts children are surely bound to love and obey their parents.
FOR MEDITATION: It is more than sixty years since my mother died. I was then younger than you are now, but I can still remember that some people stroked my head and said, Poor child, he does not know what he has lost! Indeed I could not know the value of a good mama at that time, but I felt the want of her afterwards. For, Miss Jean, we are all such creatures, even when we are young, that we find it difficult to learn what is good; but that which is evil and wicked is so well suited to our inclinations, that we can learn it quickly, even without a teacher. Remember, my dear, in the first place, to love and honour your parents. If you do your utmost, you can never fully requite your obligations to them. You are bound to show your gratitude to them by your love, respect and obedience in all things.
John Newton to Jean Coffin (aged 10), 28 September 1792
SERMON SERIES: RELATIVE DUTIES, NO. 3 [1/5], EPHESIANS 6:1–3