The salvation of the soul requires the blending of divine and human strength. God does not propose to do the work that man can do to meet the standard of righteousness. Man has a part to act. Humanity must unite and cooperate with Divinity. Grace and sufficiency have been abundantly provided for every soul. But in order to receive this, man must unite with his Divine Helper. Unless of his own accord man consents to renounce his sinful practices, Christ cannot take away his sin. Man must heartily cooperate with God, willingly obeying His laws, showing that he appreciates the great gift of grace. Feeling his dependence upon God, having faith in Christ as his personal Saviour, expecting efficiency and success only as he keeps the Lord ever before him--it is thus that man complies with the injunction, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
But human effort is not sufficient. It avails nothing without divine power. Of himself man has not strength to wrestle with the powers of darkness. Therefore Christ clothed His Divinity with humanity, and came to this earth that He might cooperate with man. To those who will receive Him and trust in His power to save, He imparts the virtue of His righteousness. He gives them power to become the sons of God. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, . . . full of grace and truth. . . . And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace." John 1:14,16.
The human agent must remember that he has in himself no merits to present to God. Christ is the Fountain of Life, the Source of immortality. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. The great, grand work of perfecting character cannot be accomplished without the help that He is always ready to supply.
He who desires to grow in physical, mental, and spiritual power must feel every moment his dependence upon the One who provides efficiency for service. In the work of developing and strengthening the faculties of body and mind, men must constantly receive power from on high. The Lord is watching with earnest interest to see how man will conduct himself in the life which has been given him. Be not careless and indifferent in regard to the work to be done by God and man. On your part you are to believe, receive the grace of God, and honor Christ in the life. On His part, He dwells in your heart, supplying you with divine strength, working in you to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Parents are to cooperate with God by bringing their children up in His love and fear. They cannot displease Him more than by neglecting to train their children aright. God has given them these children as a sacred trust, to educate for Him. In a sense they stand in the place of God to their children. They are to work out the salvation of those who are too young to understand the difference between good and evil. They are in no case to think that good will naturally predominate in the hearts of their children. They are to guard carefully the words and actions of their little ones, lest the enemy shall gain an influence over them. This he is intensely desirous of doing, that he may counterwork the purpose of God. Kindly, earnestly, tenderly, parents are to work for their children, cultivating every good trait and repressing every evil trait which develops in the character.
Parents should be constant learners in the school of Christ. They need freshness and power, that with the simplicity of Christ they may teach the younger members of God's family the knowledge of His will. Line upon line, precept upon precept, they are to reiterate His lessons. They are to be diligent students of the Bible, that they may be apt in the tillage of the garden of the heart. With persevering effort they are to cultivate the hearts of the children placed in their care; and God will help them in every faithful, patient effort.
In the earliest years of the child's life the soil of the heart is to be carefully prepared for the showers of God's grace. Then the seeds of truth are to be carefully sown and diligently tended. And God, who rewards every effort made in His name, will put life into the seed sown. There will appear first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear.
Too often, because of the wicked neglect of parents, Satan sows his seeds in the hearts of children, and a harvest of shame and sorrow is borne. The world today is destitute of true goodness because parents have failed to gather their children to themselves in the home. They have not kept them from association with the careless and reckless. Therefore the children have gone forth into the world to sow the seeds of death.
In the cultivation of the garden of the heart, the efforts of parents must be unceasing, or unsightly weeds will spring up and choke the good seed. The weeds which spring up, the natural imperfections which appear, must be removed. Day by day parents are to watch vigilantly and correct wisely, insisting upon prompt obedience.
Parents, give your time to your children. Teach them to form careful habits. Some parents allow their children to be destructive, to use as playthings things which they have no right to touch. Children should be taught that they must not handle the property of other people. For the comfort and happiness of the family, they must learn to observe the rules of propriety. Children are no happier when they are allowed to handle everything they see. If they are not educated to be caretaking, they will grow up with unlovely, destructive traits of character.
Parents do their children great wrong when they allow them to scream and cry. They should not be allowed to be careless and boisterous. If these objectionable traits of character are not checked in their early years, the children will take them with them, strengthened and developed, into religious and business life. Children will be just as happy if they are taught to be quiet in the house.
Fathers and mothers, be sensible. Teach your children that they must be subordinate to law. Do not allow them to think that because they are children, it is their privilege to make all the noise they wish in the house. Wise rules and regulations must be made and enforced that the beauty of the home life may not be spoiled.
If, when parents had first begun to live upon the earth, there had been a firm adherence to the laws of God, the world would now be filled with well-ordered families. From age to age right habits and customs would have been handed down from parents to children, and God would have been loved and honored.
The wickedness which exists in the world today may be traced to the neglect of parents rightly to discipline themselves and their children. Thousands and thousands of Satan's victims are what they are because of the injudicious way in which they were managed during childhood. The stern rebuke of God is upon this mismanagement. The records of heaven show the awful history of the men and women who as children were left to follow their own way.
Upon parents rests the responsibility of developing in their children those capabilities which will enable them to do good service for God. To do this work acceptably, parents must exercise self-control. They must choose the good and refuse the evil. There are many parents who themselves need to be converted. Their untrained characters unfit them for the great work of training their children. When a child reveals the wrong traits which it has inherited from its parents, shall they storm over this reproduction of their own defects?--No, no! Let parents keep a careful watch over themselves, guarding against all coarseness and roughness, lest these defects be seen once more in their children.
The mother is especially the educator of her children. "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." God sees all the possibilities in that mite of humanity. He sees that with proper training the child will become a power for good in the world. He watches with anxious interest to see whether the parents will carry out His plan, or whether by mistaken kindness they will destroy His purpose, indulging the child to its present and eternal ruin. To transform this helpless and apparently insignificant being into a blessing to the world and an honor to God, is a great and grand work. Parents should allow nothing to come between them and the obligation they owe to their children.
The training of children constitutes an important part of God's plan for demonstrating the power of Christianity. A solemn responsibility rests upon parents so to train their children that when they go forth into the world, they will do good and not evil to those with whom they associate. Our children are to be educated line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. From babyhood the character of the child is to be molded and fashioned in accordance with the divine plan. Virtues are to be instilled into its opening mind.
In the management of their children, parents are to be in perfect harmony with the divine plan. The rules and regulations of the home life must be in strict accordance with a "Thus saith the Lord." The rules God has given for the government of His church are the rules parents are to follow in the church and in the home. It is God's design that there shall be perfect order in the families on earth, preparatory to their union with the family in heaven. Upon the discipline and training received in the home depends the usefulness of men and women in the church and in the world.
The Lord calls upon parents to study and obey His Word. He asks them so to guide and educate their children, that these will rise up and call them blessed. I recommend to parents a study of God's will and way. I urge them to put on the whole armor of God and gird themselves for the battle. They will be aided and encouraged in every movement they make in the right direction.
Without human effort, divine effort is in vain. God will work with power when in trustful dependence upon Him, parents will awake to the sacred responsibility resting upon them, and seek to train their children aright. He will cooperate with those parents who carefully and prayerfully educate their children, working out their own and their children's salvation. He will work in them, to will and to do of His own good pleasure.
Signs of the Times, September 25, 1901.