Gouge (1575-1653): Keeping Children in Obedience

From Domestical Duties. 

Some headings are not the author’s.  There have also been some minor updating of old English words and punctuation.


Consider the promises

Out of this promise [of long life and prosperity, Exodus 20:12], parents may learn how to do good for their children, how to provide for their welfare, and long to preserve their life on earth (a thing whereunto most parents are naturally given, and whereof they are much desirous} namely, by teaching children their duty, by keeping them under obedience.  Thus have they God’s promise to assure them that it shall go well with their children, and that they shall live long. When parents are upon their death-beds, they may rest more securely upon this promise than upon great store of treasure laid up for them, and great revenues reserved for them.

Consider the end of pampering children over keeping them in obedience

Many parents neglect themselves.  They moil [work hard]and toil, they cark [worry] and care, they pinch and spare, to leave their children store of wealth, thinking thereby to do good to their children, when as withal they too much cocker [pamper] their children, give the reins unto them, and care not how little duty they perform. God’s curse will lie upon all the store that is laid up for such children, as a fire to consume it all. Does not daily experience verify this truth? The judgments which are laid on some such children do evidently manifest God’s just indignation against all. Let not rich men therefore think they have left their children well enough if they leave them a large portion, but rather if they have observed them to be obedient children; and if poor men’s children be such, let them not fear but that it shall go well with them.

Teaching obedience is a great virtue and a great comfort

It is said that a good trade is better than house and land, but by virtue of this promise, we may say that obedience in a child is better than trade and all: this is the trade of a child’s way which parents should teach children (Prov 22:6). Wherefore, as parents are desirous of their children’s good, so they ought to be wise in procuring it, which is by teaching them this trade of obedience: and so they shall bring much comfort to themselves while they live, and good to their children after them.