Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 3, 1884

Sermon/Parental Responsibility

Los Angeles, California

May 14, 1884

Previously unpublished.

(Notes on a sermon by Mrs. Ellen G. White, Los Angeles Campground, Wednesday, 6 a.m., May 14, 1884.)

I feel so grateful to God for His mercies and blessings. It is the duty of every one of us, as obedient children, to follow the track that He has marked out for us. In so doing we will have a rich experience. Sisters whose husbands are not with them have hard times, but Jesus knows all about their trials. He understands all of them. Now they should not feel constantly discouraged, but should feel that God has claims on their husbands and them and that if the husband will not do his duty, they will do all they can to make up the deficiency. They need not carry a constant load about with them, but may feel that Jesus is with them. 4LtMs, Ms 3, 1884, par. 1

Have we set a proper example? If we are really doers of the Word and not hearers only, we shall carry out the counsel of the Word in every particular, carry it into every transaction. 4LtMs, Ms 3, 1884, par. 2

The first duty resting upon you as fathers and mothers is to impart a proper mold to your children. The first thing is to have your children learn implicit obedience to your word. When you have taught them this, you have taught them the principle of obedience to God. But too often the children have the reins in their own hands; and in such cases, the parents are sinning against God. 4LtMs, Ms 3, 1884, par. 3

It is your duty to require perfect obedience. 4LtMs, Ms 3, 1884, par. 4

Eli remonstrated with his sons, but did not restrain them. As a consequence, God could not go forth with His people. God passed over Eli and came with a message to an innocent child, because Eli had sinned in not restraining his sons. And when the warning came to him, giving him a chance to work, he did not even then do as well as the Ninevites did—repent. He was in the same condition as many are now, discouraged, thinking it of no use to make an effort to correct his children. He was submissive to God. [He] could say, The will of God be done, but he was indolent. The neglect of his duty had made him blind. The ark was of no consequence to them when they were not keeping the law which it contained. They had learned to look to it for help. Eli trusted more to the ark than to the God who gave the ark. The people of God are in similar danger now. They say, We have the law; we understand the truth. [They] expect that knowledge to save them while they are not yielding full obedience to the law. They do not let it transform their characters. 4LtMs, Ms 3, 1884, par. 5

If you are neglecting your children because it is easier to do so than to restrain them, you are guilty before God. Are you seeking to devote time to educate yourself to understand your children? They are not all cast in the same mold. How much time is devoted by mothers to needless ornamentation and not to their children! The first work for children is to be done by the parents. If children receive the mold of the world, they are ruined. Therefore you must take the most intense interest in them. Teach them to come up uncontaminated by bad and intemperate habits. 4LtMs, Ms 3, 1884, par. 6

Young men often learn intemperance at their own mother’s table. Perhaps you have never put the winecup to your children, but you may have done worse. You may have let them have their own way or indulged them in passion. If you allow this, they will come up in the judgment and say that you are responsible. The first manifestation of passion should be checked. Children should not imagine that they can have their own way. The parents’ word must be law. Don’t deny them proper enjoyments, but check lightness and frivolity, giggling, etc. 4LtMs, Ms 3, 1884, par. 7

This softness of mothers, which they call love, allowing children to run things themselves, is the worst kind of love. When you pamper and pet your children, you are doing a wrong thing, placing them where they have no hardihood to resist temptation. Let them be clothed in modest apparel and not do as others do, just because they do so. In this age of the world, you have got to take a decided stand. Go to God. Study the matter to learn what is your duty for yourself. You must be constantly advancing and preparing the holy temple for God. You must be constantly gaining an experience. When your children want to control you, take them to the Word of God and show them that you cannot yield to their impulses and concede to the fashions of the world. Bring in your children, as the Israelites did in Egypt. Separate from the world by the blood of Jesus. 4LtMs, Ms 3, 1884, par. 8

If you did not embrace the truth till your children were partly grown, so much the more is there need of earnest effort. Do not think that you can be indolent and then have a minister come along and counteract all your work. Do not correct in anger; do not strike a hasty blow, but take your children quietly and kindly and tell them that you cannot have them do wrong things. In order to teach children self-control, you must learn to control yourself. I never struck my children a blow until I had first prayed with them; and let me tell you that when you do so, you will seldom have occasion to strike a blow. 4LtMs, Ms 3, 1884, par. 9

Letting children grow up undisciplined is like letting soil lie uncultivated. The devil will be at work while you are idle. Children left that way are never happy. “A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” Proverbs 29:15. One undisciplined child will ruin hundreds of others. And who is responsible for all this mischief but the mother who first let the child have his own way? God has given us precepts and truths, line upon line, and we must take them and apply them to our children. Parents should first educate themselves properly and then their children. 4LtMs, Ms 3, 1884, par. 10