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    Chapter 25—Fragments

    Christ as a Teacher.—When Jesus spoke, it was not with hesitating uncertainty; his words came with an earnestness and assurance appropriate to their importance and the momentous consequences involved in their reception or rejection. When his doctrines were opposed, he defended them with so great zeal and certainty as to impress his hearers that he would die, if need be, to sustain the authority of his teachings.—Gospel Workers, 260.CE 197.2

    The Relation of Education to the Work of God.—With the great work before us of enlightening the world, we who believe the truth should feel the necessity of thorough education in the practical branches of knowledge, and especially our need of an education in the truths of the Scriptures. Error of every character is now exalted as truth, and it is our duty earnestly to search the sacred word, that we may know what is truth, and be able intelligently to present it to others. We shall be called upon to make known the reasons of our faith. We shall have to stand before magistrates to answer for our allegiance to the law of God. The Lord has called us out from the world that we may be witnesses for his truth; and all through our ranks, young men and women should be trained for positions of usefulness and influence. They are privileged to become missionaries for God; but they cannot be mere novices in education and in their knowledge of the word of God, and do justice to the sacred work to which they are appointed. In every land the want of education among our workers is painfully apparent. We realize that education is not only necessary to the proper fulfillment of the duties of domestic life, but necessary for success in all branches of usefulness .... Whatever business parents might think suitable for their children, whether they desire them to become manufacturers, agriculturists, mechanics, or to follow some professional calling, they would reap great advantages from the discipline of an education.... They need to be thoroughly furnished with the reasons of our faith, to understand the Scriptures for themselves. Through understanding the truths of the Bible, they will be better fitted to fill positions of trust. They will be fortified against the temptations that will beset them on the right hand and on the left. But if they are thoroughly instructed and consecrated, they may be called, as was Daniel, to fill important responsibilities. Daniel was a faithful statesman in the courts of Babylon; for he feared, loved, and trusted God; and in time of temptation and peril he was preserved by the power of God. We read that God gave Daniel wisdom, and endowed him with understanding.CE 197.3

    Those who obtain a knowledge of God's will, and practice the teaching of his word, will be found faithful in whatever position of trust they may be placed. Consider this, parents, and place your children where they will be educated in the principles of truth, where every effort will be made to help them to maintain their consecration, if converted, or if unconverted, to influence them to become the children of God, and thus fit them to go forth to win others to the truth.—Extracts from an article in the Bible Echo for Sept. 1, 1892.CE 198.1

    Above all other people on the earth, the man whose mind is enlightened by the opening of God's word to his understanding, will feel that he must give himself to diligence in the perusal of the word of God, and to a diligent study of the sciences; for his hope and calling are greater than any other. The more closely connected man is with the Source of all knowledge and wisdom, the more he can be advantaged intellectually, as well as spiritually, through his relation to God.CE 198.2

    The opening of God's word is followed by remarkable strengthening of man's faculties; for the entrance of God's word is the application of divine truth to the heart, purifying and refining the soul through the agency of the Holy Spirit.CE 199.1

    The mind devoted unreservedly to God, under the guidance of the divine Spirit, develops generally and harmoniously. The weak, vacillating character becomes changed through the power of God to one of strength and steadfastness. Continual devotion and piety establish so close a relation between Jesus and his disciple, that the Christian becomes like him in mind and character. After association with the Son of God, the humble follower of Christ is found to be a person of sound principle, clear perception, and reliable judgment. He has a connection with God, the source of light and understanding. He who longed to be of service to the cause of Christ, has been so quickened by the life-giving rays of the Sun of Righteousness, that he has been enabled to bear much fruit to the glory of God.CE 199.2

    Men of the highest education and accomplishments have learned the most precious lessons from the precept and example of the humble follower of Christ, who is designated as “unlearned” by the world. But could men look with deeper insight, they would see that these humble men had obtained an education in the highest of all schools, even in the school of the divine Teacher, who spake as never man spake.CE 199.3

    We would not discourage education, or put a low estimate upon mental culture and discipline. God would have us students as long as we remain in this world. But no one should set himself as a critic to measure the usefulness and influence of his brother who has had few advantages of book knowledge. He may be rich in a rarer wisdom. Through a connection with God, the Christian will have clearer and broader views, unbiased by his own preconceived opinions. His discernment will be more penetrative and far-seeing, his judgment better balanced.—Gospel Workers, 387-389.CE 199.4

    Christian Courtesy.—The heart in which the love of Christ abides, will constantly manifest more and more refinement, for the spring of the life is love to God and man. This is Christianity. This is “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” [Luke 2:14.] This is the carrying out of God's purpose. Divine harmony, worthy of the wisdom and mercy which God has manifested to men! True Christian growth tends upward to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. True culture, real refinement of thought and manners, is better obtained through the lessons in the school of Christ, than through the most labored, pains-taking effort to observe forms and set rules, when the heart is not under the holy discipline of the Spirit of God.CE 200.1

    The follower of Jesus should be constantly improving in manners, in habits, in spirit, and labor. But this is done by keeping the eye, not on mere outward, superficial attainments, but on Jesus the model. A transformation takes place in mind, in spirit, in character. The Christian is educated in the school of Christ to cherish the graces of his Spirit in all meekness and lowliness of mind. He is fitting for the society of heavenly angels.... The Lord has presented to me in many ways, and at various times, how carefully we should deal with the young,—that it requires the finest discrimination to deal with minds. Every one who has to do with the education and training of youth, needs to live very close to the great Teacher, to catch his spirit and manner of work. Lessons are to be given which will affect their character and life work.CE 200.2

    They should be taught that the gospel of Christ tolerates no spirit of caste, that it gives no place to unkind judgment of others, which tends directly to self-exaltation. The religion of Jesus never degrades the receiver, nor makes him coarse and rough; nor does it make him unkind in thought and feeling toward those for whom Christ died.CE 201.1

    There is danger of attaching too much importance to the matter of etiquette, and devoting much time to education upon the subject of manner and form, that can never be of any great use to many youth. Some are in danger of making the externals all-important, of overestimating the value of mere conventionalities. The results will not warrant the expenditure of time and thought given to these matters. Some who are trained to give much attention to these things, will manifest little true respect or sympathy for anything, however excellent, that in any way fails to meet their standard of conventionality. Anything that would encourage ungenerous criticism, a disposition to notice and expose every defect or error, is wrong. It fosters distrust and suspicion, which are contrary to the character of Christ, and detrimental to the mind thus exercised. Those who are engaged in this work, gradually depart from the true spirit of Christianity. While the gospel constantly sanctifies and ennobles the receiver, it will never lead us to cherish selfish and exalted ideas of our own ability or merit in contrast with that of others. It never nurtures pride and self-esteem. Every soul who sees Christ as he is, will abase self. He will exalt the Saviour as the “chiefest among ten thousand,” the One “altogether lovely.”CE 201.2

    The most essential, enduring education is that which will develop the nobler qualities, which will encourage a spirit of universal kindliness, leading the youth to think no evil of any one lest they shall misjudge motives and misinterpret words and actions. The time devoted to this kind of instruction will yield fruit to everlasting life.CE 202.1

    The young people among us should be preparing to work for the Master in the saving of souls for whom Christ died. Attention to mere conventionalities, or even to mental and social improvement, should be regarded as of secondary importance. These things have their place in the formation of character, but we should remember that the world is in gross darkness; irreligion, vice, and depravity are steadily strengthening and increasing; every teacher should feel in his very soul that the great needs of those under his care, are the regenerating power of God's Spirit in the heart, the living practice, the preparation for higher Christian attainments. This education will give to the character those softening, refining touches that proceed from Christ himself. These graces will give a sweetness of character, a gentleness of manner, which can never be equaled by the superficial polish of fashionable society. Let every worker for Christ make it his highest aim to win souls to God, rather than to be looking at and teaching mere superficial acquirements. Direct your energies to the fitting of living stones for the building of God's temple.—Gospel Workers, 315-319.CE 202.2

    The agency of the Spirit of God does not remove from us the necessity of exercising our faculties and talents, but teaches us how to use every power to the glory of God. The human faculties when under the special direction of the grace of God, are capable of being used to the best purpose on earth, and will be exercised in the future immortal life.CE 202.3

    Ignorance will not increase the humility or spirituality of any professed follower of Christ. The truths of the divine word can be best appreciated by an intellectual Christian. Christ can be best glorified by those who serve him intelligently. The great object of education is to enable us to use the powers which God has given us in such a manner as will best represent the religion of the Bible and promote the glory of God.CE 203.1

    We are indebted to Him who gave us existence for all the talents which have been intrusted to us; and it is a duty we owe to our Creator to cultivate and improve upon the talents he has committed to our trust. Education will discipline the mind, develop its powers, and understandingly direct them, that we may be useful in advancing the glory of God.CE 203.2

    It is true that the world's men of learning are not easily reached by the practical truths of God's word. The reason is, they trust to human wisdom, and pride themselves upon their intellectual superiority, and are unwilling to become humble learners in the school of Christ. Our Saviour did not ignore learning or despise education; yet he chose unlearned fishermen for the work of the gospel, because they had not been schooled in the false customs and traditions of the world. They were men of good natural ability, and of a humble, teachable spirit; men whom he could educate for his great work. In the ordinary walks of life there is many a man patiently treading the round of daily toil, all unconscious that he possesses powers, which, if called into action, would raise him to an equality with the world's most honored men. The touch of a skillful hand is needed to arouse and develop those dormant faculties. It was such men whom Jesus connected with himself; and he gave them the advantages of three year's training under his own care. No course of study in the schools of the rabbis or the halls of philosophy could have equaled this in value.CE 203.3

    Any young man is wanting in his duty to himself if he fails to meet the purposes of God by improving and enlarging his faculties. The mind is the best possession we have; but it must be trained by study, by reflection, by learning in the school of Christ, the best and truest educator the world has ever known.CE 204.1

    Chasing through books superficially, clogs the mind, and causes you to become a mental dyspeptic. You cannot digest and use one half that you read. If you should read with one object in view, to improve the mind, and should read only as much as the mind can comprehend and digest, and would patiently persevere in such a course of reading, good results would be obtained.... The perusal of works upon our faith, the reading of arguments from the pen of others, while an excellent and important practice, is not that which will give the mind the greatest strength. The Bible is the best book in the world for intellectual culture.—Gospel Workers, 384-386.CE 204.2

    Nature as an Educator.—The great honor conferred upon David did not serve to elate him. Notwithstanding the high position which he was to occupy, he quietly continued his employment, content to await the development of the Lord's plans in his own time and way. As humble and modest as before his anointing, the shepherd boy returned to the hills, and watched and guarded his flocks as tenderly as ever. But with new inspiration he composed his melodies, and played upon his harp. Before him spread a landscape of rich and varied beauty. The vines, with their clustering fruit, brightened in the sunshine. The forest trees, with their green foliage, swayed in the breeze. He beheld the sun flooding the heavens with light, coming forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber, and rejoicing as a strong man to run a race. There were the bold summits of the hills reaching toward the sky; in the far-away distance rose the barren cliffs of the mountain wall of Moab; above all spread the tender blue of the overarching heavens; and beyond was God. He could not see him, but his works were full of his praise. The light of day, gilding forest and mountain, meadow and stream, carried the mind up to behold the Father of lights, the Author of every good and perfect gift. Daily revelations of the character and majesty of his Creator, filled the young poet's heart with adoration and rejoicing. In contemplation of God and his works, the faculties of David's mind and heart were developing and strengthening for the work of his after life. He was daily coming into a more intimate communion with God. His mind was constantly penetrating into new depths, for fresh themes to inspire his song, and to wake the music of his harp. The rich melody of his voice poured out upon the air, echoed from the hills as if responsive to the rejoicing of the angels’ songs in heaven.CE 204.3

    Who can measure the results of those years of toil and wandering among the lonely hills? The communion with nature and with God, the care of his flocks, the perils and deliverances, the griefs and joys of his lowly lot, were not only to mould the character of David, and to influence his future life, but through the psalms of Israel's sweet singer, they were, in all coming ages, to kindle love and faith in the hearts of God's people, bringing them nearer to the ever-loving heart of Him in whom all his creatures live.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 641, 642.CE 205.1

    Young Men as Missionaries.—It may in some cases be necessary that young men learn foreign languages. This they can do with most success by associating with the people, at the same time devoting a portion of each day to studying the language. This should be done, however, only as a necessary step preparatory to educating such as are found in the missionary fields themselves, and who with proper training can become workers. It is essential that those be urged into service who can speak in their mother tongue to the people of different nations. It is a great undertaking for a man of middle age to learn a foreign language; and with all his efforts it will be next to impossible for him to speak it so readily and correctly as to render him an efficient laborer.—Gospel Workers, 294.CE 206.1

    But the church may inquire whether young men can be trusted with the grave responsibilities involved in establishing and superintending a foreign mission. I answer, God designed that they should be so trained in our colleges and by association in labor with men of experience, that they would be prepared for departments of usefulness in this cause. We must manifest confidence in our young men. They should be pioneers in every enterprise involving toil and sacrifice, while the overtaxed servants of Christ should be cherished as counselors, to encourage and bless those who strike the heaviest blows for God. Providence thrust these experienced fathers into trying, responsible positions at an early age, when neither physical nor intellectual powers were fully developed. The magnitude of the trust committed to them aroused their energies, and their active labor in the work aided both mental and physical development.CE 206.2

    Young men are wanted. God calls them to missionary fields. Being comparatively free from care and responsibilities, they are more favorably situated to engage in the work than are those who must provide for the training and support of a large family. Furthermore, young men can more readily adapt themselves to new climates and new society, and can better endure inconveniences and hardships. By tact and perseverance, they can reach the people where they are.—Gospel Workers, 84.CE 206.3

    The First Students.—The holy pair [Adam and Eve] were not only children under the fatherly care of God, but students receiving instruction from the all-wise Creator. They were visited by angels, and were granted communion with their Maker, with no obscuring veil between. They were full of the vigor imparted by the tree of life, and their intellectual power was but little less than that of the angels. The mysteries of the visible universe—“the wondrous works of Him which is perfect in knowledge” [Job 37:16.] afforded them an exhaustless source of instruction and delight. The laws and operations of nature, which have engaged men's study for six thousand years, were opened to their minds by the infinite Framer and Upholder of all. They held converse with leaf and flower and tree, gathering from each the secrets of its life. With every living creature, from the mighty leviathan that playeth among the waters, to the insect mote that floats in the sunbeam, Adam was familiar. He had given to each its name, and he was acquainted with the nature and habits of all. God's glory in the heavens, the innumerable worlds in their orderly revolutions, “the balancings of the clouds,” the mysteries of light and sound, of day and night,—all were open to the study of our first parents. On every leaf of the forest, or stone of the mountains, in every shining star, in earth and air and sky, God's name was written. The order and harmony of creation spoke to them of infinite wisdom and power. They were ever discovering some attraction that filled their hearts with deeper love, and called forth fresh expressions of gratitude.CE 207.1

    So long as they remained loyal to the divine law, their capacity to know, to enjoy, and to love, would continually increase. They would be constantly gaining new treasures of knowledge, discovering fresh springs of happiness, and obtaining clearer and yet clearer conceptions of the immeasurable, unfailing love of God.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 50, 51.CE 208.1

    Ancient Infidelity.—The dwellers on the plain of Shinar disbelieved God's covenant that he would not again bring a flood upon the earth. Many of them denied the existence of God, and attributed the flood to the operation of natural causes. Others believed in a supreme being, and that it was he who had destroyed the antediluvian world; and their hearts, like that of Cain, rose up in rebellion against him. One object before them in the erection of the tower of Babel was to secure their own safety in case of another deluge. By carrying the structure to a much greater height than was reached by the waters of the flood, they thought to place themselves beyond all possibility of danger. And as they would be able to ascend to the region of the clouds, they hoped to ascertain the cause of the flood. The whole undertaking was designed to exalt still further the pride of its projectors, and to turn the minds of future generations away from God, and lead them into idolatry.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 119.CE 208.2

    The youth who aim to labor in the Master's vineyard must be as apprentices who are to learn the trade. They must learn to be useful in the work by first doing errands for the Lord, improving opportunities for doing missionary labor anywhere and in any capacity. Thus they may give evidence that they possess tact and qualifications for the greatest work ever intrusted to men. They should be constantly improving in mind, in manners, in speech, learning how to become successful laborers. They should cultivate tact and courtesy, and manifest the spirit of Christ. Let them never cease to learn. Onward and upward should be their constant endeavor.—Gospel Workers, 285.CE 208.3

    Our schools are to be training schools; and if men and women come forth from them fitted in any sense for the missionary field, they must be led to realize the greatness of the work; practical godliness must be brought into their daily experience, if they would be fitted for any place of usefulness in the cause of God.—Gospel Workers, 291.CE 209.1

    Hundreds of young men should have been preparing to act a part in the work of scattering the seeds of truth beside all waters. We want men who will push the triumphs of the cross; men who will persevere under discouragements and privations; who will have the zeal and resolution and faith that are indispensable in the missionary field.—Gospel Workers, 293.CE 209.2

    The great reason why so few of the world's great men, and those having a college education, are led to obey the commandments of God, is because they have separated education from religion, thinking that each should occupy a field by itself....CE 209.3

    There are many of our youth whom God has endowed with superior capabilities. He has given them the very best of talents; but their powers have been enervated, their minds confused and enfeebled; and for years they have made no growth in grace and in a knowledge of the reasons of our faith, because they have gratified a taste for story reading. They have as much difficulty to control the appetite for such superficial reading as the drunkard has to control his appetite for intoxicating drink. These might today be connected with our publishing houses, and be efficient workers, to keep books, prepare copy for the press, or to read proof; but their talents have been perverted until they are mental dyspeptics, and consequently are unfitted for a responsible position anywhere. The imagination is diseased. They live an unreal life. They are unfitted for the practical duties of life; and that which is the most sad and discouraging is, they have lost all relish for solid reading....CE 209.4

    The special effort of ministers, and of workers all through our ranks, for this time, should be to turn away the attention of the youth from all exciting stories, to the sure word of prophecy. The attention of every soul striving for eternal life should center upon the Bible....CE 210.1

    It is with feelings of inexpressible sadness, and sometimes almost with despair, that I contemplate the condition of the young, and see how difficult it is to encourage those to obtain an education to whom I know God has liberally entrusted capabilities. Without education, they will be crippled and inefficient in any position. Yet in gaining this education they will be exposed to dangers and temptations. Satan will try to employ their cultivated abilities in his service....CE 210.2

    The plans devised and carried out for the education of our youth are none too broad. They should not have a one-sided education, but all their powers should receive equal attention. Moral philosophy, the study of the Scriptures, and physical training should be combined with the studies usually pursued in schools. Every power—physical, mental, and moral—needs to be trained, disciplined, and developed, that it may render its highest service; for unless all are equally developed, one faculty cannot do its work thoroughly, without overtaxing some part of the human machinery.CE 210.3

    Much has been said and written in regard to the importance of training the mind for its highest service. This has sometimes led to the opinion that if the intellect is educated to put forth its highest powers, it will strengthen the physical and moral nature for the development of the whole man. Time and experience have proved this to be an error. We have seen men and women go forth as graduates from college, who were in no way qualified to make a proper use of the wonderful physical organism which God had provided them. The whole body is designed for action, not for inaction. If the physical powers are not taxed equally with the mental, too much strain is brought upon the latter. Unless every part of the human machinery performs its allotted tasks, the mental powers cannot be used to their highest capacity for any length of time. Natural powers must be governed by natural laws, and the faculties must be educated to work harmoniously, and in accord with these laws. The teachers in our schools can disregard none of these particulars without shirking responsibility. Pride may lead them to seek for a high worldly standard of intellectual attainment, that students may make a brilliant show; but when it comes to solid acquirements,—those which are essential to fit men and women for any and every emergency in practical life,—such students are only partially prepared to make life a success. Their defective education often leads to failure in whatever branch of business they undertake.CE 211.1

    Gymnasium exercises may in some instances be an advantage. They were brought in to supply the want of useful physical training, and have become popular with educational institutions; but they are not without drawbacks. Unless carefully regulated, they are productive of more harm than good. Some have suffered life-long physical injury through these gymnasium sports. The manual training connected with our schools, if rightly conducted, will largely take the place of the gymnasium.CE 211.2

    Teachers should give far more attention to the physical, mental, and moral influences in our schools. Although the study of the sciences may carry the students to high literary attainments, it does not give a full, perfect education. When special attention is given to the thorough development of every physical and moral power which God has given, then students will not leave our colleges, calling themselves educated while they are ignorant of that knowledge which they must have for practical life, and for the fullest development of character....CE 212.1

    There is too little zeal among the students. They should make more earnest effort. It requires much study to know how to study. Each student must cultivate the habit of industry. He should see that no second-class work comes forth from his hand....CE 212.2

    Prophecy and history should form a part of the studies in our schools, and all who accept positions as educators, should prize more and more the revealed will of God. They should, in simplicity, instruct the students. They should unfold the Scriptures, and show by their own life and character the preciousness of Bible religion and the beauty of holiness; but never, for one moment, let the impression be left upon any one that it would be for his profit to hide his faith and doctrines from the unbelieving people of the world, fearing that he might not be so highly honored if his principles were known.CE 212.3

    It is no time to be ashamed of our faith. We are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. The whole universe is looking with inexpressible interest to see the closing work of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. At such a time as this, just as the great work of judging the living is to begin, shall we allow unsanctified ambition to take possession of the heart? What can be of any worth to us now, except to be found loyal and true to the God of heaven? What is there of any real value in this world, when we are on the very borders of the eternal world? What education can we give to the students in our schools, that is so necessary as a knowledge of “what saith the Scripture”? ...CE 212.4

    The cause of God needs teachers who have high moral qualities, and can be trusted with the education of others,—men who are sound in the faith, and have tact and patience; who walk with God, and abstain from the very appearance of evil; who stand so closely connected with God that they can be channels of light,—in short, Christian gentlemen. The good impressions made by such will never be effaced; and the training thus given will endure throughout eternity. What is neglected in this training process is likely to remain undone. Who will undertake this work? We would that there were strong young men, rooted and grounded in the faith, who had such a living connection with God that they could, if so counseled by our leading brethren, enter the higher colleges in our land, where they would have a wider field for study and observation. Association with different classes of minds, an acquaintance with the workings and results of popular methods of education, and a knowledge of theology as taught in the leading institutions of learning, would be of great value to such workers, preparing them to labor for the educated classes, and to meet the prevailing errors of our time. Such was the method pursued by the ancient Waldenses; and, if true to God, our youth, like theirs, might do a good work, even while gaining their education, in sowing the seeds of truth in other minds....CE 213.1

    We see the need of encouraging higher ideas of education, and of employing more trained men in the ministry. Those who do not obtain the right kind of education before they enter upon God's work, are not competent to accept this holy trust, and to carry forward the work of reformation. Yet all should continue their education after they engage in the work. They must have the word of God abiding in them. We need more cultivation, refinement, and nobility of soul in our laborers. Such an improvement as this would show results in eternity....CE 214.1

    Efforts must be made to fit young men for the work. They must come to the front, to lift burdens and responsibilities. Those who are now young must become strong men. They must be able to plan and give counsel. The word of God abiding in them, will make them pure, and will fill them with faith, hope, courage, and devotion. The work is now greatly retarded because men are carrying responsibilities for which they are unfitted. Shall this great want continue and increase? Shall these great responsibilities drop from the hands of old, experienced workers, into the hands of those unable to manage them? Are we not neglecting a very important work by failing to educate and train our youth to fill positions of trust?CE 214.2

    Let the workers be educated, but at the same time let them be meek and lowly of heart. Let us elevate the work to the highest possible standard, ever remembering that if we do our part, God will not fail to do his.—Extracts from “Testimony,” No. 33.CE 214.3

    The Child Samuel.—From Shiloh, Hannah quietly returned to her home at Ramah, leaving the child Samuel to be trained for service in the house of God, under the instruction of the high priest. From the earliest dawn of intellect, she had taught her son to love and reverence God, and to regard himself as the Lord's. By every familiar object surrounding him, she had sought to lead his thoughts up to the Creator. When separated from her child, the faithful mother's solicitude did not cease. Every day he was the subject of her prayers. Every year she made, with her own hands, a robe of service for him; and as she went up with her husband to worship at Shiloh, she gave the child this reminder of her love. Every fiber of the little garment had been woven with a prayer that he might be pure, noble, and true. She did not ask for her son worldly greatness, but she earnestly pleaded that he might attain that greatness which heaven values,—that he might honor God, and bless his fellow-men.CE 214.4

    What a reward was Hannah's! and what an encouragement to faithfulness is her example! There are opportunities of inestimable worth, interests infinitely precious, committed to every mother. The humble round of duties which women have come to regard as a wearisome task, should be looked upon as a grand and noble work. It is the mother's privilege to bless the world by her influence, and in doing this she will bring joy to her own heart. She may make straight paths for the feet of her children, through sunshine and shadow, to the glorious heights above. But it is only when she seeks, in her own life, to follow the teachings of Christ, that the mother can hope to form the character of her children after the divine Pattern. The world teems with corrupting influences. Fashion and custom exert a strong power over the young. If the mother fails in her duty to instruct, guide, and restrain, her children will naturally accept the evil and turn from the good. Let every mother go often to her Saviour with the prayer, “Teach us how we shall order the child, and how we shall do unto him.” [Judges 13:12.] Let her heed the instruction which God has given in his word, and wisdom will be given her as she shall have need.CE 215.1

    “The child Samuel grew on, and was in favor both with the Lord, and also with men.” [1 Samuel 2:26.] Though Samuel's youth was passed at the tabernacle devoted to the worship of God, he was not free from evil influences or sinful example. The sons of Eli feared not God, nor honored their father; but Samuel did not seek their company nor follow their evil ways. It was his constant endeavor to become what God would have him. This is the privilege of every youth. God is pleased when even little children give themselves to his service.CE 216.1

    Samuel had been placed under the care of Eli, and the loveliness of his character drew forth the warm affection of the aged priest. He was kind, generous, obedient, and respectful. Eli, pained by the waywardness of his own sons, found rest and comfort and blessing in the presence of his charge. Samuel was helpful and affectionate, and no father ever loved his child more tenderly than did Eli this youth. It was a singular thing that between the chief magistrate of the nation and the simple child so warm an affection should exist. As the infirmities of age came upon Eli, and he was filled with anxiety and remorse by the profligate course of his own sons, he turned to Samuel for comfort.CE 216.2

    It was not customary for the Levites to enter upon their peculiar services until they were twenty-five years of age, but Samuel had been an exception to this rule. Every year saw more important trusts committed to him; and while he was yet a child, a linen ephod was placed upon him as a token of his consecration to the work of the sanctuary. Young as he was when brought to minister in the tabernacle, Samuel had even then duties to perform in the service of God, according to his capacity. These were at first very humble, and not always pleasant; but they were performed to the best of his ability, and with a willing heart. His religion was carried into every duty of life. He regarded himself as God's servant, and his work as God's work. His efforts were accepted, because they were prompted by love to God and a sincere desire to do his will. It was thus that Samuel became a co-worker with the Lord of heaven and earth. And God fitted him to accomplish a great work for Israel.CE 216.3

    If children were taught to regard the humble round of every-day duties as the course marked out for them by the Lord, as a school in which they were to be trained to render faithful and efficient service, how much more pleasant and honorable would their work appear. To perform every duty as unto the Lord, throws a charm around the humblest employment, and links the workers on earth with the holy beings who do God's will in heaven.CE 217.1

    Success in this life, success in gaining the future life, depends upon a faithful, conscientious attention to the little things. Perfection is seen in the least, no less than in the greatest, of the works of God. The hand that hung the worlds in space is the hand that wrought with delicate skill the lilies of the field. And as God is perfect in his sphere, so we are to be perfect in ours. The symmetrical structure of a strong, beautiful character is built up by individual acts of duty. And faithfulness should characterize our life in the least as well as in the greatest of its details. Integrity in little things, the performance of little acts of fidelity and little deeds of kindness, will gladden the path of life; and when our work on earth is ended, it will be found that every one of the little duties faithfully performed, has exerted an influence for good,—an influence that can never perish.CE 217.2

    The youth of our time may become as precious in the sight of God as was Samuel. By faithfully maintaining their Christian integrity, they may exert a strong influence in the work of reform. Such men are needed at this time. God has a work for every one of them. Never did men achieve greater results for God and humanity than may be achieved in this our day by those who will be faithful to their God-given trust.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 572-574.CE 218.1

    Responsibility to Restrain Children.—God held Eli, as a priest and judge of Israel, accountable for the moral and religious standing of his people, and in a special sense for the character of his sons. He should first have attempted to restrain evil by mild measures; but if these did not avail, he should have subdued the wrong by the severest means. He incurred the Lord's displeasure by not reproving sin and executing justice upon the sinner. He could not be depended upon to keep Israel pure. Those who have too little courage to reprove wrong, or who through indolence or lack of interest make no earnest effort to purify the family or the church of God, are held accountable for the evil that may result from their neglect of duty. We are just as responsible for evils that we might have checked in others by exercise of parental or pastoral authority, as if the acts had been our own.CE 218.2

    Eli did not manage his household according to God's rules for family government. He followed his own judgment. The fond father overlooked the faults and sins of his sons in their childhood, flattering himself that after a time they would outgrow their evil tendencies. Many are now making a similar mistake. They think they know a better way of training their children than that which God has given in his word. They foster wrong tendencies in them, urging as an excuse, “They are too young to be punished. Wait till they become older, and can be reasoned with.” Thus wrong habits are left to strengthen until they become second nature. The children grow up without restraint, with traits of character that are a life-long curse to them, and are liable to be reproduced in others.CE 218.3

    There is no greater curse upon households than to allow the youth to have their own way. When parents regard every wish of their children, and indulge them in what they know is not for their good, the children soon lose all respect for their parents, all regard for the authority of God or man, and are led captive at the will of Satan. The influence of an ill-regulated family is wide-spread, and disastrous to all society. It accumulates in a tide of evil that affects families, communities, and governments.CE 219.1

    Because of Eli's position, his influence was more extended than if he had been an ordinary man. His family life was imitated throughout Israel. The baleful results of his negligent, ease-loving ways were seen in thousands of homes that were moulded by his example. If children are indulged in evil practices, while the parents make a profession of religion, the truth of God is brought into reproach. The best test of the Christianity of a home is the type of character begotten by its influence. Actions speak louder than the most positive profession of godliness. If professors of religion, instead of putting forth earnest, persistent, and painstaking effort to bring up a well-ordered household as a witness to the benefits of faith in God, are lax in their government, and indulgent to the evil desires of their children, they are doing as did Eli, and are bringing disgrace on the cause of Christ, and ruin upon themselves and their households. But great as are the evils of parental unfaithfulness under any circumstances, they are ten-fold greater when they exist in the families of those appointed as teachers of the people. When these fail to control their households, they are, by their wrong example, misleading many. Their guilt is as much greater than that of others as their position is more responsible.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 578, 579.CE 219.2

    Religion in the Home.—The light esteem in which the law of God is held, even by religious leaders, has been productive of great evil. The teaching which has become so wide-spread that the divine statutes are no longer binding upon men, is the same as idolatry in its effect upon the morals of the people. Those who seek to lessen the claims of God's holy law are striking directly at the foundation of the government of families and nations. Religious parents, failing to walk in his statutes, do not command their household to keep the way of the Lord. The law of God is not made the rule of life. The children, as they make homes of their own, feel under no obligation to teach their children what they themselves have never been taught. And this is why there are so many godless families; this is why depravity is so deep and wide-spread.CE 220.1

    Not until parents themselves walk in the law of the Lord with perfect hearts, will they be prepared to command their children after them. A reformation in this respect is needed,—a reformation which shall be deep and broad. Parents need to reform; ministers need to reform; they need God in their households. If they would see a different state of things, they must bring his word into their families, and must make it their counselor. They must teach their children that it is the voice of God addressed to them, and is to be implicitly obeyed. They should patiently instruct their children, and kindly and untiringly teach them how to live so as to please God. 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 foundation that cannot be swept away by the incoming tide of skepticism.CE 220.2

    In too many households, prayer is neglected. Parents feel they have no time for morning and evening worship. They cannot spare a few moments in which to give thanks to God for his abundant mercies,—for the blessed sunshine and the showers of rain, which cause vegetation to flourish, and for the guardianship of holy angels. They have no time to offer prayer for divine help and guidance, and for the abiding presence of Jesus in the household. They go forth to labor as the ox or the horse goes, without one thought of God or heaven. They have souls so precious that rather than permit them to be hopelessly lost, the Son of God gave his life to ransom them; but they have little more appreciation of his great goodness than have the beasts that perish.CE 221.1

    Like the patriarchs of old, those who profess to love God should erect an altar to the Lord wherever they pitch their tent. If ever there was a time when every house should be a house of prayer, it is now. Fathers and mothers should often lift up their hearts to God in humble supplication for themselves and their children. Let the father, as priest of the household, lay upon the altar of God the morning and evening sacrifice, while the wife and children unite in prayer and praise. In such a household, Jesus will love to tarry.CE 221.2

    From every Christian home a holy light should shine forth. Love should be revealed in action. It should flow out in all home intercourse, showing itself in thoughtful kindness, in gentle, unselfish courtesy. There are homes where this principle is carried out,—homes where God is worshiped, and truest love reigns. From these homes, morning and evening prayer ascends to God as sweet incense, and his mercies and blessings descend upon the suppliants like the morning dew.CE 221.3

    A well-ordered Christian household is a powerful argument in favor of the reality of the Christian religion,—an argument that the infidel cannot gainsay. All can see that there is an influence at work in the family that affects the children, and that the God of Abraham is with them. 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.” The God of heaven speaks to every faithful parent in the words addressed to Abraham: “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; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” [Genesis 18:19.]—Patriarchs and Prophets, 143-144.CE 222.1

    Labor for the Young.—Very much has been lost to the cause of God by a lack of attention to the young. Ministers should form an acquaintance with the youth in their congregations. Many are reluctant to do this, but their neglect is a sin in the sight of Heaven. There are among us many who are not ignorant of our faith, yet whose hearts have never been touched by the power of divine grace. Can we who claim to be servants of God pass on day after day, week after week, indifferent to these souls who are out of Christ? If they should die in their sins, unwarned, their blood would be required at the unfaithful watchman's hands.CE 222.2

    Why should not this labor for the youth in our borders be regarded as the highest kind of missionary work? It will require the most delicate tact, the most thoughtful consideration, the most earnest prayer that heavenly wisdom may be imparted. The youth are the objects of Satan's special attacks; but kindness, courtesy, that tender sympathy that flows from a heart filled with love to Jesus, will give you access to them. You may win their confidence so that they will listen to your words, and thus be saved from many a snare of the enemy.CE 222.3

    When the youth give their hearts to God, your care for them should not cease. Lay some special responsibility upon them. Make them feel that they are expected to do something. The Lord chooses them because they are strong. Teach them to labor in a quiet, unpretending way, for their young companions. Let different branches of the missionary work be laid out systematically, and let instruction and help be given, so that the young may learn to act a part. Thus they will grow up to be workers for God.—Gospel Workers, 278-279.CE 223.1

    A Mother's Influence.—How far-reaching in its results was the influence of that one Hebrew woman, [the mother of Moses] and she an exile and a slave! The whole future life of Moses, the great mission which he fulfilled as the leader of Israel, testifies to the importance of the work of the Christian mother. There is no other work that can equal this. To a very great extent, the mother holds in her own hands the destiny of her children. She is dealing with developing minds and characters, working not alone for time, but for eternity. She is sowing seed that will spring up and bear fruit, either for good or for evil. She has not to paint a form of beauty upon canvas or to chisel it from marble, but to impress upon a human soul the image of the divine. Especially during their early years the responsibility rests upon her of forming the characters of her children. The impressions now made upon their developing minds will remain with them all through life. Parents should direct the instruction and training of their children while very young, to the end that they may be Christians. They are placed in our care to be trained, not as heirs to the throne of an earthly empire, but as kings unto God, to reign through unending ages.CE 223.2

    Let every mother feel that her moments are priceless; her work will be tested in the solemn day of accounts. Then it will be found that many of the failures and crimes of men and women have resulted from the ignorance and neglect of those whose duty it was to guide their childish feet in the right way. Then it will be found that many who have blessed the world with the light of genius and truth and holiness, owe the principles that were the mainspring of their influence and success to a praying, Christian mother.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 244.CE 224.1

    Choosing a Home.—When Lot entered Sodom, he fully intended to keep himself free from iniquity, and to command his household after him. But he signally failed. The corrupting influences about him had an effect upon his own faith, and his children's connection with the inhabitants of Sodom bound up his interest in a measure with theirs. The result is before us.CE 224.2

    Many are still making a similar mistake. In selecting a home they look more to the temporal advantages they may gain than to the moral and social influences that will surround themselves and their families. They choose a beautiful and fertile country, or remove to some flourishing city, in the hope of securing greater prosperity; but their children are surrounded by temptation, and too often they form associations that are unfavorable to the development of piety and the formation of a right character. The atmosphere of lax morality, of unbelief, of indifference to religious things, has a tendency to counteract the influence of the parents. Examples of rebellion against parental and divine authority are ever before the youth; many form attachments for infidels and unbelievers, and cast in their lot with the enemies of God.CE 224.3

    In choosing a home, God would have us consider, first of all, the moral and religious influences that will surround us and our families. We may be placed in trying positions, for many cannot have their surroundings what they would; and wherever duty calls us, God will enable us to stand uncorrupted, if we watch and pray, trusting in the grace of Christ. But we should not needlessly expose ourselves to influences that are unfavorable to the formation of Christian character. When we voluntarily place ourselves in an atmosphere of worldliness and unbelief, we displease God, and drive holy angels from our homes.CE 225.1

    Those who secure for their children worldly wealth and honor at the expense of their eternal interests, will find in the end that these advantages are a terrible loss. Like Lot, many see their children ruined, and barely save their own souls. Their life work is lost; their life is a sad failure. Had they exercised true wisdom, their children might have had less of worldly prosperity, but they would have made sure of a title to the immortal inheritance.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 168, 169.CE 225.2

    The Development of Character.—How was Joseph enabled to make such a record of firmness of character, uprightness, and wisdom?—In his early years he had consulted duty rather than inclination; and the integrity, the simple trust, the noble nature of the youth, bore fruit in the deeds of the man. A pure and simple life had favored the vigorous development of both physical and intellectual powers. Communion with God through his works, and the contemplation of the grand truths intrusted to the inheritors of faith, had elevated and ennobled his spiritual nature, broadening and strengthening the mind as no other study could do. Faithful attention to duty in every station, from the lowliest to the most exalted, had been training every power for its highest service. He who lives in accordance with the Creator's will is securing to himself the truest and noblest development of character. “The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” [Job 28:28.]CE 225.3

    There are few who realize the influence of the little things of life upon the development of character. Nothing with which we have to do is really small. The varied circumstances that we meet day by day are designed to test our faithfulness, and to qualify us for greater trusts. By adherence to principle in the transactions of ordinary life, the mind becomes accustomed to hold the claims of duty above those of pleasure and inclination. Minds thus disciplined are not wavering between right and wrong, like the reed trembling in the wind; they are loyal to duty because they have trained themselves to habits of fidelity and truth. By faithfulness in that which is least, they acquire strength to be faithful in greater matters.CE 226.1

    An upright character is of greater worth than the gold of Ophir. Without it none can rise to an honorable eminence. But character is not inherited. It cannot be bought. Moral excellence and fine mental qualities are not the result of accident. The most precious gifts are of no value unless they are improved. The formation of a noble character is the work of a lifetime, and must be the result of diligent and persevering effort. God gives opportunities; success depends upon the use made of them.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 222, 223.CE 226.2

    The history of Israel's first king presents a sad example of the power of early wrong habits. In his youth, Saul did not love and fear God; and that impetuous spirit, not early trained to submission, was ever ready to rebel against divine authority. Those who in their youth cherish a sacred regard for the will of God, and who faithfully perform the duties of their position, will be prepared for higher service in after life. But men cannot for years pervert the powers that God has given them, and then, when they choose to change, find these powers fresh and free for an entirely opposite course.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 622.CE 226.3

    Nadab and Abihu had not in their youth been trained to habits of self-control. The father's yielding disposition, his lack of firmness for right, had led him to neglect the discipline of his children. His sons had been permitted to follow inclination. Habits of self-indulgence, long cherished, obtained a hold upon them which even the responsibility of the most sacred office had not power to break. They had not been taught to respect the authority of their father, and they did not realize the necessity of exact obedience to the requirements of God. Aaron's mistaken indulgence of his sons, prepared them to become the subjects of divine judgments.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 360.CE 227.1

    Instructing Parents.—Those who have no children of their own to share their thoughts and labor, and to call for the exercise of forbearance, patience, and love, should guard themselves, lest their thoughts and labor center upon themselves. They are poorly qualified to instruct parents as to the training of their children; for they have not had experience in this work. Yet in very many cases, those who have no children are the most ready to instruct those who have, when at the same time, the former make children of themselves in many respects. They cannot be turned out of a certain course, and they require even more patience exercised toward them than do children. It is selfish to have a certain course marked out, and pursue this course to the inconvenience of others.—Gospel Workers, 252.CE 227.2

    Lessons from the Marriage of Isaac.—Isaac was highly honored by God, in being made inheritor of the promises through which the world was to be blessed; yet when he was forty years of age, he submitted to his father's judgment in appointing his experienced, God-fearing servant to choose a wife for him. And the result of that marriage, as presented in the Scriptures, is a tender and beautiful picture of domestic happiness. “Isaac brought her unto his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.” [Genesis 24:67.]CE 228.1

    What a contrast between the course of Isaac and that pursued by the youth of our time, even among professed Christians! Young people too often feel that the bestowal of their affections is a matter in which self alone should be consulted,—a matter that neither God nor their parents should in any wise control. Long before they have reached manhood or womanhood, they think themselves competent to make their own choice, without the aid of their parents. A few years of married life are usually sufficient to show them their error, but often too late to prevent its baleful results. For the same lack of wisdom and self-control that dictated the hasty choice is permitted to aggravate the evil, until the marriage relation becomes a galling yoke. Many have thus wrecked their happiness in this life, and their hope of the life to come.CE 228.2

    If there is any subject which should be carefully considered, and in which the counsel of older and more experienced persons should be sought, it is the subject of marriage; if ever the Bible was needed as a counselor, if ever divine guidance should be sought in prayer, it is before taking a step that binds persons together for life.CE 228.3

    Parents should never lose sight of their own responsibility for the future happiness of their children. Isaac's deference to his father's judgment was the result of the training that had taught him to love a life of obedience. While Abraham required his children to respect parental authority, his daily life testified that that authority was not a selfish or arbitrary control, but was founded in love, and had their welfare and happiness in view.CE 229.1

    Fathers and mothers should feel a sacred duty devolving upon them to guide the affections of the youth, that they may be placed upon those who will be suitable companions. They should feel it a duty, by their own teaching and example, with the assisting grace of God, so to mould the character of the children from their earliest years that they will be pure and noble, and will be attracted to the good and true. Like attracts like; like appreciates like. Let the love for truth and purity and goodness be early implanted in the soul, and the youth will seek the society of those who possess these characteristics.CE 229.2

    Let parents seek, in their own character and in their home life, to exemplify the love and beneficence of the heavenly Father. Let the home be full of sunshine. This will be worth far more to your children than lands or money. Let the home love be kept alive in their hearts, that they may look back upon the home of their childhood as a place of peace and happiness next to heaven. The members of the family do not all have the same stamp of character, and there will be frequent occasion for the exercise of patience and forbearance; but through love and self-discipline, all may be bound together in the closest union.CE 229.3

    True love is a high and holy principle, altogether different in character from that love which is awakened by impulse, and which suddenly dies when severely tested. It is by faithfulness to duty in the parental home that the youth are to prepare themselves for homes of their own. Let them here practice self-denial, and manifest kindness, courtesy, and Christian sympathy. Thus, love will be kept warm in the heart, and he who goes out from such a household to stand at the head of a family of his own, will know how to promote the happiness of her whom he has chosen as a companion for life. Marriage, instead of being the end of love, will be only its beginning.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 175, 176.CE 230.1

    Instruction to Parents.—God chose Abraham as the father of the faithful, because he knew that he would cultivate home religion, and cause the fear of the Lord to be the atmosphere of his dwelling-place. The Lord knew that there would be on the part of Abraham no betraying of sacred trusts; but that he would worship the Lord, and him only would he serve. He knew that his faithful servant would lead his household forward and upward, and influence them to keep the statutes of Jehovah. Abraham did not cherish a blind affection for his family; but by the combined influence of affection and authority, he ruled his home. God's will was made paramount. He feared the Lord with all his house.CE 230.2

    Those who have neglected this important work in the home, and have failed to command their children and their households after them to keep the way of the Lord, should now seek to redeem the time. Let parents take their Bibles, and search that they may understand what are the requirements of God in regard to their children. Let them seek to understand what is included in parental duty. The word of God must be our rule in conducting our family affairs; and neither the waywardness of children nor the press of business, should be looked upon as an excuse for neglect in following the counsel of God. Let parents set before their children a worthy example in personal piety, honoring the house of God and respecting his service. The want of home religion is felt in every branch of God's work, and the necessity of cultivating personal piety in the home should be continually kept before the people. They should have instruction, line upon line and precept upon precept, that all those whose names are upon the church records may hear and obey the word of the Lord. Parents cannot rightly train their children unless they learn how to cooperate with the Lord in his work upon the heart. The first essential in educating your households in the fear of God, is consecration of yourself and your all to God. Let parents begin with heart work; for out of the heart are the issues of life. Let the prayer ascend from contrite hearts, “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” [Psalm 51:6-13.]CE 230.3

    What a prayer is this! How evident it is that sinners in the household are not to be treated with indifference, but that the Lord looks upon them as the purchase of his blood. In every household where the unconverted are, it should be the work of those who know the Lord to work in wisdom for their conversion. The Lord will surely bless the efforts of parents, as in his fear and love they seek to save the souls of their household. The Lord Jesus is waiting to be gracious. O that the work might begin at the heart! “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it; thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” [Psalm 51:16, 17.] Then let it be understood by all the members of the household that the work must begin at the heart. The heart must be subdued and made contrite through the creating, regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. Realizing the aid of this mighty agency, cannot parents work for the conversion of their children with more zeal and love than ever before?—Extract from an article in The Review and Herald, March 14, 1893.CE 231.1

    Pre-natal Influences.—God had an important work for the promised child of Manoah [Samson] to do, and it was to secure for him the qualifications necessary for this work, that the habits of both the mother and the child were to be carefully regulated. “Neither let her drink wine or strong drink,” was the angel's instruction for the wife of Manoah, “nor eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.” [Judges 13:14.] The child will be affected for good or for evil by the habits of the mother. She must herself be controlled by principle, and must practice temperance and self-denial, if she would seek the welfare of her child. Unwise advisers will urge upon the mother the necessity of gratifying every wish and impulse; but such teaching is false and mischievous. The mother is by the command of God himself placed under the most solemn obligation to exercise self-control.CE 232.1

    And fathers as well as mothers are involved in this responsibility. Both parents transmit their own characteristics, mental and physical, their dispositions and appetites, to their child. As the result of parental intemperance, children often lack physical strength and mental and moral power. Liquor-drinkers and tobacco-users may, and do, transmit their insatiable craving, their inflamed blood and irritable nerves, to their children. The licentious often bequeath their unholy desires, and even loathsome diseases, as a legacy to their offspring. And as the children have less power to resist temptation than had the parents, the tendency is for each generation to fall lower and lower. To a great degree, parents are responsible, not only for the violent passions and perverted appetites of their children, but for the infirmities of the thousands born deaf, blind, diseased, or idiotic.CE 233.1

    The inquiry of every father and mother should be, “What shall we do unto the child that shall be born unto us?” [Judges 13:8.] The effect of pre-natal influences has been by many lightly regarded; but the instruction sent from heaven to those Hebrew parents, and twice repeated in the most explicit and solemn manner, shows how this matter is looked upon by our Creator.CE 233.2

    And it was not enough that the promised child should receive a good legacy from the parents. This must be followed by careful training, and the formation of right habits. God directed that the future judge and deliverer of Israel should be trained to strict temperance from infancy. He was to be a Nazarite from his birth, thus being placed under a perpetual prohibition against the use of wine or strong drink. The lessons of temperance, self-denial, and self-control, are to be taught to children even from babyhood.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 561, 562.CE 233.3

    Parental Responsibility.—Parents are in a great degree responsible for the mould given to the characters of their children. They should aim at symmetry and proportion. There are few well-balanced minds, because parents are wickedly negligent of their duty to stimulate weak traits and repress wrong ones. They do not remember that they are under the most solemn obligation to watch the tendencies of each child; that it is their duty to train their children to right habits and right ways of thinking.CE 234.1

    Sometimes parents wait for the Lord to do the very work that he has given them to do. Instead of restraining and controlling their children as they should, they pet and indulge them, and gratify their whims and desires. When these children go out from their early homes, it is with characters deformed by selfishness, with ungoverned appetites, with strong self-will; they are destitute of courtesy or respect for their parents, and do not love religious truth or the worship of God. They have grown up with traits that are a life-long curse to themselves and to others. Home is made anything but happy if the evil weeds of dissension, selfishness, envy, passion, and sullen stubbornness are left to flourish in the neglected garden of the soul.CE 234.2

    Parents should show no partiality, but should treat all their children with tenderness, remembering that they are the purchase of Christ's blood. Children imitate their parents; hence great care should be taken to give them correct models. Parents who are kind and polite at home, while at the same time they are firm and decided, will see the same traits manifested in their children. If they are upright, honest and honorable, their children will be quite likely to resemble them in these particulars. If they reverence and worship God, their children, trained in the same way, will not forget to serve him also.CE 234.3

    It is often the case that parents are not careful to surround their children with right influences. In choosing a home, they think more of their worldly interests than of the moral and social atmosphere; and the children form associations that are unfavorable to the development of piety and the formation of right characters. Then parents allow the world to engross their time, strength, and thought; and when the Sabbath comes, it finds them so utterly exhausted that they have naught to render to God on his holy day, no sweet piety to grace the home, and make the Sabbath a delight to their children. They are seldom visited by a minister, for they have placed themselves out of reach of religious privileges. An apathy steals over the soul. The children are contaminated by evil communications, and the tenderness of soul that they once felt dies away and is forgotten.CE 235.1

    Parents who denounce the Canaanites for offering their children to Moloch, what are you doing? You are making a most costly offering to your mammon god; and then, when your children grow up unloved and unlovely in character, when they show decided impiety, and a tendency to infidelity, you blame the faith you profess because it was unable to save them. You are reaping that which you have sown,—the result of your selfish love of the world and neglect of the means of grace. You moved your families into places of temptation, and the ark of God, your glory and defense, you did not consider essential; and the Lord has not worked a miracle to deliver your children from temptation.CE 235.2

    You who profess to love God, take Jesus with you wherever you go; and, like the patriarchs of old, erect an altar to the Lord wherever you pitch your tent. A reformation in this respect is needed,—a reformation that shall be deep and broad. Parents need to reform; ministers need to reform. They need God in their households. They need to build the waste places of Zion; to set up her gates, and make strong her walls for a defense of the people....CE 235.3

    To many, education means a knowledge of books; but “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” [Psalm 111:10.] The true object of education is to restore the image of God in the soul. The first and most precious knowledge is the knowledge of Christ; and wise parents will keep this fact ever before the minds of their children. Should a limb be broken or fractured, parents will try every means that love or wisdom can suggest to restore the affected member to comeliness and soundness. This is right, it is their duty; but the Lord requires that still greater tact, patience, and persevering effort be employed to remedy blemishes of the soul. That father is unworthy of the name who is not to his children a Christian teacher, ruler, and friend, binding them to his heart by the strong ties of sanctified love,—a love which has its foundation in duty faithfully performed.CE 236.1

    Parents have a great and responsible work to do, and they may well inquire. “Who is sufficient for these things?” [2 Corinthians 2:16.] But God has promised to give wisdom to those that ask in faith, and he will do just as he said he would. He is pleased with the faith that takes him at his word. The mother of Augustine prayed for her son's conversion. She saw no evidence that the Spirit of God was impressing his heart, but she was not discouraged. She laid her finger upon the texts, presenting before God his own words, and pleaded as only a mother can. Her deep humiliation, her earnest importunities, her unwavering faith, prevailed, and the Lord gave her the desire of her heart. Today he is just as ready to listen to the petitions of his people. His “hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear;” [Isaiah 59:1.] and if Christian parents seek him earnestly, he will fill their mouths with arguments, and, for his name's sake, will work mightily in their behalf in the conversion of their children.—“Testimony,” No. 32, pp. 75-79.CE 236.2

    If parents would place themselves in the position of the teachers, and see how difficult it must necessarily be to manage and discipline a school of hundreds of students of every grade and class of minds, they might upon reflection see things differently. They should consider that some children have never been disciplined at home.CE 237.1

    Having always been indulged, and never trained to obedience, it would be greatly for their advantage to be removed from their injudicious parents, and placed under as severe regulations and drilling as soldiers in an army. Unless something shall be done for these children who have been so sadly neglected by unfaithful parents, they will never be accepted of Jesus; unless some power of control shall be brought to bear upon them, they will be worthless in this life, and will have no part in the future life.CE 237.2

    In heaven there is perfect order, perfect obedience, perfect peace and harmony. Those who have had no respect for order or discipline in this life, would have no respect for the order which is observed in heaven. They can never be admitted into heaven, for all worthy of an entrance there will love order and respect discipline. The characters formed in this, will determine the future life. When Christ shall come, he will not change the character of any individual. Precious, probationary time is given to be improved in washing our robes of character, and making them white in the blood of the Lamb.CE 237.3

    To remove the stains of sin requires the work of a lifetime. Every day renewed efforts in restraining and denying self are needed. Every day there are new battles to fight, and victories to be gained. Every day the soul should be called out in earnest pleading with God for the mighty victories of the cross. Parents should neglect no duty on their part to benefit their children. They should so train them that they will be a blessing to society here, and may reap the reward of eternal life hereafter.—“Testimony,” No. 29, first published in 1880.CE 237.4

    Lose no opportunity of helping the children to become intelligent in the understanding of the Scriptures. This will do more to bar the way against Satan's devices than we can now imagine. If they early become familiar with the truths of God's word, a barrier against ungodliness will be erected, and they will be able to meet the foe with Christ's words, “It is written.” There is a great work to be done for the youth and children; and every son and daughter of God may act a part in it, and thus be partakers of the reward that will be given to the faithful workers.—Gospel Workers, 406.CE 238.1

    Parents should encourage their children to confide in them, and unburden to them their heart griefs, their little daily annoyances and trials. Thus the parents can learn to sympathize with their children, and can pray with and for them, that God would shield and guide them. They should point them to their never-failing Friend and Counselor, who will be touched with the feeling of their infirmities, who was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. Satan tempts children to be reserved with their parents, and to choose as their confidants their young and inexperienced companions. Children would be saved from many evils if they would be more familiar with their parents. Parents should encourage in their children a disposition to be open and frank with them, to come to them with their difficulties, and when they are perplexed as to what course is right, to lay the matter, just as they view it, before their parents, and ask their advice.—“Testimony,” No. 10.CE 238.2

    Parental Training.—Children are what their parents make them, by their instruction, discipline, and example. Hence the overwhelming importance of parental faithfulness in training the young for the service of God. Children should early be taught the sacredness of religious obligations. This is a most important part of their education. Our duty to God should be performed before any other. The strict observance of God's law, from principle, should be taught and enforced. “For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children. That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.” [Psalm 78:5-8.]CE 239.1

    Deal honestly and faithfully with your children. Work bravely and patiently. Fear no crosses, spare no time or labor, burden or suffering. The future of your children will testify to the character of your work. Fidelity to Christ on your part can be better expressed in the symmetrical character of your children than in any other way. They are Christ's property, bought with his own blood. If their influence is wholly on the side of Christ, they are his co-laborers, helping others to find the path of life. If you neglect your God-given work, your unwise course of discipline places them among the class who scatter from Christ and strengthen the kingdom of darkness.CE 239.2

    This practical instruction in religious experience is what Christian parents should be prepared to give their children. God requires this of you, and you neglect your duty if you fail to perform this work. Instruct your children in regard to God's chosen methods of discipline and the conditions of success in the Christian life. Teach them that they cannot serve God and have their minds absorbed in over-careful provision for this life; but do not let them cherish the thought that they have no need to toil and may spend their leisure moments in idleness. God's word is plain on this point. Jesus, the Majesty of Heaven, has left an example for the youth. He toiled in the workshop at Nazareth for his daily bread. He was subject to his parents, and sought not to control his own time or to follow his own will. By a life of easy indulgence a youth can never attain to real excellence as a man or as a Christian. God does not promise us ease, honor, or wealth in his service, but he assures us that all needed blessings will be ours, “with persecutions,” and in the world to come “life everlasting.” Nothing less than entire consecration to his service will Christ accept. This is the lesson which every one of us must learn.CE 240.1

    The idea that we must submit to the ways of perverse children, is a mistake. Even kindness must have its limits. Authority must be sustained by a firm severity, or it will be received by many with mockery and contempt. The so-called tenderness, the coaxing and the indulgence used toward youth, by parents and guardians, is the worst evil which can come upon them. Firmness, decision, positive requirements, are essential in every family. Parents, take up your neglected responsibilities; educate your children after God's plan, showing “forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” [1 Peter 2:9.]—“Testimony,” No. 31.CE 240.2

    Ministers should stand erect, and speak slowly, firmly, and distinctly, taking a full inspiration of air at every sentence, and throwing out the words by exercising the abdominal muscles. If they will observe this simple rule, giving attention to the laws of health in other respects, they may preserve their life and usefulness much longer than men in any other profession. Ministers and teachers should discipline themselves to clear and distinct articulation, giving the full sound to every word. Those who talk rapidly, from the throat, jumbling the words together, and raising their voices to an unnaturally high pitch, soon become hoarse, and the words spoken lose half the force which they would have if spoken slowly, distinctly, and not so loud. The sympathies of the hearers are awakened for the speaker; for they know that he is doing violence to himself, and they fear that he will break down at any moment. It is no evidence that a man has zeal for God because he works himself up into a frenzy excitement and gesticulation. “Bodily exercise,” says the apostle, “profiteth little.” [1 Timothy 4:8.]CE 241.1

    The Saviour of the world would have his co-laborers represent him; and the more closely a man walks with God, the more faultless will be his manner of address, his deportment, his attitude, and his gestures. Coarse and uncouth manners were never seen in our Pattern, Christ Jesus. He was a representative of Heaven, and his followers must be like him.CE 241.2

    Some reason that the Lord will, by his Spirit, qualify a man to speak as he would have him; but the Lord does not propose to do the work which he has given man to do. He has given us reasoning powers and opportunities to educate the mind and manners. And after we have done all we can for ourselves, making the best use of the advantages within our reach, then we may look to God with earnest prayer to do by his Spirit that which we cannot do for ourselves, and we shall ever find in our Saviour power and efficiency.—“Testimony,” No. 29.CE 241.3

    God is displeased with those who are too careless or indolent to become efficient, well-informed workers. The Christian should possess more intelligence and keener discernment than the worldling. The study of God's word is continually expanding the mind and strengthening the intellect. There is nothing that will so refine and elevate the character, and give vigor to every faculty, as the continual exercise of the mind to grasp and comprehend weighty and important truths.CE 242.1

    But if you can obtain the confidence of the youth [a troublesome pupil], and bind him to your heart through cords of sympathy and love, you may win a soul to Christ. The wayward, self-willed, independent boy may become transformed in character.CE 242.2

    But while it is necessary to manifest love and sympathy for your pupils, it is a manifest weakness to show partiality, and thus arouse suspicion and jealousy. Children are quick to discern the preferences of the teacher, and the favored student often measures his strength, his aptness and skill with that of the teacher in the management of the class. He may decide to be master, and unless the teacher has the grace of Christ, he will manifest weakness, become impatient, exacting, and severe. The leading spirit of the class will generally impart his purpose to other students, and there will be a combined effort to obtain the mastery. If the teacher, through the grace of Christ, is self-controlled, and holds the lines with a steady, patient hand, he will quell the boisterous element, keep his self-respect, and command the respect of his students. When once order is restored, let kindness, gentleness, and affection be manifested. It may be that rebellion will rise again and again, but let not the hasty temper appear. Do not speak sharply to the evil doer, and discourage a soul who is struggling with the powers of darkness. Be still, and let your heart ascend in prayer to God for help. Angels will come close to your side, and help you to lift up the standard against the enemy, and instead of cutting off the erring one, you may be enabled to gain a soul for Christ.—Extract from an article in the Sabbath-school Worker for December, 1892.CE 242.3

    Those who occupy responsible positions should so educate and discipline themselves that all within the sphere of their influence may see what man can be, and what he can do, when connected with the God of wisdom and power.CE 243.1

    And why should not a man thus privileged become intellectually strong? Again and again have worldlings sneeringly asserted that those who believe present truth are weak-minded, deficient in education, without position or influence. This we know to be untrue, but is there not some reason for these assertions? Many have considered it a mark of humility to be ignorant and uncultivated. Such persons are deceived as to what constitutes true humility and Christian meekness.—“Testimony,” No. 30.CE 243.2

    Practical Discipline.—Among the youth will be found great diversity of character and education. Some have lived in an element of arbitrary restraint and harshness, which has developed in them a spirit of obstinacy and defiance. Others have been household pets, allowed by overfond parents to follow their own inclinations. Every defect has been excused, until their character is deformed. To deal successfully with these different minds, the teacher needs to exercise great tact and delicacy in management, as well as firmness in government. Dislike and even contempt for proper regulations will often be manifested. Some will exercise all their ingenuity in evading penalties, while others will display a reckless indifference to the consequences of transgression. All this will call for more patience and greater exertion on the part of those who are entrusted with their education. If the parents would stand pledged to sustain the authority of the teacher, much insubordination, vice, and profligacy would be prevented. Parents should require their children to respect and obey rightful authority. They should labor with unremitting care and diligence to instruct, guide, and restrain their children, until right habits are firmly established. With such training the youth would be in subjection to the institutions of society, and the general restraints of moral obligation.CE 243.3

    Both by precept and example, the young should be taught simplicity of dress and manners, industry, sobriety, and economy. Many students are extravagant in spending the means furnished them by their parents. They try to show themselves superior to their associates by a lavish use of money for display and self-indulgence. In some institutions of learning, this matter has been regarded of so great consequence that the dress of the student is prescribed and his use of money limited by law. But indulgent parents and indulged students will find some way to evade the law. We would resort to no such means. We ask Christian parents to take all these matters under careful, prayerful consideration, to seek counsel from the word of God, and then endeavor to act in accordance with its teachings.CE 244.1

    If facilities for manual labor were provided in connection with our school, and students were required to devote a portion of their time to some active employment, it would prove a safeguard against many of the evil influences that prevail in institutions of learning. Manly, useful occupations, substituted for frivolous and corrupting diversions, would give legitimate scope for the exuberance of youthful life, and would promote sobriety and stability of character. All possible efforts should be made to encourage a desire for moral and physical as well as mental improvement. If girls were taught how to cook, especially how to make good bread, their education would be of far greater value. A knowledge of useful labor would prevent, to a great extent, that sickly sentimentalism which has been and is still ruining thousands. The exercise of the muscles as well as the brain will encourage taste for the homely duties of practical life.—“Testimony,” No. 31.CE 244.2

    Literary societies are quite frequently organized, but, in nine cases out of ten, they have proved a damage to souls, rather than a blessing. This is because an alliance is formed with the world, or with a class whose influence and tendency is ever to lead away from the solid, to the superficial, from the real, to the fictitious. Literary societies would be of great advantage, if controlled by a religious element; but sooner or later, the irreligious element is almost certain to gain the ascendancy, and have a controlling influence.CE 245.1

    Every physical and mental capability should be carefully preserved, and put to the best and highest use, to advance the glory of God. Those youth who permit their powers to be perverted, thus abusing God's gifts, will be called to strict account for the good they might have done had they availed themselves of the provision made through Jesus Christ. God claims the working of every faculty.—“Testimony,” No. 31.CE 245.2

    All who become learners in the school of Christ excel both in the quality and the extent of their education. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” [Proverbs 9:10.] A knowledge of God and his requirements will open the understanding of the student to realize his responsibilities to God and to the world. To this end he will feel that his talents must be developed in that way which will produce the very best results. This cannot be done unless all the precepts and principles of religion are connected with his school education. In no case should he disconnect God from his studies. In the pursuit of knowledge, he is searching for truth; and all truth comes from God, the source of truth. Students who are virtuous, and are imbued with the Spirit of Christ, will grasp knowledge with all their faculties. Education acquired without Bible religion is disrobed of its true brightness and glory.—“Testimony,” No. 28.CE 246.1

    There is no virtue in ignorance, and knowledge will not necessarily dwarf Christian growth; but if you seek for it from principle, having the right object before you, and feeling your obligation to God to use your faculties to do good to others and promote his glory, knowledge will aid you to accomplish this end; it will help you to bring into exercise the powers which God has given you, and to employ them in his service. But, young men, if you gain ever so much knowledge, and yet fail to put that knowledge to a practical use, you fail of your object. If, in obtaining an education, you become so absorbed in your studies that you neglect prayer and religious privileges, and become careless and indifferent to the welfare of your souls, if you cease to learn in the school of Christ, you are selling your birthright for a mess of pottage. The object for which you are obtaining an education should not be lost sight of for a moment. It should be so to develop and direct your faculties that you may be more useful, and bless others to the extent of your ability. If by obtaining knowledge you increase your love of yourselves, and your inclination to excuse yourselves from bearing responsibilities, you are better without an education. If you love and idolize books, and allow them to get between you and your duties, so that you feel a reluctance to leave your studies and your reading to do essential labor that some one must do, you should restrain your desire to study, and cultivate a love for doing those things in which you now take no interest. He that is faithful in that which is least will also be faithful in greater things.—“Testimony,” No. 22.CE 246.2

    A Closing Exhortation.—Shall the powers of mind and soul be misapplied? Shall opportunities be lost? Shall a form and routine be gone through day after day, with nothing gained? O, awake, awake, teachers and pupils, before it is too late! Awake before you hear from pale and agonized lips the terrible wail, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!”CE 247.1

    Are the gifts and talents of every educator improved for the very best good of the pupils? Who is watching for a favorable moment to speak words of kindness and love? Who loves to tell the story of Him who so loved the world that he gave his life to redeem lost and perishing sinners? Train the youth, mould the character, educate, educate, educate, for the future, immortal life. Pray often. Plead with God to give you a spirit of supplication. Do not feel that your work as teachers is done unless you can lead your scholars to faith in Jesus and love for him. Let the love of Christ pervade your own souls, and then you will unconsciously teach it to others. When you as instructors commit yourselves unreservedly to Jesus, for him to lead, to guide, to control, you will not fail. Teaching your students to be Christians is the greatest work before you. Go to God; he hears and answers prayers. Put from you questionings, doubts, and unbelief. Let no harshness come into your teaching. Be not too exacting, but cultivate tender sympathy and love. Be cheerful. Do not scold, do not censure too severely; be firm, be broad, be Christlike, pitiful, courteous. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”CE 247.2

    I cannot express to you the intense desire of my soul that you should all seek the Lord most earnestly while he may be found. We are in the day of God's preparation. Let nothing be regarded as of sufficient worth to draw your minds from the work of preparing for the great day of Judgment. Get ready. Let not cold unbelief hold your souls away from God; but let his love burn on the altar of your hearts.—“Testimony,” No. 33, pp. 117, 118.CE 248.1

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