Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.…
adopts.We do not say that Paul had this thought when he wrote; we think he had another thought, which we shall presently try to give you: but still the thought that we now suggest is inseparably associated with that which we shall presently suggest - and therefore the remarks we have been making appear to us to be quite to the point. And if you would bring up your children aright, just see how the Lord brings you up, and imitate your heavenly Educator. But, speaking textually, "the nurture and admonition of the Lord" is that which the Lord directs - it is that which has the Lord for its subject, and the Lord for its object. "Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord," means - Let your instruction and your training have the Lord's teaching, the Lord's warnings, the Lord's doctrines, for their means, and the Lord Himself for their end. Let the Lord be the end of education; and let the Lord's resources be the means of education. And will you also observe that both parents are charged - for the word "fathers" is used here, not in the specific sense, but in the generic sense: so that we may read the passage, "Ye parents, train up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." The day was, when the mother had nothing, or very little, to do directly with instruction and education. But so soon as the position of the wife and the mother was improved and righted, so soon as she stood in her proper place by the side of the husband and father, then the father began to give her an undue share of the responsibility in bringing up the children. And what do we see now? We see the mother in many cases doing the whole work, and the father most grievously and sinfully neglecting it. This is not right. In the first place there is something due to the mother, and to the wife; why should she take a greater burden than she is able to bear? In the next place there is something due to the children. Look, further, at the common danger to parents that is here recognized - the abuse of power. The power of a parent is very great; and there is very little to check it; even the State does little here, unless the abuse of power be extraordinary. The power of a parent is, as we scarcely need remind you, almost unbounded. Do you see that the text recognizes the danger of this power being abused? "Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath." Power, more than anything else, tempts to cruelty; it is an exceedingly dangerous thing to possess - and no man in his senses will ever covet it; he will rather ask God to give him very little of it, than desire to possess it. Those who have right views of power will never be ambitious for it: but they will rather, like some of the old prophets (like Jeremiah, for instance), tremble to take it even when God puts it into their hands. We often see power make the most tender natures cruel, and the most gentle natures fierce. How often have women been rendered cruel by an increase of authority, and an increase of influence! There is danger to parents of caprice, and harshness; of giving commands, and precepts, and prohibitions, for the sake of maintaining their position, and of upholding their authority. And that is the point of the words, "Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up." The child is to be nourished; it is not to be driven - it is to be cherished; it is not to be forced. The incitement and the impulsion which are likely to distress and dishearten the child, are distinctly forbidden in the text. The force of the contrast must be manifest to you in a moment. The bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, is placed in contrast with provoking them to wrath. The child's faults are to be corrected; but still, correction is to be so administered as not to sink the child into despondency, or drive him to despair - as not to wean the heart of the child either from father or from mother. And the education required is to be marked, as you will have seen throughout the course of these remarks, by the following features. The Lord Jesus, the Son of God, is to be its end. Children are to brought up for the Lord; for subjects in His kingdom; that is to be the ultimate end. Christ's teaching is to be the means of education. The precepts and the prohibitions that are to regulate the general conduct are to be taken from Christ's lips, and are to be delivered to the child in Christ's name. Christ's resources are to be the support of education. The parent is not supposed to be able himself to do this work; but there are put at his disposal the unsearchable riches of Christ; and if he cannot nourish his children with that which he has, he may nourish them by the wealth of his Master and Lord. The education required is to have Christ's example for its standard - the parent is to: "bring up" as Christ brings up His followers. And it is to have Christ's temper for its spirit - the educator must be meek and lowly in heart.
(S. Martin, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.