TWO FAMILIES, TWO FATES
Jonathan Edwards, one of the greatest minds that God has given America, lived in the state of New York. He was a Christian and believed in Christian training. He married a girl of like character. From this union men have studied 729 descendants. Of this number came 300 preachers, 65 college professors, 13 university presidents, 60 authors of good books, 3 United States congressmen, and one vice president of the United States; and barring one grandson who married a questionable character, the family has not cost the state a single dollar.
Max Jukes lived in the same state. He did not believe in Christian training. He married a girl of like character. From this union men have studied 1,026 descendants. Three hundred of them died prematurely. One hundred were sent to the penitentiary for an average of 13 years each. One hundred ninety were public prostitutes. There were 100 drunkards. The family cost the state $1,200,000. They made no helpful contribution to society.
The difference in these two fathers, two families, and two fates was caused by Christian home training and heart conversion. What choices will you make? What direction will you set for your family? Life is not a bed of roses. However, you may choose to go with God or you may choose to go alone. Trust the Lord and He will go with you. Yes, the storms of life will come and the critics will have their opinions, but the Lord will never leave or forsake you.
“It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deed might have done them better.
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt
Character and discipline with commitment to work at life reflect the advice that young James Garfield received. It is easily observed when God’s people are determined to live and do right. Lord, give us a church full of men with the backbone to live and do right.
As a young man, James A. Garfield was given by a dear friend the following guidelines for life:
1. Never be idle.
2. Make few promises.
3. Always speak the truth.
4. Live within your income.
5. Never speak evil of anyone.
6. Keep good company or none.
7. Live up to your engagements.
8. Never play games of chance.
9. Drink no intoxicating drinks.
10.Good character is above everything else.
11.Keep your own secrets if you have any.
12.Never borrow if you can possibly help it.
13.Do not marry until you are able to support a wife.
14.When you speak to a person, look into his eyes.
15.Save when you are young to spend when you are old.
16.Never run into debt unless you see your way out again.
17.Good company and good conversation are the sinews of virtue.
18.Your character cannot be essentially injured except by your own acts.
19.If anybody speaks evil of you, let your life be so that no one believes him.
20.When you retire at night, think over what you have done during the day.
21.If your hands cannot be employed usefully, attend to the culture of your mind.
Parents, take time to teach these wonderful guidelines to your child. By the way start early. When the child can understand it is time to teach and develop discipline and character.