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For Children: August 1883 PDF Print E-mail
Written by W.M. Mitchell   

 

Dear Children:—Again we make our monthly visit to you, with a short letter, hoping to find you all well, cheerful and happy. Children are, generally, very comfortable and cheerful when they have good health and are doing nothing wrong. But when they are naughty and doing something they ought not, they cannot be very happy; and besides this, something bad is very apt to come upon them.

In this letter we want to tell you of the way a few bad city children, treated a faithful servant of the Lord, a great many years ago, and also tell you what happened to some of these bad children. This good man’s name was Elisha, and he was a prophet of the Lord, and was taught and instructed by the Spirit of God to do and speak things that were right. He was on a journey going up to a city called Bethel, and “as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him; and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head! go up, thou bald head!” You will find this written in the 2nd chapter of the Second Book of Kings, and 23rd verse.

Now, do you not think this was very bad conduct for children who had been raised in a city to treat a good and innocent man in that way? No doubt they thought to have a little fun, and may not have once thought what a bad thing they were doing to be making fun of one of the prophets of the Lord. They had been raised in a city, and had good opportunity for learning better manners and better morals than to be taunting and insulting a traveler on his journey. It may have been, however, that the parents of these bad children were somewhat to blame for letting them roam out in the country without going with them to see they should do right. And besides this, they may have talked and laughed in a light way before the children about this prophet, and the children being ever ready to follow bad examples may have thought it would be talking somewhat as their parents had done for them to insult and taunt the man on his journey.

The Lord’s prophets told the people the truth, and told them of their evil ways, and very often the people hated them for it, and would talk about them in the hearing of little children; so that the children soon had their little minds corrupted and against the truth and against the man of God who was faithful to speak the truth. No wonder, then, that little children who were under this kind of home and city influence, should think they were doing something smart to have a little fun by giving a nickname to this poor man and saying to him, “Go up, thou bald head! go up, thou bald head!” Sometimes, even in this day, we bear of children speaking very lightly of, and giving nicknames to persons; and, perhaps, they have learned it from their parents.

But now we want to tell you what a horrid thing soon came upon forty-two of these bad children for their bad conduct to this good man. When the prophet heard their taunts and insults the Spirit of the Lord moved him to pronounce the curse of the Lord upon them. It is said that “he turned back and looked on them and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.” What a horrid sight that was—to see so many little children torn to pieces by wild and savage beasts! But this was the curse the Lord put upon these children, and upon their parents, for not teaching their children better morals and better manners than to be insulting travelers. And then it was, perhaps, wrong in the parents to have given so much latitude to these children to go into the country in such a large crowd unless the father or mother had gone with them to see that no evil should befall them. The wise man Solomon tells us that “A child left to himself, bringeth his mother to shame.”—Prov. 29:15. What a burning shame fathers and mothers sometimes feel for the bad conduct of their children! And there is not only shame, but often guilt also, because they have let their children recklessly have their own way. Children have been left to themselves until they have brought ruin on themselves, as well as shame and agony upon their father and mother. What a dreadful distress it was to the parents of these poor, unfortunate and bad children to see “forty-two” of them weltering in their blood in one pile! All torn to pieces! Some with their little heads crushed and their brains running out: others with their bowels torn out, or their arms and legs broken.

Dear children, can you imagine how mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers and other kindred gathered around these mangled children? Can you imagine the shrieks and screams of heart-broken mothers as they looked upon the shattered and lifeless remains of their neglected children? What a horrid picture! It is too horrid to think of and yet all this often comes upon bad children—upon children whose parents have suffered them to have their own way too much when they were little, and when it was most important they should have been restrained and governed. You should never think hard of your father or mother when they do not allow you to have your own way. Nor should you set up an argument with them and further than for them to know the facts of the case, whatever it may be. Nor should you ever begin to whine and cry when they forbid or command you to do any thing. God has given you, as children, to them, and laid the responsibility upon them, and not on any Society, to care for you; and made it your duty to honor, respect and obey your father and mother, “that it may be well with you.”

A short time ago we noticed in some paper an account given of a picnic somewhere not far from Atlanta, Ga., and there was an aged negro, who had been much crippled and deformed by disease, riding quietly along on a little donkey, as he had been in the habit of doing, when some boys concluded to frighten the donkey and have a little fun. They did so, and the poor old colored man, who was carrying a little trade to market for an honest living, was so badly hurt that he died from the effects of it.

Beloved children, we must now close this letter, but not without saying again that we feel much interest for you and do hope that none of our young readers will ever be guilty of such bad conduct as we have spoken of in the above letter.—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.