The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ was instituted in this sinful world to seek its conversion. It was said to her eighteen hundred years ago, "preach the Gospel to every creature." Her time, talents, and resources have all been justly owed to her Lord, for this purpose. Yet, "the whole world lieth in wickedness." Few, comparatively, have heard "the name of Jesus;" "that there is any Holy Ghost;" or that there is a God that ruleth in the earth.
In this affecting moral condition of the world, the questions are to be solemnly considered by the friends of Christ "Have we not something more to do? Is there not some great duty which we have overlooked; some covenant which we have made with our Lord, yet unfulfilled?"And an answer will be found, if we look upon the children of Christian parents, who have professed to dedicate their all to God, but, to a great extent, have neglected to educate their offspring for the express purpose of serving Christ in the advancement of his kingdom. Said a Christian mother, whose heart is deeply interested in this subject, "I fear that many of us think that parental duty is limited to labors for the salvation of our children; that we have prayed for them only that they may be saved; instructed them only that they may be saved." Infinitely important, indeed, it is, that they should be saved. But if ardent desires for the glory of our Redeemer and the salvation of souls glowed in our hearts like an inextinguishable flame, our most earnest prayers from their very birth, would be, that they might not only be saved themselves, but be instrumental in saving others.
So far as the service of Christ has been contemplated, it appears to have been regarded as consisting of becoming a Christian; professing religion; taking care of one's own soul, maintaining a reputable standing in the church; wishing well to the cause of Christ; giving as much as is convenient for its advancement; and, finally, taking a pious leave of the world to go and be happy in heaven. Thus "one generation passeth away, and another cometh," to live and die in the same manner. And truly the earth might "abide for ever," and the mass of its population still lie in ruin, should all Christians continue to live thus.
There is need, then, of an appeal to CHRISTIAN PARENTS, in view of the present condition of the world. You give your prayers and a portion of your money. But, as said the Christian already quoted, "What affectionate parent does not love his children more than his money? and why should not these living treasures be given to Christ?" This "seeking our own, not the things which are Christ's," must cease, if the world is ever to be converted. We must act, and teach our children to act more faithfully, according to that Scripture, "He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again."
Let us be understood. We do not say, dedicate your children to the cause of Missions exclusively, or to any field of benevolence. You must leave their assignment to "the Lord of the harvest." He will appoint them to stations, public or private; to spheres of extended or limited influence, as shall "seem good in his sight." Your duty is to do all which is comprehended in the injunction, "bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord;" assured that the time will come when it will be said to you by the voice of Providence, respecting each, "the Lord hath need of him;" and he will be led to that station in which the Lord will he pleased to bless him. And whether it prove a retired and lowly, or a public and eminent one, be assured of this, he will find work enough assigned him, and responsibilities enough laid upon him, to keep him at the footstool, seeking grace to strengthen him, and to require the anxious and diligent employment of all his powers while life shall last.
It is, then, an interesting inquiry, Christians Parents "What QUALIFICATIONS will best prepare our children to be efficient servants of Christ?" There are many—pertaining to the HEART, the MIND, and the PHYSICAL CONSTITUTION.
First of all, piety. They must fervently love Christ and his kingdom; heartily consecrate themselves to his service; and be ready for any self-denial, sacrifice, or work to which he may call. Eminent piety it must be, "counting all things but loss for Christ."
Said one, now the wife of an American Missionary, "To make and receive visits, exchange friendly salutations, attend to one's wardrobe, cultivate a garden, read good and entertaining books, and even attend religious meetings for one's own enjoyment,—all this does not satisfy me. I want to be where every arrangement will have unreserved and constant reference to eternity. On missionary ground I expect to find new and unlooked for trials and hinderances; still, it is my choice to be there, and so far from looking upon it as a difficult task to sacrifice my home and country, I feel as if I should 'flee as a bird to her mountain.'"
A piety which thus glows and prays to live, labor and suffer for Christ, is the first and grand qualification to be sought in your child. It is necessary to act efficiently for Christ anywhere, at home or abroad; in an elevated or a lowly sphere. The Lord Jesus has no work adapted to Christians who live at the "poor dying rate" with which so many are content. It is all work for them that are "strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus," and willing and determined to be "faithful, even unto death."
2. Intellectual qualifications. It is a great mistake of some, that moderate qualifications will suffice for "the work of Christ." Shall Christians be satisfied with these, in the business of the Redeemer's kingdom, when the men of the world are not in their concerns? Be cautious of perverting dependence upon Divine aid, by trusting to warmth of heart to compensate for lack of knowledge. The injunction. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy mind," applies to the service as well as love of Him. Your child will need a well balanced and cultivated mind, as much as a pious heart. Let his desires to do good never be frustrated through your neglect of his intellectual education. We are not saying, send all your sons to college, and your daughters to female seminaries; but prepare them to deal with minds under the dominion of sin anywhere; having intellectual qualifications not to be despised.
3. Qualifications pertaining to the physical constitution. The interests of religion have suffered enough through the breaking down of constitutions, and the premature deaths of promising young men. Do not dedicate a feeble, sickly son to the ministry because he is not sufficiently robust for some secular employment or profession. No men more need iron constitutions than ministers and missionaries. "If ye offer the lame and the sick for sacrifice, is it not evil? Offer it now to thy governor, will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person?" You have a daughter whom Providence may call to the self-denials of missionary life. Do not nurse her in the lap of enervating indulgence, and allow her to follow habits and fashions injurious to health, and to become a "tender and delicate woman, that will not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground, for very delicateness and tenderness;" and who will be at the sport of a morbid sensibility, or a disordered nervous temperament. Will you be satisfied with such an offering to the King of Sion? Will it be kindness to her, who may be called to suffer much, and will want all the capacity for endurance, as well as action. which can be acquired in a most thorough physical education? No: dedicate "to Christ and the Church" your "young men that are strong," and your daughters prepared to be companions for such in labors and sufferings for Christ.
Thus far of qualifications. We come now to speak more particularly of the DUTIES OF PARENTS in training sons and daughters for the service of Christ.
1. Pray much, respecting your great work. "Who is sufficient for these things?" well may you say. But says God, "my grace is sufficient for thee." Keep near the throne of grace, with this great subject weighing upon your spirit. Half your work is to be done in your closet. If you fail there, you will fail in all you do out of it. You must have wisdom from above in training servants for the Most High. Commune with God respecting the particular case of each of your children. While you do this you will obtain views of duty which human wisdom never can attain; and feel motives which will be nowhere else rightly appreciated. In the final day, there will, doubtless, be disclosures of transactions of Christian parents with God, respecting their children, which will delightfully explain the secret of their devotedness and usefulness. There will then be known more than can be now, respecting the prayers of mothers especially. The mother of Mills had some peculiar exercises in her closet, respecting him which help to account for a remarkable usefulness. The interesting fact is stated in one of our religious journals, that "of one hundred and twenty students in one of our theological seminaries, more than one hundred had been borne by a mother's prayers, and directed by a mother's counsels, to the Savior." See what prayer can do. "Be instant in prayer."
2. Cultivate a tender sense of parental accountableness. God holds you accountable for the character of your children, so far as fidelity in the use of means is concerned. You are to "give account in the day of judgment for what you do, or neglect to do, for the right formation of your children's characters. You may so educate them, that, by the sanctifying grace of God, they will be the instruments of salvation to hundreds, yea, thousands; and through your neglect of them, hundreds, thousands, may be lost, and their blood be required at your hands. You cannot divest yourself of this responsibility. You must act under it, and meet it "in the judgment." Remember this with godly fear, and yet "encourage yourself in the Lord." If faithful in the closet, and in doing what you there acknowledge your duty, you will find sustaining grace. And the thought will be delightful, as well as solemn, "I am permitted to train these immortals to glorify God in the salvation of souls."
3. Have a devoted spirit yourself. Your soul must be in health, and prosper; must burn with love to Christ and his kingdom; and all your instructions be enforced by a godly example, if you would lead your children to live devotedly. The father of a large family, most of them pious, was asked, "What means have you employed with your children?" "I have endeavored so to live," said he, "as to show them that it was my own grand purpose to go to heaven, and to take them along with me."
4. Give religious instruction EARLY. Watch opportunities for this, in every stage of childhood. Early impressions will last through life, when later ones fade away. Said an American Missionary, "I recollect particularly, that once my mother came and stood by me as I sat in the door, and tenderly talked to me of God and my soul's concerns; and her tears dropped upon my head. That made me a Missionary." Cecil says," I had a pious mother, who dropped things in my way. I could never rid myself of them. I was a professed infidel, but then I liked to be an infidel in company rather than alone. I was wretched by myself. Parental influence thus cleaves to a man; it harasses him; it throws itself continually in his way." John Newton never could divest himself of the impressions of his mother's instructions.
5. Seek the early conversion of your children. Regard every day of their continuance out of Christ as an increase of their danger and guilt. "A mother," says a Missionary, "who had brought up a large family, all of whom had become hopefully pious, was asked what means she had used for their conversion. She replied, 'I have felt that if not converted before seven or eight years of age, they would probably be lost; and when they have approached that age, have been in agony lest they should pass it impenitent; and have gone to the Lord with my anguish. He has not turned away my prayers nor his mercy from me.'" Pray for this: "Arise, cry out in the night; in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord; lift up thy hands towards him, for the life of thy young children." Hope for the early bestowment of divine grace from such promises as this: "I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: and they shall spring up as among the grass, and as willows by the water courses. One shall say, I am the Lord's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord and surname himself by the name of Israel" (Isa 44:3-5). The history of some families is a delightful fulfillment of this promise. Young hearts are the best in which to lay, deep and broad, the foundations of usefulness. There is is no hope that your child will do anything for Christ till you can see him at the foot of the cross, repenting, believing, devoting himself.
It seems supposed by some, that religion cannot enter a child's mind: that it demands maturity of years to "repent and believe the Gospel." A Christian child, therefore, seems often regarded as a prodigy; and grace in a young soul is a dispensation of divine mercy too unusual to be expected in the use of common means. "Parents," said a mother, "labor and pray prospectively for the conversion of their children." We have seen parents weeping over deceased children, of four, five, six, seven years, who seemed to feel no solicitude whether they had died in a safe spiritual state nor self-reproach for neglect to labor for their conversion. It is an interesting fact, and a serious one in its bearing upon parental neglect, that children under the age of four years have been known to feel deep convictions of sin against God, and of their ruined state; and to sorrow for sin, believe on Christ, fix their affections on God, and to exhibit all the evidences of grace seen in persons of adult years. The late Mrs. Huntington, writing to her son, says her biographer, "speaks of having a distinct remembrance of a solemn consultation in her mind, when about three years old, whether it was best to be a Christian then or not, and of having come to the decision that it was not." The biographies of Janeway, and numerous others, forbid the idea that religion in a young heart is a miracle, and show that parents have reason to be anxious lest their young children die without hope, as, well as to be encouraged to seek their early conversion.
We should be cautious of unreasonable distrust of apparent conversions of children. Watch over the little disciple affectionately, faithfully. His tender years plead for more careful and tender protection. Give him not occasion to say, "I have been neglected, because supposed too young to be a Christian." True, parents and pastors have been often disappointed in children seemingly converted. But the day of judgment may reveal that there have been more cases of undetected deception and hypocrisy in adults, than disappointments respecting children supposed pious. Childhood is more guileless than manhood; sooner, perhaps always, throws off the mask, if it be but the mask, of religion; and is again open to conviction–perhaps becomes converted. Manhood, more cautious, deceitful, adventurous in false profession, wears the mask, shuts out conviction, cries, "peace and safety," and goes on decently, solemnly, formally, down to hell.
Desire the early conversion of your children, that they may have the longest possible time in this world to serve Christ. If "the dew of our youth" be devoted to God, advancing years are sure to be marked with proportionate maturity of Christian character and fitness for more efficient labors for Christ.
6. Maintain familiar Christian intercourse with your children. Converse with them as freely and affectionately on religious subjects as on others. If you are a warmhearted and prosperous Christian, you will do this, naturally and easily. Let religious intimacy be interwoven with your whole family habits. You will thus know how to counsel, caution, reprove, encourage; what advances they make; what the "reason of the hope that is in them;" for what particular department of service for Christ they are fitted. And if they die early, or before you, then you will have the consolation of having watched and known the progress of their preparation to "depart and be with Christ."
7. Place and keep before the mind of your child, as the great object for which he should live, the glory of God and the salvation of men. We do much to give direction to the mind, and form the character of the man, by placing an object, for life, before him. Men of the world know and act on this principle. So should the Christian. The object above-named is the only one worthy of an immortal and renewed soul, and prepares the way for the noblest elevation of character: it will raise him above living to himself and constrain him to fidelity in his Lord's service. Teach him to lay at the foot of the cross, attainments, eminence, influence, honor, wealth—all things; and to live in the desire, "Father, glorify thy name."
8. Choose instructors for your children with great care. Know to whose influence you commit the son or daughter of your vows. You have a great and sacred object to accomplish. The teachers of your children must be such as will aid you in that object. Correct moral character in a teacher is not enough. This is often allied with most dangerous religious opinions. Your child should be placed under the care of a self-dedicated teacher, who will feel in relation to his charge, "I am to aid this parent in training a servant for Christ." In your choice of a school, or seminary of learning, never be governed merely by its reputation as literary, fashionable, popular; irrespective of the possibility that its atmosphere may have no vitality from decided religious influence—may even be poisoned by erroneous religious views in the instructors. Respecting sending a daughter to a Catholic convent for education said a judicious pastor to a parishioner, "If you do not wish your daughter to be burned, you must not put her into the fire." [Editors note: How much more does this apply today to the public school system with its sex education, evolutionism, and ridicule of God.] A widow was offered the education of one of her sons at a university where prevailed the influence of Unitarianism. She declined the offer, trusting in God to enable her to accomplish it in a safer situation. Her firmness and faith were rewarded with success. A young lady was placed under the care of a teacher who was not pious. When her mind was deeply interested and anxious on religious subjects; the idea, "what will my teacher think of me," and the dread of her indifference, perhaps contempt influenced her decision, and she grieved away the Spirit of God. Christian parent, your prayers, your best efforts may all be frustrated by the influence of a teacher who has no religion.
9. Be cautious of defeating your own efforts for the spiritual welfare of your children. Neglect of some essential duty, though you may perform many others, will do this. Prayer without instruction will not do; nor instruction without a right example; nor prayer in the family without earnest wrestlings in the closet; nor all these together, without watching over them, to keep them out of temptation. Be afraid of indulging them in vain amusements. A mother once went to a meeting of her female friends, and asked their supplications for her daughter, whom it appeared she had permitted, at that very time, to attend a dancing party; and justified herself in the rashness and inconsistency of the permission, by reference to her own early habits of seeking amusements. If parents will permit their children to run directly into "the snare of the devil," let them, at least, not mock God by entreating Christians to pray that He will take care of them there. If they do, let them not wonder if their children live "the servants of sin," and die the "vessels of wrath."
Guard yourself against setting them the example of fitfulness in religion: now, all fervor and bustle; then, languid, having scarce the breath of spiritual life. A considerate son or daughter will say, "My father's religion is one of fits and starts, of times and seasons. It is everything now, but it will soon be nothing, as before." If you would have your children serve Christ in uniform activity, do so yourself. Be afraid of that periodical religion, which all at once breaks out from the midst of worldliness and unfaithfulness, and in which feeling shows itself like "a deceitful brook;" or, as some author has expressed it, "like a mountain torrent, swollen by spring floods, foaming, roaring, dashing along; seeming a mighty and permanent river; but which, after a few days, sinks away, becomes a mere rivulet, or comes to nothing; leaving a channel dry, rocky, silent as death." The deepest piety is like the deep, full river; noiseless, fed by living springs; never disappointing; always flowing, fertilizing, beautifying. Be of that humble, steadfast, heartfelt, industrious, active cast of Christian character, by which your children shall see that the service of Christ is the great business of life, and be constrained to enter into it "with all their hearts."
10. Be cautious of countenancing your children in living "after the manner of this world;" in seeking its honors, entering into its ambitious strifes, its secularizing habits and fashions. The children of pious parents must not be found among the votaries of fashion; emulating their display and useless accomplishments. "How is Christ thus robbed of his own?" said a Christian parent. "I have observed many instances of parents, exemplary, faithful, and judicious, with their children, till perhaps fifteen years old; and then the desire to have them associate with distinguished people, and the dread of having them singular, would cause them to turn right about and dress them like worldly people, and even court their intimacy for them." And parents have smarted severely under the rod of divine chastisement; been mortified, yea, had their hearts broken for such sins, in their disastrous consequences to the character of their children.
11. Be cautious what views and feelings you foster in your children respecting PROPERTY. The love of property, in families called Christian, is one of the greatest hindrances to the spread of the Gospel. The systems of Christian benevolence are all embarrassed, every year, from this cause. Parents set their children the example of "making haste to be rich:" as though this were all for which God made them. They give a pittance to the cause of Christ. And sons and daughters follow in the same course; even after having professed to know the way of holy boldness, and said, "we are not our own." Facts might be mentioned by which would make any true-hearted Christian blush for the church of God. Teach your children to remember what God has said: "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine." Remind them that you and they are stewards, going to give up your account. Treat the acquirement of property as of importance only that you may do good, and honor Christ. Let not your children expect you to make them heirs to large possessions. Let them see you annually giving, "as God has prospered you," to all the great objects of Christian benevolence. They will follow your example when you have gone to your reward. To leave your children the inheritance of your own devoted spirit and benevolent habits, will be infinitely more desirable than to bequeath to them "thousands of gold and silver." Such examples we have seen.
As an aid to this, every parent should teach his family economy, as a matter of religious principle. Early gain over their consciences to the side of a benevolent, spirited economy. Teach them that "it is more blessed to give than to receive:" to write "holiness to the Lord." upon their pocket money, instead of spending it for useless or hurtful indulgences; to study simplicity and economy in dress, furniture, style of living; and to regard all useless expenditure of money as sin against God.
12. Be cautious of frustrating your efforts for the spiritual good of your children, by wrong habits in your family. Levity in conversation; dull and hasty formality in family worship; worldly conversation on the Sabbath; censorious remarks, we fear, keep whole families of children in the neglect of religion. Gaurd also against gloom, sanctimoniousness, moroseness. Some professing parents seem to have just religion enough to make them unhappy, and to have all the unloveliness in religious temperament and habits which naturally comes of having consciences irritated by their unfaithful "manner of life." There is a heavenly cheerfulness and sweetness in some Christians, which declares to their families that religion is a blessed as well as serious reality; and gives them an influence and a power to win them to the service of Christ inestimable. Cultivate this. Let "the love of God, shed abroad in your hearts by the Holy Ghost," continually prove to your children that religion is the source of the truest enjoyment, of the richest blessings.
13. If you would have your children obedient servants of Christ, you must govern, them well. Subordination is one grand law of His kingdom. Implicit obedience to your authority will well accord with the submission your child must render to Christ. How must the habit of insubordination and self-will increase the sorrows of his Christian conflict; render him often unamiable and uncomfortable in his social and domestic relations; and in the church an unmanageable member, or an unlovely minister; or, if in the missionary work, an occasion of trials, frequent and bitter, to all his associates. Said a minister, respecting a departed member of his church, for whom he hoped the best he could, "he was one of the stubbornest oaks that ever grew upon Mount Zion."
A child, well-governed, when he becomes a Christian, is ready to "serve the Lord Jesus Christ, with all humility of mind" in any work to which he is called; and will work kindly, harmoniously, and efficiently with others. He enters his Lord's field, saying, "Lo Lo, I come to do thy will, O my God." He will have that heavenly spirit, "the meekness and gentleness of Christ,'' and as he goes forward from duty to duty, will be able to say with David, "my soul is as a weaned child:" "I delight to do thy will, O my God!" And with such a spirit he will find precious satisfaction in a life of successful labor for his Lord on earth, and "in hope of the glory of God."
That, by a right government, your children may be fitted to serve Christ, study the manner in which a holy God governs. His is the government of a Father; persuasive without weakness; in love and mercy, and yet in accordance with justice; patient and forbearing, yet strict in the rebuke and punishment of offences. He loves his children, but chastens them, for their profit; employs encouragements to obedience, but in his determination to be obeyed, he is firm as his own everlasting throne. He gives his children every reason to fear offending him; still he assures that to love and serve him shall be to them the beginning of heaven on earth.
We have incidentally spoken of the interest of MOTHERS in this subject. Maternal duty and influence, in truth, lie at the foundation of the whole work of educating children for the service of Christ. A Christian mother may more richly bless the world, through her children, than many who have sat on thrones. Mothers! Divine Providence places your children under your peculiar care, at that period of life when first and eternal impressions will be made.
Let your influence be "sanctified by the word of God and prayer;" and consecrated to the high object of educating sons and daughters for "the work of Christ."
BRETHREN IN THE SACRED OFFICE OF THE MINISTRY: Have we done what we could, or estimated our responsibilities, relative to this subject, as we ought? Have our labors been conducted with sufficient reference to our younger hearers, and their preparations to serve ''the-Lord of the harvest?" A minister should acquaint himself with the children of his charge, and know what their parents are doing for their good, and their preparation to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. We must act steadily and efficiently on the minds of parents; preach to them; converse with them; prompt their consciences respecting their duties. We should sit down with them in the retirement of their homes, and ask them such questions as these: "What are your views of your duty to God respecting your children? What are your expectations relative to their future usefulness to the kingdom of God on earth? Are you fulfilling your duty with your eyes on the judgment-seat of Christ? What means do you employ that you may realize your expectations? Do you wish to see the glory of God, and the conversion of this lost world, aided by "the children God has graciously given you?" Such inquiries, made in the affectionate seriousness of watchmen for souls, will come home to hearts in which there is grace; will awaken to thoughtfulness, and quicken to activity. We shall assist parents to see how they and their families stand related to God, and to this revolted world. And if we would promote their personal prosperity in the divine life, there is no way in which, better than in this, we can stimulate them to their high and solemn duties.
CHRISTIAN PARENTS—Our children have too long been educated without that direct and single reference to the glory of Christ, and the good of this fallen world, which becomes us. Their dedication to the work of Christ, too has been exceedingly imperfect. For this reason, among others, the work of evangelizing the world has gone on slowly. To address you in the language of a Christian parent, whose feelings are deeply interested in this subject—"There is much said, and justly, of the duty of Christians to hold their property consecrated to Christ; and it is often remarked, that till they act upon higher principles; the world cannot be converted." It is true; but our delinquency here is not the basis of our unfaithfulness. It is to be feared that many who feel their obligations respecting their property, forget that they are answerable to Christ, to the Church, and to the heathen, for their children. Thousands of gold and silver are wanted to carry on the work of evangelizing the world; but a thousand sanctified minds will do more than millions of money. And, when the children of pious parents shall, with the spirit of true Christians, give themselves for the saving of the world, there will be no more any 'dark places, full of the habitations of cruelty.'
"Has a greater duty ever rested on men than that which binds them to educate their children for the benefit of the world? Were this our constant; prominent desire; it would give definiteness to our instructions and prayers; we should watch against every habit or influence which would hinder the accomplishment of our wishes. Our children would be taught self-government, self-denial, industry, and effort. We should not be guilty of such a miserable wavering between Christ and the world. Every parent would know for what he was training his children. Every child would know for what he was living. His conscience would feel the pressure of duty. He could not be faithless to the object set before him without violating his conscience. Would not such education be owned and blessed of the Spirit of God, and our children be converted early? Then their powers would all be given to God."'
Christian parents, "whatsoever our hand findeth to do, let us do it with our might." The pupilage of our children is passing away on the swift wings of time. Let us enter into the spirit of the first propagators of Christianity, and take our children along with us in the labors of love. Let our aim be at higher attainments in piety. "The feeble" should become "as David; and David as the Son of God." It must cease to be, that a few men and women only, in a century, shall appear, with the spirit of Taylor, Brainerd, Martyn, and of Livingston. There ought to be Christians of their standard in every church. Yea, why should not every church be composed of such; so that the places of their abode should become "too strait for them;" and they, with "the love of Christ constraining them," go forth, in the untiring spirit of Christian enterprise, over the whole face of the earth. With such pillars and "polished stones," the temple of the Lord would indeed be beautiful. Blessed with such supporters of the cause of Christ at home, the Church will be strong for her Lord's work. Blessed with such messengers of salvation to the heathen, the work of evangelizing the nations will go rapidly on. As they go forth and proclaim the Savior's love, there will break forth from all "the dark places" the cry, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" (Isa 52:7).