(Thomas Case, “A Word to Parents” 1653)
“Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not let your soul spare for his crying.” Proverbs 19:18
Behold, God counsels you who are parents to do with your children as He does with His–wisely to use the discipline of the rod, before vicious dispositions grow into habits, and folly becomes so deeply-rooted that the rod of correction will not drive it out.
“Error and folly,” says one, “are the cords of Satan with which he ties sinners to the stake to be burned in Hell!”
These cords are easiest cut early. If you make the child bleed in the cutting of them, let it not cause you to withdraw your hand; for so it follows, “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not let your soul spare for his crying.”
It is not only foolish, but cruel pity to forbear correction for a few childish tears–to cause your child to wail in Hell for sin, rather than to shed a few tears for the preventing of it. Foolish fathers and mothers call thislove, but the Father of Spirits calls it hatred: “He who spares the rod, hates his son!” Proverbs 13:24. Such sparing is hatred–and because you hate your children in not correcting them, they may come afterwards to hate you for not correcting them.
But this is not all. The parent’s leniency in disciplining, makes way for God’s severity. Pity to the child’s flesh–is cruelty to the child’s soul. So the Hebrew may be rendered, “Spare not to his destruction”–that is, to cause his destruction. The foolish indulgence of the parent may be, and often is, the death of the child–eternal death! Parents spare their children in their folly–to the destruction of both body and soul!
“Withhold not correction from the child, for if you beat him with the rod he shall not die.” Proverbs 23:13. This verse reproves the silly and sinful soft-heartedness of parents, who are as afraid to use the rod, as if it were a sword. It is but a rod–it is not a serpent. It may hurt–but it will not give a poisonous sting.
They are monsters in the form of fathers and mothers–who thus hug their little ones to death! They are infanticides, rather than parents! “Surely it is better to be such people’s swine, than their sons!”
O hateful indulgence and merciless pity–to damn a child for lack of correction! Such parents throw both the rod and their child into the fire at once! They throw the rod into the fire of the chimney–and their child into the fire of Hell.
This is not done like God, for “whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives”–and so does every wise and loving parent! “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him chastens him early.”
As moths are beaten out of a garment with a rod–so must vices be beaten out of children’s hearts.
For lack of this disciplinary love–how have some children accused their parents on their death-bed, yes at the gallows! And how many do and will curse their parents in Hell–as Cyprian supposes some to do: “The wicked fondness of our parents has brought us into these torments! Our fathers and mothers have been our murderers! Those who gave us our natural life, have deprived us of eternal life! Those who would not correct us with the rod, have occasioned us now to be tormented with scorpions!”
Yes, even in this life, how do many godly parents smart for their indulgent fondness, because they will not make their children smart for their folly. Eli and David would not so much as rebuke their sons–and God gave them rebukes in their sons. It is said of Eli, “His sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.” 1 Samuel 3:13. The Hebrew has it, “He did not frown upon them.” How sad–for lack of a frown, to destroy a soul!
Such indulgent parents have laid the foundation of . . .
their own sorrows,
their children’s ruin, and
the destruction of the nation,
in withholding proper discipline from their children!
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You may want to read the whole 4 page article by Thomas Case, “A Word to Parents“.