The most serious neglect
of parents is the general disregard of the souls of their children.
Children are born with a sinful nature that leaves them guilty and
punishable by God, yet since the time of Adam, they have received their
pollution from their parents. For this reason, God requires parents to
teach and to train their children. How heartless, then are those parents
who have not so much compassion as to bring them up in the “nurture and
admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
The Hebrew words “ben” –“a son”, “bath” –“a
daughter”, and “beth” – “a house”, all come from the same root word
“bana” meaning “to build”, for a son and a daughter, like a house, must
be “built.” How calloused ate they who take more care about the building
of a house than the building of their children! How cruel, if the
never-dying souls of children are left to be finally damned through the
neglect of their parents!
But since Adam sinned, children are born in ignorance,
and if they are not to remain forever alienated from God, they must be
taught Doctrine. On account of their evil nature, they must be taught
Discipline. They must be taught their lack of Christ, the worth of
Christ, and how to come to Christ. Therefore, God commands, “train them
up.” Give them the first “dip”; that is, “initiate” them in the way they
should go at the outset of their education.
There is a way they would go, but parents are to
instruct them in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). “Train them up”
“when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie
down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6,7), because
The twig is bent, the tree inclined –
And, so their heart, and soul, and mind.
Christian parents promise
God to rear their children in the fear of the Lord, but they easily
promise, and easily break it, and through their indulgence educate their
children for the world, the flesh, and the devil. This betrayal of the
souls of their children will lie heavy upon them in time and eternity.
Children are born unto God; parents are but stewards, and a day of
reckoning is promised.
Parents are inclined to love their children much, but
only God can teach them to love them wisely. Affection without
discipline will result in love without respect, and will evidence itself
in back-talk and disobedience. However, discipline without affection
will result in fear without love, and will end in rebellion.
Unless children are disciplined, they will die in
their sins. Therefore, “Withhold not correction from the child: for if
thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him
with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell” (Proverbs 23:13,14).
Again, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself
bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15).
The simple neglect of our children brings the parent to
shame, and barring intervention by God, seals their damnation. If left
to their own spirit, they will be miserable in time and eternity.
“Withhold it not” despite pleas and pity. Correct them lovingly, but
firmly. Take time to instruct them in the way they should go. Then seal
discipline with prayer.
“Correct thy son” is a command. To try more appealing
ways is to set up your will in opposition to the will of God. Eli was
cursed because he honored his sons above God, and did not restrain them
from their evil way (I Samuel 2:29, 30; 3:11-14).
“Let us bring our children as near to heaven as we can,”
wrote Thomas Hooker. If you have any compassion for your children, show
them how they are to conduct themselves. Lead them – because principle
without example is hypocrisy. Labor that by the grace of God they may
have an early knowledge of the Saviour. Then, pray incessantly for them
because your work will not be done until you, or they, are in the grave.