|by E. G. White
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." This, then, is the first step that the youth are to take in progress. Let all who shall read these lines in the Instructor inquire whether they are indeed fearing the Lord, fearing to offend him by indulgence in any wrong practice. Are they seeking to do their duty at home? Have they company manners only? Do they put on their best appearance when away from the home circle?
If children and youth seek to be kind and courteous at home, thoughtfulness will become an abiding habit. Every-day politeness will cause them to be always polite. Home is the very place in which to practice self-denial and thoughtfulness to each member of the family; thus it is with the family in heaven, thus it will be when the scattered families of earth are reunited in the heavenly home.
We want children and youth to be happy in this life, and to bring all that makes heaven desirable--a place of peace and bliss--into the home-life. Train yourselves to behave at home, having the fear of the Lord before you, and it will become habit to behave well when away from home. Habits, often repeated, make character. Children who allow themselves to speak rudely to one another, and to be impolite at home, are forming habits that will cling to them in after life, and that will be most difficult to overcome. They do not show that they fear the Lord. They do not manifest refinement of character; their disposition becomes coarse, lacking in civility and that which constitutes refinement of manners; and all this casts a reflection upon the home training. In the behavior of children away from home, strangers can read, as in an open book, the history of the home life. They read there of duties left undone, of want of thoughtfulness, of lack of self-forgetfulness, of a disposition toward strife, fretfulness, impatience; while those who show that they have the fear of the Lord before them will, in character and in words, testify of a home where love is cherished, when there is peace, where patience is cultivated, where attention is given to the little properties of life, each mindful of his duty to make others happy.
Children and youth, are you all preparing to become members of the heavenly family? Are you seeking in the home-life to be fitted to become members of the Lord's family? If so, make the home life happy by mutual self-sacrifice. If we want Jesus in our home, let kind words only be spoken there. The angels of God will not abide in a home where there is strife and contention. Let love be cherished, and peace, and Christian politeness, and angels will be your guests.
The enemy of God and the enemy of man is constantly seeking to keep active in children and youth those objectional features of character which will make not only themselves unhappy but also those who are associated with them. The apostle exhorts you to resist the devil and he will flee from you; and to draw nigh to the Lord. When we draw nigh to the Lord, we will keep him in mind, seeking to do those things which he will approve, and letting the heart be uplifted to him in prayer, for the guidance of his Holy Spirit, for wisdom to ever choose to do those things which he will approve, seeking for strength and grace every hour from him. Then when the enemy comes in unexpectedly, or clothes his temptations with garments of righteousness, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard for you against the enemy, and he will be repulsed. The Lord will hear the prayers offered to him in faith from a sincere heart. Then pray much, and you will receive much
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