Monday, December 26, 2011

Hear this exhortation from the 18th century but it is certainly just as relevant now as it was then:

"It is to parents that the injunction is delivered, "thou shalt teach these words to thy children diligently, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house," and, "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." No pastoral attention should be intended, nor can be adapted, to supersede or interfere with this solemn parental obligation. But the pastor should labour to the uttermost to urge and keep the parents of his flock up to the right discharge of their duty.

There are few of us who are not sorrowfully convinced that little is too be expected from our sermons in the pulpit, or our instructions in the class-room, while all our endeavours are so miserably counteracted by the neglect of domestic instruction, and the want of parental solicitude. It is not intended to justify pastoral neglect by advancing the obligations of parental duty, for perhaps we all have been, and are, guilty of a criminal defect of duty, in not giving more of our time and attention to the children of our congregations; but even the time and attention we do give, is likely to be lost, through the low state of religion in the homes and some of our people.

We might very naturally expect that our churches would be chiefly built up from the families of our members; whereas the greater number of accessions are from those who were once the people of the world. There is a great mistake on this subject, into which both parents and ministers have fallen; and that is, that the conversion of the children of the professor is to be looked for more from the sermons of the minister, than from the instructions of the parent; whereas the contrary is the true order of things; and if domestic piety and teaching were what they ought to be, it is the order which would be found to exist. There is unquestionable truth in the proverb: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

Were the nature and design of the domestic constitution thoroughly understood, and its religious duties early, judiciously, affectionately, and perseveringly discharged, the greater number of our young people would be converted to God at home. Were all religious professors who are parents, real and eminent Christians; were they, from the time they became parents, to set their hearts upon being the instruments of their children's conversion; were they to do all that prayer, instruction, discipline, and example could do, for the formation of the religious character of their offspring; and were they carefully to abstain from every thing which would obstruct that end, it might be confidently expected that it would be within the hallowed precincts of such homes, and not in the sanctuary, that the children of the godly would usually become godly themselves. It should then be, and will be, an object with every truly earnest pastor, to bring up the parents in his church to a right sense and faithful discharge of their functions."

So convicting & it drips with biblical authority, truth, and persuasiveness! Let us be faithful parents to train up our children in the ways of the LORD with all vigilance and earnestness!

From John James, An Earnest Ministry, 154-56.

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