Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

June 6, 1899

The Importance of Home Training

Mrs. E. G. White

True education means much more than many suppose. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. By some, education is placed next to religion, but true education is religion. The Bible is to be made the child's first textbook. From this book, parents are to give wise and godly instruction. The word of God is to be the rule of the life. The first lesson that children are to be taught is that God is their Father. This lesson should be given them in their earliest years. Parents are to realize that they are responsible before God for making their children acquainted with their Heavenly Father. From the very first it is their duty to teach their children the importance of obeying the law of God. That God is love, is to be taught by every lesson.

Let not home education be regarded as a secondary matter. It occupies the first place in all true education. Fathers and mothers have entrusted to them the molding of their children's minds. It is their privilege to help their children obtain that knowledge which they may carry with them into the future life. But for some reason many parents dislike to give their children religious instruction. They leave them to pick up, in Sabbath-school, the knowledge they should impart concerning their responsibility to God. Such parents need to understand that God desires them to educate, discipline, and train their children, ever keeping before them the fact that they are forming characters for the present and the future life. Parents should be ministers of righteousness in the home, surrounding their children with pure, sweet influences, that the higher, nobler powers of the mind may not be enslaved by the lower passions.

The Lord is calling for children to enlist under the blood-stained banner of Prince Immanuel. He is waiting to receive children. He can fit them to be missionaries for him; for in him is found everything required for the development of a symmetrical character. “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not,” Christ said; “for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

It is God's design that the earthly home shall be a symbol of the home in heaven. From their earliest years, children should be taught to render implicit obedience to their parents. Their future well-being requires kindly, loving, but firm discipline.

The Lord has plainly specified the duty of those he has created. Parents are to obey his commandments, and they are also to see that their children keep the way of the Lord. The same voice that spoke the sermon on the mount spoke to Moses from the pillar of cloud, enjoining obedience on the children of Israel: “Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.”

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”

These words came directly from the lips of Christ. He was just as verily the Redeemer of his people then as he was when he came to our world in human form.

Abraham cultivated home religion. He so conducted his household that the fear of the Lord circulated through his home. The heavenly universe marked Abraham's course in his home. “I know him,” said the heart-searching God, “that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.” It is the duty of fathers and mothers to do justice to their children, so guiding them that they will be a blessing in the home, in the school, and in the church. Parents need to bring discipline into the homelife. They need to imitate the life of Abraham, showing themselves capable of ruling with combined affection and authority.

It is often necessary to command children to keep the way of the Lord. There is a blind affection that gives children the privilege of doing as they please. Such love is not sanctified love. Those who manifest it do their children a cruelty that eternity alone will reveal. The children are misguided; and the evil of their undisciplined, unrestrained disposition is a curse in the home, in the neighborhood, and in the church.

The Lord will not vindicate the misrule of parents. Today hundreds of children swell the ranks of the enemy, living and working apart from the purpose of God. They are disobedient, unthankful, unholy; but the sin lies at the door of their parents. Christian parents, thousands of children are perishing in their sins because of the failure of their parents to rule the home wisely. If parents were obedient to the unseen Leader of the armies of Israel, whose glory was enshrouded in the pillar of cloud, the unhappy state of affairs now existing in so many families would not be seen.

True parents will not say to their children: Follow your own choice. Go where you will, and do what you will. Instead, they will say: Listen to the instruction of the Lord. In whatever business you engage, remember that you are the Lord's property, and that it is your duty to honor him by obedience. Serve the Lord; for in this lies your safety. Place yourselves in the channel of light, making God's law the rule of your life. Then you can be trusted in any position.

Parents may understand that as they follow God's directions in the training of their children, they will receive help from on high. They receive much benefit; for as they teach, they learn. Their children will achieve victories through the knowledge that they have acquired in keeping the way of the Lord. They are enabled to overcome natural and hereditary tendencies to evil. By setting an example of kindness and patience, by molding the characters of their children after the divine pattern, fathers and mothers become qualified to help the youth outside of their homes.

Parents, it is your work to develop in your children patience, constancy, and genuine love. In dealing aright with the children God has given you, you are helping them lay the foundation for pure, well-balanced characters. You are instilling into their minds principles which they will one day follow in their own families. The effect of your well-directed efforts will be seen as they conduct their households in the way of the Lord.

Blessed is the family where father and mother have surrendered themselves to God to do his will! One well-ordered, well-disciplined family tells more in behalf of Christianity than all the sermons that can be preached. Such a family gives evidence that the parents have been successful in following God's directions, and that their children will serve him in the church. Their influence grows; for as they impart, they receive to impart again. The father and mother find helpers in their children, who give to others the instruction received in the home. The neighborhood in which they live is helped, for in it they have become enriched for time and for eternity. The whole family is engaged in the service of the Master; and by their godly example, others are inspired to be faithful and true to God in dealing with his flock, his beautiful flock.

June 6, 1899

Disease and Its Causes

Mrs. E. G. White

Since the fall in Eden, the race has been degenerating. Deformity, imbecility, disease, and human suffering have been pressing heavier and heavier upon each successive generation, and yet the masses are asleep as to the real causes. They do not consider that they themselves are guilty, in a great measure, for this deplorable state of things. They generally charge their sufferings upon Providence, and regard God as the author of their woes. But it is intemperance, to a greater or less degree, that lies at the foundation of all this suffering.

Eve was intemperate in her desires when she put forth her hand to take of the fruit-forbidden tree. Self-gratification has reigned almost supreme in the hearts of men and women since the fall. Especially has the appetite been indulged, and they have been controlled by it, instead of by reason. For the sake of gratifying the taste, Eve transgressed the command of God. He had given her everything her wants required, yet she was not satisfied. Ever since, her fallen sons and daughters have followed the desires of their eyes and of their taste. They have, like Eve, disregarded the prohibitions God has made, and have followed in a course of disobedience, and, like Eve, have flattered themselves that the consequence would not be as fearful as had been apprehended.

Man has disregarded the laws of his being, and disease has been steadily increasing. The cause has been followed by the effect. He has not been satisfied with food which was the most healthful; but has gratified the taste even at the expense of health.

God has established the laws of our being. If we violate these laws, we must, sooner or later, pay the penalty. The laws of our being can not be more successfully violated than by crowding upon the stomach unhealthful food, because craved by a morbid appetite. To eat to excess, of even simple food, will eventually break down the digestive organs; but to eat too great an amount of food, and that unwholesome, and the evil is greatly increased. The constitution must become impaired.

The human family have been growing more and more self-indulgent, until health has been most successfully sacrificed upon the altar of lustful appetite. The inhabitants of the old world were intemperate in eating and drinking. They would have flesh-meats, although God had given them no permission to eat animal food. They ate and drank to excess, and their depraved appetites knew no bounds. They gave themselves up to abominable idolatry. They became violent and ferocious, and so corrupt that God could bear with them no longer. Their cup of iniquity was full, and God cleansed the earth of its moral pollution by a flood. As men multiplied upon the face of the earth after the flood, they forgot God, and corrupted their ways before him. Intemperance in every form increased to a great extent.

The Lord brought his people out of Egypt in a victorious manner. He led them through the wilderness to prove them and try them. He repeatedly manifested his miraculous power in their deliverances from their enemies. He promised to take them to himself as his peculiar treasure if they would obey his voice and keep his commandments. He did not forbid them to eat the flesh of animals, but withheld it from them in great measure. He provided them food which was the most healthful. He rained their bread from heaven, and gave them purest water from the flinty rock. He made a covenant with them: if they would obey him in all things, he would preserve them from disease.

But the Hebrews were not satisfied. They despised the food given them from heaven, and wished themselves back in Egypt, where they could sit by the flesh-pots. They preferred slavery, and even death, rather than to be deprived of meat. God, in his anger, gave them flesh to gratify their lustful appetites, and great numbers of them died while eating the meat for which they had lusted.

Nadab and Abihu were slain by the fire of God's wrath for their intemperance in the use of wine. God would have his people understand that they will be visited according to their obedience or transgressions. Crime and disease have increased with every successive generation. Intemperance in eating and drinking, and the indulgence of the baser passions, have benumbed the nobler faculties. Appetite, to an alarming extent, has controlled reason.

The human family have indulged an increasing desire for rich food, until it has become a fashion to crowd all the delicacies possible into the stomach. Especially at parties of pleasure is the appetite indulged with but little restraint. Rich dinners and late suppers are partaken of, consisting of highly seasoned meats, with rich gravies, rich cakes, pies, ice-cream, etc.

Professed Christians generally take the lead in these fashionable gatherings. Large sums of money are sacrificed to the gods of fashion and appetite, in preparing feasts of health-destroying dainties to tempt the appetite, that through this channel something may be raised for religious purposes. Thus ministers and professed Christians have acted their part and exerted their influence, by precept and example, in indulging intemperance in eating, and in leading the people to health-destroying gluttony. Instead of appealing to man's reason, to his benevolence, his humanity, his nobler faculties, the most successful appeal that can be made is to the appetite.

The gratification of the appetite will induce men to give when otherwise they would do nothing. What a sad picture for Christians! With such sacrifice is God well pleased? How much more acceptable to him was the widow's mite! Such as follow her example from the heart will have well done. To have the blessing of Heaven attend the sacrifice thus made, can make the simplest offering of the highest value.

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