Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6


The Children Neglected

Altogether too little attention has been given our children and youth. The older members of the church have not looked upon them with tenderness and sympathy, desiring that they might be advanced in the divine life, and the children have therefore failed to develop in the Christian life as they should have done. Some church members who have loved and feared God in the past are allowing their business to be all-absorbing, and are hiding their light under a bushel. They have forgotten to serve God and are making their business the grave of their religion. 6T 196.1

Shall the youth be left to drift hither and thither, to become discouraged and to fall into temptations that are everywhere lurking to catch their unwary feet? The work that lies nearest to our church members is to become interested in our youth, with kindness, patience, and tenderness giving them line upon line, precept upon precept. Oh, where are the fathers and mothers in Israel? There ought to be a large number who, as stewards of the grace of Christ, would feel not merely a casual interest but a special interest in the young. There ought to be many whose hearts are touched by the pitiable situation in which our youth are placed, who realize that Satan is working by every conceivable device to draw them into his net. God requires the church to arouse from its lethargy and see what manner of service is demanded in this time of peril. 6T 196.2

The eyes of our brethren and sisters should be anointed with the heavenly eyesalve, that they may discern the necessities of this time. The lambs of the flock must be fed, and the Lord of heaven is looking on to see who is doing the work He desires to have done for the children and youth. The church is asleep and does not realize the magnitude of this matter. “Why,” says one, “what is the need of being so particular thoroughly to educate our youth? It seems to me that if a few who have decided to follow some literary calling, or some other calling that requires a certain discipline, receive special attention, this is all that is necessary. It is not necessary that all our young people should be so well trained. Will not the thorough education of a few answer every essential requirement?” 6T 196.3

No, I answer, most decidedly not. What selection would we be able to make from our youth? How could we tell who would be the most promising, who would render the best service to God? In our human judgment we might do as did Samuel, who, when sent to find the anointed of the Lord, looked upon the outward appearance. But the Lord said to Samuel: “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him; for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7. Not one of the noble-looking sons of Jesse would the Lord accept; but when David, the youngest son, a mere youth and the shepherd of the sheep, was called from the field and passed before Samuel, the Lord said: “Arise, anoint him: for this is he.” Verse 12. Who can determine which one of a family will prove to be efficient in the work of God? All the youth should be permitted to have the blessings and privileges of an education at our schools, that they may be inspired to become laborers together with God. 6T 197.1