The Health Reformer


August 1, 1877

The Mother's Duty—Christ her Strength


He who said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not,” still invites the mothers to lead up their little ones to be blessed of him. Even the babe in its mother's arms may dwell as under the shadow of the Almighty through the earnest faith of that praying mother. The first and most urgent duty which the mother owes to the Creator is to train the children which he has given her for the Saviour. “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure and whether it be right.” HR August 1, 1877, par. 1

Infant children are a mirror for the mother, in which she may see reflected her own habits and deportment, and may trace even the tones of her own voice. How careful then should be her language and behavior in the presence of these little learners who take her for an example. If she wishes them to be gentle in manners and tractable, she must cultivate those traits in herself. HR August 1, 1877, par. 2

When children love and repose confidence in their mother, and have become obedient to her, they have been taught the first lessons in becoming Christians. They must be obedient to, and love and trust Jesus as they are obedient to, and love and trust their parents. The love which the parent manifests for the child in right training and in kindness faintly mirrors the love of Jesus for his children. HR August 1, 1877, par. 3

In view of the individual responsibility of mothers, every woman should develop a well-balanced mind and pure character, reflecting only the true, the good, and the beautiful. The wife and mother may bind her husband and children to her heart by an unremitting love, shown in gentle words and courteous deportment, which, as a rule, will be copied by her children. HR August 1, 1877, par. 4

Politeness is cheap, but it has power to soften natures which would grow hard and rough without it. Christian politeness should reign in every household. The cultivation of a uniform courtesy, and a willingness to do by others as we would like them to do by us, would annihilate half the ills of life. The principle inculcated in the injunction, “Be ye kindly affectioned one to another,” is the corner-stone of the Christian character. HR August 1, 1877, par. 5

God designed that we should be tolerant of one another, that those of varied temperaments should be associated together, so that by mutual forbearance and consideration of one another's peculiarities, prejudices should be softened, and rough points of character smoothed. Diversities of temperament and character are frequently marked in families; where this is the case there should be a mutual recognition of one another's rights. Thus all the members may be in harmony, and the blending of varied temperaments may be a benefit to all. Christian courtesy is the golden clasp which unites the members of the family in bonds of love, becoming closer and stronger every day. HR August 1, 1877, par. 6

Many a home is made very unhappy by the useless repining of its mistress, who turns with distaste from the simple, homely tasks of her unpretending domestic life. She looks upon the cares and duties of her lot as hardships, and that which, through cheerfulness, might be made not only pleasant and interesting, but profitable, becomes the merest drudgery. She looks upon the slavery of her life with repugnance, and imagines herself a martyr. HR August 1, 1877, par. 7

It is true that the wheels of domestic machinery will not always run smoothly; there is much to try the patience and tax the strength. But while mothers are not responsible for circumstances over which they have no control, it is useless to deny that circumstances make a great difference with mothers in their life-work. But their condemnation is when circumstances are allowed to rule, and to subvert their principle, when they grow tired and unfaithful to their high trust, and neglect their known duty. HR August 1, 1877, par. 8

The wife and mother who nobly overcomes difficulties, under which others sink for want of patience and fortitude to persevere, not only becomes strong herself in doing her duty, but her experience in overcoming temptations and obstacles qualifies her to be an efficient help to others, both by words and example. Many who do well under favorable circumstances seem to undergo a transformation of character under adversity and trial; they deteriorate in proportion to their troubles. God never designed that we should be the sport of circumstances. HR August 1, 1877, par. 9

Very many husbands and children who find nothing attractive at home, who are continually greeted by scolding and murmuring, seek comfort and amusement away from home, in the dram-shop, or in other forbidden scenes of pleasure. The wife and mother, occupied with her household cares, frequently becomes thoughtless of the little courtesies that make home pleasant to the husband and children, even if she avoids dwelling upon her peculiar vexations and difficulties in their presence. While she is absorbed in preparing something to eat or to wear, the husband and sons go in and come out as strangers. HR August 1, 1877, par. 10

While the mistress of the household may perform her outward duties with exactitude she may be continually crying out against the slavery to which she is doomed, and exaggerate her responsibilities and restrictions by comparing her lot with what she styles the higher life of woman, and cherishing unsanctified longings for an easier position, free from the petty cares and exactions that vex her spirit. She little dreams that in that widely different sphere of action to which she aspires trials full as vexations, though perhaps of a different sort, would certainly beset her. While she is fruitlessly yearning for a different life she is nourishing a sinful discontent, and making her home very unpleasant for her husband and children. HR August 1, 1877, par. 11

The true wife and mother will pursue an entirely opposite course from this. She will perform her duties with dignity and cheerfulness, not considering that it is degrading to do with her own hands whatever is necessary for her to do in a well-ordered household. If she looks to God for her strength and comfort, and in his wisdom and fear seeks to do her daily duty, she will bind her husband to her heart, and see her children coming to maturity, honorable men and women, having moral stamina to follow the example of their mother. HR August 1, 1877, par. 12

There is no chance work in this life; the harvest will determine the character of the seed that has been sown. Mothers may neglect present opportunities, and let their duties and burdens fall upon others, but their responsibility remains the same, and they will reap in bitterness what they have sown in carelessness and neglect. HR August 1, 1877, par. 13

Mothers, you are developing character. Your compassionate Redeemer is watching you in love and sympathy, ready to hear your prayers, and render you the assistance which you need in your life-work. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, and charity are the elements of the Christian character. These precious graces are the fruits of the Spirit. They are the Christian's crown and shield. The highest day-dreaming and most exalted aspirations can aim at nothing higher. Nothing can give more perfect content and satisfaction. These heavenly attainments are not dependent upon circumstances, nor the will or imperfect judgment of man. The precious Saviour, who understands our heart-struggles and the weakness of our natures, pities, and forgives us our errors, and bestows upon us the graces which we earnestly desire. HR August 1, 1877, par. 14

Jesus knows the burdens of every mother's heart. He is her best friend in every emergency. His everlasting arms support the God-fearing, faithful mother. That Saviour who, when upon earth, had a mother that struggled with poverty and privation, having many anxious cares and perplexities in rearing her children, sympathizes with every Christian mother in her labors, and hears her earnest prayers. That Saviour who went a long journey for the purpose of relieving the anxious heart of a Canaanite woman whose daughter was possessed by a devil, will do as much for the afflicted mother of today, in blessing her children, as he did for the supplicant in that case. HR August 1, 1877, par. 15

He who gave back to the widow her only son, as he was being carried to the burial, is touched today by the woe of the bereaved mother. He who gave back to Mary and Martha their buried brother, who wept tears of sympathy at the grave of Lazarus, who pardoned Mary Magdalene, who remembered his mother, when he was hanging in agony upon the cross, who appeared to the weeping women after his resurrection, and made them his messengers to preach a risen Saviour saying, “Go tell my disciples that I go to my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God,” is woman's best friend today, and ready to aid her in her need if she will trust him. HR August 1, 1877, par. 16

If Jesus is woman's friend and helper, the husband, and father of her children, should never feel it beneath his dignity to encourage and sympathize with the mother in her cares, and assist in bearing her burdens. He should feel the sin and littleness of adding to her trials by bitter words. He should be liberal-minded and generous toward her, not watching with a critic's eye every little neglect on her part, or failure to meet his peculiar ideas. HR August 1, 1877, par. 17

Christ respected and honored woman. There is not an instance in his entire life wherein by word or act he gave the least encouragement to speak or think disparagingly of woman, or gave the impression that she was not to be respected and honored equally with man. The Majesty of Heaven is not a stranger to the troubles that perplex the mother, or the burdens that weigh upon her aching heart. HR August 1, 1877, par. 18

In order to be a good wife and mother it is not necessary that the woman's nature should be utterly merged into that of her husband. Every individual being has a life distinct from all others, an experience differing essentially from theirs. God does not want our individuality lost in another's; he desires that we shall possess our own characters, softened and sanctified by his sweet grace. HR August 1, 1877, par. 19

He wants to hear our words fresh from our own hearts, and not another's. He wants our yearning desires and earnest cries to ascend to him, marked by our own individuality. All do not pass through the same exercises of mind, and God calls for no second-hand experience. Our compassionate Redeemer reaches his helping hand to us just where we are. Though Jesus has ascended to Heaven he has not lost his sympathy for you, mother, but looks with tender love upon those whom he came to redeem. HR August 1, 1877, par. 20