A Word to Parents and Teachers
James Smith, 1864
That real religion is of the greatest importance,
that it cannot be possessed too early,
that it is generally produced by the power of the Holy Spirit attending the well-directed efforts of his people
— are truths generally admitted by the Lord's people. But though generally admitted — they are not realized so powerfully as they should be. They do not influence our conduct as they ought. If they did, we would be daily studying how we may present truth to the young mind in the most attractive form, and impress it on the young heart in the most powerful manner. We would live to spread the truth, and bring immortal souls under its influence. Our prayers would be more pointed, powerful, and frequent, and our efforts would be more direct, serious, and sustained.
My dear friends, let us enter on a new course. Let us seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit and with power, to be daily "anointed with fresh oil," to be entirely devoted and consecrated to God and his service. Let us seek to be influenced by his love, to be ruled by his word, and to be useful in bringing sinners to his throne. How little some of us have done for God hitherto; let us therefore seek to be doubly diligent in the future. Our opportunities to do good may be fewer — they may be very few. Let us gather up the fragments of time which are left us, and employ them for God and the good of souls; especially in endeavoring to win the souls of the young for Jesus. They may prove more faithful servants, more obedient children, more successful laborers — than we have done. O to be instrumental in training up a wise, holy, and successful agency, to be employed in the Lord's Church, for the Savior's honor and the salvation of sinners — when we slumber in the quiet grave!
Parents! Seek to bring your children to Jesus. Set your hearts upon this. Make this your daily prayer. Be on the look-out for opportunities to place truth before them, and carefully avoid everything that would hinder them, or prejudice them against the gospel. Show them that your religion is a reality — a glorious reality. That it makes you happy; that it makes you holy; that it makes you like the Lord Jesus Christ; that it fills you with concern for others; and with a desire to make all about you as holy and as happy as yourselves.
Teachers, do the same things. Be sure that you are in Christ; that the Holy Spirit dwells in you; that you have passed from death unto life. Live in close and daily fellowship with God. Make the salvation of your children your great object. Long for it. Labor for it. Pray for it. Rest not satisfied without it.
Begin anew from this time. Begin as you never began before. Begin in the Lord's strength. Set apart special seasons to plead at the Lord's throne.
Teach as you never taught before. Be determined to interest your charge in the things that belong unto their peace. Live to bring children to Christ. Never lose sight of your class. Let every child have a place in your heart. Pray for every child by name, and lay before the Lord all you know of its faults, desires, connections, hindrances; and endeavor to bring down the Holy Spirit into every child's heart. Make thorough work of it, determined that if any of your children leave your class in an unconverted state — it shall not be for lack of prayer, or direct effort to prevent it.
Let us all be up and doing.
The time is short.
The work is great.
The consequences are most solemn.
Our responsibility is weighty.
Souls are perishing!
Brethren, to the rescue!
Men of Israel, help!
Satan is busy, his agents are busy — and let us be busy too. By every possible means, in every possible way — let us labor to save souls from Hell. The work is glorious, and the reward will be great, for "Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever" (Deuteronomy 12:3). "He who wins souls is wise" (Proverbs 11. 30).
Let it also be our endeavor to interest the young in the spread of God's truth through the world. The present is the age of missions. Every church should be a missionary church, and every Christian a missionary to those that are without. But while we must not neglect home — we must not lose sight of the millions of the heathen, who are sitting in darkness and ha the shadow of death. By pleading with God to raise up holy and gifted men to go forth unto them; by beseeching him to bless and succeed those who are gone; by meeting together to wrestle with God for them; and by large, generous, and regular contributions to the cause — let us show our interest in, and attachment to, the missionary cause.
May the Holy Spirit make missionaries of us all, by filling us with . . .
the love of Jesus,
pity for perishing sinners, and
zeal for the glory of God.
May he come down upon us in all the fullness of his graces and gifts, and enable us to live to God, labor for God, and thus adorn the doctrine of God more than we have hitherto done. There is nothing that the church so much needs at this juncture — as the coming down of the Holy Spirit in his power, grace, and quickening operations; for this, therefore, let us plead with God; on this let us steadily set our hearts; without this, let nothing satisfy us. Oh, to see heathen idolatry vanish away, Mohammadanism expire, and Popery consumed by the bright and glorious rising of the Sun of Righteousness! Lord, hasten it, hasten it in your time!