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Home arrow Griffin's History arrow To Parents: May 1884
To Parents: May 1884 PDF Print E-mail
Written by W.M. Mitchell   


For near two years past we have been sending out monthly letters through the GOSPEL MESSENGER to children, and we are glad to say to you that, from almost every direction of our wide-spread circulation, we are receiving words of encouragement and approval from parents, for this method of encouragement and instruction to their children, respecting the important duties that rest upon them in early life.

But however highly appreciated these letters of instruction to children may be, they should only be regarded in the light of helps to you as parents, to enable you the better to discharge the divine and God - given right of training and ruling your own children. Upon you as parents the responsibility rests. God has established this natural relation by giving you children, and nothing short of a direct act of Providence can dissolve this relation so s to free the parent from its responsibilities. No change can be made by man, no matter how much legislation may be upon the subject, without involving us in sin against God, and thereby bringing all the evils on parents, children and society generally that are sure to follow the transgression of any divinely established law.

For many years past we have deeply deplored the wide spread evils resulting to society from parental neglect in the education, training and government of their children. And we should be much better satisfied as to our individual responsibility could we feel assured that we had discharged our own duty up to the measure of our responsibility In this, however, we feel deeply conscious that we have fallen far short. But however far short any of us may have fallen from the divine standard in training our own children immoral manners, truth, honesty, justice, temperance, modesty, industry and economy, or however incompetent we may feel to the task, we cannot free ourselves from the of it.

Children are generally easily governed, so as to be a blessing to themselves and others when parents exercise their rights and duties toward them, at the right time and in a proper manner. There is no necessity of being tyrannical or brutal toward them. Indeed it is wrong to treat them in that manner, and would be assuming a responsibility which God has not laid upon us.

Children are a great comfort and blessing which God has given to parents. But like every other blessing it is turned into a curse to us when not used and arranged according to the standard of right which the Lord has given in his in his Holy word. In that divine standard it is written that: “A child left unto himself bringeth his mother to shame.”—Prov. 29:15. How often have we seen a mother’s cheek mantled with the tears of shame at the disobedience and conduct of even very little children, when company was present? But if children when little, are then allowed to rule and have their own way, without restraint upon any of their unbridled whims or passions, there is a far greater degree of shame that awaits the parents than a mere blush upon a mother’s face. A shame that will come like a dagger to the heart, because it is attended with guilt, remorse and disgrace that never can be removed. Parental neglect brings these results. We reap a crop according to the seed sown.

It has no doubt been observed by you as parents that this Nineteenth Century is noted for great changes and improvement in laws, arts, science habits, customs, manners and the general business of the country. But while some of these changes may be for the better to society generally, and it may be that we should as speedily as possible adapt ourselves to them where there s no principle of wrong involved in them, yet, let us beware of being “carried about with divers and strange doctrines,” as to the government of children. The standard fixing the relative and natural duties of parents and children admits of no change. It is an eternal principle of right, and like its Divine Author, it is the same “Yesterday, to-day, and forever”—”Without variableness or shadow of turning.” It cannot be improved upon. Instead, therefore, of listening to any suggestions for an improved system of moral training for children, let us prayerfully seek to abide, and conform to that which we already have in the Bible. Parents as well as children have great need to consult this divine oracle for their duty, and let the modern systems of pretended improvements alone.

Among the many modern systems of supposed improvement in the moral training of children, Sunday schools stand the most prominent and are the most popular of all others. But without attempting here to discuss the merits or demerits of these unscriptural institutions, we simply remark that parents cannot transfer their parental duties nor responsibilities over to any irresponsible society whatever, no matter by whom that society has been organized.

In this day of pretended religious, moral and benevolent improvement, we daily hear of some desperate outrage, Fraud, theft or reckless defiance of all law, order, decency or propriety in any way Are these the fruits of correct early training? or are they not rather the legitimate results of neglected parental duties?

Much as may be said about law and order, the very foundation principle of all good government, and of all respect for government, begins at the cradle. Unless the child in his very infancy is taught the necessity of restraint upon his passions and the importance and duty of obedience to parents, these passions will become more and more ungovernable, as he becomes older, and thus he goes out into the world as a citizen required to respect and obey the laws of his country; but as he has never been accustomed to have any restraint upon his will or passions, the very first little provocation that befalls him he is in rage if he cannot have things his own way, and sometimes recklessly takes the life of his fellowman, or in some other less criminal matter bids defiance to the laws of his country. Our country is cursed with hundred of such men now, and whether they are in office or out of it, they neither respect law, nor seeks to enforce it in any legitimate way.

But we did not think to have written so much to you as parents at this time. Our design mainly was to say that if the articles to children are any way useful to them, parental ad vice, example and teaching must make them so to your children. Unless the home teaching, home influence and home example is all right, nothing your children can see, hear, read or learn will be of much service to them.

As the “care of churches,”—the care of a large family as well as age and experience causes one to feel more sensibly the responsibilities of a parent, we hope that Elder E. Rittenhouse, of Delaware, or some other brother, according to the gift bestowed upon them, will give the readers of GOSPEL MESSENGER an article occasionally, addressed to Parents. M.


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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.