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posed of persons of various ages, characters, and conditions. He had six sons beside Ishmael and Isaac. He had three hundred servants born in his house, and some that he bought with his money. Over all these he exercised paternal authority. For we read, “ In the self-same day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son, and all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.” All parents, or heads of families have the same parental authority over their children and households, that Abraham had. Parental authority is founded in the nature of things, and discoverable by the light of nature. The natural dependance of children upon their parents, gives their parents anatural right to govern them so long as that dependance continues; and children early see and feel the propriety and obligation of submitting to such parental authority. Parental authority is as fully and universally claimed by parents, and acknowledged by children, among heathens as among christians. All heathen parents, whether civilized or savage, are capable of seeing that they ought to govern their children and households ; and their children and households are capable of seeing that they ought to submit to their government. And this parental authority, which is founded in the nature of things, is sanctioned by divine authority. God commands parents to govern, and children and households to obey. Parents are bound to their children, and their children are bound to them. Their mutual relations create mutual obligations, which are mutually binding, and cannot be violated on either side without incurring great guilt. The origin, the nature and the obligation of parental authority all show how

far it extends, and how long it continues. It extends to all that belong to a family or household, and it continues to bind them so long as it can be of service to them, or so long as the civil law allows it to bind them. The law of nature, the law of God, and the civil law generally agree in this, to allow parents to exercise their parental authority over their children and house. holds, until their age, their knowledge, and circumstances render them capable of self-direction, which may be at various periods of life. Having considered who they are, that compose a family or household, over whom parental authority is to be exercised, I proceed consider,

II. What is implied in parental authority, or what it gives parents a right to do in respect to their children and households. And here it may be observed,

1. That it gives them the right of dedicating them to God. Abraham possessed and exercised this right. - When Abraham was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to him, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee. Thou shalt keep my covenant, therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee, in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you, and thy seed after thee ; every man-child among you shall

; be circumcised. And


shall circumcise the flesh of of your foreskin ; and it shall be a token of the cove

; nant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, ever man-child in your generations ; he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is

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bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised.; Agreeably to this divine command, Abraham exercised his parental authority over all his children and numerous households, whether born in his house or purchased with his money and caused them the same day to be circumcised. This was a solemn dedication of them to God, by a solemn ceremony. Though the rite of circumcision be abolished, yet parents still have authority to dedicate their children and households to God, by the rite of baptism. Parents have the same right to devote themselves, their children, and their households to God, under the gospel, that Abraham had to devote himself, his children, and his household to God before the gospel day. Accordingly, we read, that Lydia and her household, and the Jailor and all his were baptized. And household baptism has been practised in the christian church ever since. One thing therefore, implied in parental authority, is a right in parents to devote their children and households to God, by baptism.

2. Parental authority gives parents the right of instructing their children, as well as the right of devoting them to God. This right God says he knew Abraham would exercise in commanding his children, and his household after him, that they should keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment. He had before this obeyed the divine command to devote his children and household to God, by which he had bound himself to teach them their duty to remember their creator and pay a universal obedience to all his precepts and prohibitions. We may be sure, therefore, that he did not neglect to employ his authority, his knowledge, his wisdom, and his fidelity in bringing up


his children and household in the knowledge and fear of the Lord. Moses enjoined the same duty upon the parents in Israel. He said unto them, “ Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.? Solomon inculcates the same duty upon parents.--“ Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” And the apostle exhorts parents “ to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Mankind are born like the wild ass's colt, ignorant of God and divine things, and unwilling to learn their duty to God and

It is therefore, the proper right and business of parents to instruct their children and all under their care, in the duties of piety, morality, and of every thing decent, and amiable in the sight of God and man.--Their parental authority obliges them to use all the means in their power, both by instruction and example, to form their children and households to virtue, piety, and usefulness. It must be further observed, : 3. That parental authority gives parents a right to restrain, as well as to instruct their children and households. Children and youth are naturally inclined to vanity and vice, from which they need to be guarded and restrained, not only by instruction, admonition, and advice, but by proper authority. It is the duty of parents to command, as well as to instruct and reprove.


God knew, that Abraham would have occasion to command his children and household ; and that he would command with authority and effect. A right to command always implies a power and right to enforce obedience. A command always implies a penalty of some kind or other, in case of disobedience. A parental precept, like every other lawful precept, always contains a penalty either expressed or understood. And parents always have the same right to inflict a just penalty, as to give a just precept or command. The bible, which gives parents authority over their children and households, allows and even requires them to exercise that authority, both by precept and penalty. Solomon says “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child ; but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” Again he says, “ Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” Again he says,

"Withhold not correction from the child : for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.--Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shall deliver his soul from hell.” Again he says, “Correct thy son and he shall give thee rest : yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” It is not, indeed, always necessary, nor even proper for the parents to correct by the rod. There are many other ways in which they may express displeasure towards any of their froward children and household, which is the proper design of all punishment. To deny or take away a darling object may serve the same purpose as the rod. Or, on greater occasions, to deny some peculiar favor or privilege, may be a sufficient restraint. But in some way or other, parents are bound to restrain their children and household from every evil practice, or sinful course. When



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