Thus God’s commandment falls absolutely to the ground, unwittingly, and ostensibly for good reasons. Then is fulfilled that which is written in the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, that the children are destroyed by their own parents [Isa. 57:5; Jer. 7:31; 32:35]. They do what King Manasseh did. This king sacrificed his son to the idol Molech and burned him.47 What else is it but to sacrifice one’s own child to an idol and burn it when parents train their children more in the love of the world than in the love of God, and let their children go their own way and get burned up in worldly pleasure, love, enjoyment, lust, goods, and honor, but let God’s love and honor and the love of eternal blessings be extinguished in them?
O how perilous it is to be a father or mother, where only flesh and blood are supreme! Indeed, it is because parents are commanded to teach their children that the knowledge and keeping of the first three and the last six commandments depend on this commandment. As Psalm 78[:5–6] says, “How strictly has God commanded our fathers to make known his commandments to their children, that the generation to come might know them and declare them to their children’s children.” This is also the reason God bids us honor our parents, that is, to love them with fear; for that other love is without fear, therefore, it is more dishonor than honor.
Now see whether everyone does not have enough good works to do, whether he be father or child. But we, blind men that we are, neglect such works as these and seek elsewhere all sorts of other works which are not commanded. (Luther’s Works, v. 44 p.83).