The Signs of the Times


April 9, 1896

The Christian Mother a Coworker with God


“Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them.” Mark gives a little different version of the circumstance, and says: “And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them; and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.” ST April 9, 1896, par. 1

The disciples thought that the work of the Master was altogether too important to be interrupted, or, as they thought, hindered, by the introduction of a company of children who were being conducted by their mothers into the presence of Christ. The disciples supposed that these children were too young to be benefited by an interview with Jesus, and concluded that he would be much displeased and annoyed by their presence. But it was the disciples with whom he was displeased. The Saviour understood the care and burden of the mothers who were seeking to train their children according to the word of God. He knew their travail of soul; he had seen them engaged in earnest prayer in behalf of their little ones. He himself had drawn them into his presence. One weary mother had left her home with her little ones clinging to her. As she went on her way, she met a neighbor, and made known her errand, and created a desire in her neighbor's heart to have Christ also bless her children. Thus several mothers came together, leading their little ones along. Some of the children had passed beyond the age of babyhood to childhood and youth. When they made known their errand, Jesus heard with sympathy and compassion their timid, tearful requests. But he waited to see how the disciples would treat these mothers and their little ones. When he saw them sending them away, mistakenly supposing that they were doing the Master a great favor, he showed them their error, and tenderly received the mothers and their little ones. He took the children in his arms, and laid his hands upon their heads. He pillowed the weary heads of the little ones upon his breast of infinite love. He gave them the blessing for which they came. ST April 9, 1896, par. 2

On the occasion of receiving the children, Christ gave his disciples a lesson which they never forgot. They listened with amazement to the words, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.” The mothers who had led their children to Jesus, were comforted by his compassion. But the mothers of today are also to understand and cherish these words. They are to lay hold of them with the same faith as did the women who brought their children to Jesus, who had sought Christ with trembling fear and yet with eager earnestness. These mothers were encouraged to take up with new cheerfulness their burden of care and love, and to work hopefully for their children. Every care-burdened mother should receive the words of Christ in the same spirit. ST April 9, 1896, par. 3

But he also stated truth that is of general application. He said, “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child [ready to be taught and led of Christ, ready to believe in him as a personal Saviour], he shall not enter therein.” Men and women are only grown-up children. They are under discipline to God even as children are under discipline to their earthly parents. The church is composed of men and women who have the same nature, the same dispositions, as did the little children who were brought to Christ. The members of our churches are composed of persons who have like impulses, who manifest the likes and dislikes, who display the same passions, as did the children who upon receiving Christ were to compose his heavenly kingdom. ST April 9, 1896, par. 4

How appropriate it was that these children should be brought to Christ for his intercession and blessing! They were types of what the members of his church should become. The children of God are to possess the humility, the loving trust, the teachable spirit, the innocence, uncorrupted by worldly deception, that were possessed by the little children. ST April 9, 1896, par. 5

Christian mothers should realize that they are coworkers with God when training and disciplining their children in such a manner as will enable them to reflect the character of Christ. In this work they will have the cooperation of heavenly angels; but it is a work that is sadly neglected, and for this reason Christ is robbed of his heritage,—the younger members of his family. But through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, humanity may be a coworker with divinity. The lessons of Christ upon the occasion of receiving the children, should leave a deeper impression upon our minds. The words of Christ encourage parents to bring their little ones to Jesus. They may be wayward, and possess passions like those of humanity, but this should not deter us from bringing them to Christ. He blessed children that were possessed of passions like his own. We often err in training our children. Parents often indulge their children in that which is selfish and demoralizing, and instead of having travail of soul for their salvation, they let them drift along, and grow up with perverse tempers and unlovely characters. They do not accept their God-given responsibility to educate and train their children for the glory of God. They become dissatisfied with their children's manners, and disheartened as they realize that their faults are the result of their own neglect, and then they become discouraged. But if parents would feel that they are never released from their burden of educating and training their children for God, if they would do their work in faith, cooperating with God by earnest prayer and work, they would be successful in bringing their children to the Saviour. Let fathers and mothers devote themselves, soul, body, and spirit, to God before the birth of their children. Let them heed the directions that God revealed to the wife of Manoah. The angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, ... thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing.” The burden of this message was a burden of instruction to the wife of Manoah. She was greatly troubled, and Manoah sought the Lord in earnest prayer, and said: “O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born. And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field; but Manoah her husband was not with her. And the woman made haste, and ran, and showed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day. And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am. And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him? And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. She may not eat of anything that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; all that I commanded her let her observe.” ST April 9, 1896, par. 6

In this instruction it is manifest, that before the birth of her child the mother is to be careful in her habits. She must not indulge a perverted appetite, or partake of wine or strong drink, or eat of any unclean thing. The habits of a mother have an influence upon the appetites and passions of her child. The Lord regarded instruction to the mother of such importance that he sent an angel, who veiled his glory, in order to give a direct message to the wife of Manoah, and prescribe the course of action which she should pursue. The instruction given to the wife of Manoah is the instruction that all mothers should follow in order that the prenatal influence may be of a right character. ST April 9, 1896, par. 7

She who expects to become a mother should keep her soul in the love of God. Her mind should be at peace; she should rest in the love of Jesus, practicing the words of Christ. She should remember that the mother is a laborer together with God. He is the great worker as well as the lawgiver. While we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, God is to work in us to will and to do of his good-pleasure. “Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” Mothers, let your hearts be open to receive the instruction of God, ever bearing in mind the fact that you must act your part in conforming to the will of God. You must place yourself in the light, and seek from God wisdom, that you may know how to act, that you may acknowledge God as the chief worker, and realize that you are a laborer together with him. Let your heart be drawn out in contemplation of heavenly things. Exercise your God-given talents in doing the duties which God has enjoined upon you as a mother, and work in partnership with divine agencies. Labor intelligently, and, “whether ye eat, or whether ye drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” ST April 9, 1896, par. 8