Richard Baxter

From: Baxter’s Practical Works, Vol. 1, A Christian Directory ,
on Christian Economics, Chap. XI., pp. 454-457 Directives 4-6

Direct. IV. Be contented with your parents’ provision for you, and disposal of you. Do not rebelliously murmur against them, and complain of their usage of you; much less take any thing against their wills. It is the part of a fleshly rebel, and not of an obedient child, to be discontent and murmur because they fare not better, or because they are kept from sports and play, or because they have not better clothes, or because they have not money allowed them, to spend or use at their own discretion. Are not you under government? and the government of parents, and not of enemies? Are your lusts and pleasures fitter to govern you, than your parents’ discretion? Be thankful for what You have, and remember that you deserve it not, but have it freely: it is your pride or your fleshly sensuality that maketh you thus to murmur, and not any wisdom or virtue that is in you. Get down that pride and fleshly mind, and then you will not be so eager to have your wills. What if your parents did deal too hardly with you, in your food, or raiment, or expenses? What harm doth it do you? Nothing but a selfish, sensual mind would make so great a matter of it. It is a hundred times more dangerous to your souls and bodies to be bred too high, and fed too full and daintily, than to be bred too low, and fed too hardly. One tendeth to pride, and gluttony, and wantonness, and the overthrow of health and life; and the other tendeth to a humble, mortified, self-denying life, and to the health and soundness of the body. Remember how the earth opened, and swallowed all those rebellious murmurers that grudged against Moses and Aaron, Num. 16; read it, and apply it to your case; and remember the story of rebellious Absalom; and the folly of the prodigal, Luke 15; and desire not to be at your own disposal; nor be eager to have the vain desire of your hearts fulfilled. While you contentedly submit to your parents, you are in God’s way, and may expect his blessing; but when you will needs be carvers for yourselves, you may expect the punishment of rebels.


Direct. V. Humble yourselves and submit to any labour that your parents shall appoint you to. Take heed, as you love your souls, lest either a proud heart make you murmur and say, This work is too low and base a drudgery for me; or lest a lazy mind and body make you say, This work is too hard and toilsome for me; or lest a foolish. playful mind do make you weary of your book or labour, that you may be at your sports, and say, This is too tedious for me. It is little or no hurt that is like to befall you by your labour and diligence; but it is a dangerous thing to get a habit or custom of idleness and voluptuousness in your youth.

Direct. VI. Be willing and thankful to be instructed by your parents, or any of your teachers, but especially about the fear of God, and the matters of your salvation. These are the matters that you are born and live, for; these are the things that your parents have first in charge to teach you. Without knowledge and holiness all the riches and honours of the world are nothing worth; and all your pleasures will but undo you. Oh what a comfort is it to understanding parents to see their children willing to learn, and to love the word of God, and lay it up in their hearts, and talk of it, and obey it, and prepare betimes for everlasting life! If such children die before their parents, how joyfully may they part with them as into the arms of Christ, who hath said, “That of such is the kingdom of heaven,” Matt. 19:14. And if the parents die first, how joyfully may they leave behind them a holy seed, that is like to serve God in their generation, and to follow them to heaven, and live with them for ever. But, whether they live or die, what a heart-breaking to the parents are ungodly children, that love not the word and way of God, and love not to be taught or restrained from their own licentious courses.

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