A Study of Proverbs 22:6

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

The light that has beamed from many a noble lighthouse on a dangerous coast, has been the means of saving many a noble vessel from being dashed upon the rocks.

A traveler once visiting the lighthouse at Calais, said to the keeper, ‘But what if one of your lights should go out at night?’

‘Never — impossible!’ he cried. ‘Sir, yonder are ships sailing to all parts of the world. If tonight one of my burners were out, in six months I would hear from America or India, saying, that on such a night, the light of Calais lighthouse gave no warning, and some vessel had been wrecked. Oh, sir, sometimes I feel, when I look upon my light, as if the eyes of the whole world were fixed upon me. Go out! Burn dim! Never! Impossible!’

Every parent is a spiritual lighthouse. Sons and daughters to be kept from being wrecked as they are tossed about upon the sea of life — must be kept by the light of sanctified home influence burning brightly. Never should it grow dim! Never should it go out!

Whatever others may do for children, parents are chiefly responsible, for evil or for good — their influence will most certainly be the strongest that they will know through life.

One man said, when dying, “Oh, blessed be God that ever I was born. I have a mother and a father, and ten sisters and brothers in Heaven, and I shall be the eleventh. Oh, blessed be the day that ever I was born!” The influence of home was blessed in his experience.

“Every home should be a nursery of happiness and usefulness on earth — and for rest and glory in the great family in Heaven.”

The light of home influence should burn steadily, giving light to all that are in the house; that is, a quiet influence pervading all, and filling the house with light and cheerfulness.

We will mention some of these Home Lights:

The light of Love.

The light of Discipline.

The light of Devotion.

The light of Example.

The light of God’s Word.

Are there not many who love their children very truly — and yet do not care for and cherish that love as they ought? They keep the light of love burning very dimly, hence, alas! many a parent at the bedside of a dying child has said, “I never knew I loved my child so much until now!” The parent should have known it. That love which only faintly burned, should have burned with a glowing warmth — and perhaps filled the child’s heart with a sense of parental love unknown before.

There is a mighty power in love — it rules the life, it checks the wayward, and stimulates to all that is noble and true. A spirit of love toward children will strengthen them all through after life, stimulating them to what is pure and right. On the other hand, how often the life is blighted — by parental coldness, impatience, and unkindness!

The light of love is too often dimmed by worldly care — financial difficulties make it seem hard to get through life, and children are felt to be a burden instead of a blessing from God, and they suffer accordingly.

If you are a working man, go forth to your labour with a cheerful song and a pleasant smile, be prompted by affection’s holy influences, and let the home light shine brightly, for “a loving family is the best school for life.”

Discipline is a light that should not be allowed to burn dimly, for if it does, the whole home will be darkened.

When discipline is observed in a family, there is strict obedience to parents. Sincere obedience does not pick and choose what commands to obey, it says, “Eyes, ears, hands, heart, lips, legs, body and soul — obey sincerely and affectionately whatever is commanded you, in as far as the command is in accordance with the teaching of God’s truth.”

One half the sorrow and mischief among children, is caused by disobedience. Parents have to entreat instead of command. As they grow up past the age of childhood, they get a proud notion of independence, throw off parental authority, and often go on to moral ruin.

Fathers and Mothers, if they wish to be obeyed, must be worthy of obedience, must be consistent with themselves, and begin early to enforce the principle of implicit trust and obedience, for “example is better than precept.”

PRAYER is a light that should be always kept bright. The light of religion is the true light of home, and it must be kindled from the altar of communion with God.

If you find the cares and burdens of life too heavy for you, you must live in the constant habit of asking God’s help and grace. If you would be strong in the LORD and in the power of His might — you must daily seek divine strength and support.

Is your home a home of prayer? Is Jesus welcome to your household? His presence alone can make you cheerful and happy, and sanctify natural ties. He will fill the family with holy influences, and you will be led to the sanctuary to join in the praise and worship of Yahweh. How much happier would your trials be — if the house of prayer was revered and loved!

The Holy Bible — the light sent down from Heaven, should be the light to your feet, and the lamp to your path — its counsels, its precepts should be your guide and support. It should be a treasure in your home, and diffuse a blessing on all around.

A traveler one day called at a cottage to ask for a drink of water. Entering, he found the parents cursing and quarreling, the children trembling, crouched in a corner. Wherever he looked, he saw only marks of degradation and poverty. Greeting the family, he asked them, “Dear friends, why do you make your house like Hell?”

“Ah, Sir,” said the man, “you don’t know the life and trials of a poor man! Do what I can — everything goes wrong.”

The stranger drank the water, and then said softly (as he noticed a Bible in a dark and dusty corner), “Dear friends, I know what would help you, if you could find it. There is a treasure concealed in your house — search for it.”

And so he left them.

At first the cottagers thought it a jest, but, after a while they began to reflect. The whole family tried to find the “treasure” — but in vain. Increasing poverty brought only more quarrels, discontent, and strife.

One day, as the woman was thinking upon the stranger’s words — when her eye fell on the old Bible. It had been a gift from her mother, but since her death long ago — it had been unheeded and unused.

A strange foreboding seized her mind. Could the stranger meant the Bible? She took it from the shelf, opened it, and found the verse inscribed on the title-page, in her mother’s handwriting, “The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.” It cut her to the heart. “Ah!” thought she, “this is the treasure which we have been seeking!” How her tears fell fast upon the leaves!

From that time she read the Bible every day, and taught the children to pray — but without her husband’s knowledge. One day he came home, as usual, quarreling, and in a rage. Instead of meeting his angry words with angry replies — she spoke to him kindly and with gentleness. “Husband,” said she, “we have sinned grievously. We have ourselves to blame for all this misery, and we must now lead a different life.”

He looked amazed. “What are you talking about?” was his exclamation.

She brought the old Bible, and, sobbing, cried, “Here is the treasure. See, I have found it!”

The husband’s heart was moved. She read to him of the Lord Jesus, and of His love. She continued to read the Scriptures daily, as she sat with the children around her, thoughtful and attentive.

So time went on.

It was a year later that the stranger returned that way. Seeing the cottage, he remembered the circumstances of his visit, and thought he would call and see this family again. He did so, but he would scarcely have known the place — it was so clean, so neat, so well ordered. He opened the door, and at first thought he was mistaken, for the family came to meet him so kindly, with the peace of God beaming upon their faces.

“How are you, my friends?” said he.

Then they recognized the stranger — and for some time they could not speak. “Thanks, thanks, dear Sir — we have found the treasure which you spoke of! Now the blessing of God dwells in our house — and His peace in our hearts!”

So they said — and their entire condition, and the happy faces of their children, declared the same more plainly!

Love your Bible, and you will make the same resolve as a poor Indian made, Lifting his own new Bible, he exclaimed, ‘My brethren and sisters, this is my resolve — the dust shall never cover my new Bible, the moths shall never eat it, the mildew shall never rot it! My light! My joy!’

A fountain ever springing,
Where the wearied may repair,
The heavy burden bringing,
Of sin and of despair.

A hive of honied treasure,
Distilled from Eden’s bowers,
Where heaven-born hope, with pleasure,
May feed in wintry hours.

Drink for the soul that’s thirsting,
Comfort for those who fear,
Balm for the heart when hurting,
May all be gathered here!

In conclusion, my reader, remember that the eyes of many are fixed upon you. Coming generations will be the better or the worse — for your example and influence. As soon as you neglect the Home Light — your children may be dashed upon the rocks of destruction.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

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