Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 7, 1899



January 31, 1899

This manuscript is published in entirety in 1NL 93-95. +Note

Watch, pray, work. Watching, working, and waiting for the Lord; this is our proper position. We are to act as servants who strive faithfully to do the Master’s will. I am particularly burdened in reference to home-training. The father is the houseband of the family. This is his position, and if he is a Christian, he will maintain right government in every respect. His authority is to be recognized, but in many families parental authority is never fully acknowledged. Various excuses are framed for the disobedience of children, and the life is a scene of endless variance between parents and children. Often the mother works to counteract the influence of the father, who, she thinks, is too severe, too exacting. 14LtMs, Ms 7, 1899, par. 1

If the father is a Christian, he represents the divine authority of God, whose vicegerent he is, and whose work it is to carry out the gracious designs of an infinite God in the establishment of upright principles and the foundation of pure, virtuous, well-balanced characters. But if the father and the mother are at variance with each other, the condition of things in the home is demoralizing. Neither the father nor the mother receive the respect and confidence essential to correct management. The mother leaves on the minds of the children the impression that she thinks the father too severe, for children are quick to see anything that casts the slightest reflection on rules or regulations, especially if they restrict them in carrying out their inclinations. 14LtMs, Ms 7, 1899, par. 2

I would that parents had sanctified intelligence, that they might see the necessity of working in unity. The husband, wife, and children are a firm. They should look upon themselves as God’s agents, who are to work together intelligently, regarding the family as a divine institution. The parents are to instruct their children wisely and patiently, teaching them line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. With faith and perseverance they are to educate, train, and discipline, requiring their children to be obedient, allowing no disrespect. Thus the seeds of reverence and respect for the heavenly Father are sown. The home should be a preparatory school, where children and youth may be fitted to do service for the Master, preparatory to joining the higher school in the kingdom of God. 14LtMs, Ms 7, 1899, par. 3

Parents need to remember that they occupy the place of God to their children. Just as you deal with your children, parents, so will God deal with you. Their lack of experience is to be supplied by wise precepts and a godly practice. This work is to begin in their early years, when the heart is tender and impressible, and is to be carried forward step by step. Every word, every action, of the parents is to be an object lesson of the right kind. They should not act impulsively, but as though realizing that God sees them, that the heavenly universe witnesses every act when dealing with each other and with their children. 14LtMs, Ms 7, 1899, par. 4

Children are the Lord’s heritage, purchased by the blood of the only begotten Son of God. With intense interest heavenly intelligences watch to see how children are dealt with by their parents, guardians, and teachers. And what strange management they witness at times, when father and mother disagree and express their variance by words and actions. 14LtMs, Ms 7, 1899, par. 5

Sometimes the father casts reflections on the mother. He sternly disciplines the children, as if to disparage the mother’s tenderness and love. Because of this, the mother thinks that she must bestow on them increased affection, and gratify and indulge their inclinations. Thus she seeks to counteract the father’s impatience and severity; but O, how God is dishonored. The family is demoralized, and the children are confused in regard to true discipline and correct education. 14LtMs, Ms 7, 1899, par. 6

There is danger of too severely criticizing small things. Criticism that is too severe, rules that are too rigid, lead to the disregard of all regulations; and by and by children thus educated will show the same disrespect for the laws of Christ. 14LtMs, Ms 7, 1899, par. 7

Parents must be converted before they can guide their children aright. They must become submissive to the requirements of God before they can expect their children to submit to them. Then their words and even their thoughts will be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. Day by day they must learn from Jesus, catching His Spirit, that they may reveal the Christlikeness in their lives. In childhood and youth the powers of imitation are strong, and children should have the most perfect pattern set before them, that they may have unquestionable confidence in the wisdom of their parents. 14LtMs, Ms 7, 1899, par. 8

Religion in the home—what will it not accomplish? It will do the very work that God designed should be done in every family. Children will be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. They will be educated and trained, not to be society devotees, but members of the Lord’s family. They will not be sacrificed to Molech. Parents will become willing subjects of Christ. Both the father and mother will consecrate themselves to the work of properly training the children given them. They will firmly decide to work in the love of God with the utmost tenderness and compassion to save the souls under their guidance. They will not allow themselves to be absorbed with the customs of the world. They will not give themselves up to parties, concerts, dances, to give feasts and attend feasts, because after this manner do the Gentiles. 14LtMs, Ms 7, 1899, par. 9

Eternal vigilance must be manifested with regard to our children. With his manifold devices Satan begins to work with their tempers and their wills as soon as they are born. Their safety depends upon the wisdom and the vigilant care of the parents. They must strive in the love and fear of God to preoccupy the garden of the heart, sowing the good seeds of a right spirit, correct habits, and the love and fear of God. 14LtMs, Ms 7, 1899, par. 10

Obedience to parental authority must be inculcated in babyhood, childhood, and youth. The will of the parents must be under the discipline of Christ. Molded and controlled by God’s pure, Holy Spirit, they may establish unquestioned dominion over the children. But if the parents are severe and exacting in their discipline, they do a work which they themselves can never undo. By their arbitrary course of action, they stir up a sense of injustice. 14LtMs, Ms 7, 1899, par. 11

Many parents have to meet in their children their own temper and disposition. But instead of ruling with wisdom and kindness, they are harsh and exacting. They do not make the religious life attractive, and the children say, “If this is religion, we want none of it.” Enmity against the rules of God is created. The rebellious spirit which refuses to render obedience to parental authority is the last to yield to divine authority. Thus, by misrule, parents fix the eternal destiny of their children. By mismanagement they drive them to the enemy’s ranks, to serve the prince of darkness rather than the Prince of light. 14LtMs, Ms 7, 1899, par. 12

Such parents will have a fearful account to settle with God. In the great day of judgment, He will ask them, “What have you done with My heritage? Where are the children I entrusted to your care?” Then with terrible distinctness the parents will see that their neglect has not only proved the ruin of their children, but of themselves, and that the wrong traits of character they cherished have been transmitted from parent to child to the third and fourth generation. The seeds which have been sown have produced a harvest they will not care to garner. The course of action which confirmed the children in irreligious practices has reacted upon themselves, making their influence a curse instead of a blessing. 14LtMs, Ms 7, 1899, par. 13

The family is a school where the father and mother, under the control of Christ, seek to educate their children for the Master. They should not try to evade the responsibilities of this work. They should not give their time to visiting, to the entertainment of visitors, neglecting their children to do this. If in the family school parents neglect to teach their children to be useful and helpful, Satan takes them and instructs them in his school. And those who learn in this school show who has been their instructor. 14LtMs, Ms 7, 1899, par. 14

Parents lose much when they are only half converted. Of Abraham Christ said, “I know him, that he will command his household and his children after him, ... to keep the way of the Lord.” [Genesis 18:19.] By the combined influence of love and authority Abraham was to rule his home. He was to walk before his household without hypocrisy or deception. He would do nothing to betray the truth. 14LtMs, Ms 7, 1899, par. 15

The rule for master and servant, parent and child, is obedience to the great standard of righteousness. But how few bring religion into the home life! Parents, what course are you pursuing? Are you acting on the theory that in things concerning the religious life your children shall be left free from restraint, that all you have to do is to counsel with them, and then leave them to do as they please? If so, you are neglecting your duty, neglecting the souls for whom God holds you responsible. 14LtMs, Ms 7, 1899, par. 16