Parents, your children have souls which God expects you to nourish with at least as much care as you lavish on their physical needs. Who will teach them if not you? No one is surprised to hear that a ship put out to sea without a compass has sunk or run aground. Why should we be surprised to see children wander far from God, when they have received no spiritual direction?
I believe a man calls in question his own Christianity if he does not bother to acquaint his child with God and the way that leads to Him. I will even go so far as to say I have never known a true saint who was not deeply concerned about his child’s relationship with the heavenly Father.
You will give a poor account at the Last Day if all you can say is, ‘Lord, here are my children. I bred them gentlemen and left them wealthy.’ What a mocking witness to your own folly that you would do so much for that which rusts, and nothing for a knowledge of God unto salvation, which endures forever!
Faith will not grow without planting, and will die even where it is planted unless it is watered and fertilized with the Word of God. Atheism, irreligion, and profanity, on the other hand, not only grow without planting, but will not die without forceful plucking up. Indeed, they thrive best in an untended soul - until simple ignorance and disbelief in the child become willful attitudes in the man.
When a child breaks one of God’s commandments, it is his sin; but it is also the father’s if he never taught the child what the commandment of God was. Wicked children become heavy crosses to their parents. When a father or mother must trace the source of wickedness to his or her own neglect in training the child, cross is laid upon cross and the load becomes unbearable. Can there be a greater heartache in this life than to see your own child running full speed toward hell, and know that you were the one who outfitted him for the race? Oh, do your best while they are young and in your constant care, to win them to God and set them on the road to heaven.
Training your children up in the ways of the Lord is no casual suggestion, but a solemn command given to all Christian parents. Your refusal to obey, whether the product of deliberation or neglect, will pay you bitter wages when you stand before the King of kings in judgment.
- passages from The Christian in Complete Armour volume 1 by William Gurnall