To Christian Parents:
Beloved in the Lord:
I think I may address you thus, as these pages are only meant for those who belong to HIM, and that bond makes us all one family: all dear to each other. So bear with an old man who would like to pass on to some of the younger members of that great Family a few of the lessons he has tried to learn from the merry children who once were in his home, but now are far away.
Perhaps I should have said they were lessons, which our Divine Teacher (Matthew 23:8, New Translation) had sought to teach through His Holy Word: and that also would be true. It may be that our Lord uses both His Word, and the children, to teach these lessons truly; so that we do not know them in theory only.
You have seen a child that finds some lesson terribly hard: perhaps the teacher has turned it back more than once: and the page is blotted with tears before it is learned. Some of these pages have been blotted with tears; and I am not at all sure that all the lessons have been learned that the write is trying to pass on to you.
Do not think he writes because of any imagined superiority. He does not: and some of these lessons caused so much pain that finally in anguish of heart he put the whole thing away, and determined to have nothing more to do with it. And there it lay for several years, like a discouraged child, that hides its exercise book because it shows so plainly the blots and mistakes and failures.
But it would not be hidden like that, so finally he had to get it out and try to finish it up. You will not read far before you will guess that these pages were written only for certain special eyes to see: eyes that many a time have “looked love to eyes that met again;” and so you must pardon the freedom and intimacy of the style; for nothing has been changed. This little book would not be offered to you now but for the fact that, as “Our beloved brother Paul” puts it; --“I am a debtor…”
We are in the “perilous times” foretold in the Scriptures (II Tim 3:1); and it is not easy to bring up our children. The Lord Himself says: “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me.” (Is. 1:2) Alas, there is that in the hearts of our children, (and in us also), that causes them naturally to turn in the wrong direction; and only the Grace of God is sufficient for the Parents’ need. Thank God, He reckons our children “holy”, (1 Corinthians 7:14); and He says; “My Grace is sufficient.” If these pages should prove an encouragement, or a signpost of warning, to some young parent, how thankful I would be! May the God of Hope be with you, dear fellow parent.
Preface to Second Edition
It is with surprise, and gratitude to our Lord, that we find another edition of this little book is required.
One reader says it is a sad book, and I fear that is true, but is not man’s history, from Adam onwards, a sad story of failure, sin and sorrow? But the darker this part of the picture-the brighter shine the love and grace and faithfulness of God. So it is hoped that amidst the sad failure, our eyes may be turned to Him Who Faileth Not, and that we may be encouraged to count on His faithfulness, for the responsibility that is ours.
God is still the God of all Encouragement (II Corinthians 1:3 New Translation), and even if the pages that follow must solemnize and sadden us, it is hoped that they may also encourage the heart of every reader.