Solemn Responsibility to Teach Our Children Doctrine
OUR SOLEMN RESPONSIBILITY TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN DOCTRINE
Text: "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." --Psalm 58:3
Before children can walk or talk they can "go astray" and "speak lies;" and as Joseph Caryl puts it: "Their first speaking is ílyingí and their first going is "straying." Before children can go that way naturally, they can go that way morally: "and the first step they are able to take is a step out of the way,"
Anne Bradstreet confessed,
Stained from birth with Adamís sinful fact;
Thence I began to sin as soon as act:
A perverse will, a love to whatís forbid,
A serpentís sting in pleasing face lay hid:
A lying tongue as soon as it could speak,
And 5th Commandment do daily break.
The seriousness of the plight of children lies in two natural hindrances to their conversion: first, they born ignorant and therefore they must be taught Doctrine; and second, they are born with an evil nature and therefore they must be taught Discipline. The doctrine they are early taught will be the foundation of their Practice-- what they are to live.
The responsibility to teach our children doctrine becomes very solemn responsibility to those parents who come to realize though God will bring Sunday School teachers, public school teachers, as well as pastors to judgment to five account for their teaching, yet God holds parents under much severer judgment than all other teachers combined!
Children are born with a "tabula rasa" --a "blank table" without the knowledge and fear of God. They must have this knowledge and fear ingrained through doctrine and example, for as long as they remain in this ignorance, they are laid open to Satan to be led wherever he will.
As a blind mind and a dead conscience are companions, they sin without shame. Therefore their conscience must be taught. So long as they remain in this natural ignorance, there is no hope of their salvation.
Ignorance of God springs from their natural alienation from Him. Therefore they seek to fulfill their own evil will. Now, if you have any compassion on your sons and daughters, labor that they may know God and His Christ; for if children are not to remain forever alienated from the Saviour, parents must teach them the WORTH OF CHRIST, their LACK OF CHRIST, and HOW THEY MAY COME TO CHRIST.
We teach our children English, arithmetic, etc. to prepare them to make a living Ėand this is a worthy accomplishment. But of a billion times more worth is it to teach them the knowledge of the Holy; for they can go to Heaven without the former, but without the latter, our children are lost for all eternity!
The children born in our families are born unto God and a strict account will one day be required of us. God commits these children to us to teach and to train, and being so committed to us, we will justly and most certainly be required to give account concerning them on the Day of Judgment.
Parents are the means of their original corruption and guiltiness, therefore it is the parents God requires to teach and to restrain them. And if our children have received from us their corrupt natures, what a crime if through our neglect they continue in this nature! What a crime if through our neglect they are finally damned for it? How carnal and careless must those parents be who have no more compassion and pity for their children than to prevent their everlasting misery! If YOUR child shall lack knowledge and restraint through any gross negligence of your own, your punishment will be terrifying in the day of the Lord!
Salvation is unattainable without knowledge, for "How then shall they call upon Him in Whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard?" (Romans 10:14)
Therefore, manís chief enemy is the ignorance of Scripture. Sin is heinous whether committed knowingly or in ignorantly, and ignorance does not excuse any evil action. BUT IT DOES PREVENT ANY EFFORT TO RESTRAIN IT.
When should we begin to teach our children? Early! "Let children have the early knowledge of the Bible and of their God." --Cotton Mather. "Babies are flexible and easily bowed: it is far more easy to train them up to good things now than later." --John Cotton. And Benjamin Wadsworth declared,
While you lay them in your bosoms and dandle them on your knees, try little by little to infuse good things, holy truths into them.
You should do something at it when you lie down and when you rise up; when you take a walk, or sit in the house; when you dress and undress them.
"Letís bring our children as near to Heaven as we can!" wrote Thomas Hooker, "It is in our power to restrain them and that we ought to do; and though restraining grace is but common grace, yet by this means the work of conversion is more easy."
Reader, May God help you to see your solemn responsibility to teach your children the knowledge of the Word of God.
Part II --His Influence, No. 4 THE LIFE OF AUGUSTINE
Text: "Salvation belongeth unto the Lord.... " --Psalm 3:8
Merle DíAubigne: "Salvation considered as coming from man is the creating principle of all error and abuse."
Pelagius, having prostituted the Gospel by denying man was born in sin, and by declaring he had a free will to do good, cheapened the grace of God, for where is grace to be found? in our deeds? or in Christ? The removal of salvation from the hands of God made "Christianity" a salvation to be offered by priests and monks. And in the thinking of today, if salvation is at my disposal, may I not choose when I will be saved?
The opinions of Pelagius were condemned as unscriptural--by the Council of Carthage in 412, and at the Council of Ephesus in 431. The heresy had been beaten back.
But one of Satanís most evil moves is when he mixes some truth with much error. The arsenic would likely be detected by itself, but when mixed with food, it becomes a hundred fold as dangerous again, for who would discard all because SOME is polluted? So within a few years we find Pelagianism resurrected in a somewhat modified form which will be called, "Semi-Pelagianism" and will be heralded by a man named Cassian.
Cassian synthesized the pagan philosophy of Pelagius and the Biblical theology of Augustine. Here at last was the Goliath who would lay the theological foundation for the Roman Catholic Church.