“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. By some, education is placed next to religion, but true education is religion.”

Children Can Be Disciples Too

“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. . . .

“ ‘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.”*

Review and Herald, June 6, 1899.