A Father's Resolve

1663-1728

Editors comments:
Cotton Mather belonged to a Boston Puritan family. His father was Increase Mather, president of Harvard College and the foremost New England minister of his day. When Cotton entered Harvard at twelve, he could already read Greek, Latin, and Hebrew and had mastered most of the Greek New Testament. But because of a bad stammer he felt unsuited for the ministry and instead studied medicine. However, by 1680 he had overcome the stammer and began a ministry of preaching. Unfortunately, Cotton Mather became very involved in the Salem witch trials of 1692. However, later in his life, he changed many of these views. He wrote over 400 books, many of which had to do with the raising of children and education. Taken from The Puritans: A Sourcebook of Their Writings (edited by Perry Miller and Thomas H. Johnson), the following is quoting Cotton Mather’s writing entitled “Some Special Points Relating to the Raising of My Children.”

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Soul Sculpture

Taken from the book
Soul Sculpture


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o heart but that of a parent can know the strange conflict of emotions-joy and awe-as the new mother takes into her arms for the first time that little bundle of life. As she gazes into the eyes of her babe, she must, if at all serious-minded, feel a sense of grave responsibility in that she has been entrusted with the greatest of tasks. Jointly with the father she is to shape this immortal soul into a thing of beauty or baseness; into a force for good or evil; and towards a destiny in heaven or in hell. Every act of her life from this moment is a chiseling influence upon that piece of living marble. She is the sculptress of a soul.

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A Motivating Vision for Our Homes

Taken from the book The Pursuit of Godly Seed, by Denny Kenaston


Where there is no vision, the people perish,
but he that keepeth the Law, happy is he.
Proverbs 29:18


There was, in the days of Samuel the Prophet, a sad state of affairs in Israel. The ministers of the day had lost their relationship with God, and compromise was creeping in on every hand. God uses a few revealing words, which describe the condition of the nation at that time. “There was no open vision” (I Sam. 3:1). Although we have several chapters of sad commentary to read after this statement, these words say it all, in a nutshell. There was no open vision, and the people were perishing. We seem to be suffering from some of the same in modern America. I can think of no better words to describe the sad state of present day American Christianity.

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Parenthood A Sacred Trust

Selected from a 1905 writing by Ella Kellog
Revised and edited by Rachel Weaver


Part I

No occupation, profession or mission in life is of so great importance, no privilege so high and holy, no calling so full of wonderful possibilities as that of parenthood. We are entrusted, in a great measure, with the working out of God’s ideal for each child in our family. To the extent that this trust is fulfilled, these individual characters shall be rounded out in fullness of noble man- or womanhood, or dwarfed by neglect and deformed by sin.

It is a blessed privilege to give a careful start to the little pilgrim just entering upon life’s journey, and to develop with reverent care the image planted there by God, the Creator. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to so accustom the child to a pure and holy atmosphere that he cannot breathe freely in any other. If we neglect these very impressionable first years of our child’s life and let them slip by unimproved, no matter how hard we work in later years, the result will never be as perfect as it might have been if we had carefully trained them early in precept and principle.

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How to Pray for Your Children

It is very evident from Scripture that intercessory prayer is a great and necessary part of the Christian life. The first followers of Christ demonstrated their love for each other by their mutual prayers. When St. Paul wrote to churches and individuals, he mentioned to them that they were the constant subject of his prayers.

This was the ancient friendship of Christians. It united and cemented their hearts, not by worldly considerations or human passions, but by the mutual communication of spiritual blessings through prayers and thanksgivings to God for one another.

It was this holy intercession that raised Christians to such a high state of mutual love. They lived in a state that far exceeded all that previously had been praised and admired in human friendship. And when that same spirit of intercession is restored throughout the world—when Christianity has the same power over the hearts of people today that it originally had—this holy friendship will be again in fashion. Christians will again be the wonder of the world because of that exceeding love which they bear to one another.

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How to Love Your Children

Significance…


Instilling a sense of significance in a child is very important. It is something we find needful. My attitude about myself will be conveyed to my children. If I feel a sense of self-worth, my children will feel the same. If I feel, “I am worthless. I am no good,” that will be discouraging to the children. Letting them help around the house will give them a sense of worth. For example, when we are all doing something, like baking or cleaning, and the four-year-old calls out, “Mama, I want to do something, too,” then give him a job as well. A child will feel left out very quickly if you don’t give them something to help you with.

Children need the opportunity to serve in meaningful experiences in order to learn responsibility. When Rebecca was a small girl, she would rinse the dishes for me. I got to the point where I could wash faster when she rinsed them for me. At first, she didn’t help me that much. But, as time went on, she could keep up. That was a real blessing.

Ask them to get the clean diaper, or put the soiled one away. If you are washing furniture, that can be a very delightful thing for a little child to do. They like to help wash off the walls or pick up toys. There’s a saying that goes something like this: “If they can toddle, they can tote.” 

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Teach Your Children Diligently

1864


"And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children….”
Deuteronomy 6:6-9

This article was originally published under the title “The Duty of Parents to Themselves and Their Children” in 1864. John Funk was born into an immigrant Mennonite family in Berks County in 1835. At age 23 while working in Chicago John Funk attended a revival meeting conducted by D.L. Moody and was born again. From age 26 to 32 he continued to associate intimately with Moody. He eventually settled in Indiana where he became a very influential Mennonite preacher and bishop. Probably his most significant contribution was the publishing of the first Mennonite magazine in English called the Herald of Truth.

Originally, I did not know what to think about John Funk. I had heard a lot about him but I had never actually read anything that he wrote. I found his original magazines in the Lancaster Mennonite historical society and I was blessed as I read many of his old articles. After reading his writings I was impressed with his austerity and zeal for holiness. It was refreshing to see throughout the issues common themes about such things as the atoning blood, a holy life and a burden for raising a godly family. His sharp criticism of worldliness in the church written so long ago was very challenging. His warnings to the church of the 19th century should be proclaimed even louder today. This abridged article was the first actual full-length message that the paper presented. May we take all these words to heart. ~Dean

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