Sisters In The Home
BY SISTER VIRGINIA VIGILANT
MUCH has been written by Sister Roberts in the foregoing pages concerning the duties and opportunities of sisters in the home. The sound advice of our worthy forerunner has not diminished in value with the passing of years. Various problems, however, present themselves today, which are peculiar to war-time and modern conditions. Many calls are made on the time, skill and substance of the busy housewife. The procuring and preparing of the daily food; the "eeking out" of the slender rations, yet the reserving of a little for the requirements of the Truth; the "mending and making do" of the family clothing; the wise spending of the weekly allowance, reduced maybe, on account of the husband's faithful adherence to the commandments of Christ; the counteracting of modern tendencies in the upbringing of children - all these extremely pressing problems tax to the uttermost the resourcefulness and ingenuity of sisters of Christ. So urgent, at times, are these cares and cumbrances, and so distracting and disturbing are their effects, that the mind tends to become engrossed in the mundane affairs of life, and dulled to the realities of the Truth. The Master's stirring appeal provides a strong antidote to this spiritually languid condition. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added until you." In war-time, as in peace- time, in scarcity, as in plenty, this promise stands sure. It provides a powerful inducement to cultivate robust faith and preserve true perspective.
The solution of these problems requires much time and forethought. While "looking well to the ways of her household," a wise sister is sedulous to maintain a high standard of usefulness and efficiency in the Lord's service. She contrives and plans, revises and improves, the methods of management of her household affairs, to provide facilities for development of the spiritual mind. She eliminates superfluous activity from the "daily round," and concentrates on anticipating and providing for the necessities of life. She trains herself to work without wasting her time; to be punctual and methodical without irksomeness or vexation. She does not permit the preoccupations and cares of the present to outweigh the more important and far-reaching issues of the future. Prayer and reading will be given their place, notwithstanding all the exactions and burdens of the day. She aspires to cultivate a character that will "retain honour," without which all her labour will be of little worth. The blending of the meditativeness of Mary with the practicability of Martha is the ideal she will endeavour to attain. A richly stored mind to think, and an ever-ready power to act; a loving, tender, and sympathetic disposition, and a self-sacrificing, generous and practical service - these are the true ornaments of character of the woman professing godliness, whose home is the modern counterpart of the little home at Bethany.
To her husband in the Truth, a sister has special obligations. She is a loving wife, and a loyal companion of his studies. With him she shares the same aspirations, the same tastes, the same ardour for the Truth of God. She strives to ease his difficulties, and make the home his sanctuary from the stress and battle of life. The testimonial of Bro. Roberts to the devotion and love of a valued partner finds a reflection in the life of every sister-wife conscious of her duty. "She sympathises as the closest of friends cannot sympathise; she understands as no other friend can understand. She appreciates as it is not in the power of any but Christ to appreciate. She is a help, and a support and a stay in life's troubles as no other being on earth could be, however cordial their friendship and intimate their acquaintance." Of such a wife it can truly be said, "The heart of her husband will safely trust in her." (Prov. 31:11.)
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 love 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. Advanced education and so-called improved systems of mind-culture have superseded this supposedly obsolete and disciplinarian form of child training. The effect of modem methods is deplorable. Instead of showing a reverent demeanour, children of to- day are heard "taking the Name of the Lord God in vain." Parental authority is flouted, and obedience displaced by defiance. The wholesome and edifying interests of home life are neglected in favour of the allurements of the cinema and theatre. The amazing increase in juvenile crime is an indication of the rapid deterioration in the moral standards of modem youth, and is clearly traceable to lack of control in early childhood.
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 place 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 novel or unwholesome Commentary is found in the household where godliness is practised and purity prevails.
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."