The Duty of Parents to Their Children
Numbers 14:31
But your little ones, which you said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised.

I. I propose to extract from our text SOME PERMANENT AND ROOT PRINCIPLES WITH RESPECT TO THE RELATIONS BETWEEN PARENTS AND CHILDREN, THAT GOD WOULD HAVE US PAY SPECIAL HEED TO; and then from these root principles I shall endeavour to draw a few PRACTICAL INSTRUCTIONS for our conduct with our children at home.

1. Our first thought is — how completely Almighty God recognises the sense of preciousness which all parents with a spark of heart in them attach to their children, their little children especially; and how God turns the instinct of affection in parents to their children to the parents' condemnation, if they will not use their affection in the direction of securing eternal life for those whom they love.

2. That children in the providence of God, and according to the rules of God's government, do, in a certain degree, share their parents' privileges, suffer their parents' penalties, nay, even sin with their parents' sin.

3. That although, in a certain degree, the children share the privileges, the penalty, and the sin of their parents, yet there is mercy, ay, and there is justice also.

4. That the great cause why the children of Israel refused to go up to the land of Canaan was a want of faith. So the great reason why so-called Christian parents do not take the trouble to prepare their children for eternity is that their own personal belief about the things of eternity is not as strong as it ought to be.

II. Now let me PUT THESE PRINCIPLES INTO A PRACTICAL SHAPE FOR OUR INSTRUCTION. What is the way in which our great God and Father, who has put us into the responsible and blessed position of parents towards children whom we love, would have us fulfil that responsibility? First of all, He would have us fulfil it in careful, and exact, and regular instruction concerning the things of God. Do not be content to leave this duty to others, but ascertain for yourselves what your children are actually learning about their Lord and Saviour, how far they feel it and know it. And then about example. It is a very good thing to teach your children out of the Word of God; but it is as good to teach them in your own daily life and conversation. There is one thing more — prayer.

(Bp. Thorold.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.

WEB: But your little ones, that you said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which you have rejected.

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