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You will find our theme in the Scriptures. 

However we have here a clear example of what you can do with the Scriptures when you take a passage out of its context. Skip over that which precedes these words and come to a full stop at the end of them; and you get a statement that means something entirely different from that which it does in the text. 

As it stands there it suggests a child that is in the way of his parents. It suggests that this child interferes with their freedom and that they secretly (and perhaps even openly) wish that the child had not been born. It ties them down too much. It limits them too much in the pursuit of their own happiness. 

There is such a thing to be sure. 

Paul wrote of its coming to a special degree in the last days. To Timothy he wrote in II Timothy 3:1-4, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves . . . Without natural affection . . . lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God . . .” How much of that you see today! Natural affection even is wanting to a great degree in the world. Mothers can forget their suckling children. They can give them out for adoption—especially if they are unwed mothers, because then these children stand so much more in their way of getting a husband and of having a good time. They can kill them in cold blooded murder. They can tie and chain them up in rooms and mistreat them, as a beast would never be found doing. Children are in their way. As lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God they cannot even find time to be decent and civil to their own flesh and blood, to that which God gives them in a very miraculous way, and to that which only God can give them. There are parents who see their own children in their way and take steps to get them out of that way! Without natural affection . . . .! 

And then we do not have in mind a family as described in Holy Writ so that the wife is as a fruitful vine and there are a dozen, more or less, of these “olive plants round about thy table” (Psalm 128:1-4). We are not thinking of the man that is so blessed by God that these little feet and bodies are there all coming to the table for their daily bread and then in a physical way they occasionally get in your way and in each other’s way and trip over each other’s feet. We are thinking of the world that lacks even this natural affection and onechild in a rambling house of some ten to fourteen rooms is in the way of the social “obligations,” political antics, pleasure seeking and carnal entertainments of its parents. 

The covenant parent takes an entirely different approach to the matter. He sees his children as children of the covenant. He says with the psalmist inPsalm 127:3-5, “Lo children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are the children of the youth. Happy is that man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” The covenant parent sacrifices for his child. That child does not stand in the way of his joy. That child is his joy. He considers himself highly blessed of God to receive from Him a child to train in His fear and to watch develop into a living member in the body of Christ. He has a treasure that he will enjoy also in the life to come! Death will not rob him of this joy. There shall be a blessed reunion in the New Jerusalem. 

We must understand that “the way” that is mentioned in our theme is God’s way. About that we wish to write at this time: A Child in God’s Way: For the full text from which we borrowed our theme is, “Train, up a child in the way in which he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. There, my dear readers, you have your calling spelled out for you by that man of great wisdom, Solomon. But there you also have the wisdom of the infinite, almighty God held before your eyes. He tells you through Solomon what your calling is with your children: Train up your child in the way in which he should go. 

We must take careful note that it is the way in which he should go and not the way in which we might like to have him go. The carnal mind is enmity against God and by nature a parent can only want his child to go in a way of enmity and rebellion against God. We have many carnal ambitions for our children. We want them to have a good education in the things natural. We like to see them at the head of the class when it comes to reading, writing and arithmetic. Their knowledge of geography, modern and ancient history, European and American history, science and civics must be the very best and as comprehensive as possible. We want them trained in all the things that will help them to live a prosperous and happy life here below. 

But what about the way in which he should go? 

Oh, I know the oft-repeated yet erroneous excuse. Why do I not send my children to a Christian school so that they may be taught all things in the light of man’s lofty and inescapable calling before God? Well, you do not find the best teachers in the Christian Schools. They cannot pay the high (?) salaries that teachers in the public schools receive and consequently do not draw the best teachers. 

Is that so? 

Granted that an individual is not as fully skilled and educated in the ways of the world, does that mean that, when he has dedicated his life to teaching your child the way in which that covenant child should go, that he is not a better teacher for your child? The man who signs up to teach children in the ways that the world wants him to go rather than in the Christian school that has for its purpose training in the way that God wants His children to go, and does so for a few paltry pieces of silver, for filthy lucre’s sake, because he places more value on the things material than the things spiritual and is more interested in laying up for himself treasure on this earth than in heaven is far from the best teacher for your child. Train up your child in the way he should go, in the way that God wants and commands that he go. That is your calling. 

Surely the Scriptures do not lie. God does not speak foolishness. Nor is He ever mocked. He has declared that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Bring your children where they are not taught in His fear and you yourself perform not an act of wisdom but of foolishness. That is strong language indeed. But let us understand that we have no choice in the matter. Either the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom or it is not. And if it is and it is then that which is not in His fear is not wisdom but foolishness. And before we are ready to rise up in protest and condemn the statement above that to bring our children where they are not taught in the fear of the Lord is foolishness, let us realize that to say that this is not true is to say that God does not know what He is talking about. Be careful lest you say that with your mouth. Be on your guard that your heart does not entertain that rebellious thought. And by all means see to it that you do not say it by your actions of sending your children to be instructed where they are not trained in the way that they should go: in God’s way. 

You agree. 

You say, with all the above. I am agreed. How can I call God a liar? Of course the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and I surely want my children trained in the way in which they should go. I do that too. I take them along to church. I send them to their catechism or Bible class. I teach them every day, give them good Christian literature to read. I make them prepare faithfully for their Young People’s Society and learn their catechism questions perfectly and do their written work thoroughly. That all counteracts all that which they receive in their school room and supplements and supplies that which is lacking in their school room. I do not neglect their instruction in His fear simply because I send them to another school than the Christian school. 

Let us look once again at the wisdom which God speaks lest from a new angle we tell Him that He does not know what it is about which He is talking. He says, “Train up a child.” A few weeks ago we had the occasion to take the children to the Marineland of The Pacific near San Pedro, California, to see the trained seals, porpoises, dolphins and whales. One marvels at the things which these irrational water creatures can be trained to do by man. And that training took many a tedious hour of repeating the same things over and over in an unwavering pattern. The trainer could riot depart from the usual steps and procedure lest he confuse these animals. To train one in a certain way you have to continue to lead hind in that one particular way. And we are not training our children when we bring them to the world five days a week where they are taught to lay up for themselves treasures here below and then add to this sonic side instruction in seeking the things above. To train them in the way that they should go, we must see to it that in all their instruction they are pointed in that way. 

Another school season has begun. Are you seeing to it that your children are being trained in the way that theyshould go? Trained in that way you have. God’s promise that they will not depart from it when they are old. And if you have not trained them or provided for their training in that way and when they are old they go in a way in which they should not go, you have no one else to blame than yourself. Do not blame those who have unsuccessfully tried to counteract that training in the ways of the world. 

We must train them while they are children. We must not treat them as children that are in our way. We must not count the cost and say that their training in God’s way stands in. the way of our material prosperity. It may mean that we will have to deny ourselves some of the pleasures and luxuries of this abundant life which is ours. But that does not remove the command of God that He has placed over us: Train them in the fear of the Lord. And let nothing stand in the way: A child in the way, that is, a child in the way of the Lord is a priceless blessing to the covenant parent. It is a child on the way to glory. Do you not covet that? 

—J.A.H.