Sabbath-School Worker


April 1, 1889

The Responsibilities of Parents and Teachers


I feel a deep interest in our Sabbath-schools throughout the land, because I believe them to be instrumentalities of God for the education of our youth in the truths of the Bible. Constant efforts should be made by both parents and teachers to interest the youth in matters of eternal importance. The Sabbath-school is a missionary field, and very much more of the missionary spirit should be manifested in this important work than has been manifested in the past. In every grade, in both primary and advanced classes, teachers need to look constantly to the great Source of light for wisdom, for grace, and for power to mould the hearts of their scholars, and that they may deal intelligently with the purchase of Christ's blood. Each teacher should be a humble follower of Him who is meek and lowly in heart. No one should study or work that he may be considered a superior teacher, or a person of unusual ability, but that he may lead souls to Christ. There will come temptations to weave self into all that is done, but the work will be marred if this is done, for it will lead to making dry, lengthy remarks that will fail to interest or benefit the minds of the children. SSW April 1, 1889, par. 1

While it is essential that wise, patient efforts should be made by the teacher, the work must not be left altogether to the Sabbath-school and church worker, but it must find its foundation and support in the work of the home. Parents have a sacred responsibility and charge committed to them, and they are called upon to keep their charge, to bear their responsibility in the fear of God, watching for the souls of their children as they who must give an account. SSW April 1, 1889, par. 2

Home missionary work has been strangely neglected. Those who have had the greatest reason for earnest, Christlike solicitude for the salvation of their children, have been indifferent to their responsibilities, and have lightly regarded the wants of their households. The responsibility which God has given to men and women as parents, many have shifted from themselves to the Sabbath-school worker and to the church influence. But each instrumentality has its work, and parents who neglect their part will be weighed in the balances and found wanting. SSW April 1, 1889, par. 3

The instruction of Christ from the pillar of cloud to the children of Israel, defines the duty of parents, and is not indefinite or hard to be understood. This instruction is for our admonition and benefit. “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.” In every work of their hands, they were to remember the commandment of the Lord. It was to be bound upon their hands, not literally, but to exert an influence over every transaction of their lives. It was to be as frontlets between their eyes. Their minds were to dwell upon the truth of God's commandments, and they were to be governed by their principles. “And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shall write them upon the door-posts of thine house, and upon thy gates; that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth. For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him; then will the Lord drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves. Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours; from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be. There shall no man be able to stand before you; for the Lord your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you. Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, ... and a curse, if ye will not obey.” SSW April 1, 1889, par. 4

“Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me.... Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life; but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons.” SSW April 1, 1889, par. 5

The direction given by the Son of God to Moses for the instruction of the children of Israel, is just as essential now as it was then, and it should be heeded as diligently by parents today as by God's ancient people. Religion must be woven into every part of the home life if we would see the results that God has designed as the fruit of following his way. Pride, self-esteem, and boldness are marked characteristics with the children of this day, and they are the curse of the age. When I see this unchristlike, unlovely manifestation on every side, and then see parents and teachers seeking to display the ability and proficiency of their children and scholars, I am pained to the heart; for I know that it is exactly the opposite course from the one that should be pursued. SSW April 1, 1889, par. 6

Parents and teachers who gather their knowledge from the Bible, who are governed in mind and action by its holy principles, need not go astray, and be found in by and forbidden paths. The most sacred lessons of modesty and humility are to be taught to the children, both at home and in the Sabbath-school. They are to be instructed as to the high claims of the law of God, and as to their responsibility before him. The lessons that should be presented to them should be of such a character as would qualify them for usefulness in this life, and for a place in the future, immortal kingdom. SSW April 1, 1889, par. 7

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” These words plainly define the duty of parents and teachers; and if they will follow this instruction, they will not fail to see the best results. How different would have been the scriptural record of the history of Israel, a nation so highly favored of the Lord, if they had carried out the instruction given them from the pillar of cloud by the Son of the living God! But they did not diligently follow the admonitions given. They failed to teach their children the requirements of God; and the sad results are pictured before us in a nation rejected of God. They separated so far from the wisdom of God that when the great Teacher, Jesus, the world's Redeemer, appeared, they cried, “Away with him!” The tradition of men was more highly revered than the commandments of God. False practices and human inventions had taken the place of the pure teaching of God. That which was to have become a part of their being, was regarded as of small consequence and little worth. SSW April 1, 1889, par. 8

When Christ came into the world to exemplify true religion, and to exalt the principles that should govern the hearts and actions of men, falsehood had taken so deep a hold upon those who had had so great light, that they no longer comprehended the light, and had no inclination to yield up tradition for truth. They rejected the heavenly Teacher, they crucified the Lord of glory, that they might retain their own customs and inventions. The very same spirit is manifested in the world today. Men are averse to investigating truth, lest their traditions should be disturbed, and a new order of things should be brought in. There is with humanity a constant liability to err, and men are naturally inclined to highly exalt human ideas and knowledge, while the divine and eternal is not discerned or appreciated. To those who were unprejudiced, the words of Christ were as the light from Heaven. “He spake as never man spake.” As the great Teacher presented the absorbing realities of the eternal future, the things of this perishing world were eclipsed. How eagerly did those who had been praying for light receive the truth; but the proud and self-righteous refused his message. SSW April 1, 1889, par. 9

How important are the lessons that may be given to the children and youth in unfolding the Scriptures in the simplicity of Christ! Let the teacher leave all his hard, high-sounding words at home, and take only the simplest words, that will be readily comprehended by the minds of the young. But in order to be a successful teacher, not only should the methods of teaching be simple, but you must take sympathy and love with you into the Sabbath-school. The children will recognize this element, and be influenced by it. Men and women are only grown-up children. Do we not respond to words and looks of real sympathy and love? Jesus, the divine Teacher, assured his disciples of his love toward them. He assumed human nature for no other purpose than to display to men the mercy, the love, and the goodness of God in providing for the salvation and happiness of his creatures. It was for this end that he died. While uttering his tenderest words of sympathy he rejoiced in the consciousness that he intended to do “exceedingly abundantly,” above what they were able to ask or think. Daily he exhibited before them, in works of blessing to man, how great was his tenderness and love to the fallen race. His heart was a fountain of inexhaustible compassion, from which the longing heart could be supplied with the water of life. SSW April 1, 1889, par. 10

When Jesus spoke to the people they were astonished at his doctrine; for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. The scribes had labored to establish their theories, and they had to labor to sustain them, and to keep their influence over the minds of the people by endless repetition of fables and childish traditions. The loftiest models of public instruction consisted largely in going through heartless rounds of unmeaning ceremonies and in the repetition of frivolous opinions. The teaching of Jesus inculcated the weightiest ideas and the most sublime truths in the most comprehensible and simple manner, and “the common people heard him gladly.” This is the kind of instruction that should be given in our Sabbath-schools, Light, Heaven's light, must be reflected from Jesus, the wonderful Teacher, and the souls of the children and youth must be illumined with the divine glory of his character and love. Thus the children may be led in beautiful simplicity to “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” SSW April 1, 1889, par. 11