(Alexander Whyte, "Pictures from Pilgrim's Progress")
"Do not be like the the mule . . ." Psalm 32:9
Little Obstinate was born and brought up in the City of Destruction. His father was old 'Spare the Rod', and his mother's name was 'Spoil the Child'. Little Obstinate was the only child of his parents. He was born when they were no longer young, and they doted on their only child, and gave him his own way in everything. Everything he asked for he got, and if he did not immediately get it you would have heard his screams and his kicks three doors off! His parents were not in themselves bad people, but, if Solomon speaks true, they hated their child, for they gave him all his own way in everything, and nothing would ever make them say 'no' to him, or lift up the ROD when he said 'no' to them.
Little Obstinate's two parents were far from ungodly people, though they lived in such a city; but they were daily destroying their only son by letting him always have his own way, and by never saying no to his greed, and his lies, and his anger, and his noisy and disorderly ways. Eli in the Old Testament was not a bad man, but he destroyed both the ark of the Lord and himself and his sons also, because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.
The meekness, the sweetness, the docility, and the love of a chastised child has gone to all our hearts in a way we can never forget. There is something sometimes almost past description in the way a chastised child clings to and kisses the hand that chastised it. But poor old 'Spare the Rod' never had experiences like that. And little Obstinate, having been born like Job's wild donkey's colt, grew up to be a man likeDavid's unbridled mule, until in after life he became the author of all the evil and mischief that is associated in our minds with his evil name.
In old 'Spare the Rod's' child also this true proverb was fulfilled, that 'the child is the father of the man'. For all that little Obstinate had been in the nursery, in the schoolroom, and in the playground; all that, only in an aggravated way; he was as a youth and as a grown up man.
As to the cure of obstinacy--the ROD in a firm, watchful, wise, and loving hand will cure it.
And much agonizing prayer will above all cure it.
"He who spares the ROD hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him." Proverbs 13:24
"Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the ROD of discipline will drive it far from him." Proverbs 22:15
"Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the ROD, he will not die. Punish him with the ROD and save his soul from death." Proverbs 23:13-14
"The ROD of correction imparts wisdom, but an undisciplined child disgraces his mother." Proverbs 29:15