The Child's Guide
"Children, obey your parents in all things; for this is well pleasing unto the Lord." Colossians 3:20
We may grow up to be adults; but while our parents live — we cannot cease to be children. And our love to, respect for, and concern to please our parents — should continue as long as the Lord spares them. Our parents have a right to command us — as long as we are dependant upon them. And we are bound to obey — not only because they have authority founded in nature — but because God commands us in the word of His grace. The parent's will is the child's rule! Unless the parent requires anything plainly opposed to the will of God — no child can be justified in despising, or grieving, or disobeying a parent; even though that parent is poor, illiterate, and unattractive in appearance. For we are not commanded to obey our parents if they are rich, or if they are learned, or if they are highly respected — but because they are our parents. And we should bear in mind, that they did not become our parents by chance; but by the appointment of God; and the God who appointed the relationship, says to us, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise, that it may he well with you, and that you may live long on the earth." (Ephesians 6:1-3.)
Parents are to be honored by their children, and unless they are steeped in vice and dyed in open sin — they are to be honored by us everywhere. A father should always be treated with reverence and respect, and a mother with attention and love. If they are in need, their children should consider it not only a duty — but an honor to assist them. If they are not in need, they should often receive the little token of affectionate remembrance, and the distinguishing mark of special attention. A father's care should be repaid by the child's respect; and a mother's kindness, by the child's affectionate attention.
The obedience of children to their parents pleases the Lord; but their disobedience grieves and provokes Him. And very commonly it is the case, that Providence so orders it, that our children behave to us — just as we did to our parents; and many a parent will see in the conduct of his children, the antitype of his own — if he is a careful, thoughtful, observer.
Reader, how did you act toward your parents? Have you felt that your disobedience to them was a sin against God — a sin to be repented of and confessed before God with sorrow? How are you acting to them now? Remember, with whatever measure you mete out — it shall be measured to you again; and this will apply with great force to your behavior to your parents.
You cannot disobey, or slight, or treat your parents with any degree of disrespect — but God notices and disapproves, and will chastise for it. Christians ought especially to be kind, attentive, and obedient to their parents; and if their parents are still graceless, they should pray earnestly for them, and try by amiableness of manner, sweetness of temper, and particular displays of kindness — to bring them under the gospel. Many a child has smarted after a parent's death for not having used all possible means to secure the salvation of the soul while living; happy is the child who has nothing to regret, whose conscience does not accuse him, who can think of a departed parent without a fear or apprehension of meeting him before the judgment-seat of Christ.
Children, God bids you to love, respect, and honor your parents! Do so publicly and privately; do so, from love to God and respect to the authority of the Lord Jesus; do now as you may wish you had done when you see your parent on his dying pillow, or when lying there yourself.