The GOSPEL TRUTH
THE TRAINING OF CHILDREN ....OR,
HOW TO MAKE THE CHILDREN INTO
SAINTS AND SOLDIERS OF JESUS CHRIST
GENERAL OF THE SALVATION ARMY
1888 - SECOND EDITION
1. Ought not children to be instructed in the evils attendant on the use of intoxicating liquors?
Yes. As soon as children can understand anything at all, they should be made to understand the evil consequences which follow the use of strong drinks, and the importance of abstaining from them altogether. No parent can tell how soon his children may be tempted on this subject, and to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Therefore the children should be instructed in this matter very early in life. Parents will not find any difficulty in explaining this evil in a simple fashion to their children, and they will readily and sincerely pledge their little hands and hearts before God not to use that which they see to be the wicked drink.
2. How can children be trained up most effectively in total abstinence?
(1.) Never allow them to touch or taste a drop of the accursed liquor. Multitudes have been ruined after the fashion of the drunkard, who, on his death-bed, attributed his destruction to the taste created for strong drink when, though only a child, he was allowed to drain the brandy-glasses that came from his grandfather's table. Should ever any of your children get into this terrible predicament, which God forbid, take care that they are never able to say that they had either the opportunity or the encouragement to acquire this terrible damning appetite at your table or in your home. To this end, never let a drop of intoxicating liquor be used as a beverage in your house for any reason whatever.
(2.) Never allow your children, so far as you have the power to prevent it, to see anyone for whom they have any esteem, touch or taste strong drink. Of course this will shut your children out of much company, and keep them away, perhaps, from visiting many friends and relations; but you cannot help that. If sacrifices are to be made, you had better make these than run the risk of the peace and virtue and Salvation of those so dear to you. Keep the children's eyes from beholding iniquity, or from being influenced in its favour by those for whom, for other reasons, they may have great respect, and who would be likely so much the more to influence them in the use of that which has proved the ruin of thousands.
(3.) Make the children understand that the thing is an evil in itself. Show them that it is manufactured by man-that God never made a drop of alcohol. To say that alcohol is a good creature of God is one of the devil's own lies fathered on foolish and ignorant people. It is a man-manufactured article. The earth nowhere produces a drop of it. The good creatures of God have to be tortured and perverted before any of it can be obtained. There is not a drop in all creation made by God or that owes its existence to purely natural causes.
I got, myself, a clear view of the controversy when but seven years of age. A schoolfellow was a teetotaler and wore a medal. I asked the meaning of it. He explained that ale and wine made people drunk, and that when they were drunk they did foolish and wicked things, for which they were very sorry when they became sober. Of the truth of this statement I saw plenty of illustrations all about me. In my young heart I felt that drink must be very bad to make people do such things; and when pressed by my schoolfellow, I promised that I would not touch, taste, nor handle it any more. We then went together to a certain shop where was a pledge-book. I wrote my name in it, purchased a medal, and although tempted continuously, and strongly urged to break that pledge by those whom I loved, I kept it until thirteen years of age, only breaking it then when urged for my health's sake to do so by one who had much influence over me. In conjunction with my beloved wife, I have acted in this way with my children, and from their babyhood they have been made to feel and to look upon all intoxicating liquor as the wicked drink, and for many years they knew it only by that name. Show the children the evils that attend upon its use, and their own tender and unsophisticated hearts will tell them their duty with regard to it. An ordinary child of six years of age, on being shown a drunken man or woman, or upon having some of the consequences following the use of strong drink set before him, will voluntarily and cheerfully refuse to take it.
(4.) Teach the children that health and strength and happiness are altogether independent of its use. Make this plain to them, so that neither the advice of doctors nor opinions of friends shall deceive them in the future, by leading them to think that intoxicating liquors are in any way necessary to their well-being.
(5.) Show the children that no one can take intoxicating drink without personal danger. Describe to them what beautiful and noble spirits have fallen through it, and they will detest it immediately. As facts illustrating this come under your notice in the daily papers, in your own neighbourhood, or in your own Corps, describe them to your children. By these means will their hatred for it be increased, and they will come to feel a moral pleasure in refusing it-a pleasure far greater than any gratification which the use of it could possibly bring them.
(6.) Show the children how hypocritical they will be, if, while professing to imitate Jesus Christ, they should refuse to give up the use of intoxicating drink, because of any little personal gratification they might derive therefrom. Jesus Christ sacrificed not only His own comfort, but His own life to save the world from sin and misery and Hell.
(7.) Make your children understand that it is not safe for them or anybody else to take strong drink in what is called moderation, and that even if it were, their example would be sure to induce others to take it, some of whom would be almost certain to go to excess. Explain to them that of the millions of drunkards who have found their way down to the bottom-less pit, not one of all the ghastly band ever intended to go on to drunkenness. They all began with "moderation," and purposed to stop there. Therefore, the only way of safety for your children as regards themselves and the answer of a good conscience with respect to others, is total abstinence from the evil.
(8.) Of course all that has been said sternly forbids your allowing your children to engage in any trade, profession, or calling, which, by the sale of intoxicating drinks, makes a profit out of the miseries, vices, and crimes of men.
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