“The divine love emanating from Christ never destroys human love, but includes it. By it human love is refined and purified, elevated and ennobled. Human love can never bear its precious fruit until it is united with the divine nature, and trained to go heavenward. Jesus wants to see happy marriages, happy firesides. The warmth of true friendship and the pure love that bind the hearts of husband and wife are a foretaste of heaven.
“God has ordained that there should be perfect love and harmony between those who enter into the marriage relation. Let bride and bridegroom, in the presence of the heavenly universe, pledge themselves to love each other as God has ordained they should. Let no draught of unkindness chill the atmosphere of love which should surround them. The wife is to respect and reverence her husband, and the husband is to love and cherish his wife. As the priest of the household, the husband and father should bind his wife and children to his heart. The wife should feel that the large affections of her husband sustain her before her children are born, and after their birth he should co-operate with her in the management of the little ones, who should be wisely, firmly, tenderly, lovingly educated.
“The family relationship should be sanctifying in its influence. Christian homes, established and conducted in accordance with God’s plan, are a wonderful help in forming Christian character. Families here should be a symbol of the great family above. Parents and children should unite in offering loving service to Him who alone can keep human love pure and noble. . . .
“God made from man a woman, to be a companion and helpmeet for him, to be one with him, to cheer, encourage, and bless him. And he in his turn is to be her strong helper. All who enter the matrimonial life with a holy purpose, the husband to obtain the pure affection of a woman’s heart, the wife to soften and improve her husband’s character, and give it completeness, fulfil God’s purpose for them. Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil its every specification. He came to pull down and destroy the works of oppression that the enemy had raised up everywhere. It was in perfect harmony with His character and work to make known the fact that marriage is a holy institution. He came not to destroy this institution, but to restore it to its original sanctity. He came to restore the moral image of God in man, and He began His work by sanctioning the marriage relation. Thus He who made the first holy pair, and who created for them a paradise, put His seal upon the institution first celebrated in Eden, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.”1
* * *
“Dear Sister Wessels,
“I hope and pray that you will not lose faith, or become discouraged. We all have our individuality; this cannot be submerged in another. You have a soul to save or to lose. The Lord will be to you a present help in every time of trouble. He would have you stand at your post of duty, relying wholly upon Him who has loved us and died for us.
“You now have a double responsibility, because your husband has turned his face away from Jesus. As a mother, your work is to bring your children to the Master. When Christ was upon earth, and the mothers brought their children to Him, the disciples were about to send them away, but Jesus rebuked the disciples, saying, ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’
“I know it must be a great grief for you to stand alone, as far as the doing of the Word is concerned. But how knowest thou, Oh wife, but that your consistent life of faith and obedience may win back your husband to the truth. Let the dear children be brought to Jesus. In simple language speak the words of truth to them. Sing to them pleasant, attractive songs, which reveal the love of Christ. Bring your children to Jesus, for He loves little children.
“Keep cheerful. Do not forget that you have a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, which Christ has appointed. You are never alone. If you will listen to the voice that now speaks to you, if you will respond without delay to the knocking at the door of your heart, ‘Come in, Lord Jesus, that I may sup with Thee, and Thee with me,’ the heavenly Guest will enter. When this element, which is all divine, abides with you, there is peace and rest. It is the kingdom of heaven come nigh unto you.
“Let every hour be one of trust and prayer and faith. You may expect trials. We must all be purified from dross, and made white and tried. In the time of trial, seek to bring every thought into captivity to Jesus Christ. One foe after another may come in unexpected ways, but dismiss the temptations of the enemy. In this way, we go on from grace to grace, from strength to strength, obtaining one spiritual victory after another.
“Hold fast to Christ, and He will give you His strong arm to lean upon. There is a crown of life for the overcomer.
“Close union with Christ means to do the words of Christ. He calls this union a continuance of His love. Then the heart is in harmony with God. Treasure up the promises, doing every little duty faithfully, as unto God. ‘If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love.’ Here is compliance and dependence.
“You have a strong Helper, and while you trust in your surety, you are safe. The sapless twig, grafted into the living vine, partakes of the same nourishment [as] the vine, and becomes a branch. The closest possible relation between the sinner and the Saviour is seen when the sinner is a doer of the Word of God. Then the heart, the will, the mind, are in close union with Christ. By faith, finite, feeble, helpless humanity joins its feebleness to His strength. Such a union—[showing] entire confidence and love—our helplessness and dependence demands. . . .
“What saith our Saviour? ‘I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.’ ‘He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.’ When trials overshadow the soul, remember the words of Christ, remember that He is an unseen presence in the person of the Holy Spirit, and He will be the peace and comfort given you, manifesting to you that He is with you, the Sun of Righteousness, chasing away your darkness. ‘If a man love me,’ Christ said, ‘he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.’ Be of good cheer; light will come, and your soul will rejoice greatly in the Lord.”2
* * *
“Men and women are not fulfilling the design of God, when they simply express affection for their own family circle, for their rich relatives and friends, while they exclude those from their love whom they could comfort and bless by relieving their necessities. It is true that where large affection is manifested in the home circle, it not only brightens the home and brings cheerfulness and happiness to the entire family, but if love is unselfish, it will extend without the walls of the home. The manifestation of kindness, tenderness, Christian courtesy, is approved of God. The affection manifested in the home is a manifestation of Christ’s love that flows through him from the heart of infinite love to bless the members of the family circle. It is love that will constitute the bliss of the heavenly family. Those who cultivate love in the homelife will form characters after Christ’s likeness, and they will be constrained to exert a helpful influence beyond the family circle, in order that they may bless others by kind, thoughtful ministrations, by pleasant words, by Christlike sympathy, by acts of benevolence. They will be quick to discern those who have hungry hearts, and will make a feast for those who are needy and afflicted. Those who have heavenly discernment, who exercise tender regard for every member of the family, will, in doing their whole duty, fit themselves to do a work that will brighten other homes, and will teach others by precept and example what it is that will make home happy.”3