The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
December 20, 1877 Home Duties of the Father
Filed under: EG White Articles

Few fathers are fitted for the responsibility of training their children. They, themselves need strict discipline that they may learn self-control, forbearance, and sympathy. Until they possess these attributes they are not capable of properly teaching their children. What can we say to awaken the moral sensibilities of fathers, that they may understand and undertake their duty to their offspring? The subject is of intense interest and importance, having a bearing upon the future welfare of our country. We would solemnly impress upon fathers, as well as mothers, the grave responsibility they have assumed in bringing children into the world. It is a responsibility from which nothing but death can free them. True the chief care and burden rests upon the mother during the first years of her children’s lives, yet even then the father should be her stay and counsel, encouraging her to lean upon his large affections, and assisting her as much as possible.

The father’s duty to his children should be one of his first interests. It should not be, set aside for the sake of acquiring a fortune, or of gaining a high position in the world. In fact, those very conditions of affluence and honor frequently separate a man from his family, and cut off his influence from them more than anything else. If the father would have his children develop harmonious characters, and be an honor to him and a blessing to the world, he has a special work to do. God holds him responsible for that work. In the great day of reckoning it will be asked him: Where are the children that I intrusted to your care to educate for me, that their lips might speak my praise, and their lives be as a diadem of beauty in the world, and they live to honor me through all eternity?

In some children the moral powers strongly predominate. They have power of will to control their minds and actions. In others the animal passions are almost irresistible. To meet these diverse temperaments, which frequently appear in the same family, fathers, as well as mothers, need patience and wisdom from the divine Helper. There is not so much to be gained by punishing children for their transgressions, as by teaching them the folly and heinousness of their sin, understanding their secret inclinations, and laboring to bend them toward the right.

The hours which many fathers spend in smoking should be improved in studying God’s plan of government, and gathering lessons from those divine methods. The teachings of Jesus unfold to the father modes of reaching the human heart, and impressing upon it important lessons of truth and right. Jesus used the familiar objects of nature to illustrate and intensify his meaning. He drew lessons from every-day life, the occupations of men, and their dealing with one another.

The father should frequently gather his children around him, and lead their minds into channels of moral and religious light. He should study their different tendencies and susceptibilities, and reach them through the plainest avenues. Some may be best influenced through veneration and the fear of God; others through the manifestation of his benevolence and wise providence, calling forth their deep gratitude; others may be more deeply impressed by opening before them the wonders and mysteries of the natural world, with all its delicate harmony and beauty, which speak to their souls of Him who is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and all the beautiful things therein.

Children who are gifted with the talent or love of music many receive impressions that will be life-long, by the judicious use of those susceptibilities as the medium for religious instruction. They may be taught that if they are not right with God they are like a discord in the divine harmony of creation, like an instrument out of tune, giving forth discordant strains more grievous to God than harsh, inharmonious notes are to their own fine musical ear.

Many may be reached best through sacred pictures, illustrating scenes in the life and mission of Christ. By this means truths may be vividly imprinted upon their minds, never to be effaced. The Roman Catholic church understands this fact, and appeals to the senses of the people through the charm of sculpture and paintings. While we have no sympathy for image worship, which is condemned by the law of God, we hold that it is proper to take advantage of that almost universal love of pictures in the young, to fasten in their minds valuable moral truths, to bind the gospel to their hearts by beautiful imagery illustrating the great moral principles of the Bible. Even so our Saviour illustrated his sacred lessons by the imagery found in God’s created works.

It will not do to lay down an iron rule by which every member of the family is forced into the same discipline. It is better to exert a milder sway, and when any special lesson is required, to reach the consciences of the youth through their individual tastes, and marked points of character. While there should be a uniformity in the family discipline, it should be varied to meet the wants of different members of the family. It should be the parents’ study not to arouse the combativeness of their children, not to excite them to anger and rebellion, but to interest them, and inspire them with a desire to attend to the highest intelligence and perfection of character. This can be done in a spirit of Christian sympathy and forbearance, the parents realizing the peculiar dangers of their children, and firmly, yet kindly, restraining their propensities to sin.

The parents, especially the father, should guard against the danger of their children learning to look upon him as a detective, peering into all their actions, watching and criticising them, ready to seize upon and punish them for every misdemeanor. The father’s conduct upon all occasions should be such that the children will understand that his efforts to correct them spring from a heart full of love for them. When this point is gained, a great victory is accomplished. Fathers should have a sense of their children’s human want and weakness, and his sympathy and sorrow for the erring ones should be greater than any sorrow they can feel for their own misdeeds. This will be perceived by the corrected child, and will soften the most stubborn heart.

The father, as priest and house-band of the family circle, should stand to them as nearly in the place of Christ as possible–a sufferer for those who sin, one who, though guiltless, endures the pains and penalty of his children’s wrongs, and, while he inflicts punishment upon them, suffers more deeply under it than they do.

But if the father exhibits a want of self-control before his children, how can he teach them to govern their wrong propensities? If he displays anger or injustice, or evidence that he is the slave of any evil habit, he loses half his influence over them. Children have keen perceptions, and draw sharp conclusions; precept must be followed by example to have much weight with them. If the father indulges in the use of any hurtful stimulant, or falls into any other degrading habit, how can he maintain his moral dignity before the watchful eyes of his children? If indulgence in the use of tobacco must be made an exception in his case, the sons may feel justified in taking the same license. And they may not only use tobacco because father does, but may gradually glide into the habit of taking intoxicating liquor on the plea that it is no worse to use wine or beer than tobacco. Thus, through the influence of the father’s example, the son sets his feet in the path of the drunkard.

The dangers of youth are many. There are innumerable temptations to gratify appetite in this land of plenty. Young men in our cities are brought face to face with this sort of temptation every day. They fall under deceptive allurements to gratify appetite, without the thought that they are endangering health. The young frequently receive the impression that happiness is to be found in freedom from restraint, and in the enjoyment of forbidden pleasures and self-gratification. This enjoyment is purchased at the expense of the physical, mental, and moral health, and turns to bitterness at last.

How important, then, that fathers look well after the habits of their sons, and their associates. And first of all he should see that no perverted appetite holds him in bondage, lessening his influence with his sons, and sealing his lips on the subject of self-indulgence in regard to hurtful stimulants.

Man can do much more for God and his fellow-man if he is in the vigor of health than if he is suffering from disease and pain. Tobacco-using, liquor-drinking, and wrong habits of diet, induce disease and pain which incapacitate man for the use he might be in the world. Nature, being outraged, makes her voice heard, sometimes in no gentle tones of remonstrance, in fierce pains and extreme debility. For every indulgence of unnatural appetite the physical health suffers, the brain loses its clearness to act and discriminate. The father, above all others, should have a clear, active mind, quick perceptions, calm judgment, physical strength to support him in his arduous duties, and most of all the help of God to order his acts aright. He should therefore be entirely temperate, walking in the fear of God, and the admonition of his law, mindful of all the small courtesies and kindnesses of life, the support and strength of his wife, a perfect pattern for his sons to follow, a counselor and authority for his daughters. He should stand forth in the moral dignity of a man free from the slavery of evil habits and appetites, qualified for the sacred responsibilities of educating his children for the higher life.–Mrs. E.G. White, in Health Reformer.

Jenny @ 12:20 pm
January 17, 1878 Christ’s Promises to the Disciples.
Filed under: EG White Articles

 By Mrs. E. G. White.

The hearts of the disciples were troubled at the words of their Master who had said that all his faithful followers would be offended because of him that same night. In their affection and care for their Saviour it seemed to them a hard saying. Peter especially was grieved that Jesus should not accept his assurance of fidelity under all circumstances. But the Saviour knew the test that awaited his little flock, so soon to be left without a shepherd. He knew the agony that awaited him in the garden, that on the morrow he was to pass through the mockeries of a trial in the judgment hall, to be followed by his crucifixion. He knew that no sleep would refresh his weary frame until he closed his eyes in death. 
But his loving heart was drawn out in sympathy for his disciples who were to endure a fearful trial in his betrayal and death upon the cross. The grief of the Son of God was not for himself but that his disciples were to be left without his presence to comfort and strengthen them. It had been impossible for them to comprehend the terrible scenes they were now entering upon, and their very ignorance of what was before them, notwithstanding his statements in regard to the future, moved the Saviour’s compassionate heart. He read the peculiar character of each disciple, knowing who were in greatest danger of being overcome by temptation. But this knowledge did not bring one word of harshness or rebuke from his lips; their very weakness bound his companions to his heart in bonds of sympathy and love. His great anxiety was to shield his followers from suffering and from the abandonment of unbelief. He addressed them in these words:– 
“Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” Doubting, questioning Thomas feels called upon to express his discouragement and unbelief: “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” Jesus mildly and patiently instructed his doubting disciples in the way of life:– 
“I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also; and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” Jesus would have him understand that the Father had been revealed in the Son–in his teachings that reflected the wisdom of Heaven, and in his works that showed the power of Omnipotence. {ST, January 17, 1878 par. 4}
Philip perceiving but dimly the meaning of his Lord said to him, “Lord, show us the Father and it sufficeth us.” Philip, and also the other disciples were filled with apprehension and doubt, and they desired that Jesus should give them a last convincing proof of his divinity by showing them the Father. Christ appeared in the disguise of humanity as a servant. But those who were partakers of his divine nature had eyes to perceive his divinity, the glory of which had upon special occasions, flashed through his human disguise, revealing indeed the Father. Sad indeed was it that one of his disciples who had been his companion, and witnessed his mighty works, had so failed to discern the character of his Saviour as to ask him for another sign. Jesus looked upon him with mild reproach:– 
“Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me or else believe me for the very work’s sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” 
All that men were able to witness of God had been revealed to them in Christ, and had their spiritual perception been what it should have been they would have discerned in him the Father. Jesus, now about to remove his powerful presence from his disciples, promised that they should do greater works even than he had done. He was soon to stand by his Father’s side as the Advocate of men, to plead in their behalf, and he promised to do whatsoever they should ask in his name, that the Father might be glorified in the Son. “If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” Precious promise to the needy and sorrowful. When the Spirit was afterward poured out upon the disciples wonderful results followed through the gifts which Christ had just promised them. He continued: “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me. Because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” 
Jesus had been the teacher and counselor of his disciples, their pitying friend. Now, when about to leave them, he assured them that he would in no case forsake them, but would be clothed with power, and would become their Friend and Advocate in the presence of the Father, to present any petition they might offer in the name of his Son. He promised them a comforter when his personal presence was taken from them. The disciples did not comprehend at the time, the full meaning of their Master’s words; but afterward, in their religious experience, they cherished the precious promise and presented their petitions to the Father in the name of Jesus. 
That promise given by Jesus to his disciples was for the benefit of all who should comply with the conditions of Christ to the end of time. God is omnipotent, and man may be strong to accomplish his purpose while he has the promise of divine help in every emergency. God’s power is hidden from the unbelieving; his ways and purposes are not understood by them. “The world knoweth him not.” But mighty victories are gained through the prayers of the obedient children of God, presented in the name of Jesus. The secret of the success of the people of God is connection with him in prayer, and humble obedience of his requirements. Jesus urged upon his disciples the necessity of obeying the commandments he had given them if they would abide in his love. The comfort promised to his followers was on this condition. 
God’s blessing was never withheld from his obedient people. The wrath of God was brought upon the Jews by their disobedience of his law. Many persons contrast the freedom found in Christ with what they regard as the severe requirements of the law of God. Their words and example say to the world, Christ is so lenient and forgiving that we need not be particular to keep to the strict letter of the law. They slide away from their allegiance in a loose reckless manner, doing the works of Satan, while professing to love the Lord. Yet Jesus positively declared in his last conversation with his disciples, that those who love him will keep his commandments. In the Old Testament entire obedience is required in order to secure blessings, and entire obedience is also required in the New Testament as the conditions of receiving the approval of God. Obedience of the divine requirements is the demonstration of our faith, and the test of our love and discipleship. Professing theories, and observing forms will not answer the requirements of God. The vital principle of love is kept active through obedience. “Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” 
All through his ministry Jesus impressed upon his followers the necessity of obeying the law, and his own life was a demonstration of its principles, and now, as his time of agony and trial approaches, his mind, instead of dwelling upon himself, turns to his disciples, and he seeks to impress upon them the lesson of obedience. The Savior when about to leave his disciples promises to manifest himself to those who love him and keep his commandments: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” 
“Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” 
The Savior patiently explains his former words: “If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” Here is the mystery of godliness: Christ revealed by his Spirit to those who love him. When he should pass from the world he would be unknown by those who love the world and obey not the requirements of God. But the highest form of truth was presented to the disciples in the fact that the Savior would be discovered by those who love and walk in the light, while he is hidden from those who do not accept the light. Every step in the life of faith and consecration is additional knowledge of the world’s Redeemer. Though no longer personally with his disciples, Jesus takes the hand of the faithful and becomes their Guide through all the dangers and trials of life’s journey. Jesus continued:– 
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father; for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” The Savior encouraged his disciples with the assurance that when he was no longer with them his Spirit would refresh their memories, so that the words which he had spoken to them would be imprinted on their hearts, to be afterward given to all nations, tongues and kindred on earth. The Savior settled his peace upon his disciples as a legacy, and exhorted them not to be overwhelmed with anguish, for they should enjoy that peace which is a mystery to the world.
He led their minds from the great loss they would soon sustain, to the advantages they would gain by his leaving them. He told them that the Father was greater than himself, that he would stand by the Father’s side as the friend of his followers, to speak in their behalf. He is acquainted with human nature and the tendencies of the human heart, and promises to unite his petition with theirs, that the comforter, the spirit of truth might abide with them and shine forth in their lives and works, winning many to Christ. This promise has been the comfort and stay of millions who have since followed Jesus in humble obedience.
Through the strength of Jesus men may be made strong; through his love they may become lovely in character. He would have his followers understand that they cannot go to the people of the world for sympathy and comfort in their religious difficulties and trials; because the spirit of the truth is not discerned by them.
Our Savior had one more work to do in evidence of his own complete obedience to the Father. It was to die for the world. Said he: “Hereafter I will not talk much with you; for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” His hour was fast approaching; and he with his disciples passed on his way to Gethsemane. Many times had he traveled these paths on messages of love and mercy; and he had lately passed that way in triumph hailed by the glad acclamations of thousands as Him that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Jenny @ 10:13 pm