Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 34, 1899

The Home Life


March 21, 1899

Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 94; CD 315; 3BC 1129; 5BC 1085.

The educational influences of the home life are a decided power for good or for ill. These influences are in many respects silent and gradual, but if exerted on the side of right, they are full of preciousness. Christ came to this world to be our Pattern, to show by precept and example the characters all must have who compose the family of God. He came to bless and save the human race, and to raise men and women to be sons and daughters of God. To this end He humbled Himself, stepping from the highest to the lowliest position. 14LtMs, Ms 34, 1899, par. 1

In the councils of heaven it was decided that the mother of the Redeemer should be a pure, pious virgin, though poor as far as earthly riches were concerned. The despised village of Nazareth was chosen as His [home]. Joseph, His earthly father, was a carpenter, and He who had given direction that every youth in Israel should learn a trade, learned Himself the trade of a carpenter. None need be ashamed of honest poverty. For thirty years Christ was subject to His parents, and by the labor of His hands He helped to sustain the family. Thus He would teach that labor is not a degradation, but an honor, and that it is every man’s duty to engage in useful, honorable work. 14LtMs, Ms 34, 1899, par. 2

Christ was the foundation of the Jewish economy. He planned the arrangements of the first earthly tabernacle. He gave every specification in regard to the building of Solomon’s temple. He who worked as a carpenter in the village of Nazareth was the heavenly Architect who marked out the plan of the house where His name should be honored. The things of heaven and earth are more directly under Christ’s supervision than many realize. 14LtMs, Ms 34, 1899, par. 3

It is a solemn, serious work to care for those for whom Christ has died, to teach children not to lavish their affections upon the things of this world, not to waste time and labor on that which is worth less than nothing. In order to educate their children aright, mothers must be learners in the school of Christ. The Christian mother will spend much time in prayer, for in the home children are to be taught to be true to the government of God. With patience and forbearance they are to be trained. Scolding and passionate reproof will never work reforms. Fathers and mothers commit a grievous sin when they educate their children to give way to temper by giving way [to temper] themselves and by training them according to wrong methods. Children are to be disciplined in a way that will enable them to take their place in the family of heaven. 14LtMs, Ms 34, 1899, par. 4

Mothers, deal gently with your little ones. Christ was once a little child. For His sake honor the children. Look upon them as a sacred charge, not to be indulged, petted, and idolized; but to be taught to live a pure, noble life. They are God’s property; He loves them, and calls upon you to co-operate with Him in helping them to form perfect characters. 14LtMs, Ms 34, 1899, par. 5

Religion may be brought into every phase of the home life. It may be brought into bread making. Sour bread causes cholic, headache, and indigestion. Religion will lead mothers to make bread of the very best quality. Some have educated the appetite to desire new bread and hot biscuits. They refuse to see the evil effects of these articles, because they enjoy eating them. But this does not make it right to eat them. Bread should be thoroughly baked, inside and out. The health of the stomach demands that it be light and dry. Bread is the real staff of life, and therefore every cook should excel in making it. 14LtMs, Ms 34, 1899, par. 6

Mothers who have wisely reared their children feel the burden of responsibility, not only for their own children, but for their neighbor’s children. A true mother’s heart of sympathy goes out for all with whom she comes in contact. With a determined effort she seeks to turn wayward souls to Christ. In his strength she is enabled to do much. And those who have no children have responsibilities to bear. In most cases they may receive to their homes children who are orphaned and homeless. These they may train for Christ’s sake to practice those virtues so much needed in our world. 14LtMs, Ms 34, 1899, par. 7

The Lord requires perfection from His redeemed family. He calls for perfection in character-building. Fathers and mothers especially need to understand the best methods of training children, that they may co-operate with God. Men and women, children and youth, are measured in the scales of heaven in accordance with that which they reveal in their home life. A Christian in the home is a Christian everywhere. Religion brought into the home exerts an influence that cannot be measured. 14LtMs, Ms 34, 1899, par. 8

The family on earth is designed by God to be a symbol of the family in heaven. It is to be the school where the first and most important lessons are to be learned, where both child and parent shall gain a knowledge of human nature, where they shall learn to practice self-denial and self-control. Every child is to be diligently trained to act his part. The mother’s mission is one of self-denial and self-sacrifice. She is to teach her children that they may co-operate with her in teaching other children who are cast out to be neglected and trodden under foot. From their earliest years children should be taught to regard themselves as a part of the family firm. A mother does not do her duty if she fails to teach her children the lessons of helpfulness that mean so much to them. Ever she must remember that her children are to be trained in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The children who are trained with careful, painstaking efforts will be co-workers with Christ. They will win others to the Saviour. 14LtMs, Ms 34, 1899, par. 9