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EPHESIANS - Chapter 6 - Verse 3

Verse 3. That it may be well with thee. This is found in the fifth commandment as recorded in De 5:16. The whole commandment as there recorded is, "Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." The meaning here is, that they would be more happy, useful, and virtuous, if they obeyed their parents than if they disobeyed them.

And thou mayest live long on the earth. In the Commandment, as recorded in Ex 20:12, the promise is, "that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." This referred to the promised land—the land of Canaan. The meaning doubtless is, that there would be a special providence, to those who were obedient to parents length of days. Long regarded as a great blessing; and this blessing was promised. The apostle here gives to the promise a more general form, and says obedience to parents was connected at all times with long life. We may remark here,

(1.) that long life is a blessing. It affords a longer space to prepare for eternity; it enables a man to be more useful; and it furnishes a longer opportunity to study the works of God on earth. It is not improper to desire it; and we should make use of all the means in our power to lengthen out our days, and to preserve and protract our lives.

(2.) It is still true that obedience to parents is conducive to length of life, and that those are most obedient in early life, other things being equal, have prospect of living long. This occurs because

(a.) obedient are saved from the vices and crimes which shorten life. No parent will command his child to be a drunkard, a gambler, a spendthrift, a pirate, or a murderer. But these vices and crimes, resulting in most cases from disobedience to parents, all shorten they who early commit them are certain of an early grave. No child who disobeys a parent can have any security that he will not fall a victim to such vices and crimes.

(b.) Obedience to parents is connected with virtuous habits that are conducive to long life. It will make a child industrious, temperate, sober; it will lead him to restrain and govern his wild passions; it will lead him to form habits of self-government which will, in future life, save him from the snares of vice and temptation.

(c.) Many a life is lost early by disobeying a parent. A child disobeys a father, and goes into a dram-shop; or he goes to sea; or he becomes the companion of the wicked—and he may be wrecked at sea, or his character on land may be wrecked for ever. Of disobedient children, there is perhaps not one in a hundred that ever reaches an honoured old age.

(d.) We may still believe that God, in his providence, will watch over those who are obedient to a father and mother. If he regards a falling sparrow, (Mt 10:29,) he will not be unmindful of an obedient child; if he numbers the hairs of the head, (Mt 10:30,) he will not be regardless of the little boy that honours him by obeying a father and mother.

{*} "earth" "land"

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