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in every

into two tables by Jews and Christians. The 6th The order also of fome of them is a little 7th 8th in the Sep. altered in the old Greek translation. But tuagint.

diftribution and division, among the perfons of all persuasions, and in all languages, the precept now before us, Honour thy father and thy mother, is always ranked immediately after those, which set forth our duty to Almighty God. The order in this instance is so natural and undeniable, that neither design, nor aceident has ever disturbed it. After that entire and boundless obedience and veneration due from all to God, the next degree of respect and reverence is that due from children to their

parents.

The relation between the Creator and his creatures admits, in strictnefs, of no comparison; yet when He is pleased to represent himself to us under notions accommodated to our capacity, there is not any character He assumes more fre. quently or willingly, than this of a parent.

No

No resemblance can exactly set before us his nature or operations, what He is in himself, or what He is to us; but this, we may presume, has in it the least impropriety. He not only condescends to take the title, but claims, and as it were glories in it; calling at the same time for all those sentiments and returns from us, which are suitable to that relation. One God and Father of all. God the Eph.iv. 6.

I Cor.viii, Father, of whom are all things, and we in 6. him. - We have had fathers of our flesh, Hebr. xii. which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; Mall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits? - A son honour. Mal. i. 6. eth his father, and a servant his master; if then I be a father, where is mine honour ?

9.

What great respect must be due from us to that character, which the Supreme Nature has chosen to be the representation of his own! The authority of a father can be seen in no fairer view, than by this reflected light. When you

look

on the parental power, you behold the image of the divine.

Not that we are obliged to have recourse to metaphors, and oblique arguments, on this subject. The duty of children towards their parents is bound upon them by the most immediate and obvious, as well as the most powerful and indispensable obligations.

In the first place, here is the command of Almighty God: Honour thy father and thy mother. What need of reasoning to evince our obligation? or what room for evasion, if we could be willing to disown it?

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Secondly, The command is express. What we are to do in the other instances, is left to be inferred: and in direct terms we are only warned to avoid that, which is wrong. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. - Thou shalt not make unto thee

any

any graven image. Thou shalt not take
the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
And even the fourth commandment
wears the same form of prohibition.
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
-How? in it thou shalt not do any work,
thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter. - And
so throughout the other table. In this
instance alone, not content with his usual
style, the divine Lawgiver has added
force to the precept, by a manner of
speaking more cogent, and positive: Ho-
nour thy father and thy mother. Neglect
in this case is against the very letter of
the law; And he who does not exert
himself in the keeping of this command-
ment, breaks it.

10.,

It is repeated also, and enforced in the new Testament. Children, obey your parents Colof. iii. in all things; for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Our Saviour has shewn great respect to this commandment, not only by observing it, being subject to his parents,

the

H 3

4, 5, 6.

the one of them only so called, and the other honoured above all human creatures in being so; but also restoring it, when it was degraded, to it's proper rank, and declaring it to be indispensable. Alms to the poor, no doubt, are good; the support of God's temple and worship was certainly acceptable to Him: but even such valuable things as these, he has

taught us, are to give place to others yet Matth.xv. more necessary. God commanded, saying,

honour thy father and mother : but ye say, wkosoever shall say to his father or mother, it is a gift by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by ; that is, I have given to God what might have relieved my parents; and honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effe at by your tradition. Acts of charity and devotion are not well timed, when they obstruct us in this duty. God will accept of nothing, till we have paid this necessary debt at home: and when we

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