Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 161, 1902

The Home Life


December 15, 1902 [typed]

This manuscript is published in entirety in 18MR 121-123.

Husband and wife are to be faithful to each other so long as life shall last, ever revealing the self-sacrifice that leads to the truest happiness and the highest perfection of character. The husband is to be the houseband of the family, the priest of his home. The wife is to respect and love her husband, and he is to love and cherish his wife. 17LtMs, Ms 161, 1902, par. 1

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” [Ephesians 5:15-21.] 17LtMs, Ms 161, 1902, par. 2

This is the only way in which husband and wife can glorify God in their united life. 17LtMs, Ms 161, 1902, par. 3

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands in the fear of God, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.” [Verses 22-29.] 17LtMs, Ms 161, 1902, par. 4

The gospel—how precious it is! how important that it be presented to all. Rightly received, rightly understood, it makes all who receive it children of God, members of one family, giving them free access to Him as their Father. Those who receive the gospel are not self-centered. They love one another with an unselfish love. They allow nothing to bring in contention and strife. All heaven is pleased to aid them in their effort “to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ; to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” [Ephesians 3:9-11.] 17LtMs, Ms 161, 1902, par. 5

This is the standard that men and women are to reach in the home life. Husband and wife are to be one in Christ, and as children are born to them, they are to be regarded as a sacred trust, to be carefully trained for the Lord, taught to live pure, holy lives. 17LtMs, Ms 161, 1902, par. 6

Parents can be ministers for Christ in the training of their children. The education of a child begins in its earliest years. From its babyhood it is to be taught to obey. To teach their children this lesson, parents must themselves live in obedience to the Word of God. Parents, teach your children to do what you tell them. And from the grief you experience when they disregard your wishes, learn how you grieve and disappoint Christ when you disobey Him. The effort to bring your children up in the right way will teach you many valuable lessons in regard to your duty to obey the Word of the Lord. 17LtMs, Ms 161, 1902, par. 7

Teach your children to repeat the commandment, “Honor thy father and mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” [Exodus 20:12.] Tell them that to honor their parents means to love them, to listen to their teachings, and obey their requirements. Be sure that what you ask of your children is in accordance with God’s will. The Lord’s command to children to obey their parents holds its force until the parents require of the children something that is not in harmony with His commands. The children are then to obey God rather than their parents. The Lord does not ask children to obey their parents when obedience to them would mean disobedience to Him. 17LtMs, Ms 161, 1902, par. 8

Parents, do not keep money-making before your children as the great object of life. Tell them that the formation of a Christlike character is worth more than all else. Tell them that they are Christ’s blood-bought heritage, and that He desires them to live happy, useful lives, honoring the Lord and helping those around them. 17LtMs, Ms 161, 1902, par. 9

Always treat your children with respect. You will find that they are most easily and successfully governed by gentleness. Do not allow them to disobey, but repress all harshness in yourself; for harshness always arouses stubbornness and resistance. Do not deal with them in a way that will make them more perverse. Treat them as you would wish to be treated were you in their place. How can parents expect their children to be won to Christ when they themselves, claiming to be His followers, are harsh and severe. 17LtMs, Ms 161, 1902, par. 10

All heaven is interested in your home. God and Christ and the heavenly angels are intensely desirous that you shall so train your children that they will be prepared to enter the family of the redeemed. Are you teaching them to be loyal to Christ? Remember that they are the younger members of God’s family. Are you bringing into the home the transforming power of the grace of Christ? Are you making the church in your home an object lesson that will help other parents to fulfil God’s purpose for them? Are you teaching your children to live Christlike lives, so that they will know how to conduct themselves in the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those who have prepared themselves to receive a welcome into the courts above? 17LtMs, Ms 161, 1902, par. 11