Divine strength imparted The apostle has presented before us the importance of making continual advancement in the Christian life. There is no excuse for our lack of spiritual understanding. The successive steps in the path of progress are stated in the exhortation of the text, and we must take these steps if we fulfill the requirement of God, and become fitted for the heavenly courts. The work of progress is not left wholly dependent on our weak human efforts; but as we endeavor to walk in the footsteps of the Redeemer, divine strength will be imparted, that the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us. Help has been laid upon One who is mighty to save, and as we strive to add these virtues, He will multiply grace, according to our need, from His own divine sufficiency.
Faith, the first round. Round two: Virtue Faith is the first round in the ladder of advancement. Without faith it is impossible to please God. But many stop on this round, and never ascend higher. They seem to think that when they have professed Christ, when their names are on the church record, their work is completed. Faith is essential; but the inspired word says, “Add to your faith virtue.” Those who are seeking for eternal life, and a home in the kingdom of God, must lay for their character building the foundation of virtue. Jesus must be the chief cornerstone. The things that defile the soul must be banished from the mind and life. When temptations are presented, they must be resisted in the strength of Christ. The virtue of the spotless Lamb of God must be woven into the character till the soul can stand in its integrity. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Example of Joseph The young Christian will have severe tests and temptations. Satan will not permit you to leave his banner of darkness to march under the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel, without making an effort to retain you in his service. He will present every attraction to cause you to leave the narrow road that leads to eternal life; but you must stand like a faithful soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ. Joseph is an example of how the youth may stand unspotted, amid the evil of the world, and add to their faith, virtue. Though a captive in a strange land, far from the restraints of home, he kept the fear of God before him, and when he was sorely tempted to indulge in evil, he exclaimed, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” The grace of God enabled him to resist the tempter. He was cast into prison, because of his steadfastness of purpose to keep the commandments of God. But prison walls could not shut out the light of Heaven's favor, nor hinder his advancement in the divine life; for “the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy.” And the Lord will be with every soul who adds the precious grace of virtue, and who fears to transgress the law of Heaven.
Round three: Knowledge—Benefits from associating with Christ Every moment of our lives is intensely real, and charged with solemn responsibilities. Ignorance will be no excuse for lack of spiritual understanding and attainment; for we are exhorted to add to virtue, knowledge. Many are very ignorant of Bible truth, and they do not realize the duty and necessity of becoming intelligent Christians. The disciples learned of Jesus, and men perceived the benefits of His association and service, as they saw the change in these men. The uncultured fishermen became men of refinement and ability; and the lessons that they were privileged to learn are written for our admonition and instruction. We are invited to become learners in the school of Christ. We need to acquire all the knowledge possible. We cannot afford to be ignorant of the things that pertain to our eternal welfare. If all would cease gossip and evil communication, devoting the time to contemplation of Christ and the plan of salvation, they would add the knowledge essential to a growth in grace. We are to add knowledge from “whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report.” God wants us to understand why He has placed us in the world, and given us the sacred burden of life to bear. He would have us develop the faculties of mind and body, that we may be a blessing to those around us, and that His glory may be reflected from us to the world. It is not His will that our powers should be bound up in torpid stupidity and ignorance. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
Round four: Temperance “And to knowledge temperance.” This is the ... [fourth] step in the path toward perfection of character. On every side there is indulgence and dissipation, and the result is degeneration and corruption. The inhabitants of our earth are depreciating in mental, moral, and physical power, because of the intemperate habits of society. Appetite, passion, and love of display are carrying the multitudes into the greatest excesses and extravagance. Temptations present themselves on every hand, not only in places of vice but also in the homes of our land. Our tables are spread with little regard for health or morality, and the cravings of perverted appetite are indulged, to the detriment of physical and mental strength. The people of God must take an opposite course from the world. They must take up the warfare against these sinful practices, deny appetite, and keep the lower nature in subjection. Said the great apostle, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
Importance of healthful diet God has given us the fruits and grains of the earth for food, that we might have unfevered blood, calm nerves, and clear minds. The stimulating diet and drink of this day are not conducive to the best state of health. Tea, coffee, and tobacco are all stimulating, and contain poisons. They are not only unnecessary, but harmful, and should be discarded if we would add to knowledge, temperance. We should live by “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” It is for us to “search the scriptures,” and bring our habits into harmony with the instruction of the Bible. We are admonished, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
Round five: Patience “And to temperance patience.” The need of becoming temperate is made manifest as we try to take this step. It is next to an impossibility for an intemperate person to be patient. We should make decided efforts to be on the right side in every matter. We are on a battleground, and Satan is striving for our souls. No impatient man or woman will ever enter into the courts of heaven. We must not allow the natural feelings to control our judgment. Many are quickly irritated, and their words are sharp and bitter. They wound the hearts of those about them, and make it apparent that the Spirit of Christ is not abiding in their souls. The grace of Christ will bring the peace of God into your homes; but many who profess the truth do not seem to realize that it is an essential part of religion to become meek and lowly, tenderhearted and forbearing.
Round six: Godliness Beauty of religion in the home “And to patience godliness.” Godliness is the fruit of Christian character. If we abide in the Vine, we shall bear the fruits of the Spirit. The life of the Vine will manifest itself through the branches. We must have a close and intimate connection with heaven, if we bear the grace of godliness. Jesus must be a guest in our homes, a member of our households, if we reflect His image and show that we are sons and daughters of the Most High. Religion is a beautiful thing in the home. If the Lord abides with us, we shall feel that we are members of Christ's family in heaven. We shall realize that angels are watching us, and our manners will be gentle and forbearing. We shall be fitting up for an entrance into the courts of heaven, by cultivating courtesy and godliness. Our conversation will be holy, and our thoughts will be
Round seven: Brotherly kindness—the example of Enoch Earthly home fits for heaven Enoch walked with God. He honored God in every affair of life. In his home and in his business, he inquired, “Will this be acceptable to the Lord?” And by remembering God, and following His counsel, he was transformed in character, and became a godly man, whose ways pleased the Lord. We are exhorted to add to godliness, brotherly kindness. O how much we need to take this step, to add this quality to our characters! In many of our homes there is a hard, combative spirit manifested. Critical words and unkind actions are offensive to God. Dictatorial commands and haughty, overbearing manners are not acceptable to Heaven. The reason there are so many differences existing between brethren is that they have failed to add brotherly kindness. We should have that love for others that Christ has had for us. A man is estimated at his true value by the Lord of heaven. If he is unkind in his earthly home, he is unfit for the heavenly home. If he will have his own way, no matter whom it grieves, he would not be content in heaven, unless he could rule there.
Round eight: Love The love of Christ must control our hearts, and the peace of God will abide in our homes. Seek God with a broken and contrite spirit, and you will be melted with compassion toward your brethren. You will be prepared to add to brotherly kindness, charity, or love. Without charity we will become “as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” Our highest professions are hollow and insincere; but “love is the fulfilling of the law.” We shall be found wanting, if we do not add charity that suffereth long and is kind, that vaunteth not itself, that seeketh not her own.
Add virtue “Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue.” Let not those who profess to have faith in Christ fail of having virtue. They are under obligation to place themselves where they will reveal to others the virtue of His character.
Self-denial a virtue The enemy does everything in his power to gain control of the minds of men and women. He leads them to cultivate a perverted appetite, so that rather than to deprive themselves of injurious things, they go on in indulgence after indulgence. Self-denial is a virtue.
Brain nerve-power to resist temptation We hope that at this meeting those who understand the principles of health reform will exert a strong influence on the side of temperance. Let Christ's followers abstain not only from alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee, but also from every other harmful thing that beclouds the brain. The enemy has arranged matters so as to ensnare the greatest number. He leads men and women to use stimulating food and food that beclouds the nerve-power of the brain, so that they are unable to distinguish between right and wrong, between good and evil. Parents, teach the members of your household that indulgence of appetite is the work of the enemy. Teach them to guard against his deceptions. Such instruction should be given by everyone who takes the responsibility of bringing children into the world; and especially at this stage of the world's history fathers and mothers should realize that their children are the property of God, and that He holds them accountable to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We are to practice temperance on every point; for we need all the brain nerve-power that it is possible for us to have in order that we may be able to resist Satan's temptations. We are not to pamper appetite, diseasing our digestive organs by indulgence. God desires us to be true to the principles of health reform. Let us remember that we have a heaven to win and a hell to shun.
Challenge to parents Fathers and mothers, wherever you are, whether in your home or elsewhere, it is never right for you to speak one disrespectful word to each other. If you are harassed say, firmly, “This is from Satan. He wants me to perpetuate his words, his spirit, but I will not do it.” Determine to speak in love; to cultivate patience, kindness, long-suffering, courtesy, and delicacy in dealing with one another. Why?—Because you are a Christian; because you are preparing for the society of the heavenly angels; for a home in the kingdom of glory, where no harsh, unkind, impatient words are ever spoken. Remember that it is Satan who leads men and women to speak unkindly to one another.
One talent If you have received only one talent, instead of burying it, say, “I have but one talent, and I must make the most of it. I will be faithful in the little things, because the Word declares, ‘He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.’ I must use to the very best advantage that which is given me. I must not waste one jot or tittle of my powers in the gratification of appetite or pride of appearance. In my family I must be a faithful teacher, training my children for the future, immortal life. I must teach them to be honest and truthful, kind and patient. I myself must be all that I desire my children to be; for in speaking of His disciples, Christ said, ‘For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified.’” If you have buried in the earth the one talent that God entrusted to you, I beseech you to improve it before He inquires, What have you done with the talent that I gave you?
The talent of means Often the talent of means is buried. Money lying unused in banks is regarded by the Lord as a buried talent. God wants His followers to use the talent of means in His service. We should do our part to carry forward the different lines of work in all parts of the earth. A great work is to be done in the cities. Camp meetings are to be held in many places. Those who have the talent of means may multiply it by using it to the work of giving to the world the message of truth for this time. When through the instrumentality of our one talent someone is brought into the truth, that one talent is doubled. And when this person brings others into the truth, there is still further increase of talents. To him who uses aright his one talent, the Master will say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” The well-doer is not rewarded in proportion to the number of his entrusted talents, but in proportion to the use made of that which he has, and the motive which prompts his action. I tell you these things in order that you may individually feel that God desires to use you in His service. There is a place for you to fill in this world. If you fill this place faithfully, the Lord of heaven will work in your behalf, and you will see of the salvation of God. This is what we are so anxious for everyone to see. In Isaiah 57:15 we read: “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” This scripture describes the man whom God approves. Christ is coming soon. He declared that when there would be wars and rumors of wars, when there would be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places, we might know that the time of His second appearing is near. “When these things begin to come to pass,” He declared, “then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
Chapter 6—Letter 43 Preview Ellen White once wrote, “A sullen submission to the will of the father will develop the character of a rebel.”—“That I May Know Him“, P. 120. In writing this, God's servant anticipated the number one problem confronting educators and parents: How to create a positive attitude on the part of children toward the church. This is the subject in the following letter. Young people are constantly urged to follow the advice given in 2 Peter 1. But many rebel. Why? Because without a positive concept of God and what he wishes to do for them, children relate to their church and to God out of fear or shear duty rather than admiration. Religion becomes oppressive, and it is eventually rejected. Clearly our duty is to introduce children to the God who stands behind the church's doctrines and standards. Second Peter helps us do this: The emphasis is on obedience and growth based upon knowing God as a frien
A solemn responsibility rests upon those who know the truth, that all their works shall correspond with their faith, and that their lives shall be refined and sanctified, and they be prepared for the work that must rapidly be done in these closing days of the message. They have no time or strength to spend in the indulgence of appetite. The words should come to us now with impelling earnestness: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19. There are many among us who are deficient in spirituality and who, unless they are wholly converted, will certainly be lost. Can you afford to run the risk? My brethren and sisters, old and young, when you have an hour of leisure open the Bible and store the mind with its precious truths. When engaged in labor, guard the mind, keep it stayed upon God, talk less and meditate more. Remember, “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36. Let your words be select; this will close a door against the adversary of souls. Let your day be entered upon with prayer; work as in God's sight. His angels are ever by your side, making a record of your words, your deportment, and the manner in which your work is done. If you turn from good counsel and choose to associate with those who you have reason to suspect are not religiously inclined, although they profess to be Christians, you will soon become like them. You place yourself in the way of temptation, on Satan's battleground, and will, unless constantly guarded, be overcome by his devices. There are persons who have for some time made a profession of religion, who are, to all intents and purposes, without God and without a sensitive conscience. They are vain and trifling; their conversation is of a low order. Courtship and marriage occupy the mind to the exclusion of higher and nobler thoughts. The associations chosen by the workers are determining their destiny for this world and for the next. Some who were once conscientious and faithful have sadly changed; they have disconnected from God, and Satan has allured them to his side. They are now irreligious and irreverent, and they have an influence upon others who are easily molded. Evil associations are deteriorating character; principle is being undermined. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20.
Chapter 18—True Love True love is not a strong, fiery, impetuous passion. On the contrary, it is calm and deep in its nature. It looks beyond mere externals and is attracted by qualities alone. It is wise and discriminating, and its devotion is real and abiding. God tests and proves us by the common occurrences of life. It is the little things which reveal the chapters of the heart. It is the little attentions, the numerous small incidents and simple courtesies of life, that make up the sum of life's happiness; and it is the neglect of kindly, encouraging, affectionate words, and the little courtesies of life, which helps compose the sum of life's wretchedness. It will be found at last that the denial of self for the good and happiness of those around us constitutes a large share of the life record in heaven. And the fact will also be revealed that the care of self, irrespective of the good and happiness of others, is not beneath the notice of our heavenly Father. Brother B, the Lord is working for you, and will bless and strengthen you in the course of right. You understand the theory of truth, and should be obtaining all the knowledge you can of God's will and work, that you may be prepared to fill a more responsible position if He, seeing you can glorify His name best in so doing, should require it of you. But you have yet an experience to gain. You are too impulsive, too easily affected by circumstances. God is willing to strengthen, stablish, settle you, if you will earnestly and humbly seek wisdom of Him who is unerring, and who has promised that you shall not seek in vain. In teaching the truth to others, you are in danger of talking too strong, in a manner not in keeping with your short experience. You take in things at a glance, and can see the bearing of subjects readily. All are not organized as you are, and cannot do this. You will not be prepared to patiently, calmly wait for those to weigh evidence who cannot see as readily as you do. You will be in danger of urging others too much to see at once as you see and feel all that zeal and necessity of action that you feel. If your expectations are not realized, you will be in danger of becoming discouraged and restless, and wishing a change. You must shun a disposition to censure, to bear down. Keep clear of everything that savors of a denunciatory spirit. It is not pleasing to God for this spirit to be found in any of His servants of long experience. It is proper for a youth, if graced with humility and the inward adorning, to manifest ardor and zeal; but when a rash zeal and a denunciatory spirit are manifested by a youth who has but a few years of experience, it is most unbecoming and positively disgusting. Nothing can destroy his influence as soon as this. Mildness, gentleness, forbearance, long-suffering, being not easily provoked, bearing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things—these are the fruit growing upon the precious tree of love, which is of heavenly growth. This tree, if nourished, will prove to be an evergreen. Its branches will not decay, its leaves will not wither. It is immortal, eternal, watered continually by the dews of heaven. Love is power. Intellectual and moral strength are involved in this principle, and cannot be separated from it. The power of wealth has a tendency to corrupt and destroy; the power of force is strong to do hurt; but the excellence and value of pure love consist in its efficiency to do good, and to do nothing else than good. Whatsoever is done out of pure love, be it ever so little or contemptible in the sight of men, is wholly fruitful; for God regards more with how much love one worketh than the amount he doeth. Love is of God. The unconverted heart cannot originate nor produce this plant of heavenly growth, which lives and flourishes only where Christ reigns. Love cannot live without action, and every act increases, strengthens, and extends it. Love will gain the victory when argument and authority are powerless. Love works not for profit nor reward; yet God has ordained that great gain shall be the certain result of every labor of love. It is diffusive in its nature and quiet in its operation, yet strong and mighty in its purpose to overcome great evils. It is melting and transforming in its influence, and will take hold of the lives of the sinful and affect their hearts when every other means has proved unsuccessful. Wherever the power of intellect, of authority, or of force is employed, and love is not manifestly present, the affections and will of those whom we seek to reach assume a defensive, repelling position, and their strength of resistance is increased. Jesus was the Prince of Peace. He came into the world to bring resistance and authority into subjection to Himself. Wisdom and strength He could command, but the means He employed with which to overcome evil were the wisdom and strength of love. Suffer nothing to divide your interest from your present work until God shall see fit to give you another piece of work in the same field. Seek not for happiness, for it is never to be found by seeking for it. Go about your duty. Let faithfulness mark all your doings, and be clothed with humility. “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Blessed results would appear as the fruit of such a course. “With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Here are strong motives which should constrain us to love one another with a pure heart, fervently. Christ is our example. He went about doing good. He lived to bless others. Love beautified and ennobled all His actions. We are not commanded to do to ourselves what we wish others to do unto us; we are to do unto others what we wish them to do to us under like circumstances. The measure we mete is always measured to us again. Pure love is simple in its operations, and is distinct from any other principle of action. The love of influence and the desire for the esteem of others may produce a well-ordered life and frequently a blameless conversation. Self-respect may lead us to avoid the appearance of evil. A selfish heart may perform generous actions, acknowledge the present truth, and express humility and affection in an outward manner, yet the motives may be deceptive and impure; the actions that flow from such a heart may be destitute of the savor of life and the fruits of true holiness, being destitute of the principles of pure love. Love should be cherished and cultivated, for its influence is divine.
Chapter 14—True Conversion a Requisite Religion Ensures Family Happiness—Family religion is a wonderful power. The conduct of the husband toward the wife and of the wife toward the husband may be such that it will make the home life a preparation for entrance to the family above.1 Hearts that are filled with the love of Christ can never get very far apart. Religion is love, and a Christian home is one where love reigns and finds expression in words and acts of thoughtful kindness and gentle courtesy.2 Religion is needed in the home. Only this can prevent the grievous wrongs which so often embitter married life. Only where Christ reigns can there be deep, true, unselfish love. Then soul will be knit with soul, and the two lives will blend in harmony. Angels of God will be guests in the home, and their holy vigils will hallow the marriage chamber. Debasing sensuality will be banished. Upward to God will the thoughts be directed; to Him will the heart's devotion ascend.3 In every family where Christ abides, a tender interest and love will be manifested for one another; not a spasmodic love expressed only in fond caresses, but a love that is deep and abiding.4
Pledging to Total Abstinence The subject of temperance should be strongly presented, and a pledge to abstain from all intoxicating liquor and from tobacco should be presented. Habits of intemperance are preventing minds from discerning the importance of the truths which make men wise unto salvation. The brain must be cleared from the befogging influence of intoxicating liquor and tobacco, and then men will realize that Christ has died for their salvation.—Letter 187, 1904.
Humility and Love By the sacrifice of Christ every provision has been made for believers to receive all things that pertain to life and godliness. God calls upon us to reach the highest standard of glory and virtue. The perfection of Christ's character makes it possible for us to gain perfection. He who desires to rise to true greatness must walk humbly before God, not with a forced humility, but with a genuine sense of his own inefficiency and of God's greatness. He is to strive earnestly to make the soul temple a place where God delights to dwell. He whose heart God touches is filled with a great love for those who have never heard the truth. Their condition impresses him with a sense of personal woe. Taking his life in his hand, he hurries away, a God-sent, God-inspired messenger, to do a work in which angels can co-operate.—Manuscript 73, 1901.
The Highest Service When men and women have formed characters which God can endorse, when their self-denial and self-sacrifice have been fully made, when they are ready for the final test, ready to be introduced into God's family, what service will stand highest in the estimation of Him who gave Himself a willing offering to save a guilty race? What enterprise will be most dear to the heart of infinite love? What work will bring the greatest satisfaction and joy to the Father and the Son? The salvation of perishing souls.—Manuscript 51, 1901.
Chapter 14—Quietness, Respect, and Reverence Repress Undue Noise and Turbulence—Let not a mother allow her mind to be occupied with too many things.... With the greatest diligence and the closest watchfulness she must care for the little ones who, if allowed, will follow every impulse springing out of the fullness of their unpracticed, ignorant hearts. In their exuberance of spirit they will give utterance to noise and turbulence in the home. This should be checked. Children will be just as happy if they are educated not to do these things. They are to be taught that when visitors come, they are to be quiet and respectful.1 Let Quietness Reign in the Home—Fathers and mothers, ... teach your children that they must be subordinate to law. Do not allow them to think that because they are children, it is their privilege to make all the noise they wish in the house. Wise rules and regulations must be made and enforced, that the beauty of the home life may not be spoiled.2 Parents do their children great wrong when they allow them to scream and cry. They should not be allowed to be careless and boisterous. If these objectionable traits of character are not checked in their early years, the children will take them with them, strengthened and developed, into religious and business life. Children will be just as happy if they are taught to be quiet in the house.3 Teach Respect for Experienced Judgment—Children should be taught to respect experienced judgment. They should be so educated that their minds will be united with the minds of their parents and teachers, and so instructed that they can see the propriety of heeding their counsel. Then when they go forth from the guiding hand, their characters will not be like the reed trembling in the wind.4 Parental Laxness Encourages Disrespect—If in their own homes children are allowed to be disrespectful, disobedient, unthankful, and peevish, their sins lie at the door of their parents.5 The mother ... is to rule her household wisely, in the dignity of her motherhood. Her influence in the home is to be paramount; her word, law. If she is a Christian, under God's control, she will command the respect of her children. Tell your children exactly what you require of them.6 When parents do not maintain their authority, when the children go to school, they have no particular respect for the teachers or principal of the school. The reverence and respect that they should have, they were never taught to have at home. Father and mother were on the same level with the children.7 Results of Unchecked Impertinence—Show respect for your children, and do not allow them to speak one disrespectful word to you.8 A Wise Youthful Attitude—Wise is that young man and highly blest who feels it to be his duty, if he has parents, to look up to them, and if he has not, who regards his guardian, or those with whom he lives, as counselors, as comforters, and in some respects as his rulers, and who allows the restraints of his home to abide upon him.9 Reverence to Be Carefully Cherished [Note: For a fuller treatment of this subject, see chapter 80, “Reverence for That Which Is Holy.”]—Reverence ... is a grace that should be carefully cherished. Every child should be taught to show true reverence for God.10 The Lord desires us to understand that we must place our children in right relation to the world, the church, and the family. Their relation to the family is the first point to be considered. Let us teach them to be polite to one another, and polite to God. “What do you mean,” you may inquire, “by saying that we should teach them to be polite to God?” I mean that they are to be taught to reverence our heavenly Father and to appreciate the great and infinite sacrifice that Christ has made in our behalf.... Parents and children are to sustain so close a relation to God that the heavenly angels can communicate with them. These messengers are shut out from many a home where iniquity and impoliteness to God abound. Let us catch from His Word the spirit of heaven and bring it into our life here below.11 How to Teach Reverence—Parents can and should interest their children in the varied knowledge found in the sacred pages. But if they would interest their sons and daughters in the Word of God, they must be interested in it themselves. They must be familiar with its teachings and, as God commanded Israel, speak of it “when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 11:19. Those who desire their children to love and reverence God must talk of His goodness, His majesty, and His power, as revealed in His Word and in the works of creation.12 Reverence Is Revealed by Obedience—Let children be shown that true reverence is revealed by obedience. God has commanded nothing that is unessential, and there is no other way of manifesting reverence so pleasing to Him as by obedience to that which He has spoken.13
Chapter 18—Neatness, Order, and Regularity Cultivate Order and Taste—The cultivation of order and taste is an important part of the education of children.... As the guardian and teacher of your children, you are in duty bound to do every little thing in the home with nicety and in order. Teach your children the invaluable lesson of keeping their clothing tidy. Keep your own clothing clean and sweet and respectable.... You are under obligation to God always to be patterns of propriety in your home.... Remember that in heaven there is no disorder, and that your home should be a heaven here below. Remember that in doing faithfully from day to day the little things to be done in the home, you are a laborer together with God, perfecting a Christian character.1 Bear in mind, parents, that you are working for the salvation of your children. If your habits are correct, if you reveal neatness and order, virtue and righteousness, sanctification of soul, body, and spirit, you respond to the words of the Redeemer, “Ye are the light of the world.”2 Train in Habits of Neatness—Every family is required to be trained in habits of neatness, cleanliness, and thoroughness. We who profess to believe the truth must make manifest to the world that the principles of truth and righteousness do not make people coarse, rough, untidy, and disorderly.... Love for God will be expressed in the family by love for our children. Genuine love will not let them drift into slackness and untidiness, because this is the easiest way; but from the pure example set before them by the parents, by the loving but inflexible firmness in cultivating industrious habits, they will educate their children after the same order.3 Teach Children to Care for Clothing—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.4 To Keep Own Room Tidy—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.5 To Have Regular Hours for Sleep—How prevalent is the habit of turning day into night, and night into day. Many youth sleep soundly in the morning, when they should be up with the early singing birds and be stirring when all nature is awake.6 Some youth are much opposed to order and discipline. They do not respect the rules of the home by rising at a regular hour. They lie in bed some hours after daylight, when everyone should be astir. They burn the midnight oil, depending upon artificial light to supply the place of the light that nature has provided at seasonable hours. In so doing they not only waste precious opportunities, but cause additional expense. But in almost every case the plea is made, “I cannot get through my work; I have something to do; I cannot retire early.” ... The precious habits of order are broken, and the moments thus idled away in the early morning set things out of course for the whole day. Our God is a God of order, and He desires that His children shall will to bring themselves into order and under His discipline. Would it not be better, therefore, to break up this habit of turning night into day, and the fresh hours of the morning into night? If the youth would form habits of regularity and order, they would improve in health, in spirits, in memory, and in disposition. It is the duty of all to observe strict rules in their habits of life. This is for your own good, dear youth, both physically and morally. When you rise in the morning, take into consideration, as far as possible, the work you must accomplish during the day. If necessary, have a small book in which to jot down the things that need to be done, and set yourself a time in which to do your work.7
Section 7—Developing Christian Qualities Chapter 25—Simplicity Educate in Natural Simplicity—The little ones should be educated in childlike simplicity. They should be trained to be content with the small, helpful duties and the pleasures and experiences natural to their years. Childhood answers to the blade in the parable, and the blade has a beauty peculiarly its own. Children should not be forced into a precocious maturity, but as long as possible should retain the freshness and grace of their early years. The more quiet and simple the life of the child—the more free from artificial excitement and the more in harmony with nature—the more favorable it is to physical and mental vigor and to spiritual strength.1 Parents should by their example encourage the formation of habits of simplicity, and draw their children away from an artificial to a natural life.2 Unaffected Children Are Most Attractive—Those children are most attractive who are natural and unaffected. It is not wise to give children special notice.... Vanity should not be encouraged by praising their looks, their words, or their actions. Nor should they be dressed in an expensive and showy manner. This encourages pride in them and awakens envy in the hearts of their companions. Teach the children that the true adorning is not outward. “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” 1 Peter 3:3, 4.3 The Secret of True Charm—Girls should be taught that the true charm of womanliness is not alone in beauty of form or feature, nor in the possession of accomplishments; but in a meek and quiet spirit, in patience, generosity, kindness, and a willingness to do and suffer for others. They should be taught to work, to study to some purpose, to live for some object, to trust in God and fear Him, and to respect their parents. Then as they advance in years, they will grow more pure-minded, self-reliant, and beloved. It will be impossible to degrade such a woman. She will escape the temptations and trials that have been the ruin of so many.4 Seeds of Vanity—In many families the seeds of vanity and selfishness are sown in the hearts of the children almost during babyhood. Their cunning little sayings and doings are commented upon and praised in their presence, and repeated with exaggerations to others. The little ones take note of this and swell with self-importance; they presume to interrupt conversations and become forward and impudent. Flattery and indulgence foster their vanity and willfulness, until the youngest not unfrequently rules the whole family, father and mother included. The disposition formed by this sort of training cannot be laid aside as the child matures to riper judgment. It grows with his growth, and what might have appeared cunning in the baby, becomes contemptible and wicked in the man or woman. They seek to rule over their associates; and if any refuse to yield to their wishes, they consider themselves aggrieved and insulted. This is because they have been indulged to their injury in youth, instead of being taught the self-denial necessary to bear the hardships and toils of life.5 Do Not Foster Love of Praise—Children need appreciation, sympathy, and encouragement; but care should be taken not to foster in them a love of praise.... The parent or teacher who keeps in view the true ideal of character and the possibilities of achievement cannot cherish or encourage self-sufficiency. He will not encourage in the youth the desire or effort to display their ability or proficiency. He who looks higher than himself will be humble, yet he will possess a dignity that is not abashed or disconcerted by outward display or human greatness.6 Encourage Simplicity in Diet and Dress—Parents have a sacred duty to perform in teaching their children to help bear the burdens of the home, to be content with plain and simple food, and neat and inexpensive dress.7 Oh, that mothers and fathers would realize their responsibility and accountability before God! What a change would take place in society! Children would not be spoiled by being praised and petted, or made vain by indulgence in dress.8 Teach Simplicity and Trust—We should teach our children lessons in simplicity and trust. We should teach them to love, and fear, and obey their Creator. In all the plans and purposes of life His glory should be held paramount; His love should be the mainspring of every action.9 Christ Our Example—Jesus, our Redeemer, walked the earth with the dignity of a king; yet He was meek and lowly of heart. He was a light and blessing in every home because He carried cheerfulness, hope, and courage with Him. Oh, that we could be satisfied with less heart-longings, less striving for things difficult to obtain wherewith to beautify our homes, while that which God values above jewels, the meek and quiet spirit, is not cherished. The grace of simplicity, meekness, and true affection would make a paradise of the humblest home. It is better to endure cheerfully every inconvenience than to part with peace and contentment.10
Christian Leadership Preface In His love and mercy, God provided through Ellen G. White a rich treasure of inspired counsel on a wide variety of subjects that are important to the remnant church in its task of carrying the three angels’ messages to the world. Among the subjects dealt with in this counsel are education, diet, home and family, evangelism, healthful living, practical Christianity, publishing, and medical work. Seventh-day Adventist school teachers and church leaders have discovered that materials for their classes almost always can be enriched by choice quotations and gems of thought gathered from the published and unpublished writings of Ellen White. Thus, in 1973 and 1974, when preparations were being made to conduct a series of Christian Leadership Seminars, the secretary of the White Estate and the director of the seminars collaborated in preparing a booklet of Ellen White counsels on Christian Leadership. The booklet was widely used and much appreciated. However, after a number of years, when the Leadership Seminars were no longer being conducted on a regular basis, the booklet was allowed to go out of print. It was assumed that it had served its purpose and would not be reissued. However, demand for it has continued. To meet the demand, we now offer this new edition. We send it forth with a prayer that its counsels may bless and strengthen the men and women whom God has placed in positions of responsibility in His church. The Board of Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate Washington, D. C., March 1, 1985. Reprinted September, 1995.
Kindness, Tenderness, Sympathy When Their Counsel is Not Followed—God sees every transaction; nothing is hid from Him. There is too much responsibility assumed by men who have not cultivated the love and compassion and sympathy and tenderness that characterized the life of Christ. In dealing with some of their brethren who have not followed their counsel or who may have questioned their course of action or who may have had dealings with them that did not please them, they manifest no love, although these souls are the purchase of the blood of Christ, and may be more precious in the sight of God because of their simplicity and their integrity in maintaining the right at any cost.—Letter 31a, 1894, p. 14 (October 27, 1894 to A. R. Henry). Pleasure in Bruising Souls—I am sorry that there are those in positions of trust who very sparingly cultivate the sympathy and tenderness of Christ. They do not even cultivate and manifest love toward their brethren and sisters who are in the faith. They do not exercise the precious tact that should bind and heal those who go astray, but instead they exhibit cruelty of spirit, that drives the wanderer still further into the dark, and makes angels weep. Some seem to find a sort of pleasure in bruising and wounding souls who are ready to die. As I look upon men who handle sacred truth, who bear sacred responsibilities, and who are failing to cultivate a spirit of love and tenderness, I feel like crying out, “Turn ye, turn ye; for why will ye die?”—Letter 43, 1895, p. 3 (June 14, 1895 to J. H. Kellogg). Kindness, Courtesy, and the Lowliness of Christ—You need the kindness, courtesy, meekness, and lowliness of Christ. You have many valuable qualifications that can be perfected for highest service if sanctified to God. You should feel the necessity of approaching your brethren with kindness and courtesy, not with harshness and severity. You do not realize the harm you do by your sharp, domineering spirit toward them. The ministers in your conference become disheartened, losing the courage they might have if you would give then respect, kindness, confidence, and love. By your manner of dealing you have separated the hearts of your brethren from you, so that your counsel has not had much influence over them for good. This is not as the Lord would have it. He is not pleased with your attitude toward your brethren.—Letter 3, 1888, p. 4 (January 10, 1888). The Power of Kindness—We may never know until the judgment the influence of a kind, considerate course of action to the inconsistent, the unreasonable, and unworthy. If after a course of provocation and injustice on their part, you treat them as you would an innocent person, you even take pains to show them special acts of kindness, then you have acted the part of a Christian, and they become surprised and ashamed and see their course of action and meanness more clearly than if you plainly stated their aggravated acts to rebuke them. If you had laid their wrong course of action before them, they would have braced themselves in stubbornness and defiance; but to be treated in tenderness and consideration, they feel more deeply their own course of action and contrast it with yours. Then you have the staff in your own hands. You occupy vantage ground, and when you show a solicitude for their souls, they know that you are no hypocrite, but that you mean every word you say. I have been shown that a few words spoken in a hasty manner, under provocation, and which seemed but a little thing—just what they deserved, often cut the cords of influence that should have bound the soul to your soul. The very idea of their being in darkness, under the temptation of Satan and blinded by his bewitching power, should make you feel deep sympathy for them—the same that you would feel for a diseased patient who suffers, but, on account of his disease, is not aware of his danger.—Letter 20, 1892 (October 17, 1892 to J. H. Kellogg). Representatives of Jesus—It would be well if those occupying positions of trust in our institutions would remember that they are to be representatives of Jesus. True goodness, holiness, love, compassion for tempted souls must be revealed in their lives. Christ gave Himself to the world, that He might save those who would believe in Him. Shall not we, partakers of this great salvation, value the souls for whom He gave His life! Let us labor with a perseverance and energy proportionate to the value Christ places upon His blood-bought heritage. Human souls have cost too much to be trifled with, or treated with harshness or indifference. A defective life is a dishonor to God. Co-workers with Christ will manifest no harshness, no self-sufficiency. These elements must be purified from the soul, and the gentleness of Christ take possession. Never be unkind to any soul, for by the grace of God that soul may become an heir of God and joint heir with Christ. Do not bruise the hearts of Christ's purchased ones, for in doing this you bruise the heart of Christ. Ever remember that we must all meet again around the great white throne, there to receive the approval or disapproval of God. A soul hurt is often a soul destroyed. Let those who have light and privileges remember that their very position of trust makes them responsible for souls. They will have to meet again those whom they have driven from Christ bruised and wounded to death. The human agent is a savor of life unto life, or he is a savor of death unto death. He either draws with Christ, or he draws away from Christ.—Manuscript 143, 1899 (October 4, 1899, “Co-Workers With Christ”). Kind to the Erring—In the advancement of his cause in the earth, he would have men appointed to deal with the erring who will be kind and considerate, and whose characters reveal the similitude of the divine,—men who will show the wisdom of Christ in dealing with matters that should be kept private, and who, when a work of correction and reproof must be done, will know how to keep silence before those whom it does not concern. Unbelievers should not be given opportunity to make God's people, be they ministers or laymen, the objects of their suspicion and unrighteous judgment.—The Review and Herald, November 14, 1907. Kindness to Youth—God holds the managers of his institutions responsible to treat the youth in the employ of these institutions with courtesy, respect, and kindness. They are to deal with them as they themselves wish to be dealt with by Christ. Their first work is to be so kind to the youth, so thoughtful of their interests, that they will feel at home in their presence.—The Review and Herald, April 28, 1903.
Loyalty Faithful Leaders Needed—Faithful and picked men are needed at the head of the work. Those who have not had an experience in bearing burdens, and who do not wish to have that experience, should not, on any account, live there. Men are wanted who will watch for souls as they that must give an account. Fathers and mothers in Israel are wanted at this important post. Let the selfish and self-caring, the stingy, covetous souls, find a location where their miserable traits of character will not be so conspicuous. The more isolated such ones are, the better for the cause of God. I appeal to the people of God, wherever they may be found: Awake to your duty. Take it to heart that we are really living amid the perils of the last days.—Testimonies for the Church 2:467, 468. Individual Judgment Not Supreme—There have ever been in the church those who are constantly inclined toward individual independence. They seem unable to realize that independence of spirit is liable to lead the human agent to have too much confidence in himself, and to trust in his own judgment rather than to respect the counsel and highly esteem the judgment of his brethren, especially of those in the offices that God has appointed for the leadership of His people. God has invested His church with special authority and power, which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising; for he who does this despises the voice of God. Those who are inclined to regard their individual judgment as supreme, are in grave peril. It is Satan's studied effort to separate such ones from those who are channels of light, through whom God has wrought to build up and extend His work in the earth. To neglect or despise those whom God has appointed to bear the responsibilities of leadership in connection with the advancement of the truth, is to reject the means that He has ordained for the help, encouragement, and strength of His people. For any worker in the Lord's cause to pass these by, and to think that his light must come through no other channel than directly from God, is to place himself in a position where he is liable to be deceived by the enemy, and overthrown.—Gospel Workers, 443, 444. Held Responsible For Those Going Astray—Those in positions of responsibility who follow their own way are held responsible for the mistakes of those who are led astray by their example.—The Review and Herald, September 14, 1905. Unfaithfulness To Be Disapproved—Those who prove untrue are to be dealt with in accordance with the wisdom that God will impart. Never are God's servants to look upon disaffection, scheming, and deception as virtues; those in responsibility are to manifest their decided disapproval of all unfaithfulness in business and spiritual matters. And they are to choose as counselors in every line of work, only those men in whom they can repose the utmost confidence.—The Review and Herald, September 14, 1905. Paul's Loyalty Established Faith of Churches—Throughout his ministry, Paul had looked to God for direct guidance. At the same time, he had been very careful to labor in harmony with the decisions of the general council at Jerusalem, and as a result the churches were “established in the faith, and increased in number daily.” Acts 16:5. And now, notwithstanding the lack of sympathy shown him by some, he found comfort in the consciousness that he had done his duty in encouraging in his converts a spirit of loyalty, generosity, and brotherly love, as revealed on this occasion in the liberal contributions which he was enabled to place before the Jewish elders.—The Acts of the Apostles, 402.
Teamwork To Every Man His Special Line of Service—In 1903, I wrote to the President of a Conference: “By means of one agency, Christ Jesus, God has mysteriously linked all men together. To every man He has assigned some special line of service; and we should be quick to comprehend that we are to guard against leaving the work given us in order that we may interfere with other human agencies who are doing a work not precisely the same as our own. To no man has been assigned the work of interfering with the work of one of his fellow-laborers, trying to take it in hand himself; for he would so handle it that he would spoil it. To one, God gives a work different from the work that He gives another.”—Manuscript 29, 1907, pp. 9, 10 (January 1907, Individual Responsibility and Christian Unity). Respect Each Other—Each one is to stand in his lot and in his place, doing his work. Every individual among you must before God do a work for these last days that is great and sacred and grand. Every one must bear his weight of responsibility. The Lord is preparing each one to do his appointed work, and each one is to be respected and honored as a brother chosen of God, and precious in His sight. One man is not to be selected to whom all plans and methods shall be confided, while the others are left out. If this is done, errors will be made; wrong moves will be taken. Harm, rather than good will be done. No one of you needs to be afraid of the other, lest the other shall have the highest place. Without partiality and without hypocrisy each is to be treated. The same line of work is not to be given to each worker; and for this reason you need to counsel together in that freedom and confidence that should exist among the Lord's workmen. All need to have less confidence in self, and far greater confidence in the One who is mighty in counsel who knoweth the end from the beginning. When you respect each other, you will respect Jesus Christ. You are to show no preferences; for the Lord does not show preferences to his chosen ones. He says, “I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” This is the confidence that the Lord would have you cherish in each other. Unless you do this more than you have done in your past experience, you will not walk and work under the dictates of the Spirit of God. God would have you united in pleasant cords of companionship. As the Lord's workmen, you are to open your plans one to another. These plans must be carefully and prayerfully considered; for the Lord will leave those who do not do this to stumble in their own supposed wisdom and superior greatness.... One person must not suppose that his wisdom is beyond making any mistake. God would have the greatest cherish that humility that will lead him to be the servant of all, if duty thus orders it. But while you are to love as brethren, and think soul to soul, heart to heart, life to life, you are individually to lean your whole weight on God. He will be your support. He is not pleased when you depend on each other for light and wisdom and direction. The Lord must be our wisdom. Individually we must know that He is our sanctification and our redemption. To Him we may look; in Him we may trust. He will be to us a present help in every time of need. Whatever our duties in the various lines of work may be, remember that God is the General over all. You must not withdraw from Him to make flesh your arm. You have been too much inclined to measure yourselves among yourselves and compare yourselves one with another, estimating the importance of your work. Will you remember that your comparisons may fall wide of the mark? It is not position or rank by which the Lord estimates. He looks to see how much of the Spirit of the Master you cherish and how much of the likeness of Christ your work reveals.—Letter 49, 1897 (September 1897, To Brn. Daniells, Colcord, Faulkhead, Palmer, Salisbury). No One Man to Control—In counseling for the advancement of the work, no one man is to be a controlling power, a voice for the whole. Proposed methods and plans are to be carefully considered, so that all the brethren may weigh their relative merits and decide which should be followed. In studying the fields to which duty seems to call us, it is well to take into account the difficulties that will be encountered in these fields.—Testimonies for the Church 7:259. Draw Closer Together in Councils—As brethren located where you must be more or less connected, you must draw closer together in your councils, in your association, in spirit, and in all your works. One man among you is not to be made the counselor for all.—Letter 49, 1897 (September 1897, Workers in our Institutions). Responsibilities Divided—God's service is not committed to one man's judgment and option, but is divided among those who are found willing to labor interestedly and self-sacrificingly. Thus all, according to the skill and ability God has given them, bear the responsibilities that He has appointed to them. The important interests of a great nation were entrusted to men whose talents fitted them to handle these responsibilities. Some were chosen to direct the business affairs; others were chosen to look after spiritual matters connected with the worship of God. All the religious service and every branch of the business was to bear the signature of heaven. “Holiness unto the Lord” was to be the motto of the laborers in every department. It was regarded as essential that everything be conducted with regularity, propriety, fidelity, and dispatch.—Manuscript 81, 1900, p. 6 (Diary, Solomon's Reign). No One Mind Equal to Conference Management—When a worker is selected for the presidency of a conference, that office of itself does not bring to him power of capability that he did not have before. A high position does not give to the character Christian virtues. The man who supposes that his individual mind is capable of planning and devising for all branches of the work, reveals a great lack of wisdom. No one human mind is capable of carrying the many and varied responsibilities of a conference embracing thousands of people and many branches of work. But a greater danger than this has been revealed to me in the feeling that has been growing among our workers that ministers and other laborers in the cause should depend upon the mind of certain leading workers to define their duties. One man's mind and judgment is not to be considered capable of controlling and molding a conference. The individual and the church have responsibilities of their own. God has given to every man some talent or talents to use and improve. In using these talents he increases his capability to serve.—Letter 340, 1907, pp. 1, 2 (October 3, 1907 Workers in Southern California). Shun Desire to Become Great Leaders-It is those who accept the warnings and cautions given them who will walk in safe paths. Let not men yield to the burning desire to become great leaders, or to the desire independently to devise and lay plans for themselves and for the work of God. It is easy for the enemy to work through some who, having themselves need of counsel at every step, undertake the guardianship of souls without having learned the lowliness of Christ. These need counsel from the One who says, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden.” Our ministers and leaders need to realize the necessity of counseling with their brethren who have been long in the work, and who have gained deep experience in the ways of the Lord. The disposition of some to shut themselves up to themselves, and to feel competent to plan and execute according to their own judgment and preferences, brings them into strait places. Such an independent way of working is not right, and should not be followed. The ministers and teachers in our conferences are to work unitedly with their brethren of experience, asking them for their counsel, and paying heed to their advice.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 501, 502.
Courage Not Boys But Men—There must be in these conferences, not children, but men who will move understandingly and bear burdens, letting their voice be heard above the voices of the unfaithful, who present objections, doubts, and criticism. Great interests are not to be managed by children. An undeveloped Christian, dwarfed in religious growth, destitute of wisdom from above, is unprepared to meet the fierce conflicts through which the church is often called to pass. “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night.” Unless the minister shall fearlessly declare the whole truth, unless he shall have an eye single to the glory of God and shall work under the direction of the great Captain of his salvation, unless he shall move to the front, irrespective of censure and uncontaminated by applause, he will be accounted an unfaithful watchman. There are some in _____ who ought to be men instead of boys.... When God raises up men to do His work, they are false to their trust if they allow their testimony to be shaped to please the minds of the unconsecrated. He will prepare men for the times. They will be humble, God-fearing men, not conservative, not policy men; but men who have moral independence and will move forward in the fear of the Lord. They will be kind, noble, courteous, yet they will not be swayed from the right path, but will proclaim the truth in righteousness whether men will hear or whether they will forbear.—Testimonies for the Church 5:262-263. Men of Action—The Lord calls for minutemen, men who will be prepared to speak words in season and out of season that will arrest the attention and convict the heart. The kingdom of God consisteth not in outward show. Light will not be received by following selfish plans, but by looking unto Jesus, following Christ's leadings, not the suppositions of men. The kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. It often happens that circumstances arise which demand prompt action. And sometimes precious opportunities have been lost because of delay. The one who should have acted promptly felt that he must first consult with some one who was far away and who was unacquainted with the true conditions. Much time has thus been lost in asking advice and counsel from men who were not in a position to give wise counsel. Let all God's workers be guided by the word of truth which points out their duty, following implicitly the directions Christ has given.—Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 497, 498. Leader Must Have Courage To Do Battle—God calls upon the individual members of the churches in these two Conferences to arouse and be converted. Brethren, your worldliness, your distrust, your murmurings, have placed you in such a position that it will be exceedingly difficult for any one to labor among you. While your president neglected his work and failed in his duty, your attitude was not such as to give him any encouragement. The one in authority should have acquitted himself as a man of God, reproving, exhorting, encouraging, as the case demanded, whether you would receive or reject his testimony. But he was easily discouraged, and left you without the help that a faithful minister of Christ should have given. He failed in not keeping up with the opening providence of God, and in not showing you your duty and educating you up to the demands of the time; but the minister's neglect should not dishearten you, and lead you to excuse yourselves for neglecting duty. There is the more need of energy and fidelity on your part.—Testimonies for the Church 5:281.
Health Stand Firmly on Health Reform—Let those who are teachers and leaders in our cause take their stand firmly on Bible ground in regard to health reform, and give a straight testimony to those who believe we are living in the last days of this earth's history. A line of distinction must be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve themselves. I have been shown that the principles that were given us in the early days of the message are as important and should be regarded just as conscientiously today as they were then. There are some who have never followed the light given on the question of diet. It is now time to take the light from under the bushel and let it shine forth in clear, bright rays.—Testimonies for the Church 9:158. Working Contrary to Health Principles—There are some professed believers who accept certain portions of the Testimonies as the message of God, while they reject those portions that condemn their favorite indulgences. Such persons are working contrary to their own welfare and the welfare of the church. It is essential that we walk in the light while we have the light. Those who claim to believe in health reform, and yet work counter to its principles in the daily life practice, are hurting their own souls and are leaving wrong impressions upon the minds of believers and unbelievers.—Testimonies for the Church 9:154.
Trusting God Trust God—Wait Patiently—Those who, standing in the forefront of the conflict, are impelled by the Holy Spirit to do a special work, will frequently feel a reaction when the pressure is removed. Despondency may shake the most heroic faith, and weaken the most steadfast will. But God understands, and He still pities and loves. He reads the motives and the purposes of the heart. To wait patiently, to trust when everything looks dark, is the lesson that the leaders in God's work need to learn. Heaven will not fail them in their day of adversity. Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness, and relies wholly on God.—Prophets and Kings, 174, 175. Experienced, God-fearing, Proved Men—Positions have been given to young, inexperienced men, which ought to have been given to men who had an experience gained in the early history of the work. Let positions of trust be given to experienced, God-fearing, proved men, men who will bear the message of reproof sent by God.—Letter 35, 1900, p. 1 (February 13, 1900, to General Conference Committee). Counsel to a General Conference President—Elder Olsen, of necessity you have many burdens to bear; but do not gather burdens, and become crushed under them. The Lord does not mean to press weights on any one to crush out his life, and forever stop his bearing any burdens. Our loving heavenly Father says to every one of His workers, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee.” Again comes the injunction, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” The Lord estimates every weight before He allows it to rest upon the heart of those who are laborers together with Him. Jesus has borne sorrows and burdens, and He knows just what they are. He has His eye upon every laborer. “The Lord telleth the number of the stars,” and yet “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. The Lord invites you to roll your burden on Him for He carries you on His heart. Then have real practical faith in Jesus, and believe He will carry every load, great or small. You must take the anxieties to Jesus, and believe He takes them, and bears them for you.... Worry is blind and cannot discern the future. But Jesus sees the end from the beginning, and He has prepared His way to bring relief. “So much to do!” Yes; but who is the chief worker? Jesus Christ your Lord. He offers to lighten the loads we carry by putting Himself under the loads. Abiding in Christ, and Christ abiding in us, we can do all things through Him, who strengtheneth us. Now, my brother, don't worry. Do not allow yourself to be kept up through unreasonable hours in committee meetings. You need rest for the brain, and you will break down unless you have rest.—Letter 41, 1892. Looking Constantly to Jesus—No man is so high in power and authority but that Satan will assail him with temptation, And the more responsible the position a man occupies, the fiercer and more determined are the assaults of the enemy. Let God's servants in every place study His word, looking constantly to Jesus, that they may be changed into His image. The inexhaustible fullness and the all-sufficiency of Christ are at our command if we walk before God in humility and contrition.—Manuscript 140, 1902 (November 6, 1902, Principles for the Guidance of Men in Positions of Responsibility). Unpublished Manuscripts released by the Ellen G. White Estate Washington, D. C., March 15, 1974.
Chapter 4—Relation of Diet to Health and Morals Only one lease of life is granted us; and the inquiry with every one should be, “How can I invest my powers so that they may yield the greatest profit? How can I do most for the glory of God and the benefit of my fellow-men?” For life is valuable only as it is used for the attainment of these ends. Our first duty toward God and our fellow-beings is that of self-development. Every faculty with which the Creator has endowed us should be cultivated to the highest degree of perfection, that we may be able to do the greatest amount of good of which we are capable. Hence that time is spent to good account which is used in the establishment and preservation of physical and mental health. We cannot afford to dwarf or cripple any function of body or mind. As surely as we do this, we must suffer the consequences. Every man has the opportunity, to a great extent, of making himself whatever he chooses to be. The blessings of this life, and also of the immortal state, are within his reach. He may build up a character of solid worth, gaining new strength at every step. He may advance daily in knowledge and wisdom, conscious of new delights as he progresses, adding virtue to virtue, grace to grace. His faculties will improve by use; the more wisdom he gains, the greater will be his capacity for acquiring. His intelligence, knowledge, and virtue will thus develop into greater strength and more perfect symmetry. On the other hand, he may allow his powers to rust out for want of use, or to be perverted through evil habits, lack of self-control or moral and religious stamina. His course then tends downward; he is disobedient to the law of God and to the laws of health. Appetite conquers him; inclination carries him away. It is easier for him to allow the powers of evil, which are always active, to drag him backward, than to struggle against them, and go forward. Dissipation, disease, and death follow. This is the history of many lives that might have been useful in the cause of God and humanity. One of the strongest temptations that man has to meet is upon the point of appetite. In the beginning the Lord made man upright. He was created with a perfectly balanced mind, the size and strength of all his organs being fully and harmoniously developed. But through the seductions of the wily foe, the prohibition of God was disregarded, and the laws of nature wrought out their full penalty. Adam and Eve were permitted to eat of all the trees in their Eden home, save one. The Lord said to the holy pair, “In the day that ye eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, ye shall surely die.” [See Genesis 3.] Eve was beguiled by the serpent, and made to believe that God would not do as he had said. She ate, and thinking she felt the sensation of a new and more exalted life, she bore the fruit to her husband. The serpent had said that she should not die, and she felt no ill effects from eating the fruit,—nothing which could be interpreted to mean death, but, instead, a pleasurable sensation, which she imagined was as the angels felt. Her experience stood arrayed against the positive command of Jehovah, yet Adam permitted himself to be seduced by it. Thus we often find it, even in the religious world. God's express commands are transgressed; and “because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do the evil.” [Ecclesiastes 8:11.] In the face of the most positive commands of God, men and women will follow their own inclinations, and then dare to pray over the matter, to prevail upon God to allow them to go contrary to his expressed will. Satan comes to the side of such persons, as he did to Eve in Eden, and impresses them. They have an exercise of mind, and this they relate as a most wonderful experience which the Lord has given them. But true experience will be in harmony with natural and divine law; false experience arrays itself against the laws of life and the precepts of Jehovah. Since the first surrender to appetite, mankind have been growing more and more self-indulgent, until health has been sacrificed on the altar of appetite. The inhabitants of the antediluvian world were intemperate in eating and drinking. They would have flesh-meats, although God had at that time given man no permission to eat animal food. They ate and drank till the indulgence of their depraved appetite knew no bounds, and they became so corrupt that God could bear with them no longer. Their cup of iniquity was full, and he cleansed the earth of its moral pollution by a flood. As men multiplied upon the earth after the flood, they again forgot God, and corrupted their ways before him. Intemperance in every form increased, until almost the whole world was given up to its sway. Entire cities have been swept from the face of the earth because of the debasing crimes and revolting iniquity that made them a blot upon the fair field of God's created works. The gratification of unnatural appetite led to the sins that caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. God ascribes the fall of Babylon to her gluttony and drunkenness. Indulgence of appetite and passion was the foundation of all their sins. Esau had a strong desire for a particular article of food, and he had so long gratified himself that he did not feel the necessity of turning from the tempting, coveted dish. He allowed his imagination to dwell upon it until the power of appetite bore down every other consideration, and controlled him. He thought he would suffer great inconvenience, and even death, if he could not have that particular dish. The more he reflected upon it, the more his desire strengthened, until his birthright lost its value and sacredness in his sight, and he bartered it away. He flattered himself that he could dispose of his birthright at will, and buy it back at pleasure; but when he sought to regain it, even at a great sacrifice, he was not able to do so. He then bitterly repented of his rashness, his folly, his madness; but it was all in vain. He had despised the blessing, and the Lord had removed it from him forever. When the God of Israel brought his people out of Egypt, he withheld flesh-meats from them in a great measure, but gave them bread from heaven, and water from the flinty rock. With this they were not satisfied. They loathed the food given them, and wished themselves back in Egypt, where they could sit by the flesh-pots. They preferred to endure slavery, and even death, rather than to be deprived of flesh. God granted their desire, giving them flesh, and leaving them to eat till their gluttony produced a plague, from which many of them died. Example after example might be cited to show the effects of yielding to appetite. It seemed a small matter to our first parents to transgress the command of God in that one act,—the eating from a tree that was so beautiful to the sight and so pleasant to the taste,—but it broke their allegiance to God, and opened the gates to a flood of guilt and woe that has deluged the world. Crime and disease have increased with every succeeding generation. Intemperance in eating and drinking, and the indulgence of the baser passions, have benumbed the nobler faculties of man. Reason, instead of being the ruler, has come to be the slave of appetite to an alarming extent. An increasing desire for rich food has been indulged, until it has become the fashion to crowd all the delicacies possible into the stomach. Especially at parties of pleasure is the appetite indulged with but little restraint. Rich dinners and late suppers are served, consisting of highly seasoned meats, with rich sauces, cakes, pies, ices, tea, coffee, etc. No wonder that, with such a diet, people have sallow complexions, and suffer untold agonies from dyspepsia. Against every transgression of the laws of life, nature will utter her protest. She bears abuse as long as she can; but finally the retribution comes, and it falls upon the mental as well as the physical powers. Nor does it end with the transgressor; the effects of his indulgence are seen in his offspring, and thus the evil is passed down from generation to generation. The youth of today are a sure index to the future of society; and as we view them, what can we hope for that future? The majority are fond of amusement and averse to work. They lack moral courage to deny self and to respond to the claims of duty. They have but little self-control, and become excited and angry on the slightest occasion. Very many in every age and station of life are without principle or conscience; and with their idle, spendthrift habits they are rushing into vice and are corrupting society, until our world is becoming a second Sodom. If the appetites and passions were under the control of reason and religion, society would present a widely different aspect. God never designed that the present woeful condition of things should exist; it has been brought about through the gross violation of nature's laws. The character is formed, to a great extent, in early years. The habits then established have more influence than any natural endowment, in making men either giants or dwarfs in intellect; for the very best talents may, through wrong habits, become warped and enfeebled. The earlier in life one contracts hurtful habits, the more firmly will they hold their victim in slavery, and the more certainly will they lower his standard of spirituality. On the other hand, if correct and virtuous habits are formed in youth, they will generally mark the course of the possessor through life. In most cases, it will be found that those who in later life reverence God and honor the right, learned that lesson before there was time for the world to stamp its images of sin upon the soul. Those of mature age are generally as insensible to new impressions as is the hardened rock; but youth is impressible. Youth is the time to acquire knowledge for daily practice through life; a right character may then be easily formed. It is the time to establish good habits, to gain and to hold the power of self-control. Youth is the sowing time, and the seed sown determines the harvest, both for this life and the life to come. Parents should make it their first object to become intelligent in regard to the proper manner of dealing with their children, that they may secure to them sound minds in sound bodies. The principles of temperance should be carried out in all the details of home life. Self-denial should be taught to children, and enforced upon them, so far as consistent, from babyhood. Teach the little ones that they should eat to live, not live to eat; that appetite must be held in abeyance to the will; and that the will must be governed by calm, intelligent reason. If parents have transmitted to their children tendencies which will make more difficult the work of educating them to be strictly temperate, and of cultivating pure and virtuous habits, what a solemn responsibility rests upon the parents to counteract that influence by every means in their power! How diligently and earnestly should they strive to do their duty by their unfortunate offspring! To parents is committed the sacred trust of guarding the physical and moral constitution of their children. Those who indulge a child's appetite, and do not teach him to control his passions, may afterward see, in the tobacco-loving, liquor-drinking slave, whose senses are benumbed, and whose lips utter falsehood and profanity, the terrible mistake they have made. It is impossible for those who give the reins to appetite to attain to Christian perfection. The moral sensibilities of your children cannot be easily aroused, unless you are careful in the selection of their food. Many a mother sets a table that is a snare to her family. Flesh-meats, butter, cheese, rich pastry, spiced foods, and condiments are freely partaken of by both old and young. These things do their work in deranging the stomach, exciting the nerves, and enfeebling the intellect. The blood-making organs cannot convert such things into good blood. The grease cooked in the food renders it difficult of digestion. The effect of cheese is deleterious. Fine-flour bread does not impart to the system the nourishment that is to be found in unbolted wheat bread. Its common use will not keep the system in the best condition. Spices at first irritate the tender coating of the stomach, but finally destroy the naturalgiants or dwarfs in intellect; for the very best talents may, through wrong habits, become warped and enfeebled. The earlier in life one contracts hurtful habits, the more firmly will they hold their victim in slavery, and the more certainly will they lower his standard of spirituality. On the other hand, if correct and virtuous habits are formed in youth, they will generally mark the course of the possessor through life. In most cases, it will be found that those who in later life reverence God and honor the right, learned that lesson before there was time for the world to stamp its images of sin upon the soul. Those of mature age are generally as insensible to new impressions as is the hardened rock; but youth is impressible. Youth is the time to acquire knowledge for daily practice through life; a right character may then be easily formed. It is the time to establish good habits, to gain and to hold the power of self-control. Youth is the sowing time, and the seed sown determines the harvest, both for this life and the life to come. Parents should make it their first object to become intelligent in regard to the proper manner of dealing with their children, that they may secure to them sound minds in sound bodies. The principles of temperance should be carried out in all the details of home life. Self-denial should be taught to children, and enforced upon them, so far as consistent, from babyhood. Teach the little ones that they should eat to live, not live to eat; that appetite must be held in abeyance to the will; and that the will must be governed by calm, intelligent reason. If parents have transmitted to their children tendencies which will make more difficult the work of educating them to be strictly temperate, and of cultivating pure and virtuous habits, what a solemn responsibility rests upon the parents to counteract that influence by every means in their power! How diligently and earnestly should they strive to do their duty by their unfortunate offspring! To parents is committed the sacred trust of guarding the physical and moral constitution of their children. Those who indulge a child's appetite, and do not teach him to control his passions, may afterward see, in the tobacco-loving, liquor-drinking slave, whose senses are benumbed, and whose lips utter falsehood and profanity, the terrible mistake they have made. It is impossible for those who give the reins to appetite to attain to Christian perfection. The moral sensibilities of your children cannot be easily aroused, unless you are careful in the selection of their food. Many a mother sets a table that is a snare to her family. Flesh-meats, butter, cheese, rich pastry, spiced foods, and condiments are freely partaken of by both old and young. These things do their work in deranging the stomach, exciting the nerves, and enfeebling the intellect. The blood-making organs cannot convert such things into good blood. The grease cooked in the food renders it difficult of digestion. The effect of cheese is deleterious. Fine-flour bread does not impart to the system the nourishment that is to be found in unbolted wheat bread. Its common use will not keep the system in the best condition. Spices at first irritate the tender coating of the stomach, but finally destroy the natural sensitiveness of this delicate membrane. The blood becomes fevered, the animal propensities are aroused, while the moral and intellectual powers are weakened, and become servants to the baser passions. The mother should study to set a simple yet nutritious diet before her family. God has furnished man with abundant means for the gratification of an unperverted appetite. He has spread before him the products of the earth,—a bountiful variety of food that is palatable to the taste and nutritious to the system. Of these our benevolent heavenly Father says we may freely eat. Fruits, grains, and vegetables, prepared in a simple way, free from spice and grease of all kinds, make, with milk or cream, the most healthful diet. They impart nourishment to the body, and give a power of endurance and a vigor of intellect that are not produced by a stimulating diet. Those who use flesh-meats freely, do not always have an unclouded brain and an active intellect, because the use of the flesh of animals tends to cause a grossness of body, and to benumb the finer sensibilities of the mind. The liability to disease is increased by flesh-eating. We do not hesitate to say that meat is not essential to the maintenance of health and strength. Those who subsist largely upon meat, cannot avoid sometimes eating flesh which is more or less diseased. In many cases the process of fitting animals for market produces an unhealthy condition. Shut away from light and pure air, inhaling the atmosphere of filthy stables, the entire body soon becomes contaminated with foul matter; and when such flesh is received into the human body, it corrupts the blood, and disease is produced. If the person already has impure blood, this unhealthful condition will be greatly aggravated. But few can be made to believe that it is the meat they have eaten which has poisoned their blood and caused their suffering. Many die of diseases wholly due to meat-eating, when the real cause is scarcely suspected by themselves or others. Some do not immediately feel its effects, but this is no evidence that it does not hurt them. It may be doing its work surely upon the system, yet for the time being the victim may realize nothing of it. Pork, although one of the most common articles of diet, is one of the most injurious. God did not prohibit the Hebrews from eating swine's flesh merely to show his authority, but because it is not a proper article of food for man. God never created the swine to be eaten under any circumstances. It is impossible for the flesh of any living creature to be healthful when filth is its natural element, and when it feeds upon every detestable thing. It is not the chief end of man to gratify his appetite. There are physical wants to be supplied; but because of this is it necessary that man shall be controlled by appetite? Will the people who are seeking to become holy, pure, refined, that they may be introduced into the society of heavenly angels, continue to take the life of God's creatures, and enjoy their flesh as a luxury? From what the Lord has shown me, this order of things will be changed, and God's peculiar people will exercise temperance in all things. There is a class who seem to think that whatever is eaten is lost, that anything tossed into the stomach to fill it, will do as well as food prepared with intelligence and care. But it is important that we relish the food we eat. If we cannot, and have to eat mechanically, we fail to receive the proper nourishment. Our bodies are constructed from what we eat; and in order to make tissues of good quality, we must have the right kind of food, and it must be prepared with such skill as will best adapt it to the wants of the system. It is a religious duty for those who cook, to learn how to prepare healthful food in a variety of ways, so that it may be both palatable and healthful. Poor cookery is wearing away the life energies of thousands. More souls are lost from this cause than many realize. It deranges the system and produces disease. In the condition thus induced, heavenly things cannot be readily discerned. Some do not feel that it is a religious duty to prepare food properly; hence they do not try to learn how. They let the bread sour before baking, and the saleratus added to remedy the cook's carelessness, makes it totally unfit for the human stomach. It requires thought and care to make good bread. But there is more religion in a good loaf of bread than many think. Food can be prepared simply and healthfully, but it requires skill to make it both palatable and nourishing. In order to learn how to cook, women should study, and then patiently reduce what they learn to practice. People are suffering because they will not take the trouble to do this. I say to such, It is time for you to rouse your dormant energies, and inform yourselves. Do not think the time wasted which is devoted to obtaining a thorough knowledge and experience in the preparation of healthful, palatable food. No matter how long an experience you have had in cooking, if you still have the responsibilities of a family, it is your duty to learn how to care for them properly. If necessary, go to some good cook, and put yourself under her instruction until you are mistress of the art. A wrong course of eating or drinking destroys health, and with it the sweetness of life. O, how many times has a good meal, as it is called, been purchased at the expense of sleep and quiet rest! Thousands, by indulging a perverted appetite, have brought on fever or some other acute disease, which has resulted in death. That was enjoyment purchased at an immense cost. Because it is wrong to eat merely to gratify a perverted taste, it does not follow that we should be indifferent in regard to our food. It is a matter of the highest importance. No one should adopt an impoverished diet. Many are debilitated from disease, and need nourishing, well-cooked food. Health reformers, above all others, should be careful to avoid extremes. The body must have sufficient nourishment. The God who gives his beloved sleep has furnished them also suitable food to sustain the physical system in a healthy condition. Many turn from light and knowledge, and sacrifice principle to taste. They eat when the system needs no food, and at irregular intervals, because they have no moral stamina to resist inclination. As the result, the abused stomach rebels, and suffering follows. Regularity in eating is very important for health of body and serenity of mind. Never should a morsel of food pass the lips between meals. Many indulge in the pernicious habit of eating just before retiring. They may have taken their regular meals, yet because they feel a sense of faintness, they think they must have a lunch. By indulging this wrong practice it becomes a habit, and they feel as though they could not sleep without food. In many cases this faintness comes because the digestive organs have been too severely taxed through the day in disposing of the great quantities of food forced upon them. These organs need a period of entire rest from labor, to recover their exhausted energies. A second meal should never be eaten until the stomach has had time to recover from the labor of digesting the preceding meal. When we lie down at night, the stomach should have its work all done, that it, as well as other portions of the body, may enjoy rest. But if more food is forced upon it, the digestive organs are put in motion again, to perform the same round of labor through the sleeping hours. The sleep of such is often disturbed with unpleasant dreams, and in the morning they awake unrefreshed. When this practice is followed, the digestive organs lose their natural vigor, and the person finds himself a miserable dyspeptic. And not only does the transgression of nature's laws affect the individual unfavorably, but others suffer more or less with him. Let any one take a course that irritates him in any way, and see how quickly he manifests impatience! He cannot, without special grace, speak or act calmly. He casts a shadow wherever he goes. How can any one say, then, “It is nobody's business what I eat or drink”? It is possible to eat immoderately, even of wholesome food. It does not follow that because one has discarded the use of hurtful articles of diet, he can eat just as much as he pleases. Overeating, no matter what the quality of the food, clogs the living machine, and thus hinders it in its work. Many make a mistake in drinking cold water with their meals. Food should not be washed down. Taken with meals, water diminishes the flow of the saliva; and the colder the water, the greater the injury to the stomach. Ice-water or ice-lemonade, taken with meals, will arrest digestion until the system has imparted sufficient warmth to the stomach to enable it to take up its work again. Masticate slowly, and allow the saliva to mingle with the food. The more liquid there is taken into the stomach with the meals, the more difficult it is for the food to digest; for the liquid must first be absorbed. Do not eat largely of salt; give up spiced pickles; keep fiery food out of the stomach; eat fruit with the meals, and the irritation that calls for so much drink will cease to exist. But if anything is needed to quench thirst, pure water is all that nature requires. Never take tea,to avoid dyspepsia, and those who realize their obligation to keep all their powers in a condition which will enable them to render the best service to God, will do well to remember this. If your time to eat is limited, do not bolt your food, but eat less, and masticate slowly. The benefit derived from food does not depend so much on the quantity eaten, as on its thorough digestion; nor the gratification of taste so much on the amount of food swallowed, as on the length of time it remains in the mouth. Those who are excited, anxious, or in a hurry, would do well not to eat until they have found rest or relief; for the vital powers, already severely taxed, cannot supply the necessary digestive fluids. When traveling, some are almost constantly nibbling, if there is anything within their reach. This is a most pernicious practice. If travelers would eat regularly of the simplest and most nutritious kinds of food, they would not experience so great weariness, nor suffer so much from sickness. In order to preserve health, temperance in all things is necessary,—temperance in labor, temperance in eating and drinking. Our heavenly Father sent the light of health reform to guard against the evils resulting from a debased appetite, that those who love purity and holiness may know how to use with discretion the good things he has provided for them, and that by exercising temperance in daily life, they may be sanctified through the truth. At general meetings and camp-meetings we should have good, wholesome, nourishing food, prepared in a simple manner. We should not turn these seasons into occasions for feasting. If we appreciate the blessings of God, if we are feeding on the bread of life, we will not be much concerned about gratifying the appetite. The great burden of our thoughts will be, How is it with my soul? There will be such a longing for spiritual food,—something which will impart spiritual strength,—that we will not complain if the diet is plain and simple. God requires the body to be rendered a living sacrifice to him, not a dead or a dying sacrifice. The offerings of the ancient Hebrews were to be without blemish, and will it be pleasing to God to accept a human offering that is filled with disease and corruption? He tells us that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost; and he requires us to take care of this temple, that it may be a fit habitation for his Spirit. The apostle Paul gives us this admonition: “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.] All should be very careful to preserve the body in the best condition of health, that they may render to God perfect service, and do their duty in the family and in society. It is as truly a sin to violate the laws of our being as it is to break the ten commandments. To do either is to break God's laws. Those who transgress the law of God in their physical organism, will be inclined to violate the law of God spoken from Sinai. Our Saviour warned his disciples that just prior to his second coming a state of things would exist very similar to that which preceded the flood. Eating and drinking would be carried to excess, and the world would be given up to pleasure. This state of things does exist at the present time. The world is largely given up to the indulgence of appetite; and the disposition to follow worldly customs will bring us into bondage to perverted habits,—habits that will make us more and more like the doomed inhabitants of Sodom. I have wondered that the inhabitants of the earth were not destroyed, like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. I see reason enough for the present state of degeneracy and mortality in the world. Blind passion controls reason, and every high consideration is, with many, sacrificed to lust. To keep the body in a healthy condition, in order that all parts of the living machinery may act harmoniously, should be a study of our life. The children of God cannot glorify him with sickly bodies or dwarfed minds. Those who indulge in any species of intemperance, either in eating or drinking, waste their physical energies and weaken moral power. The apostle Peter understood the relation between the mind and the body, and raised his voice in warning to his brethren: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” [1 Peter 2:11.] Many regard this text as a warning against licentiousness only; but it has a broader meaning. It forbids every injurious gratification of appetite or passion. Every perverted appetite becomes a warring lust. Appetite was given us for a good purpose, not to become the minister of death by being perverted, and thus degenerating into “lusts which war against the soul.” Peter's admonition is a most direct and forcible warning against the use of all stimulants and narcotics. These indulgences may well be classed among the lusts that exert a pernicious influence upon moral character. When Paul wrote, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly,” [1 Thessalonians 5:23.] he did not exhort his brethren to aim at a standard which it was impossible for them to reach; he did not pray that they might have blessings which it was not the will of God to give. He knew that all who would be fitted to meet Christ in peace, must possess a pure and holy character. The strength of the temptation to indulge appetite can be measured only by the inexpressible anguish of our Redeemer in that long fast in the wilderness. He knew that the indulgence of perverted appetite would so deaden man's perceptions that sacred things could not be discerned. Adam fell by the indulgence of appetite; Christ overcame by the denial of appetite. And our only hope of regaining Eden is through firm self-control. If the power of indulged appetite was so strong upon the race, that, in order to break its hold, the divine Son of God, in man's behalf, had to endure a fast of nearly six weeks, what a work is before the Christian! Yet, however great the struggle, he may overcome. By the help of that divine power which withstood the fiercest temptations that Satan could invent, he too may be entirely successful in his warfare with evil, and at last may wear the victor's crown in the kingdom of Go
Chapter 11—General Hygiene God designed that man should be active and useful; yet the life of many is little more than mere existence. They never brighten the path of others, never bless those around them; on the contrary, they are only a burden. On the side of right their influence is little more than a cipher. Scarcely an instance of disinterested benevolence brightens their life record. No pleasant memory survives them at their death; for there was no true goodness to leave a loving impress, even on the hearts of their friends. Such a life is a sad failure. It is the life of an unfaithful steward, who forgets that his Creator has claims upon him. Selfish interests attract his mind, and lead to forgetfulness of God, and of his purpose in the creation of man. God placed Adam and Eve in Paradise, and surrounded them with everything that was useful and lovely. He planted for them a beautiful garden, in which no herb or flower or tree was lacking that might be for use or ornament. Paradise delighted their senses, but this was not enough; they must have something to call into play the wonderful machinery of the human system. Had happiness consisted in doing nothing, man in his state of holy innocence would have been left unemployed. But he who formed man, knew what would be for his best happiness, and he no sooner created him than he gave him his appointed work. A life of useful labor is indispensable to the physical, mental, and moral well-being of man. God has given us all something to do; and in the discharge of various duties, our lives will be made useful, and we shall be blessed. “Not slothful in business,” [Romans 12:11.] is the injunction of the apostle Paul. A person might as well expect a harvest where he has not sown, as to expect to be saved while living in indolence. The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, yet “he shall become poor that dealeth with a slack hand.” [Proverbs 10:4.] Those who are diligent in business may not always be prospered; but drowsiness and idleness are sure to grieve the Spirit of God, and destroy true godliness. A stagnant pool becomes offensive; but a pure, flowing brook spreads health and gladness over the land. Riches and idleness are thought by some to be blessings indeed; but those who are always busy, and who cheerfully go about their daily tasks, are the most happy, and enjoy the best health. The healthful weariness which results from well-regulated labor secures to them the benefits of refreshing sleep. The sentence that man must toil for his daily bread, and the promise of future happiness and glory, both came from the same throne, and both are blessings. Those who are in possession of wealth and leisure, and yet have no purpose in life, have little to arouse them to either mental or physical activity. Thus many a woman loses her health, and is driven to seek some medical institution for treatment. Here attendants are hired, at great expense, to rub, stretch, and exercise the muscles which have become powerless by inaction. She hires servants, that she may live a life of idleness, and then hires other servants to exercise the muscles enfeebled by disuse. What consummate folly! How much wiser and better for women, young or old, to brave the sneers of fashion's votaries, and obey the dictates of common sense and the laws of life! By the cheerful performance of domestic duties, the idle daughters of our land might become useful and happy members of society. For many, such labor is a more effective and profitable “movement cure” than the best inventions of the physicians. Young men, as well as young women, often manifest a sad lack of earnest purpose and moral independence. To dress, to smoke, to talk nonsense, and to indulge their passion for amusement, is the ideal of happiness, even with many who profess to be Christians. It is painful to think of the time thus misspent. Hours that should be given to the study of the Scriptures or to active labor of Christ, are worse than wasted. Life was given for a true and holy purpose. It is too precious to be thus squandered. I entreat you who have taken the name of Christ, Examine your hearts, and pass sentence upon yourselves. Do you not love pleasure more than you love God or your fellow-men? There is work to be done; there are souls to save; there are battles to fight; there is a heaven to win. The mind, with all its capabilities, must be strengthened, and stored with the treasures of divine wisdom. In the strength of God you may do noble work for the Master. God designed that all should be workers. Upon those whose abilities and opportunities are the greatest, rest the heaviest responsibilities; and upon them will fall the heaviest condemnation if they are unfaithful to their trust. Even beasts of burden put to shame the do-nothing, who, endowed with reason and a knowledge of the divine will, refuses to perform his part in God's great plan. The indolence of the many, occasions the overwork of the few. A large class refuse to think or act for themselves. They have no disposition to step out of the old ruts of prejudice and error; by their perversity they block up the way of advancement, and force the standard-bearers of the right to more heroic efforts in their march forward. Earnest and devoted laborers are failing for want of a helping hand, and are sinking beneath their double burden. Their graves are way-marks along the upward path of reform. The true glory and joy of life are found only by the working man and woman. Labor brings its own reward, and sweet is the rest that is purchased by the fatigue of a well-spent day. But there is a self-imposed toil which is injurious and utterly unsatisfying. It is that which gratifies unsanctified ambition, which seeks display for notoriety. The love of possession or appearance leads thousands to carry to excess that which, in itself, is lawful—to devote all the strength of mind and body to that which should occupy but a small portion of their time. They bend every energy to the acquisition of wealth or honor, making all other objects secondary; they toil unflinchingly for years to accomplish their purpose; yet when the goal is reached, and the coveted reward secured, it turns to ashes in their grasp; it is a shadow. They have given their life to that which profiteth not. Yet all the lawful pursuits of life may be safely followed, if the spirit is kept free from selfish hopes and the contamination of deceit and envy. The business life of the Christian should be marked with the same purity that held sway in the workshop of the holy Nazarene. It is the working men and women—those who are willing to bear responsibilities with faith and hope—who find that which is great and good in life. Patient laborers, remember that those were sturdy workmen whom Christ chose from among the fishermen of Galilee and the tent-makers of Corinth, to labor with him in the work of salvation. From these humble men went forth a power that will be felt through all eternity. The angels are workers; they are ministers of God to the children of men. Those slothful servants who look forward to a heaven of inaction, have false ideas of what constitutes heaven. The Creator has prepared no place for the gratification of sinful indolence. Heaven is a place of interested activity; yet to the weary and heavy laden, to those who have fought the good fight of faith, it will be a glorious rest; for the youth and vigor of immortality will be theirs, and against sin and Satan they will no longer have to contend. To these energetic workers a state of eternal indolence would be irksome. It would be no heaven to them. The path of toil appointed to the Christian on earth may be hard and wearisome, but it is honored by the footprints of the Redeemer, and he is safe who follows in that sacred way. The idea that those who have overtaxed their mental and physical powers, or who have broken down in body or mind, must suspend activity in order to regain health, is a great error. In a few cases, entire rest for a time may be necessary; but such instances are rare. In most cases the change would be too great to be beneficial. Those who have broken down by intense mental labor, should have rest from wearing thought; yet to teach them that it is wrong, or even dangerous, for them to exercise their mental powers at all, leads them to view their condition as worse than it really is. They are nervous, and finally become a burden to themselves, as well as to those who care for them. In this state of mind, their recovery is doubtful indeed. Those who have overtaxed their physical powers should not be advised to forego labor entirely. To shut them away from all exercise would in many cases prevent their restoration to health. The will goes with the labor of the hands; and when the will-power is dormant, the imagination becomes abnormal, so that it is impossible for the sufferer to resist disease. Inactivity is the greatest curse that could come upon one in such a condition. Nature's fine and wonderful mechanism needs to be constantly exercised in order to be in a condition to accomplish the object for which it was designed. The do-nothing system is a dangerous one in any case. Physical exercise in the direction of useful labor has a happy influence upon the mind, strengthens the muscles, improves the circulation, and gives the invalid the satisfaction of knowing how much he can endure, and that he is not wholly useless in this busy world; whereas, if this is restricted, his attention is turned to himself, and he is in constant danger of exaggerating his difficulties. If invalids would engage in some well-directed physical exercise, using their strength but not abusing it, they would find it an effective agent in their recovery. When the weather will permit, those who are engaged in sedentary occupations, should, if possible, walk out in the open air every day, summer and winter. The clothing should be suitable, and the feet well protected. Walking is often more beneficial to health than all the medicine that can be prescribed. For those who can endure it, walking is preferable to riding; for it brings all the muscles into exercise. The lungs also are forced into healthy action, since it is impossible to walk in the bracing air of a winter morning without inflating them. Exercise aids the dyspeptic by giving the digestive organs a healthy tone. To engage in deep study or violent exercise immediately after eating, hinders the digestive process; for the vitality of the system, which is needed to carry on the work of digestion, is called away to other parts. But a short walk after a meal, with the head erect and the shoulders back, exercising moderately, is a great benefit. The mind is diverted from self to the beauties of nature. The less the attention is called to the stomach, the better. If you are in constant fear that your food will hurt you, it most assuredly will. Forget your troubles; think of something cheerful. More people die for want of exercise than from overwork; very many more rust out than wear out. In idleness the blood does not circulate freely, and the changes in the vital fluid, so necessary to health and life, do not take place. The little mouths in the skin, through which the body breathes, become clogged, thus making it impossible to eliminate impurities through that channel. This throws a double burden upon the other excretory organs, and disease is soon produced. Those who accustom themselves to exercising in the open air, generally have a vigorous circulation. Men and women, young or old, who desire health and who would enjoy life, should remember that they cannot have these without a good circulation. Whatever their business or inclinations, they should feel it a religious duty to make wise efforts to
Home Hygiene One of the most prolific sources of disease is the transgression of the laws of life in regard to personal habits. Order and cleanliness are laws of heaven. The directions given to Moses when the Lord was about to declare his law upon Mount Sinai, were very strict in this respect. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes.” [Exodus 19:10.] They were directed to do this lest there should be impurity about them as they should come before him. He is a God of order, and he requires order and cleanliness in his people. The children of Israel were in no case to allow any impurities to remain upon their clothing or upon themselves. Those who had any personal uncleanness were to be shut out of the camp until the evening, and then were required to cleanse themselves and their clothing before they could return. They were also commanded to carry all their refuse to a great distance from the camp. And this was a sanitary measure, as well as a religious regulation. The Lord requires no less of his people now than he did anciently. A neglect of cleanliness will induce disease. Sickness does not come without a cause. Violent epidemics of fevers have occurred in villages and cities that were considered perfectly healthful, and these have resulted in death or broken constitutions. In many instances the premises of the very ones who fell victims to these epidemics, contained the agents of destruction which sent forth deadly poison into the atmosphere, to be inhaled by the family and the neighborhood. It is astonishing to witness the prevailing ignorance relative to the effects which slackness and recklessness produce upon health. When Lord Palmerston, premier of England, was petitioned by the Scottish clergy to appoint a day of fasting and prayer to avert the cholera, he replied, “Cleanse and disinfect your streets and houses, promote cleanliness and health among the poor, and see that they are plentifully supplied with good food and raiment, and employ right sanitary measures generally, and you will have no occasion to fast and pray. Nor will the Lord hear your prayers while these, his preventives, remain unheeded.” It is not God who has brought upon us the many woes which mortals now inherit. Our own folly has led us to deprive ourselves of things that are precious, of the blessings which, if properly used, are of inestimable value in the maintenance of health. If you would have your home sweet and inviting, make it bright with air and sunshine. Remove your heavy curtains, open the windows, throw back the blinds, and enjoy the rich sunlight, even if it be at the expense of the colors of your carpets. Some houses are furnished expensively, more to gratify pride than for the comfort, convenience, or health of the family. The best rooms are kept closed and dark, lest the light might injure the rich furniture, fade the carpets, or tarnish the picture frames. When visitors are permitted to be seated in these precious rooms, they are in danger of taking cold because of the damp atmosphere pervading them. Parlor bedrooms are kept closed for the same reasons. Sleeping-rooms should be large, and so arranged as to have a free circulation of air day and night. Those who have slept in an ill-ventilated room awake feeling feverish and exhausted. This is because the vital air was excluded, and the whole system suffers in consequence. Whoever occupies beds which have not been freely exposed to the air and sunlight, does so at the risk of health, and often even of life itself. There should be a circulation of air and an abundance of light through every apartment of the house for several hours each day. If you have God's presence, and possess earnest, loving hearts, then a humble home, made bright with air and sunshine, and cheerful with the welcome of unselfish hospitality, will be to your family and the weary traveler a heaven below. Upon rising in the morning, most persons would be benefited by taking a sponge or hand bath. This will remove all impurities from the skin, and keep it moist and supple, thereby aiding the circulation. Persons in health should on no account neglect frequent bathing. Whether a person is sick or well, respiration is rendered more free and full by bathing. The mind and body are alike invigorated. The muscles become more flexible, every faculty of the intellect is made brighter. The bath is a soother of the nerves. Instead of increasing the liability of taking cold, it fortifies against cold, because it improves the circulation; the blood is brought to the surface, and a more easy and regular flow of the vital fluid is obtained. A yard beautified with scattering trees and some shrubbery, at a proper distance from the house, has a happy influence upon the family, and, if well taken care of, will prove no injury to the health. But shade trees and shrubbery close and dense around a house, make it unhealthful; for they prevent the free circulation of air, and shut out the rays of the sun. In consequence, a dampness gathers in the house, especially in wet seasons. Those who occupy the sleeping-rooms are troubled with rheumatism, neuralgia, and lung complaints. Then the great quantities of fallen leaves, if not removed immediately, decay, and poison the atmosphere. Dwellings, if possible, should be built on high ground. If a house is built where the water will settle around it, remaining for a time and slowly drying away, there is a poisonous miasma continually rising from the damp ground, which breeds sore throat, fevers, ague, or lung diseases. Many expect that God will keep them from sickness merely because they ask him to do so. But the prayers of those who do not regard the laws of life, God cannot answer, because their faith is not made perfect by works. When we do all on our part to insure health, then we may expect that good results will follow, and we can ask God in faith to bless our efforts. And he will answer our prayer, if his name can be glorified thereby. But let all understand that they have a work to do. God will not work in a miraculous manner to preserve the health of persons who are, by their careless inattention to the laws of health, taking a sure course to make themselves sick. The Lord has shown me that Sabbath-keepers as a rule labor too hard, without allowing themselves change or periods of rest. Recreation is needful to those who engage in physical labor, and is still more essential for those whose work is principally mental. It is not essential to our salvation nor for the glory of God to keep the mind laboring constantly and excessively, even upon religious themes. There are amusements, such as card-playing, dancing, theater-going, etc., which we cannot approve, because Heaven condemns them. They open the door to great evils. By their exciting tendency they produce in some minds a passion for gambling and dissipation. All such amusements should be condemned by Christians, and something perfectly harmless should be substituted in their place. There are modes of recreation which are highly beneficial to both mind and body. An enlightened, discriminating mind will find abundant means for entertainment and diversion from sources not only innocent, but instructive. Recreation in the open air, and the contemplation of the works of God in nature, will be of the highest benefit.
Self-Denial and Prayer When Christ was the most fiercely beset by temptation, he ate nothing. He committed Himself to God, and through earnest prayer and perfect submission to the will of His Father, came off conqueror. Those who profess the truth for these last days, above every other class of professed Christians, should imitate the great Exemplar in prayer.... Jesus sought earnestly for strength from His Father. This the divine Son of God considered of more value even for Himself, than to sit at the most luxurious table. He has given us evidence that prayer is essential in order to receive strength to contend with the powers of darkness, and to do the work allotted us. Our own strength is weakness, but that which God gives is mighty, and will make everyone who obtains it more than conqueror.—Testimonies for the Church 2:202, 203 (1869).
Self-Indulgence Displeasing to God “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1. God calls for a living sacrifice, not a dead or dying one. When we realize the requirements of God, we shall see that He requires us to be temperate in all things. The end of our creation is to glorify God in our bodies and spirits which are His. How can we do this when we indulge the appetite to the injury of the physical and moral powers? God requires that we present our bodies a living sacrifice. Then the duty is enjoined on us to preserve that body in the very best condition of health, that we may comply with His requirements. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31.
The Power of the Will The power of the will is not valued as it should be. Let the will be kept awake and rightly directed, and it will impart energy to the whole being, and will be a wonderful aid in the maintenance of health. It is a power also in dealing with disease. Exercised in the right direction, it would control the imagination, and be a potent means of resisting and overcoming disease of both mind and body. By the exercise of the will power in placing themselves in right relation to life, patients can do much to co-operate with the physician's efforts for their recovery. There are thousands who can recover health if they will. The Lord does not want them to be sick. He desires them to be well and happy, and they should make up their minds to be well. Often invalids can resist disease simply by refusing to yield to ailments and settle down in a state of inactivity. Rising above their aches and pains, let them engage in useful employment suited to their strength. By such employment and the free use of air and sunlight, many an emaciated invalid might recover health and strength.—The Ministry of Healing, 246 (1905).
Exercise, Air, and Sunlight [Testimonies for the Church 2:525-527 (1870).] The chief if not the only reason why many become invalids is that the blood does not circulate freely, and the changes in the vital fluid, which are necessary to life and health, do not take place. They have not given their bodies exercise nor their lungs food, which is pure, fresh air; therefore it is impossible for the blood to be vitalized, and it pursues its course sluggishly through the system. The more we exercise, the better will be the circulation of the blood. More people die for want of exercise than through overfatigue; very many more rust out than wear out. Those who accustom themselves to proper exercise in the open air, will generally have a good and vigorous circulation. We are more dependent upon the air we breathe than upon the food we eat. Men and women, young and old, who desire health, and who would enjoy active life should remember that they cannot have these without a good circulation. Whatever their business and inclinations, they should make up their minds to exercise in the open air as much as they can. They should feel it a religious duty to overcome the conditions of health which have kept them confined indoors, deprived of exercise in the open air. Some invalids become willful in the matter and refuse to be convinced of the great importance of daily outdoor exercise, whereby they may obtain a supply of pure air. For fear of taking cold they persist, from year to year, in having their own way and living in an atmosphere almost destitute of vitality. It is impossible for this class to have a healthy circulation. The entire system suffers for want of exercise and pure air. The skin becomes debilitated and more sensitive to any change in the atmosphere. Additional clothing is put on, and the heat of the room increased. The next day they require a little more heat and a little more clothing in order to feel perfectly warm; and thus they humor every changing feeling until they have but little vitality to endure any cold. Some may inquire, “What shall we do? Would you have us remain cold?” If you add clothing, let it be but little, and exercise, if possible, to regain the heat you need. If you positively cannot engage in active exercise, warm yourselves by the fire; but as soon as you are warm, lay off your extra clothing and remove from the fire. If those who can, would engage in some active employment to take the mind from themselves, they would generally forget that they were chilly, and would not receive harm. You should lower the temperature of your room as soon as you have regained your natural warmth. For invalids who have feeble lungs, nothing can be worse than an overheated atmosphere.
The Original Plan It was not God's purpose that His people should be crowded into cities, huddled together in terraces and tenements. In the beginning He placed our first parents in a garden, amidst the beautiful sights and attractive sounds of nature, and these sights and sounds He desires men to rejoice in today. The more nearly we come into harmony with God's original plan, the more favorable will be our position for the recovery and the preservation of health.—Testimonies for the Church 7:87 (1902).
Duty to the Poor [Testimonies for the Church 4:550-552 (1881).] The managers of the sanitarium should not be governed by the principles which control other institutions of this kind, in which the leaders, acting from policy, too often pay deference to the wealthy, while the poor are neglected. The latter are frequently in great need of sympathy and counsel, which they do not always receive, although for moral worth they may stand far higher in the estimation of God than the more wealthy. The apostle James has given definite counsel with regard to the manner in which we should treat the rich and the poor: “For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him?” James 2:2-5. Although Christ was rich in the heavenly courts, yet He became poor that we through His poverty might be made rich. Jesus honored the poor by sharing their humble condition. From the history of His life we are to learn how to treat the poor. Some carry the duty of beneficence to extremes, and really hurt the needy by doing too much for them. The poor do not always exert themselves as they should. While they are not to be neglected and left to suffer, they must be taught to help themselves. The cause of God should not be overlooked that the poor may receive our first attention. Christ once gave His disciples a very important lesson on this point. When Mary poured the ointment on the head of Jesus, covetous Judas made a plea in behalf of the poor, murmuring at what he considered a waste of money. But Jesus vindicated the act, saying, “Why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on Me.” “Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.” Mark 14:6, 9. By this we are taught that Christ is to be honored in the consecration of the best of our substance. Should our whole attention be directed to relieving the wants of the poor, God's cause would be neglected. Neither will suffer if His stewards do their duty, but the cause of Christ should come first. The poor should be treated with as much interest and attention as the rich. The practice of honoring the rich, and slighting and neglecting the poor, is a crime in the sight of God. Those who are surrounded with all the comforts of life, or who are petted and pampered by the world because they are rich, do not feel the need of sympathy and tender consideration as do persons whose lives have been one long struggle with poverty. The latter have but little in this life to make them happy or cheerful, and they will appreciate sympathy and love. Physicians and helpers should in no case neglect this class, for by doing so they may neglect Christ in the person of His saints.
Section 13—Holiness of Life Lights Amid Darkness The Lord has let His light shine upon us in these last days, that the gloom and darkness which have been gathering in past generations because of sinful indulgences, might in some degree be dispelled, and that the train of evils which have resulted because of intemperate eating and drinking might be lessened. The Lord in wisdom designed to bring His people into a position where they would be separate from the world in spirit and practice, that their children might not so readily be led into idolatry and become tainted with the prevailing corruptions of this age. It is God's design that believing parents and their children should stand forth as living representatives of Christ, candidates for everlasting life. All who are partakers of the divine nature will escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. It is impossible for those who indulge the appetite to attain to Christian perfection. You cannot arouse the moral sensibilities of your children while you are not careful in the selection of their food.—Testimonies for the Church 2:339, 400 (1870). This world is a training school for the higher school, this life a preparation for the life to come. Here we are to be prepared for entrance into the heavenly courts. Here we are to receive and believe and practice the truth, until we are made ready for a home with the saints in light.—Testimonies for the Church 8:200 (1904).
Chapter 2—A School for Bible Study Search the Scriptures No man, woman, or youth can attain to Christian perfection and neglect the study of the word of God. By carefully and closely searching His word we shall obey the injunction of Christ, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.” This search enables the student to observe closely the divine Model, for they testify of Christ. The Pattern must be inspected often and closely in order to imitate it. As one becomes acquainted with the history of the Redeemer, he discovers in himself defects of character; his unlikeness to Christ is so great that he sees he cannot be a follower without a very great change in his life. Still he studies, with a desire to be like his great Exemplar; he catches the looks, the spirit, of his beloved Master; by beholding he becomes changed. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” ... The word of God, spoken to the heart, has an animating power, and those who will frame any excuse for neglecting to become acquainted with it will neglect the claims of God in many respects. The character will be deformed, the words and acts a reproach to the truth. The apostle tells us, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” One of the prophets of God exclaims, “While I was musing the fire burned.” If Christians would earnestly search the Scriptures, more hearts would burn with the vivid truths therein revealed. Their hopes would brighten with the precious promises strown like pearls all through the Sacred Writings. In contemplating the history of the patriarchs, the prophets, the men who loved and feared God and walked with Him, hearts will glow with the spirit which animated these worthies. As the mind dwells upon the virtue and piety of holy men of old, the spirit which inspired them will kindle a flame of love and holy fervor in the hearts of those who would be like them in character. Neglect Not the Sabbath School Lesson The student of the Sabbath school should feel as thoroughly in earnest to become intelligent in the knowledge of the Scriptures as to excel in the study of the sciences. If either is neglected, it should be the lessons of the six days. The injunction of our Saviour should be religiously regarded by every man, woman, and child who professes His name. Teachers in the Sabbath school have a missionary field given them to teach the Scriptures, not, parrot-like, to repeat over that which they have taken no pains to understand. “They are they which testify of Me”—the Redeemer, Him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. If teachers are not imbued with the spirit of truth, and care not for the knowledge of what is revealed in the word of God, how can they present the truth in an attractive light to those under their charge? The prayer of Christ for His disciples was, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” If we are to be sanctified through a knowledge of the truth found in the word of God, we must have an intelligent knowledge of His will therein revealed. We must search the Scriptures, not merely rush through a chapter and repeat it, taking no pains to understand it, but we must dig for the jewel of truth which will enrich the mind, and fortify the soul against the wiles and temptations of the archdeceiver. Trifling Excuses for Neglect Parents plead trifling excuses for not interesting themselves in the lessons with their children, and they fail to become conversant with the Scriptures. Fathers as well as mothers excuse themselves from disciplining their own minds. They do not seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, but exalt the temporal above the spiritual and eternal. This forgetfulness of God and neglect of His word is the example they give their children, which molds their minds after the worldly standard and not after the exalted standard erected by Christ. Some fathers will while away hours in their own amusement, in conversation upon worldly things, and put God out of their thoughts and hearts. How much more profitable to be faithful disciples of Christ, engaged in searching the Scriptures that they may be thoroughly furnished to all good works, and be able to give an intelligent explanation of the word given of God to guide our footsteps to the eternal shores. Mothers are heard to deplore that they have no time to teach their children, no time to instruct them in the word of God. But these same mothers find time for outward adorning, time to ornament with tucks and ruffles and needless stitching. Needless trimming is seen upon their own dresses and their children's. The inward adorning of the mind and the culture of the soul are neglected as though inferior to the adornment of the apparel. The minds of mothers and children are starved in order to follow custom and fashion. All the Family to Unite in Bible Study Fathers and mothers, we entreat you to take up your long-neglected duties. Search the Scriptures yourselves; assist your children in the study of the Sacred Word. Make diligent work because of past neglect. Do not send the children away by themselves to study the Bible, but read it with them, teach them in a simple manner what you know, and keep in the school of Christ as diligent students yourselves. Be determined that this work shall not be neglected. Mothers, dress yourselves and your children in modest apparel, clean and neat, but without needless adornment. When you learn to do this, to dress with conscientious plainness, then you will have no excuse for being novices in the Scriptures. Follow Christ's injunction, “Search the Scriptures;” then you will advance in spiritual strength yourselves, and be able to instruct your children so that they need not come to the Sabbath school untaught. Many of the youth say, I have no time to study my lesson. But what are they doing? Some are crowding in every moment to earn a few cents more, when this time pressed into work, if given to the study of the Bible, would, if they practiced its lessons, save them more than the amount gained by overwork. It would save much that is expended in needless ornaments, and preserve vigor of mind to understand the mystery of godliness. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” But these very youth who profess to be Christians gratify the desires of the carnal heart in following their own inclinations; and God-given probationary time, granted them to become acquainted with the precious truths of the Bible, is devoted to the reading of fictitious tales. This habit, once formed, is difficult to overcome; but it can be done, it must be done by all who are candidates for the heavenly world. That mind is ruined which is allowed to be absorbed in story reading. The imagination becomes diseased, sentimentalism takes possession of the mind, and there is a vague unrest, a strange appetite for unwholesome mental food, which is constantly unbalancing the mind. Thousands are today in the insane asylum whose minds became unbalanced by novel reading, which results in air-castle building, and lovesick sentimentalism. The Bible is the book of books. It will give you life and health. It is a soother of the nerves, and imparts solidity of mind and firm principle. Digging for Deeper Gems of Truth The student of the Sabbath school should be in earnest, should dig deep and search with the greatest care for the precious gems of truth contained in the weekly lessons. The privileges and opportunities which they now have of becoming intelligent in regard to the Scriptures should not be neglected. God would have those who profess to be His followers thoroughly furnished with proof of the doctrines of His word. When and where can this be better obtained than in youth at the Sabbath school? Parents should in no case treat this matter indifferently.—The Review and Herald, November 28, 1878.
Compare Scripture With Scripture “Search the Scriptures,” was the injunction of the Master. Many have lost much because they have neglected this duty. When we search the word of God, angels are by our side, reflecting bright beams of light upon its sacred pages. The Scriptures appeal to man as having power to choose between right and wrong; they speak to him in warning, in reproof, in entreaty, in encouragement. The mind must be exercised on the solemn truths of God's word, or it will grow weak. We have the truth brought out in publications, but it is not enough to rely upon other men's thoughts. We must examine for ourselves, and learn the reasons of our faith by comparing scripture with scripture. Take the Bible, and on your knees plead with God to enlighten your mind. If we would study the Bible diligently and prayerfully every day, we should every day see some beautiful truth in a new, clear, and forcible light.—The Review and Herald, March 4, 1884.
Prayerful Study We should exert all the powers of the mind in the study of the Scriptures, and should task the understanding to comprehend, as far as mortals can, the deep things of God; yet we must not forget that the docility and submission of a child is the true spirit of the learner. Scriptural difficulties can never be mastered by the same methods that are employed in grappling with philosophical problems. We should not engage in the study of the Bible with that self-reliance with which so many enter the domains of science, but with a prayerful dependence upon God, and a sincere desire to learn His will. We must come with a humble and teachable spirit to obtain knowledge from the great I AM. Otherwise, evil angels will so blind our minds and harden our hearts that we shall not be impressed by the truth. Many a portion of Scripture which learned men pronounce a mystery, or pass over as unimportant, is full of comfort and instruction to him who has been taught in the school of Christ. One reason why many theologians have no clearer understanding of God's word is, they close their eyes to truths which they do not wish to practice. An understanding of Bible truth depends not so much on the power of intellect brought to the search as on the singleness of purpose, the earnest longing after righteousness. The Bible should never be studied without prayer. The Holy Spirit alone can cause us to feel the importance of those things easy to be understood, or prevent us from wresting truths difficult of comprehension. It is the office of heavenly angels to prepare the heart so to comprehend God's word that we shall be charmed with its beauty, admonished by its warnings, or animated and strengthened by its promises. We should make the psalmist's petition our own, “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” Temptations often appear irresistible because, through neglect of prayer and the study of the Bible, the tempted one cannot readily remember God's promises and meet Satan with the Scripture weapons. But angels are round about those who are willing to be taught in divine things; and in the time of great necessity, they will bring to their remembrance the very truths which are needed.—Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, 121, 122.
The Family Altar In every Christian home God should be honored by the morning and evening sacrifices of prayer and praise. Children should be taught to respect and reverence the hour of prayer. It is the duty of Christian parents, morning and evening, by earnest prayer and persevering faith, to make a hedge about their children. In the church at home the children are to learn to pray and to trust in God. Teach them to repeat God's law. Concerning the commandments the Israelites were instructed: “Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:7. Come in humility, with a heart full of tenderness, and with a sense of the temptations and dangers before yourselves and your children; by faith bind them to the altar, entreating for them the care of the Lord. Train the children to offer their simple words of prayer. Tell them that God delights to have them call upon Him. Will the Lord of heaven pass by such homes and leave no blessing there? Nay, verily. Ministering angels will guard the children who are thus dedicated to God. They hear the offering of praise and the prayer of faith, and they bear the petitions to Him who ministers in the sanctuary for His people and offers His merits in their behalf.
The Garden of the Heart The parable of the sower and the seed conveys a deep spiritual lesson. The seed represents the principles sown in the heart, and its growth the development of character. Make the teaching on this point practical. The children can prepare the soil and sow the seed; and as they work, the parent or teacher can explain to them the garden of the heart, with the good or bad seed sown there; and that as the garden must be prepared for the natural seed, so the heart must be prepared for the seed of truth. As the plant grows, the correspondence between the natural and the spiritual sowing can be continued. The little children may be Christians, having an experience in accordance with their years. This is all that God expects of them. They need to be educated in spiritual things; and parents should give them every advantage, that they may form characters after the similitude of the character of Christ. The mind will never cease to be active. It is open to influences, good or bad. As the human countenance is stamped by the sunbeam on the polished plate of the artist, so are thoughts and impressions stamped on the mind of the child; and whether these impressions are of the earth earthy, or moral and religious, they are well-nigh ineffaceable. When reason is awakening, the mind is most susceptible; and so the very first lessons are of great importance. These lessons have a powerful influence in the formation of character. If they are of the right stamp, and if, as the child advances in years, they are followed up with patient perseverance, the earthly and the eternal destiny will be shaped for good. This is the word of the Lord: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. Parents, give your children to the Lord, and ever keep before their minds that they belong to Him, that they are the lambs of Christ's flock, watched over by the True Shepherd. Hannah dedicated Samuel to the Lord; and it is said of him, “Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words [the Lord's words through Samuel] fall to the ground.” 1 Samuel 3:19. In the case of this prophet and judge in Israel are presented the possibilities that are placed before the child whose parents co-operate with God, doing their appointed work. Children are a heritage from the Lord, and they are to be trained for His service. This is the work that rests upon parents and teachers with solemn, sacred force, which they cannot evade or ignore. To neglect this work marks them as unfaithful servants; but there is a reward when the seed of truth is early sown in the heart and carefully tended. Christ concludes the parable: “But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” Mark 4:29. When the harvest of the earth is reaped, we shall see the result of our toil; for we shall see those for whom we have labored and prayed gathered into the heavenly garner. So shall we enter into the joy of our Lord, when “He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.” Isaiah 53:11.—Special Testimonies On Education, 67-72. ***** The mother's work often seems to her an unimportant service. It is a work that is rarely appreciated. Others know little of her many cares and burdens. Her days are occupied with a round of little duties, all calling for patient effort, for self-control, for tact, wisdom, and self-sacrificing love; yet she cannot boast of what she has done as any great achievement. She has only kept things in the home running smoothly. Often weary and perplexed, she has tried to speak kindly to the children, to keep them busy and happy, and to guide their little feet in the right path. She feels that she has accomplished nothing. But it is not so. Heavenly angels watch the careworn mother, noting the burdens she carries day by day. Her name may not have been heard in the world, but it is written in the Lamb's book of life.
Under Discipline to Christ Every teacher who has to do with the education of young students should remember that children are affected by the atmosphere that surrounds the teacher, whether it be pleasant or unpleasant. If the teacher is connected with God, if Christ abides in his heart, the spirit that is cherished by him will be felt by the children. If teachers enter the schoolroom with a provoked, irritated spirit, the atmosphere surrounding their souls will also leave its impression. The teachers who work in this part of the Lord's vineyard need to be self-possessed, to keep their temper and feelings under control, and in subjection to the Holy Spirit. They should give evidence of having, not a one-sided experience, but a well-balanced mind, a symmetrical character. Learning daily in the school of Christ, such teachers can wisely educate the children and youth. Self-cultured, self-controlled, under discipline to Christ, having a living connection with the Great Teacher, they will have an intelligent knowledge of practical religion; and keeping their own souls in the love of God, they will know how to exercise the grace of patience and Christlike forbearance. They will discern that they have a most important field in the Lord's vineyard to cultivate. They will lift the heart to God in the sincere prayer, “Lord, be Thou my pattern;” and then, beholding Christ, they will do the work of Christ. Well-balanced minds and symmetrical characters are required of teachers in every line. The work of teaching should not be given into the hands of young men and women who do not know how to deal with human minds, who have never learned to keep themselves under discipline to Jesus Christ, to bring even the thoughts into captivity to Him. They know so little about the controlling power of grace upon their own hearts and characters that they have much to unlearn, and must learn entirely new lessons in Christian experience. There are all kinds of characters to deal with in the children and youth, and their minds are impressionable. Many of the children who attend our schools have not had proper training at home. Some have been left to do as they pleased; others have been found fault with and discouraged. Very little pleasantness and cheerfulness have been shown them; few words of approval have been spoken to them. They have inherited the defective characters of their parents, and the discipline of the home has been no help in the formation of right character. To place as teachers of these children and youth, young men and women who have not developed a deep, earnest love for God and for the souls for whom Christ has died, is to make a mistake that may result in the loss of many souls. Those who easily become impatient and irritated should not be educators. Teachers should remember that they are not dealing with men and women, but with children who have everything to learn. And it is much more difficult for some to learn than for others. The dull pupil needs much more encouragement than he receives. If there are placed over these varied minds teachers who love to order and dictate and to magnify their authority, teachers who deal with partiality, having favorites to whom they show preference, while others are treated with exactitude and severity, confusion and insubordination will result. Teachers who are not blessed with a pleasant, well-balanced disposition may be placed in charge of children, but a great wrong is done to those whom they educate. A teacher may have sufficient education and knowledge in the sciences to instruct, but has it been ascertained that he has tact and wisdom to deal with human minds? If instructors have not the love of Christ abiding in their hearts, they are not fit to bear the grave responsibilities placed upon those who educate the youth. Lacking the higher education themselves, they know not how to deal with human minds. Their own insubordinate hearts are striving for control; and to subject the plastic minds and characters of the children to such discipline is to leave upon the mind scars and bruises that will never be removed. Inquire, teachers, you who are doing your work not only for time but for eternity, Does the love of Christ constrain me as I deal with the souls for whom He has given His life? Under His discipline do old traits of character, not in conformity with the will of God, pass away and qualities the opposite take their place? or am I, by my unsanctified words and my impatience, my want of that wisdom which is from above, confirming these youth in their perverse spirit? When a teacher manifests impatience or fretfulness toward a child, the fault may not be with the child one half so much as with the teacher. Teachers become tired with their work, and something the children say or do does not accord with their feelings. Will they at such times, through a failure to exercise tact and wisdom, let Satan's spirit enter and lead them to arouse in the children feelings that are disagreeable and unpleasant? The teacher who loves Jesus, and who appreciates the saving power of His grace, cannot, dare not, let Satan control his spirit. Everything will be put away that would corrupt his influence, because it opposes the will of God and endangers the souls of the precious sheep and lambs. When Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, then the truth of God will so act upon the natural temperament that its transforming power will be seen in changed characters. You will not then, by revealing an unsanctified heart and temper, turn the truth of God into a lie before any of your pupils. Nor will you, by manifesting a selfish, un-Christlike spirit, give the impression that the grace of Christ is not sufficient for you at all times and in all places. You will show that the authority of God over you is not in name only, but in reality and truth. Let every teacher who accepts the responsibility of teaching the children and youth, examine himself. Let him ask himself, Has the truth of God taken possession of my soul? Has the wisdom which comes from Jesus Christ, which is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy,” been brought into my character? Do I cherish the principle that “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace”? James 3:17, 18. Teachers, Jesus is in your school every day. His great heart of infinite love is drawn out, not only for the best-behaved children, who have the most favorable surroundings, but for the children who have by inheritance objectionable traits of character. Even parents have not understood how much they are responsible for the qualities developed in their children, and they have not had the tenderness and wisdom to deal with them, whom they have made what they are. They have failed to trace back to the cause of the discouraging developments that are a trial to them. But Jesus looks upon these children with pity and love. He understands; for He reasons from cause to effect. Sharp words and continual censure bewilder the child, but do not reform him. Keep back the pettish word; keep your own spirit under discipline to Christ. Then you will learn to pity and to sympathize with those who are brought under your influence. Do not show impatience or harshness. If these children did not need educating, they would not be in school. They are to be patiently, kindly helped up the ladder of progress, climbing step by step in obtaining knowledge. Take your stand by the side of Jesus. Possessing His attributes, you will be the possessor of keen, tender sensibilities and will make the cause of the erring your own. The religious life of a large number of teachers who profess to be Christians is such as to show that they are not Christians. They are constantly misrepresenting Christ. They have a religion that is subject to and controlled by circumstances. If everything happens to move in a way that pleases them, if there are no irritating circumstances to call out their unsubdued, un-Christlike natures, they are condescending and pleasant and very attractive. But the truth is not to be practiced only when we feel like it, but at all times and in all places. The Lord is not served by a man's hasty impulse, his fitful performances. If, when things occur in the family or in association with others, which ruffle their peace and provoke the temper, teachers would lay everything before God, asking for His grace before they engage in their daily work; if they would know for themselves that the love and power and grace of God are in their own hearts, angels of God would go with them into the schoolroom. It means much to bring children under the direct influence of the Spirit of God, to train and discipline them, to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The formation of right habits, the inculcation of a right spirit, will call for earnest efforts in the name and strength of Jesus. “Every high priest ... can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.” Hebrews 5:1, 2. This truth can in the highest sense be exemplified before the children. Let teachers bear it in mind when they are tempted to be impatient and angry with the children because of misbehavior. Let them remember that angels of God are looking? James 3:17, 18. Teachers, Jesus is in your school every day. His great heart of infinite love is drawn out, not only for the best-behaved children, who have the most favorable surroundings, but for the children who have by inheritance objectionable traits of character. Even parents have not understood how much they are responsible for the qualities developed in their children, and they have not had the tenderness and wisdom to deal with them, whom they have made what they are. They have failed to trace back to the cause of the discouraging developments that are a trial to them. But Jesus looks upon these children with pity and love. He understands; for He reasons from cause to effect. Sharp words and continual censure bewilder the child, but do not reform him. Keep back the pettish word; keep your own spirit under discipline to Christ. Then you will learn to pity and to sympathize with those who are brought under your influence. Do not show impatience or harshness. If these children did not need educating, they would not be in school. They are to be patiently, kindly helped up the ladder of progress, climbing step by step in obtaining knowledge. Take your stand by the side of Jesus. Possessing His attributes, you will be the possessor of keen, tender sensibilities and will make the cause of the erring your own. The religious life of a large number of teachers who profess to be Christians is such as to show that they are not Christians. They are constantly misrepresenting Christ. They have a religion that is subject to and controlled by circumstances. If everything happens to move in a way that pleases them, if there are no irritating circumstances to call out their unsubdued, un-Christlike natures, they are condescending and pleasant and very attractive. But the truth is not to be practiced only when we feel like it, but at all times and in all places. The Lord is not served by a man's hasty impulse, his fitful performances. If, when things occur in the family or in association with others, which ruffle their peace and provoke the temper, teachers would lay everything before God, asking for His grace before they engage in their daily work; if they would know for themselves that the love and power and grace of God are in their own hearts, angels of God would go with them into the schoolroom. It means much to bring children under the direct influence of the Spirit of God, to train and discipline them, to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The formation of right habits, the inculcation of a right spirit, will call for earnest efforts in the name and strength of Jesus. “Every high priest ... can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.” Hebrews 5:1, 2. This truth can in the highest sense be exemplified before the children. Let teachers bear it in mind when they are tempted to be impatient and angry with the children because of misbehavior. Let them remember that angels of God are looking sorrowfully upon them. If the children err and misbehave, then it is all the more essential that those who are placed over them should be able to teach them, by precept and example, how to act. In no case are teachers to lose self-control, to manifest impatience and harshness, and a want of sympathy and love. Those who are naturally fretful, easily provoked, and who have cherished the habit of criticism and evil thinking, should find some other kind of work, where their unlovely traits of character will not be reproduced in the children and youth. In the place of being fitted to instruct the children, such teachers need one to teach them the lessons of Jesus Christ. If the teacher has the love of Christ abiding in the heart as a sweet fragrance, a savor of life unto life, he may bind the children under his care to himself. Through the grace of Christ he may be an instrument in God's hands to enlighten, lift up, encourage, and help to purify the soul temple from its defilement, until the character shall be transformed by the grace of Christ, and the image of God be revealed in the soul. Said Christ, “I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified.” John 17:19. This is the work that devolves on every Christian teacher. There must be no haphazard work in this matter; for the education of the children requires very much of the grace of Christ and the subduing of self. Heaven sees in the child the undeveloped man or woman, with capabilities and powers that, if correctly guided and developed, will make him or her one with whom the divine agencies can co-operate—a laborer together with God.
Chapter 16—The Book of Books The study of the Bible will give strength to the intellect. Says the Psalmist, “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” The question has often been asked me, “Should the Bible become the important book in our schools?” It is a precious book, a wonderful book. It is a treasury containing jewels of precious value. It is a history that opens to us the past centuries. Without the Bible we should have been left to conjectures and fables in regard to the occurrences of past ages. Of all the books that have flooded the world, be they ever so valuable, the Bible is the Book of books, and is most deserving of the closest study and attention. It gives not only the history of the creation of this world, but a description of the world to come. It contains instruction concerning the wonders of the universe, and it reveals to our understanding the Author of the heavens and the earth. It unfolds a simple and complete system of theology and philosophy. Those who are close students of the word of God, and who obey its instructions, and love its plain truths, will improve in mind and manners. It is an endowment of God that should awaken in every heart the most sincere gratitude; for it is the revelation of God to man. If the truths of the Bible are woven into practical life, they will bring the mind up from its earthliness and debasement. Those who are conversant with the Scriptures, will be found to be men and women who exert an elevating influence. In searching for the heaven-revealed truths, the Spirit of God is brought into close connection with the sincere searcher of the Scriptures. An understanding of the revealed will of God, enlarges the mind, expands, elevates, and endows it with new vigor, by bringing its faculties in contact with stupendous truths. If the study of the Scriptures is made a secondary consideration, great loss is sustained. The Bible was for a time excluded from our schools, and Satan found a rich field, in which he worked with marvelous rapidity, and gathered a harvest to his liking. The understanding takes the level of the things with which it becomes familiar. If all would make the Bible their study, we should see a people further developed, capable of thinking more deeply, and showing a greater degree of intelligence, than the most earnest efforts in studying merely the sciences and histories of the world could make them. The Bible gives the true seeker an advanced mental discipline, and he comes from contemplation of divine things with his faculties enriched; self is humbled, while God and His revealed truth are exalted. It is because men are unacquainted with the precious Bible histories, that there is so much lifting up of man, and so little honor given to God. The Bible contains just that quality of food that the Christian needs in order that he may grow strong in spirit and intellect. The searching of all books of philosophy and science cannot do for the mind and morals what the Bible can do, if it is studied and practiced. Through the study of the Bible, converse is held with patriarchs and prophets. The truth is clothed in elevated language, which exerts a fascinating power over the mind; the thought is lifted up from the things of earth, and brought to contemplate the glory of the future immortal life. What wisdom of man can compare with the grandeur of the revelation of God? Finite man, who knows not God, may seek to lessen the value of the Scriptures, and may bury the truth beneath the supposed knowledge of science. Those who boast of wisdom beyond the teaching of the word of God, need to drink deeper of the fountain of knowledge, that they may learn their real ignorance. There is a boasted wisdom of men, that is foolishness in the sight of God. “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” Those who have only this wisdom, need to become fools in their own estimation. The greatest ignorance that now curses the human race is in regard to the binding claims of the law of God; and this ignorance is the result of neglecting the study of the word of God. It is Satan's determined plan to so engage and absorb the mind, that God's great guidebook shall not be the Book of books, and that the sinner may not be led from the path of transgression to the path of obedience. The Bible is not exalted to its place, and yet of what infinite importance it is to the souls of men. In searching its pages, we move through scenes majestic and eternal. We behold Jesus, the Son of God, coming to our world, and engaging in the mysterious conflict that discomfited the powers of darkness. O how wonderful, how almost incredible it is, that the infinite God would consent to the humiliation of His own dear Son! Let every student of the Scriptures contemplate this great fact, and he will not come from such a contemplation without being elevated, purified, and ennobled. The Bible is a book which discloses the principles of right and truth. It contains whatever is needful for the saving of the soul, and at the same time it is adapted to strengthen and discipline the mind. If used as a textbook in our schools, it will be found far more effective than any other book in the world, in guiding wisely in the affairs of this life, as well as in aiding the soul up the ladder of progress which reaches to heaven. God cares for us as intellectual beings, and He has given us His word as a lamp to our feet and a light to our pathway. “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” It is not the mere reading of the word that will accomplish the result that is designed by Heaven, but the truth revealed in the word of God must find an entrance into the heart, if the good intended is obtained. The best educated in the sciences are not always the most effective instruments for God's use. There are many who find themselves laid aside, and those who have had fewer advantages of obtaining knowledge of books, taking their places, because the latter have a knowledge of practical things that is essential to the uses of everyday life; while those who consider themselves learned, often cease to be learners, are self-sufficient, and above being taught, even by Jesus, who was the greatest teacher the world ever knew. Those who have grown and expanded, whose reasoning faculties have been improved by deep searching of the Scriptures, that they may know the will of God, will come into positions of usefulness; for the word of God has had an entrance into their life and character. It must do its peculiar work, even to the piercing asunder of the joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart. God's word is to become the nourishment by which the Christian must grow strong in spirit and in intellect, that he may battle for truth and righteousness. Why is it that our youth, and even those of maturer years, are so easily led into temptation and sin? It is because the word of God is not studied and meditated upon as it should be. If it were appreciated, there would be an inward rectitude, a strength of spirit, that would resist the temptations of Satan to do evil. A firm, decided will-power is not brought into the life and character because the sacred instruction of God is not made the study, and the subject of meditation. There is not the effort put forth that there should be to associate the mind with pure, holy thoughts and to divert it from what is impure and untrue. There is not the choosing of the better part, the sitting at the feet of Jesus, as did Mary, to learn the most sacred lessons of the divine Teacher, that they may be laid up in the heart, and practiced in the daily life. Meditation upon holy things will elevate and refine the mind, and will develop Christian ladies and gentlemen. God will not accept one of us who is belittling his powers in lustful, earthly debasement, by thought, or word, or action. Heaven is a pure and holy place, where none can enter unless they are refined, spiritualized, cleansed, and purified. There is a work for us to do for ourselves, and we shall be capable of doing it only by drawing strength from Jesus. We should make the Bible our study above every other book; we should love it, and obey it as the voice of God. We are to see and to understand His restrictions and requirements, “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not,” and realize the true meaning of the word of God. When God's word is made the man of our counsel, and we search the Scriptures for light, angels of heaven come near to impress the mind, and enlighten the understanding, so that it can truly be said, “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” It is no marvel that there is not more heavenly-mindedness shown among the youth who profess Christianity, when there is so little attention given to the word of God. The divine counsels are not heeded; the admonitions are not obeyed; grace and heavenly wisdom are not sought, that past sins may be avoided, and every taint of corruption be cleansed from the character. David's prayer was, “Make me to understand the way to Thy precepts: so shall I talk of Thy wondrous works.” If the minds of our youth, as well as those of more mature age, were directed aright when associated together, their conversation would be upon exalted themes. When the mind is pure, and the thoughts elevated by the truth of God, the words will be of the same character, “like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” But with the present understanding, with the present practices, with the low standard which even Christians are content to reach, the conversation is cheap and profitless. It is “of the earth, earthy,” and savors not of the truth, or of heaven, and does not come up, even to the standard of the more cultured class of worldlings. When Christ and heaven are the themes of contemplation, the conversation will give evidence of the fact. The speech will be seasoned with grace, and the speaker will show that he has been obtaining an education in the school of the divine Teacher. Says the psalmist, “I have chosen the way of truth: Thy judgments have I laid before me.” He treasured the word of God. It found an entrance to his understanding, not to be disregarded, but to be practiced in his life. Unless the sacred word is appreciated, it will not be obeyed as a sure and safe and precious textbook. Every besetting sin must be put away. Warfare must be waged against it until it is overcome. The Lord will work with your efforts. As finite, sinful man works out his own salvation with fear and trembling, it is God who works in him, to will and to do of His own good pleasure. But God will not work without the co-operation of man. He must exercise his powers to the very utmost; he must place himself as an apt, willing student in the school of Christ; and as he accepts the grace that is freely offered to him, the presence of Christ in the thought and in the heart will give him decision of purpose to lay aside every weight of sin, that the heart may be filled with all the fullness of God, and of His love. The students of our schools should consider that through the contemplation of sin, the sure result has followed, and their God-given faculties have been weakened and unfitted for moral advancement, because they have been misapplied. There are many who admit this as the truth. They have cherished pride and self-conceit, until these evil traits of character have become a ruling power, controlling their desires and inclinations. While they have had a form of godliness, and have performed many acts of self-righteousness, there has been no real heart change. They have not brought their life practices into definite and close measurement with the great standard of righteousness, the law of God. Should they critically compare their life with this standard, they could not but feel that they were deficient, sinsick, and in need of a physician. They can only understand the depth to which they have fallen, by beholding the infinite sacrifice that has been made by Jesus Christ, to lift them out of their degradation. There are but few who have an appreciation of the grievous character of sin, and who comprehend the greatness of the ruin that has resulted from the transgression of God's law. By examining the wonderful plan of redemption to restore the sinner to the moral image of God, we see that the only means for man's deliverance was wrought out by the self-sacrifice, and the unparalleled condescension and love of the Son of God. He alone had the strength to fight the battles with the great Adversary of God and man, and, as our substitute and surety, He has given power to those who lay hold of Him by faith, to become victors in His name, and through His merits.an entrance into their life and character. It must do its peculiar work, even to the piercing asunder of the joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart. God's word is to become the nourishment by which the Christian must grow strong in spirit and in intellect, that he may battle for truth and righteousness. Why is it that our youth, and even those of maturer years, are so easily led into temptation and sin? It is because the word of God is not studied and meditated upon as it should be. If it were appreciated, there would be an inward rectitude, a strength of spirit, that would resist the temptations of Satan to do evil. A firm, decided will-power is not brought into the life and character because the sacred instruction of God is not made the study, and the subject of meditation. There is not the effort put forth that there should be to associate the mind with pure, holy thoughts and to divert it from what is impure and untrue. There is not the choosing of the better part, the sitting at the feet of Jesus, as did Mary, to learn the most sacred lessons of the divine Teacher, that they may be laid up in the heart, and practiced in the daily life. Meditation upon holy things will elevate and refine the mind, and will develop Christian ladies and gentlemen. God will not accept one of us who is belittling his powers in lustful, earthly debasement, by thought, or word, or action. Heaven is a pure and holy place, where none can enter unless they are refined, spiritualized, cleansed, and purified. There is a work for us to do for ourselves, and we shall be capable of doing it only by drawing strength from Jesus. We should make the Bible our study above every other book; we should love it, and obey it as the voice of God. We are to see and to understand His restrictions and requirements, “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not,” and realize the true meaning of the word of God. When God's word is made the man of our counsel, and we search the Scriptures for light, angels of heaven come near to impress the mind, and enlighten the understanding, so that it can truly be said, “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” It is no marvel that there is not more heavenly-mindedness shown among the youth who profess Christianity, when there is so little attention given to the word of God. The divine counsels are not heeded; the admonitions are not obeyed; grace and heavenly wisdom are not sought, that past sins may be avoided, and every taint of corruption be cleansed from the character. David's prayer was, “Make me to understand the way to Thy precepts: so shall I talk of Thy wondrous works.” If the minds of our youth, as well as those of more mature age, were directed aright when associated together, their conversation would be upon exalted themes. When the mind is pure, and the thoughts elevated by the truth of God, the words will be of the same character, “like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” But with the present understanding, with the present practices, with the low standard which even Christians are content to reach, the conversation is cheap and profitless. It is “of the earth, earthy,” and savors not of the truth, or of heaven, and does not come up, even to the standard of the more cultured class of worldlings. When Christ and heaven are the themes of contemplation, the conversation will give evidence of the fact. The speech will be seasoned with grace, and the speaker will show that he has been obtaining an education in the school of the divine Teacher. Says the psalmist, “I have chosen the way of truth: Thy judgments have I laid before me.” He treasured the word of God. It found an entrance to his understanding, not to be disregarded, but to be practiced in his life. Unless the sacred word is appreciated, it will not be obeyed as a sure and safe and precious textbook. Every besetting sin must be put away. Warfare must be waged against it until it is overcome. The Lord will work with your efforts. As finite, sinful man works out his own salvation with fear and trembling, it is God who works in him, to will and to do of His own good pleasure. But God will not work without the co-operation of man. He must exercise his powers to the very utmost; he must place himself as an apt, willing student in the school of Christ; and as he accepts the grace that is freely offered to him, the presence of Christ in the thought and in the heart will give him decision of purpose to lay aside every weight of sin, that the heart may be filled with all the fullness of God, and of His love. The students of our schools should consider that through the contemplation of sin, the sure result has followed, and their God-given faculties have been weakened and unfitted for moral advancement, because they have been misapplied. There are many who admit this as the truth. They have cherished pride and self-conceit, until these evil traits of character have become a ruling power, controlling their desires and inclinations. While they have had a form of godliness, and have performed many acts of self-righteousness, there has been no real heart change. They have not brought their life practices into definite and close measurement with the great standard of righteousness, the law of God. Should they critically compare their life with this standard, they could not but feel that they were deficient, sinsick, and in need of a physician. They can only understand the depth to which they have fallen, by beholding the infinite sacrifice that has been made by Jesus Christ, to lift them out of their degradation. There are but few who have an appreciation of the grievous character of sin, and who comprehend the greatness of the ruin that has resulted from the transgression of God's law. By examining the wonderful plan of redemption to restore the sinner to the moral image of God, we see that the only means for man's deliverance was wrought out by the self-sacrifice, and the unparalleled condescension and love of the Son of God. He alone had the strength to fight the battles with the great Adversary of God and man, and, as our substitute and surety, He has given power to those who lay hold of Him by faith, to become victors in His name, and through His merits. We can see in the cross of Calvary what it has cost the Son of God to bring salvation to a fallen race. As the sacrifice in behalf of man was complete, so the restoration of man from the defilement of sin must be thorough and complete. The law of God has been given to us, that we may have rules to govern our conduct. There is no act of wickedness that the law will excuse; there is no unrighteousness that will escape its condemnation. The life of Christ is a perfect fulfillment of every precept of this law. He says, “I have kept My Father's commandments.” The knowledge of the law would condemn the sinner, and crush hope from his breast, if he did not see Jesus as his substitute and surety, ready to pardon his transgression, and to forgive his sin. When, through faith in Jesus Christ, man does according to the very best of his ability, and seeks to keep the way of the Lord by obedience to the ten commandments, the perfection of Christ is imputed to cover the transgression of the repentant and obedient soul. There will be an effort made on the part of many pretended friends of education to divorce religion from the sciences, in our schools. They would spare no pains or expense to impart secular knowledge; but they would not mingle with it a knowledge of what God has revealed as constituting perfection of character. And yet a training in the truth of God would develop the mind, and impart secular knowledge as well; for the very foundation of true education is in the fear of the Lord. Says the psalmist, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The living oracles of God reveal the deceptions of the father of lies. Who of our youth can know anything of what is truth, in comparison with error, unless they are acquainted with the Scriptures? The simplicity of true godliness must be brought into the education of our young people, if they are to have divine knowledge to escape the corruptions that are in the world through lust. Those who are truly the followers of Christ, will not serve God only when it is in accordance with their inclination, but, as well, when it involves self-denial and cross-bearing. The earnest counsel given by the apostle Paul to Timothy, that he might not fail in doing his duty, should be set before the youth of today: “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Besetting sins must be battled with and overcome. Objectionable traits of character, whether hereditary or cultivated, should be taken up separately, and compared with the great rule of righteousness; and in the light reflected from the word of God, they should be firmly resisted and overcome, through the strength of Christ. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Day by day, and hour by hour, there must be a vigorous process of self-denial and of sanctification going on within; and then the outward works will testify that Jesus is abiding in the heart by faith. Sanctification does not close the avenues of the soul to knowledge, but it comes to expand the mind, and to inspire it to search for truth, as for hidden treasure; and the knowledge of God's will advances the work of sanctification. There is a heaven, and O, how earnestly we should strive to reach it. I appeal to you students of our schools and colleges, to believe in Jesus as your Saviour. Believe that He is ready to help you by His grace, when you come to Him in sincerity. You must fight the good fight of faith. You must be wrestlers for the crown of life. Strive, for the grasp of Satan is upon you; and if you do not wrench yourselves from him, you will be palsied and ruined. The foe is on the right hand, and on the left, before you, and behind you; and you must trample him under your feet. Strive, for there is a crown to be won. Strive, for if you win not the crown, you lose everything in this life and in the future life. Strive, but let it be in the strength of your risen Saviour. Will the students of our schools study, and endeavor to copy the life and character of Him who came down from heaven to show them what they must be, if they would enter the kingdom of God? I have borne you a message of the near coming of the Son of God in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. I have not presented before you any definite time, but have repeated to you the injunction of Christ himself, to watch unto prayer, “For in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.” The warning has come echoing down the ages to our time, “Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”—The Review and Herald, August 21, 1888.
Chapter 21—Christ Deals With Minds Christ's Teaching to Be a Guide—Christ's teaching, like His sympathies, embraced the world. Never can there be a circumstance of life, a crisis in human experience, which has not been anticipated in His teaching and for which its principles have not a lesson. The Prince of teachers, His words will be found a guide to His coworkers till the end of time.—Education, 81, 82 (1903). He Identified Himself With the Interests of His Hearers—He taught in a way that made them feel the completeness of His identification with their interests and happiness. His instruction was so direct, His illustrations were so appropriate, His words so sympathetic and cheerful, that His hearers were charmed.—The Ministry of Healing, 24 (1905). He Understands the Hidden Working of the Human Mind—He who has paid the infinite price to redeem men reads with unerring accuracy all the hidden workings of the human mind and knows just how to deal with every soul. And in dealing with men, He manifests the same principles that are manifest in the natural world.—Special Testimonies, Series A 3:17, 1895. (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 189, 190.) He Works Through Calm, Regular Operation of Laws—God works through the calm, regular operation of His appointed laws. So it is in spiritual things. Satan is constantly seeking to produce effects by rude and violent thrusts, but Jesus found access to minds by the pathway of their most familiar associations. He disturbed as little as possible their accustomed train of thought, by abrupt actions or prescribed rules. He honored man with His confidence, and thus placed him on his honor. He introduced old truths in a new and precious light. Thus when only twelve years old He astonished the doctors of the law by His questions in the temple.—Manuscript 44, 1894. (Evangelism, 139, 140.) Always Surrounded With Peace—His tender compassion fell with a touch of healing upon weary and troubled hearts. Even amid the turbulence of angry enemies He was surrounded with an atmosphere of peace. The beauty of His countenance, the loveliness of His character, above all, the love expressed in look and tone, drew to Him all who were not hardened in unbelief. Had it not been for the sweet, sympathetic spirit that shone out in every look and word, He would not have attracted the large congregations that He did. The afflicted ones who came to Him felt that He linked His interest with theirs as a faithful and tender friend, and they desired to know more of the truths He taught. Heaven was brought near. They longed to abide in His presence, that the comfort of His love might be with them continually.—The Desire of Ages, 254, 255 (1898). His Life Was Harmonious—In His life Jesus of Nazareth differed from all other men. His entire life was characterized by disinterested benevolence and the beauty of holiness. In His bosom existed the purest love, free from every taint of selfishness and sin. His life was perfectly harmonious. He is the only true model of goodness and perfection. From the beginning of His ministry men began more clearly to comprehend the character of God. Up to the time of Christ's first advent, men worshiped cruel, despotic gods. Even the Jewish mind was reached through fear and not love. Christ's mission on the earth was to reveal to men that God was not a despot but a heavenly Father, full of love and mercy for His children.—Manuscript 132, 1902. He Was Not Devoid of Warmth and Sunniness—There are many who have an erroneous idea of the life and character of Christ. They think He was devoid of warmth and sunniness, that He was stern, severe, and joyless. In many cases the whole religious experience is colored by these gloomy views.—Steps to Christ, 120 (1892). Infinite Possibilities in Every Human Being—In every human being He discerned infinite possibilities. He saw men as they might be, transfigured by His grace—in “the beauty of the Lord our God” (Psalm 90:17). Looking upon them with hope, He inspired hope, Meeting them with confidence, He inspired trust. Revealing in Himself man's true ideal, He awakened, for its attainment, both desire and faith. In His presence souls despised and fallen realized that they still were men, and they longed to prove themselves worthy of His regard. In many a heart that seemed dead to all things holy were awakened new impulses. To many a despairing one there opened the possibility of a new life.—Education, 80 (1903). His Heart a Wellspring of Life—It is often said that Jesus wept, but that He was never known to smile. Our Saviour was indeed a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, for He opened His heart to all the woes of men. But though His life was self-denying and shadowed with pain and care, His spirit was not crushed. His countenance did not wear an expression of grief and repining but ever one of peaceful serenity. His heart was a well-spring of life, and wherever He went He carried rest and peace, joy and gladness.—Steps to Christ, 120 (1892). Christ Was Never Passionate—Christ carried out in His life His own divine teachings. His zeal never led Him to become passionate. He manifested consistency without obstinacy, benevolence without weakness, tenderness and sympathy without sentimentalism. He was highly social; yet He possessed a reserved dignity that did not encourage undue familiarity. His temperance never led to bigotry or austerity. He was not conformed to this world; yet He was not indifferent to the wants of the least among men. He was awake to the needs of all.—Manuscript 132, 1902. (Evangelism, 636.) Tact to Meet Prejudiced Minds—His messages of mercy were varied to suit His audience. He knew “how to speak a word in season to him that is weary” (Isaiah 50:4); for grace was poured upon His lips that He might convey to men in the most attractive way the treasures of truth. He had tact to meet the prejudiced minds and to surprise them with illustrations that won their attention.—The Desire of Ages, 254 (1898). He Reached to Depths of Human Woe—He traversed every path where souls were straying. He reached to the very depths of human woe and misery.—Letter 50, 1897. Combats Satan's Power Over Mind—He [Christ] saw the power—the deceptive power—of Satan upon human minds, and He engaged [bound Himself by a pledge] to come to this earth. He lays aside the robes of His royalty, He lays off His royal crown, He lays off His high command, He steps down from the throne of His glory as High Commander in all heaven, and clothes His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity. That is what He came here for. He came right down to our earth to take upon Himself the nature of man, to pass through all the trials, all the afflictions and temptations wherewith man should be beset, and here He wrestled with these temptations, passing over the ground where Adam fell, that He might redeem the disgraceful failure and fall of Adam. In human nature, as our substitute, as our surety, He laid hold upon the very hope that it is our privilege to take hold of, and that is infinite power. Through this, our Saviour overcame the temptations of the enemy and obtained the victory. For whom? Why, in our behalf. Why? That not one of the members of the human family need to stumble in the road that leads to everlasting life. Because He has traveled it before us, He knows every obstruction, He knows every difficulty that every soul upon the face of the earth must meet. He knows this, and therefore at His baptism, when He offered up His petition to heaven, that prayer cleaved directly through the hellish shadow of Satan that is thrown on your path, that is thrown on my path, and faith entered “into that within the veil” (Hebrews 6:19).—Manuscript 12, 1895. Helps Seeker to Exercise Faith—Christ knew every thought of her mind [the woman who touched His garment], and He was making His way to where she stood. He realized her great need, and He was helping her to exercise faith.—The Ministry of Healing, 60 (1905). Divine Knowledge May Become Human Knowledge—Divine knowledge may become human knowledge. Every minister should study closely the manner of Christ's teaching. They must take in His lessons. There is not one in twenty who knows the beauty, the real essence, of Christ's ministry. They are to find it out. Then they will become partakers of the rich fruit of His teachings. They will weave them so fully into their own life and practice that the ideas and principles that Christ brought into His lessons will be brought into their teaching. The truth will blossom and bear the noblest kind of fruit. And the worker's own heart will be warmed; yea it will burn with the vivifying spiritual life which they infuse into the minds of others.—Manuscript 104, 1898. To Meet Varied Minds—All who profess to be children of God should bear in mind that as missionaries they will be brought into contact with all classes of minds. There are the refined and the coarse, the humble and the proud, the religious and the skeptical, the educated and the ignorant, the rich and the poor. These varied minds cannot be treated alike; yet all need kindness and sympathy. By mutual contact our minds should receive polish and refinement. We are dependent upon one another, closely bound together by the ties of human brotherhood.—The Ministry of Healing, 495, 496 (1905). Mind to Become One With His Mind—When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. Then as the Lord looks upon us He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of
Section 5—Life's Energizing Force Chapter 23—Love—A Divine, Eternal Principle Love, the Principle of Action—When the heavenly principle of eternal love fills the heart, it will flow out to others, ... because love is the principle of action, and modifies the character, governs the impulses, controls the passions, subdues enmity, and elevates and ennobles the affections.—Testimonies for the Church 4:223 (1876). Distinct From Any Other Principle—Pure love is simple in its operations and is distinct from any other principle of action.—Testimonies for the Church 2:136 (1868). A Tender Plant to Be Cultivated and Cherished—Love is a tender plant, and it must be cultivated and cherished, and the roots of bitterness all have to be plucked up around it in order for it to have room to circulate, and then it will bring in under its influence all the powers of the mind, all the heart, so that we shall love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves.—Manuscript 50, 1894. (Our High Calling, 173.) Satan's Substitution—Selfishness for Love—Through disobedience man's powers were perverted, and selfishness took the place of love. His nature became so weakened that it was impossible for him to resist the power of evil; and the tempter saw being fulfilled his purpose to thwart the divine plan of man's creation and fill the earth with misery and desolation.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 33 (1913). Love Springs Forth Spontaneously When Self Is Submerged—When self is submerged in Christ, true love springs forth spontaneously. It is not an emotion or an impulse but a decision of a sanctified will. It consists not in feeling but in the transformation of the whole heart, soul, and character, which is dead to self and alive unto God. Our Lord and Saviour asks us to give ourselves to Him. Surrendering self to God is all He requires, giving ourselves to Him to be employed as He sees fit. Until we come to this point of surrender, we shall not work happily, usefully, or successfully anywhere.—Letter 97, 1898 (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 6:1100, 1101.) Love Not an Impulse but a Divine Principle—Supreme love for God and unselfish love for one another—this is the best gift that our heavenly Father can bestow. This love is not an impulse but a divine principle, a permanent power. The unconsecrated heart cannot originate or produce it. Only in the heart where Jesus reigns is it found. “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). In the heart renewed by divine grace, love is the ruling principle of action.—The Acts of the Apostles, 551 (1911). Love—Intellectual and Moral Strength—Love is power. Intellectual and moral strength are involved in this principle, and cannot be separated from it. The power of wealth has a tendency to corrupt and destroy; the power of force is strong to do hurt; but the excellence and value of pure love consist in its efficiency to do good, and to do nothing else than good. Whatsoever is done out of pure love, be it ever so little or contemptible in the sight of men, is wholly fruitful; for God regards more with how much love one worketh than the amount he doeth. Love is of God. The unconverted heart cannot originate or produce this plant of heavenly growth which lives and flourishes only where Christ reigns.—Testimonies for the Church 2:135 (1868). Love a Fragrant Atmosphere—Every soul is surrounded by an atmosphere of its own—an atmosphere, it may be, charged with the life-giving power of faith, courage, and hope, and sweet with the fragrance of love. Or it may be heavy and chill with the gloom of discontent and selfishness, or poisonous with the deadly taint of cherished sin. By the atmosphere surrounding us every person with whom we come in contact is consciously or unconsciously affected.—Christ's Object Lessons, 339 (1900). Uproots Selfishness and Strife—The golden chain of love, binding the hearts of the believers in unity, in bonds of fellowship and love, and in oneness with Christ and the Father, makes the connection perfect and bears to the world a testimony of the power of Christianity that cannot be controverted.... Then will selfishness be uprooted and unfaithfulness will not exist. There will not be strife and divisions. There will not be stubbornness in anyone who is bound up with Christ. Not one will act out the stubborn independence of the wayward, impulsive child who drops the hand that is leading him and chooses to stumble on alone and walk in his own ways.—Letter 110, 1893. (Our High Calling, 173.) The Fruit of Pure Love—“Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12). Blessed results would appear as the fruit of such a course. “With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (verse 2). Here are strong motives which should constrain us to love one another with a pure heart, fervently. Christ is our example. He went about doing good. He lived to bless others. Love beautified and ennobled all His actions. We are not commanded to do to ourselves what we wish others to do unto us; we are to do unto others what we wish them to do to us under like circumstances. The measure we mete is always measured to us again.... The love of influence and the desire for the esteem of others may produce a well-ordered life and frequently a blameless conversation. Self-respect may lead us to avoid the appearance of evil. A selfish heart may perform generous actions, acknowledge the present truth, and express humility and affection in an outward manner, yet the motives may be deceptive and impure; the actions that flow from such a heart may be destitute of the savor of life and the fruits of true holiness, being destitute of the principles of pure love. Love should be cherished and cultivated, for its influence is divine.—Testimonies for the Church 2:136 (1868). Love Makes Concessions—Christ's love is deep and earnest, flowing like an irrepressible stream to all who will accept it. There is no selfishness in His love. If this heaven-born love is an abiding principle in the heart, it will make itself known, not only to those we hold most dear in sacred relationship but to all with whom we come in contact. It will lead us to bestow little acts of attention, to make concessions, to perform deeds of kindness, to speak tender, true, encouraging words. It will lead us to sympathize with those whose hearts hunger for sympathy.—Manuscript 17, 1899. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 5:1140.) Love Governs the Motives and Actions—The most careful attention to the outward proprieties of life is not sufficient to shut out all fretfulness, harsh judgment, and unbecoming speech. True refinement will never be revealed so long as self is considered as the supreme object. Love must dwell in the heart. A thoroughgoing Christian draws his motives of action from his deep heart-love for his Master. Up through the roots of his affection for Christ springs an unselfish interest in his brethren. Love imparts to its possessor grace, propriety, and comeliness of deportment. It illuminates the countenance and subdues the voice; it refines and elevates the entire being.—Gospel Workers, 123 (1915). Love Favorably Interprets Another's Motives—Charity “doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Christlike love places the most favorable construction on the motives and acts of others. It does not needlessly expose their faults; it does not listen eagerly to unfavorable reports, but seeks rather to bring to mind the good qualities of others.—The Acts of the Apostles, 319 (1911). Love Sweetens the Entire Life—Those who love God cannot harbor hatred or envy. When the heavenly principle of eternal love fills the heart, it will flow out to others.... This love is not contracted so as merely to include “me and mine” but is as broad as the world and as high as heaven, and is in harmony with that of the angel workers. This love cherished in the soul sweetens the entire life and sheds a refining influence on all around. Possessing it, we cannot but be happy, let fortune smile or frown. If we love God with all the heart, we must love His children also. This love is the Spirit of God. It is the heavenly adorning that gives true nobility and dignity to the soul and assimilates our lives to that of the Master. No matter how many good qualities we may have, however honorable and refined we may consider ourselves, if the soul is not baptized with the heavenly grace of love to God and one another, we are deficient in true goodness and unfit for heaven, where all is love and unity.—Testimonies for the Church 4:223, 224 (1876). True Love Is Spiritual—Love, lifted out of the realm of passion and impulse, becomes spiritualized and is revealed in words and acts. A Christian must have a sanctified tenderness and love, in which there is no impatience or fretfulness; the rude, harsh manners must be softened by the grace of Christ.—Testimonies for the Church 5:335 (1885). Love Lives on Action—Love cannot live without action, and every act increases, strengthens, and extends it. Love will gain the victory when argument and authority are powerless. Love works not for profit nor reward; yet God has ordained that great gain shall be the certain result of every labor of love. It is diffusive in its nature and quiet in its operation, yet strong and mighty in its purpose to overcome great evils. It is melting and transforming in its influence and will take hold of the lives of the sinful and affect their hearts when every other means has proved unsuccessful. Wherever the power of intellect, of authority, or of force is employed, and love is not manifestly present, the affections and will of those whom we seek to reach assume a defensive, repelling position, and their strength of resistance is increased. Jesus was the Prince of peace. He came into the world to bring resistance and authority into subjection to Himself. Wisdom and strength He could command, but the means He employed with which to overcome evil were the wisdom and strength of love.—Testimonies for the Church 2:135, 136 (1868). Evidences a New Principle of Life—When men are bound together, not by force or self-interest, but by love, they show the working of an influence that is above every human influence. Where this oneness exists, it is evidence that the image of God is being restored in humanity, that a new principle of life has been implanted. It shows that there is power in the divine nature to withstand the supernatural agencies of evil and that the grace of God subdues the selfishness inherent in the natural heart.—The
Chapter 26—Brotherly Love Love for Others Brings Joy—I would say to my brethren everywhere: Cultivate the love of Christ! It should well up from the soul of the Christian like streams in the desert, refreshing and beautifying, bringing gladness, peace, and joy into his own life and into the lives of others.—Testimonies for the Church 5:565 (1889). Example of Unselfish Love Irresistible—The more closely we resemble our Saviour in character, the greater will be our love toward those for whom He died. Christians who manifest a spirit of unselfish love for one another are bearing a testimony for Christ which unbelievers can neither gainsay nor resist. It is impossible to estimate the power of such an example. Nothing will so successfully defeat the devices of Satan and his emissaries, nothing will so build up the Redeemer's kingdom, as will the love of Christ manifested by the members of the church.—Testimonies for the Church 5:167, 168 (1882). Self May Obscure Love—Love is an active principle; it keeps the good of others continually before us, thus restraining us from inconsiderate actions lest we fail of our object in winning souls to Christ. Love seeks not its own. It will not prompt men to seek their own ease and indulgence of self. It is the respect we render to I that so often hinders the growth of love.—Testimonies for the Church 5:124 (1882). Humility Outgrowth of Love—Love vaunteth not itself. It is a humble element; it never prompts a man to boast, to exalt himself. Love for God and for our fellowmen will not be revealed in acts of rashness or lead us to be overbearing, faultfinding, or dictatorial. Love is not puffed up. The heart where love reigns will be guided to a gentle, courteous, compassionate course of conduct toward others, whether they suit our fancy or not, whether they respect us or treat us ill.—Testimonies for the Church 5:123, 124 (1882). True Love Self-effacing—The devotion which God requires reveals itself in unfeigned love for the souls for whom Christ gave His life. Christ dwelling in the heart will be manifested by the love which He enjoins upon His disciples. His true children will prefer others to themselves. They do not seek for the lion's share at any time or in any place, because they do not look upon their talents as superior to those of their brethren. When this is indeed the case, the sign will be given in a revelation of the love which Christ manifested for the souls of men—an unselfish, unfeigned love, which preferred the welfare of others before His own.—Manuscript 121, 1899. Love Transforms Character—To those who know not the truth, let the love of Jesus be presented, and it will work like leaven for the transformation of character.—Testimonies for the Church 8:60 (1904). Selfish Love—God would have His children realize that in order to glorify Him their affection must be given to those who most need it.... No selfishness in look, word, or deed is to be manifested when dealing with those of like precious faith, ... whether they be high or low, rich or poor. The love that gives kind words to only a few, while others are treated with coldness and indifference, is not love but selfishness. It will not in any way work for the good of souls or the glory of God. Our love is not to be sealed up for special ones, to the neglect of others. Break the bottle, and the fragrance will fill the house.—Manuscript 17, 1899. (Our High Calling, 231.) Ability No Substitute for Love—Talk, Pharisaism, and self-praise are abundant; but these will never win souls to Christ. Pure, sanctified love, such love as was expressed in Christ's lifework, is as a sacred perfume. Like Mary's broken box of ointment, it fills the whole house with fragrance. Eloquence, knowledge of truth, rare talents, mingled with love, are all precious endowments. But ability alone, the choicest talents alone, cannot take the place of love.—Testimonies for the Church 6:84 (1900). Liberality a Proof of Love—The proof of our love is given in a Christlike spirit, a willingness to impart the good things God has given us, a readiness to practice self-denial and self-sacrifice in order to help advance the cause of God and suffering humanity. Never should we pass by the object that calls for our liberality. We reveal that we have passed from death unto life when we act as faithful stewards of God's grace. God has given us His goods; He has given us His pledged word that if we are faithful in our stewardship, we shall lay up in heaven treasures that are imperishable.—The Review and Herald, May 15, 1900. Giving Genuine Love a Sign of Discipleship—No matter how high the profession, he whose heart is not filled with love for God and his fellowmen is not a true disciple of Christ. Though he should possess great faith and have power even to work miracles, yet without love his faith would be worthless. He might display great liberality; but should he, from some other motive than genuine love, bestow all his goods to feed the poor, the act would not commend him to the favor of God. In his zeal he might even meet a martyr's death, yet if not actuated by love, he would be regarded by God as a deluded enthusiast or an ambitious hypocrite.—The Acts of the Apostles, 318, 319 (1911). The Heart in Which Love Rules—The heart in which love rules will not be filled with passion or revenge, by injuries which pride and self-love would deem unbearable. Love is unsuspecting, ever placing the most favorable construction upon the motives and acts of others.—Testimonies for the Church 5:168, 169 (1882). The activity of Satan's army, the danger that surrounds the human soul, calls for the energies of every worker. But no compulsion shall be exercised. Man's depravity is to be met by the love, the patience, the long-suffering of God.—Testimonies for the Church 6:237 (1900). Corrects Peculiarities—When man is a partaker of the divine nature, the love of Christ will be an abiding principle in the soul, and self and its peculiarities will not be exhibited.—Testimonies for the Church 6:52 (1900). Only Love of Christ Can Heal—Only the love that flows from the heart of Christ can heal. Only he in whom that love flows, even as the sap in the tree or as the blood in the body, can restore the wounded soul.—Education, 114 (1903). Prepares for Every Eventuality—Everyone who truly loves God will have the spirit of Christ and a fervent love for his brethren. The more a person's heart is in communion with God, and the more his affections are centered in Christ, the less will he be disturbed by the roughness and hardships he meets in this life.—Testimonies for the Church 5:483, 484 (1889). Brotherhood Never Gained Through Compromise—Those who love Jesus and the souls for whom He has died will follow after the things which make for peace. But they must take care lest in their efforts to prevent discord they surrender truth, lest in warding off division they sacrifice principle. True brotherhood can never be maintained by compromising principle. As Christians approach the Christlike model and become pure in spirit and action they will feel the venom of the serpent. The opposition of the children of disobedience is excited by a Christianity that is spiritual.... That peace and harmony which are secured by mutual concessions to avoid all differences of opinion are not worthy of the name. On points of feeling between man and man, concessions should sometimes be made; but never should one iota of principle be sacrificed to obtain harmony.—The Review and Herald, January 16, 1900. Divine Love Impartial—Christ came to this earth with a message of mercy and forgiveness. He laid the foundation for a religion by which Jew and Gentile, black and white, free and bond, are linked together in one common brotherhood, recognized as equal in the sight of God. The Saviour has a boundless love for every human being. In each one He sees capacity for improvement. With divine energy and hope He greets those for whom He has given His life.—Testimonies for the Church 7:225 (1902). Enfolds Human Brotherhood in God's Embrace—Sanctified love for one another is sacred. In this great work Christian love for one another—far higher, more constant, more courteous, more unselfish, than has been seen—preserves Christian tenderness, Christian benevolence, and politeness, and enfolds the human brotherhood in the embrace of God, acknowledging the dignity with which God has invested the rights of man. This dignity Christians must ever cultivate for the honor and glory of God.—Letter 10, 1897 (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 5:1140, 1141.) Your Love for Souls Measures Your Love for God—The love revealed in Christ's life of self-denial and self-sacrifice is to be seen in the lives of His followers. We are called “so to walk, even as He walked.”... It is our privilege to stand with the light of heaven upon us. It was thus that Enoch walked with God. It was no easier for Enoch to live a righteous life than it is for us at the present time. The world in his time was no more favorable to growth in grace and holiness than it is now.... We are living in the perils of the last days, and we must receive our strength from the same source. We must walk with God.... God calls upon you to put all your strength into the work. You will have to render an account for the good you might have done had you been standing in the right position. It is time you were coworkers with Christ and the heavenly angels. Will you awake? There are souls among you who need your help. Have you felt a burden to bring them to the cross? Bear in mind that just the degree of love you have for God you will reveal for your brethren, and for souls who are lost and undone, out of Christ.—The Review and Herald, January 9, 1900. Perfect Love in the Church, the Aim of Christ—Jesus could have flashed bright beams of light on the darkest mysteries of science, but He would not spare a moment from teaching the knowledge of the science of salvation. His time, His knowledge, His faculties, His life itself, were appreciated only as the means of working out the salvation of the souls of men. O what love, what matchless love! Contrast our tame, lifeless, half-paralyzed efforts with the work of the Lord Jesus. Listen to His words, to His prayer to the Father, “I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26). What language is this! How deep, how broad, how full! The Lord Jesus desires to shed abroad His love through every member of the body, His church, that the vitality of that love may circulate through every part of the body and dwell in us as it dwells in Him. The Lord then can love fallen man as He does His own Son; and He declares that He will be satisfied with nothing less than this in our behalf.
Chapter 27—God's Love God Is Love—“God is love” (1 John 4:16). His nature, His law, is love. It ever has been; it ever will be. “The high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity” (Isaiah 57:15), whose “ways are everlasting” (Habakkuk 3:6), changeth not. With Him “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Every manifestation of creative power is an expression of infinite love. The sovereignty of God involves fullness of blessing to all created beings.... The history of the great conflict between good and evil, from the time it first began in heaven to the final overthrow of rebellion and the total eradication of sin, is also a demonstration of God's unchanging love.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 33 (1890). God's Love Demonstrated in Nature—Nature and revelation alike testify of God's love. Our Father in heaven is the source of life, of wisdom, and of joy. Look at the wonderful and beautiful things of nature. Think of their marvelous adaptation to the needs and happiness, not only of man but of all living creatures. The sunshine and the rain, that gladden and refresh the earth, the hills and seas and plains, all speak to us of the Creator's love. It is God who supplies the daily needs of all His creatures.... “God is love” is written upon every opening bud, upon every spire of springing grass. The lovely birds making the air vocal with their happy songs, the delicately tinted flowers in their perfection perfuming the air, the lofty trees of the forest with their rich foliage of living green—all testify to the tender, fatherly care of our God and to His desire to make His children happy.—Steps to Christ, 9, 10 (1892). Commandments Based on Principle of Love—The precepts of the Decalogue are adapted to all mankind, and they were given for the instruction and government of all. Ten precepts, brief, comprehensive, and authoritative, cover the duty of man to God and to his fellowman; and all [are] based upon the great fundamental principle of love.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 305 (1890). Jesus and the Law of Sympathetic Love—The law of God was changeless in its character, and therefore Christ gave Himself a sacrifice in behalf of fallen man, and Adam lost Eden and was placed with all his posterity upon probation. Had the law of God been changed in one precept since the expulsion of Satan from heaven, he would have gained on earth after his fall that which he could not gain in heaven before his fall. He would have received all that he asked for. We know that he did not.... The law ... remains unalterable as the throne of God, and the salvation of every soul is determined by obedience or disobedience.... Jesus, by the law of sympathetic love, bore our sins, took our punishment, and drank the cup of the wrath of God apportioned to the transgressor.... He bore the cross of self-denial and self-sacrifice for us, that we might have life, eternal life. Will we bear the cross for Jesus?— Letter 110, 1896 (KH 289.) Sensitive, Loving Nature of Christ—His life, from its beginning to its close, was one of self-denial and self-sacrifice. Upon the cross of Calvary He made the great sacrifice of Himself in behalf of all men that the whole world might have salvation if they would. Christ was hid in God, and God stood revealed to the world in the character of His Son.... Love for a lost world was manifested every day, in every act of His life. Those who are imbued by His spirit will work in the same lines as those in which Christ worked. In Christ the light and love of God were manifested in human nature. No human being has ever possessed so sensitive a nature as did the sinless, Holy One of God, who stood as head and representative of what humanity may become through the imparting of the divine nature.—The Youth's Instructor, August 16, 1894. (That I May Know Him, 288.) God's Love a Living Spring—The love of God is something more than a mere negation; it is a positive and active principle, a living spring, ever flowing to bless others. If the love of Christ dwells in us, we shall not only cherish no hatred toward our fellows, but we shall seek in every way to manifest love toward them.—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 58 (1896). Universe Expresses God's Love—Would that everyone could rightly estimate the precious gift our heavenly Father has made to our world. The disciples felt that they could not express the love of Christ. They could only say, “Herein is love.” The entire universe gives expression to this love and to God's unbounded benevolence. God might have sent His Son into the world to condemn the world. But amazing grace! Christ came to save, not to destroy. The apostles never touched this theme without their hearts glowing with the inspiration of the matchless love of the Saviour. The apostle John cannot find words to express his feelings. He exclaims, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not” (1 John 3:1). How much the Father loved us we can never compute. There is no standard with which to compare it.—Letter 27, 1901 Satan Responsible for Conception of a Harsh, Stern God—Satan led men to conceive of God as a being whose chief attribute is stern justice—one who is a severe judge, a harsh, exacting creditor. He pictured the Creator as a being who is watching with jealous eye to discern the errors and mistakes of men that He may visit judgments upon them. It was to remove this dark shadow, by revealing to the world the infinite love of God, that Jesus came to live among men.—Steps to Christ, 11 (1892). Love Between the Father and the Son a Type—However much a shepherd may love his sheep, he loves his sons and daughters more. Jesus is not only our shepherd; He is our “everlasting Father.” And He says, “I know Mine own, and Mine own know Me, even as the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father” (John 10:14, RV). What a statement is this!—the only-begotten Son, He who is in the bosom of the Father, He whom God has declared to be “the man that is my fellow” (Zechariah 13:7)—the communion between Him and the eternal God is taken to represent the communion between Christ and His children on the earth!—The Desire of Ages, 483 (1898). God loves the followers of Christ as He loves His only-begotten Son.—Manuscript 67, 1894. Christ's Love Is a Vitalizing, Healing Energy—The love which Christ diffuses through the whole being is a vitalizing power. Every vital part—the brain, the heart, the nerves—it touches with healing. By it the highest energies of the being are roused to activity. It frees the soul from the guilt and sorrow, the anxiety and care, that crush the life-forces. With it come serenity and composure. It implants in the soul joy that nothing earthly can destroy—joy in the Holy Spirit—health-giving, life-giving joy.—The Ministry of Healing, 115 (1905). Reviewing God's Love—Thank God for the bright pictures which He has presented to us. Let us group together the blessed assurances of His love that we may look upon them continually: The Son of God leaving His Father's throne, clothing His divinity with humanity, that He might rescue man from the power of Satan; His triumph in our behalf, opening heaven to men, revealing to human vision the presence chamber where the Deity unveils His glory; the fallen race uplifted from the pit of ruin into which sin had plunged it, and brought again into connection with the infinite God, and having endured the divine test through faith in our Redeemer, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and exalted to His throne—these are the pictures which God would have us contemplate.—Steps to Christ, 118 (1892). Love Makes Our Heaven—It is the love of Christ that makes our heaven. But when we seek to tell of this love, language fails us. We think of His life on earth, of His sacrifice for us; we think of His work in heaven as our advocate, of the mansions He is preparing for those who love Him; and we can but exclaim, “Oh, the heights and depths of the love of Christ!” As we linger beneath the cross, we gain a faint conception of the love of God, and we say, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). But in our contemplation of Christ, we are only lingering round the edge of a love that is measureless. His love is like a vast ocean, without bottom or shore.—The Review and Herald, May 6, 1902. God's Love Infinite, Exhaustless—All the paternal love which has come down from generation to generation through the channel of human hearts, all the springs of tenderness which have opened in the souls of men, are but as a tiny rill to the boundless ocean when compared with the infinite, exhaustless love of God. Tongue cannot utter it; pen cannot portray it. You may meditate upon it every day of your life; you may search the Scriptures diligently in order to understand it; you may summon every power and capability that God has given you, in the endeavor to comprehend the love and compassion of the heavenly Father; and yet there is an infinity beyond. You may study that love for ages; yet you can never fully comprehend the length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of the love of God in giving His Son to die for the world. Eternity itself can never fully reveal it. Yet as we study the Bible and meditate upon the life of Christ and the plan of redemption, these great themes will open to our understanding more and more.—Testimonies for the Church 5:740 (1889). God's Love Progressive—The years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character.—The Great Controversy, 678 (1911).
Chapter 40—Body Affects Mind Close Relationship Between Mind and Body—There is an intimate relation between the mind and the body, and in order to reach a high standard of moral and intellectual attainment, the laws that control our physical being must be heeded.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 601 (1890). Mental Effort Affected by Physical Vigor—We should seek to preserve the full vigor of all our powers for the accomplishment of the work before us. Whatever detracts from physical vigor weakens mental effort. Hence, every practice unfavorable to the health of the body should be resolutely shunned. Says the great apostle, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” We cannot maintain consecration to God and yet injure our health by the willful indulgence of a wrong habit. Self-denial is one of the conditions, not only of admission into the service of Christ, but of continuance therein. Christ Himself declared, in unmistakable language, the conditions of discipleship: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Yet, how many who call themselves Christians are unwilling to exercise self-denial, even for Christ's sake. How often the love for some pernicious indulgence is stronger than the desire for a sound mind in a sound body. Precious hours of probation are spent, God-given means squandered, to please the eye or to gratify the appetite. Custom holds thousands in bondage to the earthly and sensual. Many are willing captives; they desire no better portion.—The Signs of the Times, June 1, 1882. The Power of Discriminating Between Right and Wrong—Anything that lessens physical strength enfeebles the mind and makes it less capable of discriminating between right or wrong.—Christ's Object Lessons, 346 (1900). Wrong Habits Yield Distorted Concepts—Brother ____, you dwell upon yourself. You view many things in a perverted light. You have suspicion of men, great distrust and jealousy, and you surmise evil. You think everybody is determined to ruin you. Many of these trials originate with you yourself. Many things are construed by you to be premeditated to injure you, when this is farthest from the real truth. You do yourself the greatest injury by your wrong course. You are your greatest enemy. Your wrong habits unbalance the circulation of the blood and determine [direct] the blood to the brain, and then you view everything in a perverted light. You are quick and high-tempered, and you have not cultivated self-control. Your will and your way seem right to you. But unless you see the defects in your character and wash your robe and make it white in the blood of the Lamb, you will surely fail of everlasting life. You love the theory of the truth, but you do not let it sanctify your life. You do not carry out in your daily deportment the principles of the truth you profess.—Letter 27, 1872. Physical Habits Affect the Brain—The brain is the citadel of the being. Wrong physical habits affect the brain and prevent the attainment of that which the students desire—a good mental discipline. Unless the youth are versed in the science of how to care for the body as well as for the mind, they will not be successful students. Study is not the principal cause of breakdown of the mental powers. The main cause is improper diet, irregular meals, a lack of physical exercise, and careless inattention in other respects to the laws of health. When we do all that we can to preserve the health, then we can ask God in faith to bless our efforts.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 299 (1913). Peter and Body-Mind Relationship—The apostle Peter understood the relation between the mind and the body and raised his voice in warning to his brethren: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). Many regard this text as a warning against licentiousness only; but it has a broader meaning. It forbids every injurious gratification of appetite or passion. Every perverted appetite becomes a warring lust. Appetite was given us for a good purpose, not to become the minister of death by being perverted, and thus degenerating into “lusts which war against the soul.” [See next chapter, “Diet and Mind.”]—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 53, 54, 1890. (Counsels on Diet and Foods, 166, 167.) Misuse of Physical Powers Unbalances Nervous System—The misuse of our physical powers shortens the period of time in which our lives can be used for the glory of God. And it unfits us to accomplish the work God has given us to do. By allowing ourselves to form wrong habits, by keeping late hours, by gratifying appetite at the expense of health, we lay the foundation for feebleness. By neglecting physical exercise, by overworking mind or body, we unbalance the nervous system. Those who thus shorten their lives and unfit themselves for service by disregarding nature's laws are guilty of robbery toward God. And they are robbing their fellowmen also. The opportunity of blessing others, the very work for which God sent them into the world, has by their own course of action been cut short. And they have unfitted themselves to do even that which in a briefer period of time they might have accomplished. The Lord holds us guilty when by our injurious habits we thus deprive the world of good.—Christ's Object Lessons, 346, 347 (1900). Idleness Weakens Brain Power—The reason the youth have so little strength of brain and muscle is because they do so little in the line of useful labor. “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before Me: therefore I took them away as I saw good” (Ezekiel 16:49, 50).—Testimonies for the Church 4:96 (1876). Manual Labor Relaxes the Mind—The whole system needs the invigorating influence of exercise in the open air. A few hours of manual labor each day would tend to renew the bodily vigor and rest and relax the mind.—Testimonies for the Church 4:264, 265 (1896). Bathing Invigorates Body and Mind—Whether a person is sick or well, respiration is more free and easy if bathing is practiced. By it the muscles become more flexible, the mind and body are alike invigorated, the intellect is made brighter, and every faculty becomes livelier.—Testimonies for the Church 3:70 (1872). Rest Versus Stimulants—Wrong physical habits injure the brain, and the whole system becomes deranged. An effort may be made to brace the wearied nerves by taking stimulants, but this will not remove the difficulty. Unless a decided change is made, unless there is an intelligent recognition of the necessity of giving the brain rest instead of stimulants, the human agent will lose his self-control and will disgrace the cause of God.—Letter 205, 1904. The Mind at Peaceful Rest—We should devote more time to humble, earnest prayer to God, for wisdom to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The health of the mind is dependent upon the health of the body. As Christian parents, we are bound to train our children in reference to the laws of life. In Christ they will obtain strength and hope, and will not be troubled with restless longings for something to divert the mind and satisfy the heart. They have found the Pearl of Great Price, and the mind is at peaceful rest. Their pleasures are of a pure, elevated, heavenly character. They have no painful reflections, no remorse. Such pleasures do not enfeeble the body or prostrate the mind, but give health and vigor to both The inhabitants of heaven are perfect, because the will of God is their joy and supreme delight.—Appeal to Mothers, 20-27.
Section 7—Developing Christian Qualities Chapter 25—Simplicity Educate in Natural Simplicity—The little ones should be educated in childlike simplicity. They should be trained to be content with the small, helpful duties and the pleasures and experiences natural to their years. Childhood answers to the blade in the parable, and the blade has a beauty peculiarly its own. Children should not be forced into a precocious maturity, but as long as possible should retain the freshness and grace of their early years. The more quiet and simple the life of the child—the more free from artificial excitement and the more in harmony with nature—the more favorable it is to physical and mental vigor and to spiritual strength.1 Parents should by their example encourage the formation of habits of simplicity, and draw their children away from an artificial to a natural life.2 Unaffected Children Are Most Attractive—Those children are most attractive who are natural and unaffected. It is not wise to give children special notice.... Vanity should not be encouraged by praising their looks, their words, or their actions. Nor should they be dressed in an expensive and showy manner. This encourages pride in them and awakens envy in the hearts of their companions. Teach the children that the true adorning is not outward. “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” 1 Peter 3:3, 4.3 The Secret of True Charm—Girls should be taught that the true charm of womanliness is not alone in beauty of form or feature, nor in the possession of accomplishments; but in a meek and quiet spirit, in patience, generosity, kindness, and a willingness to do and suffer for others. They should be taught to work, to study to some purpose, to live for some object, to trust in God and fear Him, and to respect their parents. Then as they advance in years, they will grow more pure-minded, self-reliant, and beloved. It will be impossible to degrade such a woman. She will escape the temptations and trials that have been the ruin of so many.4 Seeds of Vanity—In many families the seeds of vanity and selfishness are sown in the hearts of the children almost during babyhood. Their cunning little sayings and doings are commented upon and praised in their presence, and repeated with exaggerations to others. The little ones take note of this and swell with self-importance; they presume to interrupt conversations and become forward and impudent. Flattery and indulgence foster their vanity and willfulness, until the youngest not unfrequently rules the whole family, father and mother included. The disposition formed by this sort of training cannot be laid aside as the child matures to riper judgment. It grows with his growth, and what might have appeared cunning in the baby, becomes contemptible and wicked in the man or woman. They seek to rule over their associates; and if any refuse to yield to their wishes, they consider themselves aggrieved and insulted. This is because they have been indulged to their injury in youth, instead of being taught the self-denial necessary to bear the hardships and toils of life.5 Do Not Foster Love of Praise—Children need appreciation, sympathy, and encouragement; but care should be taken not to foster in them a love of praise.... The parent or teacher who keeps in view the true ideal of character and the possibilities of achievement cannot cherish or encourage self-sufficiency. He will not encourage in the youth the desire or effort to display their ability or proficiency. He who looks higher than himself will be humble, yet he will possess a dignity that is not abashed or disconcerted by outward display or human greatness.6 Encourage Simplicity in Diet and Dress—Parents have a sacred duty to perform in teaching their children to help bear the burdens of the home, to be content with plain and simple food, and neat and inexpensive dress.7 Oh, that mothers and fathers would realize their responsibility and accountability before God! What a change would take place in society! Children would not be spoiled by being praised and petted, or made vain by indulgence in dress.8 Teach Simplicity and Trust—We should teach our children lessons in simplicity and trust. We should teach them to love, and fear, and obey their Creator. In all the plans and purposes of life His glory should be held paramount; His love should be the mainspring of every action.9 Christ Our Example—Jesus, our Redeemer, walked the earth with the dignity of a king; yet He was meek and lowly of heart. He was a light and blessing in every home because He carried cheerfulness, hope, and courage with Him. Oh, that we could be satisfied with less heart-longings, less striving for things difficult to obtain wherewith to beautify our homes, while that which God values above jewels, the meek and quiet spirit, is not cherished. The grace of simplicity, meekness, and true affection would make a paradise of the humblest home. It is better to endure cheerfully every inconvenience than to part with peace and contentment.
Chapter 27—Cheerfulness and Thankfulness Let a Sweet Influence Pervade the Home—Above all things else, let parents surround their children with an atmosphere of cheerfulness, courtesy, and love. A home where love dwells, and where it is expressed in looks, in words, and in acts, is a place where angels delight to manifest their presence. Parents, let the sunshine of love, cheerfulness, and happy contentment enter your own hearts; and let its sweet, cheering influence pervade your home. Manifest a kindly, forbearing spirit; and encourage the same in your children, cultivating all the graces that will brighten the home life. The atmosphere thus created will be to the children what air and sunshine are to the vegetable world, promoting health and vigor of mind and body.1 Let the Countenance Be Cheerful—There is nothing gloomy in the religion of Jesus. While all lightness, trifling, and jesting, which the apostle says are not convenient, are to be studiously avoided, there is a sweet rest and peace in Jesus that will be expressed in the countenance. Christians will not be mournful, depressed, and despairing. They will be sober-minded, yet they will show to the world a cheerfulness which only grace can impart.2 Children are attracted by a cheerful, sunny demeanor. Show them kindness and courtesy, and they will manifest the same spirit toward you and toward one another.3 Educate the soul to cheerfulness, to thankfulness, and to the expression of gratitude to God for the great love wherewith He hath loved us.... Christian cheerfulness is the very beauty of holiness.4 Speak Pleasant, Cheery Words—Pleasant, cheery words cost no more than unpleasant, moody words. Do you dislike to have harsh words spoken to you? Remember that when you speak such words, others feel the sharp sting.... Parents, bring practical godliness into the home. Angels are not attracted to a home where discord reigns. Educate your children to speak words that will bring sunshine and joy.5 Encourage a Happy Frame of Mind—If there is anyone who should be continually grateful, it is the Christian. If there is anyone who enjoys happiness, even in this life, it is the faithful follower of Jesus Christ. It is the duty of God's children to be cheerful. They should encourage a happy frame of mind. God cannot be glorified by His children living continually under a cloud and casting a shadow wherever they go. The Christian should cast sunshine instead of a shadow.... He will bear a cheerful countenance.6 Children hate the gloom of clouds and sadness. Their hearts respond to brightness, to cheerfulness, to love.7 Smile, Parents, Smile—Some parents—and some teachers as well—seem to forget that they themselves were once children. They are dignified, cold, and unsympathetic.... Their faces habitually wear a solemn, reproving expression. Childish mirth or waywardness, the restless activity of the young life, finds no excuse in their eyes. Trifling misdemeanors are treated as grave sins. Such discipline is not Christlike. Children thus trained fear their parents or teachers, but do not love them; they do not confide to them their childish experiences. Some of the most valuable qualities of mind and heart are chilled to death, as a tender plant before the wintry blast. Smile, parents; smile, teachers. If your heart is sad, let not your face reveal the fact. Let the sunshine from a loving, grateful heart light up the countenance. Unbend from your iron dignity, adapt yourselves to the children's needs, and make them love you. You must win their affection if you would impress religious truth upon their heart.8 A Fitting Prayer—Make your work pleasant with songs of praise. If you would have a clean record in the books of heaven, never fret or scold. Let your daily prayer be, “Lord, teach me to do my best. Teach me how to do better work. Give me energy and cheerfulness.” ... Bring Christ into all that you do. Then your lives will be filled with brightness and thanksgiving.... Let us do our best, moving forward cheerfully in the service of the Lord, with our hearts filled with His joy.9 Teach Children to Be Grateful—“Thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given thee.” Thanksgiving and praise should be expressed to God for temporal blessings and for whatever comforts He bestows upon us. God would have every family that He is preparing to inhabit the eternal mansions above give glory to Him for the rich treasures of His grace. Were children, in the home life, educated and trained to be grateful to the Giver of all good things, we would see an element of heavenly grace manifest in our families. Cheerfulness would be seen in the home life, and coming from such homes, the youth would bring a spirit of respect and reverence with them into the schoolroom and into the church. There would be an attendance in the sanctuary where God meets with His people, a reverence for all the ordinances of His worship, and grateful praise and thanksgiving would be offered for all the gifts of His providence. If the word of the Lord were now as strictly carried out as it was when enjoined upon ancient Israel, fathers and mothers would give to their children an example which would be of the highest value.... Every temporal blessing would be received with gratitude, and every spiritual blessing become doubly precious because the perception of each member of the household had become sanctified by the Word of truth. The Lord Jesus is very near to those who thus appreciate His gracious gifts, tracing all their good things back to the benevolent, loving, care-taking God, and recognizing Him as the great Fountain of all comfort and consolation, the inexhaustible Source of grace.10
Chapter 28—Truthfulness Let Parents Be Models of Truthfulness—Parents and teachers, be true to God. Let your life be free from deceitful practices. Let no guile be found in your lips. However, disagreeable it may be to you at the time, let your ways, your words, and your works show uprightness in the sight of a holy God. Oh, the effect of the first lesson in deceit is terrible! Shall any who claim to be sons and daughters of God give themselves up to deceitful practices and lying? Never let your children have the semblance of an excuse for saying, Mother does not tell the truth. Father does not tell the truth. When you are tried in the heavenly courts, shall the record be made against your name, A deceiver? Shall your offspring be perverted by the example of those who ought to guide them in the way of truth? Instead of this, shall not the converting power of God enter the hearts of mothers and fathers? Shall not the Holy Spirit of God be allowed to make its mark upon their children? It cannot be expected that children will be altogether guileless. But there is danger that through unwise management, parents will destroy the frankness which should characterize child experience. By word and action parents should do all in their power to preserve artless simplicity. As children advance in years, parents should not give the slightest occasion for the sowing of that seed which will develop into deceit and falsehood, and mature into untrustworthy habits.1 Never Prevaricate—Parents should be models of truthfulness, for this is the daily lesson to be impressed upon the heart of the child. Undeviating principle should govern parents in all the affairs of life, especially in the education and training of their children. “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”2 A mother who lacks discernment, and who does not follow the guidance of the Lord, may educate her children to be deceivers and hypocrites. The traits of character thus cherished may become so persistent that to lie will be as natural as to breathe. Pretense will be taken for sincerity and reality.3 Parents, never prevaricate; never tell an untruth in precept or in example. If you want your child to be truthful, be truthful yourself. Be straight and undeviating. Even a slight prevarication should not be allowed. Because mothers are accustomed to prevaricate and be untruthful, the child follows her example.4 Untruthfulness Is Encouraged by Harsh Words—Do not become impatient with your children when they err. When you correct them, do not speak abruptly and harshly. This confuses them, making them afraid to tell the truth.5
Chapter 29—Honesty and Integrity Honesty to Be Practiced and Taught—It is essential that honesty be practiced in all the details of the mother's life, and it is important in the training of children to teach the youthful girls as well as boys never to prevaricate or to deceive in the least.1 The Standard God Requires—God wants men in His service, under His banner, to be strictly honest, unimpeachable in character, that their tongues shall not utter a semblance of untruth. The tongue must be true, the eyes must be true, the actions wholly and entirely such as God can commend. We are living in the sight of a holy God, who solemnly declares, “I know thy works.” The divine eye is ever upon us. We cannot cover one act of unjust deal from God. The witness of God to our every action is a truth which but few realize.2 Those who realize their dependence upon God will feel that they must be honest with their fellow men, and, above all, they must be honest with God, from whom come all the blessings of life. The evasion of the positive commands of God concerning tithes and offerings is registered in the books of heaven as robbery toward Him.3 Honest Weights and Measures—An honest man, according to Christ's measurement, is one who will manifest unbending integrity. Deceitful weights and false balances, with which many seek to advance their interests in the world, are abomination in the sight of God.... Firm integrity shines forth as gold amid the dross and rubbish of the world. Deceit, falsehood, and unfaithfulness may be glossed over and hidden from the eyes of man, but not from the eyes of God. The angels of God, who watch the development of character and weigh moral worth, record in the books of heaven these minor transactions which reveal character.4 Honest With Time and Money—Men are wanted whose sense of justice, even in the smallest matters, will not allow them to make an entry of their time that is not minute and correct—men who will realize that they are handling means that belong to God, and who would not unjustly appropriate one cent to their own use; men who will be just as faithful and exact, careful and diligent, in their labor, in the absence of their employer as in his presence, proving by their faithfulness that they are not merely men-pleasers, eyeservants, but are conscientious, faithful, true workmen, doing right, not for human praise, but because they love and choose the right from a high sense of their obligation to God.5 Just What He Wants Others to Think He Is—In every business transaction a Christian will be just what he wants his brethren to think he is. His course of action is guided by underlying principles. He does not scheme; therefore he has nothing to conceal, nothing to gloss over. He may be criticized, he may be tested, but his unbending integrity will shine forth like pure gold. He is a blessing to all connected with him, for his word is trustworthy. He is a man who will not take advantage of his neighbor. He is a friend and benefactor to all, and his fellow men put confidence in his counsel.... A truly honest man will never take advantage of weakness and incompetency in order to fill his own purse.6 Allow No Deviation From Rigid Honesty—In every business transaction be rigidly honest. However tempted, never deceive or prevaricate in the least matter. At times a natural impulse may bring temptation to diverge from the straightforward path of honesty, but do not vary one hairsbreadth. If in any matter you make a statement as to what you will do, and afterward find that you have favored others to your own loss, do not vary a hairsbreadth from principle. Carry out your agreement. By seeking to change your plans you would show that you could not be depended on. And should you draw back in little transactions, you would draw back in larger ones. Under such circumstances some are tempted to deceive, saying, I was not understood. My words have been taken to mean more than I intended. The fact is, they meant just what they said, but lost the good impulse, and then wanted to draw back from their agreement, lest it prove a loss to them. The Lord requires us to do justice, to love mercy, and truth, and righteousness.7 Maintain Strict Principles—In all the details of life the strictest principles of honesty are to be maintained.... Deviation from perfect fairness in business deal may appear as a small thing in the estimation of some, but our Saviour did not thus regard it. His words on this point are plain and explicit: “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” A man who will overreach his neighbor on a small scale will overreach in a larger scale if the temptation is brought to bear upon him. A false representation in a small matter is as much dishonesty in the sight of God as falsity in a larger matter.8 Honesty should stamp every action of our lives. Heavenly angels examine the work that is put into our hands; and where there has been a departure from the principles of truth, “wanting” is written in the records.9
Chapter 30—Self-reliance and Sense of Honor Train Every Child to Be Self-reliant—So far as possible, every child should be trained to self-reliance. By calling into exercise the various faculties, he will learn where he is strongest, and in what he is deficient. A wise instructor will give special attention to the development of the weaker traits, that the child may form a well-balanced, harmonious character.1 Too Much Ease Will Develop Weaklings—If parents, while they live, would assist their children to help themselves, it would be better than to leave them a large amount at death. Children who are left to rely principally upon their own exertions make better men and women and are better fitted for practical life than those children who have depended upon their father's estate. The children left to depend upon their own resources generally prize their abilities, improve their privileges, and cultivate and direct their faculties to accomplish a purpose in life. They frequently develop characters of industry, frugality, and moral worth, which lie at the foundation of success in the Christian life. Those children for whom parents do the most, frequently feel under the least obligation toward them.2 Obstacles Develop Strength—It is obstacles that make men strong. It is not helps, but difficulties, conflicts, rebuffs, that make men of moral sinew. Too much ease and avoiding responsibility have made weaklings and dwarfs of those who ought to be responsible men of moral power and strong spiritual muscle.3 From the earliest years it is necessary to weave into the character principles of stern integrity, that the youth may reach the highest standard of manhood and womanhood. They should ever keep the fact before their eyes that they have been bought with a price and should glorify God in their bodies and spirits, which are His. The youth should seriously consider what shall be their purpose and lifework, and lay the foundation in such a way that their habits shall be free from all taint of corruption. If they would stand in a position where they shall influence others, they must be self-reliant.4 Prepare Children to Meet Problems Bravely—Beyond the discipline of the home and the school, all have to meet the stern discipline of life. How to meet this wisely is a lesson that should be made plain to every child and to every youth. It is true that God loves us, that He is working for our happiness, and that, if His law had always been obeyed, we should never have known suffering; and it is no less true that, in this world, as the result of sin, suffering, trouble, burdens, come to every life. We may do the children and the youth a lifelong good by teaching them to meet bravely these troubles and burdens. While we should give them sympathy, let it never be such as to foster self-pity. What they need is that which stimulates and strengthens rather than weakens. They should be taught that this world is not a parade ground, but a battlefield. All are called to endure hardness, as good soldiers. They are to be strong and quit themselves like men. Let them be taught that the true test of character is found in the willingness to bear burdens, to take the hard place, to do the work that needs to be done, though it bring no earthly recognition or reward.5 Strengthen the Sense of Honor—The wise educator, in dealing with his pupils, will seek to encourage confidence and to strengthen the sense of honor. Children and youth are benefited by being trusted. Many, even of the little children, have a high sense of honor; all desire to be treated with confidence and respect, and this is their right. They should not be led to feel that they cannot go out or come in without being watched. Suspicion demoralizes, producing the very evils it seeks to prevent.... Lead the youth to feel that they are trusted, and there are few who will not seek to prove themselves worthy of the trust.6
Section 8—The Paramount Task—Character Development Chapter 31—Importance of Character The Only Treasure Taken From This World—A character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next. Those who are under the instruction of Christ in this world will take every divine attainment with them to the heavenly mansions. And in heaven we are continually to improve. How important, then, is the development of character in this life.1 True Character a Quality of the Soul—Mental ability and genius are not character, for these are often possessed by those who have the very opposite of a good character. Reputation is not character. True character is a quality of the soul, revealing itself in the conduct.2 A good character is a capital of more value than gold or silver. It is unaffected by panics or failures, and in that day when earthly possessions shall be swept away, it will bring rich returns. Integrity, firmness, and perseverance are qualities that all should seek earnestly to cultivate; for they clothe the possessor with a power which is irresistible—a power which makes him strong to do good, strong to resist evil, strong to bear adversity.3 Its Two Essential Elements—Strength of character consists of two things—power of will and power of self-control. Many youth mistake strong, uncontrolled passion for strength of character; but the truth is that he who is mastered by his passions is a weak man. The real greatness and nobility of the man is measured by his powers to subdue his feelings, not by the power of his feelings to subdue him. The strongest man is he who, while sensitive to abuse, will yet restrain passion and forgive his enemies.4 More Necessary Than Outward Show—If it were considered as important that the young possess a beautiful character and amiable disposition as it is that they imitate the fashions of the world in dress and deportment, we would see hundreds where there is one today coming upon the stage of active life prepared to exert an ennobling influence upon society.5 Its Development Is the Work of a Lifetime—The formation of character is the work of a lifetime, and it is for eternity. If all could realize this, if they would awake to the thought that we are individually deciding our own destiny for eternal life or eternal ruin, what a change would take place! How differently would this probationary time be occupied, and what different characters would fill our world!6 Development and Growth—The germination of the seed represents the beginning of spiritual life, and the development of the plant is a figure of the development of character. There can be no life without growth. The plant must either grow or die. As its growth is silent and imperceptible, but continuous, so is the growth of character. At every stage of development our life may be perfect; yet if God's purpose for us is fulfilled, there will be constant advancement.7 It Is the Harvest of Life—The harvest of life is character, and it is this that determines destiny, both for this life and for the life to come. The harvest is a reproduction of the seed sown. Every seed yields fruit after its kind. So it is with the traits of character we cherish. Selfishness, self-love, self-esteem, self-indulgence, reproduce themselves; and the end is wretchedness and ruin. “He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Galatians 6:8. Love, sympathy, and kindness yield fruitage of blessing, a harvest that is imperishable.8 The Greatest Evidence of Christianity—If Christian mothers will present to society children with integrity of character, with firm principles and sound morals, they will have performed the most important of all missionary labors. Their children, thoroughly educated to take their places in society, are the greatest evidence of Christianity that can be given to the world.9 The Influence of One Child Properly Trained—No higher work was ever committed to mortals than the shaping of character. Children are not only to be educated, but trained as well; and who can tell the future of a growing child, or youth? Let the greatest care be bestowed upon the culture of your children. One child, properly disciplined in the principles of truth, who has the love and fear of God woven through the character, will possess a power for good in the world that cannot be estimated.10
Chapter 32—How Character Is Formed Attained by Persevering, Untiring Effort—Character does not come by chance. It is not determined by one outburst of temper, one step in the wrong direction. It is the repetition of the act that causes it to become habit, and molds the character either for good or for evil. Right characters can be formed only by persevering, untiring effort, by improving every entrusted talent and capability to the glory of God. Instead of doing this, many allow themselves to drift wherever impulse or circumstances may carry them. This is not because they are lacking in good material, but because they do not realize that in their youth God wants them to do their very best.1 Our first duty to God and our fellow beings is in self-development. Every faculty with which the Creator has endowed us should be cultivated to the highest degree of perfection, that we may be able to do the greatest amount of good of which we are capable. In order to purify and refine our characters, we need the grace given us of Christ that will enable us to see and correct our deficiencies and improve that which is excellent in our characters.2 By Cultivating God-given Powers—To a great extent everyone is the architect of his own character. Every day the structure more nearly approaches completion. The Word of God warns us to take heed how we build, to see that our building is founded upon the Eternal Rock. The time is coming when our work will stand revealed just as it is. Now is the time for all to cultivate the powers that God has given them, that they may form characters for usefulness here and for a higher life hereafter. Faith in Christ as a personal Saviour will give strength and solidity to the character. Those who have genuine faith in Christ will be sober-minded, remembering that God's eye is upon them, that the Judge of all men is weighing moral worth, that heavenly intelligences are watching to see what manner of character is being developed.3 It Is Influenced by Every Act—Every act of life, however unimportant, has its influence in forming the character. A good character is more precious than worldly possessions, and the work of forming it is the noblest in which men can engage. Characters formed by circumstance are changeable and discordant—a mass of contraries. Their possessors have no high aim or purpose in life. They have no ennobling influence upon the characters of others. They are purposeless and powerless.4 Perfected by Following God's Pattern—God expects us to build characters in accordance with the pattern set before us. We are to lay brick by brick, adding grace to grace, finding our weak points and correcting them in accordance with the directions given. When a crack is seen in the walls of a mansion, we know that something about the building is wrong. In our character building, cracks are often seen. Unless these defects are remedied, the house will fall when the tempest of trial beats upon it.5 God gives us strength, reasoning power, time, in order that we may build characters on which He can place His stamp of approval. He desires each child of His to build a noble character, by the doing of pure, noble deeds, that in the end he may present a symmetrical structure, a fair temple, honored by man and God. In our character building we must build on Christ. He is the sure foundation—a foundation which can never be moved. The tempest of temptation and trial cannot move the building which is riveted to the Eternal Rock. He who would grow into a beautiful building for the Lord must cultivate every power of the being. It is only by the right use of the talents that the character can develop harmoniously. Thus we bring to the foundation that which is represented in the Word as gold, silver, precious stones—material that will stand the test of God's purifying fires. In our character building Christ is our example.6 Temptation Must Be Resisted—The life of Daniel is an inspired illustration of what constitutes a sanctified character. It presents a lesson for all, and especially for the young. A strict compliance with the requirements of God is beneficial to the health of body and mind.7 Daniel's parents had trained him in his childhood to habits of strict temperance. They had taught him that he must conform to nature's laws in all his habits; that his eating and drinking had a direct influence upon his physical, mental, and moral nature, and that he was accountable to God for his capabilities; for he held them all as a gift from God and must not, by any course of action, dwarf or cripple them. As the result of this teaching, the law of God was exalted in his mind and reverenced in his heart. During the early years of his captivity Daniel was passing through an ordeal which was to familiarize him with courtly grandeur, with hypocrisy, and with paganism. A strange school indeed to fit him for a life of sobriety, industry, and faithfulness! And yet he lived uncorrupted by the atmosphere of evil with which he was surrounded. Daniel and his companions enjoyed the benefits of correct training and education in early life, but these advantages alone would not have made them what they were. The time came when they must act for themselves—when their future depended upon their own course. Then they decided to be true to the lessons given them in childhood. The fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom, was the foundation of their greatness. His Spirit strengthened every true purpose, every noble resolution.8 The Aim Must Be High—If the youth today would stand as Daniel stood, they must put to the stretch every spiritual nerve and muscle. The Lord does not desire that they shall remain novices. He wishes them to reach the highest round of the ladder, that they may step from it into the kingdom of God.9 If the youth rightly appreciate this important matter of character building, they will see the necessity of doing their work so that it will stand the test of investigation before God. The humblest and weakest, by persevering effort in resisting temptation and seeking wisdom from above, may reach heights that now seem impossible. These attainments cannot come without a determined purpose to be faithful in the fulfillment of little duties. It requires constant watchfulness that crooked traits shall not be left to strengthen. The young may have moral power, for Jesus came into the world that He might be our example and give to all youth and those of every age divine help.10 Counsel and Reproof Must Be Heeded—Those who are defective in character, in conduct, in habits and practices, are to take heed to counsel and reproof. This world is God's workshop, and every stone that can be used in the heavenly temple must be hewed and polished, until it is a tried and precious stone, fitted for its place in the Lord's building. But if we refuse to be trained and disciplined, we shall be as stones that will not be hewed and polished, and that are cast aside at last as useless.11 It may be that much work needs to be done in your character building, that you are a rough stone which must be squared and polished before it can fill a place in God's temple. You need not be surprised if with hammer and chisel God cuts away the sharp corners of your character, until you are prepared to fill the place He has for you. No human being can accomplish this work. Only by God can it be done. And be assured that He will not strike one useless blow. His every blow is struck in love, for your eternal happiness. He knows your infirmities, and works to restore, not to destroy.12
Chapter 33—Parental Responsibility in Character Formation A Divine Commission to Parents—God has given parents their work, to form the characters of their children after the divine Pattern. By His grace they can accomplish the task; but it will require patient, painstaking effort, no less than firmness and decision, to guide the will and restrain the passions. A field left to itself produces only thorns and briers. He who would secure a harvest for usefulness or beauty must first prepare the soil and sow the seed, then dig about the young shoots, removing the weeds and softening the earth, and the precious plants will flourish and richly repay his care and labor.1 Character building is the most important work ever entrusted to human beings, and never before was its diligent study so important as now. Never was any previous generation called to meet issues so momentous; never before were young men and young women confronted by perils so great as confront them today.2 Here is your work, parents, to develop the characters of your children in harmony with the precepts of the Word of God. This work should come first, for eternal interests are here involved. The character building of your children is of more importance than the cultivation of your farms, more essential than the building of houses to live in, or of prosecuting any manner of business or trade.3 Home, the Best Place for Character Building—Neither the church school nor the college affords the opportunities for establishing a child's character building upon the right foundation that are afforded in the home.4 Crooked Characters Must Be Straightened—Those who do not make the crooked character straight in this life can have no part in the future immortal life. Oh, how important it is for the youth to keep straight. Parents act an important part in this matter. On them rests the sacred responsibility of training their children for God. To them has been given the work of helping their little ones form characters which will gain for them entrance into the courts above.5 Parents, Do Not Blunder Here—Parents, for Christ's sake do not blunder in your most important work, that of molding the characters of your children for time and for eternity. An error on your part in neglect of faithful instruction, or in the indulgence of that unwise affection which blinds your eyes to their defects and prevents you from giving them proper restraint, will prove their ruin. Your course may give a wrong direction to all their future career. You determine for them what they will be and what they will do for Christ, for men, and for their own souls. Deal honestly and faithfully with your children. Work bravely and patiently. Fear no crosses, spare no time or labor, burden or suffering. The future of your children will testify the character of your work. Fidelity to Christ on your part can be better expressed in the symmetrical character of your children than in any other way. They are Christ's property, bought with His own blood. If their influence is wholly on the side of Christ, they are His colaborers, helping others to find the path of life. If you neglect your God-given work, your unwise course of discipline places them among the class who scatter from Christ and strengthen the kingdom of darkness.6 A Clean House, but Children Untrained—I have seen a mother whose critical eye could discern anything imperfect in the matching of the woodwork of her house, and who was very particular to have her house cleaning thoroughly done at the precise time she had set, and would carry it through frequently at the expense of physical and spiritual health, while her children were left to run in the street and obtain a street education. These children were growing up coarse, selfish, rude, and disobedient. The mother, although she had hired help, was so much engaged in household cares that she could not afford time to properly train her children. She let them come up with deformity of character, undisciplined, and untrained. We could but feel that the fine taste of the mother was not exercised in the right direction, or she would have seen the necessity of molding the minds and manners of her children and educating them to have symmetrical characters and lovely tempers. If the mother had let these things which she had allowed to claim her first attention come in secondarily, she would have regarded the physical, mental, and moral training of her children of almost infinite importance. Those who take upon themselves the responsibility of mothers should feel under the most solemn obligation to God and to their children to so educate them that they will have amiable and affectionate dispositions, and that they will be pure in morals, refined in taste, and lovely in character.7 Only by God's Spirit—Shall we consider that we are capable of fashioning our lives and characters to enter into the portals of glory? We cannot do it. We are dependent every moment upon the Spirit of God operating upon us and upon our children.8 If parents would see a different state of things in their family, let them consecrate themselves wholly to God, and the Lord will devise ways and means whereby a transformation may take place in their households.9 God's Part and Yours—Christian parents, I entreat you to awake.... If you neglect your duty and shirk your responsibility, expecting the Lord to do your work, you will be disappointed. When you have faithfully done all that you can do, bring your children to Jesus; and with earnest, persevering faith, make intercession for them. The Lord will be your helper; He will work with your efforts; in His strength you will gain the victory.... When parents shall manifest such an interest for their children as God would have them, He will hear their prayers and work with their efforts; but God does not propose to do the work which He has left for parents to do.10 The Creator Will Help You—Mothers, remember that in your work the Creator of the universe will give you help. In His strength, and through His name, you can lead your children to be overcomers. Teach them to look to God for strength. Tell them that He hears their prayers. Teach them to overcome evil with good. Teach them to exert an influence that is elevating and ennobling. Lead them to unite with God, and then they will have strength to resist the strongest temptation. They will then receive the reward of the overcomer.11 Your compassionate Redeemer is watching you in love and sympathy, ready to hear your prayers and render you the assistance which you need in your lifework. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, and charity are the elements of the Christian character. These precious graces are the fruits of the Spirit. They are the Christian's crown and shield.12 A Word of Encouragement to Those Who Have Erred—Those who have been training their children in an improper way need not despair; let them become converted to God and seek for the true spirit of obedience, and they will be enabled to make decided reforms. In conforming your own customs to the saving principles of God's holy law, you will have an influence upon your children.13 Some Children Will Refuse to Heed Parental Counsel—Parents may do everything in their power to give their children every privilege and instruction, in order that they may give their hearts to God; yet the children may refuse to walk in the light and, by their evil course, cast unfavorable reflections upon their parents who love them, and whose hearts yearn after their salvation. It is Satan who tempts children to follow in a course of sin and disobedience.... If they refuse to walk in the light, if they refuse to submit their will and way to God, and persist in following a course of sin in their impenitence, the light and privileges they have had will rise up in judgment against them, because they did not walk in the light, and knew not whither they went. Satan is leading them, and they become a subject of remark in the world. People will say, “Why, look at those children! Their parents are very religious, but you see they are worse than my children, and I do not profess to be a Christian.” In this way children who receive good instruction and yet do not heed it cast a reproach upon their parents, dishonoring them, and putting them to shame before an ungodly world. They also bring a reproach upon the religion of Jesus Christ through their wicked course of action.14 Parents, This Is Your Work—Parents, it is your work to develop in your children patience, constancy, and genuine love. In dealing aright with the children God has given you, you are helping them lay the foundation for pure, well-balanced characters. You are instilling into their minds principles which they will one day follow in their own families. The effect of your well-directed efforts will be seen as they conduct their households in the way of the Lord.15
Chapter 11—Christian Character Exemplified in Teachers and Students In the name of my Master I appeal to the young men and women who claim to be sons and daughters of God, to obey the word of God. I appeal to teachers in our schools to set a right example to those with whom they are associated. Those who would be qualified to mould the character of the youth, must be learners in the school of Christ, that they may be meek and lowly of heart, as was the divine Pattern. In dress, in deportment, in all their ways, they should exemplify the Christian character, revealing the fact that they are under wise disciplinary rules of the great Teacher. The Christian youth should be in earnest, trained to bear responsibilities with brave heart and willing hand. He should be ready to encounter the trials of life with patience and fortitude. He should seek to form a character after the model of the divine One, following maxims of worth, confirming himself in habits that will enable him to win the victor's crown. In school life the youth may sow seeds which will bear a harvest, not of thorns, but of precious grain for the heavenly garner. There is no time more favorable than the time spent in school in which to acknowledge the power of Christ's saving grace, to be controlled by the principles of the divine law, and it is for the student's interest to live a godly life. The crowning glory of life results from a connection with Christ. No man liveth unto himself. Your life is interwoven with all others in the common web of humanity, and you are to be laborers together with God for the salvation of those who perish in degradation and woe. You are to be instruments in influencing all those with whom you associate to a better life, to direct the mind to Jesus. John writes: “I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” [1 John 2:14.] And Paul exhorts Timothy to bid the young men to “be sober-minded.” [Titus 2:6.] Elevate your soul to be as was Daniel, a loyal, steadfast servant of the Lord of hosts. Ponder well the path of your feet; for you are standing on holy ground, and the angels of God are about you. It is right that you should feel that you must climb to the highest round of the educational ladder. Philosophy and history are important studies; but your sacrifice of time and money will avail nothing, if you do not use your attainments for the honor of God and the good of humanity. Unless the knowledge of science is a stepping stone to the attainment of the highest purposes, it is worthless. The education that does not furnish knowledge as enduring as eternity, is of no purpose. Unless you keep heaven and the future, immortal life before you, your attainments are of no permanent value. But if Jesus is your teacher, not simply on one day of the week, but every day, every hour, you may have his smile upon you in the pursuit of literary acquirements. Daniel ever kept before him the glory of God, and you should also say, Lord, I desire knowledge, not for the glorification of self, but to meet the expectation of Jesus, that I may perfect an intelligent Christian character, through the grace he has given unto me. Will the students be true to principle as was Daniel? In the future there will be more pressing need of men and women of literary qualifications than there has been in the past; for broad fields are opening out before us, white already for harvest. In these fields you may be laborers together with God. But if you are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, if you are filled with levity, if you allow the golden opportunities to pass without acquiring knowledge, without placing solid timbers in your character building, you will be dwarfed and crippled in any line of occupation you may undertake. While a good education is a great benefit if combined with consecration in its possessor, still those who do not have the privilege of gaining high literary attainments need not think they cannot advance in intellectual and spiritual life. If they will make the most of the knowledge they have, if they will seek to gather something to their store every day, and will overcome all perverseness of temper through the studious cultivation of Christ-like traits of character, God will open channels of wisdom to them, and it may be said of them as it was said of old, concerning the Hebrew children, God gave them wisdom and understanding. It is not that brilliant young men always make the greatest success. How often men of talent and education have been placed in positions of trust, and have proved failures. Their glitter had the appearance of gold, but when it was tried, it proved to be but tinsel and dross. They made a failure of their work through unfaithfulness. They were not industrious and persevering, and did not go to the bottom of things. They were not willing to begin at the bottom of the ladder, and with patient toil, ascend round after round till they reached the top. They walked in the sparks (their bright flashes of thought) of their own kindling. They did not depend on the wisdom which God alone can give. Their failure was not because they did not have a chance, but because they were not sober-minded. They did not feel that their educational advantages were of value to them, and so did not advance as they might have advanced in the knowledge of religion and science. Their mind and character were not balanced by high principles of right. Let our young men be sober, and ponder the ways of their feet. Let them shun sin because it is destructive in its tendencies and displeasing to God. Let them discern what possibilities are within their reach, and seek God for grace to keep in the paths of righteousness. Let them seek the counsel and guidance of the Lord, that they may spend their lives for his glory in the world. In obtaining an education, success is not to be regarded as a matter of chance or destiny; it is from that God who read the heart of Daniel, who looked with pleasure upon his purity of motive, his determination of purpose to honor the Lord. Daniel did not walk in sparks of his own kindling, but made the Lord his wisdom. Divine philosophy was made the foundation of his education. He welcomed the counsel of the Lord. Would that all students were as was Daniel; but many do not see the importance of submitting to divine discipline. O, that all might realize that without Christ they can do nothing! Those who do not gather with him scatter abroad. Their thoughts and actions will not bear the right character, and their influence will be destructive of good. Our actions have a twofold influence; for they affect others as well as ourselves. This influence will either be a blessing or a curse to those with whom we associate. How little we appreciate this fact. Actions make habits, and habits, character, and if we do not guard our habits, we shall not be qualified to unite with heavenly agencies in the work of salvation, nor be prepared to enter the heavenly mansions that Jesus has gone to prepare; for no one will be there except those who have surrendered their will and way to God's will and way. He whose character is proved, who has stood the test of trial, who is a partaker of the divine nature, will be among those whom Christ pronounces blessed. Without Christ we can do nothing. The pure principles of uprightness, virtue, and goodness are all from God. A conscientious discharge of duty, Christ-like sympathy, love for souls and love for your own soul, because you belong to God, and have been bought with the precious blood of Christ, will make you a laborer together with God, and endow you with persuasive, drawing power. You must respect your own faith in order successfully to introduce it to others. By example as well as precept, you must show that you reverence your faith, speaking reverently of sacred things. Never allow one expression of lightness and trifling to escape your lips when quoting scripture. As you take the Bible in your hands, remember that you are on holy ground. Angels are around you, and could your eyes be opened, you would behold them. Let your conduct be such that you will leave the impression upon every soul with whom you associate that a pure and holy atmosphere surrounds you. One vain word, one trifling laugh, may balance a soul in the wrong direction. Terrible are the consequences of not having a constant connection with God. Abstain from all evil. Common sins, however insignificant they may be regarded, will impair your moral sense, and extinguish the inward impression of the Spirit of God. The character of the thoughts leaves its imprint upon the soul, and all low conversation pollutes the mind. All evil works ruin to those who commit it. God may and will forgive the repenting sinner, but though forgiven, the soul is marred; the power of the elevated thought possible to the unimpaired mind is destroyed. Through all time the soul bears the scars. Then let us seek for that faith which works by love and purifies the heart, that we may represent the character of Christ to the world.—The Review and Herald, December 8, 1891.
when you are God centered life is viewed from the divine perspective only and the bible is the rule the commandments absolute. however from the man centered approach force is the way the bible is fantasy the commandments do not exist and love is killed in every way possible.my life is god centered because my father has had HIS say always from the foundation of the world as brutal as it has been the love of Jesus keeps this life together along side the is a life that over 90% lacks human touch and it only takes 1 year without to kill and now I have cancer and type 2 diabetes which is my fault because I am over 220 lbs. over weight but Jesus has preserved this life and will conquer.
No Compromise on Sabbath Doctrine—The people of the world will try to induce us to soften our message, to suppress one of its more distinctive features. They say: “Why do you in your teaching make the seventh-day Sabbath so prominent? This seems to be always thrust before us; we should harmonize with you if you would not say so much on this point; keep the seventh-day Sabbath out of the Sentinel, [reference is here made to The American Sentinel (1886-1901), a weekly devoted to the propagation of the principles of religious liberty. It was followed in 1901-1904 by the monthly Sentinel of Christian Liberty.] and we will give it our influence and support.” And there has been a disposition on the part of some of our workers to adopt this policy.
Chapter 29—The Sabbath “It is a sign between Me and you;...that ye may know that I am the Lord.” The value of the Sabbath as a means of education is beyond estimate. Whatever of ours God claims from us, He returns again, enriched, transfigured, with His own glory. The tithe that He claimed from Israel was devoted to preserving among men, in its glorious beauty, the pattern of His temple in the heavens, the token of His presence on the earth. So the portion of our time which He claims is given again to us, bearing His name and seal. “It is a sign,” He says, “between Me and you; ... that ye may know that I am the Lord;” because “in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 31:13; 20:11. The Sabbath is a sign of creative and redeeming power; it points to God as the source of life and knowledge; it recalls man's primeval glory, and thus witnesses to God's purpose to re-create us in His own image. The Sabbath and the family were alike instituted in Eden, and in God's purpose they are indissolubly linked together. On this day more than on any other, it is possible for us to live the life of Eden. It was God's plan for the members of the family to be associated in work and study, in worship and recreation, the father as priest of his household, and both father and mother as teachers and companions of their children. But the results of sin, having changed the conditions of life, to a great degree prevent this association. Often the father hardly sees the faces of his children throughout the week. He is almost wholly deprived of opportunity for companionship or instruction. But God's love has set a limit to the demands of toil. Over the Sabbath He places His merciful hand. In His own day He preserves for the family opportunity for communion with Him, with nature, and with one another. Since the Sabbath is the memorial of creative power, it is the day above all others when we should acquaint ourselves with God through His works. In the minds of the children the very thought of the Sabbath should be bound up with the beauty of natural things. Happy is the family who can go to the place of worship on the Sabbath as Jesus and His disciples went to the synagogue—across the fields, along the shores of the lake, or through the groves. Happy the father and mother who can teach their children God's written word with illustrations from the open pages of the book of nature; who can gather under the green trees, in the fresh, pure air, to study the word and to sing the praise of the Father above. By such associations parents may bind their children to their hearts, and thus to God, by ties that can never be broken. As a means of intellectual training, the opportunities of the Sabbath are invaluable. Let the Sabbath-school lesson be learned, not by a hasty glance at the lesson scripture on Sabbath morning, but by careful study for the next week on Sabbath afternoon, with daily review or illustration during the week. Thus the lesson will become fixed in the memory, a treasure never to be wholly lost. In listening to the sermon, let parents and children note the text and the scriptures quoted, and as much as possible of the line of thought, to repeat to one another at home. This will go far toward relieving the weariness with which children so often listen to a sermon, and it will cultivate in all a habit of attention and of connected thought. Meditation on the themes thus suggested will open to the student treasures of which he has never dreamed. He will prove in his own life the reality of the experience described in the scripture: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.” Jeremiah 15:16. “I will meditate in Thy statutes.” “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold.... Moreover by them is Thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” Psalm 119:48; 19:10, 11.
The Ministry of Song Students who have learned to sing sweet gospel songs with melody and distinctness, can do much good as singing evangelists. They will find many opportunities to use the talent that God has given them in carrying melody and sunshine into many lonely places darkened by sorrow and affliction, singing to those who seldom have church privileges. Students, go out into the highways and hedges. Endeavor to reach the higher as well as the lower classes. Enter the homes of the rich as well as the poor, and as you have opportunity, ask, “Would you be pleased to have us sing some gospel hymns?” Then as hearts are softened, the way may open for you to offer a few words of prayer for the blessing of God. Not many will refuse to listen. Such ministry is genuine missionary work.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 547, 548.
Study the Scriptures My brethren and sisters, old and young, when you have an hour of leisure open the Bible and store the mind with its precious truths. When engaged in labor, guard the mind, keep it stayed upon God, talk less and meditate more. Remember, “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36. Let your words be select; this will close a door against the adversary of souls. Let your day be entered upon with prayer; work as in God's sight. His angels are ever by your side, making a record of your words, your deportment, and the manner in which your work is done. If you turn from good counsel and choose to associate with those who you have reason to suspect are not religiously inclined, although they profess to be Christians, you will soon become like them. You place yourself in the way of temptation, on Satan's battleground, and will, unless constantly guarded, be overcome by his devices. There are persons who have for some time made a profession of religion, who are, to all intents and purposes, without God and without a sensitive conscience. They are vain and trifling; their conversation is of a low order. Courtship and marriage occupy the mind to the exclusion of higher and nobler thoughts. The associations chosen by the workers are determining their destiny for this world and for the next. Some who were once conscientious and faithful have sadly changed; they have disconnected from God, and Satan has allured them to his side. They are now irreligious and irreverent, and they have an influence upon others who are easily molded. Evil associations are deteriorating character; principle is being undermined. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20.
you will find three different statements in this box separated by a small space. Prayerful Study We should exert all the powers of the mind in the study of the Scriptures, and should task the understanding to comprehend, as far as mortals can, the deep things of God; yet we must not forget that the docility and submission of a child is the true spirit of the learner. Scriptural difficulties can never be mastered by the same methods that are employed in grappling with philosophical problems. We should not engage in the study of the Bible with that self-reliance with which so many enter the domains of science, but with a prayerful dependence upon God, and a sincere desire to learn His will. We must come with a humble and teachable spirit to obtain knowledge from the great I AM. Otherwise, evil angels will so blind our minds and harden our hearts that we shall not be impressed by the truth. Many a portion of Scripture which learned men pronounce a mystery, or pass over as unimportant, is full of comfort and instruction to him who has been taught in the school of Christ. One reason why many theologians have no clearer understanding of God's word is, they close their eyes to truths which they do not wish to practice. An understanding of Bible truth depends not so much on the power of intellect brought to the search as on the singleness of purpose, the earnest longing after righteousness. The Bible should never be studied without prayer. The Holy Spirit alone can cause us to feel the importance of those things easy to be understood, or prevent us from wresting truths difficult of comprehension. It is the office of heavenly angels to prepare the heart so to comprehend God's word that we shall be charmed with its beauty, admonished by its warnings, or animated and strengthened by its promises. We should make the psalmist's petition our own, “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” Temptations often appear irresistible because, through neglect of prayer and the study of the Bible, the tempted one cannot readily remember God's promises and meet Satan with the Scripture weapons. But angels are round about those who are willing to be taught in divine things; and in the time of great necessity, they will bring to their remembrance the very truths which are needed.—Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, 121, 122. The Bible Above all, take time to read the Bible—the Book of books. A daily study of the Scriptures has a sanctifying, uplifting influence upon the mind. Bind the Holy Volume to your hearts. It will prove to you a friend and guide in perplexity. Both old and young neglect the Bible. They do not make it their study, the rule of their life. Especially are the young guilty of this neglect. Most of them find time to read other books, but the Book that points out the way to eternal life is not daily studied. Idle stories are attentively read, while the Bible is neglected. This Book is our guide to a higher, holier life. The youth would pronounce it the most interesting book they ever read had not their imagination been perverted by the reading of fictitious stories. Youthful minds fail to reach their noblest development when they neglect the highest source of wisdom—the word of God. That we are in God's world, in the presence of the Creator; that we are made in His likeness; that He watches over us and loves us and cares for us—these are wonderful themes for thought, and lead the mind into broad, exalted fields of meditation. He who opens mind and heart to the contemplation of such themes as these will never be satisfied with trivial, sensational subjects. The importance of seeking a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures can hardly be estimated. “Given by inspiration of God,” able to make us “wise unto salvation,” rendering the man of God “perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:15-17), the Bible has the highest claim to our reverent attention. We should not be satisfied with a superficial knowledge, but should seek to learn the full meaning of the words of truth, to drink deep of the spirit of the Holy Oracles. Some Results of Bible Study The Bible contains all that is needful for the saving of the soul, and at the same time it is adapted to strengthen and discipline the mind. Used as a textbook in our schools, it will be found far more effective than any other book in guiding wisely in the affairs of this life, as well as in aiding the soul to climb the ladder that reaches to heaven. The Bible gives the true seeker an advanced mental drill; he comes from the contemplation of divine things with his faculties enriched. Self is humbled, while God and His truth are exalted. It is because men are unacquainted with the truths of the Bible that there is so much lifting up of man and so little honor given to God. In searching the pages of God's word, we move through scenes majestic and eternal. We behold Jesus, the Son of God, coming to our world and engaging in the mysterious conflict that discomfited the powers of darkness. How wonderful, how almost incredible, it is that the infinite God would consent to the humiliation of His only-begotten Son! Let students contemplate this great thought. They will not come from such contemplation without being elevated, purified, ennobled. God's word is the spiritual food by which the Christian must grow strong in spirit and in intellect, that he may do battle for truth and righteousness. The Bible teaches that every besetting sin must be put away, that the warfare against evil must be waged until every wrong is overcome. The human agent must place himself as a willing student in the school of Christ. As he accepts the grace freely offered him, the presence of the Saviour in the thoughts and in the heart will give him decision of purpose to lay aside every weight, that the heart may be filled with all the fullness of God. The simplicity of true godliness must be brought into the education of our young people, if they are to know how to escape the corruption that is in the world. They must be taught that the true followers of Christ will serve God not only when it is in accordance with their inclinations, but also when it involves self-denial and cross-bearing. Besetting sins must be battled with and overcome. Objectionable traits of character, whether hereditary or cultivated, must be compared with the great rule of righteousness, and then conquered in the strength of Christ. Day by day, hour by hour, a vigorous work of self-denial and of sanctification must go on within; then the works will bear witness that Jesus is abiding in the heart by faith. Sanctification does not close the avenues of the soul to knowledge, but expands the mind and inspires it to search for truth as for hidden treasure.
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