Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.…
I. THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF PARENTAL INFLUENCE. It is evident that there is no relation in which a man exerts so much power for good or evil. There is no other from whom the child receives so many of the ideas, impressions, and habits, which are most abiding, as from his parents. The opinions which a man holds, the party with which he identifies himself, the friendships he cultivates, and the particular line of conduct he observes, all impress themselves on the mind of his child; and his views of them are affected partly by the feelings he has to his father, and partly by the opinions which they have had upon his father's character and life. Very early is the observing power of the child awakened, and from the time that it is roused to consciousness every day adds something to its ever-increasing store. Words and looks, as well as actions, have their effect; and thus, unconsciously to themselves, the parents are constantly educating their children - educating them when they have no thought at all of the serious work which they are doing; when they are going on the way of life in their own accustomed course without recollecting that there are eager young eyes watching every movement, and listening young ears drinking in every word that is spoken, and impressible young hearts which are being trained to good or to evil by that which is thus passing before them.
II. THE SPIRIT AND MANNER IN WHICH THIS RESPONSIBILITY SHOULD BE DISCHARGED.
1. To make the unconscious influence which a man exerts a blessing, the one thing which is necessary is high-toned Christian principle. The power which goes forth from a man will be according to the spirit that is in him.
2. In the direct work of training, the first essential is that you should clearly set before your own mind the object which you have in view.
(1) Of course education by a Christian man must be religious, and distinctively Christian. And not only must this instruction be given, but wisely given - so that the religious lesson shall not be regarded as a mere task.
3. The exercise of authority is another of the means by which a parent may fulfil his duty. The one power on earth which is of Divine right in his. It is essential to the right government of the family and the proper discipline of the child. It meets him at the beginning of life with the idea, so necessary for all to realize, that in this world no human will is meant to be absolute and supreme, and that the first lesson - which everyone is to learn - is the difficult but necessary one of obedience.
3. No Christian parent will need to be reminded that he must pray for and with his children.
(J. G. Begets, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.