The Review and Herald

875/1902

April 6, 1897

Words to Parents

EGW

Parents whose hearts are filled with true and sanctified love for their children will follow the way marked out by God for the education and discipline of their children. But the sin of parental neglect is almost universal. Blind affection for those who are connected with us by the ties of nature too often exists. This affection is carried to great lengths; it is not balanced by the wisdom or the fear of God. Blind parental affection is the greatest obstacle in the way of the proper training of children. It prevents the discipline and training which are required by the Lord. At times, because of this affection, parents seem to be bereft of their reason. It is like the tender mercies of the wicked,—cruelty disguised in the garb of so-called love. It is the dangerous undercurrent which carries children to ruin. RH April 6, 1897, par. 1

O how quickly, through mismanagement in the home, falsehood becomes habit! In the word of God, parents have been given line upon line, and precept upon precept. But many parents who profess religion fail to practise the Christian virtues. They allow their children to grow up pursuing their own course, and disregarding the lessons which God has given for them and the rules of conduct he designs that all shall follow. Such parents discard the principles and injunctions of the Lord, as did Eli. RH April 6, 1897, par. 2

The history of Eli's family is given as a warning to parents. His sons did wickedly, and he restrained them not. He was too indulgent to train his children aright. His blind affection led him to connive at sin by hiding the defects of his children. By thus pampering sin, he gave his children lessons in the art of deceiving. Though he was judge in Israel, he did not repress evil in his sons during their childhood and youth, but allowed it to grow by repetition. And when these sons were placed in holy office, their sins, so mildly dealt with by their father, became a terrible power for evil. In the very service of God they practised iniquity. RH April 6, 1897, par. 3

God sent a message to Eli by his prophet, declaring to him the sinful course of his sons. “There came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house? ... Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honorest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? ... Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house.” RH April 6, 1897, par. 4

We read that Eli remonstrated with his sons. But he did not go far enough. He remonstrated with them, but he did not take decided measures to punish them. He did not deal with them as a faithful judge should have done. He did not set things in order. He spoke to them regarding their sins, and appealed to them to cease their wicked practises; but he did not restrain them. He permitted them to occupy positions of sacred trust, though they were corrupting their own ways, and causing Israel to sin by their precepts and example. Without effectual restraint their evil grew apace. Sons of Belial, they communicated their iniquitous practises to others. Eli forsook the way of the Lord by permitting his sons to dishonor God, and the woe of God was upon him. RH April 6, 1897, par. 5

Fathers and mothers, hear the words which came to Eli from the high and holy One that inhabiteth eternity: “Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering forever.” Their sins were allowed to increase in magnitude until the limit of the Lord's forbearance was reached, and then he said: I will make an end. I will carry this matter to its final result. The wages of sin is death. Parents and children were both to suffer. Neither sacrifice nor offering was to be found for their transgression. RH April 6, 1897, par. 6

What might have been averted had Eli followed the counsel of God! What iniquity, which the Lord declared was not to be forgiven forever, might have been saved! Shall not our hearts as well as our ears tingle as we read the denunciation of God against the godless sons of Eli? Parents, take this lesson home, and in the place of educating your children in the path of self-indulgence, self-gratification, and disobedience, learn of Abraham. Abraham commanded his household and his children after him to keep the way of the Lord. The Searcher of hearts said of him, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.” O for wise and judicious commanders, who will walk in the way of the Lord as did Abraham, to deal justly and love mercy, who will despise every phase of falsehood and deception! Abraham walked in the counsel of God. He did not rule by oppression, neither was he controlled by blind passion. He made strait paths for his feet, lest the lame should be turned out of the way; and God blessed him, and made him a blessing. RH April 6, 1897, par. 7

As the hour of Christ's humiliation, rejection, and crucifixion drew near, he felt that he must tell his disciples of the trial that was before him. Peter loved his Lord; he could not bear to hear of his death; and he exclaimed, “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Did Jesus commend Peter for thus manifesting his love for him, and his desire to shield him from suffering? He who loved us and gave himself for us, knew that Satan was suggesting doubt and unbelief to Peter; and he answered, “Get thee behind me, Satan. No longer interpose between me and my erring servant. Let me come face to face with Peter.” RH April 6, 1897, par. 8

In a most solemn manner Christ had repeatedly declared, “My kingdom is not of this world.” He laid the foundation of his church in the presence of God and all the heavenly intelligences, and in the presence of the unseen army of hell, which was in arms against him. The only way his church could be established was on the rock, the broken and bruised body of Christ. His sacrifice was the only star of hope which illuminated the darkness of a fallen world. The gates of hell could not prevail against a church built upon this foundation. RH April 6, 1897, par. 9

Christ came to this world, and rescued his disciples from the empire of sin; but at every step of his way he was contested by the devices and stratagems of the prince of darkness. Satan's work was to discourage Jesus as he strove to save the depraved race, and Peter's words were just what he wished to hear. They were opposed to the divine plan; and whatever bore this stamp of character was an offense to God. They were spoken at the instigation of Satan; for they opposed the only arrangement God could make to preserve his law and control his subjects, and yet save fallen man. Satan hoped they would discourage and dishearten Christ; but Christ addressed the author of the thought, saying, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” RH April 6, 1897, par. 10

This is recorded for our benefit and instruction. The angel of darkness sometimes appears in the garments of affection, counseling us to walk contrary to the law of God. Parents may indulge their affection for their children at the expense of obedience to God's holy law. Guided by this affection, they disobey God by allowing their children to carry out wrong impulses, and withhold the instruction and discipline which God has commanded them to give. When parents thus disregard the commands of God, they imperil their own souls and the souls of their children. By failing to walk in the way of the Lord, they allow Satan to work his will in their children. RH April 6, 1897, par. 11

In the words and actions of the perverted child, parents must meet and repulse Satan, just as Christ repulsed the outspoken Peter. God requires parents to guard well their words and influence, and to close the door of their hearts against Satan. He has placed them as guardians, and if they would save their children, and bring them up as subjects of the kingdom of Christ, they must repress evil, and counteract Satan's wily and deceiving power. RH April 6, 1897, par. 12

Children should be watched and guarded and disciplined faithfully. It requires skill and patient effort to mold the young in the right manner. Certain evil tendencies are to be carefully restrained and tenderly rebuked. The mind is to be stimulated in favor of the right. The child should be encouraged in attempting to govern self, and all this is to be done judiciously, or the purpose desired will be frustrated. Parents may well inquire, “Who is sufficient for these things?” God alone is their sufficiency; and if they leave him out of the question, not seeking his aid and counsel, hopeless indeed is their task. But by prayer, by study of the Bible, and by earnest zeal on their part, they may succeed nobly in this important duty, and be rewarded a hundredfold for all their time and care. RH April 6, 1897, par. 13