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Written by W.M. Mitchell   

OCTOBER 1882

Dear Children :—After some delay we are on a visit to you again. Perhaps some of you think the time a little long to wait two months for a letter; but you must learn to be patient, and know how to bear disappointments without fretting or being discouraged. We failed to have a letter ready in time for you in the September number of the GOSPEL MESSENGER, but you must not think we had forgotten you. We often think of you, and have been made glad in hearing a good report from some who are delighted to read our letters, and who have been carefully reading several chapters both in the Old and New Testaments.

It will be of great service to children to learn while they are young, and know how to find the different books, chapters and verses in the Bible. It will be useful to them, not only now, but as long as they live upon the earth. It is useful to them in many ways. It gives them both a pleasing and profitable employment, while it cultivates the habit of attention, and strengthens the memory.

Your papa and mama, or almost any old person of experience in life, will tell you that habit has a great influence on children in forming their character, and shaping their course in life, so as to make them either happy or miserable in the world. If good and useful habits of honesty, industry and economy are formed when young, they will grow up with you, and your character will be formed as a gentleman or lady of honor, prosperity and respectability. But if bad habits are followed, they will bring dishonor, shame and disgrace upon yourself and your friends.

There are many good reasons why children, or any one else, should cultivate and form good and useful habits, but we can not speak of but few of them in this short letter. One very important reason is, that it is right to form good habits—and we should always try to do what is right. Another reason is, that it is best for our health of body, as well as peace of mind. Bad habits are very hurtful to both body and mind.

Children sometimes take up with very bad company, or read very bad books, which corrupt both their morals and their manners. They should be as cautious not to read false tales as they would be against keeping bad company.

Among the many habits and little duties that we might mention, and perhaps will at some other time, we will here remind you of one duty that we hope is very pleasing to you, and that you will not forget—and that is, the duty you owe to father and mother. They have more love, care and anxiety for you than anybody else has, and the great Creator of all things has committed you as children to their care. It is their duty to look after your good, and as far as in their power to cultivate good and useful habits. And the same holy God who has committed children to the charge of parents, has made it the duty of children to love, honor, respect and obey their parents, that it may be “well with them,” whether at home or when they go abroad in society. To be a loving, honorable and dutiful son or daughter, will give you a good name and character abroad, that is worth more than all the fine clothes or wealth that could be heaped upon you.

But while a “good name,” even in a moral sense, “is rather to be chosen than great riches,” you should, never once think that it will atone for past sins against God, nor purchase the heaven of eternal glory for you. Perhaps some of the children who read our letters in the MESSENGER have felt this. They may have been doing the very best they could, and they may have been very loving and dutiful to their parents, but yet they feel poor, helpless and sinful in the sight of God. Sometimes the Lord is dealing with children by his Holy Spirit when they are very young. They think of God, and sometimes weep and cry when they are alone, and hardly know what is the matter with them. Although it is not pleasant to have such feelings, yet it is good for them that it is so. The Lord is teaching all such to know they are sinners, and to feel their need of just such a Saviour as he has pro vided for them. He sees you, and hears your little weak cries and prayers, and will finally bring you to himself in the relation of a child.

But we will bid you adieu for this time, by requesting you to carefully read the first ten verses of the third chapter of the First Book of Samuel.—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.