The Review and Herald


October 5, 1911

Parents as Character Builders


Seventh-day Adventist parents should more fully realize their responsibilities as character builders. God places before them the privilege of being strengtheners of his cause through the consecration and labors of their children. He desires to see gathered out from the homes of our people a large company of youth who, because of the godly influences of their homes, have surrendered their hearts to him, and go forth to give him the highest service of their lives. Directed and trained by the godly instruction of the home, the influence of the morning and evening season of worship, the consistent example of parents who love and fear God, they have learned to submit to God as their teacher and leader, and they are prepared to render him acceptable service as loyal sons and daughters. Such youth are prepared to represent to the world the grace and power of Christ. RH October 5, 1911, par. 1

Children and youth are to be taught that their capabilities were given them for the honor and glory of God. To this end they must learn the lesson of obedience; for only by lives of willing obedience can they render to God the service he requires. Before the child is old enough to reason, he may be taught to obey. By gentle, persistent effort, the habit should be established. Thus to a great degree may be prevented those later conflicts between will and authority that do so much to create in the minds of the youth alienation and bitterness toward parents and teachers, and too often resistance of all authority, human and divine. RH October 5, 1911, par. 2

Let children be shown that true reverence is revealed by obedience. God has commanded nothing that is unessential, and there is no other way of manifesting reverence so pleasing to him as obedience to that which he has spoken. RH October 5, 1911, par. 3

Parents who truly love Christ will bear witness to this in a love for their children that will not indulge, but will work wisely for their highest good. These children have been bought with a price. Christ sacrificed his life that he might redeem them from wrong-doing. Parents who appreciate the sacrifice Christ and the Father have made in behalf of the race, will cooperate with them, lending every sanctified energy and ability to the work of saving their children. Instead of treating them as playthings, they will regard them as the purchase of Christ, and will teach them that they are to become the children of God. Instead of allowing them to indulge evil temper and selfish desires, they will teach them lessons of self-restraint. RH October 5, 1911, par. 4

As parents and children cooperate in seeking to reach God's ideal for them, strength and blessing will come into their lives; and joy and satisfaction will fill the hearts of parents when they see, as the fruit of their labors, their children growing up in the love of the truth, and endeavoring to reach the fulness of God's purpose for them. RH October 5, 1911, par. 5

Let parents study the instruction of the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy. If the counsels of the Word of God are faithfully followed, the saving grace of Christ will be brought to our youth; for the children who are trained to love and obey God, and who yield themselves to the molding power of his Word, are the objects of God's special care and blessing. RH October 5, 1911, par. 6

The Lord commanded Israel: “These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.... RH October 5, 1911, par. 7

“Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the Lord hath spoken. RH October 5, 1911, par. 8

“And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you? then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh's bondmen in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: and the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: and he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.” RH October 5, 1911, par. 9

Wherever in Israel God's plan of education was carried into effect, its results testified of its Author. But in very many households the training appointed by heaven, and the characters thus developed, were alike rare. God's plan was but partially and imperfectly fulfilled. By unbelief and by disregard of the Lord's directions, the Israelites surrounded themselves with temptations that few had power to resist. At their settlement in Canaan “they did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them: but were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.” Their heart was not right with God, “neither were they steadfast in his covenant. But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not; yea, many a time turned he his anger away.... For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.” Fathers and mothers in Israel became indifferent to their obligation to God, indifferent to their obligation to their own children. Through unfaithfulness in the home, and idolatrous influences without, many of the Hebrew youth received an education differing widely from that which God had planned for them. They learned the ways of the heathen. RH October 5, 1911, par. 10

The lesson is recorded for our instruction. The enemy of souls will invent may things to lead the minds of our youth from firm faith in God to the idolatrous practises of the world. Let the cautions given to ancient Israel be carefully studied. Satan's efforts to spoil the thoughts and confuse the judgment are unceasing, and we must be on our guard. RH October 5, 1911, par. 11

We must be careful to maintain our allegiance to God as his peculiar people. While wickedness is increasing in the world, the people of God are to increase in understanding, in sanctified devotion to the cause of God, in keenness of perception to discern between righteousness and unrighteousness. At this time we can not afford to run any risks. If we commit sin, the Lord will be greatly dishonored. But if we work the works of righteousness, we shall follow on to know the Lord more and more perfectly. RH October 5, 1911, par. 12

We should endeavor to keep out of our homes every influence that is not productive of good. In this matter some parents have much to learn. To those who feel free to read story magazines and novels, I say: You are sowing seed, the harvest of which you will not care to gather. There is no spiritual strength to be gained from such reading. Rather it destroys the love for the pure truth of the Word. Through the agency of novels and story magazines Satan is working to fill with unreal and trivial thoughts the minds that should be diligently studying the Word of God. Thus he is robbing thousands upon thousands of the time and energy and self-discipline demanded by the stern problems of life. RH October 5, 1911, par. 13

Let the youth be taught to give close study to the Word of God. Received into the soul, it will prove a mighty barricade against temptation. “Thy word,” the psalmist declares, “have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” “By the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.” RH October 5, 1911, par. 14

I counsel every believer who in the past has indulged the love of fictitious reading to put away novels, and study the Word of God. Those who claim to believe the truth for this time need to search the Scriptures. “Ye are not your own,” the apostle Paul declares, “for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” The life of the believer is to be lived for him who gave his life for us. He is to act understandingly. The wealth of the soul's affections is to flow forth to the One who gave all that he might win men and women to God. Through the knowledge of him the life will be sanctified. RH October 5, 1911, par. 15

Fathers and mothers, turn your hearts to seek the Lord; for a great responsibility rests upon you to give your children a correct mold of character. Keep ever before you their eternal interests. Educate them to be refined, pure, nobel, revealing the highest traits of character, and before the world and heaven to make known that they have chosen to serve God. True Christlike characters will bear the seal of God's approval. RH October 5, 1911, par. 16

Great blessings and spiritual strength will come to the families who will determine to put away those things which are unessential, and will resolutely take up the work of preparation for the coming of the Lord. God has entrusted parents with the work of helping their children to gain a Christlike experience. Will you prepare the way of the Lord by bearing a decided message for him, not only in words, but by a godly example? The Lord's coming is very near. Those who know the truth should practise the truth, letting the light shine forth in precept and example. RH October 5, 1911, par. 17

Would you help other families to use their God-given talents to his glory? Then reveal in your own lives conformity to the image of Christ. Improve the talents you have; cultivate the powers of mind and body; increase your knowledge of the Word of God; improve the gift of speech; by the witness of a godly example uplift before others the power of the Word to transform the character. In simplicity and sympathy seek to make known to souls their great need, and point them to the One who will be all and in all to those who seek him. Engage understandingly in this work, and you will receive increased light and increased power to serve. -PC- RH RH October 5, 1911, par. 18