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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)

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    Ms 87, 1902

    Sermon/On the Training of Children

    Petaluma, California

    June 8, 1902

    Portions of this manuscript are published in BEcho 02/16/1903; 02/23/1903; 03/02/1903; 03/09/1903; 03/16/1903; 03/23/1903.

    “I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth (pruneth) it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through (obedience to) the Word that I have spoken unto you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” [John 15:1-6.]17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 1

    “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” [Verse 7.] This promise is given with no conditions excepting those which Christ has made. Whosoever abides in Him asks for the things that are in harmony with His will and always receives an answer to his petitions.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 2

    “Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.” The bearing of good fruit is the proof of true discipleship. Those who abide in Christ have the mind of Christ, and of such He declares, “So shall ye be My disciples. As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love.” [Verses 8, 9.]17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 3

    The privilege of abiding in Christ is given on the condition of obedience to His Word. He says, “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” [Verse 10.] This is a wonderful statement. When I take into consideration all the words that Christ has given us in regard to the things essential for our salvation, I often wonder what excuse we could render to God for our neglect of His Word and our failure to obey its teachings. Those who prayerfully study the Word are eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. And Christ declares that those who eat His flesh and drink His blood have eternal life.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 4

    “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is My commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends, Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” [Verses 10-14.]17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 5

    The Fruits of Righteousness to Be Borne in the Home Life

    Christians fathers and mothers are to bear the fruits of righteousness in the home life. A most solemn responsibility rests upon them. The home of every Christian should be a little church, a representation of the heavenly home, from which others may learn what a family can become in this world through obedience to God’s Word. Heaven is much nearer to the earth than many realize. The angels of God are ascending and descending the ladder of shining brightness that Jacob saw. God is above this ladder, and His glory, flushing the threshold of heaven, is shining upon every round.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 6

    God desires parents to bear much fruit by training and disciplining their children aright. Such work requires tact and skill; for different minds are differently constituted. In order to be successful in this work, parents should engage in it prayerfully and intelligently, beginning with themselves.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 7

    The husband and the wife are to bear with and respect each other. The husband is the priest of the household. The wife is to lean upon his large affections, and his arm is to strengthen and sustain her in carrying the burdens. Both should learn to use much discretion in the management of human minds. In dealing with their children they should depend upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 8

    The First Obligations of Parents

    Parents often ask me what they ought to do for their children. While I was laboring in Australia, many wrote to me from America on this point. One sister, the mother of six children, desired to learn whether it were her duty to leave home in order to labor for the conversion of other children. In my reply to this mother, I said, The first obligation resting upon you is the care of the children that are a part of yourself. First show that you have the wisdom and grace of Christ to work upon the material in your own home. Help your own little ones before trying to help others. Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, so that they will be converted to Him and become useful in His service. Your ability to lead your children to yield themselves to the Lord will be the evidence that you have the tact and ingenuity, through the power of God’s Spirit, to manage other human minds and turn them to Jesus. If you cannot manage your own children, do not think of going elsewhere.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 9

    Study the Child’s Temperament

    Fathers and mothers, ask in faith for wisdom to deal with your children in the fear of God. They are a part of your flesh and blood and have inherited your temperament. When you see them acting as you would act were you not under the control of the Spirit of God, how patiently you should deal with them! Notwithstanding your mistakes and failures, Christ has dealt kindly and patiently with you.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 10

    If you desire to learn what course to take with your children, make their peculiar temperaments your constant study. All children cannot be managed alike. You may need to manage one child differently from the way in which you manage another. Go to God, telling Him your perplexity. He will teach you how to deal with human minds. When you learn lessons from the Source of wisdom, when you manifest an earnest desire to save the souls of those who are of your own flesh and blood, when you show a determination not to let them go but to hold on to them, you will be able to bring them up in the fear of God.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 11

    Methods of Training

    We have much to learn in regard to child training. When teaching the little ones how to do things, we must not scold them. Never should we say, “Why did you not do this?” Say, “Children, help mother do this;” or, “Come, children, let us do this.” Be their companion in doing these things. When they finish their work, praise them.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 12

    Years ago the children in my home were learning how to knit. One of them asked me, “Mother, I should like to know whether I am helping you by trying to do this knitting-work?” I knew that I should have to take out every stitch, but I replied, “Yes, my child, you are helping me.” Why could I say that they were helping me? Because they were learning. When they did not make the stitches as they should have made them, I took out every stitch afterward, but never did I condemn them for their failure. Patiently I taught them until they knew how to knit properly.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 13

    The mother is the queen of the home. She must not allow her children to treat her as a slave. Many a mother has gone down into the grave with a broken heart, because she made a slave of herself, doing things that she should have taught her children to do. Let every mother teach her children that they are members of the family firm and must bear their share of the responsibilities of this firm. Every member of the family should bear these responsibilities as faithfully as church members bear the responsibilities of church relationship. Let the children know that they are helping father and mother by doing little errands. Give them some work to do for you, and tell them that afterward they can have a time to play.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 14

    Dress your children neatly in simple clothing, and allow them to spend much time out-of-doors. You can furnish them with cartloads of sand in which to play. By playing in the sunshine and the fresh air, children will gain health and strength of mind and body. They will be benefited both spiritually and physically.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 15

    The Lord recognizes every such effort. The spiritual education of the child begins in the home. The mother, as the first teacher, should teach her children how to pray by having them repeat a simple prayer after her. The Saviour dwells in the homes of those who teach their children to pray for His blessing to rest upon them. The saving power of the grace of God will be given to such fathers and mothers.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 16

    After the children have learned to write, encourage them to keep a record of the occurrences of the day, noting the points on which they have overcome through the grace of Christ, and also the points on which they have failed. During the evening hour of prayer have a blessed season of confession, and of praise and rejoicing. I am sorry that we do not have more praise services in our homes, sorry that we are so slow to learn to praise Him from whom all blessings flow.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 17

    The Influence of Cheerfulness

    Are you sick at times? If so, do not let a gloomy expression come over your countenance. Such an expression hurts not only yourself, but also those who are with you. Bear good fruit by showing that the power of Christ enables you to endure uncomplainingly the afflictions that sometimes must be endured in the home life.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 18

    Let us keep ourselves in a cheerful frame of mind. It is our privilege, through faith, to have the mind of Christ, and to abide in Him. I especially beseech mothers to remember that it is their privilege to have the mind of Christ. Never lose control of your temper. You cannot afford to do this; for thus you would sow in the hearts of your children seed that, sooner or later, would produce the fruits of unrighteousness. Such seed sowing is represented as laying wood, hay, and stubble upon the foundation stone. How much better it is to use gold, silver, and precious stones in the character building by being compassionate, considerate, charitable, and long suffering in every word and deed! When you have learned to control yourself, it will be easy for you to bind your children to you with the silken cord of love. This is true religion. Thus you give a true representation of Christ. Thus you can take your children with you in the way of righteousness, following Christ at every step.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 19

    Methods of Government

    Some parents make the grave mistake of allowing children to have their own way until they are old enough to reason for themselves. By this course they place their children beyond the reach of their help. Let every mother begin the training of her children while they are in babyhood. Some battles will have to be fought, it is true, but no parent can afford to wait until the children are older.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 20

    If your child reaches out to take some forbidden thing, say kindly, but firmly, “No, do not touch it,” and you will find after telling him this two or three times that he will learn to obey. Touch the hand a little severely, if necessary. When he reaches after the forbidden object again, say, “No, no! No, no! Mustn’t touch! Mustn’t touch!” Time and again I have seen this method followed successfully in dealing with little children who wanted to grasp everything that their hands could handle while sitting at the dining-room table. Such children should be restrained. Tell them that there are things which they must not touch. If thus trained in their babyhood and early childhood, they will learn to obey while very young.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 21

    In the government of children there must never be a difference of opinion between the parents.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 22

    Parents, remember that impulsive movements in disciplining children are liable to place them on Satan’s ground. By indiscretion you can arouse the very worst feelings of the human heart. You can manage your children in such a manner that from babyhood they will virtually manage you. But God has given you reasoning faculties. Determine that by His infinite power you will be obeyed in your house. Never let your love and patience interfere with the requiring of perfect obedience. Children respect a mother who rules firmly in love as the queen of the home.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 23

    The mother who governs in the fear of God will not allow her child to throw himself upon the floor in a fit of passion, kicking and screaming in rage. If he attempts to do this, she will make him understand that such actions must never be repeated. If the mother does not control, Satan will. With prayer and patience the mother should strive to direct aright the minds of her children, leading them in the way of righteousness. When my children were very young, I determined that they should never, never gain an advantage over me by disturbing my feelings. I never let them see that they could annoy me. When they disobeyed, I did not shake them roughly or strike them. Instead of punishing them at once, I said to them, We will say nothing about this matter before evening worship; then we will talk it over and settle it. When evening came, they were subdued, ready to ask forgiveness. Thus I avoided many difficulties.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 24

    What is the use of blistering the tongue with words of scolding and fretfulness? The gift of speech is a precious talent. Glorify God by speaking right words.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 25

    The Work of Parents During Camp-Meetings

    When attending a camp-meeting, keep your children by your side unless some special provision is made for them. Do not permit them to stroll about the grounds when they should be with you. If your children are unconverted, you should say to them, “Children, we have come here to be converted.” Leave nothing in the way of their conversion. If anything in your life is standing in their way, make confessions to them. If you have been speaking unkindly to them, say, “Children, I have determined to cease speaking harshly and unkindly. Will you do the best you can to help your mother to reform?” Then make a covenant with God by sacrifice to reform. If necessary, sign a pledge that henceforth, the Lord helping you, you will always be a faithful mother.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 26

    Oh, that mothers should neglect the great salvation that has been offered to them and think perhaps that they were doing a praiseworthy thing if they did not fight against the truth! Christ says, “He that is not with Me scattereth abroad.” [See Matthew 12:30.] Those who are not united with Christ are exerting an influence against Him, even if they do not openly oppose Him. God is calling upon the mothers who have not awaked before, to awake during this meeting. He holds you accountable for the souls of your children. Many of you are students of the Scriptures and are familiar with a theory of the truth, but every day you are neglecting the great salvation offered you. Even if you do not openly oppose the truth, yet if you neglect to respond to the overtures of Mercy, you are fighting against God. Notwithstanding Christ’s complete sacrifice, many who hear the truth and are familiar with its teachings still neglect the great salvation offered them. Mothers, can you afford to remain out of the ark of safety? If you remain outside, how can you expect your children to enter?17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 27

    We are not to shut ourselves up to ourselves, thinking that we have nothing to do in our own church or elsewhere. Christ has commissioned us to carry the gospel to the world. Not only should we cherish and teach the principles of truth in our homes; we should bring them into the church and exalt them before the world.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 28

    Never should we act so that our children will have cause for saying, “My parents do not act as Christians should.” If our actions are inconsistent with our profession of Christianity, we are laying stumbling blocks before the feet of our children. Parents, arouse! Be afraid to neglect longer the great salvation offered you. Be converted on this camp-ground. Make diligent work, determining that under all circumstances you will be Christians.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 29

    “Suffer little children to come unto me.”17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 30

    Jesus loves little children. He gave His life not only for the salvation of fathers and mothers, but also for the salvation of children. During His ministry one mother with her child desired to find Him, in order that He might lay His hands upon the child. This mother felt that she must take her little one to Jesus for His blessing. She thought of it for some time; for Jesus was not near her, and it seemed too great an undertaking to go to Him. But Jesus came nearer and still nearer, until He was near enough for her to reach Him. She started on her journey, and on the way another mother joined her with her children, and afterward still others, until several mothers with their children were in the little company that came to the disciples and made known their request.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 31

    Thinking to do Christ a favor, His disciples sent the mothers away. But when Jesus saw that they were being sent away disappointed, He rebuked His disciples, saying, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.” [Mark 10:14.]17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 32

    Christ saw those children leaving their homes. He saw the little company coming along the dusty way, increasing in number as they journeyed on. And when the children came to Him, He took them in His arms and blessed them. Some of the weary little ones fell asleep in His arms, resting their heads upon His bosom. The burdened mothers were comforted. They returned with light hearts, strengthened and blessed, carrying with them the Saviour’s blessing, which ever afterward they cherished in their humble homes.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 33

    Let us pray for the blessing of Christ’s abiding presence in our homes. Let us take more time to teach our children lessons of faith and trust in Him. We may think that by so doing we are neglecting our business, but are we? We never lose in business transactions by taking time to seek God for His blessing; for those who receive His blessing receive the vivifying power of His Spirit, which revives them in health and strengthens them for their work.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 34

    “Seek those things which are above.” [Colossians 3:1.]17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 35

    We took our baptismal vows in the presence of the three highest authorities of the heavenly courts—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. We solemnly pledged ourselves before all Heaven to die to sin and to walk in newness of life. Have we been working out our own salvation with fear and trembling? or have we been living a worldly life, indulging in sin? The apostle’s instruction is: “Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” [Verses 1-4.]17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 36

    Mothers, you have made a covenant with Jesus and claim to be His children. Have you lived the Christ-life? Have you been seeking those things which are above? When you took your baptismal vows, were you dead to sin and to the world, or were you buried in baptism while you were still alive? It is an awful thing to be buried alive.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 37

    Those who are dead to sin and to the world are dead to fashion and pride. They are careful in the expenditure of means. When the gospel messengers enter new fields to carry the truth to those who have never heard it before, those who have died to the world contribute liberally for the support of these messengers. They give to this work every dollar that they can save. They spend nothing for selfish gratification or for the adornment of their children.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 38

    Christian parents, never allow your children to dress as worldlings dress. You may say, “My children do not profess to be converted, and therefore I cannot refuse them;” but this reason does not excuse you. Let them understand that your money is the Lord’s money and must not be used in indulging them in the fashions and pleasures of the world. Dress them neatly and tastefully, but refuse to sustain them in any effort to follow the fashions. Do not allow their minds to control yours.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 39

    As God-fearing parents, you should lead your children to give their hearts to God when very young. Tell them your desire to see them converted and baptized, and then work to this end.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 40

    My brother, my sister, it has been your privilege to sanctify yourself wholly to God’s service. You will be sustained by ministrations of heavenly angels. The Holy Spirit will help you in every emergency, enabling you to remain sanctified in mind and heart. Why?—Because you are dead, and your life is bound up with the life of Jesus Christ. You live in Him; He abides in you; and you are united as one. You are actuated by His mind, and you think right thoughts and speak right words. Forgetting not that you have been cleansed from sin, you grow in grace, adding “to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [2 Peter 1:5-8.]17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 41

    “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.” [Colossians 3:5, 6.] If you have been obedient since taking your baptismal vows, none of these sins is clinging to you; for you pledged yourself before God to die to sin. After your burial in the water in the likeness of Christ’s death, you arose in the likeness of His resurrection. Over the rent sepulcher of Joseph He declared, “I am the resurrection and the life.” [John 11:25.] He will keep His pledge, if you keep yours to remain dead to the world and alive in Him. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above. ... Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” [Colossians 3:1, 12-14.]17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 42

    “In all points tempted like as we are.” [Hebrews 4:15.]17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 43

    In Hebrews we read: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” [Hebrews 1:1-3.]17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 44

    To save the fallen race, Christ laid aside His kingly crown and royal robe, clothed His divinity with the robe of humanity, and came to this earth. Without leaving heaven and taking the nature of man, He could not pay the ransom for our salvation; therefore He left His high command in the heavenly courts and assumed the weaknesses of humanity, sacrificing all in our behalf. He came to this earth and stood at the head of humanity, to work out for you and for me a faultless character by obedience to God’s law. He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” [Hebrews 4:15.] The temptations that He withstood were as much stronger than ours as His nobility and majesty are greater than ours. Having been tempted so strongly on every point, He is able to succor every one whom Satan is now tempting. And today it is the privilege of men and women to gain the victory over temptation through the merits of the crucified and risen Saviour, who is familiar with every trial of humanity.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 45

    “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly (resolutely) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” [Verses 14-16.]17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 46

    “How much owest thou unto my lord?” [Luke 16:5.]17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 47

    In connection with God, Christ created the heavens and the earth and all that is therein. He made and has kept in place the great powers in the heavens—the sun, the moon, and the stars—to give light and gladness to the earth, to give the dew and the rain, and to cause vegetation to flourish. All these blessings He has given to the just and to the unjust.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 48

    In return for these blessings, what are we doing for the Master? Have we been true to Him since our baptism? If we have not, let us seek for reconversion and henceforth be faithful to our baptismal vows. Let us take up our long-neglected duties, and bear fruit to the glory of God. Those who remain faithful to the end will receive a rich reward. To every overcomer God has promised a crown of glory and a home in heaven.17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 49

    “How much owest thou unto my lord?” [Verse 5.] In order to produce the fruits of the earth, you must co-operate with Him. True, you can sow the seed; but it is God who sends the sunshine and the showers to cause the seed to spring up and grow, “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” [Mark 4:28.] Thus it is in cultivating the fruits of righteousness in the heart. We must co-operate with God. Paul says, “Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Even in working for our temporal sustenance we are working for God’s glory. And He has instructed us to work also for the salvation of the soul. “Work out your own salvation,” He says, “with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:12, 13.]17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 50

    Those in whom Christ is abiding will never neglect the duties that they owe to their children. Fathers, mothers, come to the foot of the Cross, saying, “Lord, forgive me for failing to serve Thee and to render grateful praise to Thee for Thy loving-kindness to me. O Jesus, pardon me, and I will begin to live a new life, henceforth serving Thee alone.”17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 51

    Remember that your children are not your own, but that they, too, have been “bought with a price,” and that they are to be prepared for a home in heaven. [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] A crown of glory will be placed upon the head of every victorious parent and every victorious child. The gates of the beautiful city will be opened for the entrance of both faithful parents and obedient children. In that day it will be the privilege of faithful parents to say, “Behold I and the children which God hath given me.” [Hebrews 2:13.]17LtMs, Ms 87, 1902, par. 52

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