DUTY OF PARENTS TO CHILDREN
If thou are a parent, a father, or a mother, then thou art to consider thy calling under this relation.
Thy children have souls, and they must be begotten of God as well as of thee, or they perish. And know also, that unless thou be very circumspect in thy behavior to and before them, they may perish through thee: the thoughts of which should provoke thee, both to instruct, and also to correct them.
First, To instruct them as the scripture saith, and to ‘bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord’; and to do this diligently, ‘when thou sittest in thine house—when thou liest down, and when thou risest up’ (Eph 6:4; Deu 6:7).
Now to do this to purpose:
1. Do it in terms and words easy to be understood: affect not high expressions, they will drown your children. Thus God spake to his children (Hosea 12:10), and Paul to his (1 Cor 3:2).
2. Take heed of filling their heads with whimsies, and unprofitable notions, for this will sooner learn them to be malapert and proud, than sober and humble. Open therefore to them the state of man by nature; discourse with them of sin, of death, and hell; of a crucified Saviour, and the promise of life through faith: ‘Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it’ (Prov 22:6).
3. There must be much gentleness and patience in all thy instructions, ‘lest they be discouraged’ (Col. 3:21). And,
4. Labour to convince them by a conversation answerable, that the things of which thou instructest them are not fables, but realities; yea, and realities so far above what can be here enjoyed, that all things, were they a thousand times better than they are, are not worthy to be compared with the glory and worthiness of these things.8
Isaac was so holy before his children, that when Jacob remembered God, he remembered that he was ‘the Fear of his father Isaac’ (Gen 31:53).
Ah! when children can think of their parents, and bless God for that instruction and good they have received from them, this is not only profitable for children, but honourable, and comfortable to parents: ‘The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him’ (Prov 23:24, 25).