Counsels To Parents–Part IV

One of Mt. Carmel’s Greatest Concerns {5SC6-12: 5.1.3}

Questions No 198:

“Did not Christ say: “Suffer little, children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14)? Why then should children have to be disciplined and chastened to be saved?” {5SC6-12: 5.1.4}

Answer:

The foregoing scripture, though manifestly describing the nature and spirit prerequisite to forming a character for the kingdom, is a common refuge of sentimental and indulgent parents, guardians, and teachers who are opposed to subjecting their charges to any discipline at divergence with their own. Indulgent, lax, careless, or indifferent with themselves, they must at all costs (however prohibitive) secure for their proteges the same easy-going, indulgent, compliant handling, even appealing to Christ’s words as warrant for their idea that the naturally unregenerate ways and propensities of the young should be of no great cause for concern and discipline, but should be suffered and left to be “outgrown”! {5SC6-12: 5.1.5}

“I have heard persons argue that their children were too young to be corrected. They said, ‘When the children are older, they will be ashamed…and will overcome.”–The Signs of the Times, March 16, 1891. {5SC6-12: 5.1.6}

“The false idea entertained by many, that the restraining of children is an injury, is ruining thousands upon thousands. Satan will surely take possession of the children if you are not on your guard.”–“Testimonies,” Vol. 5, p. 541. {5SC6-12: 5.1.7}

“Weakness in requiring obedience, and false love and sympathy,–the false notion that to indulge and not to restrain is wisdom,–constitute a system of training that grieves angels; but it delights Satan, for it brings hundreds and thousands of children into his ranks. This is why he blinds the eyes of parents, benumbs their sensibilities, and confuses their minds.”–Id., p. 324. {5SC6-12: 5.2.2}

Yet confirming themselves, by every means possible, in this sophistic idea, they ardently and tenaciously continue to cling to it, with increasing detriment to themselves and their children now, and to the inevitable undoing of both ultimately. But the words of Christ which they use as a cloak of white for their off-color ideas, rather than being justification for allowing children “just to grow up naturally,” uninhibited and unrepressed, is on the contrary a profound appeal for strict discipline which, in the last analysis, is but salvation–the supreme gift, the pearl of great price, which He gives to all who come unto Him. {5SC6-12: 5.2.3}

“Come unto Me,” He tenderly invites; “take My yoke [discipline] upon you, and learn of Me…for My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30. {5SC6-12: 5.2.4}

“My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction: for whom the Lord loveth He correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” Prov. 3:11, 12. {5SC6-12: 5.2.5}

“As many as I love [save], I rebuke and chasten [discipline].” Rev. 3:19. {5SC6-12: 5.2.6}

Of such, therefore, as “sell all and buy the field;” as are “zealous therefore, and repent;” in short, as implicitly accept the discipline, the yoke, of Christ,–“of such is the kingdom of heaven.” {5SC6-12: 5.2.7}

Thus the scripture,” Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14), rather than lending the slightest support to the specious doctrine of natural behavior, teaches on the contrary the twin doctrines of strict discipline and perfection: for such as shall make up the kingdom of heaven, shall have let heaven’s discipline bring “into captivity (their) every thought to the obedience of Christ,” and thus having the mind of Him, shall “be as God” (Zech. 12:8),–perfect. {5SC6-12: 5.1.1}

Clearly, then, truly to suffer and forbid not children to come unto Christ, is to discipline them by precept and example to unfailing obedience to God’s requirements,–“to every word that proceedeth out of His mouth,” –“till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the son of God, a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Eph. 4:13. {5SC6-12: 5.1.2}

“Parents cannot succeed well in the government of their children until they first have perfect control of themselves. They should first learn to control themselves, then they can more successfully control their children.”–“Testimonies,” Vol. 1, pp. 399, 398. {5SC6-12: 5.1.3}

With both parents and children thus faithfully walking in the light and diligently working in Christ’s line,–exchanging their ideas and theories, habits and practices for that which is written; disciplining themselves in self-abnegation, self-control, and self-denial,–with all thus striving, the message might soon reach the church, the Loud Cry be given, the kingdom set up, and the endless ages of joy and peace and happiness ushered in. {5SC6-12: 5.1.4}

“With such an army of workers,” says “The Spirit of Prophecy,” “as our youth rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Saviour might be carried to the whole world! How soon might the end come,–the end of suffering and sorrow and sin! How soon, in place of a possession here, with its blight of sin and pain, our children might receive their inheritance where ‘the righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever;’ where ‘the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick,’ and ‘the voice of weeping shall be no more heard.’”–“Education,” p. 271. {5SC6-12: 5.1.5}

With such an ineffably thrilling and glorious prospect before them, will parents continue to permit themselves and their children to go out with the tide? Will they continue to compromise with the world and to debate with God over right and wrong and duty? Will they now, while opportunity lingers yet a moment, part company with world-loving relatives, friends, and associates, and make a clean break with their old ways of living and thinking? Will they, specifically, cease spoiling and ruining their children with pampering, coddling, and indulging; with sentimental praising and endearing; with proud glorying in worldly popularity and fashionable dress; with selfish, envious, jealous currying of favor; with wheedling, cajoling, coaxing, brandishing, and buying to gain obedience; and then, cruelest of all, with sympathizing with them in their grievances against those who dare lift voice or hand against their careless, willful, hell-bent ways? Will parents, in short, in an earnestness commensurate with the tremendous responsibility devolving upon parenthood, cry out to God to be delivered from the fatal deception of parental mismanagement in all its many forms and phases, and in its every ramification? {5SC6-12: 5.1.6}

“Children have gloried in their freedom to do as they pleased. They have been released from home responsibilities and have despised restraint. A life of usefulness appears to them like a life of drudgery. Lax government at home has unfitted them for any position, and, as a natural consequence, they have rebelled against school discipline. Their complaints have been received and credited by their parents, who, in sympathizing with their imaginary troubles, have encouraged their children in wrong-doing. These parents have, in many instances, believed positive untruths that have been palmed off upon them by their deceiving children. A few such cases of unruly and dissembling children would do much toward breaking down all authority in the school, and demoralizing the young people of our church…. {5SC6-12: 5.2.1}

“Indulgent parents, who justify their children in their wrong-doing, are thereby creating an element that will bring discord into society, and subvert the authority of both school and church… {5SC6-12: 5.2.2}

“The fearful state of the youth of this age constitutes one of the strongest signs that we are living in the last days; but the ruin of many may be traced directly to the wrong management of the parents. The spirit of murmuring against reproof has been taking root and is bearing its fruit of insubordination. While the parents are not pleased with the characters their children are developing, they fail to see the errors that make them what they are.”–“Testimonies, Vol. 4, p. 199. {5SC6-12: 5.2.3}

“The curse of God will surely rest upon unfaithful parents. Not only are they planting thorns which will wound them here, but they must meet their own unfaithfulness when the Judgment shall sit. Many children, ‘will rise up in judgment and condemn their parents, for not restraining them, and charge upon them, their destruction. The false sympathy and blind love of parents causes them to excuse the faults of their children and pass them by without correction, and their children are lost in consequence, and the blood of their souls will rest upon the unfaithful parents.”–Id., Vol. 1, p. 219. {5SC6-12: 5.2.4}

Oh, why will parents continue in their proud, sentimental, overfond, indulgent, foolish ways to make infidels and outlaws of their children, with their feet taken hold on the road to hell–victims of a wrong home training? {5SC6-12: 7.1.1}

In view of these divine injunctions and requirements, be it henceforth known to all that Mt. Carmel Academy will from now on accept none but those who can give satisfactory evidence that they have learned at home to wear the yoke of Christ–learned to be obedient, truthful, honest, self-controlled, self-denying, respectful of the rights of others, respectful of parents, respectful of older people, and, above all, to have reverence for God, reverence for the Word of God, and reverence for His house;–who, in fine, have laid the foundation of a good character. {5SC6-12: 7.1.2}

“No family is justified in bringing children to…[Mt. Carmel] who are not under the control of their parents. If their parents have disregarded the word of God in the matter of instructing and training their children….[Mt. Carmel] is no place for them. They will only be the means of demoralizing the young people of…[this] place, and bringing discord where peace and prosperity should reign. Let such parents take up the neglected work of restraining and disciplining their children before they venture to impose them upon…[Mt. Carmel].”–“Testimonies,” Vol. 4, p. 204. {5SC6-12: 7.1.3}

Furthermore, the institution will accept only those who, before they leave home, have deposited in advance with the Bank of Palestina, Mt. Carmel Center, $20.00 for two months’ upkeep, in addition to the amount of return fare home, against the eventuation that two months’ stay here prove for any reason the inadvisability of their longer remaining. {5SC6-12: 7.1.4}

Parents, God will no longer be trifled with, and those who would have a place in His school from now on, must first demonstrate that they behave like well-trained horses rather than like wild zebras, and that they are builders, and not wreckers. {5SC6-12: 7.1.5}

 

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