The Review and Herald


November 13, 1888

The Law of God the Standard of Home Government

[Remarks at Basel, Switzerland, April 7, 1886.]


The work of parents is an important, a solemn work; the duties devolving upon them are great. But if they will study the word of God carefully, they will find in it full instructions, and many precious promises made to them on condition that they will perform their work faithfully and well. It exhorts them to bring up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” and assures them that if they train up their children in the way they should go, when they are old they will not depart from it. Again, the admonition is given concerning the commands of God, “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.” RH November 13, 1888, par. 1

In order to do this work, parents must themselves become acquainted with the word of God. Instead of spending their time in gossip, or in needless ornamentation of their houses or their persons, they will seek diligently to understand the will of God as revealed to them in his word; and instead of speaking vain words and telling idle tales to their children, they will talk with them upon Bible subjects. That book was not designed for scholars alone. It was written in plain, simple style, to meet the understanding of the common people; and, with proper explanations, a large portion of it can be made intensely interesting and profitable to very small children. RH November 13, 1888, par. 2

Both parents and children should be under the control of God. There should be no oppression of the part of the parents, and no disobedience on the part of the children. Intelligent reason should take the lines of control. If parents in this age of the world meet the mind of God in the training, of their children, a great reformation will be experienced in the character of many. Their habits, their tempers, and their ideas will have to be entirely changed before they can lead their children to obey God. They must first control their own will, and obey the word of God themselves. Instead of scolding, flying into a passion at one time, and then indulging their children at another, those parents who are conscientiously walking in the way of the Lord will seek by precept and example to educate their children in self denial and self-control. They will also feel the responsibility of teaching them the truth. With the word of God spread out before them, the parents will show their children the importance of following the teaching of the Bible, and not departing from it under any consideration. RH November 13, 1888, par. 3

After the death of Moses, Joshua was the leader of Israel. But notwithstanding his national burdens, he did not forget the duties which rested upon him in regard to his own family. He inquires of the people whether they will serve the Lord fully, and keep all of his commandments; and then he declares emphatically, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” This should be the language of every father and mother in our day. RH November 13, 1888, par. 4

Parents have before them the example of Abraham, the father of the faithful. The God of heaven says, “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.” There will be no betrayal of the truth on his part; there will be no compromise in the matter. He will keep the law of God, he will teach his children to keep it. He will not allow blind affection, which is the veriest cruelty, to control him, neither will he permit his children to become the ruling power in the household. He will see that allegiance is given to the God of heaven, and that Satan does not gain control over the members of his family. RH November 13, 1888, par. 5

Not until the parents themselves walk in the law of the Lord with perfect hearts, will they be prepared to command their children after them. The Holy One of Israel has made known to us the statutes and laws which are to govern all human intelligences. These precepts, which have been pronounced “holy, and just, and good,” are to form the standard of action in the home. There can be no departure from them without sin; for they are the foundation of the Christian religion. One of the plainest of these precepts is that which relates to the observance of the Sabbath. “Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. In it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.” RH November 13, 1888, par. 6

All through the Bible we find that a careful observance of the Sabbath is repeatedly enjoined. God has plainly stated that those who knowingly break the Sabbath shall not prosper. He who has given man six days wherein to labor to obtain a livelihood, has reserved only one day to himself; and he looks with indignation upon those who appropriate any portion of this time to their own secular business. There are some who carry their business into the hours of the Sabbath to such an extent that they write business letters, and even collect debts, pay bills, and settle accounts upon the Sabbath. But God's eye is upon them, and although they may appear for a time to prosper, he will surely visit them with judgment. He can by a word scatter faster than they can gather. By fire, by flood, by the tempest, or the earthquake, he can cause them to lose all that they have gained by violating the Sabbath. RH November 13, 1888, par. 7

How blind are the Christian world to their own highest interest! They could see, if they would, how the favor of God was removed from his people anciently, and they were left to be overcome by their enemies, and to become a scattered and hated people, because they transgressed his commands, and violated his Sabbath. The Lord has not changed, neither has he removed the sanctity from his rest-day. RH November 13, 1888, par. 8

Some who claim to be giving allegiance to the law of Jehovah have even gone so far in Sabbath desecration as to unite in partnership with those who have no respect for the Sabbath. The professed Sabbath-keeper may cease his own labors on the Sabbath, but his partner continues the work. How must angels look upon this partnership, as the Sabbath observer kneels reverently before God in the house of worship, while those with whom he is united in business continue their labor just the same as on any other day! How does Heaven look upon the noise and confusion, the sound of the mechanic's ax and hammer, which ascends instead of thanksgiving, as if in defiance of his injunctions! Can the Lord regard as guiltless the man who thus unites with transgressors? RH November 13, 1888, par. 9

There is such a thing as holding the truth in unrighteousness,—professing to believe it while our actions are like those of transgressors. Bible truth will be a power in the true believer's life. It will give directness to all his efforts, and a holy purpose to all his labors. Unbelievers frequently argue that those who profess to believe the Bible do not exemplify its teachings in their business relations with their fellow-men. My soul has often been grieved as I have seen those who advocate the law of God failing to carry out its principles, in the public and private walks of life. RH November 13, 1888, par. 10

We have no time now to confer with flesh and blood,—no time to study profits and losses, and to cut the sharp corners of truth, so that they shall not disturb others. The customs of the world should not be imitated by the people of God. What may seem perfectly proper in unbelievers may not be at all right for those who profess to love God and keep his commandments. The question should not be, What is custom? What will others think and say? but rather, What has God said in his word? What will be the effect of my example upon the world and upon the members of my own family? RH November 13, 1888, par. 11