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    Chapter 75—Leading Little Children to Christ

    How Early May Children Become Christians?—In childhood the mind is readily impressed and molded, and it is then that boys and girls should be taught to love and honor God.1Manuscript 115, 1903.CG 486.1

    God wants every child of tender age to be His child, to be adopted into His family. Young though they may be, the youth may be members of the household of faith and have a most precious experience. They may have hearts that are tender and ready to receive impressions that will be lasting. They may have their hearts drawn out in confidence and love for Jesus, and live for the Saviour. Christ will make them little missionaries. The whole current of their thought may be changed, so that sin will not appear a thing to be enjoyed, but to be shunned and hated.2Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 169.CG 486.2

    Age of No Consequence.—An eminent divine was once asked how old a child must be before there was reasonable hope of his being a Christian. “Age has nothing to do with it,” was the answer. “Love to Jesus, trust, repose, confidence, are all qualities that agree with the child's nature. As soon as a child can love and trust his mother, then can he love and trust Jesus as the Friend of his mother. Jesus will be his Friend, loved and honored.”CG 486.3

    In view of the foregoing truthful statement, can parents be too careful in presenting precept and example before those watchful little eyes and sharp senses? Our religion should be made practical. It is needed in our homes as much as in the house of worship. There should be nothing cold, stern, and forbidding in our demeanor; but we should show, by kindness and sympathy, that we possess warm, loving hearts. Jesus should be the honored Guest in the family circle. We should talk with Him, bring all our burdens to Him, and converse of His love, His grace, and His perfection of character. What a lesson may be daily given by godly parents in taking all their troubles to Jesus, the Burden Bearer, instead of fretting and scolding over cares and perplexities they cannot help. The minds of the little ones may be taught to turn to Jesus as the flower turns its opening petals to the sun.3Good Health, January, 1880.CG 486.4

    God's Love Should Be Taught in Every Lesson.—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.... That God is love is to be taught by every lesson.4The Review and Herald, June 6, 1899.CG 487.1

    Fathers and mothers should teach the infant, the child, and the youth of the love of Jesus. Let the first baby lispings be of Christ.5The Review and Herald, October 9, 1900.CG 487.2

    Christ should be associated with all the lessons given to children.6The Signs of the Times, February 9, 1882.CG 487.3

    From the child's earliest years it is to be made acquainted with the things of God. In simple words let the mother tell it about Christ's life on earth. And more than this, let her bring into her daily life the teachings of the Saviour. Let her show her child, by her own example, that this life is a preparation for the life to come, a period granted to human beings in which they may form characters that will win for them entrance into the city of God.7Manuscript 2, 1903.CG 487.4

    They Need More Than Casual Notice.—There has been altogether too little attention paid to our children and youth, and they have failed to develop as they should in the Christian life, because the church members have not looked upon them with tenderness and sympathy, desiring that they might be advanced in the divine life.8The Review and Herald, February 13, 1913.CG 488.1

    The Lord is not glorified when the children are neglected and passed by.... They require more than casual notice, more than a word of encouragement. They need painstaking, prayerful, careful labor. The heart that is filled with love and sympathy will reach the hearts of the youth who are apparently careless and hopeless.9Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 77.CG 488.2

    Jesus Says, “Train These Children for Me.”—Parents should seek to comprehend the fact that they are to train their children for the courts of God. When they are entrusted with children, it is the same as though Christ placed them in their arms and said, “Train these children for Me, that they may shine in the courts of God.” One of the first sounds that should attract their attention is the name of Jesus, and in their earliest years they should be led to the footstool of prayer. Their minds should be filled with stories of the life of the Lord, and their imaginations encouraged in picturing the glories of the world to come.10The Review and Herald, February 19, 1895.CG 488.3

    They May Have a Christian Experience in Childhood.—Help your children to prepare for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him. Help them to fulfill God's purpose for them. Let your training be such that it will help them to be an honor to the One who died to secure for them eternal life in the kingdom of God. Teach them to respond to the invitation, “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.”11Manuscript 138, 1903.CG 488.4

    My brother and sister, you have a sacred work to do in the training of your children. While they are young, their hearts and minds are most susceptible to right impressions.... Teach them that they have an individual part to act and a Christian experience to gain even in their childhood.12Letter 10, 1912.CG 489.1

    Unless parents shall make it the first business of their lives to guide their children's feet into the path of righteousness from their earliest years, the wrong path will be chosen before the right.13The Review and Herald, April 14, 1885.CG 489.2

    Willing Obedience Is the Test of Conversion.—Shall we not teach our children that willing obedience to the will of God proves whether those claiming to be Christians are Christians indeed? The Lord means every word He says.14Manuscript 64, 1899.CG 489.3

    God's Law the Foundation of Reformation.—The law of God is to be the means of education in the family. Parents are under a most solemn obligation to walk in all the commandments of God, setting their children an example of the strictest integrity....CG 489.4

    The law of God is the foundation of all enduring reformation. We are to present to the world in clear, distinct lines the need of obedience to His law. The great reformative movement must begin in the home. Obedience to God's law is the great incentive to industry, economy, truthfulness, and just dealing between man and man.15Letter 74, 1900.CG 489.5

    Teach It to the Children.—Have you taught your children from their babyhood to keep the commandments of God? ... You are to teach them to form characters after the divine similitude, that Christ may reveal Himself to them. He is willing to reveal Himself to children. We know this from the history of Joseph, of Samuel, of Daniel and his companions. Can we not see from the record of their lives what God expects from children and youth?16Manuscript 62, 1901.CG 489.6

    Parents ... are under obligation to God to present their children to Him fitted at a very early period to receive an intelligent knowledge of what is comprehended in being a follower of Jesus Christ.17Manuscript 59, 1900.CG 490.1

    Testimony of a Converted Child.—Religion helps children to study better and to do more faithful work. A little girl of twelve was telling, in a simple way, the evidence that she was a Christian. “I did not like to study, but to play. I was idle at school and often missed my lessons. Now I learn every lesson well, to please God. I was mischievous at school, when the teachers were not looking at me, making fun for the children to look at. Now I wish to please God by behaving well and keeping the school laws. I was selfish at home, didn't like to run errands, and was sulky when mother called me from play to help her in work. Now it is a real joy for me to help mother in any way and to show that I love her.”18Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 79.CG 490.2

    Beware of Procrastination.—Parents, you should commence to discipline the minds of your children while they are young, to the end that they may be Christians.... Beware how you lull them to sleep over the pit of destruction, with the mistaken thought that they are not old enough to be accountable, not old enough to repent of their sins and profess Christ.19Testimonies For The Church 1:396.CG 490.3

    Children of eight, ten, or twelve years are old enough to be addressed on the subject of personal religion. Do not teach your children with reference to some future period when they shall be old enough to repent and believe the truth. If properly instructed, very young children may have correct views of their state as sinners and of the way of salvation through Christ.20Testimonies For The Church 1:400.CG 490.4

    I was referred to the many precious promises on record for those who seek their Saviour early. Ecclesiastes 12:1: “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.” Proverbs 8:17: “I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me.” The great Shepherd of Israel is still saying, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Teach your children that youth is the best time to seek the Lord.21Testimonies For The Church 1:396, 397.CG 491.1

    Direct From Infancy Through Youth—To allow a child to follow his natural impulses is to allow him to deteriorate and to become proficient in evil. The results of wrong training begin to be revealed in childhood. In early youth a selfish temper is developed, and as the youth grows to manhood, he grows in sin. A continual testimony against parental neglect is borne by children who have been permitted to follow a course of their own choosing. Such a downward course can be prevented only by surrounding them with influences that will counteract evil. From infancy to youth and from youth to manhood, a child should be under influences for good.22The Review and Herald, September 15, 1904.CG 491.2

    Fortify Children for Future Tests—Parents, ask yourselves the solemn question, “Have we educated our children to yield to paternal authority, and thus trained them to obey God, to love Him, to hold His law as the supreme guide of conduct and life? Have we educated them to be missionaries for Christ? To go about doing good?” Believing parents, your children will have to fight decisive battles for the Lord in the day of conflict; and while they win victories for the Prince of peace, they may be gaining triumphs for themselves. But if they have not been brought up in the fear of the Lord; if they have no knowledge of Christ, no connection with heaven, they will have no moral power, and they will yield to earthly potentates who have assumed to exalt themselves above the God of heaven in establishing a spurious sabbath to take the place of the Sabbath of Jehovah.23The Review and Herald, April 23, 1889.CG 491.3

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