Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness


 

“Why take ye thought for raiment?” “Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” [Matthew 6:28, 25.] CTBH 141.1

The mother should not give her time and strength to the needless ornamentation of her children’s clothing; indeed, she cannot do this if she has a true sense of her accountability to God. It is not essential to trim and embroider clothing; the time thus spent is precious, and should be given to the forming of character, the development of the mind, the inculcation of right principles, to teaching the children purity, modesty, and truthfulness. CTBH 141.2

Food should be so simple that its preparation will not absorb all the time of the mother. It is true, care should be taken to furnish the table with healthful food prepared in a wholesome and inviting manner. Do not think that anything you can carelessly throw together to serve as food is good enough for the children.But less time should be devoted to the preparation of unhealthful dishes for the table, to please a perverted taste, and more time to the education and training of the children. Let the strength which is now given to the unnecessary planning of what you shall eat and drink, and wherewithal you shall be clothed, be directed to keeping their persons clean and their clothes neat. Do not misunderstand me in this. I do not say that you must keep them in-doors, like dolls. There is nothing impure in clean sand and dry earth; it is the emanations from the body that defile, requiring the clothing to be changed and the body washed. CTBH 141.3

Frequent bathing is very beneficial, especially at night, just before retiring, or upon rising in the morning. It will take but a few moments to give the children a bath, and to rub them until their bodies are in a glow. This brings the blood to the surface, relieving the brain; and there will be less inclination to indulge in impure practices. Teach the little ones that God is not pleased to see them with unclean bodies and untidy, torn garments. Tell them that he wants them to be pure without and within, that he may dwell with them. CTBH 141.4

Having the clothing neat and clean will be one means of keeping the thoughts pure and sweet. Every article of dress should be plain and simple, without unnecessary adornment, so that it will be but little work to wash and iron it. Especially should every article which comes in contact with the skin be kept clean, and free from any offensive odor.Nothing of an irritating character should touch the bodies of children, nor should their clothing be allowed to bind them in any way. If more attention were given to this subject, far less impurity would be practiced.CTBH 142.1

I have often seen children’s beds in such a condition that the foul, poisonous odor constantly rising from them was to me unendurable.Keep everything the eyes of the children rest upon and that comes in contact with the body, night or day, clean and wholesome. This will be one means of educating them to choose the cleanly and the pure. CTBH 142.2

Let the sleeping-room of your children be neat, however destitute it may be of expensive furniture. Begin early to teach the little ones to take care of their clothing. Let them have a place to lay their things away, and be taught to fold every article neatly and put it in its place. If you cannot afford even a cheap bureau, use a dry-goods box, fitting it with shelves, and covering it with some bright, pretty figured cloth. This work of teaching neatness and order will take a little time each day, but it will pay in the future of your children, and in the end will save you much time and care. CTBH 142.3

If parents desire their children to be pure, they must surround them with pure associations, such as God can approve. The home must be kept pure and clean. Unclean, neglected corners in the house will tend to make impure, neglected corners in the soul. Mothers, you are the educators of your children, and you can do a great deal if you begin early to inculcate pure thoughts, by fitting up their rooms in a cleanly, tasteful, attractive manner. If the children have a room which they know is their own, and if they are taught how to keep it tidy and make it pleasant, they will have a sense of ownership,—they will feel that they have within the home a home of their own, and will have a satisfaction in keeping it neat and nice. The mother will necessarily have to inspect their work, and make suggestions and give instruction. This is the mother’s work, and nothing should be permitted to come between her and her children. CTBH 142.4

When visitors come, as they frequently will, they should not be allowed to absorb all the time and attention of the mother; her children’s temporal and spiritual welfare should come first. Time should not be used in preparing rich cakes, pies, and unhealthful viands for the table. These are an extra expense, and many cannot afford it.But the greater evil is in the example.Let the simplicity of the family be preserved. Do not try to give the impression that you can sustain a style of living which is really beyond your means. Do not try to appear what you are not, either in your table preparations or in your manners.While you should treat your visitors kindly, and make them feel at home, you should ever remember that you are a teacher to the little ones God has given you. They are watching you, and no course of yours should direct their feet in a wrong way. Be to your visitors just what you are to your family every day,—pleasant, considerate, and courteous. In this way all can be educators, an example of good works. They testify that there is something more essential than to keep the mind on what they shall eat and drink, and wherewithal they shall be clothed. CTBH 143.1

Let the mother’s dress, also, be simple and neat. So may she preserve her dignity and influence. If mothers allow themselves to wear untidy garments at home, they are teaching their children to follow in the same slovenly way. Many mothers think that anything is good enough for home wear, be it ever so soiled and shabby. But they soon lose their influence in the family. The children draw comparisons between their mother’s dress and that of others who dress neatly, and their respect for her is weakened. Mothers, make yourselves as attractive as possible, not by elaborate trimming, but by wearing clean, well-fitting garments.Thus you will give to your children constant lessons in neatness and purity. The love and respect of her children should be of the highest value to every mother. Everything upon her person should teach cleanliness and order, and should be associated in their minds with purity.There is a sense of fitness, an idea of the appropriateness of things, in the minds of even very young children; and how can they be impressed with the desirability of purity and holiness when their eyes daily rest on untidy dresses and disorderly rooms? How can the heavenly guests, whose home is where all is pure and holy, be invited into such a dwelling? CTBH 143.2

The word of God declares. “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] CTBH 144.1

Parents are under obligation to God to make their surroundings such as will correspond to the truth they profess. They can then give correct lessons to their children, and the children will learn to associate the home below with the home above.The family here must, as far as possible, be a model of the one in heaven. Then temptations to indulge in what is low and groveling will lose much of their force. Children should be taught that they are only probationers here, and educated to become inhabitants of the mansions which Christ is preparing for those who love him and keep his commandments. This is the highest duty which parents have to perform.CTBH 144.2

Parents should in a special sense regard themselves as agents of God to instruct their children, as did Abraham, to keep the way of the Lord. They need to search the Scriptures diligently, to know what is the way of the Lord, that they may teach it to their household. Micah says, “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” [Micah 6:8.] In order to be teachers, parents must be learners, gathering light constantly from the oracles of God, and by precept and example bringing this precious light into the education of their children.Teach them that principle should govern their eating, their drinking, and their dressing. Teach them from their very babyhood that God’s law is the rule of the house, and that it must be obeyed in all the relations of life; that a disregard of moral law will exist wherever there is a willful disregard of physical law. CTBH 145.1

The Christian life is one of constant self-denial and self-control. These are the lessons to be taught to the children from their infancy. Teach them that they must practice temperance, purity in thought and heart and act; that they belong to God, because they have been bought with a price, even the precious blood of his dear Son. CTBH 145.2

 


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