Saturday, April 5, 2008

Gems from the Past for Parents

I sent this out in my Hope Chest newsletter in August 2003, and just found it while poking around in the archives ( for something else.

Words for Mother: Maternal Responsibility
from the Dew-Drop in 1877

The following is taken from a bound annual volume of The Dew-Drop, A Monthly Magazine for the Young, Volume XV, which was published in Glasgow, Scotland. The flyleaf of my copy is inscribed in beautiful penmanship: "To Thomas H. Walker, a New Year’s Gift from His affectionate Grandpa, 1st Jany. 1878." Most of the book is filled with poetry, stories and admonishments for children, but the editors also included encouragement for mothers which is perhaps even more relevant to us home schooling mothers today than it was 125 years ago. Read and heed!

Words for Mother: Maternal Responsibility

Dear friends, are we sensible of striving with and for our children, that they may be brought into the family of God; can we say of them as the apostle said in relation to the object of his solicitude, of whom we travail in birth again till Christ be formed in their hearts the hope of glory? We know that they are soon going forth into a world beset with dangers, shall they not be forewarned and forearmed? We know the natural worldliness of the human mind, and shall we, by inviting them to sip of worldly pleasures, stimulate their appetite for that which is forbidden? We know how difficult it is in our own hearts to overcome the suggestions of vanity and pride, to exterminate the bitter root of selfishness within, and shall we, in their case, water and cherish it?

O let us beware of dealing deceitfully with God, and unfaithfully with the souls of our children. It is but a little while before they pass into other hands. Other voices will address them--other forces will bear upon them. Childhood is our golden opportunity; now they are, as it were, shut up to domestic influence, and in a great measure to the quiet operation of maternal love. May we have grace wisely to employ the sacred interval, and may God so smile upon our supplications and endeavours, that in this day there may spring up a noble band of Christian heroes, willing not only to subscribe with their hands to the Lord, but, if needs be, with their blood. Let us believe, dear friends, that God is with us in our work, and, relying on Him, we shall not be disappointed.

In conclusion, allow me to recommend the following remarks for your careful consideration.

1st. Be satisfied with nothing in the education of your children, but the renewal of their hearts by the Holy Spirit.

2nd. Bring them up in sound doctrine -- be sure they are well versed in Scripture truth , especially in the great matter of a sinner’s acceptance with God.

3rd. Accustom them to act upon their personal convictions, and see that conscience is always enlightened by the divine testimony. This will give them a noble bearing, a real independence and moral courage, which are peculiarly needed in these perilous days.

4th. Let them see, throughout your dealings with them, that you regard supremely God, the soul, and eternity; that his will is the daily rule of your conduct, and that his approbation weighs with you against every discouraging or inferior consideration. I believe it is this impression of truthfulness on our part, thoroughly lodged in the minds of our children, that does more to pre-possess them in favour of religion than aught besides; but in order to this, we must be really and uniformly what we profess to be, full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, not satisfied by the form of godliness, but always exemplifying its power.

5th. Beware of forcing the mind, and, in so doing, of weakening its powers. Impatience in the training of our children occasions serious evils, for it is with the mind, as with the body, we must only give food as there is power to digest it: but in how many cases are children crammed with all the varieties of knowledge, even to the risk of nauseating them by the experiment. We are placed by Providence in a beautiful world, and children are naturally full of inquiry, and prompt to imitate; it is our business, then, to co-operate with nature, and not to supersede her.

Lastly. Forbear threatening, and endeavour to bring the spirit of the New Testament into all the discipline of your little household. An excellent divine, in treating of this subject from the pulpit remarked, that "ours should be a system of faith and love , not of bondage and coercion."

If each mother who reads this little paper, will begin at home, and seek diligently her own personal improvement, another year will not pass, without obvious change in our families and congregations.

Excerpt from "Parental Duties Illustrated"
by Samual Worcester, D.D., October 1811

Children should be taught early the important truths of God’s Word.
They should early be taught that there is a God;
that He is a being of infinite power and wisdom,
knowledge and goodness, justice, mercy, and truth,
one God in three persons;
that He is to be loved with all the heart,
and obeyed in all things with the most dutiful respect,
that His law is holy, just and good;
that all mankind are by nature sinners,
and are exposed to everlasting destruction;
that God has freely given His own Son to die for sinners,
and to bring in everlasting righteousness for their justification;
that everyone ought immediately to repent and embrace the Savior;
that all the unconverted reject it to their eternal ruin;
and that all who are thus renewed and made alive to God
will be pardoned and sanctified,
and finally received to honor, glory, and immortality.
These and other gospel truths connected with these
should be taught to our children with diligence and faithfulness.
They are truths which concern their eternal salvation.
Nor are we to say that children cannot understand them;
for it has been found by pleasing experience that, if proper means are used,
children will very early get so much knowledge of divine truth
as to be of greatest benefit to them in all their future lives.

Samual Worcester, D.D., October 1811
from his sermon "Parental Duties Illustrated"

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