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    April 16, 1885

    “Notes on the International Lesson. May 3—Ephesians 6:1-13. Obedience” The Signs of the Times 11, 16, pp. 246, 247.

    “CHILDREN, obey your parents in the Lord.” Thus is given the command for the obedience of children. But children have to learn obedience, as they have to learn everything else; and this must be taught them by those whom they are to obey. Happy are those children whose parents know, and understand, and practice, the principles of true obedience; that so, they may properly instruct the children in this first duty, and all-important principle of life. Until the children become old enough to know God; until they reach the age of accountability to him; until they become old enough to be personally responsible to him in the choice which they make, whether to be for good or ill,—until this stage is reached in the lives of the children, so far as obedience and their knowledge of right and wrong are concerned, the parents are to the children in the place of God. Happy are those parents who realize and fulfill this great responsibility. And happy, thrice happy, are those children whose parents, realizing this, shall have so taught them the way of truth and right, that when this time comes, when they shall be as it were delivered to themselves, it may be easy for them to “refuse the evil and choose the good.”SITI April 16, 1885, page 246.1

    “FOR this is right.” This is the reason that Paul gives as to why children should obey their parents; and in it is embodied the true principle of all proper obedience, whether to parents or to God. Is a thing right? do that thing because it is right. Is a thing wrong? refuse it because it is wrong. This is the principle laid down by the apostle, to be inculcated by the parents, on the minds and hearts of the children. So that whenever they meet the temptation to do this or that, there will be just one only question to be decided, Is it right? But is this done? Is this principle cultivated in the hearts of the children, that it may grow as they grow, and so become a part of themselves—ingrained in the very nature?SITI April 16, 1885, page 246.2

    HOW stands the fact? Is it not rather the truth that this principle is seldom thought of, and still more seldom inculcated? Is it not the truth that almost as a general thing when a child shows hesitation in obeying, or a disposition to not obey, a reward of some kind is promised if he will do it, so that he is really hired to obey? It was the Lord’s commendation of Abraham that “I know him that he will command [not hire] 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. Here we see that the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to Abraham was dependent upon how his children should conduct themselves, and their proper conduct was assured by the fact that Abraham would command them, and thus they should keep the way of the Lord.SITI April 16, 1885, page 246.3

    ANOTHER notable instance is that of the house of Eli, where parental laxity forfeited the promise of God. “And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord.” “I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me forever; but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” 1 Samuel 2:27, 30. Wherein had Eli not honored the Lord? “And honorest thy sons above me.” Verse 29. How was this? “Because his sons made themselves vile and he restrained them not.” 1 Samuel 3:13. “And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.” 1 Samuel 3:11-14.SITI April 16, 1885, page 246.4

    HERE are the two ways of the dealings of parents with their children, and the results that follow each. Abraham commanded his children and they kept the way of the Lord, and an eternity of blessedness and joy came to Abraham and to his seed. Eli restrained not his children, and experienced the truth that children left to themselves bring their parents to shame; he forfeited the promise, and turned away from his house the blessing of God forever. In these two instances are illustrated two very important texts of Scripture. In Abraham, this one, “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. In Eli, this one, “The rod and reproof give wisdom; but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” Proverbs 29:15. These texts are both strictly; literally, true, and neither of them more so than the other. But it would seem that if there is any one particular text of the Scriptures, the truth of which is doubted, it is this one of Proverbs 22:6.SITI April 16, 1885, page 246.5

    THE failure, however, is not in the Scripture, but in the mistaken application of it. The text says, “Train up a child,” &c., but the child is not trained and does not go in the right way, and thus the failure is charged to the Scripture. To let the child run subject to ha-hazard influ- ences all the week and then take him to meeting or Sabbath-school, or both, on the Sabbath, is that to train him? Is that the way in which men train themselves, their horses, or any of their animals? No, the term “train” would never be applied to such treatment of anything—but a child. When a man wants to train a colt, he spends hours at it every day. If he wants to train himself for a foot-race, a boxing match, or any other athletic sport, he puts himself through severe discipline every day. And so everybody understands and applies the word “train,” except in the application of this text of Scripture. But here, as a general thing, all special instruction is given on the Sabbath alone, and then in most cases by others than the parents. Such is not to train up a child in the way he should go, and so he has no fixed habitual principle to keep him in the way he should go.SITI April 16, 1885, page 246.6

    BUT how shall it be done effectually? Paul tells us plainly: “Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Nurture, is fostering care. Admonition, is counseling against a fault or error, instruction in duties. This direction of the apostle’s, therefore, is to bring or train them up in the fostering care of the Lord, in the counsel and instruction of the Lord. The Lord, in his word, has given full directions in regard to the fostering care, the counsel, and the instruction, in which he will have parents to train up the children: “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates; that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.” Deuteronomy 11:18-21.SITI April 16, 1885, page 247.1

    “FINALLY, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”SITI April 16, 1885, page 247.2

    A. T. JONES.

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