A Letter sent to Master A. B. from the most godly and learned Preacher I. B. In which is set forth the authoritie of Parentes vpon their children, for gy­uing of correction vnto them.

With an addition of a Sermon of Repentance annexed therevnto.

Anno Domini. 1548.

To his louing Friend and Cosyn, Mayster A. B.

GRace and peace in our Lord and Sauiour Iesus Christ, be wyth you and all yours. I am very much grieued, to heare of those afflictions of mynde, which doe so greatly trouble and ap­passionate you, and my deare Cosin your wyfe, for the disobedience of your sonne towards you. And specially for that you stande in some doubt wyth your selfe, in respect of his ryper yeres nowe, whether you should giue him such sharpe correction, as wythout which, there is little hope of his good reformation: he being nowe entred into the age of twentie and aboue. Truely you must take this, to be a iust punishment sent from God vnto you: in that you haue heretofore, so careles­lye let fall the reynes of his gouern­ment out of your own hands, and layd the same so loosely in the neck of your youthful sonne, permitting him with­out chastisment, to do what he would: [Page] and to followe the lewde affections of his owne rashe will and pleasures. I did alwayes much feare and mistrust, that this your ouermuch suffraunce, woulde bréede and bring forth at the length his great hinderance, much dis­comforte to your selfe, and heapes of sorrow to al vs your faithful friends & kinsfolkes. For who séeth not, that in all things it is moste playne and euy­dent, both to men of iudgemente and learning, but chiefely to men of wise­dome and experience, that youth and yong things, alwayes haue bene, bée, and euer wilbe such and the like, as in and by their education they are taught and framed. Yea, it is most commonly and in manner continually séene, that nature by the power and strength of education, is oft tymes vtterly chaun­ged and altered to the contrarye, the history of Socrates doth approoue it: the memorye of Balenus doth throughlye confyrme it: and euen in oure owne tyme and age, it is so fully witnessed, as it néedeth no great argument to set [Page] forth the same. I me selfe haue séene a very mungrell Curre, traynde vp and made to the hurte Déere, so excellent, so perfite and so good, as that he was bought and soulde for xx. angels be­twene two brethren. This did educa­tion put into him agaynst nature. A­gaine I haue séene a moste fayre and bewtifull hounde, and euen of the best kynde, being bred and brought vp to sléepe and lodge in a knights Cham­ber, and to wayte vppon him there: hath vtterly refused to hunte, or to fol­lowe the chase according to his kinde, yea, thoughe he was beaten vnto it from his maysters héeles right sharp­lye. It is beyonde all beliefe, what a wonderfull great force and power in all things hath education. So it is most certaine, that if there be due care and diligence had and vsed, that ver­tuous and good behauyour be taught and louingly cherished: and lewd and loose demeanor forbidden and sharply punished: the childe which is alwaies sure, to tast and receiue the great plea­sure [Page] of the fyrst, and not to escape for no cause the bitter paynes of the se­conde, will alwayes no doubt gladly imbrace the one, and wyllingly flye the other. Wherfore I conclude, that if you had brought vp your sonne with care and dilligence, to reioyce in the feare of God, to take pleasure in méek­nesse and humylity, to delight in obe­dience towards his Parents: and on the other side to be afrayde to do euill, to shun disobedience, and to feare the smarte of correction: you should then haue felte those comfortes, which hap­pye Parentes receyue from their good and honest children: and neuer haue knowne those sorrowes, which nowe oppresse your harte, for the griefe of your vnruly sonne. But will you know the roote and cause of all this? Alas euen your self, and my siely Cosin your wyfe, caried on with a fonde loue and a foolish affection, which euermore fal­leth out to be the childes vtter destruc­tion: you both haue suffered him, to passe on pleasauntly in his owne de­lights: [Page] you haue permitted hym, to runne the course of his own will: you haue foolishly forborne, to spende the sharpe rods of correction, vpon the na­ked fleshe of hys loynes: you haue fondly pyttied, to spylle some bloud of his bodye, with the sharpe strypes of chastisment: & what haue ye wrought thereby? you haue preserued his skyn from breaking, hys bloud from spyl­ling, and his loynes from smarting. A three halfpeny matter, yea though hys skin had bene broken in péeces, though his blood had run downe in streames, and though his scourged loynes had smarted forty dayes after. For now by forberaunce of this which is nothing, you haue put your sonne in hazarde of vtter confusion: you haue heaped your owne discomforte and lamentation: yea, you haue endaungered your vtter déepe damnation. For be you most as­sured, that before the Lorde you shall giue acount of such carelesse and neg­lygente bringing vp of your children, so muche to their owne destruction, [Page] and when they perishe for wante of that rodde of correction, which is com­mitted vnto you, and put into your hands, onely to the ende and intente, that you should vse it for their chastis­mente and good, assuredly their death and damnation will bee requyred at your handes, and you shall aunswere as well for their bodyes, as for their soules, in that last day of iudgement, before the Tribunall seate of GOD. But I heare, that now you wéepe and wayle bitterly for that which is past: you fynde your owne follye now: you repent you of your extreme fondnesse and foolishe pittie heretofore: and if your sonne were in his tender yeares againe: you saye that then you would chastise him with all seuere scourges and castigation. Beholde howe one great follye doth acompany an other, and that greater then the first. Good Lorde, how wonderfully are you blyn­ded in that, which is more cléere than is the light of the noone daye. Your sonne is now of twenty yeres old and [Page] more: Is hée therfore frée from the rod of correction? Is hée therfore now not subiect to the stripes & scourges of his father? Is he therefore not to be strip­ped naked, & to be beaten and whip­ped, vntill you haue broken euen all the skin of his bodye, spilt the blood of his loynes in abundaunce, and giuen him so many thousande scourges, as that hée may neyther lye nor syt with­out payne in forty dayes after? Nay hée is nothing at all frée from these thinges. For all this is most fytte to be done, and he is to be haled home with violence, and whether he will or not to be taught to obey, by the smarte of his loynes, and to be traynde to his duety by the paynes of his scourges. For when gentle lenatiues will doe no good, to an olde sore ouer long neg­lected: you knowe that Corosiues are to be applyed, & though alwayes they put the pacient to great paines, yet are they moste sure Salues, to heale and cure the wounde. Be not therfore abu­sed, in beléeuing that your childe be­ing [Page] aboue twenty yeres of age, ought not therfore most sharply for his faults to be scourged and punished. In for­mer ages, the sonnes and daughters haue bene subiect to the scourges of their Parentes, euen all their lyues long. And by the lawes of God, and of nations: it remayneth and ought to be so styll. Doth not the lawe at this day, for diuers faults, iudge both the man and woman, euen naked to be most gréeuously whipped, and that with the scourges of whipcordes knot­ted, some with a thousande strypes, some with moe, and some with lesse, according to the qualitie of their of­fence? And is not thinke you, the au­thoritie of the parents vpon the child, farre aboue and superior, beyonde all the lawes positiue, that man may sta­blishe and make? You shall heare, what God himselfe hath sette downe and enacted in his sacred booke, which is aboue all earthly lawes and consti­tutions. And therby shall you plainly perceiue in how great and strayte sub­iection, [Page] it is the expresse will of God, that children doe stand and remain to­wards their parents. The text is thus. If anye man haue a sonne that is stub­borne & disobedient, Deutr. 21. which wil not har­ken vnto the voyce of his father, nor the voyce of his mother, and they haue chas­tened him, and he would not obey them: Then shal his father and his mother take him, & bring him out vnto the Elders of his Citie, and vnto the gate of the place where he dwelleth: and shall saye vnto the Elders of his Citie: This our sonne is stubborne and disobedient, and he will not obey our admonition: Then all the men of the Citie shal stone him with stones vnto deth. So thou shalt take away euill from among you: that Israel may heare it & feare. Here you sée two things are to be noted. First that there be no yeares excepted: but if hée be a sonne, (that is to say a child of his parent, for vnder that word sonne, both sonne and daughter are equallye comprehended) he is faste bound to the dutye of obedy­ence. Let him be of what yeares so e­uer [Page] he may be, if he be at any time dis­obedient to the voyce of his father, or of his mother, he is subiect to their chastismente. The second note is, that this disobedience of the childe to his Parente, is a thing so hatefull to al­mighty God, as that he hath pronoun­ced by his owne mouth, that suche a child shall dye the death therfore. Let not parentes then be doubtfull or scru­pulous, by the sharpe chastismente of whipping and scourges to correct their children, to the vttermost: when by their power and authority ouer them, they may for their disobedience deliuer them vnto death. For if death be com­maunded to the disobedient childe by God himself, O ye fond and foolish pa­rents, wil ye make any scruple pity or compassion, to strip him naked, to beate him, whippe him, and scourge him, yea not with a thousand strypes, but euen with manye thousandes and that most bitterly and sharply, when gentle ad­monitions and warninges giuen, will not preuayle? For you knowe what is [Page] written in the booke of God:Prouer. 13 He that spareth his rod, hateth his child, but he that loueth him, chastiseth him betime. And in an other place.Prouer. 19 Chastice thy son while there is hope: and let not thy soule spare for his murmuring. This texte doth very well forewarne those fonde and foolishe parentes, that wilbe mo­ued, to pittie the cryes or lamentati­ons, of their corrected children, for this is as much as if he had saide: whether thy child murmour, or mutine against his correction, whether he resist or set himself against thée: whether he make mone or lamentation vnto thée: yea, though he speake neuer so fayre to in­treate thée: whether he wéepe or waile, cry or exclayme: Finally, whatsoeuer meane or mone he make vnto thée, to moue thée to that fond or foolishe pittie or compassion: let thine eares be still deafe vnto him: and let not thy soule spare, lustely to laye on the sharpe strypes of correction, euen with all the might and power that thou canst giue them. For agayne he sayth:Prouer. 20 The blew­nesse [Page] of the wounde doth serue to purge the euill: and the strypes within the bo­wels of the belly. Thys teacheth vs to whip and scourge, not onely tyll the blood runne downe, but euen tyll we haue left woundes in the fleshe: and this doth plainly proue, that the scour­gings of disobedient children, ought to be with knotted whipcordes, and not with roddes of byrche, which God knoweth vnto a shrewde boy, is but a simple chastisment: and in a few daies after, is soone recouerd and forgotten. But thys text sayeth, that the strypes should be suche and so seuere, as they should passe and enter euen into the verye bowels of the bellye: that is to say, euen the very hart and soule of the disobedient chylde, that lyes within the bowels, should féele the sharpnesse of his correction, it ought and shoulde be so great vnto him. And why? marie to saue himselfe from shame and con­fusion, and his soule from damnation. And therefore in an other place it is sayde:Prouer. 23 Withholde not correction from [Page] thy chylde: for if thou smyte him with the rodde, he shall not dye. Loe, here is a blessing promised to that chylde, whome the parents doe smite with the rodde of correction: and that euen the greatest blessing of all blessinges: which is eternall saluation. And is it not also likewise emplyed thinke you by this text? that if this chylde be not smitten with the rodde of correction by his parents, that he is then in daun­ger of eternall damnation? Yée, no doubt it is. For in an other place, the same is playnely confyrmed to be so, where he sayth thus: Thou shalt smyte him with the rodde, Prouer. 23 and shalt delyuer his soule from Hell. And after thys he say­eth: Correct thy sonne, Prouer. 29 and he will giue thee rest, and will giue pleasures to thy soule. Loe howe he sayth, that it shall be rest and pleasure to the soule of the parentes, to correct their childe. So as wée ought to take pleasure in their sharpe correction: bicause it is so much for their swéete good and behoofe: and [...]o greatly for their owne comfort. And [Page] there is no doubt, but that if eyther we be negligent, and reck not: or mooued with fond pittie, and wil not giue that sharpe and seuere punishment that we ought: assuredly the fall and confusion of that chylde, shall be requyred at our handes in the daye of the Lorde: and our soule shall paye the price of his de­struction. And therefore we ought, not onely to correct them, but also to in­struct them, and teache them. For all their whole lyfe, rule, order, dispositi­on, and gouernment, dependeth vppon vs. And therfore it is written in Eccle­siasticus: If thou haue sonnes, instruct them, Eccle. 7. and holde their necke from their youth. The meaning is, kéepe their neck alwayes vnder the yoke of obedi­ence and chastisment. And agayne it followeth:Eccle. 30. Giue him no libertie in hys youth, and winke not at his folly. And after agayne:Eccle. 30. Bowe downe his necke whyle he is yong, and beate him on the sydes, least he wax stubborne and be dis­obedient to thee, and so bring sorrow to thyne harte. And lykewise agayne: [Page] He that loueth his sonne, Eccle. 30. causeth him oft to feele the rod: that he may ioy of him in the ende. And after this agayne:Eccle. 30. He that chastiseth his sonne, shall haue ioy in him, and shall reioyce of him among his acquaintance. And in like sorte a­gayne:Eccle. 30. Chastise thy childe and bee dili­gent therein, least his shame grieue thee. And after this agayne:Prouer. 29 The rodde and correction giue wisdome, but a chylde set at libertie maketh his mother ashamed. And last of all it is written thus.Eccle. 30. He that flattereth his sonne, byndeth vp his woundes, and his harte is grieued at eue­rye crye. Whereby he doth playnely teache vs: That good and discréete fa­thers and mothers, they should not flat­ter nor mone their sonnes and daugh­ters: for though their loynes be neuer so much scourged, and though their bo­dyes be neuer so bloodye beaten: yea, though their sydes be full of woundes, yet sayeth Ecclesiasticus: Flatter hym not, bynde not vp his woundes, be not mooued with anye crye or compassion that he can make vnto thee: but let him [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [...] [Page] chylde: you shal also delyuer your own soule, from the heauie burthen of con­science, by which you are bounde euen vpon payne of damnation, to sée hys faultes & offences most seuerely chas­tised and corrected. The Lorde powre vpon him his grace, and sende him to lyue in the loue and feare of him: and then shall all things prosper with him, euen to your great com­forte and reioysing, which GOD graunt. A­men.


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