The union of man and woman in marriage is the work of the Creator. God saw after he had created man that it was not good for him to be alone. Such was his constitution. So he made a helpmeet for him. God from the rib of man made woman and brought her unto him, who said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Gen.2:22-24.
In conjunction with the divine institution of marriage there is also a legal institution. While the civil contract is acceptable unto God by way of preventing promiscuous sexual intercourse, it is powerless to make both one flesh and bone. It is only the power of God that can make two hearts to beat as one. By the power of his grace he makes Christians of "one heart and one soul," and of man and woman he makes "one flesh and bone." The apostle to illustrate the blessed union of Christ and the church makes use of the union of man and wife. "They two shall be one flesh." Eph.5:31. "Man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife." The union between husband and wife is stronger than between parent and child. The all-wise God has a design in all his works. He reveals to man in his Word his purpose in the union of man and wife. One object in the marriage union, as we have before said, is to prevent promiscuous sexual commerce. "Nevertheless to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband." 1 Cor.7:2. The union of man and woman is a holy and sacred institution, however the union of Christ and the church is still a higher and more important work of God. Therefore Paul advises all who can live a pure life in an unmarried state they can be more useful to God, for he careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.
Another object in the divine mind for uniting male and female is for the purpose of procreation. "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth." Gen.1:28. Alas! how few properly reverence and esteem the divine purpose. Marriages are too often contracted for the comforts of a home, or for affluence, or for elevation in society, or, worst of all, for the gratification of lustful desires. Of such too many murderously resort to the devices of art to thwart the designs of the Creator. Procreation was the highest purpose in the divine mind for the union of man and wife. For this purpose he implanted in their natures a sexual desire. They who avoid to act this part in life come short of the purpose of their creation.
Because the contracting parties at the marriage shrine do not feel and have not properly considered the obligations and responsibilities of a married life, but enter in from selfish desires, then finding it attended with cares and responsibilities they do not care to bear, they seek opportunities for release. The legal union is often severed by the same authority as was given. But as the civil power can not create two hearts into one, nor make of twain "one flesh and bone," neither can such authorities create two of what has been made one. The law of Heaven is, What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Mat.19:6.
The Word of God fixes death as the limit to the bond of union. "For the woman which hath a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth: but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man." Rom.7:2, 3. "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth: but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord." 1 Cor.7:39. "And he [Jesus] saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery." Mark 10:11, 12. In Mat.19:9, we read, "And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."
Some have thought there was a lack of harmony in the teaching of Jesus as recorded by Mark and Matthew. Mark makes the plain statement that whosoever puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery. He makes no exceptions. Matthew says, "Except it be for fornication." There is no disagreement here. It is the prominent thought each has that makes the difference in the statements. The truth that Mark wishes to teach is that there is no just cause for a man marrying who has a divorced wife. The plain statement is if a man puts away his wife and marries another he commits adultery. There is no exception. There is no just cause for his marrying, and if he does it is adultery, no matter what may be the cause of divorcement. The truth that Matthew teaches is that there is one just cause for putting away the wife. This is a just cause for putting her away, but not for marrying again. Every one that divorces his wife, even though it be for fornication, and marries another violates Mark 10:11 and Luke 16:18. A man may put away his wife for fornication, and not transgress a single text in the Bible. Fornication is the only just cause for man to put away his wife, or the wife the husband.
Some have fallen into the dangerous error of putting away the wife because the Scriptures say, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." 2 Cor.6:14. This is a wrong application of this text. No doubt but it does forbid the unmarried Christian yoking up with an unbeliever, as in 1 Cor.7:39 the woman whose husband is dead is at liberty to marry whom she will; only in the Lord. However, it does not teach the breaking of the marriage yoke. Matthew gives the only cause. Paul says, "If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath a husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him." 1 Cor.7:12, 13.
A man once told us that God showed him to leave his wife. (She was a true wife.) He was decidedly mistaken and should have tried the spirit. "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." The word joined is from the Greek suzeugnuo. and means "yoked together." This yoke man can not break. When God by his saving grace unites a soul with Christ, no man can break the bond of union. Sin, and sin only, will sever the tie that binds them together. When God unites husband and wife into one flesh and bone, no civil court can break the bond. When woman has become so untrue to her husband and false to her marriage vow as to have sexual connection with another man, God allows such an unchaste sin, and such a sin only, to dissolve the union. Why is fornication the only just cause for disuniting husband and wife? Why is sin the only cause of separation between Christ and the Christian? It is because the design of God in sending his Son to the world was to destroy and prevent sin. Then of necessity when his purpose fails there can be no union. The design of the Almighty in instituting marriage was to secure a legitimate population of the world, or to prevent the lewd, indiscriminate sexual intercourse. When this purpose fails the object of marriage fails, and there can be no union.
Brooklets joining form the river,
God by law of his creation
See the flowers greet each other,
Birds in springtime mate each other,
Duties Of The Husband To The Wife.
Great are the responsibilities resting upon the husband. The wife is termed the "weaker vessel," unto whom the husband is to give honor and to dwell with according to knowledge.1 Pet.3:7. The Word of God gives instruction how the husband should dwell with the wife. It is his duty to glean knowledge from the same and dwell with her accordingly. He is her example. She looks unto him as her instructor, both in precept and example. She is to be honored by receiving the benefits, by way of counsel, support and protection, of his superior strength. He in his strong, courageous construction, and she in her feminine frailty, are both heirs together of the grace of life. When each understand their true position and dwell together according to knowledge their prayers rise unhindered to the throne of grace.
The Scriptures grant man authority over the wife: "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." 1 Cor.11:3. "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church." Eph.5:23. You understand the protection and care Christ has for his bride -- the church: in like manner man is responsible for the protection and care of the wife. He takes the position of head of the wife as Christ takes the position of head of the church -- in love. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." Eph.5:25. "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them." Col.3:19. The love of the husband must be as deep and true for the wife as the love of Christ for the church. He gave himself for it. Man considers not his life for the care and protection of his wife when he loves her. Where there is bitterness there is wanting true love. Bitterness drives love and heaven away from the home. "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted." Eph.4:31, 32.
Man should take the wife into his confidence and entrust her with the secrets of his private life. He should respect and regard her counsel. Jacob has given us an example. Gen.31. Elkanah has set us an example of comforting the wife.1 Sam.1:8. It is a comparatively easy thing, unless you are abounding in the love of God, to become neglectful of the comfort, welfare and happiness of the wife. She in her tender, sympathetic nature seeks for attention and delights in being loved. Do not therefore be sparing in your attention toward her. The fond, affectionate wife will meet the duties, trials, afflictions and responsibilities of life without a murmur does she but know that she is loved. Enter into her joys and sorrows with a regard. "Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.... Be thou ravished always with her love." Prov.5:18, 19. Malachi exhorts the husband to faithfulness. "Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant." Chap.2:14. Such are some of the duties of a husband, and he who has cast aside regard for such duties, is a stranger to the covenant of grace.
Duties Of The Wife To The Husband.
It is a just cause of lament that so comparatively few wives have a perfect knowledge of their rightful position in the domestic circle. We will briefly give a few texts from the Holy Book showing the wife her true place in the family and her duty toward her husband, trusting God to give her a desire to be all that a wife should be. The fundamental principle is love. Without sincere, conjugal love she can scarcely fill the mission of wife. When woman becomes a wife she takes a position fraught with the greatest responsibilities. Oh, how many idle dreamers take such positions with little feeling, thought or comprehension of its responsibilities, and pass through life away below the true mission of a wife. The instruction of the inspired apostle is that the young women be sober, love their husbands, love their children, be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2:4, 5.
Such are the demands of the young wife made by the Word of God. The demand made of the aged wives is that they set a proper example in all these things. When they do not fill these demands the Word of God is blasphemed. When wives professing to be Christians and a light in the world are neglectful of home, of husband and children, they bring Christianity into disrepute. Wives are commanded to be sober. Instead of sobriety how often we see them gay, silly, foolish and worldly-minded. Their thoughts are trashy, and their conversation the same; talking about one another, busybodies, no depth of thought or feeling of their mission in life, but are concerned more about the fashions and society than the duties of home. Such characters disgrace the cause of Christ. True love will manifest itself, and where the wife loves the husband, home is her dearest place. Her great life work is to make home happy and attractive. She has a deep regard for the comforts of her lord, and love lightens all her labor for him. The true wife loves her children, which will also find its manifestation.
Among the coarse and vulgar we have heard mothers in provocation speak thus to their children: "Haven't you any sense?" "You are the foolishest thing I ever saw." "I'll box your head off." "I'll beat you to death." "I wish you were dead," and other like expressions. Such is awful language, but it has escaped the lips of many a mother. Before the public they like to appear gentle, mild and sweet tempered, while in the privacy of their homes they are snarly, snappish and cross. When it pleases God to remove one of their little ones to a more peaceful home above they mourn most bitterly; more because of remorse of conscience than from a fountain of pure love. There is, however, many a mother who longs to be tender and kind to her loved ones, but because of her bondage to the tyrannical power of an ill, impatient temper, she utters, under provocation, unfeeling, inhuman speech toward her little ones. In her calmer hours she weeps because of bondage. To all such we would say, There is help for you in God. Jesus can set you free. Yield yourself to him. He will pardon your sins and sweeten your life by his grace. To be discreet, wise, prudent, selecting the best means to accomplish a noble purpose is the wife's mission in her home.
The wife is a type of the church. "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." Rev.19:7. "Come hither, and I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God." Rev.21:9, 10. The husband is to love the wife as Christ loved the church; and as the church reverences and obeys, is faithful and subject to Christ, the wife is to reverence, obey and be faithful and subject to her husband. "Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband." "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing." Eph.5:22, 24. "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord." Col.3:18. "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation [conduct] of the wives." 1 Pet.3:1.
Such is the true position of the wife, giving the husband reverence. This means to fear. Not the slavish fear, but a fear in love, like as one would fear God whom he loved with all his heart. Fear to purposely displease him. Fear to wilfully neglect him. Fear to obstinately disobey him. To be in subjection with reverence. Such words are full of solid thought, and we would ask every wife to wisely consider them, especially if she places any value upon Christianity. The husband is to command in love. She is to obey in fear. He is to govern without giving vexation, and she is to be in subjection without feeling herself a slave. He is to watch over her conduct and guard her from every act that would be damaging to her character or her soul. She is to trust in him, and obey.
Let the wife be in subjection,
The humble apostle, after exhorting the wives to be in subjection to their husbands, commands them to not adorn themselves by plaiting the hair or wearing gold or apparel.1 Pet.3:3. "But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." Ver.4. Can the wife in the fear of God, profess to sincerely love her husband, and to be a true wife, when she is spending his hard earnings for gold and pearls, and costly apparel for adornment? he to struggle against poverty, and she to embarrass him to satisfy a proud, selfish heart? Such is not true love to husband nor to God. The wife who adorns herself with modesty and sobriety (1 Tim.2:9), with a meek and quiet spirit (1 Pet.3:4, 5), with good works (1 Tim.2:10) is a blessing to her husband. "A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband." Prov.12:4. "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life." Prov.31:10-12. "A prudent wife is from the Lord." Prov.19:14.
Duty Of Parents To Children.
Great are the responsibilities of the husband. Great are the responsibilities of the wife, but greater are the responsibilities of parents. Father and mother, God lays a responsibility upon you as you receive your new-born child. A precious little immortal soul, whose eternal destiny depends largely upon you. The proper training of children is attended with many difficulties, and every parent certainly needs instruction from God. Your child is given you from God, and you in return should give him trustingly to God, like a mother of olden time: "For this child I prayed: and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: therefore also I have lent [see margin] him to the Lord: as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord." 1 Sam.1:27, 28. This is the consecration of children to God, which is the first duty of parents.
The successful training of a child, especially in the first years of its life, is due more to example than to commandment. The influence of example upon youthful minds is rarely comprehended. We are commanded to be an example in faith, purity, conversation, charity, spirit, and to be a pattern of good works. It is the parents' duty to love their children. Titus 2:4. Perhaps every parent thinks and is ready to say, "I love my child." True love as required by the Bible comprehends more than you may have been aware. They who indulge their children in a worldly life do not love them as the Bible commands. Because the priest Eli did not restrain his children from the ways of sin, God sent an awful judgment upon him.1 Sam.3. If parents love their children as they should they will do the very best thing for them. Now the instructions given in the Bible are the safest and best to follow.
As you looked into the face of this thine own child did you remember the little treasure was a heritage from the Lord? "Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward." Psa.127:3. It may be that you were unmindful of this "fruit of the womb" being a gracious heritage from God: but such it was. In the creation of man and woman they were formed to bear offspring. When Esau and Jacob met after their long separation and enmity, Esau inquired, "Who are those with thee?" Jacob replied, "The children which God hath graciously given thy servant." Gen.33:5. Blessed and happy is the man that can look into the face of the newly-born and feel in his heart that this is a child graciously given me of God.
Because children are a heritage from the Lord is the real secret of the joy experienced in the parents' hearts when a child is born. An angel from God's presence anoints the spirit of man with the "oil of joy" when he obeys Heaven's ordained laws of procreation. Alas! how many husbands and wives, who fear to meet the responsibilities involved thus upon them seek to avert God's laws. And when a child is conceived they, instead of rejoicing as did Rachel, the mother of Joseph, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, sorrow in heart, thus allowing the enemy of human happiness to deprive them of the blessing God designed for them.
God, in his own mysterious way, from the mother's life and blood is creating a new life. But did you know that at the same time he was creating an immortal soul? That new-born life contains an immortal part, and very much depends upon you as to where shall be its eternal existence. We want you to feel this deep in your hearts. God has given into your charge a life and a soul. When you come to appear before him in the day of judgment then you will have to render an account of how you have dealt with your child. Oh, what awful responsibilities! What a charge! God help us! With such a sacred trust, what shall we do? Like she of olden time, who petitioned the God of heaven for a child, carry him back to the Lord and there implore grace and wisdom and guidance from above to train these little feet in the way that leads to endless joys.
Parents, as you look into the face of your slumbering child, and then along down through his life, what do you want him to become? Do you want him to grow up to manhood a poor, delicate, frail body with but little energy or vitality with which to meet the sterner duties of life? Do you want him to be indolent, shiftless, unmanly and addicted to such as will bring him to shame, ruin and death? What! would you picture such a life for my innocent boy? Such a thought is instantly banished from you. With all your heart you desire him to become a true and noble man. You want him to be strong, full of energy and vitality, of great mental and physical worth, of manly ways, of pure habits, and in every way a worthy son. Yes, that is the life you fondly picture for your son. Well, here he lies an infant in thine arms. He is at thy mercy. You can make of him about what you will. You can lead him in the paths of virtue and to a generous Christian manhood, or you can neglect him and allow him to go to shame and ruin. Let me say again that the life and destiny of your child depends largely upon you. You can make it what you will. God help and bless you.
When your child is born then comes the care of the little body. It must have food. It must have air. It must have clothing. The supplying of temporal needs is a duty that falls to the father. May he do his duty with a will and see that his child's health is not impaired by an insufficient amount of clothing or of food. "But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." 1 Tim.5:8. The parent that will not industriously make use of every legitimate means to secure temporal comforts, does not love his child. It has been known that the awful curse of tobacco, opium and rum, have robbed the father and mother of parental love. Some may have become so in love or so in bondage to tobacco that they would rather see their child go hungry or naked than to deprive themselves of the accursed thing.
Parents should acquaint themselves with hygienic laws and teach them to their children. Show them the danger of overeating, and of too frequent eating. Parents are destroying the health of their children by irregular feeding, and by nuts and candies. Teach the little ones to avoid sitting in a cool place when heated and of retaining wet clothing. Above all, avoid giving your child tea, coffee and "soothing syrup." Paregorics and laudanums pave the way to the formation of other bad habits. They have an effect which may answer your purpose at the time, but you gain your purpose at the cost of your child's vitality. If your attention has ever been called to the evil effects of such, you can not dope your children with them without bringing condemnation to your soul.
Good health is a great blessing, and our heavenly Father wills us to observe natural health laws. Parents by carelessness can in a very short time ruin the health of their child forever. Oh, the misery and distress originating from ill health entailed upon the human family through the ignorance and carelessness of parents is appalling. Had the writer's parents compelled their child to observe health laws in his youth he would enjoy better health to-day. By proper care and help from God he has largely overcome difficulties, but does not possess the strong constitution he otherwise would.
We kindly make an earnest appeal to all parents to look well to the health of your children. If you value their happiness, and a pleasant, happy home, acquaint yourself with the laws of health, and follow them as strictly as circumstances will allow. Many parents care more for their children's appearance in public than they do for their health. Mothers following the pride of their heart instead of the laws of health expose the bodies of their children to disease. In public gatherings, in order to make a show of their rich clothing, they will not wrap them sufficiently to protect them from cold: they will deform the feet of their little ones and bring them pain in after life, because of the pride of their heart. By lacing they will mold and shape the bodies of their daughters after the fashion of the world, entailing upon them disorder and disease, weakness and woe. In all love, but without hesitancy, we declare that such shameful treatment of children is a sin and is sufficient of itself to destroy the soul.
Great wisdom is required in the government of children. For parents to properly govern their children they need that wisdom and direction which comes from above. There are so many different natures which must be controlled in as many different ways, making it impossible to fix certain rules for all. However all these different dispositions among our children must be met. "If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God."
Many parents ask. "At what age shall we begin to train and govern our child?" Wisdom makes answer, "From the beginning." You can train your babe to nurse regularly, say every two hours, or to stifle his cries, you can nurse him irregularly, and make him a cross, fretful babe by over and irregular feeding. Your babe will sleep sweetly and soundly upon its little bed, but you can very early accustom it to be rocked to sleep so it will not go to sleep unless it is rocked. Nature never designed that we be tossed to and fro in order to go to sleep. What is man's experience on board a ship in a rough sea? He becomes dizzy, nervous and sick, and when he steps upon the land he walks like a drunken man. The infant's first rock in the cradle has a similar effect. Its little muscles are strained to prevent falling. Its brain is dashed about until it becomes dizzy, but which it soon learns to enjoy because of the peculiar sensation.
Your little babe sees some bright object and reaches out its little hands to take it. You know it ought not to have it. It may injure itself with it, so you say, "No, baby can not have this." Then baby begins to cry. You try to quiet him. You try to turn his mind and attention somewhere else, but, no, he keeps his eye on the forbidden object and cries the harder. At last to quiet him you give it to him, even if you have to hold to one end to keep him from hurting himself. Baby has now learned a very valuable lesson, which he is not going to forget. He has learned that if he cries long enough and hard enough he can obtain what he desires.
As he grows older he becomes more determined to have his way. When company comes you want your boy to give the rocker to the lady, but no, the little man prefers the rocker for himself. You endeavor to remove him by force, but he kicks and bites and holds tight and cries very loud, and you call him a naughty boy, and give up the struggle. Then you begin to tell the ladies about your boy, how he will have his way and you can not do anything with him; that you sometimes whip him, but it does not do him any good. You are educating your child out of your control.
If you desire your child to obey you, be kind, loving and firm. Scolding is never in order, but does great harm. Unhappy and unholy is the home where children obey only through fear. So deal with your little ones that obedience is gained through love. So rarely is such obedience obtained that many have concluded it can not be accomplished. It is natural for children to love their parents, and if parents deal with their little ones in love and kindness they can make home the most desirable place on earth to them.
To rule by physical force is not government. It is a most pitiful sight to see a child fear and tremble before a parent's stern looks and cross words. There is a way, though but few have found it, of mingling tenderness with firmness that demands obedience in respect and love. It brings a joy to the parents' hearts to behold their child obeying willingly. By the help of God such obedience can be obtained. Some one may ask, "Would you never punish a child?" Yes; it is sometimes necessary, but not so often as many have supposed. Training, and not arbitrary government is what is the more successful.
Give Attention To Your Child.
It takes but little to wound the tender feelings of a child. It is not the angry look and cross word only that sends the little one away in tears; but oftentimes it is neglect. What may seem to us as a very little thing, or small achievement, may be a very great thing to the child, and a notice and an encouraging word has a good and lasting effect. Your little boy has done a piece of work, and done it poorly enough to be sure, but to him it is done in the most artistic style. Do not depress his spirit by showing your disapproval, but encourage him by telling him that it does very well for a child; then kindly help him to see how he can make it still better.
You should not become so absorbed in your occupation that you can not stop to notice the newly drawn picture. If the child's interruptions are too frequent, in kindness teach him that papa is not to be interrupted now. By all means show a deep interest in your children. Help them to see that you delight to make things pleasant for them. Do not make them feel that they are servants. Have pleasant conversations with them. Read some good story to them, or better still, tell them one; not a "fairy-tale," but something real. We have seen parents who scarcely ever spoke to their children only when reproving. Take them with you to the meeting. Take them with you if at all convenient when you go on your charitable errand. Take them for a drive. Take them to the woods and the fields, and there tell them of God.
Many opportunities will be afforded for you to show an interest and an appreciation in your child. Give him your attention and you will win his love and obedience and make him feel that there is freedom at home. Neglect him, treat him with indifference, and you will make his little heart cold and make him feel he is your slave.
Be Patient With Your Child.
For the sake of your child, your own happiness, and the happiness of your home, be patient. In dealing with your little "olive plants," "let patience have her perfect work," and of a truth you shall "be perfect and entire wanting nothing." Much of redeeming grace is needed to enable the parent to be calm and kind under the many trying circumstances connected with the pruning and training of the "fruit of the womb." It is a source of great joy, however, to know that God's grace is sufficient for me.
Dear parents, the only remedy we have to offer you for this qualification is the sweet controlling influence of saving grace. When you have gained control of your own spirit you are far on the way to conquer the rebellious spirit of your child. How sad it is that a mother who loves her child will find sometimes a feeling of hatred in her heart against it. We have heard mothers in a time of provocation use such words as these, "You foolish thing;" "You naughty little imp;" "You mean thing, I have a mind to put you out where the dogs will get you;" "You do that again and I'll give you to the bad man;" "I'll slap your head off;" "I wish you were dead," etc. How awful! Mothers, who, if their little one was sick, would gladly sit night after night and watch by its bedside -- no slumber for those eyelids now, for baby is very sick -- when the dear one is restored to health and provokes the mother, she uses some of the above expressions, or similar ones.
As you stand some night by the casket that contains that lifeless little body, oh, what anguish at heart as you remember the hasty words you have spoken to that dear one. How those ugly expressions ring in your ears. They will follow you for days in thought and dream. How sad that the human heart is of such disposition, but what joy to know that the precious blood of Jesus will remove all such dispositions and fill the heart with love and sweetness that will enable you to deal with your child in loving patience, even in the hour of deepest trial, and should you be called to its death bedside you can look into the pale face and then up to God without a sting of conscience. Parents, be firm, but be patient with your child. Let love shine out of every reproval and you will find it is not so difficult to train him and govern him as you supposed.
Never Scold Or Threaten.
How heart-rending to see almost a constant contention between parents and children, parents scolding their children for almost every little thing, and threatening to "give them to the Gypsies," or to "cut off their ears," or "put a split stick on their tongues," and many other foolish and hurtful threatenings, father and mother make when they are provoked. Be always calm in your own feelings and never be hasty to speak or act. When the child really needs reproval, take him quietly and show him the evil of such things, how it will lead to other bad things, and these to others, and should he continue in that way he would grow up to be a bad man. Tell him how you love him, and how you want to see him become a good and noble man, a blessing to his parents, to the community, and to the world. Tell him you hope he will not do those bad things any more, and should he do them you would be under obligations to punish him.
If the child is reasoned with rightly the corporal punishment will not be of frequent necessity. It is a shame and a sin to act so hastily and punish your little ones in some way without patiently and coolly explaining matters.
Give Your Child Some Privilege.
Do not answer, "No," to every request of your child. Allow them some privilege, let them engage in certain plays. Do not be so fastidious in your home that the little ones can not have a little play indoors. Certainly they should be taught to be clean, to remove dirt from their shoes before coming into the house, and not to tumble things all up in the room, yet they should not be expected to sit perfectly still.
When the child makes a request of you that your wisdom decides best not to grant do not answer by a decided "no," but tell the little one that you think it not best to do so, and be firm. When you tell him you do not think it best do not be persuaded out of it, and he will soon learn that your mild "I do not think it best to give you that," means just as much as a sharp "no," but his feelings will not be disturbed like they are by that hasty "no."
Always Be Calm When You Punish.
When it becomes necessary to use the rod upon your child be sure you possess a calmness in your soul. It requires much grace for true parents to whip their children. Before you punish them you should show them what great wrong they have done and how God is displeased, and that you do not punish them for your own pleasure, but because you love them.
To the dear parents who read this we wish to exhort you to give great diligence in cultivating the affectionate side of your nature. Do not be careless and unmindful of the dear little ones' happiness. Do not be cold and indifferent toward them. Enter into their joys and sorrows with a warm heart. Parents oftentimes remark when their child gets hurt in some way, "Well it is good enough for you; may be it will teach you something." Oh, may that heart be softened to tender sympathy, so you will make the dear child feel how sorry you are because he has been hurt, then teach him how he must not engage in such things, and then he will avoid being injured. Your kind words of sympathy will relieve the pain by their influence upon the heart. Your cold indifferent words make deeper wounds in the heart than were made in the flesh.
Seek God in much earnest prayer to tender your affections, to refine your nature, to make you very sensitive to the feelings of your child, and to help you to love the tender "olive plants" round about thy fireside. Some day there may be a vacant chair, and there can be no sweeter joy on earth to your sorrowing heart than to know you did what you could to make the little one happy and train its feet for the glory world.
Kind words are flowers of beauty rare;
The mental, moral and spiritual training of children go hand in hand. We shall speak of them under separate chapters, but the one has a great influence upon the other. It is true, the intellectual faculties may be cultivated to a high degree while the moral powers are unimproved, but the individual is out of harmony with true manhood. The spiritual and moral being may be in a fair state of health and the mental powers very much dwarfed, but still he is not in perfect harmony with manhood as designed by the creative mind. Without a blending of the intellectual, moral and spiritual forces there can be no perfect character in the fullest sense. We do not mean by this that man must be a philosopher or a scientist to be a moral or spiritual man; but we mean for man to be a perfect character in every respect and to glorify God in the whole realm of his being, he must cultivate every talent God has given him. The created mental powers must be improved by right study. In order to know and understand God we must have a sound mind. A sound mind is helpful to the enjoyment of grace, and grace is helpful to the enjoyment of a sound mind; so to enjoy existence necessitates a soundness in every part.
It is through the mental powers that we acquaint our children with God: "Faith cometh by hearing." Parents can not be too careful about the impressions made in the mentality of their children; it may affect their morality and spirituality in the whole of after life. Select such books for them as will develop the mental faculties, something that contains food for the brain. There are certain articles of diet that do not contain sufficient nutrition for the development of the physical body. Children fed upon such diet would become weakly. There is also a certain kind of literature that contains no brain nutriment. Reading such degenerates the mental powers. Stimulants or excitants are hurtful to the physical system. All fictitious, exciting tales are hurtful to the mental system. We are persuaded it were better if the unreal, fairy stories were excluded from our common school readers and supplanted by something real. Select such literature as is pure. Reading that produces pure thought in the child's mind not only improves his moral state, but furnishes the best mental food.
Educate your children as well as you possibly can. It is a duty you owe to them and to God. Keep before them the ultimate object -- a developed mind for the glory of God. Encourage your children to an education. Do not think the buying of a good book an unnecessary expenditure. Better make a physical sacrifice than a mental one. Keep your children away from the physical, mental, moral and spiritual destructive party and dance by interesting them in sound and pure literature and providing it for them. If your children show a disposition to love and desire to spend the evening at the "parties" or the "balls," get up a "reading circle" or "composition exercise" at home. God will bless you and reward you in all your efforts in this direction. Much more of importance could be said upon this subject, but with these few suggestions we will leave the interested and inventive mind to enlarge.
Man is an intellectual and a moral being. By his intellectual powers he gains a knowledge of facts. By his moral faculties he experiences a sense of responsibility and a feeling of certain relations existing between him and some higher power. Your child possesses an intuitive knowledge and upon this is where your moral training begins. The little brother knows it is wrong to injure his little sister. He does not have to acquire that knowledge, he knows it intuitively. This is the foundation for your moral training, and -- of course -- spiritual training naturally hinges upon this; but we shall speak of that in a separate chapter.
The wisest man that ever lived said, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Prov.22:6. So many having failed, some have been almost persuaded to doubt this man's wisdom. The saying is true: the failures arise from the lack of understanding of how to train properly. All the moral principles sustain a close relation to each other; thus one moral principle influences another, therefore the violation of one principle makes it easier to violate a second, and the child is carried on until he can do wrong without any reproval of conscience.
Training should begin very early in the life of a child. Never allow this intuitive knowledge or the voice of conscience to be hushed by repeated wrong doing. The child who does wrong should be told why it is he feels a sense of guilt -- God is displeased. Show him how one evil leads to another, and what will be the awful end. Call to his mind the differences in his feelings arising from wrong doing and right doing. With the one God is displeased, with the other he is pleased. The way then to be happy in life is to always do right.
You must be indefatigable in your efforts at training. Constant daily training is needed. As one wrong act makes it easier to do a second wrong act, so one right act makes it easier to do a second right act. It is comparatively easy for the child to fall into bad habits. Training, constant daily training is needed to keep the little one from evil ways. Lead him into right action. By repeating a right action it becomes easy to perform it. You must never think of becoming discouraged, although it appears so natural for your child to do wrong and so difficult to get him to do right. You must go on training, trusting in the promise, teaching, reproving, correcting, punishing, ever looking upward for grace and wisdom.
Be careful of your example. It exerts a powerful influence. At one time in his life, the writer was quick in his actions and his words. He never received such a reproving as when one day his little boy under a provocation acted and spoke in the exact manner and tone of his papa. It cut to the heart.
It may seem at times that the voice of conscience is almost stifled, but you must hope on and labor zealously as in the command: "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when them sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Deut.6:7.
Many parents seeing their young child doing or saying something wrong often think it of not much consequence, because the child is young and the wrong is very slight. You do not know the power of habit, and how one wrong, howsoever slight, leads to a greater one. Habit has been likened to a spider's web, which at first can be easily broken, but after continued indulgence binds its victim as with a strong cable, making reformation almost impossible. The same is true of good and right conduct. At first it may require an effort to perform a certain right act, but after repetition it is accomplished naturally and without thought. Therefore be vigilant in training your child to right action, and carefully avoid everything that would lead to evil acts or feelings. To tease a child is to develop an angry disposition. Some fathers think it quite laughable to hear the little two-year-old say to its mamma, "I won't do it," but he shall afterward pay dearly for his sport.
Parents think it "cute" to see their little one shake its little fist at papa and mamma. Through such education the day will probably come when he will shake his fist at you so that it will strike like a hammer on your heart. We have heard many parents laughing at their little children saying "smart things," little conscious of what these things are leading to.
"Train up a child in the way he should go," comprehends much more than many have understood. Just recently we heard a little child being taught to say, "Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater," etc. Such teaching is horrifying to Christian hearts. It is better to train your child to make reply in the polite, "Yes, sir" and "No, sir," or, "Yes, ma'am," and "No, ma'am," instead of that coarse, impolite "umgh," "humgh," which is no language. Remember the first step to child training is to set the example before them in your own life. Frequently we find parents endeavoring to teach their children to say, "Please" and "Yes, sir," when they in their own speech neglect such politeness. Your efforts will prove fruitless.
Parents have been known to tease their little daughter and the daughter of other parents about some little boy companion, and their little son about some girl companion. Such is very shameful and harmful. It fills the minds of their children with impure thought. Keep your own language very modest and pure and the language of your children the same. Keep their thought pure. Impure language and impure thought leads to impure and injurious habits.
Be familiar with your child and talk to him about his secret life. Teach him of the awful evils in the secret lives of many children and how impure words and thoughts lead to such injurious vice. Parents. see to it that there is a loving confidence between you and your child. Be familiar in telling them how wonderfully they are made and what was the design of God in thus creating them. Teach them what a noble and sacred thing it is to use every member and organ of our body to the glory of the Creator. Teach them of the awful crime to misuse any part. Mothers, acquaint your young daughters of the event that must soon come into their life, and thus prevent their doing an injury to their health.
By precept upon precept and by example, train your child to grow up into a beautiful moral life. In love restrain every immoral tendency in your child. Also be very zealous in teaching your children good manners. Civility and refinement are beautiful in the life of any one, and is very closely associated with the morals. Teach your little ones to respect each other, to have a regard for each other's happiness, to practise self-denial for the benefit of others. By precept and example instill gentleness and kindness into their actions. Dear parents, never grow weary in training the little feet of thy tender "olive plants" in the paths of virtue.
The moral life is beautiful, but there is a higher and more beautiful life. In the true, deep spiritual life is found the highest degree of morality. However we may train our children into a high standard of moral life, and yet not attain to the spiritual. It is reported that the homes of certain infidels are most exemplary in moral conduct. Ancient heathen philosophers through restraint, self-sacrifice, and force of will attained to beautiful moral lives. But the spiritual life, which includes the moral, is the perfection of beauty. The life out of which the Christ-life and character shines is the grandest and noblest upon the earth.
Parents, bring your children to Jesus, for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, is commanded in the Holy Scriptures. Your child possesses an immortal soul. This soul will exist either in happiness or wretchedness eternally. It is so ordained in the plan of redemption that the soul can be brought into possession of spiritual life, which, if retained, insures its eternal bliss. He who has attained to a high degree of morality through the force of human will holds communion only with the better qualities of manhood, all of which must perish. He who has attained to spirituality holds communion with God and heavenly things. He does not trust to human powers, but in the power of the divine life.
Moral life will not admit us into the paradise above. We must possess spiritual life -- the life of Christ. It is well to train our children in the way of good morals with a view to leading them into the spiritual life. Then it is necessary to lead them into the spiritual life to aid in the moral training. Comparatively few parents have accomplished any great results in the moral training of their children without divine assistance. In the moral derangement of our children the inward tendency to immorality makes it impossible to educate them to a true and perfect standard of morality without God's aid. Have we and our children no other source of strength to do battle with the evil passions but the force of the human will? Who has succeeded in subduing or controlling an angry disposition in themselves or their children to the extent that there is no impatient speech or abrupt action, by their own will power? We admit that some men -- as the ancient heathen philosophers -- have succeeded in educating themselves to a high standard of morality by using all the power of the human will as a vigilant police force and carefully avoiding occasions of temptation. It is said of one of these philosophers that in order to absent himself from the races and games and bull-fights and other worldly gatherings he would only shave one-half of his face, thereby making himself too ridiculous in appearance to assemble among men. Such is the struggle to attain any moral excellence without divine assistance.
Children should be taught what sin is, and of God's judgments against it, and as early in life as possible be led by instruction and seeking the aid of the Holy Spirit into a Christian experience. Some seem to think that children have no correct ideas of God, and never feel the influence of his Spirit. In this they may be mistaken. The tender heart of a child very often receives a deep and sacred impression by the Holy Spirit. Were we watchful and took advantage of these seasons to tell them of God and heaven we would be workers together with him, and he would reward us by faithful children. The communication of the Spirit with the hearts of children is more wonderful and frequent than we may sometimes understand. A lady recently told us that her parents never taught her to pray, but very early in life she was inclined by the Holy Spirit to kneel at her bedside and pray when unobserved.
Who is the reader that can not remember instances in his early life when he felt the influence of some good spirit and had thoughts of God? Had he in those tender childhood days been rightly instructed he could have been led into the beautiful walks of a Christian life. We remember a child of less than ten years of age, who, hearing his father using bad language, fell upon his knees and clasping his arms around his father told him of his sin and besought him to pray for forgiveness.
A lady writer in one of her excellent works ("Mothers' Counsel to Their Sons"), records the instance of a little girl of four and a half years who felt the guilt of sin, and by her Christian mother was led to Jesus, and there she was blessed by him, even to the witnessing of his Spirit that her sins were gone and she was his child. The child was at one time moved to plead with an unsaved relative to come to Jesus. She lived triumphant in the sweetness of redeeming grace until the age of fifteen, when her mission on earth was ended and she went to her home in heaven. Oh, how glorious! What if that mother, when this child came expressing her sense of guilt, had not instructed her in the ways of salvation? In all probability it would have resulted in a lost soul.
When our children are brought into a Christian experience the victory is only partly won; life lies before them with its temptations. Many are the allurements to turn those young feet into worldly paths. We have witnessed the bright, happy conversion of many children. We have seen their countenances beaming with the light and joy of Christian love and heard their voices ring with spiritual praise, only to soon yield to the influence of the world and lose that sincere devotion to God. This is not the inevitable course, thank God, but it is the course of many. To teach our children the fear of God and enable them to retain in their hearts a deep reverence and devotion to him has been a subject of much prayer with us. We find the Christian life is a warfare. There are temptations to be resisted, there are watchings and prayings, there must be a constant looking upward to God for his aid and direction.
One trouble with many parents has been that as soon as their children were converted they seemed to think the battle was over and the victory was won, when really the battle was only begun. The first thing necessary in keeping our budding "olive plants" in deep spirituality is to keep very spiritual ourselves. Now whatever means are necessary to promote a growth of spirituality in our hearts, the same means are necessary to develop and deepen the spiritual life of our children. A habitual effort to cultivate a deeper sense of the divine presence is necessary and one of the most beautiful employments of the sanctified heart. Those reverential feelings toward God must daily become stronger. Those inmost affections of the soul must reach out with greater yearnings and deeper longings toward the Holy One. A benevolent regard in our hearts for our fellow men must become stronger and more true. O beloved, if you would have your child to grow up into a beautiful Christian character you must teach him to suppress every selfish feeling, to banish every idle, careless thought, and to resist all temptations to envy or impatience. The purest of meditations must be entertained. We and they must be strictly disciplined by the sacred Scriptures, "Watch and pray." Spiritual prayer unfolds the life into the beautiful life of God as the bud unfolds into the blooming rose.
A Christian Home.
Nowhere is Christianity more effectual and more beautiful than in the home life. Nowhere is the power of divine love so truly manifested as in a sincere Christian home. We will set a picture before you. A father and mother with their children are grouped together for the evening worship. The father out of the deep affections of his soul, in spiritual tones, speaks of God and his holy commandment. A tear of gratitude and joy is glistening in the mother's affectionate eye. The children's faces are beaming with admiration as they hear extolled the character of Christ. They kneel in prayer; a holy awe and sacredness rests upon the scene; their prayers arise as sweet incense into the nostrils of God and delight his great heart.
Such a scene as we have pictured only fitly represents a true Christian home. The father is all tenderness and love to his wife and children. He is kind and sympathetic. He regards his wife as the weaker vessel and is mindful of her happiness. The wife deeply reverences her husband. Affection and appreciation sparkle in her eye. To attend to the husband's wishes is her delight. They love their children and in gentleness are bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The children love each other and are kind and self-denying. They obey their parents through love. Alas! such a family is rarely found upon this sin-cursed earth. But such is taught and commanded in the Bible, and it is possible.
If a father and mother and children lived toward each other just as the Bible says they should live, we would have a scene that would fitly represent heaven. It is our privilege to have just such a home. "Ask, and it shall be given you." A happy home life is the most blessed life on earth. "Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table." Psa.128:3.
Duty Of Children To Parents.
It was the original design of God that children should be a blessing to their parents. "My son, be wise, and make my heart glad." Prov.27:11. "The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice." Prov.23:24, 25. "A wise son maketh a glad father." Prov.15:20.
You will observe, children, in each of the above texts that it is wisdom in a child that makes parents rejoice. Then you should "seek wisdom, seek understanding." "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom." Prov.4:7. What is wisdom? "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." The highest honor a child can pay to a true parent is to honor and obey God: "And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart and with all thy soul." Deut.30:2. "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not." Eccl.12:1.
The duty of children is to fear their parents: "Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father." Lev.19:3. To honor them: "Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." Ex.20:12. This, it is true, is an old-time commandment, but the spirit or principle of it is carried into the dispensation of the gospel. "Honor thy father and mother." Eph.6:2.
Children should attend to the faithful instruction of their parents: "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother; for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy heart, and chains about thy neck." Prov.1:8, 9. "Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father." Prov.4:1. "My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother." Prov.6:20. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right." If it is right to obey, it is wrong to disobey. Many children do not have a due regard for the instruction of the father and mother. They oftentimes think they know more than their parents and so follow their own ways without natural affection.
Children should imitate the example of righteous parents, but are commanded not to walk in the footsteps of the unholy: "But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols." Ezek.20:18.
One important duty of children is to care for the parents. If the parents become old and feeble, or the mother a widow, the Word of God places children under the obligation of caring for them. "But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to show piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God."
Duties Of Masters To Servants.
Masters are commanded to forbear threatening their servants: "And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, [servants], forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven, neither is there respect of persons with him." Eph.6:9.
In our land the days of slavery are no more, but men and women have their hired man and maid servant. Their duty toward such servants is to treat them with kindness, not to threaten them, or treat them in an overbearing, authoritative manner because they are servants. Be as kind and mild and respectful to them as to the children of the rich, for God is no respecter of persons.
Masters should give unto their servants that which is just and right for their labor done. If a man's labor is well worth two dollars per day, but because he is needy (or for any cause) and must work at any price, you take advantage of him and give him but one dollar, you are a dim light in the world. In truth your light has gone out, and your deeds have become darkness. "Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal: knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven." These words. "Knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven," are contained also in Eph.6:9, where masters are commanded to forbear threatening. They are intended to impress the master with his obligation of dealing with his servants in the fear of God, before whom he must some day appear and give an account for the deeds done in the body, or in this life.
The rich man's fraudulent deeds toward his servants is taken account of in heaven: "Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth." Jas.5:4.
Duty Of Servants To Their Masters.
Servants should honor and respect their masters: "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed." 1 Tim.6:1. Especially are they to reverence them if they are believers: "And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit." 1 Tim.6:2.
Servants are under obligation to obey their masters: "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart as unto Christ." Eph.6:5. The servant's service to his master should not be wholly for the hire. He should not fear to do him ill service because of not receiving his wages, but his service should be in singleness of heart -- an honest, upright purpose -- as unto Christ.
They should seek to please their masters: "Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things." Titus 2:9. They are to be subject to them: "Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear: not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward." 1 Pet.2:18. Servants are to do good service and not defraud their masters, and thus adorn the doctrine of God. "Not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things." Titus 2:10. The word "purloin" is from the Greek word "nosphizomai," and means "to hide or to secrete, to steal." In this text it would include the idling away of time that belonged to the master.
We believe we have done justice to the subject of "Domestic Relationship." In conclusion we would be pleased to set before you a picture, not to be excelled in sublimity, sacredness, elevation of character, or soul inspiration by anything on earth. "For thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table." Psa.128:2, 3. This picture is set in a beautiful frame, found in the preceding verse and the one following, "Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways." Ver.1. "Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord." Ver.4. The picture of a happy Christian man, a loving wife, devoted children, embossed with the blessings and glory of God, is one of greatest admiration.