Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

July 22, 1889

Home Training

[Afternoon talk at Chicago, April 11, 1889.]

By Mrs. E. G. White

The mother is a teacher, and to a great extent she moulds the character of her children. But how few are the mothers who realize the responsibility that is placed upon them! Many mothers spend their time in doing needless nothings. They give their whole attention to the things of time and sense, and do not pause to think of the things of eternal interest. How many neglect their children, and the little ones grow up coarse, rough, and uncultivated. Mothers may have acquired knowledge of many things, but they have not acquired the essential knowledge unless they have a knowledge of Christ as a personal Saviour. If Christ is in the home, if mothers have made him their counselor, they will educate their children from their very babyhood in the principles of true religion. They will teach them obedience and submission. They will not allow them to disobey their commands.

When children are permitted to take their own way in opposition to the will of their parents, they lose respect for father and mother, and learn to despise even the authority of God. They are indulged in manifesting passion in the home, and when they are brought into the church, they exhibit the same defects of character there, as they exhibit in the home. If they are ever converted, they will have to learn at the foot of the cross lessons which they might have learned at their mother's knee. They are marked by the defects of the father and mother. The parents did not go to Christ for the grace of patience and forbearance. The mother did not feel the importance of being Christ-like, of manifesting love and gentleness.

When Christ comes in the clouds of heaven, every man will be rewarded according as his work has been. Every father and mother will have to give an account of how they have employed their talents, and how they have borne their responsibilities.

A well-disciplined family is a great power for good in the world. To bring up your children in such a manner as will fit them to stand against temptation to evil, so that they will not be corrupted by iniquity, is one of the most important kinds of missionary work. Why is it that there is so much corruption among the youth of today? To a great degree it is because parents neglect their God-given work, and sin lies at their door. Before it shall be too late, I urge you to take up your neglected duties, and arouse to a realization of your responsibilities. You will need the grace of Christ in your work, and he says not only to mothers, but to fathers and children, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Mothers, when you yield to impatience, and deal harshly with your children, you are not learning of Christ, but of another master. Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” When you find your work hard, when you complain of difficulties and trials, when you say that you have no strength to withstand temptation, that you cannot overcome impatience, and that the Christian life is up-hill work, be sure that you are not bearing the yoke of Christ; you are bearing the yoke of another master. But for Christ's sake, for the truth's sake, I entreat you to repent and be converted. Do not dishonor the name of religion by an inconsistent course.

You should begin to seek God where you are. You must be born again. There must be a renovation, a new life created within you, that you may not serve sin, or the lusts of the flesh. Your children must be converted. You have a solemn work to do.

You cannot afford to spend time in trifling conversation, or in entertaining fashionable visitors. You should take time to talk and pray with your little ones, and you should allow nothing to interrupt that season of communion with God, and with your children. You can say to your visitors, “God has given me a work to do, and I have no time for gossiping.” You should feel that you have a work to do for time and for eternity. You owe your first duty to your children.

The father should not excuse himself from his part in the work of educating his children for life and immortality. He must share in the responsibility. There is obligation for both father and mother. There must be love and respect manifested by the parents for one another, if they would see these qualities developed in their children.

Those parents who manifest wisdom in the home will bring into the church the same tact and ability they exercise at home, and the church will be benefited by their influence. They will be interested for the children of their neighbors, and will influence others to be true and loyal to God.

When Christ bowed on the banks of Jordan after his baptism, and offered up prayer in behalf of humanity, the heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God, like a dove of burnished gold, encircled the form of the Saviour, and a voice came from Heaven which said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

What significance does this have for you? It says that Heaven is open to your prayers. It says that you are accepted in the Beloved. The gates are open for every mother who would lay her burden at the Saviour's feet. It says that Christ has encircled the race with his human arm, and with his divine arm he has grasped the throne of the Infinite, and united man with God, and earth with Heaven.

Praise God for this. If there is any people who should praise God, it is those who have had these wonderful evidences of his love! I point you to Calvary, and to the suffering Redeemer. O that we may know his love that passeth understanding! If parents have the love of God in their hearts, they will be able to bind their children to them by the tender ties of affection. It is in this way that you may be missionaries for God, you may be home missionaries. You have a work to do that Satan shall not gain the control of your children, and take them away from you before they are out of your arms. Mothers, you should see to it that the powers of darkness do not control your little ones. You should set your will that the enemy shall not raise his banner of darkness in your home. You should be determined to take your children with you to the kingdom of heaven. Your children are worth something; they have been purchased at an infinite price, and eternal life to them is worth more than anything that earth can afford. A pure and holy character is of more value than silver and gold. If you have instructed them in the principles of truth, if you have reproved them when they indulged in evil, if you have manifested the Spirit of Christ, you have done a work that Heaven will approve.

Eli did not reprove his sons when they transgressed his commands. He indulged them in their evil ways, and they became more and more corrupt, until the judgment of God fell upon the house of Eli. The Lord said, “Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house; when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering forever.”

How different was the case of Abraham. God could bless him, for he said, “I know him, 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; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” God's law was the rule in the tent of Abraham. Wherever he camped, he built an altar unto the Lord, and offered up sacrifice with supplication and praise.

Parents must be converted; they must arouse from the lethargy that has come upon them, and seek God for a realization of the solemn responsibility that has been placed upon them. I entreat you to awake, and take up your neglected work before you are weighed in the balance and found wanting. Every one has a work to do for the Master, and no one can accomplish his God-given work unless he is born again; but the soul in which Christ is abiding, will be able to meet the mind of God, and will receive the approbation of Heaven.

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