John Angell James – The Duties of Children to their Parents


Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—”that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Ephesians 6:1-3

“My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s teaching. Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. Wherever you walk, their counsel can lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up in the morning, they will advise you.” Proverbs 6:20-22

“The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice!” Proverbs 23:24-25

Perhaps there is no duty the obligations of which are more generally acknowledged than filial piety; none which in the performance yields greater pleasure; nor which, if neglected brings a more severe or righteous retribution. All nations, however sunk in barbarism or elevated by science, have admitted the strength and justice of parental claims; and the unhappy youth who resists them, stands convicted, condemned and reprobated before the tribunal of the world. On the other hand, an eminently dutiful child is an object of delight, admiration and esteem, to all who have an opportunity of witnessing his conduct; he goes through society surrounded by a glory purer than that of fame, and far more conducive to his own comfort; he is a blessing to his parents, and is blessed himself.

Children, may all of you be such—and for that purpose, I ask your fixed attention to the statement of your duties, as set before you in this chapter. The obligations of family life are reciprocal. If your parents owe to you all that I have enjoined upon them, how much do you owe to your parents? I have been your advocate with them, I now become theirs with you.

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