By Mrs. E. G. White / RH April 23, 1889
The present hour, involving our dearest interests, is an hour of momentous importance. Our rights as individuals and churches are brought into question in the agitation on the enforcement of Sunday observance. Conflicting opinions are disturbing the minds of the religious world, and the people are at variance in regard to what should be done in the matter. Events of a startling character are fast thickening, and the anxious inquiry is already arising, “What shall be the end?”
Those who keep the law of God look upon their children with indefinable feelings of hope and fear, wondering what part they will act in the great conflict that is just before them. The anxious mother questions, “What stand will they take? What can I do to prepare them to act well their part, so that they will be the recipients of eternal glory?” Great responsibilities rest upon you, mothers. Although you may not stand in national councils, or cast your vote, you may do a great work for God and your country. You may educate your children. You may aid them to develop characters that will not be swayed or influenced to do evil, but will sway and influence others to do right. By your fervent prayers of faith you can move the arm that moves the world. You can teach your children to pray effectually as they kneel by your side. Let your prayers arise to the throne of God, “Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?”
God is at work. He doeth wonders, and although he is high and lifted up, prayer can reach his throne. He that is turning and overturning, he that can do marvelous things, will regard the contrite prayer of faith from the humblest of his children. The prayers of Christian mothers are not disregarded by the Father of all, who sent his Son to the earth to ransom a people for himself. He will not turn away your petitions, and leave you and yours to the buffetings of Satan in the great day of final conflict. It is for you to work with simplicity and faithfulness, and God will establish the work of your hands.
We have a covert, a stronghold into which we may run and be safe. Our prayers must reach the mercy-seat, where mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other. The grace which is sufficient for all, will enable us to rise above the severest trials, and to endure the most trying tests. Never was there a period when so much was at stake as there is now. Never was there a generation upon whom rested such weighty responsibilities as upon this generation; for God has entrusted to the men of this time the last warning message.
Parents, ask yourselves the solemn question, “Have we educated our children to yield to paternal authority, and thus trained them to obey God, to love him, to hold his law as the supreme guide of conduct and life? Have we educated them to be missionaries for Christ? to go about doing good? Believing parents, your children will have to fight decisive battles for the Lord in the day of conflict; and while they win victories for the Prince of Peace, they may be gaining triumphs for themselves. But if they have not been brought up in the fear of the Lord; if they have no knowledge of Christ, no connection with heaven, they will have no moral power, and they will yield to earthly potentates who have assumed to exalt themselves above the God of heaven in establishing a spurious sabbath to take the place of the Sabbath of Jehovah. The tender mercies of this power will be displayed in prison cells and dungeons. Already preparations are advancing, and movements are in progress, which will result in making an image to the beast. Events will be brought about in the earth's history that will fulfill the predictions of prophecy for these last days.
Decisions will be called for and made; backsliders will either return decidedly to their allegiance to God, or they will be enrolled in the ranks of the enemy: Satan will have control of all who finally refuse to be controlled by the law of God. He will inspire parents to war against their children, and children to war against their parents,—to betray and deliver those of their own household to enemies. Coming events are casting their shadows upon our pathway. Fathers, mothers, I appeal to you to make most earnest efforts now for your children. Give them daily religious instruction. Teach them to love God, and to be true to the principles of right. With lofty, earnest faith, directed by the divine influence of the Holy Spirit, work, work now. Do not put it off one day, one hour. Teach your children that the heart must be trained to self-control and self-denial. The motives of the life must be in harmony with the law of God. Never be satisfied to have your children grow up apart from Christ. Never feel at ease while they are cold and indifferent. Cry to God day and night. Pray and work for the salvation of the souls of your children. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” It is the mainspring, the balance wheel of character. Without the fear of the Lord, they will fail of accomplishing the great object of their creation.
You may be pleased with the brilliant intellect of your child; but unless it is under the control of a sanctified heart, it will work at cross-purposes with God. Nothing but a high sense of the claims of God upon us can give us the proper stability of character, penetration of mind, and depth of understanding, essential to success, both in this world, and in the world to come. Daily communion with God will refine, ennoble, and elevate the entire being. “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes,” says the psalmist. “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” The basis of all true education is found in the fear of the Lord. A soul that is molded by the truth of God will reveal a well-balanced character, ennobled by the grace of God; and such a character is a spectacle for men and angels. Parental duty has been fearfully neglected; but shall this neglect be continued? Shall we not now repent, and as parents take up our God-given life-work? We have no time to lose. Let us redeem the time because the days are evil.
The law of God is made void in the world, and iniquity prevails; but light is shining from the open door of the temple of God. Open your heart, and let the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shine into your soul, that you may be softened, subdued, and sanctified. The enemy of all righteousness is on our track. Satan is marshaling his host; and are we individually prepared for the fearful conflict that is just before us? Are we preparing our children for the great crisis? Are we preparing ourselves and our households to understand the position of our adversaries, and their modes of warfare? Are our children forming habits of decision, that they may be firm and unyielding in every matter of principle and duty? I pray that we all may understand the signs of the times, and that we may so prepare ourselves and our children that in the time of conflict God may be our refuge and defense.
The Review and Herald, April 23, 1889