Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 25 (1910 - 1915)


Ms 53, 1912

Talk/A Neglected Work

Los Angeles, California

March 18, 1912

Portions of this manuscript are published in 1NL 85-88.

(Remarks by Sister White at Ministerial Institute, Los Angeles, California, Monday a.m., March 18, 1912.) 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 1

Sister White read the fourth chapter of First Peter, and then said: 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 2

I felt that if I should come before you again I should say the same things that I was saying last night in my dreams. I seemed to be speaking to a company of people who listened earnestly to my words. I was pleading with them to devote their energies to training their children for the future life. There were many in the congregation who were condemned by the truths spoken; for they had been giving misguided instruction, with scoldings and denials. They had not brought up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 3

There are many among us who, though they stand in the position of guardians of the young, are not awake to the danger of letting the children and youth drift with the world. They do not seem to realize the possibilities and probabilities of the early years of training. The first years of that life which is to measure with the life of God begin here. None who stand in positions of accountability can afford to turn the youth away to go whither they will, taking no account of the influences to which they are exposed. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 4

There are those here who, if truly converted, could do a far-reaching work for God in the training of the youth. But those who would win souls to Christ must first have Christ themselves. Only in His wisdom can they teach how the heart may be safeguarded against the assaults of temptation and be able to reveal to others the transforming power of grace. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 5

As a people we need the truth of God. We need to understand its power to convert the soul and transform the life. We need to appreciate the great sacrifice that has made possible a home for us in the heavenly courts. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 6

Our children need this truth. We do not do half enough in instructing them in its principles. If we could realize the responsibilities that rest upon us as their teachers and guardians, we should be much more careful and persevering in their education in religious things. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 7

Not one parent in a hundred fully understands the work committed to him in the training of the youth. It is important that ministers and teachers act their part in this special line of service for God. It is for them to see that these little ones understand what the Bible approves and disapproves. The Lord is coming soon; there is not much time in which to redeem the past. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 8

Day and night I am burdened with the thought of our great need of converted parents. How many there are who need to humble their hearts before God and come into right relation to heaven if they would exert a saving influence over their families. They should know what they must do to inherit eternal life, if they would train their children for the inheritance of the redeemed. Every day they should be receiving the light of heaven into their souls, every day be receiving the impressions of the Holy Spirit upon heart and mind. Every day they should be receiving the word of truth and letting it control the life. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 9

Terrible will be the revelations of the day of judgment regarding the neglect of parents to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. What does this mean—in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? It means to teach them to order the life by the requirements and the lessons of the Word; to help them to a clear understanding of the terms of entrance into the city of God. The gates of that city will not be opened to all who would enter, but to those only who have studied God’s will and have yielded their lives to His control. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 10

One great reason why there is so much evil in the world today is that parents occupy their minds with other things than that which is all-important—how to adapt themselves to the work of patiently and kindly teaching their children the way of the Lord. If the curtain could be drawn aside, we should see that many, many children who have gone astray have been lost to good influences through this neglect. Parents, can you afford to have it so in your experience? You should have no work so important that it will prevent you from giving to your children all the time that is necessary to make them understand what it means to obey and trust the Lord fully. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 11

These children are to be trained for eternity. Do not occupy your time by endeavoring to follow all the foolish fashions in dress. Dress neatly and becomingly, but do not make yourself the subject of remarks either by being overdressed or by dressing in a lax, untidy manner. Act as though you know that the eye of heaven is upon you and that you are living under the approbation or disapprobation of God. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 12

Before visitors, before every other consideration, your children should come first. This will teach them that they are worth being cared for. They will see that you value them above everything else. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 13

And what will you reap as a reward of your effort?—You will find your children right by your side, willing to take hold and co-operate with you in the lines that you suggest. You will find your work made easy. But if you give yourself up to visitors and to things that are unessential, while you let your children drift for want of proper instruction, when they go astray, remember that you must give account to God for their wrongdoing. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 14

The less attention we give to spiritual things, the more satisfied we are with our own righteousness. There are many who claim to be righteous and who think that they are righteous. These souls need to study Christ’s life of self-renunciation. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 15

When the Spirit of God dwells in our hearts and controls our actions, we shall not fail of giving our children and youth the training that will fit them for a place in the heavenly courts. But when parents are careless in regard to these things, what hope is there that the children will be converted? They are forming character of another kind—character that Christ cannot accept. Can we afford to have it so? 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 16

We want the children to honor us. Then we must honor God, acting our part in the fashioning of their characters. We must not do haphazard work here. Every Christian parent is responsible to God for the training of his children. And this should be a united work on the part of fathers and mothers. And the Holy Spirit waits to co-operate with them, to impress the heart and mind, to take the life under His control. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 17

Parents should be careful not to allow the spirit of dissension to creep into the home; for this is one of Satan’s agents to make his impression on the character. If parents will strive for unity in the home by inculcating the principles that governed the life of Christ, dissension will be drive out, and unity and love will abide there. Parents and children will partake of the gift of the Holy Spirit. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 18

I shall not speak very long this morning, but I want you to carry away with you the few thoughts that I shall suggest. Let it be deeply impressed on your heart that when you speak angry words to your children, you are helping the cause of the enemy of all righteousness. Let every child have a fair chance from babyhood up. The work of teaching should begin in childhood, not accompanied by harshness and fretting, but in kindness and patience; and this instruction should be continued through all their years to manhood and womanhood. It is the blessed privilege of every Christian parent to reveal the Lord to the child as merciful and good and full of kindness. He will put His Holy Spirit on the children, even though they sometimes make mistakes and do wrong. These children may hear the “Well done” [Matthew 25:21, 23] as verily as the older members of the Lord’s family. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 19

It is not bringing up the children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord to meet their mistakes with anger and chiding, to send them off feeling that you do not care what they do. To manifest passion toward an erring child is to increase the evil. It arouses the worst passions of the child and leads him to feel that you do not care for him. He reasons with himself that you could not treat him so if you cared. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 20

And think you that God takes no cognizance of the way in which these children are corrected? He knows, and He knows also what might be the blessed results if the work of correction were done in a way to win rather than to repel. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 21

My brethren and sisters, it takes time to give nurture and admonition. Tell them of the Father who loved them so that He gave His only Son for their salvation. Tell them the story of Christ’s earthly life and His sacrifice in their behalf. This will touch their hearts. By such instruction they will see that you want them to be conformed to His likeness. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 22

It is a great work, and a simple work—a work that, as we carry it forward, will soften the spirit and tender the heart. It will strengthen our hold on heaven. It will teach us to control the temper and yield the life to the influence of truth. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 23

Jesus loves us. The seventeenth chapter of John shows how full and how broad is the mercy and love that He waits to bestow upon all who will walk in obedience and humility before Him. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 24

My brethren and sisters, have you improved your opportunities to bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? God wants you to co-operate with Him in this work. Will you do it? May God help every father and every mother to arouse to the responsibilities that rest upon them. You must not let mischief come to your children; you must not see it coming and say no word of warning to them. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 25

I am now grown old, and my children are men; but I could not today see one of them going into wrong ways and say nothing to him about it. I would be responsible if I did not counsel them in regard to the way of the Lord. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 26

We are too independent in our ideas and ways. Many want to lead, and thus they get out of the path of meekness and obedience. We take our own way altogether too much. We act too often like stubborn children. This is not pleasing to the Lord. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 27

I ask you to consider these words. Do not, I beg of you, correct your children in anger. That is the time of all times when you should act with humility and patience and prayer. Then is the time to kneel down with the children and ask the Lord for pardon. Seek to win them to Christ by the manifestation of kindness and love, and you will see that a higher power than that of earth is co-operating with your efforts. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 28

Shall we not at this meeting make the religion of Christ our own? Shall we not seek for the endowment of His Spirit, that we may be transformed in character? When you come to consider this matter, you will find that you have a work to do right here in Los Angeles. Say to yourselves, I may be the one who is neglecting this work. And as you take up the work with faithfulness, seeking for God’s blessing, His wisdom, His grace, He will meet you with kindness and will supply all your need. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 29

Let us thank God that He can make it possible for us to keep His Word. You who are older in years, who have had an experience in the things of God, do not spoil that experience by hasty words and fault-finding. If you will come into right relation to God, and will seek to carry out His will, you will see the working of the mighty power of God in this place. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 30

When the time of final award shall come, you will want to hear from the lips of the Saviour the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” [Matthew 25:23.] May God help you to be converted daily. Fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, old and young, work in harmony with Christ, so that the Spirit of God and holy angels can dwell with you and mold your lives. And if these influences are fashioning the lives of parents, the characters of the children will be renewed after the likeness of Christ. If parents do their work faithfully, the children will not be left to go to ruin. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 31

“The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” [Psalm 34:15.] “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” [1 Peter 3:15.] 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 32

I do not want to talk longer now; but I want you to get your minds on the possibilities of a thorough conversion; for when this experience comes to you, you will strike a note that will be recognized as having its origin in God. Let us seek for such a conversion. Let us make this meeting one of decided interest by surrendering ourselves wholly to the Holy Spirit’s power. Let us seek for a deeper consecration. God will accept us as we come to Him in our weakness and will impart to us that which we so greatly need—the spirit of perfect submission to the will of God. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1912, par. 33