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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary

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A name appropriated to immediate progenitors, as father and mother. The duties of parents to children relate to their health, their maintenance, their education, and morals. Many rules have been delivered respecting the health of children, which cannot be inserted here; yet we shall just observe, that if a parent wishes to see his progeny healthy, he must not indulge them in every thing their little appetites desire; not give them too much sleep, nor ever give them strong liquors. He must accustom them to industry and moderate exercise. Their food and clothing should be rather light. They should go to rest soon, and rise early; and, above all, should, if possible, be inspired with a love of cleanliness. As to their maintenance, it is the parent's duty to provide every thing for them that is necessary until they be capable of providing for themselves. They, therefore, who live in habits of idleness, desert their families, or by their negligent conduct reduce them to a state of indigence and distress, are violating the law of nature and of revelation, 1 Timothy 5:8 . In respect to their education and morals, great care should be taken. As it relates to the present life, habits of courage, application, trade, prudence, labour, justice, contentment, temperance, truth, benevolence, &c. should be formed.

Their capacities, age, temper, strength, inclination, should be consulted, and advice given suitable to these. As it relates to a future life, their minds should be informed as to the being of God, his perfections, glory, and the mode of salvation by Jesus Christ. They should be catechised; allured to a cheerful attendance on divine worship; instructed in the Scriptures; kept from bad company; prayed with and for; and, above all, a good example set them, Proverbs 22:6 . Ephesians 6:1-2 . Nothing can be more criminal than the conduct of some parents in the inferior classes of the community, who never restrain the desires and passions of their children, suffer them to live in idleness, dishonesty, and profanation of the Lord's day, the consequence of which is often an ignominious end. So, among the great, permitting their children to spend their time and their money as they please, indulging them in perpetual public diversion, and setting before them awful examples of gambling, indolence, blasphemy, drinking, and almost every other vice; what is this but ruining their children, and "bequeathing to posterity a nuisance?" But, while we would call upon parents to exercise their authority, it must not be understood that children are to be entirely at their disposal under all circumstances, especially when they begin to think for themselves. Though a parent has a right over his children, yet he is not to be a domestic tyrant, consulting his own will and passions in preference to their interest. In fact, his right over them is at an end when he goes beyond his duty to them. "

For parents, " as Mr. Paley observes, "have no natural right over the lives of their children, as was absurdly allowed to Roman fathers; nor any to exercise unprofitable severities; nor to command the commission of crimes: for these rights can never be wanted for the purposes of a parent's duty. Nor have parents any right to sell their children into slavery; to shut up daughters and younger sons in nunneries and monasteries, in order to preserve entire the estate and dignity of the family; or to use any arts, either of kindness or unkindness, to induce them to make choice of this way of life themselves; or in countries where the clergy are prohibited from marriage, to put sons into the church for the same end, who are never likely to do or receive any good in it sufficient to compensate for this sacrifice; nor to urge children to marriages from which they are averse, with the view of exalting or enriching the family, or for the sake of connecting estates, parties, or interests; nor to oppose a marriage in which the child would probably find his happiness, from a motive of pride or avarice, of family hostility or personal pique." Paley's Moral Philosophy, vol. 1: p. 345 to 370; Stennett's Discourses on Domestic Duties, dis. 5; Beattie's Elements of Moral Science, vol. 2: p. 139, 148; Doddridge's Lectures, lec. 74; Saurin's Sermons, Robinson's Translation, vol. 5: ser. 1; Searl's Christian Parent.

Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Parents'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​cbd/​p/parents.html. 1802.
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