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Dr. Henry B. Waiters: A mother’s main responsibility

If parents will not provide for their children, they are worse than beasts to their young.

If they do not give them a civil education, they become uncivilized and are worse than heathens.

If they neglect a Christian religious education, what do they do more than civilized heathens?

When God gives a husband and wife a child, He says as Pharaoh’s daughter said to Moses’ mother, “Take this child and nurse it for me,” (Exodus 2:9).

Mothers ought to instruct their children in the principles of religion and to sow the seeds of godliness in their hearts as soon as the children are able to speak and have the use of reason (Deut. 6:6,7).

Not only is this the duty of fathers, who should teach their children (Prov. 4:3,4), but of mothers, who, while the children are young and in her care, should be giving something to them for their soul’s good. Solomon had not only his father’s lesson, but the prophecy his mother taught him (Prov. 31:1-8)

Mothers should acquaint the children with the Scriptures and encourage them to read on their own (2 Tim. 3:15) to learn how God blessed His people when they obeyed, and literally destroyed them when they rebelled.

Be prepared and take pains to answer all your little ones’ questions. Children often have misshapen notions of divine things. But if they are encouraged to speak they might vent their thoughts, giving mothers the opportunity to correct the misapprehension.

Work to deter them from sin. The neglect of this was Eli’s sin, for which God harshly judged his house (1 Sam. 3:13).

Endeavor to fill their hearts with an abhorrence and dread of sinful practices. Gently put a stop to their lying, swearing, cursing and Sabbath-breaking. If they learn these things while young, when old they will not depart from them (Prov. 22:6).

Stir them up to the duties of holiness and the practice of Christian religion. Remind them often of the doctrine of their sinful, miserable state by nature, and the remedy provided in Christ.

Show them the necessity of holiness, pointing out Christ to them as the fountain of sanctification. Present Christianity to them, and encourage the study of it (Prov. 4:4).

Pray with them and teach them to pray. Don’t let the worship of God be neglected in your family. No wonder those children won’t seek God when they never see their mother bow a knee in prayer.

Correct them (Prov. 29:17). The Greek word there signifies both correction and instruction, as does the English word ‘nurture.’ They must go together, for instruction without correction will hardly succeed.

Mothers must keep their children in subjection: if they lose their authority over them, the children will be children of Belial (worthless, reckless, lawless), the end of which will be sad (Prov. 29: 15).

The children must not only be corrected with reproof, but when needed with the rod (instrument for punishment; switch, paddle, belt (Prov. 13:24). Correcting them is the second step to keeping them out of hell.

My mother, all 5’2” and 105 pounds of her, was always a giant to me. Her motto was “No woman should have anything she couldn’t control.” She never spared the rod, using it when needed. I was 34 years old when my wife called me to the bedroom, where mother was lying on her bed, a smile on her face, one hour left before departure. She said, “Kneel beside the bed.” I did so. She made fist and pressed it firmly to my forehead and said, “As long as I am alive, I’m still your mother, and after I depart, don’t you forget it.”

Very shortly there was a beaming with happiness, a smile and then departure.

Critical notes of Thomas Boston (1676-1732) incl.

Dr. Waiters can be reached at 704-636-3369.


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