Testimony Treasures, vol. 1


Duty to Children*

I have been shown that parents generally have not taken a proper course with their children. They have not restrained them as they should, but have left them to indulge in pride, and follow their own inclinations. Anciently, parental authority was regarded; children were then in subjection to their parents, and feared and reverenced them; but in these last days the order is reversed. Some parents are in subjection to their children. They fear to cross the will of their children, and therefore yield to them. But just as long as children are under the roof of the parents, dependent upon them, they should be subject to their control. Parents should move with decision, requiring that their views of right be followed out. 1TT 75.1

Eli might have restrained his wicked sons, but he feared their displeasure. He suffered them to go on in their rebellion, until they became a curse to Israel. Parents are required to restrain their children. The salvation of children depends very much upon the course pursued by the parents. In their mistaken love and fondness for their children, many parents indulge them to their hurt, nourish their pride, and put upon them trimmings and ornaments which make them vain, and lead them to think that dress makes the lady or gentleman. But a short acquaintance convinces those with whom they associate that an outside appearance is not sufficient to hide the deformity of a heart void of the Christian graces, but filled with self-love, haughtiness, and uncontrolled passions. Those who love meekness, humility, and virtue, should shun such society, even if it be Sabbathkeepers’ children. Their company is poisonous; their influence leads to death. Parents realize not the destructive influence of the seed which they are sowing. It will spring up and bear fruit which will make their children despise parental authority. 1TT 75.2

Even after they are of age, children are required to respect their parents, and to look after their comfort. They should listen to the counsel of godly parents, and not feel that because a few more years are added to their life, they have grown out of their duty to them. There is a commandment with promise to those who honor their father and their mother. In these last days children are so noted for their disobedience and disrespect that God has especially noticed it, and it constitutes a sign that the end is near. It shows that Satan has almost complete control of the minds of the young. By many, age is no more respected. It is considered too old-fashioned to respect the aged; it dates back as far as the days of Abraham. Says God: “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him.” Genesis 18:19. 1TT 76.1

Anciently, children were not permitted to marry without the consent of their parents. Parents chose for their children. It was considered a crime for children to contract marriage upon their own responsibility. The matter was first laid before the parents, and they were to consider whether the person to be brought into a close relation to them was worthy, and whether the parties could provide for a family. It was considered by them of the greatest importance that they, the worshipers of the true God, should not intermarry with an idolatrous people, lest their families be led away from God. Even after children were married, they were under the most solemn obligation to their parents. Their judgment was not then considered sufficient without the counsel of the parents, and they were required to respect and obey their wishes unless these should conflict with the requirements of God. 1TT 76.2

Again I was directed to the condition of the young in these last days. Children are not controlled. Parents, you should commence your first lesson of discipline when your children are babes in your arms. Teach them to yield their will to yours. This can be done by bearing an even hand, and manifesting firmness. Parents should have perfect control over their own spirits, and with mildness and yet firmness bend the will of the child until it shall expect nothing else but to yield to their wishes. 1TT 76.3