Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Ms 89, 1894

Self-Discipline Necessary to Parents



Formerly Undated Ms 53. This manuscript is published in entirety in ST 05/07/1894.

It is the work of parents to educate and discipline themselves, in order that they may educate and discipline their children. Let parents remember that they have transmitted to their children their own hereditary tendencies. Let them deal sharply with themselves as they see themselves mirrored in the dispositions of their children. Let parents open the door of their own hearts to Jesus, that His love and grace may take possession of the soul, and bring their will and ways into conformity to Christ’s will and ways; then they will be able to impart divine instruction to their children. 9LtMs, Ms 89, 1894, par. 1

It is a mistake for parents to notice every little defect in the manners of their children. They should not criticize them continually, but when they see wrong traits of character developing, they should make most strenuous efforts to correct the wrong by strengthening traits of an opposite nature. If you roughly lay hold on these disagreeable developments, and battle with them concerning their objectionable traits, you will be in danger of causing two evils to exist in trying to eradicate one. When children are inclined toward evil, seek to draw their minds away from the things that will mar them, and turn their attention in a different channel. 9LtMs, Ms 89, 1894, par. 2

If you would train a precious pink, or rose, or lily, how would you minister to it? Ask the gardener by what process he makes every branch and leaf to flourish so beautifully, to develop in symmetry and loveliness. He will tell you that it was by no rude touch, no violent effort, for this would only break the boughs, but by little attentions oft repeated. He moistened the soil and protected [the plants] from the fierce blasts and from the scorching sun, and by His miraculous power, God caused the plants to flourish and to blossom into loveliness. Parents should follow the method of the gardener in dealing with their children, and if the grace of Christ is in the heart, parents will seek in various ways to educate and train their children, to fashion their characters after the divine model. Parents should not be satisfied until they see the image of the divine in the characters of their children. They may give God all the glory for their success, because it has been the grace of Jesus Christ that has made the fathers and mothers wise to train their children. 9LtMs, Ms 89, 1894, par. 3

That cannot be a happy home where love is not cultivated between husband and wife, between parents and children. If parents have been self-centered, and have trained their children in an atmosphere where love was not manifested in affectionate words and actions, then change the atmosphere of your home as quickly as possible. Let husbands love their wives, and let the wives see that they reverence their husbands. The plan of salvation was devised in order to transform the natural character, and fashion it after the divine image. When the grace of Christ is received in the heart, it will soften whatever is harsh, and subdue that which is coarse and unkind. Courtesy will be expressed in the affairs of home life. Let father and mother remember that they themselves are but grown up children. Though great light has shown upon their pathway, and they have had long experience, yet how easily are they stirred to envy, jealousy, and evil surmisings! Because of their own mistakes and errors they should learn to deal gently with their erring children. 9LtMs, Ms 89, 1894, par. 4

Just as you conduct yourself in your home life, you are registered in the books of heaven. He who would become a saint in heaven must first become a saint in his own family. If fathers and mothers are true Christians in the family, they will be useful members of the church, and be able to conduct affairs in the church and in society after the same manner in which they conduct their family concerns. Parents let not your religion be simply a profession, but let it become a reality. 9LtMs, Ms 89, 1894, par. 5

When truth is brought into the inner sanctuary of the soul, it has a wonderful and powerful effect upon the life. It will expel love of self, indulgence of self, hastiness and petulance of temper, sensitiveness and pride. These are the things that drive Christ from the heart, and when they are manifested in the life, the professors of religion cannot experience that noble joy that makes the servant of Christ free. He who professes to love the truth, and yet does not bring it into practical life, is bearing a heavy yoke. He admits the principles of truth to be right, and yet fails to carry them out in his actions, and thus cuts off his influence. He is subject to various caprices of his own natural character, and robs God of the service for which he was purchased by the precious blood of Christ. 9LtMs, Ms 89, 1894, par. 6

Until Christianity is planted in the heart, it cannot control the life, for it is the evil in the heart that must be corrected. It is not enough to have a form of Godliness without holiness to the Lord, for it is like cleansing the outside of the cup while impurities remain within. A mere belief of doctrines will not save a soul from death, however pure they may be, unless they are brought into contact with the life. The heart must be purified through obedience to the truth. 9LtMs, Ms 89, 1894, par. 7

Parents, you need to study your Bibles in order to know how to bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. You cannot continue to indulge in your fitful manner of managing your children, and yet be accounted as true and faithful to God. You must watch for the souls of your children as those that must give an account. You should consider it your duty before God to educate your children in some useful employment. They cannot be permitted to spend their lives in amusing themselves simply, without being exposed to temptation. You should train your children to orderly habits, teaching them to bear responsibilities according to their years. You should train them also in habits of economy, instructing them to bind about their wants and restrict their desires for indulgence in dress and holiday pleasures. 9LtMs, Ms 89, 1894, par. 8

Parents who profess to believe the truth should earnestly strive for the salvation of their children, teaching them both by precept and example that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” [Proverbs 9:10.] It is with God, who looks upon the heart, that we have to do. Have the parents given their whole hearts to God? Have parents appreciated the countless blessings He has bestowed? Have they educated themselves in presenting gratitude offerings to God in response for all His blessings until their affections are set on things above, and not on things on the earth. The heart is the citadel of the whole man, and until the heart is wholly on the Lord’s side, the enemy will find his strong hold there, and no human power can dislodge him. The Lord alone can do this work. 9LtMs, Ms 89, 1894, par. 9

There are many professed Christian parents whose souls are preoccupied with so many other things that there is no room in the soul temple for the presence of Jesus. They have given to their idols the devotion that is due alone to God. The door of the heart is closed against the truth, and Christ is misrepresented in spirit, in character, and in actions. Their children are unconverted, wayward, and pleasure loving, and no recommendation to the truth. Should some of these youth be cut down with disease and have no opportunity to repent, they would be lost, forever lost. Their indulging in worldly follies and pleasures will not give their souls a fitness for the society of heavenly angels. 9LtMs, Ms 89, 1894, par. 10

Souls are perishing because they have not an experimental knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Many sit under the sound of the gospel, but they do not take it as the truth, because parents keep practical religion apart from their lives. The glad tidings that should awaken every soul is of none effect to them. They are pointed to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world, but they say, There will be time enough tomorrow, and the bewitching power of sin holds them firmly in its grasp. As they cannot serve Christ and the world at the same time, they choose the service of sin and receive its wages. 9LtMs, Ms 89, 1894, par. 11

My brethren and sisters, will you not face heavenward? Will you not open the chambers of the mind to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness? Will you not open the door of the heart and welcome Jesus in? There is healing in His wings. He will create the kindness and love in your heart that should be cherished and exhibited in your family, and this love will not only embrace your own household, but will flow out to those around you in the church and the world. We do not plead for a manifestation of what the world calls courtesy, but for that courtesy which every one will take with [him] to the mansions of the blessed. 9LtMs, Ms 89, 1894, par. 12

O what rays of softness and beauty shone forth in the daily life of our Saviour, and were revealed in all the associations which He cherished! There never was so perfect an illustration of genuine courtesy as that which was exemplified in the life of Jesus. He bids parents to come unto Him, and learn of Him; for He is meek and lowly of heart. He says to the children, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for such is the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 19:14.] Send them not to the rabbis, send them not to the Pharisees, but take the little children to Jesus for instruction and discipline. 9LtMs, Ms 89, 1894, par. 13