Page:Aunt Phillis's Cabin.djvu/14

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
12
PREFACE.

authorize a child treating with disrespect a parent, though he be unworthy in the greatest degree.

The human mind, naturally rebellious, requires every command and incentive to submission. The first of the ten commandments, insisting on the duty owing to the Creator, and the fifth, on that belonging to our parents, are the sources of all order and good arrangement in the minor relations of life; and on obedience to them depends the comfort of society.

Reverence to age, and especially where it is found in the person of those who by the will of God were the authors of their being, is insisted upon in the Jewish covenant—not indeed less required now; but as the Jews were called from among the heathen nations of the earth to be the peculiar people of God, they were to show such evidences of this law in their hearts, by their conduct, that other nations might look on and say, "Ye are the children of the Lord your God."

It was after an act of a child dishonoring an aged father, that the prophecy entailing slavery as a curse on a portion of the human race was uttered. Nor could it have been from any feeling of resentment or revenge that the curse was made known by the lips of a servant of God; for this servant of God was a parent, and with what sorrow would any parent, yea, the worst of parents, utter a malediction which insured such punishment and misery on a portion of his posterity! Even the blessing which was promised to his other children could not have consoled him for the sad necessity. He might not resist the Spirit of God: though with perfect submission he obeyed its dictates, yet with what regret! The heart of any Christian parent will answer this appeal!

We may well imagine some of the reasons for the will of God in thus punishing Ham and his descendants. Prior to the un-