Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Ms 110, 1894

Diary/The Mother's Work and Children's Duties

[Granville, N.S.W., Australia]

April 27, 1894

Previously unpublished.

I cannot sleep past three o'clock a.m. The subject presses upon my mind, What can we do to bring about reforms in the home life, for here the reforms must begin. How can we present in clear lines, to impress the fathers and mothers the duty to make their homes happy? They can if they will. Oh, that all Christian women would understand that a cheerful, comfortable home is the happiest place in the world! 9LtMs, Ms 110, 1894, par. 1

A home dedicated to God, a home where Christ can preside—there in the sacred home is where the mother's (women's) rights may be exhibited to a high and holy purpose. There is where mothers should reign as queens in influence, lying on the foundation of Christ, [yielding] good works in the family. She is not to be dictated to and ordered about as a servant, but to stand beside her husband as his helper—equal in rights and doing her work as intelligently as himself. She is to be guarded, honored, supported, and protected in her life work and never oppressed. It is her right to so order her children and household that they shall have careful, neat, orderly habits, that no untidiness or uncleanliness should exist in the home. 9LtMs, Ms 110, 1894, par. 2

The children are to be educated line upon line. No uncleanliness shall enter the kingdom of heaven, and to this end they should exercise their God-given ability to make their home—indeed the family firm—[even] if it be ever so humble, an abode for Christ and His messengers who are sent to every family to minister until its inmates who shall be heirs of salvation. 9LtMs, Ms 110, 1894, par. 3

It is not required that a home should be a big house to be a happy place; neither does nice, costly furniture make a happy home. But the atmosphere which surrounds every human soul can be the atmosphere of heaven. 9LtMs, Ms 110, 1894, par. 4

The mother in the home can act the part of a Martha as well as a mother if she can have the spirit and act the part of Mary with the Martha as the better part, which is to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn of Him. It is the good part, exalted by Christ as the better part, the most essential part. He says, “Without Me, ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] There is danger of being too careful and troubled about many things. The serving part is essential to the temporal wants of the household, filling a mission which is useful and necessary. Martha was troubled about many things. Had she not added to her burdens unnecessary things, had she left some of these many things and shown her appreciation of the presence of Jesus to hear from His lips words of instruction in regard to the preparation of the heart for those things which were heavenly, she would have found rest and peace. Home means peace, happiness, and love. Had Martha given Jesus the very best she had at hand, and if it was essential that anything be prepared, let it be of that order to take the least time and absence from her Friend, her Lord; this would have met the mind of Christ. There are many today who manufacture so many burdens wholly unnecessary and unessential in fussy things to eat and wear. 9LtMs, Ms 110, 1894, par. 5

Reason and judgment are to be exercised in the use of the time that God has given us to be employed in the best service for the Master, hearing and keeping His words. Jesus would have every soul give Him more time and attention, that He can impress the importance of the Word of life upon their minds. He has spoken many words essential to be kept in mind, and the Holy Spirit is given to be ever present to do this work. 9LtMs, Ms 110, 1894, par. 6

You may study with profit the words of Jesus. You may become familiar with them, and with prayerful heart ask the Lord to give you understanding and to impress them upon the memory and write them upon the heart. In thus placing yourself in the school of Christ to learn of Jesus, your intellect will be strengthened to choose that knowledge which is brought into practical life, that the duties essential to be performed will be accomplished without a large amount of worry and fretting and anxiety, and [without] losing patience, forbearance, and love. We are to educate our children in doing the common duties of life, which are under the eye of God, and doing Him service if they are done faithfully. There must not be careless, indolent habits cherished, for that will be to the great [detriment], if not the loss, of the soul. 9LtMs, Ms 110, 1894, par. 7

Everything in dress is to be neat and orderly, as in the sight of the universe of heaven. There is to be no untidiness in dress with professed Christians. What is the definition of Christian? [It is] to be Christlike in habits, in words, in actions. All is to be done to the glory of God. Plain, simple dress is after God's order. We have no time for anything more than this. Hear the words of the great Teacher: “He that will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” [Mark 8:34.] How does he learn? The Word gives light and understanding to the simple. 9LtMs, Ms 110, 1894, par. 8

The facilities for carrying out the missionary enterprises are at the command of the church. The Lord has His stewards in the church. The Lord has wrought in His providence in behalf of His cause. He has made to the world a wonderful donation in giving Jesus to our world. Behold, what manner of love hath the Father bestowed upon us, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] We need the quickening influence of the Holy Spirit of God. We need to let alone many things that are not essential, and to be most earnest in doing things that will please Jesus, the influence of which will be abiding. How much more will He not with Him freely give us all things, that His name may be glorified before the world, for there is not seen a conformity to the world's fashions. The church, God's representatives, are not to be dwarfs in the Christian life, neither are they to be ignorant, inefficient, and careless in regard to temporal matters. 9LtMs, Ms 110, 1894, par. 9

Children should be educated for usefulness and educated (disciplined) as soon as possible, in the mysteries of practical life. In childhood boys are to receive special instruction at home to do the work essential to be done in small matters about the home to lessen the father's and mother's care. And as they grow in years they will grow in understanding of usefulness, in tact and skill of how to be a blessing in the home—trained to become familiar with work indoors and out of doors. This is the essential part of education. Christ Jesus is an example in all things. The Lord has given light upon this subject. 9LtMs, Ms 110, 1894, par. 10

The duty of parents to their children is not to do their work but to teach them to help share their burdens. True education begins at home. Children will never know perfectly the happiness of serving God with heart and soul and mind and strength until they are educated to understand their responsibility to use their God-given talents of ability in early years. The Lord has bestowed upon them talents to be cultivated. If they are left to themselves to read or to study as they please, to indulge in their fancies and practices in self-pleasing, they are disqualifying themselves to serve God with their strength of brain and muscles, and with their whole heart and mind and soul. When children see those who are older in years self-pleasing, gratifying their own impulse, their love for dress, and talking of hats and dress adornment, what they shall wear to make them look nice, they catch the spirit when mere children and ape grownup people, who wonder where their children got all these ideas of love for fine things. It was from their parents and older professed Christians. God pity us all, for we need converting. 9LtMs, Ms 110, 1894, par. 11

Let parents guard their children as a sacred first charge from God, that their ears shall not hear from mother or older members of the family vain, foolish talk of those who consider the outward adorning of more consequence than the grace of inward adorning. “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” 1 Peter 3:3-6. [Read also] verses 7-13. 9LtMs, Ms 110, 1894, par. 12

When visitors, the young or those older in years, shall begin this vain kind of talk, it is the duty of the mother to change the conversation. And it may be necessary to say, This is an unprofitable train of conversation. Our words should be precious talents. In the Book from which we read our morning lesson there is a recipe to guide and instruct us. If we would be happy in the future life, we must be doing our service to God in this life. “He that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.” 1 Peter 3:10, 11. 9LtMs, Ms 110, 1894, par. 13