Last Updated on : Saturday, October 11, 2014
The idealism of youth calls for an ideal irreproachable wav of life in adult brethren and sisters. Deeds, not words only, count in the example which we should present to youth, and indeed to the world. In addition we should be aglow with conviction and enthusiasm, and this should always be evident. Our guidance, our advice and our leadership of the young will be respected and accepted when our lives are patterned on the gentle, understanding, and wise sympathy of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose life was light, and whose light is life eternal
THE inspired writer of the Proverbs, speaking of a faithful parent who would encourage his son in ways of righteousness, represents him as saying: "Let thine eyes observe my ways" (Prov. 23:26). It is an appeal of tremendous responsibility to the parent. It invites the child to look closely at parental ways to see therein an example of righteousness.
The general parent-child relationship emphasised by the Proverbs, should be closely considered by all Christadelphian parents in these times when parental control is either negligible or lacks the power of sound example. Example can play a major part in educating children in spiritual matters. Let us face facts. How can we expect our children to be loyal to the things of the Truth, if we are half-hearted or hypocritical towards them? What example is it, if we solemnly intone that we are to be separate from the world, and take the family to a theatre, or a drive in? What appeal is it, if a parent speaks impressively about the need for studying the Bible, and then leads the family in several hours of television viewing most evenings? What value is a father's exhortation for the need of dedication in service to Yahweh, if he, at the same time, gives the best of his life to the development of his business affairs? Parents need always to remember that children have remarkable powers of observation and imitation, so that their inconsistencies do not pass unnoticed. How blessed our children would be if we all, in honesty, could echo the words of the wise man: "Let thine eyes observe my ways!" Parents cannot reasonably expect their children to respond to the teaching of the Truth if they are not themselves giving around lead in that direction.
The responsibilities of parenthood were impressed by the Law of Yahweh:
"I Yahweh thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me" (Exod. 20:5).
Yahweh is here referring to those children who follow the example of their parents in hating Him to the extent that they fail to give Him their first love. The point is thusæ stressed that children follow the lead of their parents.
Hatred of Yahweh, manifested by a neglect of His word and commandments, can become a family characteristic ifæ parents give a lead in that direction, to the end that divine retribution will come upon those descendants that follow the example given.
How tremendous are the responsibilities of parenthood! However, the voice of Inspiration also observes that "a good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children .... " (Prov. 13:22). What greater inheritance can we give our children than a sound knowledge of God's ways? If a child is thoroughly initiated therein, and a deep love for Yahweh is carefully inculcated (Prov. 22:6), the "Godly seed" will be preserved. In this, the power of example is paramount. Children must be given the opportunity to observe that their parents:
´ Remain separate from the world;
´ Educate themselves and the family in divine truth;
´ Dedicate their Iives to serving Yahweh.
Separation, education and dedication comprise three key words for healthy family life in the Truth. A home built on these principles will manifest unity, happiness and wellbeing. There will be greater communion between the Father in heaven, and the family on earth, ensuring that His care and blessing will be extended towards it, to the ultimate eternal benefit of each member.
The entire family will learn to develop faith in Yahweh that will ease the trials and difficulties of life. Each member
will develop a confidence in the Creator that will have a unifying effect upon the whole family.
On the other hand, to allow a child to taste of the world without restraint is equivalent to permitting him to drink a deadly poison. Equally disastrous is to permit children to do as they like. True, the theory of self-expression is widely acclaimed and accepted these days, but so is the incidence of juvenile delinquency: and one stems from the other. Loving but firm discipline is essential if children are to be wisely guided. Again, the book of Proverbs instructs:
"Withhold not correction from the child, for if thou beat him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell" (sheol, the grave).
The teaching is clear. Paul expressed it this way: "No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but 9 grievous, nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (Heb. 12:11).
These two quotations clearly show how that the natural typifies the spiritual. Wise and loving parents will not stand by and permit their children to commit transgressions against divine principles without correcting them. To do otherwise would be to confirm the child in its selfwill. Paul taught:
"We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and five?" (v. 9). Live? Yes indeed! Or, as the Proverb has it: "deliver his soul from the grave!" Discipline is essential, if we are to be delivered out of death: and the same principle is equally important as far as our children are concerned.
Unfortunately, many parents are far too dilatory in these matters. Paul poses the question: "What son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" To ask is to answer. The only father who would not bother to discipline his child would be one who would be indifferent to his future wellbeing; and such ason would become completely spoiled and selfwilled in his ways.
The Ecclesia at Ephesus had become subjected to strong pressure from an evil environment, against which it was struggling for survival. Clearly the effects were felt in individual family units as well as ecclesially. There is a need to strengthen the ties of family life, and to that end the fifth and portion of the sixth chapters were written.
Having dealt with husband and wife relationship, Paul turned his attention to the children: "Children! Obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth" (Ch. 6:1-3).
The word children is, teknon, which is akin to tikto, signifying to beget, to bear an off-spring. The term does not relate to small children merely, but to those of any age up to the time when they leave home to marry, and begin a home of their own. Loyalty of children towards parents should not be lessened with their growth towards maturity. They should be prepared to obey - a word which signifies to listen, attend, hear, give close attention in order to answer. This latter meaning is intensely interesting when applied to young folk; how difficult it is to get them to remain quiet long enough to hear what their parents are telling them!
In this instruction, however, the natural again types the spiritual; for as parents require children to hearken unto them, so they should give their attention to the Father in the heaven. Notice the constant use of the word obey:
"He (Christ) became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him ... " "By faith, Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed .... " "Ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you" (Heb. 5:9; 11:8; Rom. 6:17).
Paul urged that children should obey their parents. Not just one parent, notice. but bat h of them! The unity of the parents is implied, and is stressed in Ephesians 5. But this single word alone is not the complete instruction, for the Apostle added "your parents in the Lord." Such children are, potentially, the continuation of "the holy seed," and therefore have an obligation to their parents above those not in Christ. How sublime that our children learn the principle of obedience to the Father, through filial compliance to the will of their parents. They thus are taught that in such subjection there is a primary responsibility to the Lord. Further; our children should see that this responsibility makes them different, separate from other children. They are called to become part of the "holy seed," and must learn to rise to their responsibilities.
This is emphasised by Paul's concluding comment: "for this is right " the word "right" is dikeios, a word used elsewhere of the Father's own character (2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 16:5). Those "offspring" who learn to abide by these apostolic instructions will be well-pleasing to our heavenly Father, and will exhibit characteristics in which He delights. How wonderful for children to know that they can act in a way that is wellpleasing to Yahweh! Should they not be lovingly encouraged to manifest such ways?
Theyare alsa required to honour father and mother. Honour follows obedience. Children must learn that it is pointless for them to claim to honour their parer?ts, if they do not obey them. A beautiful point is set forth in Paul's use of this quotation from Exod. 20:12, namely, that there is promise of reward to those who keep God's commandments! This should never be overlooked in the spiritual education of children. We believe that the glory and reality of the coming Kingdom should ever be set before them. Let them learn to rejoice, with us, in the hope of Israel: to see the Lord Jesus enthroned in glory; to watch the great man Abraham pass into the kingdom; to talk with the apostle Paul; to observe the reaction of the nations to the new world order established by Christ's reign!
These things should be living realities in our minds. and should be implanted with enthusiasm into the minds of our children. The truth must live for us; and for our offspring. To Paul's beautiful reference to the Law we can add the words of the Psalmist:
"The statutes of Yahweh are right, rejoicing the ear; the commandment of Yahweh is pure, enlightening the eyes ..... Moreover by them is thy servant warned; and in keeping of them there is great reward" (19:8. 11).
The final words are addressed to fathers exclusively. They emphasise the enormous responsibility which must be borne by the husband, as the head of the family, though of course, they do not exempt mothers from their part in the spiritual education of the children. "Fathers." wrote Paul, "provoke not your children to wrath." This appears to endorse the popular view that parents should never say anything which might upset the children! But that is not so. The word for provoke means to exasperate, irritate, and clearly alludes to fathers making unreasonable demands upon the children, or being inconsistent in disciplining them. It is of little value to manifest strong discipline in the family today, and none at all tomorrow! The children would never know where they stood! Distasteful exhibitions of ill temper on the part of fathers would also come into this category. Be loving, be firm, be kind, but above all, be consistent. Fathers are required "to bring their children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (v. 4 R.S.V).
The word rendered "bring them up" is the same as nourisheth in Ch. 5:29, thus providing a link between the two verses. In the former, the apostle wrote: "No man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it." In the latter, Paul reminds fathers that their children are their own flesh. They must cherish the welfare of their children as they would their own bodies.
The two words, nurture and admonition, discipline and instruction - R.S.V. have been chosen with delicate perception. Nurture is from the Greek paideia and signifies the training of a child including instruction, education, discipline, rewards and punishments. Admonition is from the Greek nouthesia, which means a putting in mind or, getting the Truth into their heads! Thus in the first of these words we have the training of a child by action: in the second, the training of a child by word. This discipline and instruction is of the Lord, and not of man. It has nothing to do with everyday school work, but concerns spiritual development that will make children: "wise unto salvation" (2 Tim. 3:15).
To summarise, fathers who see the need to nourish and cherish their own bodies, must also see the need to do the like towards their wives and children. We conclude by quoting a most beautiful Psalm, one which is a firm favourite in our home, and which is read at the family table many times during the course of a year:
"Blessed is everyone that feareth Yahweh; that walketh in His ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands; happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olives plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth Yahweh. Yahweh shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel" (Psa. 128). J. UIIman
What a pleasing sight is a family of obedient children - children who rise at their parents' bidding and hasten to perform their behests - who regard it as an all-sufficient reason that father and mother have bidden or forbidden certain acts. To Israel. this was the first command with promise: "Honour thy father and thy mother." it is good education in our obedience to the Father above. There is, however, a reverse picture in regard to disobedient children, which it is odious to look upon.
WHEN parental discipline destroys filial love. it is bad. Veneration is a mixture of fear and love, and is created in every well-organised child by strict discipline and kindness on the part of the parent. But a parent who is always beating, always frowning, scolding and commanding, and never coaxing and caressing a child, can only be feared, and ultimately, disliked. Children can never be beaten into goodness, any more than nations can be persecuted into orthodoxy. They generally love their mothers best, because they are most indulgent; but at last they find that indulgence is weakness, and then they learn to disobey the old lady, as they call her. They fear the father, because he is stern and severe; and at last they dislike him, and avoid his society for his want of sympathy. Were the weakness of both parents combined in one, they would make a virtue. The joint and cordial co-operation of the two sexes make the best discipline for children; but we are sorry to say, that there is very little of that co-operation to be found. The mother is generally a shield from the father, and her opposition always increases his severity, whilst his severity increases her indulgence. Children cannot be well reared unless parents are well married.
A delightful picture of domestic unity and happiness is present in Psalm 128. Herein is pictured a contented and devoted mother, the children clinging to her as clusters of fruit to a vine. The worth of a "virtuous woman," says the wise man, is "far above rubies" (Prov. 31:10). The symbology of the vine is interesting from a further viewpoint: the vine requires support. It is not strong enough to stand alone, but requires solid and sturdy framework to grow upon. How apt in relation to Israel. The nation needed to lean upon Yahweh for support, but often failed to do so (ep. Isa. 5; Matt 21, etc.). The wife of the Psalm must be ably and strongly supported by her husband in the everyday affairs of the household, and in the spiritual education and strengthening of the family.
Such a wife does not seek her interests outside the home environment. but is found in "the innermost parts" of the home. The welfare of husband and family is her great concern. Her interests and enjoyments in life centre around her family, in association with her devotion to the things of Yahweh. In such atmosphere, children will grow up "Like olive plants," which cluster around the parent tree, to reproduce the qualities of the tree from which they have sprung.
The verse emphasises the tremendous influence of the home upon the lives of the children. Therefore this influence should be of a spiritually unifying kind, as beautifully set forth in this Psalm. Repeatedly, the scriptures teach the need for families in the Truth to separate themselves from the evil influences of the world, and unitedly and dedicatedly set their feet and faces towards Zion:
"Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood; that our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace; that our garners may be full, affording all manner of store; that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets; that our oxen may be strong in labour; that there be no breaking in nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets. Happy is that people, that is in such a ease: yea, happy is that people, whose Gad is Yahweh" (Psa. 144:11-15).
The green olive tree is a delightful symbol of light, peace and wellbeing. Thus the Psalmist speaks of himself: "I am like a green olive tree in the house of Gad: i trust in the mercy of Gad for ever and ever" (Psa. 52:8).
But Scripture also warns of disasters which follow a disregard of God:
"Yahweh called thy name, a green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult He hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken. For Yahweh of Armies, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee" (Jer. 11:16-17). The national olive tree did not produce the fruit required, and it failed to respond to the loving care of the divine Husbandman. It was therefore uprooted.
The children of Psalm 128, however, are represented as heeding wise parental example, teaching and control. They grow up like olives plants "round about thy table." A warm scene of domestic contentment and cheerful happiness is presented. It suggests mutual love, unity and contentment among the members of the family, such as only can be experienced by "fearing Yahweh" and "walking in His ways."
The faithful, throughout the ages, have valued their children as blessings from Yahweh, to complement their own lives, and provide a continuing testimony to Yahweh's truth from one generation to another. Jacob touchingly referred to his offspring as "the children which God hath graciously given thy servant" (Gen. 33:5). Let us emulate his example. Our children need our warm love, as well as the disciplinary education of the truth. By this means, the happy state portrayed in the Psalm will be manifested within our homes.
Let us think upon these things, so that we are moved by them. They are sufficient to sustain entire families in the truth in their daily living, until the Lord comes to make all our hopes a reality.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The Olive Tree
THE olive is a beautiful and durable tree, and itsæ fruits rich and valuable, hence the frequentæ figurative allusions to it in the Scriptures. The fatness of the olive was proverbial as we see from Judges 9:8-9. Being an evergreen tree it is used as a beautiful symbol of fresh and continued piety, the result of divine blessing. "I am like a green olive tree." says the psalmist (52:8). If we would be like the green olive tree, we must live the life of faith and confidence in Gad, and in His grace: and remember that the thankful in heart add much to the beauty of their faith. The young sprouts of the olive grow up in graceful circuit from the roots of the older trees, and so the psalmist sings "Thy children like olive plants round about thy table." This green and spreading tree was an object of great beauty, and the prophets refer to it thus. Speaking again of Israel and Judah, Jeremiah says, 'The Lord called thy name a green olive tree, fair and of goodly fruit" (ch. 11 :16). But when the yine or the olive planted in the pleasant vineyard becomes, and remains unfruitful, though luxuriant in foliage and promising in appearance. they must be cut down and cast into the fire of judgment. Hosea gives us a lovely description of these chosen people in their future blessedness, saying: "His branches shall spread and his beauty shall be as the olive tree. They shall grow as the vine." This is the fruit of God's favour which shall be produced in them, so that at last His grace will not have been bestowed in vain. Holiness is the beauty of the Christian character, so let us see that we adorn our profession with this heavenly grace.ææ -A. Hopkins
We should by all means labour to acquire a deep sense of appreciation for spiritual blessings and be careful to transmit the knowledge of them to others, for this is the surest wav of perpetuating them, so that many mad choose Gad and His inexhaustible fullness of blessings as their portion and their All.
The Danger Of Modern Education
THE tragedy of Lot couldæ have been avoided; Lot had deliberately led his family into an environment of wickedness from which it could not emerge unscathed. It constitutes a warning for today. Our families can suffer likewise. We live in a Sodomic environment, and need to guard our children against it. Whilst Lot obviously protested at the prevailing wickedness, he did little more. A more vigorous action was required, particularly in regard to his family. Because he failed to take that action, the most terrible tragedy overtook him and it. When Lot took to his heels out of the doomed city, he realised that it had been an extremely poor bargain that he had made when he had left Abram for the cities of the plain. We, too, can bargain away the future of our children for apparent present advantage.
Evidence is accumulating which reveal the extent to which the world is claiming the children of its citizens; and those of Christadelphian families with the rest. Like Lot on the heights of barren Bethel, looking down upon the well watered plains of Jordan (as they were then), the world offers much of present, material advantage. Its rewards appear attractive: big money, ample leisure, respect of persons, material advantage. But the pay is poor compared with the riches that Christ offers.
To gain the most from its children, the world has to prize them away from the influence of the Word of God it does this by education, and the fruits of the fearful thing that the flesh has established under this caption is seen in the revolt of youth which is incidental to the Western World. Youth is revolting against every form of restraint, so that the wickedness of Sodom is becoming more obvious. The teaching of Evolution in the Schools is helping to that end, for once this is established in the mind of an individual, it lessens, if it does not altogether destroy, any responsibility towards God. Granted Evolution is a fact, it is obvious that the Bible is fiction; and it follows that the God of the Bible can no longer be viewed with respect. He is manifested as the Author of confusion, and not of peace. Evolution is being taught to the young children in the curriculum of State Schools throughout Australia, and this imposes a tremendous responsibility on parents. It is becoming more and more necessary for them to supervise what is being taught their children, and to warn them against such teaching. If necessary, a protest should be lodged with the teacher if the child is penalized in any way for refusing to accept this teaching which is opposed to the Bible. Evolution will destroy a child's respect for the Bible and the Truth; but now a worse challenge is in evidence.
This is an age of permissiveness, and this evil, immoral influence reaches right down into the schools, and challenges your children's spiritual development. It is normal school practice, in teaching composition and English, to direct children to certain reading which will help their vocabulary and word power. In the past, in English, novels by such authors as Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, Hutchinson, and others, were placed in the hands of children for reaching. They were relatively harmless. However, such books are outmoded today, and replaced by modern writers, many of whom are so extreme in the language used, that obscene expressions find their presence in their books. The claim is that this is the language of today; and the children should learn it. Moreover, it is the responsibility of the teacher to educate the children in the use of such "language" if necessary.
Some of the literature used by the State Education Department would have been considered pornographic a few years back, but is today being placed into the hands of your children. The printed word is powerful, and it only needs a little of this to seep into the mind of the child, for the thought and idea of immorality to develop. What is the cause, of the wave of petty crime and immorality that today stems from the very seats of so-called learning; the schools and (worse) the universities? it is this very contempt of spiritual virtues engendered by such instruction as referred to above.
In Sodom, immorality had become the accepted thing, and the wicked were supported in opposition to the righteous. That is the situation today. Lot protested, but did little else, and his family was affected. Therefore in view of ChristÍs warning, we cannot afford to be complacent. We might reason that our children would never be influenced by these conditions. The Word teaches otherwise: "Can a man take fire into his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?" The children of such faithful men as Eli, Samuel, David and others, were adversely influenced by their environment. Our children can be likewise.
What is the antidote? Firstly, in the home. Carefully supervise the ideas being implanted in the mind of your child. Do not hesitate to protest to the teacher if such is necessary. Encourage your child to refuse to accept teaching that is at variance with the Word. Show how strongly the truth of the Bible is endorsed by fulfilling prophecy. Encourage him or her to give first place to the things of God, even in the choice of a career. We claim that Christ is at the door: how foolish if when doing so, we deliberately set temptations in the wav of our children in order that they mav find some material advancement. Teach them to be content with the humbler circumstances of life, and to render service to their Creator in the days of youth (Eccles. 12:1). Warn them of the conditions that might be expected as indicated by the predictions of Christ "as in the days of Lot and Noah," and teach them to resist such influences when met with in the school yard or in the school room.
Secondly, we feel that a protest should be lodged with the Education Department, in regard to the type of Literature being placed by it into the hands of children to read. At present, if the child refuses to read the book, it will be penalized as regards progress marks; but surely we have a conscientious objection to this Literature being officially forced upon our children, requesting that if necessary, alternative literature be made available to our children, without them being penalized as far as their school status is concerned.
Let us not be complacent about this, otherwise the tragedy of Lot's family might become our personal tragedy. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Christ has forewarned us, and underlines his exhortation with the words: "Remember Lot's wife." Let us remember her, and play our part to protect our children from the vicious. evil environment in which they are today found, and which shall become an increasing trial to them as the age moves to its close.
Problems at School
IT is now becoming more and more necessary to
object to some of the "education" activities in
which our children are required to participate
at School, and some parents have expressed
difficulty in having their wishes respected in
this regard. There is this at least in favour of the present
School system: and that is, that most teachers and
Headmasters acknowledge the right of parents to train (or
not train, as the case may be!) their own children in the way
they wish, and this can be an asset to us in our endeavour
to uphold the principles of the Truth and to lead our
children in the path of life.--
The following letter from a teacher to parents in
response to the initial brief objection of the latter to their
children participating in certain "out of school activities,"
and the suggested reply, may be of some assistance in
formulating our objections in similar circumstances. (The
explanation was accepted without further comment, and
an alternative activity arranged for the child).--
Letter from Teacher:--
"Thank you for your letter explaining your feelings
concerning your child's non-participation in out-of-school
activities. I am rather disturbed, however, at your refusal to
allow your child to take part in what should be a rewarding
part of their education.--
'The activities in the programme are all of a wholesome
nature, designed to show our students some useful
pastimes once they leave school. More and more young
people these days are finding themselves with an
increasing amount of spare time on their hands which they
sometimes use by watching too much television or in
extreme (but becoming much more common) cases,
roaming the streets. Our year 10 students have a maximum
of only two years of high school ahead of them. Some
intend to leave at the end of this year while others may stay
to do 11th year. Time is therefore very limited to actually
show them how to perform, how to behave, and where to
go for the activities in the programme.--
"if you still wish for your child not to be involved in the
out of school activities, an alternative programme will be
available for them during the excursion times.--
Yours faithfully, (Sgd). Senior Teacher."--
"We have received your letter concerning our child's
education course, and would like to thank you for your
interest. Firstly, please understand that we do not wish to
be awkward or hard to get along with (although it may
sometimes seem that way!).--
"However, we do have a very definite and particular
aim in training our children and endeavour to instill in them
principles which we are convinced (and are confident we
can convince them) are right and true: these are principles
by which we live, and arise out of a religious belief. Our
approach in these matters, whilst it may seem to you to be
negative, is actually very positive, and far from depriving
our children from any wholesome, healthy recreation and
entertainment, we believe we provide far more than most
parents: but these activities are engaged in as a family and
with the friends with whom we mix in the Christadelphian
community. It is not our practice to take the children to
places of organised recreation and entertainment, such as
is proposed in the physical education course for the
remainder of the year.--
"Because of the many wholesome activities in which
we are engaged as a family, we have no need (or time) for
TV - we do not have a set, and so do not have the problem
of any of the children watching it excessively: nor can we
foresee any likelihood of the children roaming the streets
in time to come, with our family situation as it is--
"We would like to co-operate with you wherever
possible in the very difficult task you have of organising a
programme to suit all tastes, but feel that this particular
aspect of the course would be detrimental to our overall
aims for our child and therefore we would greatly
appreciate it if some alternative arrangements could be
made for them during the coming weeks. If you would like
to discuss the basis for our objections further, or perhaps a
very brief outline of the Christadelphian beliefs, we would
be very happy to make a time at your convenience.--
"Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience
caused you or your staff in this matter.--
Yours sincerely, A. Parent."--
The only way you can break your children of the habit of copying the unseemly talk of their schoolfellows and workfellows is by laying before them what God requires of those that obey Him. Show that He has laid it down that our lips are not our own to use as we please (Psa. 12:4), and that at the judgment seat the words made use of will either justify or condemn
Our Children at ChristÍs Coming
AS to children who may be alive when the Lord returns and sends for the members of His household, the question is, will no provision be made for the households of the faithful? If we are to judge from Deity's operations in the past, we are justified in expecting that there will be so. Respect has always been shown to the kindred of those who have been the objects of divine regard. Noah's family is one instance; Lot's family is another. His sons-in-Iaw were by command of the angels, invited to escape the impending judgment, but laughed the invitation to scorn. Rahab's family were spared from the destruction that befell Jericho. Is it not possible that similar favour will be shown when the greatest judgment of all arrives? Is it not possible that households may be invited to accompany the saints eastward? As a matter of course, the saints alone are called to judgment, and they alone enter the Kingdom of God in the sense of obtaining the life, honour and glory of it; but mortal subjects will have to be provided for as well as Kings and priests; and is it not possible the saints may have a commission to secure among them a place for such of their kindred as shall have faith and docility enough to leave home and country for the seat of the NEW POWER, there to shelter in the King's refuge until the judgment is over past, and afterwards to settle among the tribes of Israel as strangers and sojourners in the Land, to whom a portion will be divided? (Ezek. 47:22). If so all difficulty about children would be at an end. A.T.J.
Training for Our Children at ChristÍs Coming
WE have much to encourage us in the prosecution of our arduous toil in the rearing of children. We have great encouragement in the hope of their ultimately attaining to immortality, either at the coming of the Lord, or should that glorious event take place before they attain to the obedience
of faith, then at a future period. Apart from this. our efforts are without object or recompense. To accomplish this object, an enlightened daughter of Sarah will make every effort.--
Our position in the matter is peculiar in living at a time when we may expect the immediate return of the Lord. With some, this is an anxiety. It need not be. If the Lord come before our children have attained the years of responsibility, they will doubtless be incorporated in the great work to be accomplished among the seed of Abraham. What a great incentive this is to have the children well instructed in the truth. In this relation, the Sunday school appears in its true light, as an aid in the work of making the children acquainted with the things of God. With their heads and hearts full of these things, looking, like ourselves, with intense longing for the time when all families of the earth shall be blessed in Abraham and his seed, can we refrain from entertaining the hope that they shall live through the time of trouble incidental to the setting up of the kingdom? To be gathered with the Israel according to the flesh, and ultimately upon the same principle as all others who have attained to immortality, obtain life in the perfect state, which lies beyond the aion of the kingdom? The hope and aspiration that she may be fitting her children for sueh a destiny, fills every mother's hands with noble work. The remembrance that she is entrusted with the training of those, who by early lessons may be led into the way of life from which they will not afterwards depart, will be to her an incentive, a solace, and a stay when strength and patience may be sorely tried. -- Sis. J. Roberts
The Dressing of the Children
IN the dressing of her children, the effects of the blessed hope will be seen. The sister-wife and mother will no more accept the popular standing in the outward adorning of her children, than in the formation of her hope. She will regulate this like her own attire, by the maxims of the high calling. She will not be anxious that her little ones shall appear in full feather as exponents of the newest fashion. She will appreciate a due attention to health and cleanliness in their attire, but she will teach them, as she has come to be instructed herself, that the vanities and follies attendant upon gay dressing are forms of the evil which everywhere prevails; and that though beautiful and attractive to the youthful eye, they are to be eschewed as something calculated to engender forgetfulness of God and the coming of Christ for which we are all preparing. Sis. J. Roberts
The mother who in the quietude of home devotes herself to the wise training of her children, performs a part which, for its far-reaching effect cannot be exceeded in importance.
The word will call for many an inward battle between inclination and duty, and will cause many a headache and even heartache. Let us, however, go forward undaunted by difficulties, knowing that we have the strength of God's authority and His encouragement behind us.
Directing the Footsteps of the Young
NOT the least among present-day problems peculiar
to sisters in the home, is the need for
resisting modern influences upon the minds
of the young. In counteracting these influences,
the sister, in her capacity as mother,
commences the wise training of her children in their
earliest years. Their minds and hearts are directed into a
knowledge and love of God, and a deep reverence for His
Holy Word. First impressions cling tenaciously, and greatly
influence youthful dispositions. It is upon the rock foundation
of Holy Writ, therefore, that the God-fearing mother
prayerfully and regularly builds up the characters of her
children. She instructs, directs, counsels and warns. She
sedulously engenders an earnest Jove for "whatsoever
things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good
report." Unquestioning obedience is insisted upon, and,
where necessary, due correction administered and punishment
inflicted. Unlike their worldly contemporaries, her
children are taught that disregard of divine matters, disobedience
to parents and discourtesy to elders, are displeasing
to God. In the opinion of the modern generation,
an upbringing of this kind is old-fashioned and narrow minded.--
To prevent the infiltration of these pernicious influences,
a God-fearing mother is untiring in her efforts and
unceasing in her vigil. She adopts practical ways and
means of keeping the world outside, and of maintaining
that high standard of holiness, which from the children's
early days has been fostered and preserved. Divine matters
are given first pJace in the daily programme, and the family
united by the sanctities of the Truth. The home is a school
of wise discipline, where precept and example are practised
and understood. Healthy and profitable recreation is
arranged during periods of holiday; the children are taught
to appreciate the beauties of the universe, and to know the
joy of healthful activity. They gradually begin to realize the
need for, and value of self-denial and service, and to
esteem the privilege which such knowledge confers. They
are trained to take their places as useful members of the
family circle - the boys drilled into polite and gentlemanly
behaviour, and the girls acknowledged as "mother's right
hand." Their companions are selected from those whose
bent is in a godly direction. Their taste for reading is
encouraged, though their choice of books is closely scrutinized
and carefully supervised. Educational and instructive
books are good, and are allocated a place on the
bookshelf, but no unwholesome novel or magazine is found
in the household where godliness is practised and purity
Thus, in wisely directing and guiding the footsteps of
the young, in inculcating the need for reverence and respect,
in radiating a spirit of happiness and love, in discoursing
upon the glorious truths of God, in repelling and
excluding the influences of the world, in attaining and
maintaining high morals and ideals. in developing and
cherishing a love for things divine, through difficulty and
trial, in season and out of season, is found the path of true
parental wisdom, and the full meaning of the words of
Scripture, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and
when he is old, he will not depart from it."- v.v.
Comfort for the Childless
AMONGST those things never satisfied is "the
barren womb", Prov. 30:16 for when God
created male and female he said, "Be fruitful
and multiply, and replenish the earth, and
subdue it". Children, then, are the purpose
and fulfillment of marriage. The God given desire for children
became intensified when sin entered into the world.
The sentence on the woman, "I will greatly multiply thy
sorrow and thy conception", was essential to replenish an
earth now filled with violence, disease and death.--
Sorrow had entered into the life of the woman. "But as
soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no
more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the
world", John 16:21. But what of the woman who does not
experience that joy?--
"Children are an heritage of Yahweh and the fruit of
the womb is his reward," Psa. 127:3, "happy is the man that
hath his quiver full of them," v.5. But Yahweh has not
blessed with children merely to satisfy selfish desires for it
is written, "And did not he make one? And wherefore one?
that he may seek a Godly seed," MaL.2:15. Children do not
belong to their parents, they are only lent to them that they
may be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the
Lord as His children. Those whose quiver is full are indeed
blessed and should acknowledge it, for not all are so blessed.
Many an otherwise happy marriage is tinged with sadness
because the womb is barren. In your converse with
the childless be gentle, "guard the door of your lips". A
thoughtless, though perhaps well meaning, comment to
such a sister may hurt deeply. Comments such as, "its
about time you had a family", or "perhaps you are not
meant to have children" or, "of course you haven't got any
children have you?" become a sword piercing her own
Remember your sister from whom the fruit of the
womb has been withheld. Her lot is often lonely hours of
private grief and weeping for a baby to hold to her breast,
to love and to cherish.--
How grieved was Hannah as she wept because, "her
adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret,
because Yahweh had shut up her womb" 1 Sam. 1:6.
Hannah, loved dearly by her husband, desired a child as
the fruit of their love. We do not despise her for this. HerÍs
was not just a selfish desire. Her desire was for a redeemer
in Israel who would vindicate the ways of Yahweh before
the unrighteous nation. Hannah asked for a child whom
she could dedicate to Yahweh. Distress had purified her
faith! Have we the measure of Hannah's faith?--
If the childless have consolation, it is in the knowledge
that the path of sadness has been trodden before by many
faithful sisters over the centuries. What desperation drove
Sarah to give her maid to her own husband! Sarah was 90
years old when God gave her conception and the seed of
promise was born. Rebekah comforted Isaac after his
mother's death, but she was not comforted. "And Isaac
intreated Yahweh for his wife because she was barren: and
Yahweh was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived",
Today medical science can sometimes find the physical
cause of childlessness, but it is Yahweh who gives or
withholds the fruit of the womb according to His purpose.
There is a purpose known only to Him; our lives are in His
hands. In His good time He will bless if we patiently endure
the trial of our faith without wavering. 'Through faith also
Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was
delivered of a child when she was past age, because she
judged him faithful who had promised," Heb. 11:11.--
The question often asked is "why?" "why must i be
childless?". Our Father knows what is best for us. We are
assured that "all things are working together for good to
them that love God", Rom. 8:28, and that each has a trial to
endure. Our horizon must never be bounded by our own
trials, each mustthink of another's needs. Endurance is
character building. It is the process by which faith is tried
that it may become more precious than gold and "might be
found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of
Jesus Christ," 1 Peter 1:7.--
When the years of childlessness have passed and fruit
is eventually given, how much more precious a little one
becomes. How much more earnest the spiritual training
and education of such a child that He may be a Godly
What if we are not to be so blessed? Has not the Father
called us to be espoused to Christ? Are we not united as
the family of God? Can we not share in the blessing of
others by assisting in the care and training of the children
of our sisters in the ecclesia? To those who are parents,
remember the joy, the love and the warmth your children
may bring into another's loneliness if you allow.--
The natural defense of the childless avoiding children
should be resisted. To enjoy children, and take a positive
role in their development. become dedicated to Sunday
School teaching or to cheerfully helping families in need
with your personal assistance and encouragement. The
dearest brother and sister i remember were truly a father
and mother in Israel, though their home never rang with
the sound of their own children's laughter. But it was a
home open to children and many were brouqht into the
truth by them. These were begotten by the Word, and the
brother and sister became greatly loved by them.--
Even our Lord, who was "touched with the feelings of
our infirmities," Heb. 4:15, loved children, though marriage
and home were denied him. "Suffer the little children to
come unto me, and forbid them not", he said. Surely even
Jesus felt the longing for a family of his own, but recognised
the greater purpose for which he had been born. He
shall yet "see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied",
Isa. 53:11. It is often forgotten that men also long for
children of their own. The Ethiopian eunuch was reading
Isaiah 53 as Philip approached, and took comfort in the
words of the prophet, "Neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I
am a dry tree ... even unto them will i give in mine house
and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons
and of daughters: i will give them an everlasting name that
shall not be cut off," Isa. 563,5.--
Soon we shall be called to the wedding; we shall be
united with our heavenly bridegroom. "Sing, O barren,
thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry
aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are
the children of the desolate than the children of the married
wife, saith Yahweh," Isa. 54:1.--
Do not let sorrow overwhelm you, joy cometh in the
morning. "The sufferings of this present time are not
worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed
in us," Rom. 8:18. In hope we look to the day when we shall
receive, "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the
garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness," Isa. 61:3.
-- Sis. J. Cresswell
A MotherÍs Prayer
When i knew God's wonderful blessing
That a baby was soon to be ours,
My heartfelt prayers of thanksgiving
Ascended to God with my vows.
I said in my heart that your footsteps
Would be guided by God's Holy Word.
I determined that i would instruct you
To love and trust in the Lord.
Could i again begin life's journey
With each child around my knee
For you to feel my warmth and kindness
What a different mother i would be.
We must not look back, but only forward
To that bright day so very near
When our King the Prince of Armies
Will with majesty appear.
My earnest desire my dearest children
Is to see each smiling face
Of each whom we have cherished
In that glorious, holy place
See the King took kindly on you
Hear his words of welcome grace
See Him motion with His right hand
Appointing each of you a place.
This would my dearest children
Assuage all sorrow, disappointment,
care and pain,
ItÍs for this end your parents strive
That each of us - the victory gain.
-- Sis. Fay Pitt.