Spalding and Magan Collection


The School of the Home

Talk, by Mrs. E. G. White, in the St. Helena (Cal.) Sanitarium Chapel, 6 a.m., July 14, 1902.

I promised that I would speak this morning in regard to the necessity of withdrawing our children from the public schools and of providing suitable places where they can be educated right. I have felt surprised at the apparently indifferent attitude of some, notwithstanding the oft-repeated warnings given the parents must provide for their families not merely with reference to their present interests, but especially with reference to their future, eternal interests. The characters that we form in this life are to decide our destiny. If we choose, we may live a life that measures with the life of God. SpM 239.1

Every Christian family is a church in itself. The members of the family are to be Christ-like in every action. The father is to sustain so a close relation to God that he realizes his duty to make provision for the members of his family to receive an education and training that will fit them for the future, immortal life. His children are to be taught the principles of heaven. He is the priest of the household, accountable to God for the influence that he exerts over every member of his family. He is to place his family under the most favorable circumstances possible, so that they shall not be tempted to conform to the habits and customs, the evil practices and lax principles, that they would find in the world. SpM 239.2

Setting a right example in the home, parents are able to exert a good influence in the church. They will not carry into the church the hasty spirit that causes dissension, making it almost impossible for two members to agree, unless the one come to the other's ideas and ways. Church-members should remember that no two leaves on a tree are exactly alike. They should recognize the fact that while as brethren and sisters in Christ Jesus they are connected with one another and with Christ as the leaves of a tree are connected with its branches and trunk, yet they are not all cut after the same pattern. Every parent has an individuality, a personality, of his own. He has just as much right to his personal independence as any ruler has; for he is to rule his own household in the fear of God. Into the home there must be brought the heavenly rule. This will fit us for church relationship as laborers together with God, and will make us examples to the world. SpM 239.3

The Lord desires us to understand that we must place our children in right relation to the world, the church, and the family. Their relation to the family is the first point to be considered. Let us teach them to be polite to one another, and polite to God; “What do you mean,” you may inquire, “by saying that we should teach them to be polite to God?” I mean that they are to be taught to reverence our heavenly Father, and to appreciate the great and infinite sacrifice that Christ has made in our behalf. Christ placed himself at the head of humanity, in order that he might exemplify what humanity could be in connection with divinity. Teach them that together, as children and parents, it is your privilege to be members of the church of God - living stones in His beautiful temple. Parents and children are to sustain so close a relation to God that the heavenly angels can communicate with them. These messengers are shut out from many a home where iniquity and impoliteness to God abound. Let us catch from His Word the spirit of heaven, and bring it into our life here below. SpM 239.4

Some may say, “If we believe the Bible, why does not the Lord work miracles for us?” He will, if we will let Him. When a human mind is allowed to come under the control of God, that mind will reveal the miracle-working power of God; the power of the mind in action is like the miracle-working power of God. SpM 240.1

In our prayers we are to hold on by faith to the children in our home; and we are to do faithfully the duties that belong to us. From the light that God has given me, I know that the husband and the wife are to be, in the home, minister, physician, nurse, and teacher, binding their children to themselves and to God, training them to avoid every habit that will in any way militate against God's work in the body, and teaching them to care for every part of the living organism. Parents are under a most solemn responsibility to keep themselves in physical soundness and in spiritual health, that the light of heaven may shine into the chambers of the mind and illuminate the soul-temple. Such parents are able to give their children instruction from babyhood as to what God wants them to do. Taking His Word as their counsellor, they bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. SpM 240.2

Many parents allow their children to drift, as it were, hither and thither. But this is not right. Parents are held accountable to God for the salvation of their children. They are also held accountable for their physical health. In every way possible they should help them to grow up with a sound constitution. They should teach them not to indulge appetite or to imperil their physical and mental capabilities by wrong habits; for God desires to use all their powers. SpM 240.3

Every word spoken by fathers and mothers has its influence over the children, for good or for evil. If the parents speak passionately, if they show the spirit shown by the children of this world, God counts them as the children of this world, not as His sons and daughters. SpM 240.4

Parents, from the moment that we are born again into the kingdom of heaven, we are in God's service. Our lives are to be such that He can approve. The principles of heaven are to be brought into the government of the home. Every child is to be taught to be polite, compassionate, loving, pitiful, courteous, tender-hearted. Peter speaks of these characteristics of a Christian, and also instructs us how to rid ourselves of all evil by living on the plan of addition. “Giving all diligence,” he says, “Add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity (love).” SpM 240.5

We want the knowledge of our Saviour. It is not best for every one of us to begin to teach our children to be polite in the home and polite to God? Is not this the work that as “laborers together with God” it is our bounden duty to do? SpM 241.1

From the light that God has given me for years, I know that the households of His people are in great need of purification. The end is nearer than when we first believed. As fathers and mothers, we are to purify ourselves, even as Christ is pure; that is, we are to be perfect in our sphere, even as God is perfect in His sphere. Instead of backsliding, we should now be conformed to the will of heaven, the heavenliness of heaven. Let us put away the spirit of murmuring and complaining, remembering that by cherishing such a spirit we are disrespectful to God. We are living in his dwelling-place; we are members of His family—His by creation and by redemption. Every one is to cherish feelings of respect and tenderness for those with whom he associates. In our relations with one another we should be careful never to mar and scar the life and the spirit of others. When in life and character we show the miracle-working power of God, the world will take knowledge of us, that we have been with Jesus and learned of Him. SpM 241.2

I feel burdened over these matters. Last night I could not sleep past two o'clock. Early this morning I have been writing on this subject, trying to present it so that it shall be understood. We are not to feel that we have reached perfection. We need to be melted over, that we may be purified from all dross. We are in need of the rich blessings that Heaven is so ready to bestow, the blessings promised to every believer. SpM 241.3

The Lord withholds from us no good thing. He declares, “Ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” He does not tell us to restrict our asking to certain things, but assures us that He will bless us according to the riches of His grace. He is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him, than parents are to give good gifts to their children. To show His willingness, He refers to the tender relationship that a father sustains to his son. “What man is there of you,” He says, “whom if His son ask bread, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good gifts to them that ask him?” SpM 241.4

Parents can learn this lesson in all its significance. Children who ask for something that is not for their best good are not to be rebuffed, but kindly told, “That would not be for your good. You can not have it, because it would injure you. But although we can not give it to you, we will try in every way possible to make you happy.” SpM 241.5

The father should always feel kindly disposed toward his children. How sad it is that the father's disposition is not always that which it should be! The father of boys is to come in to close connection with his sons, giving them the benefit of his larger experience, and talking with them in such simplicity and tenderness that he binds them to his heart. He is to let them see that he has their best interest, their happiness, in view all the time. SpM 242.1

Parents, let us constantly keep before our children the relation that we sustain to our heavenly Father. Let us tell them that we are His children, and that we desire to treat them as He treats us. He does not indulge us in injurious things. He gives us only the things that are for our best good. He says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” SpM 242.2

We are all amenable to God. When we take into consideration our accountability to Him for every action, when we remember that we are “a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men”, we will desire to be purged from our fretfulness and harshness, our lack of sympathy and tenderness for one another. These evils are as tares amid the wheat, and must be destroyed. SpM 242.3