Lesson 65: Commons

[The words to fit the music in last week’s picture are “Be it ever so humble, There’s no place like home”]. Your first neighbours were your parents; but you have many others, to whom as a Christian the fifth commandment also means that you owe a debt. My duty is ... to honour and obey the king, and all that are put in authority under him; to submit myself to all my governors (rulers, teachers: to order myself lowly and reverently to all my betters.

It is not difficult to honour a good king like His Majesty King George; but even if he were a bad one, it would be your duty to honour him, because of his position. St. Peter wrote those words (i St. Peter 2, 17) when the king was the emperor Nero, about as big a scoundrel as Fuehrer Hitler.

A Christian obeys the country’s laws (except if they are laws which the Church and his conscience tell him to be wrong: for example, if the Government were to pass a law forbidding people to go to church, or saying that there is no need for mothers to be married). In so doing he is really obeying God {Romans 13, 1 and 2).

God in his wisdom has put us into different positions in the world for our good {St. Mark 13, 34). Some are priests and sisters; others are kings, air-marshals, prime ministers. Some are fathers and mothers; some are teachers; others are boys and girls at school [who may one day be priests or sisters, fathers or mothers, air-marshals or perhaps prime ministers]. They are so, not because some are better or worse than others; but because wise God made them so. You are, of course, to be independent, self-reliant, having a will of your own, using the brains God has given you to get on in the world, and so serve both God and England with all your power. But, as a Christian, you are to “submit” yourself (“put yourself willingly and cheerfully under”) those whom God has put over you: teachers at school, foremen at work, the leadersofyour country, and so on. A football team wouldn’t win many matches if it had no captain: or if it had eleven captains.