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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901) - Contents
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    Ms 79, 1901

    Testimony to the Parents of the Los Angeles Church


    August 18, 1901

    Portions of this manuscript are published in CG 107, 110, 251, 259; AH 174, 220-221, 314; 7MR 14-16, 75. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    I am unable to sleep after half past twelve o’clock. In the night season I was presenting before the parents of the Los Angeles church a message given me by the Lord in regard to their sinful neglect to train their children from their very infancy to form characters that will meet the approval of God. Parents should regard nothing as of sufficient consequence to take the place of their work for their children.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 1

    Please read the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of Deuteronomy. “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.” [Deuteronomy 6:4-7.]16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 2

    Parents are to take every precaution to prevent their children from growing up with objectionable traits of character. Parents are to control themselves for the sake of Him in whom they claim to believe as their Creator and their Redeemer. Parents, unless you prepare yourselves for the present and the future life, you will not be admitted into the city of God. The words addressed by Paul to Timothy are addressed to every member of the church, “Take heed to thyself and to the doctrine.” [1 Timothy 4:16.] “Thyself” comes first. The soul-temple must be cleansed. The inner lamp must be trimmed. Piety, virtue, and godliness must be revealed in the home life. God will not accept the most splendid service unless the one who offers it is first consecrated to Him by the entire surrender of the soul. Unless the root be holy, there can be no acceptable fruit. The great apostle, in commending <the churches of Macedonia to> his Corinthian converts for their benevolence and Christian liberality, tells in emphatic words the secret of the value of their good works, “They first gave their own selves to the Lord.” [2 Corinthians 8:5.]16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 3

    Jesus requires of the parents in Los Angeles a thorough change of their attitude in the home. He has entrusted them with the responsibility of training their children for Him. These children are His property, and by diligent training of their capabilities, they are to be carefully improved, that not one of them shall be lost. This responsibility no father or mother can safely neglect. If they shirk the God-given work which they should do in the church in their own house, God will be robbed of the influence which should be exerted for Him in the home and out of the home. By failing to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, parents rob God of His entrusted talents.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 4

    All are to put their capabilities to the very best use. Parents, invest wisely every talent that God has entrusted to you. Cultivate piety at home. Cherish and exemplify in the home life the sacred principles of truth. All are to be workers. The children are to be taught to bear their weight of responsibility, to do little deeds of service. Their hands and minds are to be kept employed in useful duties.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 5

    Parents, dress your children simply and plainly. Let their clothes be made of durable material. Keep them sweet and clean. Teach them to hate anything like dirt and filth.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 6

    Bear in mind, parents, that you are working for the salvation of your children. If your habits are correct, if you reveal neatness and order, virtue and righteousness, sanctification of soul, body, and spirit, you respond to the words of the Redeemer, “Ye are the light of the world.” [Matthew 5:14.] He who will sit at the feet of Jesus and learn in meekness out of His Word will soon show improvement in manners because he is beholding Christ’s character.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 7

    Fathers and mothers, in the home you are to represent God’s disposition. You are to require obedience, not with a storm of words, but in a kind, loving manner. You are to be so full of compassion that your children will be drawn to you. Keep them away from the society of those children who are disobedient and unruly, and then God can impress their minds. As the right work is done in the home, parents will find their own hearts subdued and melted. Strange prejudices which have been cherished by brethren and sisters in the church, prejudices which have borne evil fruit, will be overcome and will disappear. A spirit of candor will come in, a spirit which is after Christ’s likeness. The tenacious desire to have your own way and to urge your own ideas, will be given up; for you will realize that you are in the presence of One whom God hails as His beloved Son, One to whom sinners can go as a personal Saviour.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 8

    To those who in weariness and trial and temptation come to the Saviour, He says, “I will give you rest. 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.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] Try it, fathers; try it, mothers. Many of you are church members, but you are not Christians. You cannot be Christians until you become assimilated to Christ, doing His works. Your Redeemer calls upon you to have a spirit and character akin to His. Many ask, Why does not the Lord work miracles in our day, as He did when He was upon this earth? Live in the home and in the world the life of a humble Christian, test the Lord by your vigilance, doing faithfully the work He has committed to you, and His miracle-working power will be shown by the change in your hearts.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 9

    “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” [Hebrews 11:1.] Every family must work by faith. The father, if a true Bible Christian, is the house-band of his family. He binds the family close to the throne of God; for he is the priest of his house. He is never to lose his interest in his family. He who has a family of boys must understand that whatever his calling, he is never to neglect the souls placed in his care. He has brought these children into the world, and has made himself responsible to God to do everything in his power to keep them from unsanctified associations, from evil companionship. He should not leave his restless boys wholly to the care of the mother. This is too heavy a burden for her. He must arrange matters for the best interests of the mother and the children. It may be very hard for the mother to exercise self-control and to manage wisely in the training of her children. If this is the case, the father should take more of the burden upon his soul. He should be determined to make the most decided efforts to save his children.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 10

    When the father is assured that the weakness of his wife in failing to properly train the children is endangering their salvation, he must exert a strong influence to bind the children to his own soul.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 11

    The family firm must be well organized. Together the father and mother must consider their responsibilities, and with a clear comprehension undertake their task. There is to be no variance. The father and mother should never in the presence of their children criticize each other’s plans and judgment. If the mother is inexperienced in the knowledge of God, she should reason from cause to effect, finding out whether her discipline is of a nature to increase the difficulties of the father, as he labors for the salvation of the children. Am I following the way of the Lord? This should be the all-important question. Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. The father and the mother must submit to [the] control of God, allowing no passion to be revealed in word or spirit. Eternal vigilance is the price of safety. Parents must trust implicitly in the power of Christ to transform the tendencies to wrong which have been transmitted to their children.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 12

    Parents, as you deal with your children, remember that you are dealing with a reproduction of yourselves. Therefore be sure to examine yourselves, to see whether you are indeed transformed in word and spirit. Put a bridle upon your words and actions. Never strike a child in anger. You may have to punish him with the rod; this is sometimes essential; but defer any settlement of the difficulty until you have settled the case with yourselves. Ask yourself, Have I submitted my way and my will to God? Have I placed myself where God can manage me, so that I may have wisdom, patience, kindness, and love in dealing with the refractory elements in my home? There are times when a decided restraint must be placed upon the evil developments that arise. But remember every moment that Christ died, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ... And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” [John 3:16, 19, 20.]16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 13

    For the first ten years of a child’s life the home is to be its school. In the home, parents and children are to learn together the way of the Lord. A child’s rebellion and disobedience require discipline. But in administering this discipline, let parents understand their own relation to the heavenly Father. Do they not often draw apart from God, refusing obedience to His commandments? Let these words be studied, “He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” [Verse 21.]16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 14

    The instruction necessary for the home is just what is needed in our institutions. Those in charge of our institutions should make a careful study of human nature, learning how to deal with minds. The youthful apprentices have their different temperaments to deal with. Temptation often comes to them, and they need the most careful, judicious treatment. These youth are but saplings; they are to be trained to be trees of the Lord’s planting. They are to be carefully pruned. The church is a garden, adorned with trees and plants and flowers. These do not all need the same treatment. The varied characters in the home and in the school need careful culture, that in time they may fully mature, and bear fruit to the Lord’s glory.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 15

    The young apprentices in our various institutions cannot be expected to show the wisdom of experienced workers. The Lord does not look for the wisdom in a child that He does in a man. He does not expect those who have had few opportunities and advantages to show in the warfare of life the spiritual strength of a champion. But the Lord demands growth. Great patience is needed in dealing with beginners. They must receive oft-repeated instruction, that they may show piety and Christian growth.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 16

    Parents must give their children the right kind of education. With these children new responsibilities come to them. It is their privilege to learn line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. The varied temperaments of the children need careful treatment and a knowledge of God’s will.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 17

    Of Abraham the Lord 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.” [Genesis 18:19.]16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 18

    “And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.” [Verses 20, 21.]16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 19

    Abraham pleaded with God to save the city, saying, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.” [Verse 32.] But in all the city not ten righteous persons could be found. The entire city was destroyed. Even the little children were destroyed; for evil had been transmitted to them by their parents. “The Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities.” [Genesis 19:24, 25.]16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 20

    Lot had chosen Sodom as a home because of its rich lands and beautiful surroundings. But he left the wicked city with the loss of everything he had.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 21

    This is a lesson to parents regarding the location of their families. It is not the most beautiful surroundings and the most fertile land that make a place desirable as a location. Worldly treasure will not save one soul. Human beings will taint and corrupt the earth which God has made so lovely. If the dwellers in beautiful places do not reveal purity and virtue, if they do not love truth and righteousness, the Lord will, after a time of test and trial, let His wrath break forth upon them, because they corrupt themselves before God.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 22

    We need now to be terribly in earnest. God is watching the families who claim to be Christian, to see how they are conducting themselves. If ever evangelical work was needed, it is now in our families, our schools, our sanitariums, and our publishing houses. Let us consider the work to be done. Fathers and mothers need to feel the converting power of God upon their souls. The life needs to be cleansed. There are many professing Christians who have never been transformed in character. This is why the Holy Spirit cannot accomplish its work upon human hearts. It is not spasms of feeling a desire to do right that will give us an inheritance among the saints in light. Throughout our churches and institutions there should be felt an intense desire to see souls transformed.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 23

    “The word of the Lord came unto me again, saying, What mean ye that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb any more in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine; the soul that sinneth, it shall die. But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, and ... hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; he that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God.” [Ezekiel 18:1-9.]16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 24

    “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God; wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” [Verses 30-32.]16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 25

    “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” [Ezekiel 36:25-28.]16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 26

    God calls for a thorough purification and cleansing of households and institutions. There is need, not merely of a revival, but of a reformation. Every church needs to be stirred as never before. When the light that God has given shines forth through human agencies, a great work will be done. In demonstration of the Spirit and with power will the truth be revealed in clear, distinct lines. But this work must begin in the home.16LtMs, Ms 79, 1901, par. 27

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