The Review and Herald


September 15, 1904

Training Children for God—No. 2


The highest duty of parents is to give their children a religious training. To allow a child to follow his natural impulses is to allow him to deteriorate and to become proficient in evil. The results of wrong training begin to be revealed in childhood. In early youth a selfish temper is developed and as the youth grows to manhood he grows in sin. A continual testimony against parental neglect is borne by children who have been permitted to follow a course of their own choosing. Such a downward course can be prevented only by surrounding them with influences that will counteract evil. From infancy to youth and from youth to manhood, a child should be under influences for good. RH September 15, 1904, par. 1

In the home school—the first grade—the very best talent should be utilized. Instruction should be given as God has directed. Patiently, carefully, diligently, mercifully, children should be trained. Upon all parents rests the obligation of giving their children physical, mental, and spiritual instruction. It is essential ever to keep before children the claims of God. RH September 15, 1904, par. 2

Physical training, the development of the body, is far more easily given than spiritual training. The nursery, the playground, the workshop, the sowing of seed and the ingathering of the harvest,—all these give physical training. Under ordinarily favorable circumstances a child naturally gains healthful vigor and a proper development of the bodily organs. Yet even in physical lines the child should be carefully trained. RH September 15, 1904, par. 3

Soul culture, which gives purity and elevation to the thoughts and fragrance to word and act, requires more painstaking effort. It takes patience to keep every evil motive weeded from the garden of the heart. RH September 15, 1904, par. 4

The spiritual training should in no case be neglected. Let us teach our children the beautiful lessons of God's Word, that through these they may gain a knowledge of him. Let them understand that they should do nothing which is not right. Teach them to do justice and judgment. Tell them that you can not permit them to take a wrong course. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ present them to God at the throne of grace. Let them know that Jesus lives to make intercession for them. Encourage them to form characters fashioned after the divine similitude. RH September 15, 1904, par. 5

The prudent mother keeps the door of her lips, that she may not utter one hasty, fretful word. Fathers and mothers, never scold. Consecrate to God the talent of speech. Tell your children exactly what you require of them. Then let them understand that your word is law, and must be obeyed. Thus you are training them to respect the commandments of God, which plainly declare “Thou shalt,” and “Thou shalt not.” It is far better for your boy to obey from principle than from compulsion. If as teachers in the home the father and the mother allow children to take the lines of control into their own hands and to become wayward, they are held responsible for what their children might otherwise have been. From babyhood the child should be taught that the mother is master. Never is the mother to do anything that would give Satan opportunity to arouse or strengthen the disagreeable passions of her child. She should not use the rod, if it be possible to avoid doing so. But if milder measures prove insufficient, punishment that will bring the child to its senses should in love be administered. Frequently one such correction will be enough for a lifetime to show a child that he does not hold the lines of control. RH September 15, 1904, par. 6

Few parents begin early enough to teach their children to obey. The child is usually allowed to get two or three years the start of its parents, who forbear to discipline it, thinking it too young to learn to obey. But all this time self is growing strong in the little being, and every day makes harder the parent's task of gaining control. At a very early age children can comprehend what is plainly and simply told them, and by kind and judicious management can be taught to obey. RH September 15, 1904, par. 7

In the school, as well as in the home, the question of discipline should be understood. We should hope that in the schoolroom there would never be occasion to use the rod. But if in a school there are those who stubbornly resist all counsel and entreaty, all prayers and burden of soul in their behalf, then it is necessary to make them understand that they must obey. RH September 15, 1904, par. 8

Some teachers do not think it best to enforce obedience. They think that their duty is merely to educate. True, they should educate. But what does the education of children amount to, if, when they disregard the principles placed before them, the teacher does not feel that he has a right to exercise authority? RH September 15, 1904, par. 9

I know that many parents do not cooperate with the teacher by fostering in the home the good influence exerted in the school. Instead of carrying out in the home the principles of obedience taught in the school, they allow their children to do as they please, to go hither and thither without restraint. And if the teacher exercises authority in requiring obedience, the children carry to their parents an exaggerated, distorted account of the way in which they have been “misused.” The teacher may have done only that which it was his painful duty to do; but the parents sympathize with their children, even though they are in the wrong. RH September 15, 1904, par. 10

Those parents who themselves rule in passion are the most unreasonable when their children are restrained and disciplined in school. Parents, when the church-school teacher tries so to train and discipline your children that they may gain eternal life, do not in their presence criticize his actions, even though you may think him too severe. If you desire them to give their hearts to Jesus, co-operate with the teacher's efforts for their salvation. How much better it is for children, instead of hearing criticism, to hear from the lips of their mother sweet and tender and loving words commending the work of the teacher. Such words make lasting impressions, and influence children to respect the teacher. RH September 15, 1904, par. 11

The teachers in our schools need the keen perception of the Spirit of God, that they may know how to deal with the youth in their care. Those who conduct church-schools and larger schools should regard it as their privilege, not only to teach in the school, but to bring into the church with which they are connected the same talents that are used in the school. Talk to the parents along educational and medical missionary lines. Show them the privilege they have of using their God-given capabilities in training their children, thus co-operating with the teacher. RH September 15, 1904, par. 12

We are approaching the day of final reckoning. Christ told his disciples that prior to his second coming the world would be as it was in the days of Noah, when “they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, ... and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away.” Those who believed when Noah began to build the ark, lost their faith through association with unbelievers who aroused all the old passion for amusement and display. For one hundred and twenty years the antediluvians were on probation, free to choose to obey the voice of God and find refuge in the ark, or to refuse to hear his voice, and be destroyed. They chose to disobey, and were destroyed. RH September 15, 1904, par. 13

In those days “the earth was filled with violence.” Is not violence now in the land? How much is human life worth, if man's way is crossed, man's passion excited? If the picture of the present state of the world is not sufficiently startling to arouse parents to do their duty in bringing up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, what will bring them to a right understanding? RH September 15, 1904, par. 14

Satan is marshaling his hosts. Are you prepared for the conflict just before us? Are you preparing your children for the crisis? Are your children forming habits of decision, that they may be firm to principle? Parental duty has been sadly neglected. Will you not now repent, and take up your God-given lifework? There is no time to lose. Redeem the time, because the days are evil. Pray that your spiritual perceptions may be quickened. Strive to realize the importance of living in obedience to the Holy Spirit. When you do this, the heavenly angels will minister to you as teachers in the home, training you for the work of teaching your children. RH September 15, 1904, par. 15

When you stand before the great white throne, then your work will appear as it is. The books are opened, the record of every life is made known. Many in that vast company are unprepared for the revelations made. Upon the ears of some, the words will fall with startling distinctness, “Weighed in the balance, and found wanting.” To many parents the Judge will say in that day, “You had my Word, plainly setting forth your duty. Why have you not obeyed its teachings? Knew you not that it was the voice of God? Did I not bid you search the Scriptures, that you might not go astray? Not only have you ruined your own souls, but by your pretensions to godliness, you have misled many others. You have no part with me. Depart, Depart!” RH September 15, 1904, par. 16

Another class stand pale and trembling, trusting in Christ, and yet oppressed with a sense of their own unworthiness. They hear with tears of joy and gratitude the Master's commendation. The days of incessant toil, of burden-bearing, of fear and anguish, are forgotten as that voice, sweeter than the music of angel harps, pronounces the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter ye into the joy of your Lord.” There stand the host of the redeemed, the palm branch of victory in their hand, the crown upon their head. These are the ones who by faithful, earnest labor have obtained a fitness for heaven. The life-work performed on earth is acknowledged in the heavenly courts as a work well done. RH September 15, 1904, par. 17

With joy unutterable parents see the crown, the robe, the harp, given to their children. The days of hope and fear are ended. The seed sown in tears and prayers may have seemed to be sown in vain, but their harvest is reaped with joy at last. Their children have been redeemed. RH September 15, 1904, par. 18

Fathers, mothers, shall the voices of your children swell the song of gladness in that day? RH September 15, 1904, par. 19