365 days with Newton


Instruction begins at home

‘And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.’ Ephesians 6:4

Maintain your authority over your children and endeavour to restrain the workings of those irregular passions and desires which begin early to show themselves. A false tenderness in indulging their humours, is often called spoiling them, and the expression is significant. Many are so entirely spoilt that they are good for nothing afterwards. No care can change the heart, but the Lord works by means—and these evils may be restrained. If you suffer them to be self-willed when they are three or four years of age, they will ordinarily be much more so when they are fourteen or fifteen. Many good people are grieved and bowed down with the perverseness of their children’s carriage as they grow up, but may not conscience say, Hast thou not procured this unto thyself? [Jeremiah 2:17] Be resolute in repressing them for, and restraining them from, things that are plainly sinful—the use of ill words, lying, pilfering, contempt of the Sabbath. Accustom them to a constant attendance upon the worship of God, and to a decent behaviour while they are there. It is a shame to think how many children are playing in the streets, or perhaps robbing orchards [or supermarkets?] instead of being in the house of God. And many come here who can hardly be kept from play in the church; it is a sign how little they are instructed at home.

Diary, 10 July 1777:
Met the children … perhaps I never speak more to the purpose than when the bulk of my auditory is under ten, and many of them under six years of age.… the power is thine also, therefore I may hope.

FOR MEDITATION: My mother was a pious, experienced Christian. I have some faint remembrance of her care and instructions. She stored my memory, which was then very retentive, with many valuable pieces, chapters, and portions of Scripture, catechisms, hymns and poems. Further, my dear mother often commended me with many prayers and tears to God; and I doubt not but I reap the fruits of these prayers to this hour.
Narrative, 1764, Letter 2 [Newton’s mother died when he was six]


Published by milo2030

I am widowed 5 years now and have 2 adult sons at home

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