The Signs of the Times


January 14, 1886

Christian Homes


Our time, our strength, and our energies belong to God; and if they are consecrated to his service, our light will shine. It will affect first and most strongly those in our own homes, who are most intimately associated with us; but it will extend beyond the home, even to “the world.” To many it will be a savor of life unto life; but there are some who will refuse to see the light, or to walk in it. They are of that class spoken of by our Saviour, when he said: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Such are in a very dangerous position; but their course does not excuse any of us from letting our light shine. ST January 14, 1886, Art. A, par. 1

Suppose that because some ship had disregarded his warning beacon, and gone to pieces on the rocks, the lighthouse-keeper should put out his lights, and say, “I will pay no more attention to the lighthouse,” what would be the consequence? But that is not the way he does. He keeps his lights burning all night, throwing their beams far out into the darkness, for the benefit of every mariner that comes within the dangerous reach of rocks and shoals. Were some ship to be wrecked because the lights went out, it would be telegraphed over the world that on such a night, at such a point, a ship went to pieces on the rocks because there was no light in the tower. But if some ships are wrecked because they pay no attention to the light, the lighthouse-keeper is guiltless; they were warned, but they paid no heed. ST January 14, 1886, Art. A, par. 2

What if the light in the household should go out? Then every one in that house would be in darkness; and the result would be as disastrous as though the light were to go out in the lighthouse tower. Souls are looking at you, fellow-Christians, to see whether you are drunken with the cares of this life, or are preparing for the future, immortal life. They will watch to see what the influence of your life is, and whether you are true missionaries at home, training your children for Heaven. ST January 14, 1886, Art. A, par. 3

The Christian's first duty is in the home. Fathers and mothers, yours is a great responsibility. You are preparing your children for life or for death; you are training them for an abiding place here in the earth, for self-gratification in this life, or for the immortal life, to praise God forever. And which shall it be? It should be the burden of your life to have every child that God has committed to your trust receive the divine mould. Your children should be taught to control their tempers and to cultivate a loving, Christlike spirit. So direct them that they will love the service of God, that they will take more pleasure in going to the house of worship than to places of amusement. Teach them that religion is a living principle. Had I been brought up with the idea that religion is a mere feeling, my life would have been a useless one. But I never let feeling come between Heaven and my soul. Whatever my feelings may be, I will seek God at the commencement of the day, at noon, and at night, that I may draw strength from the living Source of power. ST January 14, 1886, Art. A, par. 4

Mothers, you have no right to spend time in ruffling, and tucking, and embroidering your children's dresses for display. Has not your time been given you for a higher and nobler purpose? Has it not been given you to be spent in beautifying the minds of your children, and cultivating loveliness of character? Should it not be spent in laying hold of the Mighty One of Heaven, and seeking him for power and wisdom to train your children for a place in his kingdom, to secure for them a life that will endure as long as the throne of Jehovah? ST January 14, 1886, Art. A, par. 5

But how many mothers there are who are so far from God that they devote their time to their own gratification, and leave their children to be cared for by unconsecrated hands. Or perhaps the mother sits at her work night after night, while her children go to bed without a prayer or a good-night kiss. She does not bind their tender hearts to her own by the cords of love; for she is “too busy.” And is this as God would have it? No, indeed! Something has taken away the mother's reason, and what is it? Is it not a desire to meet the world's standard and to conform to its customs? ST January 14, 1886, Art. A, par. 6

Some may wonder why it is that we say so much about home religion and the children. It is because of the terrible neglect of home duties on the part of so many. As the servants of God, parents, you are responsible for the children committed to your care. Many of them are growing up without reverence, growing up careless and irreligious, unthankful and unholy. ST January 14, 1886, Art. A, par. 7

If these children had been properly trained and disciplined, if they had been brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, heavenly angels would be in your homes. If you were true home missionaries, in your daily life exemplifying the teachings of the word of God, you would be preparing yourselves for a wider field of usefulness, and at the same time fitting your children to stand by your side, as efficient workers in the cause of God. What an impression it makes upon society to see a family united in the work and service of the Lord. Such a family is a powerful discourse in favor of the reality of Christianity. Others see that there is an influence at work in the family that affects the children, and that the God of Abraham is with them. And that which has such a powerful influence on the children is felt beyond the home, and affects other lives. If the homes of professed Christians had a right religious mould, they would exert a mighty influence for good. They would indeed be the “light of the world.” ST January 14, 1886, Art. A, par. 8

A well-ordered Christian household is an argument that the infidel cannot resist. He finds no place for his cavils. And the children of such a household are prepared to meet the sophistries of infidelity. They have accepted the Bible as the basis of their faith, and they have a firm foundation that cannot be swept away by the in-coming tide of skepticism. ST January 14, 1886, Art. A, par. 9

Said Christ, “Ye are the light of the world.” He has committed talents to our keeping. What are we doing with his intrusted gifts? Are we letting our light shine by using them for his glory and the benefit of our fellow-men, or are we using them to advance our own selfish interests? Many are using them selfishly. They do not seem to realize that we are all Judgment-bound, and must soon give an account for the use we have made of our God-given opportunities to do good. But what excuse will they give in that great day for not using in the cause of God their skill, their education, their tact, and their perseverance and zeal? ST January 14, 1886, Art. A, par. 10

We need divine help if we would keep our lights burning. But Jesus died to provide that aid. He extends the invitation: “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.” Cling to the arm of Infinite Power; then you will find him precious to your soul, and all Heaven will be at your command. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light,” we shall have the companionship of holy angels. To “Joshua” it was said, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts: If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge,” “I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” And who are “these that stand by”? They are the angels of God. Joshua must have a living, confiding trust in God every day; and then angels would walk with him, and the power of God would rest upon him in all his labors. ST January 14, 1886, Art. A, par. 11

Then, Christian friends, fathers and mothers, let your light grow dim—no, never! Let your heart grow faint, or your hands weary—no, never! And by and by the portals of the celestial city will be opened to you; and you may present yourselves and your children before the throne, saying, “Here am I, and the children whom thou hath given me.” And what a reward for faithfulness that will be, to see your children crowned with immortal life in the beautiful city of God! ST January 14, 1886, Art. A, par. 12