Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 12, 1898

A God-given Work


February 9, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in AH 265, 324; CG 52-53, 69, 175-176, 205, 223-224, 259, 482, 520; 7MR 207. +Note

The Lord God of heaven has never left the world without a witness. He has a care for those who love and fear Him, who have a conscientious regard for His requirements. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 1

Abundant resources, both divine and human, have been opened before the church of God; but sadness comes to my soul as I see her make such little advancement, and send forth her light in such feeble rays. She does not fulfill her God-appointed mission. “Ye are the light of the world,” said Christ, “a city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” [Matthew 5:14.] While surrounded by the moral darkness of this degenerate age, the light of the Christian should increase in power and dispel the darkness that Satan is crowding in upon the world. But this light has grown dim. There should be something more than a mere profession. It is genuine piety that distinguishes the children of obedience from the children of disobedience. But the Christian zeal, earnest self-denial and self-sacrifice, of God’s people have not been in proportion to their resources, opportunities, and privileges. The voice of God is heard, saying, “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” [Isaiah 60:1.] 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 2

There will be no retrograding on the part of those who make the Word of God their daily guide. The apostle Paul declares, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written; The just shall live by faith.” [Romans 1:16, 17.] 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 3

Men are to enter into moral co-operation with God. The feeblest child of God has his appointed work. It is because there are so large a number who are not doers of the words of Christ, that there is not greater progress and growth among the individual members of the church. Many do little else beside study their own pleasure and convenience. They accommodate their surroundings to gratify their own likes and dislikes. There are others who, because they cannot lay hold of the larger work, which is pleasing to self, will do nothing. The duties which look commonplace and cheap to them, and which lie directly in their path inviting their attention, they neglect. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 4

If these persons loved God supremely, and their neighbor as themselves, they would take up these little duties by which God designs to test their fidelity. By seeking out their friends and devising some plans by which they can reach their minds and hearts, by seizing the opportunities of doing good which lie within their reach, in having an eye single to the glory of God, and walking in the light of the Word of God, they would keep their souls warm. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 5

Satan will bring in all manner of excuses whereby he may blind the understanding, that we may not see the work about us; but the work is there, and we must be faithful in the service of God. “What shall we say then to these things?” says the apostle, “If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” [Romans 8:31, 32.] 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 6

The Word declares of Abraham that he “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform. And therefore it was imputed unto him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to him it shall be imputed, if we believe on him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.” “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” [Romans 4:20-24; 15:4.] 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 7

Have these lessons, inspired of God, been a part of our education? Has this Book been delivered to our children and youth as God designed it should be? The Word of God is the Book that will make men wise unto salvation, and yet it is placed in a corner. It has not been honored above every other book in the education of the children and youth. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 8

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness: because that which may be known of God is manifest in them: for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead: so that they are without excuse: because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful: but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” [Romans 1:18-21.] 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 9

In these words, Christ describes the authors of those books that have been introduced into our schools. Such men as Voltaire, Hume, Rousseau, and Byron, were under the training of Satan, and those who open their doors to admit as their study books the works of these men who have sown the seeds of infidelity broadcast over our land, who were under the training of the great enemy of God and man, the acknowledged leader of the principalities, the powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, accept their authority as a power in the education of the youth. The Word of God, the Manna from heaven, is regarded as unessential. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 10

Mark the words of inspiration, “The invisible things from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” [Verse 20.] Nature and the Word of God are the books furnished for our educational work. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 11

The student of the Word of God will see a wide field in which he can work. Much good has often been done through the humble service of the apparently weakest child of God. The King of Glory as a babe in Bethlehem could only represent the babe in its mother’s arms. In childhood He simply did the works of an obedient child. He obeyed the will and wishes of His parents, His works corresponding with the ability of a child. This is all that children can do, but they should be educated to do this in a manner that will make them a blessing in the home. Christ was subject to His parents. This was His missionary work in the home life, and through His right course of action His wisdom and ability was constantly increasing. It is written, “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.” “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” [Luke 2:40, 52.] 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 12

It is sad to see parents, by their waning piety and lack of devotion to God, lose all sense of their high responsibility to educate and train their children patiently, thoroughly, prayerfully, pleasantly leading them into safe paths, and teaching them the way of the Lord. Business cares, worldly customs, maxims, and fashions, should not absorb the mind and time of the parents to the neglect of their God-given duties to their children. It is in childhood and youth that instruction should be given. The children should be educated for usefulness. They should be taught to do those things that are needful in the home life; and the parents should make these duties as pleasant as possible with kindly words of instruction and approval. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 13

It is the work of the parents to restrain and guide and control. They cannot commit a worse evil than to permit their children to gratify all their childish wishes and fancies, and leave them to follow their own inclinations; they cannot do them a greater wrong than to leave upon their minds the impression that they are to live to please and amuse themselves, to chose their own ways, and find their own pleasure and society, and in giving them money to spend according to their childish wisdom. Children are the heritage of the Lord, and parents are not to feel at liberty to govern them as they please just because they have brought them into the world. The youth need parents who will educate and discipline them, correct their wrong habits and inclinations, and prune away the evil tendencies. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 14

We need in our churches youth who are working upon the Christian endeavor principles; and the beginning must be made at home. The parents, who are the responsible agents in the home life, are to set the example. They should learn their lessons of duty and obedience to God’s requirements, and then educate their children in the same profitable obedience. They should consecrate themselves entirely to God. Themselves imbued with the missionary spirit, they can train their children to be God’s faithful soldiers. This service is to be made the first consideration. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 15

And as parents do this work for their children, they, in turn, will repeat the lessons they have learned from father and mother. They will take their home education into their school life. Thus the divine influence of the home reaches beyond its immediate circle, and, as the leaven in the meal, leavens other homes with the principles of righteousness. This is the highest kind of home missionary work that can be done. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 16

To parents who have begun their training wrong, I would say, Do not despair. You need to be soundly converted to God. You need the true Spirit of obedience to the Word of God. You must make decided reforms in your own customs and practices, conforming your life to the saving principles of the law of God. When you do this, you will have the righteousness of Christ which pervades that law, because you love God and recognize His law as a transcript of His character. True faith in the merits of Christ is not fancy. It is of the highest importance that you bring the attributes of Christ into your own life and character, and educate and train your children with persevering effort to be obedient to the commandments of God. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 17

A “Thus saith the Lord” should guide you in all your plans of education. Never let your children hear from the lips of their parents an irreverent expression. Never let a harsh, passionate word escape your lips. Children do not always discern right from wrong, and when they do wrong, they are often treated harshly, instead of being kindly instructed. For generations back parents have perpetuated the practices that exist in the home life today. The fitful, coarse, uncourteous practices are carried by the children to their own children, and thus the evils of the mismanagement of the parents testify against them from generation to generation. It is because of this that iniquity abounds to such an alarming extent, and in the judgment a terrible picture will be presented before the unfaithful parents. The long line of neglected duties, with all their weight of evil, stand registered against them. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 18

Let there be a deep and thorough repentance before God. Commence the year 1898 by earnestly seeking God for grace, for spiritual discernment to discover the defects in the work of the past. Repent before God for your neglected work as home missionaries. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 19

The father is priest in his own household, and his business, whatever may be its character, should not lead him to neglect the work that rests upon him as the educator of his children to keep the way of the Lord. Morning and evening worship should be considered of the first importance in the family. Let the family meet together and unite in offering to God supplications and prayers with thanksgiving. It is your privilege, parents, to make these seasons the most interesting of the day. Select such Scriptures as can be understood by the children and youth. Read a few verses, and make them plain to their young minds. Then seek the Lord fervently. Train yourselves to pray with fervor. Do not be tedious. By your own example teach your children to pray with clear, distinct voice. Teach them to lift their heads from the chair, and never to cover their faces with their hands. Thus they can offer their simple prayers, repeating the Lord’s prayer in concert. The Lord would have His service intelligent and profitable to all. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 20

Family worship should not be governed by circumstances. You are not to pray occasionally, and when you have a large day’s work to do, neglect it. In thus doing, you lead your children to look upon prayer as of no special consequence. Prayer means very much to the children of God, and thank offerings should come up before God morning and evening. Says the psalmist, “O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.” [Psalm 95:1, 2.] 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 21

The Lord has committed a special work to parents, the importance of which they but faintly sense. They are to follow the teachings of the Word of God. At the birth of every child, they are to hear the voice of God speaking to them “Take this child, and train him for me.” The work of education is to be entered upon in babyhood. It is to continue through childhood and youth. Parents need to awake from their deathlike slumber in regard to their responsibility. Make straight paths for your feet, upward and onward, from faith to faith, that you may lead your children in safe paths. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 22

In failing to train their children to keep the way of the Lord, to do those things which He has commanded, parents neglect a solemn duty. It is not the will of the Lord that children shall be rough, coarse, uncourteous, unthankful, unholy, disobedient, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 23

Children derive their life and being from their parents; but God, through His creative power, has given the parents life. Man is the acting agent, God is the lifegiver. Let this be remembered. Our children are not to be treated as though they were our personal property. They are the heritage of the Lord. They are embraced in the great redemption plan, and God has committed to parents the work of bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, doing their work for time and for eternity. If this solemn work is neglected, it will testify against the parents, not only in this life, but at the judgment seat of Christ. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 24

Here is your work, parents. You cannot serve God and Baal. Christ is not divided. He is a whole Saviour to save you and your children. The world is not to be your standard. The world is under the leadership of the prince of darkness, and you are not to consider it your duty to practice that which it exalts and prescribes. God’s world is to be your lesson book. Your work is to be done in His way, according to His will. He will co-operate with the parents who love and fear and honor Him, who respect and obey His commandments. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 25

It is no marvel that society is as it is—forgetful of God, desiring not to know His ways, but anxious only to follow the imaginations of their own hearts, for professed Christians themselves do this to a large extent. In our large cities generally, the simplicity of true godliness is a thing of the past. It is considered altogether too old fashioned to train children to walk in the narrow path of obedience, purity, and holiness. Many parents profess to serve God, but their works testify that they serve the god of mammon. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 26

To compete with their neighbors and church members in matters of dress and display is the sin of many parents in this degenerate age. They are filled with vanity, and educate their children for the world. They themselves are influenced by Satanic agencies. And what can be expected of their children? They infuse into them their own spirit, their love of the favor of the world. Their desire is not for Christlikeness, but for conformity to the world. They mold their families after the world’s standard. In the place of partaking of the divine nature, they practice Satan’s deceptions. They have a form of godliness, but in the home they wield a mysterious power to the ruin of their children. What an account will these unfaithful parents have to settle in that great day when every case shall be decided. And if such an evil goes forth from parents whose names are registered on the church books, what an influence must pervade the worldling, who has no connection with God’s people. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 27

Will not true Christian parents arouse? If they will seek God with the whole heart, and become partakers of the divine nature, they will have a power in the home entirely different in character from that of the hypocritical professor. The spirit of Christ will be in them as a well of water springing up into everlasting life. An abiding Christ will be revealed in spirit, in actions, and in words. The parents who realize their responsibility before God will educate their children in the knowledge which God has abundantly given by His Holy Spirit. They will bring into their daily life and character Christ’s love, His purity, His patience, His meekness and lowliness of heart. They will manifest His perseverance and integrity, His zeal in representing the character of God. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 28

The intellect and affections are to be guarded, educated, molded, fashioned in accordance with the Word of God. The moral sentiments are to be carefully developed. This is your work, parents. You are to develop the characters of your children in harmony with the Word of God. Parents are responsible for this work entrusted them of God. It is to come first, for eternal interests are involved. This work is more essential than the cultivation of the farm. Character building is far more essential than the work of beautifying your homes or prosecuting any trade that you have acquired. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 29

Every child brought into the world increases the responsibility of the parents. They are to mold and fashion the character after the divine model. Their dispositions, their tendencies, their traits of character, are to be studied. Very carefully should the discriminating powers of the parents be educated, that they may be enabled to repress the wrong tendencies and encourage right impressions and correct principles. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 30

Violence or harshness is not required in this work. Self-control must be cultivated, and leave its impression on the mind and heart of the child. Selfishness and self-indulgence must be weeded out of the character. Keep ever before your children Bible requirements. Unite them with yourselves in every work of kindness and tender regard for the suffering and destitute. In their earliest years they can be your little helpers in domestic duties and in benevolent enterprises. Self-denial and self-sacrifice for the good of others will be a safeguard against all extravagance, all reckless use of money for selfish gratification. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 31

This work, parents, rests upon you with solemn, sacred force. You cannot evade or ignore it if you would. Bring no more children into the world than you can properly train to become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. God-fearing, God-loving principles are to be brought into your own life. As parents, all your efforts should go to perfecting a Christian character, that you may be a proper example to your children, that may have respect and confidence in your judgment and in your piety and devotion. Ever be before your children just what you would have them be. From their earliest years, train them to be missionaries. Show your firm reliance upon God, and at all times education and train them to love and fear to offend their Creator, to obey God in keeping all His commandments. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 32

Watch and pray. Study ways and methods by which you can enable your children to grow up to trust and believe in God as their very best Friend. Present before your children the instruction given in the 119th Psalm. Take this precious lesson, and read it with tender, softened hearts. Encourage your children to commit the same to memory, especially the first sixteen verses. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 33

“Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity, they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart when I shall have learned all thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 34

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O, let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.” [Verses 1-16.] The Word of God abounds in precious jewels of truth that need to be brought forth from the casket and presented in their true luster. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 35

You may think, parents, that you have not time to do all this, but you must take time to do your work in your family, else Satan will supply the deficiency. <Cut out everything else from your life that prevents this work from being done,> and train your children after His order. Neglect anything of a temporal nature, be satisfied to live economically, bind about your wants, but for Christ’s sake do not neglect the religious training of yourselves and your children. Your children are the heritage of the Lord, to be brought up in His nurture and admonition. In the Word of God you have a treasure house from which to draw. In that word, you are, as Christians, to consider yourselves furnished for every good work in the domestic nurture and piety of your children. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 36

Consider the family institution a training school, preparatory for the performance of religious duties. Your children are to act a part in church capacity, and every power of the mind, every physical capacity, is to be kept strong and active for the service of Christ. They are to be taught to love truth because it is truth; they are to be sanctified through the truth, that they may stand in the grand review that shall take place, erelong, to determine the fitness of each to enter the higher school and become a member of the royal family, a child of the heavenly King. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 37

Fathers, mothers, awake to your God-given responsibilities. Let your lamp be trimmed and burning, that it may shine in clear and distinct rays in the home circle. And it will reach beyond the home to your neighbors. It will shine in the school life; it will bless all who come within its radiance. The father is to represent the divine Lawgiver in the family. <He is to be the house-band.> He is to be a laborer together with God to carry out His gracious designs. He is to make it the great burden of His life to establish upright principles. By teaching his children habits of obedience, by asserting his authority in the home life, he can educate them to yield obedience to their heavenly Father. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 38

Of Abraham God said, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, to keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.” [Genesis 18:19.] This means earnest work in the home. And in this work angels of God co-operate with the parents. The beams of the Sun of Righteousness will so brighten the way that the rough place will be made smooth. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 39

It is because parents have neglected to purify the precious material in their children that the world is as it is today. They have added to the army of the world. As the result, characters have been formed after the similitude of Satan. But the fires of the last day will cleanse the earth the second time of its moral pollution. Christian parents, will you cherish that faith that works by love, and purifies the soul? If you do this, everything will be gained. The children will be imbued with the spirit of their God-fearing parents. A light will shine forth in the home and extend to others like a heavenly radiance from the throne of God. They will shine with a clear and strong light amid the moral darkness that pervades the world. 13LtMs, Ms 12, 1898, par. 40