SIX VOLUMES IN ONE
BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM
REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D.
REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.
REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada
REV. STEPHEN KEENAN
REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J.
REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P.
THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT.
Q. What is the fourth commandment?
A. Honor thy father and thy mother.
Q. What is the general sense of this commandment ?
A. By father and mother, are to be understood, all superiors whatever.
Q. Why are all superiors to be honored and obeyed ?
A. Chiefly because they are God's representatives; and again, because they preserve peace and unity in every community; lastly, because they are authors of many favors to inferiors.
Q. Name the persons distinctly, who are concerned in this precept.
A. Subjects, in regard of princes; and all subordinate civil magistrates. All the faithful, in regard of the pope, bishops, and priests. Children, in regard of parents; servants in regard of masters; young persons, in regard of their seniors.
Q. What are the obligations of children, in regard of their parents?
A. Respect, both in words and actions; obedience, love, and assistance, when they are in necessity; and, in consequence of this, they are not to enter into the married state, nor any other station, without consulting and expecting their approbation, unless they are unreasonable. Deut. xxvii. 16. Col. iii. 20. They are also to pay their parents' debts, as far as justice and charity oblige them; and if their parents have wronged any person, either in money or land, children are to restore it, in case they are in possession of it. Acts v. 29. However, if parents lay any unjust commands, or hinder their children from becoming religious, when they are come to the years of discretion, they are not to be obeyed.
Q. What are the punishments and blessings relating to this precept?
A. Obedient children are blessed with a long life, and temporal felicity: disobedient children, with temporal miseries and a short life.
Q. Is a short life always a punishment ?
A. No, it is sometimes a blessing, as the wise man says, in the book of wisdom, " He was taken away, lest malice should change his heart, and lest any evil might deceive his soul." Chap, iv. ver. 11.
Q. What are the obligations of parents toward their children ?
A. In general, they are to see that they are provided with all necessaries, both temporal and spiritual: viz. To take care that they are instructed, in their youth, in the Christian rudiments; that they observe good hours and regularity; that they correct them with discretion, neither with severity, nor too much indulgence; for "he that spares the rod, hates his son, but he that loves him chastises him betimes." Pro. xiii. 24. To give them good example by a regular life, neither speaking nor acting indecently before them ; to exhort them to keep Sundays and holy-days holy, and to frequent the sacraments; to settle them in the world, in some commendable station, and not to deprive them of their due by spending their substance. Not to threaten them into marriage, nor by ill usage compel them in some manner to enter into a religious state; nor disinherit them, unless there be the highest provocation: not to show any remarkable partiality to one child more than to another, which is often followed with great discontent and ruin of him who is less esteemed.
Q. What are the obligations of servants and laborers to their masters ?
A. They are to be obedient, respectful, and exactly faithful in every trust and concern committed to them; punctually and carefully doing what is given them in charge, and belongs to their place; rightly spending their time, labor, and industry, in their master's service, as they know he expects and requires: not letting him lose by their idleness, nor by making advantage to themselves of what belongs to their master: according to that of St. Paul, where he exhorts servants, "to be subject to their masters, in all things pleasing, not contradicting, not defrauding them, but in all things showing good fidelity." Tit. ii. 9. And, in another place, he commands them, saying, " Servants, obey in all things those who are your masters, according to the flesh, not eye servers, as pleasing men, but with simplicity of heart, fearing God." Col. iii. 22. They are likewise under a strict obligation of restitution, of whatever damage the master shall suffer by their fault, idleness, connivance, concurrence, etc. They must also live in peace, love, and charity, with their fellow servants.
Q. What are the obligations of masters to their servants and laborers ?
A. The Apostle St. Paul informs us, in these words: " Masters," says he, u give unto your servants that which is just, knowing that you have also a master in heaven" (Col. iv. 1), to whom all masters must be accountable. They are obliged to stand to the promise or agreement they made with their servants; to give them sufficient and wholesome meat and drink, fit lodging, etc. They are not to employ them
in any ill office, work, and the like; nor require more of them than they can do, nor be too harsh or severe with them; nor make them labor on Sundays and holy-days. They are obliged to instruct, admonish, and give them good example, etc. "If an}' provide not for his own, especially for his domestics, he has denied his faith, and is worse than an infidel," says St. Paul. 1 Tim. v. 8.
Q. What are our obligations towards our spiritual superiors?
A. We must love them, because they are our spiritual parents, who in Christ through the gospel have begot us (1 Cor. iv. 15), that is, are authors of our spiritual life; who are nurses of our souls, and under God are the instrumental causes of our spiritual good. " We beseech you, brethren," says St. Paul, " to know those who labor among you, that you love them the more for their work's sake." 1 Thess. v. 12. We must hear, respect, and obey them as Christ's ambassadors; the hearing or despising them, is the same as the hearing or despising Christ. "He who hears you, hears me," says our Saviour, " and he who despises you, despises me." Luke x. 16. So that we ought to submit to them in all things belonging to faith, and the government of our souls. " Obey your prelates," says St. Paul, " and be subject to them, for they watch, as being to render an account for your souls." Heb. xiii. 17. We must pray for them, that they may discharge their duties for the good of their flock. We must also maintain or assist them with necessaries for this life, since their study, labor and employ, are to afford us necessaries for the life to come. " Let him," says St. Paul, u who is instructed in the word, communicate to him who instructs him in all his goods." Gal. vi. 6. u Even so has our Lord ordained, that they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel." 1 Cor. ix. 14.
Q. What are our obligations toward our sovereign, and such temporal governors as are placed over us ?
A. We must love them, honor them, obey them, and not speak ill of them. " Thou shalt not revile or mis-speak the prince of the people." Acts xxiii. 5. We must duly pay, without fraud, to such, all due taxes, customs, etc. "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's. . Matt, xxii. 25. Again, " render tribute to whom tribute is due, and custom to whom custom," etc. Rom. xiii. 7. We must pay for them, "I exhort you," says St. Paul, "that supplications, prayers, etc., be made for kings, and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all holiness and purity." 1 Tim. ii. 1. We must obey them in all lawful things. "Be subject, for God's sake, to every human creature, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors as sent by him, for the punishment of malefactors." 1 Pet. ii. 13.
Q. What are the obligations of superiors both spiritual and temporal?
A. They are many and great, and in all their degrees ought to govern those under their charge, with charity and justice; to procure their good, and defend them from evil; to correct and punish those who obey not their just laws; and to encourage such as duly observe, them; wherein if they fail, they are answerable to God; but their failing in their duty will not excuse the failing of subjects on their side.
Q. What is forbidden by this commandment ?
A. All disrespect, stubborness and disobedience to parents, and all lawful superiors, both spiritual and temporal.