By J.C. Ryle
XVI. Train them remembering continually the promises of Scripture.
I name this also shortly, in order to guard you against discouragement.
You have a plain promise on your side, "Train up your child in the way he should go, and when he is old he shall not depart from it" (Prov. xxii. 6). Think what it is to have a promise like this. Promises were the only lamp of hope which cheered the hearts of the patriarchs before the Bible was written. Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph,--all lived on a few promises, and prospered in their souls. Promises are the cordials which in every age have supported and strengthened the believer. He that has got a plain text upon his side need never be cast down. Fathers and mothers, when your hearts are failing, and ready to halt, look at the word of this text, and take comfort.
Think who it is that promises. It is not the word of a man, who may lie or repent; it is the word of the King of kings, who never changes. Has He said a thing, and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken, and shall He not make it good? Neither is anything too hard for Him to perform. The things that are impossible with men are possible with God. Reader, if we get not the benefit of the promise we are dwelling upon, the fault is not in Him, but in ourselves.
Think, too, what the promise contains, before you refuse to take comfort from it. It speaks of a certain time when good training shall especially bear fruit,--"when a child is old." Surely there is comfort in this. You may not see with your own eyes the result of careful training, but you know not what blessed fruits may not spring from it, long after you are dead and gone. It is not God's way to give everything at once. "Afterwards' is the time when He often chooses to work, both in the things of nature and in the things of grace. "Afterward" is the season when affliction bears the peaceable fruit of righteousness (Heb. xii. 1 1). "Afterward" was the time when the son who refused to work in his father's vineyard repented and went (Matt. xxi. 29). And "afterward" is the time to which parents must look forward if they see not success at once,--you must sow in hope and plant in hope.
Cast your bread upon the waters," says the Spirit, "for you shall find it after many days" (Eccles. xi. 1). Many children, I doubt not, shall rise up in the day of judgment, and bless their parents for good training, who never gave any signs of having profited by it during their parents' lives. Go forward then in faith, and be sure that your labor shall not be altogether thrown away. Three times did Elijah stretch himself upon the widow's child before it revived. Take example from him, and persevere.