The Review and Herald

1736/1902

February 1, 1912

A Message to Parents

EGW

Recently there have been repeatedly given to me messages of warning and instruction to parents, pointing out the need of diligent effort, and of seeking the Lord with close searching of heart and with earnestness of purpose. God desires us as a people to stand in a position where we shall honor him; and we can do this only as we humble our hearts before God, bringing ourselves and our families into right relation to him. We are safe only when we stand under the broad shield of Omnipotence. Only there can God work through us to will and to do of his good pleasure, as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. RH February 1, 1912, par. 1

The Lord desires to see both the youth and those older brought into a sacred nearness to himself. Christ is not here in person, as in the days of his earthly ministry, to teach the youth; but it is the privilege of parents and teachers so to represent Christ in word and character that the light of heaven will shine into the hearts of the youth, and many will be converted to Christ. RH February 1, 1912, par. 2

Parents have a great and important work before them. With an eye single to the glory of God, they must work to fashion the characters of their children after the perfect pattern. Who is this pattern?—It is the Son of God. Christ came to this world as a human being, that he might by his example teach men and women how to bring their lives into conformity to the will of God. He speaks to fathers and mothers, saying, “Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Christ is to be the teacher of those who must train the youth. The law of the Lord is to be their rule of life, for this law is to be written on the hearts of the youth, or they will never obey the truth of God's word. All the will must be yielded to God; he demands entire obedience. If the youth will learn of him, Christ will impart to them the knowledge and wisdom needed to serve him acceptably. RH February 1, 1912, par. 3

Fathers and mothers, how can I find words to describe your great responsibility! By the character you reveal before your children you are educating them to serve God or to serve self. Then offer to heaven your earnest prayers for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that your hearts may be sanctified, and that the course you pursue may honor God and win your children to Christ. It should give to parents a sense of the solemnity and sacredness of their task, when they realize that by careless speech or action they may lead their children astray. RH February 1, 1912, par. 4

Parents need the guardianship of God and his Word. If they do not heed the counsels of the Word of God, if they do not make the Bible the man of their counsel, the rule of their life, their children will grow careless and will walk in paths of disobedience and unbelief. Christ lived a life of toil and self-denial, and died a death of shame, that he might give an example of the spirit that should inspire and control his followers. As in their home life parents strive to be Christlike, heavenly influences will be shed abroad in the lives of their family. RH February 1, 1912, par. 5

In every Christian home God should be honored by the morning and evening sacrifices of praise and prayer. Every morning and evening earnest prayers should ascend to God for his blessing and guidance. Will the Lord of heaven pass by such homes, and leave no blessing there?—Nay, verily. Angels hear the offering of praise and the prayer of faith, and they bear the petitions to him who ministers in the sanctuary for his people, and pleads his merits in their behalf. True prayer takes hold upon Omnipotence, and gives men the victory. Upon his knees the Christian obtains strength to resist temptation. RH February 1, 1912, par. 6

In ancient times the patriarch Abraham was chosen by God to be his representative in a distant land. But Abraham was also a home missionary, and in the home life he was true to his trust. God chose Abraham to be a teacher of his word. He chose him to be the father of a great nation because he saw that Abraham would instruct his children and his household in the principles of the law. And that which gave power to Abraham's teaching was the influence of his daily life. His great household consisted of more than a thousand souls, many of them heads of families, and not a few but newly converted from heathenism. Such a family required a firm hand at the helm. No weak, vacillating methods would suffice. Yet Abraham's authority was exercised with such wisdom and tenderness that hearts were won. RH February 1, 1912, par. 7

God declared, “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 would be no betraying of sacred trust on the part of Abraham. He realized that he was answerable to the Lawgiver, and he was determined to walk in the way of the Lord and to command his children after him. And he who blesses the habitation of the righteous, blessed Abraham, saying, “In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; ... and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” RH February 1, 1912, par. 8

Those who are engaged in the work of the gospel need the help that the members of their family can give in the work of character building. Courage and strength will come to the hearts of the workers when there is a united effort on the part of the family to keep heaven always in view, and to work intelligently for God. Faith enlightens the mind. As ministers and people become laborers together with God for the salvation of their families, the power of truth will be revealed in their labors. Their teaching and their deportment will show that they themselves are being sanctified through the truth. RH February 1, 1912, par. 9

As laborers together with God, parents, you are to carry out his plans for your children. This will call for continual watch-care, unceasing effort; for the enemy of souls is on the alert to lead them astray. So long as you live, your responsibility for them will not end. Your interest in their spiritual welfare must be deep and constant. But by your ministry for them, in cooperation with the Spirit of God, they may be led to see God's purpose for them, and to accept his will for the disposition of their lives. Who can estimate the value of faithful work in the home? In the midst of difficulties and unceasing care, it is the privilege of parents to look forward to the joys of eternity, and by the eye of faith behold the reward of the faithful. RH February 1, 1912, par. 10

Until every member of your family is united with you in the faith, do not feel that you can relax your efforts. Through the pleasures and ambitions of the world, the enemy is working to draw the youth into his ranks, and he has much success. As we approach nearer to the close of time, he will invent every possible attraction to draw their minds into worldly channels. At this time we need a pure and undefiled religion. And if parents will make the training of their children their chief work, God will give them increased ability. RH February 1, 1912, par. 11

There were mothers in Judea who heard of Christ's ministry for all who came to him, and they determined to go to him and ask him to bless their children. They were helpless and needy. Would not the great Teacher help them as he had helped others? Gathering their children together, they took their way to the place where he was preaching. As they went, other mothers with their children joined the company. RH February 1, 1912, par. 12

When they reached the place where Jesus was, they found him surrounded by a company of men and women, all desirous that he minister to them. The mothers pressed nearer to the Saviour, but the disciples, seeing them, rebuked them. But Jesus heard them, and he said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Then, taking the children in his arms, he blessed them, speaking to them words that their young minds could comprehend. Thus he comforted the hearts of these earnest mothers. RH February 1, 1912, par. 13

When we welcome the spirit of Christ into our hearts, he gives his grace in large measure. When we reach out for him, he reaches out for us. Never does he refuse the hand that is stretched out for aid. RH February 1, 1912, par. 14

God calls us to come out from the world and be separate. “Ye can not serve God and mammon,” Christ declared. If we are indulging habits that unfit us for a place in the kingdom of heaven, let us in Christ's strength overcome these habits. By our example of surrender to the will of God, we are to teach our children that if they would inherit eternal life, they must consecrate their lives to him. If we share the joys of the redeemed in the future life, we must give no place in this life to foolishness and pride and vanity. We are to be overcomers over everything that wars against the principles of the kingdom of God. RH February 1, 1912, par. 15