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143. How can children best repay the kindness and rejoice the hearts of their anxious parents ? . I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.- My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things. Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way. Buy the truth, and sell it not ; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begeteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice. 3 John 4. Prov. 23. 15, 16, 19, 23-25. || and 10. 1. 1 Kin. 1. 47, 48.
Have you done all in your power to rejoice the hearts of pious parents ? Can they rejoice over you as truly pious ?
144. What are the consequences of wickedness and disobedience in children ?
A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.- There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.- Cursed be be that setteth light by his father or his mother: and all the people stall say, Amen. Prov. 17. 25. and 30. 11, 17. Deut. 27. 16. Prov. 19. 13, 26. and 28. 7. Deut. 21. 18—21.
Are none of you exposed to the curse of God in consequence of your treatment of parents ? Shall not such children immedi ately seek the pardoning mercy of God?
145. What are the duties of masters.?
Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.- Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour, but shalt fear thy God.. Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates.- And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven ; neither is there respect of persons with him.If I did despise the cause of my man-servant, or of my maid-servant, when they contended with me; What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?- Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. Col. 4. 1. Lev. 25. 43. Deut. 24. 14. Eph. 6. 9. Job 31. 13, 14. Jam. 5. 4.
How much the condition of servants would be improved if all masters were such as the Scriptures require them to be? Had you servants, how would you treat them?
146. What are the duties of servants ?
Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eye-service, as men-pleasers ;. but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.- Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thank-worthy, if a man for conscience toward God en dure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it,'if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.- Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men· pleasers ; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And what
soever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.- Let as many servants as are · under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren ; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.- Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again ; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity ; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Eph. 6. 5–8. 1 Pet. 2. 18—20. Col. 3. 22–25. 1 Tim. 6. 1, 2. Tit. 2. 9, 10.
Have you been faithful in service from love and obedience to Christ? What an inestimable blessing to have pious servants ?
147. What are the duties of magistrates ?
Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect nersorts,
neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.- Thus saith the Lord; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor : and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.- Thus saith the Lord God; Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord God. Deut. 16, 18–20. Jer. 22. 3. Ez. 45. 9. | Deut. 1. 16, 17. Ps. 82. 3, 4. Deut. 25. 1. and 19. 16-19.
How desirable to have magistrates govern by the rules of Scripture? How important in elective governments that the pious only be raised to places of power and trust.
148. What are the consequences of having wicked magis. trates?
And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off : for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.- And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judg. ment, that wickedness was there ; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.- The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted. When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. Is. 59. 14. Eccl. 3. 16, 17. Ps. 12. 8. Prov. 29. 2. || Amos 5. 12, 13. Is. 19. 14. Prov. 28. 15, 16.
Have we not reason to lament that there are no more righteous men in authority in this land ? Have we not reason to be thankful there are so many? - 149. What are the duties of subjects ?
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid ; for he beareth not the sword in vain : for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For, for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues : tribute to whom tribute is due ; eustom to whom custom ; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.- Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work. Rom. 13. 1-7. Tit. 3. 1. || 1 Pet. 2. 13-17. Ezra 7. 26. Ex. 22. 28. Eccl. 10. 20.
Have you been dutiful subjects ? Are you in subjection to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe?
150. Are subjects required to pray for their rulers ?
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men: For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour. 1 Tim. 2. 143. || Ezra 6. 10 Jer. 29.7.
Have your hearts often ascended to God in fervent prayer for your rulers? Or have you been more disposed to censure them than to pray for them?
151. What are some of the duties of Gospel ministers?
The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord.- But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.- But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine : In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works : in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.- Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive ; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient; In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves ; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.- For à bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God: not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able
by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. Jer. 23. 28. 2 Tim. 4. 5. Tit. 2. 1, 7, 8. 2 Tim. 2. 15, 23–26. Tit. 1. 7-9. || Ez. 3. 17-19. 1 Cor. 2. 1, 2. 2 Cor. 4. 1, 2. 1 Tim. 5. 17, 20, 21. 1 Pet. 5. 2, 4.
Have you reflected how solemn the circumstances of those who watch for souls? Have you felt that they must be faithful whether it pleases or displeases their hearers ?
152. Do faithful ministers pray for their people ? * Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God, and the Lord Jesus Christ.- For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness. 2. Thes. 1. 11, 12. Col. 1. 9-11. || Instances of this nature. Moses, Ex. 32. 11, &c. and Num. 14. 13, &c. SAMUEL, 1 Sam. 12. 23. DANIEL, Dan. 9. 4, &c. Amos, Amos 7.2-6. Intercession was forbidden JEREMIAH. Jer. 7. 16.
Do you not reflect that pious ministers have prayed and perhaps wept over you in their closets ? How great a blessing to have a truly devout minister ?
153. · What blessings are promised to failhfulness in the ministry?
Therefore thus saith the Lord, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine ; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.- And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that sadeth not away.- And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that 'turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. Jer. 15. 19. 1 Tim. 4. 16. 1 Pet. 5. 4. Dan. 12. 3. || 2 Tim. 4. 7, 8. Jam. 1. 12. Mat. 28. 20.
Are you willing to have ministers, faithful towards you? How great the honour of labouring for the salvation of souls !