The Signs of the Times


April 8, 1886

The Law of God the Standard of Home Government


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 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 thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” ST April 8, 1886, 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 a 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. ST April 8, 1886, par. 2

Both parents and children should be under the control of God. There should be no oppression on 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, and then indulging their children, 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. ST April 8, 1886, par. 3

After the death of Moses, Joshua was the leader of Israel. But notwithstanding his national burdens, he could not forget the duties which rested upon him in regard to his own family. He enquires 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. ST April 8, 1886, 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. ST April 8, 1886, 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, 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 manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.” ST April 8, 1886, par. 6

All through the Bible we find that a careful observance of the Sabbath is repeatedly enjoined, and 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. ST April 8, 1886, 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. ST April 8, 1886, 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? ST April 8, 1886, par. 9

Atheism and infidelity prevail in every land. Bold blasphemers stand forth in the earth, the house of God's own building, and deny the existence of the Creator, and challenge the God of Heaven to strike them dead on the spot if their position is wrong. See the societies of infidels everywhere forming to devise means to spread their hellish poisons! See the papists plotting how to suppress the word of God, and to cover up the truth with the rubbish of error! ST April 8, 1886, par. 10

In view of all these influences which are at work in the world to instill infidel sentiments into the minds of the rising generation, shall those parents who have the light of truth aid in this work? Shall they, by their example, their influence, give the impression to their own children and to the world that it makes little difference whether they obey God in every particular? We all need both sound Bible doctrine and pure heart religion in order that we may represent the truth as it is in Jesus. We need continually to breathe the vitalizing atmosphere of Heaven that we may have spiritual health and strength. The truth of God must be an abiding, active principle in the heart, if we would exert a correct influence over others. It must have a controlling influence upon the conscience and the understanding, and upon the thoughts, and words, and deeds. ST April 8, 1886, par. 11

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 fellowmen. 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. ST April 8, 1886, par. 12

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, What has God said in his word? What will the effect of my example be upon the world and upon the members of my own family? ST April 8, 1886, par. 13

If religion is to influence society, it must first influence the home circle. If children were trained to love and fear God at home, when they go forth into the world they would be prepared to train their own families for God, and thus the principles of truth would become implanted in society, and would exert a telling influence in the world. Religion should not be divorced from home education. May God pity the parents who do not teach their children, by precept and by example, the way of the Lord; for they will have a fearful account to give to the Judge of all the earth for their wicked neglect of duty to their children and to society. They should present to their children the divine warnings against sin, and teach them the importance of implicit obedience. They should show them the danger of joining hands with the world if they ever expect to become children of God. ST April 8, 1886, par. 14

Many Christian parents fail to command their children after them, and they wonder that their children are perverse, disobedient, unthankful, and unholy. Such parents are under the rebuke of God. They have neglected to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. They have failed to teach them the first lesson in Christianity: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” “Foolishness,” says the wise man, “is bound in the heart of a child.” The love of folly, the desire to do evil, the hatred of holy things, are some of the difficulties that parents must meet in the home mission field. ST April 8, 1886, par. 15

There are many, even among those who profess to be Christians, who do not take up their home duties in the fear of the Lord. There is many a prayerless home, and that, too, among those who profess to believe the special truths for this time. The Bible is not brought into the family as the guide of life. The parents not being men and women of prayer, do not train and command their households in the way of God's commandments. That holy standard is set aside because finite man thinks he sees a better way. ST April 8, 1886, par. 16

In the strength of God, parents must arise and command their households after them. They must learn to repress wrong with a firm hand, yet without impatience or passion. They must not leave the children to guess at what is right; but they must point out the way in unmistakable terms, and teach them to walk therein. Parents should pray much, and should lead the minds of the children up to God and Heaven. A religion of simple faith in the all-atoning sacrifice of Christ, and of implicit obedience of God's moral rule of right, will make the household such a one as Heaven can smile upon. It will be productive of purity and peace; for they are obeying that guide who came from Heaven to earth to lead erring man to the mansions above. ST April 8, 1886, par. 17

Oh, the sin of parental neglect! How many children are lost to God and become a source of sorrow and distress to their parents, because they are not trained according to God's express directions! What a history the Judgment will reveal of affliction and misery produced by the children of parents who professed to be Christians, but who did not make the word of God their standard, their rule of life. What a record of crimes of every magnitude will then be opened to the view of parents, and traced to their lax discipline. Their children, like Eli's, did wickedly from childhood; but instead of firmly restraining them, they caressed and indulged them. The inborn evil of the natural heart was permitted to grow and strengthen. Even the house of God was not revered. ST April 8, 1886, par. 18

Eli was a believer in God and in his word; but he did not, like Abraham, “command” his children and his household after him. Let us hear what God says about Eli's neglect: “Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle,” The Lord had borne long with Eli. He had been warned and instructed; but, like the parents of today, he had not heeded the warning. But when the Lord took hold of the case, he ceased not till he had made thorough work. He says: “When I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told Eli that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.” ST April 8, 1886, par. 19

Here the neglect of Eli is brought plainly before every father and mother in the land. As the result of his unsanctified affection, or his unwillingness to do a disagreeable duty, he reaped a harvest of iniquity in his perverse sons. Both the parent who permitted the wickedness and the children who practiced it, were guilty before God, and he would accept no sacrifice or offering for their transgression. There are many lessons in the Bible calculated to impress fathers and mothers with the sin of neglecting their duty to their children; and yet how silent are the voices of the teachers in Israel on these important subjects! Parents allow the defects in their children to pass uncorrected, until the curse of God rests upon both their children and themselves. Like Eli, they do not show decision in repressing the first appearance of evil. ST April 8, 1886, par. 20

In what striking contrast do the cases of Eli and Abraham stand! The example of one is given that parents may shun a similar course; the example of the other is given for parents to imitate. The characteristics of each stand out sharp and distinct. Each was doing a work the result of which would not only be seen in his own life, but would reach down to future generations, to his children, and to his children's children. The influence that a person exerts in his own family is that which testifies of the genuineness of his religious experience. Neglectful and unfaithful there, he will be unfaithful everywhere. Home religion, home training, is what is now most needed. The future of society is indexed by the youth of today. ST April 8, 1886, par. 21

Basel, Switzerland,

March 4, 1886.