Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the city were obliged to stone him to death. Such was the authority the Jewish parents had over their children. The ancient Romans exercised even more authority than this. They could expose their children to death, when infants, and leave them to die of want, or to be devoured by the beasts and birds of prey; and at some periods this cruel custom was very common. Even when children were grown up, the father might imprison them, or scourge them, or send them bound to work in the country, or put them to death by any punishment he pleased, if he thought they deserved it. None of them became their own masters till the death of their father and grandfather; and if a child had the hardihood to take the life of a parent, he was first scourged severely, and then sewed up in a sack with a dog, a cock, a viper and an ape, and thrown into the sea.

The laws of our land do not permit parents to exercise such great authority over their children as the Jews and Romans did; still, the laws of the land, as well as the laws of God, allow them to "Train up a

child in the way he should go," and, if necessary, to "beat him with the rod."

And now, my young friends, are you willing to belong to the "generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother?" If you are, a fearful curse rests upon you; for your "lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness." It is a sin which God abhors, and which he will certainly punish, unless repented of. In the illustrations that have been given, we have seen how severely he has punished those who committed this sin. What warnings are these to us, that he who dishonoreth his parents shall not prosper! Who would dare incur the guilt of a sin that God has so severely punished!

I wish now to call your attention, for a few moments, to another important subject, intimately connected with this; I mean, respect to superiors. There is scarcely any thing more becoming in a young person, than this trait of character; and he who truly loves and honors his parents, will be no stranger to it. Even heathen nations have enjoined it upon their youth.

The story of the ancient Spartans, who, in a crowded assembly, rose in a body to give up their seats to an aged stranger, is familiar to all. Even at the present day, some of the heathen nations may teach Christians in this respect. For instance, take the natives of Java, who pay great regard to this duty. When they address their superiors, they do it with great respect; and in conversing with those in authority, they use a peculiar language, different from their

common one.

The word of God enjoins this duty upon us. Its command is, "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man." It also gives us a striking instance in which the neglect of this duty was remarkably punished. In the second book of Kings, second chapter, we read that as Elisha was on his way to Bethel, over forty little children came out and began to mock him, saying, "Go up, thou bald head." And immediately two bears came out upon them, and destroyed forty-two of them. What a warning to

those of the present day who mock at the aged, instead of honoring them!

Look at that poor old man. He belongs to a generation that are now in their graves. Though rich in faith, he is poor in this world's goods, and is meanly dressed. Perhaps he is an ignorant man, and his manners are rude and unpolished. Why should I honor such a man? Why should I "rise up before the hoary head" of such a one? Ah, he has a crown upon his head! Yes, though he may be clad in poverty, he wears a crown. It is not like those which kings and princes wear, but it is 66 a crown of glory!" For Solomon says, "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness." And, again, "The beauty of old men is the gray head." Surely, I should honor the aged man, if he is the possessor of such a crown of glory; and my young readers, no doubt, will honor him, too. If they do, they will gain the respect of those around them, the love of those they honor, the reward of their own conscience, and the blessing of God.

CHAPTER VI.

GOVERNING THE TONGUE.

"The tongue can no man tame.”

THE tongue is probably the occasion of more sin than any other member of the human body; and I have sometimes thought that if men, like the crocodile, were without tongues, or if they were mute, like all other animals, one great stream of sin would be dried up. But it is not so; and therefore it only remains for us to check and govern this unruly member. If we neglect to do this, we must not be surprised to find ourselves walking in the broad way of sin, instead of the "pleasant way" of virtue and piety.

But in justice, we ought also to remember that the gift of speech is a noble gift, and one that is conferred upon no inhabitant of

« AnteriorContinuar »