Of domesticall duties eight treatises. I. An exposition of that part of Scripture out of which domesticall duties are raised. ... VIII. Duties of masters. By William Gouge.
Gouge, William, 1578-1653.

§. 69. Of parents partiality towards some children.

Contrary to the forenamed duty of a parents equall respect to all his children, is partiality in fathers and mothers, mani∣fested sundry waies. For

1. Many parents haue their darling children, to whom so * much affection is shewed, as in comparison none is shewed to others. When some are hugged in the bosome, others are neg∣lected as if they were none of their owne, but basely borne. The vnnaturalnesse of the eagle is noted in this kinde, that she flaps and driues out of the nest one of her young ones, and fee∣deth only the other as her owne. From such partiality in pa∣rents proceed many mischiefes: as these,

1. They giue occasion to such as obserue it, to suspect that those children who are so little respected, are none of their owne.

2. They cause enuy, malice, and much contention to arise among children. When Iosephs brethren saw that their father*loued him more then all them, they hated him, and could not speake peaceably vnto him.

3. They prouoke God to inflict some iudgement on those children that are so cockered, and preferred before the rest: that so they may the better see their folly.

This sinne of parents partiality is so much the greater, when vpon outward respects they preferre the wicked and vngodly children before pious and gracious children. Isaak herein much failed, for che loued Esau (a d profane wretch) because he did eat of his Venison.

2. Other parents so set themselues to raise their house, as a their care is to aduance their eldest sonne, by education, by liberall allowance, and by leauing all they haue to him: and iPage  579 the meane while neglect their younger children. Though (as was noted * before) the maine inheritance may iustly without shew of partiality be left to the heire, yet to be carefull only for him, and to neglect the other, sauoureth ranke of partiality. It is most agreeable to naturall reason, that as life is giuen to all * children, so meanes of maintaining life should be giuen to all.

3. In the number of partiall parents may they be reckoned, who vniustly disinherit their first borne. For the inheritance of right belonging to them, and they not deseruing to be dis∣inherited, assuredly it is some by respect or other which ma∣keth parents prefer the younger before the elder: and this is plaine partiality. This kinde of partiality is commonly in such parents as haue had children by seuerall wiues. Sometimes dis∣like of a former wife maketh a father dislike the children he hath by her, and through dislike to disinherit the heire by her. God gaue the Iewes an expresse law against this kinde of * partiality.

Sometimes againe a gripulous seeking of aduantage to themselues maketh parents to disinherit the right heire: as when a man after he hath buried the mother of his first borne, hearing of another woman which is of great wealth, maketh sute for her. She refuseth because he hath an heire of a former wife. He to remoue that blocke entereth couenant to make the sonne which he hath by her (if he haue any) his heire: here∣upon the mariage is consummate: his second wife bringeth forth a sonne: he for his couenant sake disinheriteth the first heire. An vniust, and vnlawfull practise.