Sunday, June 25, 2006


I have finished the history of the family, and what do I find? Ample cause for gratitude to God for His goodness and mercy to my father and his household!

And we can testify with the Psalmist, that “Goodness and mercy” have followed us all the days of our lives, and that we will “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” I find a family of religious people. Not one who is over twenty-five years of age, who is not a member of the Church of God; and one, only one, who put off the important decision, until she was thirty-five years of age. All have given their hearts to the Saviour early in life.

“A flower offered in the bud, is no mean sacrifice,” proving the verity of the precious promise, “They that seek me early shall find me.” Why has God been so Gracious? Is there a cause for it? I think so, and I think I know. I am justified in thus believing from the teaching of God’s holy word. And it is of the utmost importance that we carefully consider the cause. Where do I place it? In the early training of the children in the Home, around mother’s and father’s knees! The venerated heads of the family commenced life with good constitutions, believing that the that the “chief end of man, is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever,” and taking the Bible as their “Magna charta” they taught it to their children from earliest infancy, teaching them reverence for God, and their parents, his holy word, and sanctuary. Thus they grew up in a religious atmosphere, breathing and inhaling it from their infancy, and we have the results of their early, persistent training. Look around you at the families you are intimate with. Where do you find the best governed, the most obedient children, the happiest households? Where you find the most religion and consecration in the home, around the fireside, among the children, where the beautiful Bible stories are told over and over again to the little ones, to encourage them in the reading and study of God’s holy word.

One pound of religion in the home is worth a bushel on the street corner. A bright, worldly young lady was eating at my table. She innocently asked my wife, “Do you ask a blessing every time you eat?” “Yes,” said my wife, “and we have family worship night and morning.” “Well, well,” she said, “I am surprised to hear it! Papa never asks a blessing unless we have company, and never has prayers, unless we have a preacher with us.” What a sad observation for a child to make! What a dark picture of the home life! And, I almost tremble to state the fact, that father was a noted, brilliant preacher of the Gospel. One of the few men in his church, I ever knew to receive the degree of D. D. for his profound scholarship and learning. Not one of that man’s children was a professing Christian. And they seemed to care very little for religion, or religious services.

God pity the Christian father who lives in such way, as to cause his children to doubt the sincerity of his religious profession, or doubt the truth or power of the Gospel! What shall I say of the mother, she who forms the character of the child, and the coming man? Whose influence is felt all through life. What ought your daily life to be, mother? Ah, what?

Is the world growing better or worse? This is a hard question to answer. I have recently heard it discussed from the pulpit, and the preacher’s verdict was, that it is growing better. I hope he was correct, for I am satisfied there is great room for improvement. I believe that the world is the same, but, people, Christian people, have changed very much in the last decade, or quarter of a century. They have got into a rush. They seem to be afraid that they won’t, or can’t, make a living for their families. And they have no time for anything but their business. They seem to forget the Lord “feeds the young ravens when they cry.”

A good brother said to me, “I have not actually time to ready my bible.” He was then hurrying to his place of merchandise. “Have the days grown shorter?” I said. “No, they are still twenty-four hours in length.” Aren’t all the twenty-four hours?” “Yes.” This spirit of rush, hurry, worry, is not only seen on the streets, but in all the vocations of life. You find it in the homes. Fathers have no time to read the bible, and have family worship, Mothers have no time to teach their children, and the little tots are turned over to the kindergarten department of the public schools, and on Sabbath morning they are hurried off to Sunday-school where the teacher strives for thirty or forty minutes to teach them the lessons they ought to have been taught at home during the week. And this is all the religious instruction the little ones get. What will be the result upon the coming generation? Is it not a sad subject to contemplate?

There is another gloomy subject I wish you to consider. I think it is the great sin of the day. It is gambling. You find it everywhere, and it has not only become fashionable, but the Devil has almost succeeded in making it respectable. The most reputable men in the community, men who would not be caught playing cards or games of chance, think it all right to deal in futures. And they not only gamble in cotton, but corn, wheat, meat, etc. The food furnished by our Heavenly Father for his needy and dependent creatures. Can you conceive of a greater sin that this? Yet many professing Christians are guilty of this fascinating and fashionable sin. There seems to be a natural cultivated desire among the people to get something for nothing. You see it among all classes. This wicked, sinful desire is the root of all gambling, and as we find it in every heart, and at all ages, the only place we can successfully fight the evil is in the nursery, the home.

The child ought to be taught that it is a horribly blighting sin, and to shun it as a deadly viper. After they grow up to any size, it will be too late, for they are confronted with the evil everywhere they go. Even when they enter a store to purchase a package of candy, the merchant gives them a ticket with a number upon it, telling them to be sure to keep their tickets, and if they get a certain number, it will entitle them to that air gun, or to that beautifully dressed doll, thus feeding, developing that innate, sinful desire to get something for nothing. When they grow older they meet with the vice in its most fascinating form on the ground where the baseball and football teams meet to have their weekly contests. These contests attract large crowds of people, especially the young. These are veritable gambling hells on a small scale. The young men and boys betting on their favorite players, and on their favorite teams. I write what I know, and testify to what I have both seen and heard, and I give these contests a wide berth now. Fifteen or twenty years ago it was not so. These contests are a disgrace to our civilization, and ought to be outlawed, if such a thing is possible. And Christian parents ought to take some action upon this crying evil. Your boys are being led into dangerous ways, and are learning and being educated in dangerous practices.

Another crying evil of our day, is the desecration of the holy Sabbath. And this sin, we are forced to believe, is as rapidly on the increase as the vice of gambling. We see it sometimes asserted in the religious press, that we are in danger of losing the Christian Sabbath, the American Sabbath. God pity us, if such a calamity should ever befall our country. I wish to speak of this horrible sin only in the Christian home, and beseech Christian fathers and mothers to “come to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.” If every Christian parent in this land of our will only put his shoulder to the wheel, and control this sin in his own family, the current will soon change in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, many professing Christians will tell you that the “Sabbath was made for man,” and they have a right to use it as they please. You find them at the post office on the Sabbath, eagerly seeking their mails, and many of them become so much interested in their papers that they forget, or neglect the services of God’s house. Every Christian living in and around Alma who visited the great “World’s fair,” in St. Louis, started on Saturday evening. By this means they saved a whole day. Will a man rob God? Again, look at the Sabbath evening buggy-riding of the young people of your town. This is a crying evil! and a very dangerous practice.

Parents alone can control this. Will you do it? You may “save a soul from death, and hide a multitude of sins.”

“I know my servant Abraham, that he will commend this house.”


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