The Health Reformer

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July 1, 1873

Proper Education

EGW

The prophet Ezekiel describes a class whose example Christians should not imitate. “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” HR July 1, 1873, par. 1

We are not ignorant of the fall of Sodom because of the corruption of its inhabitants. The prophet has here specified the particular evils which led to dissolute morals. We see the very sins now existing in the world which were in Sodom, and which brought upon her the wrath of God, even to her utter destruction. HR July 1, 1873, par. 2

It is important in the education and moral training of children and youth, to the formation of characters on which depend their own happiness and the happiness of those with whom they associate, that they are taught to cultivate habits of self-denial and a love to do good to others, as Christ in his life has given us an example. HR July 1, 1873, par. 3

In all the teachings of Christ, he sought to impress upon the minds of his hearers that their happiness did not consist in self-gratification and amusements, but in the cultivation and exercise of useful lives in self-denying benevolence, as he was giving them an example in his own life. Idleness is sin in the wealthy as well as in those who are poor. Riches are a snare when their possession relieves from responsibilities which God designed we all should bear whether we are rich or poor. If God has intrusted to us riches, it is for the purpose of using his bounties to do good, to bless the needy, and thus glorify him. Said Christ, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” He expressly warned his hearers, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for a man's life [health and happiness] consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” HR July 1, 1873, par. 4

The Lord illustrates how he estimates the worldly wealthy who lift up their souls unto vanity because of their earthly possessions, by the rich man who tore down his barns and built greater, that he might have wherewith to bestow his goods. Forgetful of God, he acknowledged not from whence came all his possessions. No grateful thanks ascended to his gracious Benefactor. He congratulated himself, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry.” The Master, who had intrusted to him earthly riches with which to bless his fellow-men and glorify his Maker, was justly angry at his ingratitude, and said, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall these things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” An extensive fortune, or any degree of wealth, will not secure the favor of God. All these bounties and blessings come from him to prove and develop the character of man. HR July 1, 1873, par. 5

Men may have boundless wealth, yet if they are not rich toward God, if they have no interest to secure to themselves the heavenly treasure and divine wisdom, they are accounted fools by their Creator. Labor is a blessing. It is impossible for us to enjoy health without labor. All the faculties should be called into use in order to be properly developed, and that men and women may have well-balanced minds. If the young had been given a thorough education in the different branches of labor, and had been taught labor as well as the sciences, their education would have been of greater value to them. HR July 1, 1873, par. 6

The rich have greater temptations to neglect the cultivation of the very things which are essential to their health and happiness in this life than their less wealthy neighbors. The wealthy are frequently led to encourage indolence and self-indulgence, and they fail to educate their children to develop valuable characters; such as God estimates, and which will give them moral worth fit for the society of the heavenly angels. HR July 1, 1873, par. 7

I clip from an exchange the following on HR July 1, 1873, par. 8

“Every-day religion

“We must come back to our point, which is not to urge you all to give yourselves to mission work, but to serve God more in connection with your daily calling. I have heard that a woman who has a mission makes a poor wife or a bad mother; this is very possible, and at the same time very lamentable; but the mission I urge, is not at all of this sort. Dirty rooms, slatternly gowns, children with unwashed faces are swift witnesses against the sincerity of those who keep other vineyards and neglect their own. I have no faith in that woman who talks of grace and glory abroad, and uses no soap and water at home. Let the buttons be on the shirts, let the children's socks be mended, let the house be as neat as a new pin, and the home be as happy as home can be. Serve God by doing common actions in a heavenly spirit, and then, if your daily calling only leaves you cracks and crevices of time, fill them up with holy service. Spurgeon.” HR July 1, 1873, par. 9

I am delighted to find the following in that invaluable work entitled “the young lady's counselor,” By Rev. Daniel Wise, A. M.; It can be obtained at any Methodist Book Rooms: HR July 1, 1873, par. 10

“Permit me, by way of illustrating another feature of this question, to lead you into the sitting-room of a respectable and pious lady. She is neatly but plainly attired, and is busy, with the aid of a servant, dusting and cleaning the room. The door-bell rings, and the girl hastens to see who is the visitor. She finds the lady's pastor at the door, and, without ceremony, ushers him into the sitting-room. The lady's face is suffused with blushes, as she confusedly lays aside her dusting-brush and offers her hand to the minister, saying, ‘sir, I am ashamed you should find me thus.’ HR July 1, 1873, par. 11

“‘Let Christ, when he cometh, find me so doing,’ replies her pastor. HR July 1, 1873, par. 12

“‘What! Sir; do you wish to be found in this employment?’ earnestly inquired the astonished lady. HR July 1, 1873, par. 13

“‘Yes, madam, I wish to be found faithfully performing the duties of my mission, as I have found you fulfilling yours.’ HR July 1, 1873, par. 14

“And was not the minister right? He recognized a great, but a despised, truth. He saw as high a moral importance in the humble task of the lady as in the missions of Gabriel to the ancient prophets; for both did the will of God in their respective spheres, and diversity of sphere does not necessarily involve real inferiority in the employment. The lady in her home could exhibit an affection as true, and an obedience as sincere, as the angel in his sphere. It would be difficult to show wherein her employment was morally and necessarily inferior to his, inasmuch as the character of an act derives all its moral greatness, not from the sphere of the actor, but from its conformity to the will of God. HR July 1, 1873, par. 15

“Do you perceive the bearing of my illustration upon the question of woman's sphere? It shows you that your sex is not necessarily inferior to the other, because it is called, by God and nature, to act in a different sphere. Your exclusion from the stage of public life does not imply your inferiority—only the diversity of your powers, functions and duties. Indeed, it would defy the loftiest powers to show wherein the work, the mission of the sphere of woman, is a whit beneath that of her more bustling and prominent companion, man. HR July 1, 1873, par. 16

“What is the sphere of woman? Home, the social circle. What is her mission? To mold character, to fashion herself and others after the model character of Christ. What are her chief instruments for the accomplishment of her great work? The affections. Love is the wand by which she is to work moral transformations within her fairy circle. Gentleness, sweetness, loveliness and purity are the elements of her power. Her place is not on life's great battle fields. Man belongs there. It is for him to go forth armed for its conflicts and struggles, to do fierce battle with the hosts of evil that throng our earth and trample upon its blessings. But woman must abide in the peaceful sanctuaries of home, and walk in the noiseless vales of private life. There she must dwell, beside the secret springs of public virtue. There she must smile upon the father, the brother, the husband, when, returning like warriors from the fight, exhausted and covered with the dust of strife, they need to be refreshed by sweet waters drawn ‘from affection's spring,’ and cheered to renewed struggles by the music of her voice. There she must rear the Christian patriot and statesman, the self-denying philanthropist and the obedient citizen. There, in a word, she must form the character of the world, and determine the destiny of her race. How awful is her mission! What dread responsibility attaches to her work! Surely, she is not degraded by filling such a sphere. Nor would she be elevated, if, forsaking it, she should go forth into the highways of society and jostle with her brothers for the offices and honors of public life. Fame she might occasionally gain, but it would be at the price of her womanly influence. HR July 1, 1873, par. 17

“Fancy yourself far out at sea, in a noble ship, contending with a furious storm.

‘beneath is one wild whirl of foaming surges;
above, the array of lightnings, like the swords
of cherubim, wide brandished, to repel
aggression from heaven's gates.’
HR July 1, 1873, par. 18

Behold, amidst this scene of grandeur, the stormy petrel gliding up the face of a huge wave, darting above the foam of a breaker, or sweeping along the watery valleys as composedly and as naturally as it ever swept over the same sea in an hour of calm. Behold, too, another bird, whirling and darting above the spray with a cry of seeming despair; now flying before a monster sea, and anon struggling to keep its wet and weary wings from folding into helpless inaction. HR July 1, 1873, par. 19

“Tell me, lady, why this little trembler is in so pitiful a plight, while the stormy petrel gambols freely among the waves. You cannot answer. Then listen. The petrel is in its appropriate sphere. The little trembler is a land-bird, tempted, at first, by sunny weather, to wander among the islands, and driven, at last, by a strong wind to sea. He is out of his sphere; and hence his quiet has fled, his song is silenced and his life endangered. God made him for the land. The grove is his home, and his sphere is among the flowers. HR July 1, 1873, par. 20

“It is thus with the entire creation. Everything has its appointed sphere, within which alone it can flourish. Men and women have theirs. They are not exceptions to this truth, but examples of it. To be happy and prosperous, they must abide in them. Man is fitted for the storms of public life, and, like the petrel, can be happy amid their rudest surges. Woman is formed for the calm of home. She may venture, like the land bird, to invade the sphere of man, but she will encounter storms which she is utterly unfitted to meet; happiness will forsake her breast, her own sex will despise her, men will be unable to love her, and when she dies she will fill an unhonored grave. HR July 1, 1873, par. 21

“That great patriot, John Adams, paid a high compliment to the power of your sex, when, in an hour of deep political gloom, he wrote the following lines to his wife. Alluding to the attack of the British on the city of Philadelphia, he says: ‘I believe the two Howes have not very great women for their wives; if they had, we should suffer more from their exertions than we do. A smart wife would have put Howe in possession of Philadelphia a long time ago.’ HR July 1, 1873, par. 22

“This remark of the statesman, playfully as it is expressed, was, nevertheless, the offspring of an opinion which he seriously maintained concerning the influence of women. He contended that much of the merit of the great men whose names are on the roll of fame, belonged to their sisters, wives and mothers. Hence he attributed the faults of Howe to the lack of high merit in his wife. HR July 1, 1873, par. 23

“John Quincy Adams, the ‘old man eloquent,’ once paid the following precious tribute to his mother: ‘it is due to gratitude and nature that I should acknowledge and avow that such as I have been, whatever it was, such as I am, whatever it is, and such as I hope to be in all futurity, must be ascribed, under providence, to the precepts and example of my mother.’ HR July 1, 1873, par. 24

“Very similar is the confession of the celebrated German philosopher, Kant, who says, ‘I shall never forget that it was my mother who caused the good which is in my soul to fructify.’ HR July 1, 1873, par. 25

“Nor are the pleasures of success less delightful in a woman's breast because she attains it through another. If a rich tide of joy flows through the breast of an applauded hero, a triumphant statesman, or a useful philanthropist, there is another equally delightful in the bosom of the woman who is conscious that, but for her, the great man would never have mounted the pedestal of his greatness. HR July 1, 1873, par. 26

“Away, then, from your heart, young lady, with all the vagaries of these pseudo reformers! Treat their crude opinions with the contempt they deserve. Glory in the true greatness and real sublimity of the sphere you are called to fill. Labor to qualify yourself to fulfill your mission with distinguished success. Obtain, by persevering self-culture, those high qualities which lift one mind above another. For you must not fail to remember that you cannot communicate high qualities and noble sentiments to other minds unless they first exist in your own. Cultivate, therefore, the loftiest virtues, the highest elements of great character. HR July 1, 1873, par. 27

“Such being your sphere, with its weighty responsibility, you require the aids of religion to fill it with propriety and effect. High qualities are not the offspring of an ungracious nature. There is too much of the moral weakness of depravity in the human soul to permit its harmonious and useful development without the restraints and aids of grace. Where the spirit of revealed religion does not reign, there will be moral deformity. Selfishness with its forbidding aspect, pride, envy, hate, discontent, fretfulness, ill-temper, and troops of kindred vices, will wound and sear your character, diminish your influence, and disturb your peace. But, by surrendering yourself to the claims and influences of the Saviour, your life will be as a fruitful branch in a beautiful vine. The fruits of the Spirit will adorn it. Clusters of graces, such as love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness and meekness, will give it attractiveness. Its beauty will impress the minds about you, and act as a mighty restraint from sin upon them as they wander over the earth. Your image will stand before a brother, a husband or a father, as a good genius in his hour of temptation, and forbid the triumph of the tempter. HR July 1, 1873, par. 28

“To impress such an image of yourself upon some loved mind within your circle is worth a lifetime of effort. And you have no effectual means of accomplishing so noble a task but by communing deeply with the spirit of Jesus. Resolve, therefore, to live at his footstool, and he will inspire you with every high and holy quality necessary to enable you to fulfill your earthly mission.” HR July 1, 1873, par. 29

E. G. W.