Ellen G. White Writings

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Lake Union Herald

April 14, 1909

Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep it Holy

By Mrs. E. G. White


Then search the Scriptures, parents. Be not only hearers, but doers of the Word. Meet God's standard in the education of your children. Let them see that you are preparing for the Sabbath on the working days of the week. All preparation should be made, every stitch taken, on the six working days; all cooking for the Sabbath should be done on the preparation day. It is possible to do this, and if you make it a rule, you can do it. The commandment is, “Bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe, for tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath.” That day is not to be given to the cooking of food, or pleasure seeking, or worldly employment. Explain your work and its purpose to your children, and let them help themselves and their parents in their preparation to keep the Sabbath according to the commandment. Lead your children to consider the Sabbath a delight, the day of days, the holy of the Lord, honorable. Do not allow yourself to spend the precious hours of the Sabbath in your bed. The heads of the house should be astir early.

On Friday, the clothing of the children looked after during the week, should all be laid out by their own hands under the direction of the mother, so that they can dress quickly, without any confusion or rushing about, and hasty speeches. Dress; then come to the table without levity. Boisterous noise and contention should not be allowed any day of the week; but on the Sabbath all should be quietness. No loud-toned commands should be heard at any time; but on the Sabbath they are entirely out of place. This is God's holy day; the day that He has set apart to commemorate His creative works; a day which He has sanctified and hallowed.

In many families boots and shoes are blacked and brushed, and stitches taken, all because these little odds and ends were not done on Friday. They did not “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” It is dishonoring God to make the Sabbath a feast day, a day of baking and boiling, of blacking boots and performing work that should be done the six working days. Do not dishonor God by bringing down its sacredness to the level of the common working days.

In the morning the family should gather about the table quietly, and it would be well that if on the Sabbath there should ever be a simple, palatable meal, yet something that would be considered a treat, something that they do not have every day in the week. Then, before or after the meal, should come the family worship. This should be a service in which all the children should take part. All should have their Bibles, each reading a verse or two. Then a simple hymn should be sung, followed not by a long and wearisome prayer, but by a simple petition, telling the Lord in the simplest manner their needs, and expressing their gratitude for God's mercies and blessings. This invites Jesus as a welcome guest into your house and heart. In the family, long prayers of remote things are not in place, and make the hour of prayer weariness, when it should be considered a privilege and a blessing. Make the season one of interest and joy; never let the children consider it a burden.

On the Sabbath, parents should give all the time they can to their children, thus making it a delight. I have seen many families where father, mother, and the older members of the household, take themselves away from the younger children, and leave them to amuse themselves as best they can. After a while, the children become weary and go out of doors, and engage in play or some kind of mischief. Thus the Sabbath has no sacred significance to them. In pleasant weather the parents can take their children out for a walk in the fields and forest, and talk to them of the lofty trees, the shrubs and flowers, and teach them that God is the Maker of all these things. Then teach them the reasons for the Sabbath, that it is to commemorate God's created works. After working six days, He rested the seventh, and blessed and hallowed the day of His rest. Thus the most profitable instruction can be given.

The sweet story of Bethlehem can be repeated. Present before them Christ as the babe in Bethlehem, a child obedient to His father and mother, a youth industrious, helping to support the family. Thus you can teach your children that Christ was a child like themselves, and that He knows the trials and perplexities, the temptations, the weariness, the joys, and the happiness of youth. Read the interesting stories in the Bible history. Thus the day to them will be the best of the seven. But if the parents loiter in bed on the Sabbath and rise late, all is confusion and bustle to prepare for breakfast and Sabbath-school, the day becomes weariness, the Sabbath desecrated, no holy feelings are inspired to come into the home. The Sabbath-school becomes a dread. I counsel you, my Sabbath-keeping brethren and sisters, to “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” You must change greatly. Many of your habits and practices on the Sabbath are displeasing to God. If you would train your children to observe the Sabbath according to the commandment, you must do it by precept and example. The deep engraving of truth in the heart is never wholly effaced. The impressions made on the heart in early life are seen in after years. They may be buried, but they will seldom be obliterated. Teach your children that the commandments of God must become the rule of their lives. Circumstances may occur to separate the children from their parents and from their home, but the lessons of instruction given in childhood and youth will be a blessing to them throughout their lifetime.

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