§. 44. Of childrens releeuing their parents according to their neede.
Besides bearing with parents necessities, in such cases as pa∣rents stand in need of their childrens releefe and succour, they must afford it them. In sicknesse they must visit them, as aIoseph visited his father. In time of mourning, they must comfort them, as b the children of Iaakob. In want, they must prouide things needfull for them, as c the sonnes of Iaakob, who went vp to buy food for their father; and as dIoseph, who sent for Iaakob into Egypt, and there nourished him. It is noted of eRuth, that shee did not only gleane for her mother a poore woman, but also re∣serued some of that food which was giuen to her selfe to eat, for her. In time of danger they must doe what they can for their protection and preseruation, as fDauid had in this respect an especiall care of his father and mother. Yea, if God be pleased to * take children out of this world before their parents, and their pa∣rents be succourlesse, they must take what order they can for the well-being of their parents after their owne departure, as g Christ, who commended his mother to his disciple Iohn a little before his death. These and such like duties are particular branches of re∣compence, and are all comprised vnder that hrequitall, which the Apostle requireth of children: And they are but a small part of requitall of all the paines, care, and charges, that parents haue been at with their children. Yea, this only thing, that parents haue brought forth children into the world, can children neuer suffici∣ently Page 474 requite. Nature hath taught thus much, not only vnto hea∣then men, but also vnto the vnreasonable creatures. Among other vnreasonable creatures, the example of the *Storke is worthy to be noted: for it is recorded of that kinde, that when the dammes are old, the young ones feed them; and when through age, they are ready to faint in their flying, the young ones will helpe; and when they are past flying, the young ones carrie them on their backs. The * Greeke name of a Storke is taken from that word, which signifieth, to requite a parents kindnesse: or else this word is taken from that name: they are both of the same notation.
Contrary is the opinion of Pharisies, who thought that children by consecrating their substance to the Temple, might be freed from this dutie of recompence to parents, which is the mysterie of that Hebrew word iCorban. They made a meere pretext of piety to God, a cause of manifest impietie against parents. Christ giueth this verdict of them, that kthey make the word of God of none ef∣fect.* Papists are of the same opinion, and so vnder the same censure.
Contrary also is their practise, who hauing the goods of this world, suffer their parents to want. lS. Iohn saith, that the loue of God dwelleth not in him, who shutteth vp his compassion from his brother in that case; how then can it dwell in such a childe? Not they only who suffer their parents to starue, offend in this ex∣treme, but they also who suffer them to liue poorely, and basely, when themselues m Diues-like fare delicately, and goe gorgeously attired euery day.
In an higher degree doe they offend, who bring their parents to such extremities, as to pouertie by their lauish spending; to pri∣son by importuning them to be their sureties; to excessiue griefe by their mischieuous practises, as n the sonnes of Iaakob.
But what shall we say of such gracelesse children, as dare strike their parents? o Gods law accounteth such a childe vnworthy of life, and adiudgeth him to death.
Nay, what may be said of father-quellers, and mother-quellers? There was of old no particular law made against them, because it is, supposed, that no childe can be so vnnaturall and inhumane. In imitation whereof pSolon, that wise law-maker among the heathen, made no law against them: and his reason being as∣ked, Page 475 he answered, that he thought no childe would commit such a fact.
When afterwards such inhumane impietie was manifested in the world, the Ciuill Law ordained this punishment; qIf any shall kill his parent, let him not be put to the sword, nor fire, nor any other vsuall punishment: but let him be sowed in a sacke with a dog, and a cocke, and a viper, and an ape, and cast into the next sea, or riuer; that while life is in him, he may begin to want all vse of the elements, and be depriued, while he liueth, of the aire, and when he is dead, of the earth.
This sinne hauing beene committed among the heathen, the Apostle reckoneth it vp among other most notorious and barba∣rous sinnes, 1. Tim. 1. 9. As murther is one of those sinnes, which the earth can least beare, and which cryeth loudest to heauen for vengeance; so among the seuerall kinds of murther, this is the most vnsupportable, and crying.