|by Elias Goodwin
"TRAIN up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Prov.xxii,6. Much is said in the Bible, respecting the duty of parents to their children. But it would seem, by the manner in which this duty is neglected by most of parents, that they do not understand what the Bible teaches on this subject.
I have often been pained to see how this important duty is neglected, even by those who profess to be keeping all the commandments of God. I have earnestly desired of late, that something might be said, or written on this subject; something that would stir up parents to look at these things, and to feel the responsibility that rests upon them, to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Eph.vi,4. I fear but few parents, realize how far they have departed from the word of God in this respect. Perhaps but few are aware how much is said in the Bible on this subject. I will here quote a few passages of Scripture which are to the point. "He that spareth his rod, hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." Prov.xiii,24. "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying." Prov.xix,18. - "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." Prov.xxii,15. - "Withhold not correction from the child; for if thou beat him with the rod he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell." Prov.xxiii,13,14. "The rod and reproof giveth wisdom; but a child left to himself, bringeth his mother to shame. Correct thy son and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul." - Prov.xxix,15,17.
It seems to me, that in the passages I have quoted, the duty of parents to their children, is clearly and plainly pointed out. It seems, from the word of God, that the rod is to be used (and that not sparingly) in the government, and correction of children, in bringing them into perfect subjection to their parents. But how seldom is the rod seen and much more seldom used by the professed people of God at this day. Many seem to think that they are serving God, doing those things that are pleasing in his sight, while in a measure, if not wholly, they are neglecting to govern their children, and bring them to yield that obedience to their parents, that the word of God requires. But this is a mistaken idea and a snare of Satan into which the whole world, with few exceptions, have fallen, in these "perilous times." But my prayer is, that God would deliver his people out of this snare, and give them to see and understand their whole duty to their children.
I understand this subject like this; that parents stand in the place of God to their children, until they become old enough to know and serve God for themselves. And that parents are required to see that their children yield the same obedience and submission to their will, that parents yield to God. And if this duty is performed by parents, then they can claim in faith and confidence the blessing of God upon their children. But if this duty is neglected by parents, it seems to me certain that God will hold them responsible, and the blood of their children will be required at their hands.
It is the height of folly in parents to suppose that their children can be saved while living in willful disobedience to their parents, and being possessed of a spirit and temper that is ungovernable, wicked, and devilish. As well might parents expect to be saved while possessing the spirit of Satan, and living in disobedience to the commandments of God. But this is not so. No one with an understanding of the Bible, can expect to be saved without yielding perfect obedience to God, and partaking of his Holy Spirit. For this cause our heavenly Father has to chasten and scourge us, (and many times sorely,) and bring us under strict discipline, in order to humble us and subdue our stubborn wills and unholy tempers, and bring us where we can yield a sweet and humble submission to his holy will. This is the way that God deals with his children, and that too, because he loves them, and that they may be partakers of his holiness.
Many parents in these days, instead of causing their children to submit unto their will and judgment, submit to the will of their children, and in many instances, become complete slaves to them. This is not right. It is reversing God's order. And if continued, will certainly ruin their children, if not parents also. It is mockery for parents to pray for God to bless and save their children, while they themselves are neglecting their duty to them.
I feel an interest in the welfare of the children, and am glad they are to have a paper for themselves; but, still, for the children to be really benefited, I think "the axe must be laid at the root of the tree;" that is, the work must begin at home. Parents must do their duty, before God can consistently work for their children.
Dear brethren and sisters, you that are parents of children, I beg of you, as you love your children, and desire their salvation, that you wake up to this important duty of governing your children, and subdue their wills and unholy temper, and bring them where God can work for them. Unless you do, you will certainly see your children cut down in the time of trouble. Oh! what anguish it will cause parents, to witness the "plagues" poured out upon their children, and realize that it is because they have neglected their duty to them.
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