Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
I. EARLY TRAINING. (Ver. 6.) The young twig must be early bent. Experience teaches us that nothing in the world is so mighty for good or evil as custom; and therefore, says Lord Bacon, "since custom is the principal magistrate of man's life, let man by all means endeavour to obtain good customs. Custom is most perfect when it beginneth in young years; this we call education, which is in effect but an early custom. The tongue is more pliant to all expressions and sounds, the joints more supple to all feats of activity and motions, in youth than afterwards. Those minds are rare which do not show to their latest days the ply and impress they have received as children."
II. INDEPENDENCE. (Ver. 7.) How strongly was the worth of this felt in those ancient times! Poverty and responsibility to others are to be avoided. Many are forced into distress of conscience and to the loss of a good name by being tempted, for the wake of the rich man's gold or the great man's smile, to vote contrary to their convictions. Others will sell their liberty to gratify their luxury. It is an honest ambition to enjoy a competence that shall enable one to afford to be honest, and have the luxury of the freest expression of opinion. Hence frugality becomes so clear a moral duty.
III. INTEGRITY. (Ver. 8.) Ill-gotten gains cannot prosper. "The evil which issues from thy mouth falls into thy bosom," says the Spanish proverb. The rod wherewith the violent and unjust man struck others is broken to pieces.
IV. NEIGHBOURLY LOVE (Ver. 9.) "Charity gives itself rich, covetousness hoards itself poor," says the German proverb. "Give alms, that thy children may not ask them," says a Danish proverb. "Drawn wells are never dry." So give today, that thou mayest have to give tomorrow; and to one, that thou mayest have to give to another. Let us remember, with the Italian proverb, that "our last robe is made without pockets." Above all, if our case is that "silver and gold we have none, let us freely substitute the kindly looks and the healing words, which are worth much and cost little."
V. A PEACEFUL TEMPER. (Ver. 10.) Let the scoffing, envious, contentious temper be cast out of our breast first. As for others, let us strike, if possible, at the cause and root of strife. Let there be solid argument for the doubter, and practical relief for actual grievances. Let us learn from the old fable, and follow the part of Epimetheus, who, when evils flew abroad from the box of Pandora, shut the lid and kept hope at the bottom of the vessel.
VI. A FAITHFUL AND CONSTANT HEART. (Ver. 11.) The greatest treasure to an earthly monarch, and dear above all to the King of kings. "He who serves God serves a good Master." Grace and truth are upon the lips of God's Anointed forevermore. And to clench these proverbs, let us recollect that nothing but truth in the inward parts can abide before the eye of Jehovah. "A lie has no legs." It carries along with itself the germs of its own dissolution. It is sure to destroy itself at last. Its priests may prop it up, after it has once fallen in the presence of the truth; but it will fall again, like Dagon, more shamefully and irretrievably than before. Truth is the daughter of God (Trench). - J.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
1. That in the present state of nature there is in every man a certain propensity to vices, or a corrupt principle more or less disposing him to evil, which principle is sometimes called the flesh, sometimes concupiscence, sometimes sensuality, and makes one part of that which we call original sin.
2. That the forementioned propensity of the sensual part, or principle, to vice, being left to itself, will certainly proceed to work, and to exert itself in action; and if not hindered and counteracted will continue to do so, till practice passes into custom and habit, and so by use and frequency comes to acquire a domineering strength in a man's conversation.
3. That all the disorders of the world, and the confusions that disturb persons, families, and whole societies or corporations, proceed from this natural propensity to vice in particular persons, which being thus heightened by habitual practice, runs forth into those several sorts of vice which corrupt and spoil the manners of men.
4. That when the corruption of man's manners by the habitual improvements of this vicious principle comes from personal to be general and universal, so as to diffuse and spread itself over a whole community, it naturally and directly tends to the ruin and subversion of the government where it so prevails.
5. That this ill principle is to be altered and corrected only by discipline, and the infusion of such principles into the rational and spiritual part of man as may powerfully sway his will and affections, by convincing his understanding that the practice of virtue is preferable to that of vice; and that there is a real happiness and honesty in the one, and a real misery, as well as a turpitude, in the other; there being no mending or working upon the sensual part, but by well-principling the intellectual.
6. This discipline and infusion of good principles into the mind, which only can and must work this great happy change upon a man's morals, by counter-working that other sensual and vicious principle, which would corrupt them, can never operate so kindly, so efficaciously, and by consequence, so successfully, as when applied to him in his minority, while his mind is ductile and tender, and so ready for any good impressions. For when he comes once to be in years, and his mind, having been prepossessed with ill-principles, and afterwards hardened with ill practices, grows callous, and scarce penetrable, his case will be then very different, and the success of such applications is very doubtful, if not desperate. It is necessary that the minds of youth should be formed and seasoned with a strict and virtuous and early and preventing education. On three sorts of persons this trust rests —
(1) (2) (3) (R. South.)
(2) (3) (R. South.)
(3) (R. South.)
I. WHEREIN DOTH THE GOOD EDUCATION OF CHILDREN CONSIST?
1. In the tender and careful nursing of them.
2. In bringing them to be baptized.
3. In a due care to inform and instruct them in the whole compass of their duty to God and to their neighbour.
4. In a prudent and diligent care to form their lives and manners to religion and virtue.
5. In giving them good example.
6. In wise restraints from that which is evil, by seasonable reproof and correction.
7. In bringing them to be publicly catechised.
8. In bringing them to be confirmed.
II. MORE PARTICULAR DIRECTIONS FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF THIS WORK. The young have to be trained in the exercise of the following graces and virtues: Obedience, modesty, diligence, sincerity, tenderness, pity, good government of their passions, and of their tongues, to speak truth and to hate lying; to piety and devotion towards God, sobriety and chastity with regard to themselves, and to justice and charity towards all men, Endeavour to discover the particular temper and disposition of children, that you may suit and apply yourself to it. Endeavour to plant those principles of religion and virtue which are most substantial and likely to have the best influence on the future government of their lives. Check and discourage in them the first beginnings of sin and vice: as soon as ever they appear pluck them up by the roots. Take great heed that the children be not habituated and accustomed to any evil course. Bring them, as soon as they are capable of it, to the public worship of God. Put them upon the exercise and practice of religion and virtue, in such instances as their understanding and age are capable of. Add constant and earnest prayer to God on behalf of your children.
III. SOME OF THE MORE COMMON MISCARRIAGES IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THIS DUTY. These may be found in relation to instruction, example, and reproof. There often is too great rigour and severity; at other times too great laxity. It is always mischievous to punish while under the influence of passion.
IV. SHOW HOW GOOD EDUCATION COMES TO BE OF SO GREAT ADVANTAGE. It gives religion and virtue the advantage of the first possession, and the further advantage of habit and custom.
V. STIR UP THOSE WHOSE DUTY THIS IS TO DISCHARGE IT WITH GREAT CARE AND CONSCIENCE. Good education is the very best inheritance you can leave your children. In this way you promote your own comfort and happiness. The surest foundation of the public welfare and happiness is laid in the good education of children. Consider the great evils consequent on the neglect of this duty.
(T. Tillotson, D.D.)
1. Inure them from their earliest infancy to obedience and submission.
2. Inspire them with a predominant love for truth, for sincerity and frankness.
3. Train them to diligence, to method, and to industry in their affairs.
4. Be very careful to bring them up to humility and modesty.
5. Endeavour to inspire them with a sincere affection and hearty good-will towards all mankind, without distinction of rank, of religion, of country, or of outward fortune.
6. Neglect not to train them to compassion and benevolence.
7. Train them to patience in sufferings, to fortitude and courage in misfortune, to a steady and intrepid behaviour in all situations. These qualities and virtues are indispensably necessary to us in our present state. We must learn first to practise them in trivial matters if we would do so afterwards in riper years and more important emergencies.
(G. J. Zollikofer.)
1. Mobility needed in subject of training; therefore man is born "a child." Yet be aware, flexibility passes, tendency to solidify soon creeps in.
2. Parents here granted right of loving dogmatism: "in the way they should go."
I. TRUE TRAINING EMBRACES CARE AND SYSTEM.
1. These should touch each part of child-nature: flesh and blood. Evolution of full manhood only reached thus. Bodies are fed and "trained." Mystery is, the soul often neglected. No animal neglects its young as man does. "Every home should be its own Sabbath-school."
2. Can't train without a line to go on — a faith that can be taught — a system. Trained child not found where father's mind is dark or chaotic. You like your child to choose its faith when it can think for itself? No child is mentally or spiritually free from bias. Child has all to learn. Has no standard of selection. First trainer has greatest power, whether good or evil. Mark this: if you don't bias it for good a thousand tutors outside your home will bias it to its hurt.
II. TRAIN CHILD TO DECIDE MORAL QUESTIONS BY PRINCIPLE, NOT BY FEELING.
1. A child is composed of appetites and moral sense. These all glow. But appetites get two or three years' start of moral sense. You must be swift in training, or you won't get moral sense to overtake appetite.
2. Every day of life offer times for moral decision. Think of George Eliot's Arthur Donnithorne; sweet temper, weak moral sense, strong animal tastes; so a standing peril to himself and others.
3. The one grand deciding principle for all souls is: "What does Christ love, that is the thing to be done." It is sure: it carries child to right issues. It is safe: it imperils nothing in its whole being. It is rapid: under it souls grow holy fast.
III. TRAIN CHILD TO JUDGE CHRISTIANITY BY BEST RESULTS. Much of training given unwittingly. Soul-suction always going on in "a child." Five senses are five avenues to soul. Crowds of motley ideas go up them — each idea a teacher. In your home they hear your views of men and actions. Beware! if you condemn Christianity, because of its sullied specimens, you harm the child. Put religion in its highest light. For its sake ask: "What are its finest results? " Show them spiritual splendours. Show them John, Paul, Augustine, Luther, Newton, Hale, Wesley. Christian gallery not wanting in fine portraits. Show them Christ. Moral longing will awaken them; they will hunger and be filled (Matthew 5:6). Conclusion:
1. All details come under these principles.
2. Thus you will train "a godly seed."
1. Man is remarkably prone to imitation. In private families every action of the parent is imitated by the child. So it happens in the aggregate life of the nation. The cast of general manners depends upon the leaders of society.
2. Children in their infant years contend obstinately for the gratification of their own humour. The principle of self-will is not in cases to be reprehended. When it makes us resolute in spurning compliance with mean conditions, with base proposals, and wicked instigations, it is generous and manly, and should be cherished. But reasonable accommodation of our own inclinations and our own sentiments to the dispositions and opinions of others is absolutely necessary for the transacting of human concerns, and consequently for the existence of civil society. It should therefore be taught to children, because they are inexperienced; and enforced on young persons, because their passions are turbulent. The training of children in the way of subjection to discreet and moderate control is an act of judicious kindness in every parent.
3. When we are born we bring with us minds already furnished with methodical principles; but through the sole gift of God we are endowed with capacity either for the inventing or the learning of arts and sciences. The extent to which this capacity becomes advantageous depends in a great measure on the degree and manner of culture with which it is improved.
4. In the generality of men there is an active spirit which is impatient of rest, and which will find itself employment. Children therefore need training in the proper methods of spending energy in labour and in recreation.
5. There is in man a most unhappy tendency to do evil. Man finds it more easy to indulge his appetites than to raise his soul to higher objects. The best friend of the child is he who begins with the first dawn of understanding to impress on the mind of his child that there is a God everywhere present in power and knowledge, and another state of existence, where goodness shall terminate in happiness, but vice be productive of misery.
II. THE EFFECT WHICH WILL ENSUE FROM EARLY CARE EMPLOYED IN EDUCATION. The mental faculties most distinguishable in our first years are memory and imagination. If the proper effects of right instruction are not so visible as might be wished at every period of our age, let no one hastily conclude that therefore the elements of education are totally obliterated. Good principle may for some years lie dormant in the mind. Unless in cases of extreme depravity, the good principle, like the good seed, will at last find its way to shoot up, and give a tenfold measure of increase after its own kind. The training, then, of children in the way they should go is from the nature of man indispensably necessary.
(G. J. Huntingford, D.D.)I. THE HEINOUS NATURE AND FATAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE NEGLECT OF PARENTAL DUTY.
1. As it appears in the sight of God.
2. As it affects the children.
3. As it affects parents themselves.
II. HOW PARENTS SHOULD EDUCATE THEIR CHILDREN.
1. Train your children to revere you.
2. Train them to implicit submission to your authority. Insubordination in youth is the certain inlet to all that is disorderly in riper years.
3. In order to train your children to moderation in pleasure, lead them, as early as possible, to mark the imposture of passion, and guard them from all intimacy with the loose and the dissipated, and interdict them of all loose and licentious reading.
4. Train them to industry and frugality. Unremitting application and assiduity are the only means by which pre-eminence among men can be attained.
5. Train your children to virtue and candour, and justice and humanity.
6. Train your children to piety. True views of the benignity of the Ruler of nature will impress their susceptible breast, with the feelings of genuine piety, and lead them to love the Lord their God with all their heart and strength and mind.
(W. Thorburn.)1. Repress not their curiosity or their inquisitiveness. It is in itself no fault. It is rather a strong impulse and an excellent means to become intelligent and wise.
2. Accustom your children or your pupils to the use of their senses; teach them to apprehend justly.
3. Beware of giving them false or not sufficiently precise ideas of any matter, though of never so trifling import.
4. Set them to learn nothing which, either on account of their tender age or from the want of other kinds of knowledge necessary to that purpose, they cannot comprehend. Measure not their capacities by yours.
5. Endeavour not only to increase and extend their knowledge, but likewise to render it solid and sure. It is far better for them to know a few things thoroughly than to have only a superficial acquaintance with many.
6. Guard them from being hasty in forming conclusions, and avail yourself of all opportunities for leading them, by observations, to circumspection and precision in their inferences and judgments.
(G. J. Zollikofer.)
1. Study to find out their temperament, and conduct yourself according to it. The temperament is, as it were, the soil that is to be cultivated, and the diversity of this soil is not so great but it may soon be discovered. More or less vivacity and quickness of apprehension, more or less sensibility to good and evil, to pleasure and pain, more or less vehemence in the affections, more or less disposition to rest or to activity — in these consist the principal diversity in what may be called the temperament of children. All these various temperaments may equally lead either to the virtues or to the vices.
2. Accustom them to act from principle and design, and not by blind impulse or mere self-will.
3. But be not satisfied with teaching them to act from reason, as rational creatures; but teach them to act upon the noblest principles, and in pure and beneficent views. Beware of setting only their ambition in motion, and of inciting them to application and duty from no other motive than the idea of the judgment that others pass on them.
4. Teach them, further, to attend to the consequences of their actions or of their behaviour. Teach them duly to prize that inward peace, the satisfaction, the cheerfulness of mind, the health and strength of body, and the other advantages which they have derived from honest and proper conduct.
5. Strive to make their duty a pleasure to them.
6. For facilitating all this to them, for teaching them to act upon principle, to act from the best motives, and to be attentive to the consequences of their actions, you should accustom them betimes to self-examination, which is the most excellent means for constantly becoming more wise and virtuous.
7. Teach them, in like manner, to reap benefit from the conduct of other persons.
8. Finally, to this end call history likewise to your aid.
(G. J. Zollikofer.)
1. Early impressions are deep.
2. Habit is strong.
3. Early piety is acceptable to God. The first love of an innocent heart is sacrifice of a sweet savour.
(C. A. Bartol.)
Studies for the Pulpit.I. AN INTERESTING OBJECT. "A child."
1. Its personal powers (Job 32:8), the faculties of the mind.
2. Its social importance.
3. Its possible elevation.
4. Its total depravity. confessed of himself that his natural inclinations were exceedingly bad, but by philosophy he overruled them.
5. Its immortal duration.
II. AN IMPORTANT DUTY. "Train up."
1. Let him be taught useful learning.
2. Let him be instructed in religious knowledge.
3. Let him be impressed by a consistent example.
4. Let him be guided into proper habits.
5. Let him be sanctified by earnest prayer.
III. AN ENCOURAGING PROSPECT.
2. From the Divine procedure.
(Studies for the Pulpit.)1. See to it that we present the Divine character in a manner calculated to encourage young hearts.
2. Distinguish between the way in which death affects the body and the way in which it affects the spirit.
3. Make it clear that the religion of Christ is in harmony with all innocent recreation and enjoyment.
4. Do all in our power to interest the young in the services of the sanctuary.
5. See that you offer to the young the truth which God has revealed to you, and of which you have felt the power.
6. Avoid all treatment of the young that is calculated to dispirit and discourage. Be careful not to exact too much from them.
7. Be varied in your teaching, and do not be depressed if the attainment of your object is delayed.
(S. D. Hillman.)1. As soon as children are capable of reflection endeavour to make them acquainted with some of the leading truths of the gospel.
2. Explain the duties of practical religion as well as the articles of belief.
3. Be careful to set before your children an example worthy of imitation, for instructions and exhortations will be invalidated by inconsistency.
4. Discipline, reproof, and correction are necessary in the family as well as in the Church and State.
5. Let correction and reproof be accompanied with fervent and importunate prayer.
6. Keep a watchful eye over them to see what may be the fruit of your labour. To rightly perform parental duties we must begin betimes; secure the affection of the children; keep them out of the way of temptation; and instruct them with gentleness.
1. Instruction in right principles — the principles of God's Word.
2. The inculcation of right practice — the practice of God's will.
3. Salutary admonition and restraint, and correction.
4. The careful avoidance of exposure to evil company and evil example.
5. The exhibition before them of a good example in ourselves.
6. Constant, believing, and earnest prayer.
(R. Wardlaw, D.D.)I. WHOM SHOULD WE EDUCATE? The material. "A child." The world teems with analogies both real and obvious, whereby the moralist may enforce the duty of educating in the comparatively pliable period of youth.
II. THE PROCESS OF EDUCATION. "Train up." Note the distinction between teaching and training. There may be teaching without training. Moral training according to a Divine standard, with the view of moulding the human being while yet young and tender into right principles and habits of action, is the only education worthy of the name. The oldest training-school is the best — the school at home; sisters and brothers are the best class-fellows, and parents the best masters. But formidable obstacles, both intrinsic and extrinsic, prevent or impede parental training.
III. THE AIM AND END OF EDUCATION. "In the way he should go." Wisdom in choosing the proper time, and skill in adopting the best method, would be of no avail if false principles were thereby instilled into the mind and evil habits ingrafted on the life. If we do not train the children in truth and righteousness it would be better that we should not train them at all.
(W. Arnot, D.D.)
Homilist.There are many qualifications necessary for carrying out this important duty.
I. SANCTIFIED LOVE. This is not mere instinctive fondness which is common to man and animals, but —
1. A perception of the true beauty of childhood.
2. A realisation of the purity of childhood.
3. A consciousness of the guileless simplicity of childhood.
II. FELT RESPONSIBILTY.
1. Children are not our own.
2. Children are the future inhabitants of the world. Hence the world will be, to a certain extent, what we make the children.
3. Children have immortal souls.
III. INDIRECT INFLUENCE. To obtain this we must —
1. Subdue our own passion. No passionate parent can possibly influence his child for good.
2. Set a godly example.
3. Cultivate confidence and win affection.
IV. PATIENT WAITING AND EARNEST PRAYER.
(H. Melvill, B.D.)
4. Prayer.Show me a child well instructed in the truths of the gospel, living day by day in the presence of consistent and winning examples, and surrounded with prayers, and I do not say that such an one may not through a strange self-will break his way through all these blessed influences and become a wreck and a castaway, but it will be a wonder if he comes to such a melancholy end, and it is easier to believe that in such a case the training has been faulty than that there has been a failure in the Divine promise which connects the spring and the autumn.
(Enoch Mellor, D.D.)
I. THE TEXT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THIS SINFUL NATURE IS TO BE TRAINED IN THE HOPE OF PRODUCING BLESSED RESULTS, BUT SOMETHING HIGHER AND BETTER IS TO BE SUPPLIED FROM WITHOUT. Life and grace and power have been brought into the service of humanity in the person of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and are to be made over to us by the operation of the Holy Ghost. But this Divine life is here only in germ, and must be developed in the midst of certain conditions, and here is a duty that God requires at the hands of parents. "I know Abraham, that he will command his children and his household after him, and that they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which He had spoken of him." Here it is expressly stated that Abraham was to do his part in order that the Lord might verify to him the blessings guaranteed in the covenant.
II. THIS TRAINING SHOULD BEGIN AT THE VERY DAWN OF THE CHILD'S EXISTENCE. When we are told to "train up a child in the way that he should go," it is meant that we should do this; not let it first grow up in sin and then try to reclaim it afterward by extraordinary effort. To do that is to give the world, the flesh, and the devil all the advantage. The child will not grow up a Christian without the influence and teaching of the parent. The receptive faculties of the child must be trained and sustained, and then the Holy Ghost will sanctify the life and make it fruitful in holiness. During its earliest life the child absorbs impressions and is completely under parental influence and direction. Parents are also invested with authority over the child, and it will need discipline, but this must be exercised in love. For the lack of this spirit corrections administered are often of no avail Correction administered in a wrong spirit will do harm and not good. It must be evident, therefore, that properly to train our children we must not only teach them Christian doctrine, but we must live the life of a Christian.
III. IF A CHILD IS THUS NURTURED AND TRAINED IN THE DIVINE LIFE WE NEED NOT SUPPOSE THAT A TECHNICAL EXPERIENCE OR SUDDEN TRANSITION IS NECESSARY TO CONSTITUTE IT A CHRISTIAN. The neglect of parental training cannot be made up in any other way. There is no danger of claiming too much for our holy religion. The whole being of man is to be sanctified by it. The chief end of our existence is to glorify God. How often it is said of a man who dies owning no property that "he left nothing to his family"! But every child is an heir, and his inheritance is indefeasible. First of all are his memories of his parents and his home. The man who has no property to devise should not be unhappy. "I give and bequeath to my children a good name, a Christian example, and a faithful training." Is not that a good start for a last will? These are legacies over which no heirs quarrel and that require no probate outside of the sanctuary of the heart.
(E. R. Esohbech, D.D.)
LinksProverbs 22:6 NIV
Proverbs 22:6 NLT
Proverbs 22:6 ESV
Proverbs 22:6 NASB
Proverbs 22:6 KJV
Proverbs 22:6 Bible Apps
Proverbs 22:6 Parallel
Proverbs 22:6 Biblia Paralela
Proverbs 22:6 Chinese Bible
Proverbs 22:6 French Bible
Proverbs 22:6 German Bible
Proverbs 22:6 Commentaries