The surrender of all our powers to God greatly simplifies the problem of life. It weakens and cuts short a thousand struggles with the passions of the natural heart.
The young affections should be restrained until the period arrives when sufficient age and experience will make it honourable and safe to unfetter them.
A little time spent in sowing your wild oats, dear young friends, will produce a crop that will embitter your whole life; an hour of thoughtlessness, once yielding to temptation, may turn the whole current of your life in the wrong direction. You can have but one youth; make that useful. When once you have passed over the ground, you can never return to rectify your mistakes. He who refuses to connect with God, and puts himself in the way of temptation will surely fall. God is testing every youth.
Sensuality is the sin of the age. But the religion of Jesus Christ will hold the lines of control over every species or unlawful liberty: the moral powers will hold the lines of control over every thought, word, and action. Guile will not be found in the lips of the true Christian. Not an impure thought will be indulged in, not a word spoken that is approaching to sensuality, not an action that has the least appearance of evil.
Do not see how close you can walk upon the brink of a precipice, and be safe. Avoid the first approach to danger. The soul's interests cannot be trifled with. Your capital is your character. Cherish it as you would a golden treasure. Moral purity, self-respect,
a strong power of resistance, must be firmly and constantly cherished.
Every unholy passion must be kept under the control of sanctified reason through the grace abundantly bestowed of God in every emergency. But let no arrangement be made to create an emergency, let there be no voluntary act to place one where he will be assailed with temptation, or give the least occasion for others to think him guilty of indiscretion.
As long as life shall last, there is need of guarding the affections and the passions with a firm purpose. There is inward corruption, there are outward temptations, and wherever the work of God shall be advanced, Satan plans so to arrange circumstances that temptation shall come with overpowering force upon the soul. Not one moment can we be secure only as we are relying upon God, the life hid with Christ in God.
WILLIAM IS APPARENTLY TOTALLY INFATUATED WITH CAROL. IN THIS SERIES OF LETTERS, WE SEE THE CONTINUING EFFORT OF ELLEN WHITE TO GET THROUGH TO HIM. CAROL HAS ENCOURAGED A FRIENDSHIP THAT HAS ALMOST TOTALLY ABSORBED THE ATTENTION OF BOTH OF THEM. IT HAS GONE FAR BEYOND THE BOUNDS OF WHAT IS RIGHT AND HONOURABLE, AND THEY ARE DEEPLY INVOLVED IN PRACTICES THAT SHOULD, AS ELLEN WHITE SAYS, BE RESERVED FOR MARRIAGE.
SUCH A RELATIONSHIP THREATENS THE FUTURE USEFULNESS OF BOTH WILLIAM AND CAROL. ELLEN WHITE URGES THAT EITHER THEY BREAK IT OFF, OR GET MARRIED, SO THEY DON'T RUIN THEIR REPUTATIONS, AND EFFECT THEIR WITNESS AS CHRISTIANS.
Letter No. 1 Ballardvale, Mass. August, 1879
I go to my tent with aching heart, to relieve my mind by writing you some things which were shown me in vision.
The Lord has shown you that your association with Carol was not in any way calculated to help your morals or strengthen your spirituality. You have made some feeble attempts to break away from her society, but you have soon renewed your attention to her, she sometimes making the advance, and you infatuated with her.
You have spent hours of the night in her company because you were both infatuated. She professes love for you but she knows not the pure love of an unpretending heart.
I was shown you are fascinated, deceived, and Satan exults that one who has scarcely a trait of character that would make a happy wife and a happy home should have an influence to separate you from the mother who loves you with a changeless affection. In the name of the Lord cease your attentions to Carol or marry her-do not scandalise the cause of God.
You have pursued your own course irrespective of consequences. Your heart has rebelled against your mother because she could not in any way receive Carol or sanction the attention you gave her.
The intimacy formed with Carol has not had a tendency to bring you nearer the Lord or to sanctify you through the truth. You are risking your eternal interest in the company of this girl.
Carol expects to consummate a marriage with you and you have given her encouragement to expect this by your attentions. Your happiness in this life and in the future life is in peril. You have followed her deceptive, foolish entreaties and your own judgement which have not made you a more consistent Christian or a more faithful, dutiful son. If the atmosphere surrounding her is the most agreeable to you, if she meets your standard for a wife to stand at the head of your family; if, in your calm judgement, taken in the light given you of God, her example would
be worthy of imitation, you might as well marry her as to be in her society and conduct yourselves as only man and wife should conduct themselves towards each other.
Your acts and conversation are offensive to God. The angels of God bear record of your words and your actions. The light has been given you but you have not heeded it. The course you have pursued is a reproach to the cause of God. Your behaviour is unbecoming and unchristian. When you should both be in your beds you have been in one another's society and in one another's arms nearly the entire night. Have your thoughts been more pure, more holy, more elevated and ennobled? Did you have clear views of duty-greater love for God and the truth?
Ellen G. White.
Letter No. 2 January 12, 1880
I arise early this morning. My mind is not at rest in regard to you. Your case was shown me. The Ledger of Heaven was opened and I read there a record of your life.
You cast most bitter reflection upon yourself that you had trusted to your own judgement and walked in your own wisdom, rejected the voice of God, despised the warnings and advice of His servants, and with a perseverance and persistency followed your own pernicious ways by which the way of truth was evil spoken of, and souls were lost who might have been saved through your instrumentality.
Much more I might relate in reference to you, but this is enough for the present. I felt so grateful when I came out of vision and found it was not a present reality, that probation still lingered. And now I call upon you to make haste and no longer trifle with eternal things.
You flatter yourself that you are honest, but you are not. You have been and still are welding the chains by your own course of conduct with Carol that will hold you in the veriest bondage. The voice of God you have rejected: the voice of Satan you have heeded. You act like a man bereft of his senses, and for what? A girl without principle, without one really loveable trait of character, proud, extravagant, self-willed, unconsecrated, impatient, heady, without natural affection, impulsive. Yet if you cut entirely loose she might stand a better chance to see herself and humble her heart before God.
It is always a critical period in a young man's life when he is separated from home influences and wise counsels and enters upon new scenes and trying tests. If, without will or choice of his own, he is placed in dangerous positions and relies upon God for strength-cherishing the love of God in his heart-he will be kept from yielding to temptation by the power of God who placed him in that trying position.
What a difference there was in Joseph's case and the case of young men who apparently force their way into the very field of
the enemy, exposing themselves to the fierce assaults of Satan.
The Lord prospered Joseph, but in the midst of his prosperity comes the darkest adversity. The wife of his master is a licentious woman, one who urged his steps to take hold on hell. Will Joseph yield his moral gold of character to the seductions of a corrupt woman? Will he remember that the eye of God is upon him?
Few temptations are more dangerous or more fatal to young men than the temptation to sensuality, and none if yielded to will prove so decidedly ruinous to soul and body for time and eternity. The welfare of his entire future is suspended upon the decision of a moment. Joseph calmly casts his eyes to heaven for help, slips off his loose outer garment, leaving it in the hand of his tempter, and while his eye is lighted with determined resolve in the place of unholy passion, he exclaims, "How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" The victory is gained; he flees from the enchanter; he is saved.
You have had an opportunity to show whether your religion was a practical reality. You have taken liberties in the sight of God and holy angels that you would not take under the observation of your fellow men. True religion extends to all the thoughts of the mind, penetrating to all the secret thoughts of the heart, to all the motives of action, to the object and direction of the affections, to the whole framework of our lives. "Thou God seest me," will be the watchword, the guard of the life. You may take these lessons home. You have need to learn, and may God help you.
Ellen G. White.
Letter No. 3 Hornellsville, New York September 9, 1880
I feel a deep interest that this last call shall not be treated indifferently as the former have been. It is the last invitation you will have, if you do not heed this.
It remains to be seen now whether you will pursue the course of infatuation you have done, whether Carol will after her confession do the same that she has done. I was shown her course was like this, she would make open acknowledgement and then draw upon your sympathies in a most pathetic manner in letters and in conversation. You have been drawn to her again to give her sympathy and encouragement and you were so weak, so completely blinded that you were entangled again more firmly than ever.
You were shown me in her society hours of the night; you know best in what manner these hours were spent. You called on me to speak whether you had broken God's commandments. I ask you, Have you not broken them? How was your time employed hours together night after night? Were your position, your attitude, your affections such that you would want them all registered in the Ledger of Heaven? I saw, I heard things that would make angels blush.
No young man should do as you have done to Carol unless married to her; and I was much surprised to see that you did not sense this matter more keenly. I write now to implore you for your soul's sake to dally with temptation no longer. Make short work in breaking this spell that like a fearful nightmare has brooded over you. Cut yourself loose now and forever, if you have any desire for the favour of God.
Such a course as you have pursued has been enough to destroy confidence in you as an honest man and as a Christian, and unless you were under the bewitching of satanic power you would not have done as you have. But I stand in doubt of you now whether you will change your course of action. I know the power that holds his enchantment over you, and I want you to
see and sense it before it shall be too late. Will you now change entirely, cut the last connection with Carol? Will she do this on her part? If neither of you will do this, marry her at once and disgrace yourselves and the cause of God no more.
You have signally failed in almost every respect. Now the rest of your life seek to get back what you have lost. Let the Ledger of Heaven give a different record of your course.
God bless you.
Ellen G. White.
Letter No. 4 September 1880
I am pleased to receive a letter from you and was pleased to read your suggestions that it was your mind to remain where you are until you have proved yourself or undone the influence you have exerted. I am pleased that you feel thus. I have, you will see, written very positively and plainly for thus the matter was shown me, and the regard I have for your soul prompted me to relate your case as it was shown me, as one of great peril. It will be difficult for you to see it thus, but in a dream last night you were saying to your mother, If this is the way the case really is, there is no use for me to try for I should fail.
Said I, William, when you try with all perseverance and determined will to retrace your steps and recover yourself from Satan's snare, you will escape from your bondage and be a free man. It will require a strong will, in the strength of Jesus, to break up the force of habit, dismiss the adversary of souls that has been entertained by you so long. Exchange guests, and welcome Jesus to take possession of the soul temple. But He does not share the heart with Satan. You can make even now in this late period a determined effort, not in your strength but in the strength of Jesus.
Let your heart break before God and confess and forsake those things which have separated you from God. This is the work of repentance that you must begin with your mother. You will never come to the light unless you do this. Leave no work undone that you can do to make wrongs right, for you have come now to the crisis.
You will have the trial, you will be proved of God. If you come forth as pure gold, then God will use you. Be not faithless, but believing. Your trial will not be for the present joyous, but rather, grievous, but it will afterwards yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness. "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" (Hebrews 12:6, 7)
Now your steps must be down deep in the valley of humiliation. You have felt, my mountain stands sure. I can keep myself. But your past experience and your present position is one that should give you clear discernment of man's depravity because of his departure from God.
Now, my dear boy, for Christ's sake enter into no further deception in your course. Work as for eternity. Confer not with yourself, but let your heart break before God lest that stone fall upon you and grind you to powder.
What more shall I say to you? What can I say? I want you to be saved. I want you to stand perfect before God.
Yours in love,
Ellen G. White.
Letter 50, 1880
Trifling with Hearts
To trifle with hearts is a crime of no small magnitude in the sight of a holy God. And yet some will show preference for young ladies and call out their affections, and then go their way and forget all about the words they have spoken and their effect. A new face attracts them, and they repeat the same words, devote to another the same attentions.
This disposition will reveal itself in the married life. The marriage relation does not always make the fickle mind firm, the wavering steadfast and true to principle. They tire of constancy, and unholy thoughts will manifest themselves in unholy actions?
The women in this age, both married and unmarried, too frequently do not maintain the reserve that is necessary. They encourage the attentions of single and married men, and those who are weak in moral power will be ensnared. Thoughts are awakened that would not have been if woman had kept her place in all modesty and sobriety.
By being circumspect, reserved, taking no liberties, receiving no unwarrantable attentions, but preserving a high moral tone and becoming dignity, much evil might be avoided.
Women are too often tempters. On one pretence or another they engage the attention of men, married or unmarried, and lead them on till they transgress the law of God, till their usefulness is ruined, and their souls are in jeopardy.
Shall not the women professing the truth keep strict guard over themselves, lest the least encouragement be given to unwarrantable familiarity? They may close many a door of temptation if they will observe at all times strict reserve and propriety of deportment.
JANET IS IMPULSIVE, AND IS IN DANGER OF MAKING DECISIONS THAT WILL AFFECT HER OWN LIFE AND HER WITNESS TO OTHERS IN A NEGATIVE WAY. ELLEN WHITE URGES HER TO PUT SCHOOL FIRST AT THE TIME, AND THUS PREPARE FOR A USEFUL LIFE FOR THE LORD.
JANET WORKED FOR A PERIOD OF TIME IN ELLEN WHITE'S HOME, THUS THEY WERE PERSONALLY ACQUAINTED WITH EACH OTHER.
Hastings, New Zealand September 13, 1893
I have been awakened early this morning at three o'clock. I was in earnest conversation with you in the night, and was saying, "Janet, the Lord has a work for you to do." I was presenting before you the perils of your past life.
I have felt the burden laid upon me to have a watch-care for your soul. You are in danger of making grievous blunders in following impulse. God has saved you from entering into marriage relations with persons who were not in any way calculated to make you happy, and who were corrupt in morals and would have fastened you in Satan's snare, where you would have been miserable in this life and imperilled your soul. Will not the past lessons be sufficient for you? You are altogether too free with your affections, and would if left to your own course of action make a life-long mistake. Do not sell yourself at a cheap market.
You must take heed and not be careless of your associations. In order to act your part in the service of God, you must go forth with the advantages of as thorough an intellectual training as possible. You need a vigorous, symmetrical development of the mental capabilities, a graceful, Christian, many-sided development of culture, to be a true worker for God.
You must consider every step in the light that you are not your own, you are bought with a price. I write you this now, and will write again ere long, for as the mistake of your past life has been set before me, I dare not withhold most earnest entreaties that you hold yourself strictly to discipline.
You are now in your student's life; let your mind dwell upon spiritual subjects. Keep all sentimentalism apart from your life. You are now in the formative period of character; nothing with you is to be considered trivial or unimportant which will detract from your highest, holiest interest, your efficiency in the preparation to do the work God has assigned you.
It is your duty to remove every objectionable feature of character that you may be complete in Christ Jesus. You have a
large fund of affection and will need to be constantly guarded lest you bestow your affection upon unworthy objects. Character is formed for usefulness and duty by studying the life and character of Jesus Christ, who is our Pattern.
You cannot be too careful and too particular in all your ways. Let the influence wherever you are be of that character to help and bless others. God has a work for you to do. In no case put your neck under a yoke that will be galling all your life. Be true to yourself and true to your God, and you will have the favour of God, which is of more value than life itself. I pray the Lord to bless you abundantly.
Ellen G. White.
Letter 23, 1893