Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 57, 1897

“Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep it Holy.”


June 9, 1897

This manuscript is published in entirety in LUH 03/31/1909, 04/07/1909, 04/14/1909. +Note

Letters have come to me from several persons with the request that I should write in regard to the manner in which we should observe the Sabbath. We have the Bible plain and clear upon this subject. We should not leave the work of the six working days to be done on the Sabbath. Through Moses the Lord said to the children of Israel: “Tomorrow is the rest of the Holy Sabbath unto the Lord; bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which is left over lay up for be kept until the morning.” [Exodus 16:23.] 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 1

The manna was as coriander seed and the color of bdellium. And the people went about and gathered it, and ground it in mills or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it. Thus there was something to be done in preparing even the heaven-sent bread for the children of Israel. This was a test for them. God desired to see whether or not they would keep the Sabbath holy. The Lord told the children of Israel that this work must be done on the preparation day, Friday. On that day they were to bake that which they would bake, and seethe that which they would seethe. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 2

The Word of God comes down through the ages to this time. The direction from the lips of Jehovah is for our spiritual interest, or it would not have been spoken. God would have the Sabbath kept as a day of rest and spiritual devotion; and any careless inattention in reference to this is displeasing to Him. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 3

The Bible is a perfect guide, and if its pages are prayerfully studied, with hearts willing to understand, no one need err upon this question. This Book alone presents to man the perfect standard of character. He is to meet all of God’s requirements. Here is presented with great clearness the duties and obligations of man, to his God and to his fellow man. The Word of God obeyed will not degrade him. It will elevate the mind, soften the heart, and give peace and gladness to the soul. That Word obeyed never leads to the forgetfulness of God, but to the remembrance of Him. In its pages are distinctly marked out the relations we sustain to each other and to God. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 4

Immorality and ignorance prevail in our world; but it is because the carnal heart chooses darkness rather than light. The light shines from the written word in bright, clear rays; and if ignorance now exists, it is because men do not <search the Scriptures> for themselves <as diligent> students of the pages of knowledge, that they may become intelligent. The intelligent mind is one of heaven’s most precious gifts. It is beyond estimate. And God demands of us the full improvement of this entrusted talent. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 5

The Bible is a guide in the management of children. Here, if parents desire, they may find a course marked out for the education and training of their children, that they may make no blunders. If the rules laid down for parental authority were obeyed, the workers would not so often be called upon to settle church trials, and be made to weep and mourn over the perversity of those members of the church who seem uncontrollable, because when they were children they followed their own way, and have brought into their religious experience their unbending will. But when this Guidebook is followed, parents, instead of giving unlimited indulgence to their children, will use more often the chastening rod; instead of being blind to their faults, their perverse tempers, and alive only to their virtues, they will have clear discernment, and will look upon these things in the light of the Bible. They will know that they must commend their children in the right way. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 6

If parents, instead of abusing their children and provoking them to wrath by their own uncontrollable tempers, would see in the Word of God that they must learn as children in the school of Christ the lessons of self control, of meekness and lowliness of heart, there would not be so great inconsistencies as is revealed in the government of the children in professedly Christian families. Threatenings, scoldings, and blows are dealt out under the control of blind passion. Then when they are not out of patience or in a passion, they go to the other extreme, caressing and kissing and indulging them in the very things they have once forbidden. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 7

Many parents who are called the best of men and women are thus educating their children to become transgressors of the law of God, to become inmates of prisons or almshouses. They bring them up with passions untrained, tempers ungoverned, and with but little painstaking effort on their part to educate them in moral principle. Could such parents look into the future, and see the path into which they are placing the feet of their children, they would come to their senses before it is too late, before the evil that has been left uncorrected has molded and fashioned the character. But they allow them to be controlled by the enemy of man. Satan is their chosen leader. It is while men sleep that the enemy sows his tares in the heart. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 8

The Lord bade Moses enjoin upon the Israelites to teach their children the commandments of God, when they should rise up, when they should sit down, when they should go out, and when they should come in, and when they should walk with them by the way. The many who are now bemoaning the waywardness of their children have only themselves to blame. Let these look to their Bibles, and see what God enjoins upon them as parents and guardians. Let them take up their long neglected duties. They need to humble themselves and to repent before God for their neglect to follow His directions in the training of their children. They need to change their own course of action, and to follow the Bible strictly and carefully as their guide and counsellor. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 9

It is a great work to educate, discipline, and train minds for the service of God here, and to dwell in the courts above forever. In the world to come your children will be just what you make them in this world. <Parents, you are forming characters for the world to come. Your children will take with them all the spiritual education you have given them in this world.> “Remember” is placed at the very first of the fourth commandment. [Exodus 20:8.] Parents, remember the Sabbath day yourselves to keep it holy. And if you do this, you are giving the proper instruction to your children. They will reverence God’s holy day. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 10

Let it be your study to select and make your homes as far from Sodom and Gomorrah as you can. Keep out of the large cities. If possible make your homes in the quiet retirement of the country, even if you can never become wealthy by so doing. <Locate> where there is the best influence. Give your children employment. Let them learn some trade. Teach them to be useful on the piece of ground. Keep them busy with useful labor in cultivating the ground. If you do not keep them busy, the devil will. Children have active minds, and they need to be employed in lifting the burdens of practical life <as part of the family firm.> They should never be left to pick up their own employment. Parents should control this matter themselves. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 11

Ministers’ children are in many cases the most neglected children in the world, for the reason that the father can be with them but little, and they are left to choose their own amusements and employment. But the first work of the father should be to so situate his children that they shall have work to do, and an education in physical work as well as in the study of books. It may be a gratification to have your children with you; but if you are so situated that you cannot give them employment, place them where they can work and employ their God-given powers in useful labor. They will come to you in the end far stronger in moral power, and in a knowledge that will be of advantage to them and to you. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 12

Children are a heritage from the Lord, and the Lord requires of parents that they shall give special instruction to their children. Like Abraham, they are to command their children and their household after them. If they neglect this part of the work, they disqualify themselves to care for the flock of God. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 13

Parents, do not select a business that will constantly stand in the way to obstruct the exercise of your Christian duties, and where you must imperil your Christian principles. Be firm, be faithful, where you are. You are on a battlefield. Bring moral courage and firm principle to your aid. Wherever Providence has placed you, take up your God appointed work. Serve Him most faithfully. But enter into no business relations with men <who disregard the Sabbath.> Do not become partners in business with those who do not revere the Sabbath, and who laugh at your attempts to keep it. They are constantly working out Satan’s devices that you shall bring worldly business into the Sabbath, and when they succeed, they laugh to see that you do not keep the Sabbath. They make it their boast that they are just as good as you are. Keep holy the Sabbath day at whatever sacrifice to yourself. Never allow the holy day of the Lord to be disregarded by yourselves or by your children. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 14

And wherever you make your home, there erect your altar. Seek the blessing o God upon your home and your children morning and evening. The Lord declares, “Them that honor me, I will honor.” [1 Samuel 2:30.] The reason that there are so many unhappy, self-willed, ungrateful children is that they are not educated to revere God, to love Him, to pray to Him, to keep His commandments holy. With the one hand of persevering faith lay hold of your children; with the other hand lifted to heaven, grasp the merciful hand of Jesus Christ. Christian education is needed in your homes. All through the week keep the Lord’s holy Sabbath in view; for that day is to be devoted to the service of God. It is a day when the hands are to rest from worldly employment, when the soul’s needs are to receive especial attention. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 15

From the very cradle the children are to be educated, and right impressions given to the mind. They are to be instructed in regard to the knowledge of God and His holy commandments. Neither infants, children, or youth should hear an impatient word from father, mother, or any member of the household, for they receive impressions very early in life, and what parents make them today, they will be tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. The first lessons impressed upon the child are <seldem> forgotten. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 16

Then search the Scriptures, parents. Be not only hearers, but doers of the Word. Meet God’s standard in the education of your children. Let them see that you are preparing for the Sabbath on the working days of the week. All preparations should be made, every stitch taken, in the six working days. All the cooking for the Sabbath should be done on the preparation day. It is possible to do this; and if you make it a rule, you can do it. The command is, “Bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; for tomorrow is the rest day of the holy Sabbath.” [Exodus 16:23.] That day is not to be given to the cooking of food, or to pleasure seeking and worldly employment. Explain your work and its purpose to your children, and let them help themselves and their parents in their preparation to keep the Sabbath according to the commandment. Lead your children to consider the Sabbath a delight, the day of days, the holy of the Lord, honorable. Do not allow yourself to spend the precious hours of the Sabbath in your bed. The heads of the house should be astir early. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 17

On Friday the clothing of the children <is to be> looked after. During the week, they should be all laid out by their own hands under the direction of the mother, so that they can dress quietly, without any confusion or rushing about, and hasty speeches. Then come to the table without levity. Boisterous noise and contention should not be allowed any day of the week; but on the Sabbath all should <observe> quietness. No loud-toned commands should be heard at any time; but on the Sabbath it is entirely out of place. This is God’s holy day, the day He has set apart to commemorate His creative works, a day He has sanctified and hallowed. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 18

In many families boots and shoes are blacked and brushed, and stitches are taken, all because these little odds and ends were not done on Friday. They did not “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” [Exodus 20:8.] It is dishonoring to God to make the Sabbath a feast day, a day of baking and boiling, of blacking boots and performing works that should be done on the six working days. Do not dishonor God by bringing down its sacredness to the level of common working days. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 19

In the morning the family should gather about the table quietly. And it would be well if on the Sabbath there should ever be a simple, palatable meal, yet something that would be considered a treat—all prepared—something that they do not have every day of the week. Then either before or after the meal should come the family worship. This should be a service in which the children can take some part. All should have their Bibles, each reading a verse or two. Then a simple hymn may be sung, followed, not by a long, wearisome prayer, but a simple petition, telling the Lord in the simplest manner the needs, and expressing gratitude for God’s mercies and blessings. This invites Jesus as a welcome guest into your house and heart. In the family, long prayers of remote things are not in place, and make the hour of prayer a weariness, when it should be considered a privilege and a blessing. Make the season one of interest and joy. Never let the children consider it a burden. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 20

On the Sabbath, parents should give all the time they can to their children, that they may make it a delight. I have seen many families where father, mother, and the older members of the household take themselves away from the younger children, and leave them to amuse themselves as best they can. After a while the children become weary and go out of doors, and engage in play or some kind of mischief. Thus the Sabbath has no sacred significance to them. In pleasant weather parents can take their children out to walk in the fields and forests, and talk to them of the lofty trees, the shrubs, and the flowers, and teach them that God is the Maker of all these things. Then teach them the reasons for the Sabbath—that it is to commemorate God’s creative works. After working six days, He rested on the seventh, and blessed and hallowed the day of His rest. Thus the most profitable instruction can be given. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 21

The sweet story of Bethlehem can be repeated. Present before them Christ as a babe in Bethlehem, a child obedient to His father and mother, a youth industrious, helping to support the family. Thus you can teach your children that Christ was a child like themselves, and that He knows the trials and perplexities, the temptations, the weariness, the joys and happiness of youth. Read them the interesting stories in Bible history. Thus the day will be to them the best day of the seven. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 22

But if parents loiter in bed on the Sabbath and rise late, all is confusion and bustle to prepare for breakfast and Sabbath school. There is hurry and jostling, impatience and confusion. The day becomes a weariness; the Sabbath is desecrated. No holy feelings are inspired in the heart, or come into the home, and the Sabbath becomes a dread. I counsel you, my Sabbath-keeping brethren and sisters, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” [Verse 8.] You must change greatly. Many of your habits and practices on the Sabbath are displeasing to God. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 23

If you would train your children to observe the Sabbath according to the commandment, you must do it by precept and example. The deep engraving of truth in the heart is never wholly effaced. The impressions made on the heart early in life are seen in after years. They [may] be buried, but they will seldom be obliterated. Teach your children that the commandments of God must become the rule of their life. Circumstances may occur to separate the children from the parents and from their homes, but the lessons of instruction given in childhood and youth will be a blessing to them throughout their life time. 12LtMs, Ms 57, 1897, par. 24