The Child’s Book on Repentance

A stretching, challenging, and encouraging word from a time past.  There is not a better place to over-extend yourself than in the home.  Gallaudetʼs words are an indictment to engage our children in the things of the Lord. – Josh Cornett

Excerpts from:

The Childʼs Book on Repentance

by

Thomas Gallaudet

ADDRESS TO PARENTS AND TEACHERS

“There are many parents who love to teach their children about the Bible, and what they must do to obtain an interest in Jesus Christ, and secure the salvation of their souls.

“Often such fathers and mothers spend an hour in the evening, or a portion of the Sabbath, in this delightful duty.  And if they are faithful in the discharge of it, and in their prayers to God for his blessing, they have reason to hope that their labors will not be in vain.

“Is there a father or mother who never does this, and whose eye may meet these pages?

“What think you, my friends, of the souls of your children?  Are they not entrusted to your care?  Are they not receiving impressions from you, which neither time nor eternity will remove?  What will be the consequences of your saying nothing to them on the most important of all subjects?  Will they not, also, be led to treat it with neglect?  What estimate will they form of God and the Savior; of death and judgment; of heaven and of hell; if you never converse with them on these topics, nor show interest that a parent ought to feel in them?

“What account will you render for such neglect, when you meet your children at the bar of God?  O! the awful recollections, and the fearful looking for of judgement, which will then overwhelm the souls of the father and mother who have let their little ones grow up around them, and told them nothing of what they must do to be saved!

“But you say you wish to discharge this duty, but do not know how to set about it. Begin! Begin! Begin with your own  heart.  That must be right first.  Is it right with God?  Have you truly repented of sin, and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ?  Do you desire to imitate his example, and to engage in his service?….

“The children, again and again, hear the duty of repentance and faith urged upon them.  Unless they have the meaning of these terms explained in a way which is suited to their capacity-not by formal definitions, or by synonymous expressions, but by going back to simple, elementary truths, and by illustrations, drawn from objects and events with which they are familiar, how can they thus feel as they ought the obligations which are thus pressed upon them in the most solemn and affectionate manner?

“Is it not vastly important, also that children and youth should early be accustomed to regard religious truth as deserving their fixed and patent attention, their close and continued thinking?  They must be trained to these habits of mind in the first stages of their education, or they will be in great danger of never having them afterwards.

“They must make religious truth a study.  They are required to study their lessons in the various branches of human knowledge to which they are attending; to apply to them all the energy of their minds; to learn them thoroughly and recite them accurately; and to review them till they have made a durable impression on the memory.  But religious truth can be gathered wholly from entertaining narratives and fictitious stories in a pleasant and captivating way!  No method, no demand for close and continued thinking, no study are necessary!  What inconsistency!….

“The momentous subject of repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ-involving the eternal destiny of the soul-cannot be made matter of mere entertainment, even for children.  They must be taught to regard it as a very serious and solemn subject.  How can they be led thoroughly to understand it, and deeply to feel it, without great attention and fixed application of mind, both on their part and on the part of those who undertake to instruct them?….1

1Gallaudet, Thomas H. The Childʼs Book of Repentance (Solid Ground Books, 2005), 9-12.

 

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