Our High Calling
Chap. 244 - Reminders of Our Heavenly Home

Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee. Neh. 9:6. 

There is beauty in the valley's awful grandeur, in the solemn, massive, cleft rocks; there is majesty in the towering mountains that look as if they touched the heavens. There are the lofty trees with their delicately formed leaves; the spires of grass, the opening bud and blossoming flower, the forest trees, and every living thing. They all point the mind to the great and living God. Every faculty of our being testifies that there is a living God, and we may learn from the open book of nature the most precious lessons in regard to the Lord of heaven.

In this study the mind expands, is elevated and uplifted, and becomes hungry to know more of God and His majesty. We have awakened in our hearts feelings not only of reverence and awe but of love, of faith, of trust and entire dependence upon One who is the giver of all good. And as I look at His marvellous works and see the evidences of His power I instinctively inquire, "What is man that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" Ps. 8:4. 

All the greatness and glory of these wonderful things in God's house can only be appreciated as they are, in the mind, associated with God and the future home of bliss He is preparing for those who love Him. . . .While we talk freely of other countries, why should we be reticent in regard to the heavenly country, and the house not built with hands, eternal in the heavens? This heavenly country is of more consequence to us than any other city or country on the globe, therefore we should think and talk of this better--even an heavenly--country. And why should we not converse more earnestly, and in a heavenly frame of mind, in regard to God's gifts in nature? He has made all these things, and designs that we shall see God in His created works. These things are to keep God in our remembrance and to lift our hearts from sensual things and bind them in bonds of love and gratitude to our Creator. 

Chap. 245 - Nature Speaks of God

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands. I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Ps. 143:5, 6. 

We have looked upon the lofty, terraced mountains in their majestic beauty, with their rocky battlements resembling grand old castles. These mountains speak to us of the desolating wrath of God in vindication of His broken law; for they were heaved up by the stormy convulsions of the flood. They are like mighty waves that at the voice of God stood still--stiffened billows, arrested in their proudest swell. These towering mountains belong to God; He presides over their rocky fastnesses. The wealth of their mines is His also, and so are the deep places of the earth. 

If you would see the evidences that there is a God, look around you wherever your lot may be cast. He is speaking to your senses and impressing your soul through His created works. Let your heart receive these impressions, and nature will be to you an open book, and will teach you divine truth through familiar things. The lofty trees will not be regarded with indifference. Every opening flower, every leaf with its delicate veins, will testify of the infinite skill of the great Master Artist. The massive rocks and towering mountains that rise in the distance are not the result of chance. They speak in silent eloquence of One who sits upon the throne of the universe, high and lifted up. "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." All His plans are perfect. What awe and reverence should His name inspire! . . . 

God is Himself the Rock of Ages, a refuge for His people, a covert from the storm, a shadow from the burning heat. He has given us His promises, which are more firm and immovable than the rocky heights, the everlasting hills. The mountains shall depart, and the hills shall be removed; but His kindness shall not depart, nor His covenant of peace be removed from those who by faith make Him their trust. If we would look to God for help as steadfastly as these rocky, barren mountains point to the heavens above them, we should never be moved from our faith in Him and our allegiance to His holy law. 

Chap. 246 - A School for Mind and Morals

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Rev. 15:3. 

The great Architect has formed and fashioned the scenes of nature that they may have an important bearing upon man's intellectual and moral character. These are to be God's school to educate the mind and morals. Here the mind may have a vast field for study in the display of the majestic works of the Infinite One. The rocks are among the precious things of earth, containing treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In the rocks and mountains are registered the fact that God did destroy the wicked from off the earth by a flood. 

Men thought themselves wiser than God, and altogether too wise to obey . . . the statutes and precepts of Jehovah. The rich things of earth which God had given them did not lead them to obedience, but away from obedience, because they misused their choice favours of heaven, and made the blessings given them of God objects to separate from God. And because they became satanic in their nature, rather than divine, the Lord sent the flood of waters upon the old world. 

God is full of love and plenteous in mercy; but He will by no means acquit those who neglect the great salvation He has provided. The long-lived antediluvians were swept from the earth because they made void the divine law. God will not again bring from the heavens above and the earth beneath waters as His weapons to use in the destruction of the world; but when next His vengeance shall be poured out against those who despise His authority, they will be destroyed by fire concealed in the bowels of the earth, awakened into intense activity by fires from heaven above. Then from the purified earth shall arise a song of praise: "Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." Rev. 5:13. "Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." And every one who has made the heavenly treasure the first consideration, . . . will join in the glad triumphant strain. 

Chap. 247 - God's Great Reservoirs

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Ps. 90:2. 

Our heavenly Father has furnished us with tokens of His greatness and His majesty. Especially is this so in a wonderful degree in these mountainous regions. [WRITTEN IN EUROPE.] . . . The varied scenery in the towering mountains and rocky heights, the deep mountain gorges with their rapid, noisy streams of water coming from the mountains above,. . . the waters breaking as they strike the rocks, and scattering into spray like a veil, render this scenery altogether one of surpassing beauty and grandeur. . . . 

The mountains contain treasures of blessings which the Creator bestows upon the inhabitants of the earth. It is the diversity in the surface of the earth, in mountains, plains, and valleys, which reveals the wisdom and the power of the great Master Worker. And those who would banish from our earth the rocks and mountains, the wild gorges and the noisy, rushing streams, and the precipices--their senses . . . are too limited to comprehend the majesty of God. . . . 

God, the great Architect, has built these lofty mountains, and their influence upon climate is a blessing to our world. They draw from the clouds enriching moisture. Mountain chains are God's great reservoirs, to supply the ocean with its water. These are the sources of the springs, rills, and brooks, as well as the rivers. They receive, in the form of rain and snow, the vapours with which the atmosphere is charged, and communicate them to the parched plains below. 

We should look upon the irregular mountains of the earth as God's fountains of blessings from which flow forth the waters to supply all the living creatures. Every time I look upon the mountains I feel gratitude to God. . . . 

Everything about us teaches us from day to day lessons of our Father's love and of His power, and of His laws that govern nature and that lie at the foundation of all government in heaven and in earth. 

Chap. 248 - Fragrance in our Lifework

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Matt. 6:28, 29. 

The great Master Artist calls our attention to the soulless flowers of the field, pointing out the beautiful tints and the wonderful variety of shades one flower may possess. Thus God has revealed His skill and care. Thus He would show the great love He has for every human being. 

The Lord our Creator expends as much care, wisdom, and time upon the tiny flower as upon the great things He creates. In the tiniest flowers are seen a beauty and perfection that no human art can copy. The delicate tracery of the tinted rose, as well as the stars in the heavens, shows the pencilling of the great Master Artist. 

Choice flowers . . . reveal the advantages of culture. They teach us that it is our privilege to improve. God desires us to bring fragrance into our lifework. We are to be the plants of the Lord, serving Him in whatever way He wills. Let us do all in our power to beautify our characters. . . . Tender care must be given to the delicate plants. The useless offshoots must be taken away. The bruised parts must be carefully bound up. So those who are weak in the faith must have fostering care. We are to bind to our stronger purposes the weaklings in the Lord's garden, giving them support.

From the endless variety of plants and flowers, we may learn an important lesson. All blossoms are not the same in form or colour. Some possess healing virtues. Some are always fragrant. There are professing Christians who think it their duty to make every other Christian like themselves. This is man's plan, not the plan of God. In the church of God there is room for characters as varied as are the flowers in a garden. In His spiritual garden there are many varieties of flowers. 

The Lord cares for the flowers. He gives them beauty and fragrance. Will He not much more give us the fragrance of a cheerful disposition? 

Chap. 249 - A Pure Moral Atmosphere

That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. Prov. 2:20.

In order to have a healthy body, the blood circulating through the veins must be pure; in order to be pure it must have pure air and pure food. The use of improper food and the inhalation of impure air cause disease, which appears in various forms. 

The purity and soundness of our religious life is dependent not only on the truth we accept, but on the company we keep, and the moral atmosphere we breathe. Faith, elasticity and vigour, hopefulness, joyfulness, doubts and fears, slothfulness, stupidity, envy, jealousy, distrust, selfishness, waywardness, and backsliding, are the result of the associations we form, the company we keep, and the air we breathe. 

The indulgence of wrong associations will have its baleful results. . . .The Bible may be read and prayer be offered, yet there will be no increase of spiritual health, no growth of soul, so long as the air which is breathed is bad. . . . The greatest care should be exercised by the believers to place themselves in close connection with God and with those who have been taught of God. It is painful to see those who have believed present truth walking into Satan's net. . . . 

We raise our voice and cry to every believer in the present truth: If you would have spiritual health, look to your lungs. Look to your spiritual food. Cultivate a love for the society of those who are pure and good, if you would have Christ formed in you as the life of the soul. The health of the soul depends upon the breathing of a good moral atmosphere. 

Christ, the Great Physician, has given a prescription for every believer. He must eat the food provided in the Word of God. And the faith that works by love to God and man is dependent not only upon the food we eat but upon the air we breathe. If we associate with those who are evil, we breathe an atmosphere tainted with the malaria of sin. Be sure, by association with the meek and lowly followers of Jesus, to breathe a pure, holy atmosphere. 

Chap. 250 - Be Selective!

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Eph. 5:11. 

The Christian should withdraw himself from the company of those who are as a snare to his soul. When you come in contact with those whom you cannot lift into a pure and holy atmosphere, because their moral tastes are wholly perverted, you must shun their society. Persons of this class have generally a strong will and positive temperament, and when wrought upon by the enemy of God, they become efficient agents in leading souls from the path of righteousness to paths that are false and dangerous. The moral atmosphere surrounding these souls is tainted with evil, and exerts only a defiling influence.

Your associates may not be expected to be free from imperfections or sin. But in choosing your friends, you should place your standard as high as possible. The tone of your morals is estimated by the associates you choose. You should avoid contracting an intimate friendship with those whose example you would not choose to imitate. . . . 

Choose for your associates those who hold religion and its practical influences in high respect. Keep the future life constantly in view. Let not your associations put these thoughts out of your mind. Nothing will so effectually banish serious impressions as intercourse with the vain, careless, and irreligious. Whatever intellectual greatness such persons may attain, if they treat religion with levity or even with indifference, they should not be your chosen friends. The more engaging their manners in other respects, the more should you dread their influence as companions, because they would throw around you an irreligious, godless, irreverent influence and yet combine it with so many attractions that it is positively dangerous to morals. 

Dare to be a Daniel. Dare to stand alone. . . . A cowardly and silent reserve before evil associates, while you listen to their devices, makes you one with them. . . . Have courage to do right. 

Chap. 251 - Guard Your Affections

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 2 Cor. 6:14. 

I would warn you [COUNSEL TO A YOUNG WOMAN.] to be guarded as to where you bestow your affections. . . . Remember that your life belongs to Jesus, and that you are not to live for yourself alone. You are not to enter into the marriage relation with an unbeliever; for in so doing, you do exactly contrary to that which Jesus has commanded. Shun those who are irreverent. Shun one who is a lover of idleness; shun the one who is a scoffer of hallowed things. Avoid the society of one who uses profane language, or is addicted to the use of even one glass of liquor. Listen not to the proposals of a man who has no realization of his responsibility to God.

The pure truth, which sanctifies the soul, will give you courage to cut yourself loose from the most pleasing acquaintance whom you know does not love and fear God, and knows nothing of the principles of true righteousness. We may always bear with a friend's infirmities and with his ignorance, but never with his vices. Never marry an unbeliever. 

I am only voicing to you the word of God, for He declares that such a union will result in drawing away your heart from loving and serving Him. . . . As a child of God, you are permitted to contract marriage only in the Lord. . . . Should you consent to unite your life with that of an unbeliever, you would be disregarding the Word of God and imperilling your soul. . . . 

Your life is too precious a thing to be treated as of little worth. Calvary testifies to you the value of your soul. 

Let every step toward a marriage alliance be characterized by modesty, simplicity, sincerity, and an earnest purpose to please and honour God. Marriage affects the afterlife both in this world and in the world to come. A sincere Christian will make no plans that God cannot approve. . . . Make Christ your counsellor. Study His word with prayer.

Chap. 252 - You Must Choose Your Company

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 2 Cor. 6:17. 

The true Christian will not choose the company of the unconverted. If Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, we cannot enjoy the malarious spiritual atmosphere which surrounds the souls of the irreligious. . . . 

Your acquaintances who are utterly averse to spiritual things are not refined, ennobled, and elevated by the practice of the truth. They are not under the leadership of Christ, but under the black banner of the prince of darkness. To associate with those who neither fear nor love God, unless you associate with them for the purpose of winning them to Jesus, will be a detriment to your spirituality. If you cannot lift them up, their influence will tell upon you in corrupting and tainting your faith. It is right for you to treat them kindly; but not well for you to love and choose their society, for if you choose the atmosphere that surrounds their souls, you will forfeit the companionship of Jesus. By every means in your power seek to repress sin; but never for one moment give sanction to sin either by your deeds, your words, your silence, or your presence. Every time sin is sanctioned by the professed follower of Christ, his sense of sin is weakened, and his judgement thus becomes perverted. . . . 

The Lord Jesus cannot keep any soul who places himself upon the enemy's ground and surrounds himself with the society of those who prefer such conversation and conduct as is an offence to the God he reveres and loves. . . . 

Cling close to those who will have an uplifting tendency, whose souls are surrounded with a pure and holy atmosphere. . . . God will be nearer to your heart, more in your thoughts, because you have separated from the world and from influences that would lead you away from the truth, and you will be less compassed with the snares of Satan. 

Chap. 253 - A Friend to the Friendless

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel. Prov. 27:9. 

We should have the love of Christ in the heart to such a degree that our interest in others will be impartial and sincere. Our affections should take a wide range, and not centre simply upon a few who flatter us by special confidences. The tendency of such friendships is to lead us to neglect those who are in greater need of love than those upon whom we bestow our attentions. 

We should not narrow our circle of friends to a few favourites because they pet and flatter us by their professed affection. The partial attention so often bestowed and received, works not for the highest good of those who would serve God. One draws upon the other for strength, and the praise, flattery, and affection one receives of the other, supplies the place that should be supplied by the grace of God, and thus human friends take the affections from Christ. . . . Human confidants, human associates, absorb the love and trust that should be given to God alone. . . . 

Instead of seeking to become a favourite yourself, or to flatter one who may be highly regarded, see if there is not a poor child who is not a favourite, to whom no special kindnesses are shown, and make this one the object of your unselfish attention. Those who are especially attractive will be at no loss for friends; while those who are less pleasing in appearance, who are timid and hard to become acquainted with, may have choice traits of character, and they are the purchase of the blood of Christ. 

Feelings of unrest and homesickness or loneliness may be for your good. Your heavenly Father means to teach you to find in Him the friendship and love and consolation that will satisfy your most earnest hopes and desires. . . . Your only safety and happiness are in making Christ your constant counsellor. You can be happy in Him if you had not another friend in the wide world. 

Chap. 254 - Graces Increased by Exercise

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Titus 2:7, 8. 

A healthy, growing Christian will not be a passive recipient among his fellows. He must give as well as receive. Our graces are increased by exercise. Christian society will furnish us with pure air to breathe, and in breathing it we must be active. The Christian work performed, the sympathies, encouragements, and instructions given by us to those who need them, the self-restraint, love, patience, and forbearance which are needed, exercised in Christian work, will create in ourselves faith, obedience, hope, and love to God. . . . It is essential for spiritual muscle and strength that the soul have exercise. Work must be done by putting forth spiritual activity in improving opportunities to do good. . . . The more faithful one is in the discharge of Christian duties, the more soundness will he develop. . . . 

Weakness and vacillation will never secure respect to the Christian profession. It is impossible to reach men where they are and elevate them unless some confidence is inspired in them for your sincerity and piety. You can never reach them by stepping down from the platform of truth and reform, but by bringing others up to that platform God's Word has provided for you. If men opposed to our faith see that you who profess it are earnest, steadfast, and uncorrupted at all times and under all circumstances, and that you abide in Christ, the living Vine, and are unshaken followers of truth and reform, you will reflect the spirit and character of Christ. In your business, in the associations with believers and unbelievers, in the sanctuary, at home, in every place, you will show the influence of a Saviour's love, which will have a controlling influence upon believers. 

Genius, talents, and money are not essential in order to exert this influence; but it is essential that you abide in Christ, and that He abide in you, for thus your fruit will be unto righteousness. 

Chap. 255 - Make Your Mark in the World

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. 1 Tim. 4:12. 

The period of childhood and youth--how much is bound up in these years of probation! God desires that you shall improve this time, dear youth, by obtaining a fitness for the work. If you need an education, set yourselves to work with a determination to get one. Do not wait for an opening; make one for yourselves. Take hold in any small way that opens before you. Be thorough and faithful in whatever you take in hand, however small it may be. 

Some of our youth are so vacillating that they accomplish nothing for themselves; their lifetime is often half spent before they decide what they shall do, and what they will be. They bury their talents beneath a mass of rubbish. To these I would say, Practice economy. Do not spend your means for the gratification of appetite or for pleasure seeking. Make your mark in the world. Have before you the object of becoming as useful and efficient as God calls you to be. As you improve the knowledge you gain, you will be able to gather increased knowledge. Application to your books and useful manual labour, combined with earnest Christian devotion and loyalty to God, will make you men and women in the highest sense. True devotion to God, combined with the study of the sciences, will give the youth an education that will make them gentle, humble lovers of God, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Such souls, fragrant with love for God and for their fellow men, God can use as vessels unto honour. 

Jesus died, dear youth, not to save you in your sins, but from your sins. He wants you to follow the example which He has set before you--to deny self, take up your cross daily, and follow Him. He claims your service, your heart's best and holiest affections. If you will walk in obedience to His will, learning cheerfully and diligently the lessons of His providence, by and by He will say, "Child, come up higher to the heavenly mansions which I have prepared for you." 

Chap. 256 - The Home Training Ground

Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. Ps. 119:35. 

Men have taught that God's law has been done away. Were this the case we would have no standard of character, and would have nothing to show us God's righteous claims. We should be adrift upon an ocean of uncertainty, and have no guide in dealing with the solemn responsibilities of the family relation. But it is in the family relation that we receive our training in dealing with our fellow men in general. If God had no law by which to govern human intelligences, nothing by which His character could be represented as a sample to which the human family could shape their characters, then what impression could possibly be made upon our children as to what constitutes rectitude of life and perfection of character? ... 

The fifth commandment enjoins upon children obedience to their parents, and parents are to help their children to keep this commandment by acting their part in cooperating with God in requiring obedience through childhood and youth. Parents themselves must be under rule to God. They must reveal precious traits of character, presenting a pattern before their children, manifesting patience and forbearance mingled with firmness, and thus educate their children to obey their heavenly Father. . . . Satan delights to look upon disordered and ill-governed families, for his success depends largely upon the control he can have over the families of earth.... He is determined the standard of righteousness shall not be the rule for the formation of character. . . . 

The Ten Commandments come forth from the God of heaven, whose heart is full of love, who is infinite in wisdom, who never makes a mistake. He is too wise to err, too good to harm any one who will obey His requirements. Blessing will follow those who obey and who administer the law of Jehovah.... The happiness and peace of parents and children in this life, and their best good, will be worked out by walking in the path of His precepts; for by so doing they are in harmony with the God of heaven. 

Chap. 257 - Teach the Source of True Happiness

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Prov. 22:6. 

By their neglect to exercise proper restraint, many parents are creating great unhappiness for their children. The youth who are left to constantly seek for pleasure in amusement or selfish gratification are not happy, and never can be happy while following this course. Fathers and mothers, teach your children that the only way to be truly happy is to love and fear God; and enforce the lesson by your example. Let them see that the peace of Christ is ruling in your heart, and that His love pervades your life.

Will you consecrate your own hearts to God, that you may exert a sanctifying influence upon your children? Will you separate them from sin and sinners, and by living faith connect them with God? It should be the work of every parent to cultivate all that is good, and true, and noble in his children. It is his duty to correct their faults, to restrain their waywardness.... 

Make the Word of God your guide in the education of your children, ever considering what will be for their future good.... The mother may bestow upon her daughters an education that will be invaluable, by training them to bear their share of the family burdens. The father may give his sons a capital of more worth than gold or lands, by teaching them to love useful employment, instead of seeking happiness in idle amusements or dissipation. Parents, now is the time to form in your children habits of industry, self-reliance, and self-control; to cultivate economy and business tact. Now is the time to teach them courtesy and benevolence toward their fellow men, and reverence and love for God.... Home should be the most sunny and attractive spot on earth; and it may be made such by pleasant words and kind acts, and, underlying all, a steadfast adherence to the right. . . . 

Let us withhold nothing from Him who gave His precious life for us. Fathers and mothers, bring to Him your children, in the freshness and bloom of youth, and devote them to His service. 

Chap. 258 - Obedience an Element of Greatness

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Eph. 6:1. 

Jesus has given to childhood and youth a perfect example. Study the Pattern, Christ Jesus, and copy it if you would be like Him--pure, holy, sinless, and undefiled. Study the childhood of Christ. He was the Son of God, yet the Bible record tells us He returned from Jerusalem and was subject unto His parents.... 

Jesus, the world's Redeemer, did as He was told even if the task was not agreeable to His feelings. Obedience is an element of true greatness. No one can be truly good and great who has not learned to obey with alacrity.... 

When tempted to have your own way in regard to the wishes of your parents, say, "No; Jesus was subject to His parents." Ask help of Jesus, who knows the temptations of every child, of every youth, for He has been tempted and knows your every weakness and will help you to overcome it.... 

Seek to be useful, to help your parents; to be care-taking and thoughtful. You can help them in a variety of ways. . . . Doing what you can do cheerfully, with quick step, your face bright with gladness because you can do something for your parents to lighten their load, will make you a blessing in the house....

All these little duties faithfully done are entered upon the ledger of heaven. . . . God will make no mistakes; He will make an accurate entry of all your life duties done to His glory. So never frown but always carry a cheerful, happy face, a ready hand to help, an attentive ear to hear the requirements, and a heart to obey, a quick sympathy for those who need help.... 

Remember your characters are not finished; you are building up day by day a character. Weave all the kindness, obedience, thoughtfulness, painstaking, and love into it you can. Make it after the divine model. Educate yourselves that you may possess the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great price. You can make the world better by living in it if you only do the very best you can. 

Chap. 259 - The Sacred Temple of the Body

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and 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 Cor. 6:19, 20. 

That perfection of character which the Lord requires is the fitting up of the whole being as a temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God will accept of nothing less than the service of the entire human organism. It is not enough to bring into action certain parts of the living machinery. All parts must work in perfect harmony, or the service will be deficient. It is thus that man is qualified to cooperate with God in representing Christ to the world. Thus God desires to prepare a people to stand before Him pure and holy, that He may introduce them into the society of heavenly angels. 

We have been entrusted with the most solemn message ever given to our world, and the object to be kept plainly and distinctly before our minds is the glory of God. Let us take care that we do nothing which will weaken physical, mental, or spiritual healthfulness, for God will not accept a tainted, diseased, corrupted sacrifice. Care must be exercised in eating, in drinking, in dressing, and in working, lest we detract from our efficiency and fail of doing our most exalted work in the best manner, in order that the results of our labour may be as lasting as eternity. 

It is our duty to train and discipline the body in order that we shall render to the Master the highest possible service. Inclination must not control us. We are not to pamper the appetite and indulge in the use of that which is not for our good, simply because it gratifies the palate; neither are we to seek to live by the starvation plan, with the idea that we shall become spiritually-minded, and that God shall be glorified. We must use the intelligence that God has given in order that we may be perfect in body, soul, and spirit, that we may have a symmetrical character, a well-balanced mind, and do perfect work for the Master. 

The sacred temple of the body must be kept pure and uncontaminated, that God's Holy Spirit may dwell therein. 

Chap. 260 - The Sure Penalty of Self-Indulgence

If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 1 Cor. 3:17. 

Perfection of character cannot be attained when the laws of nature are disregarded; for this is transgression of the law of God. His law is written by His own finger upon every nerve, every muscle, every fibre of our being, upon every faculty which has been entrusted to man. These gifts are bestowed, not to be abused and corrupted, but to be used to His honour and glory in the uplifting of humanity.... 

The relation that exists between mind and body is very intimate: when one is affected, the other is always more or less in sympathy. It is impossible for men, while under the power of sinful, health-destroying habits, to appreciate sacred truths. When the intellect is clouded, the moral powers are enfeebled, and sin does not look sinful. The most ennobling, grand, and glorious themes of God's Word seem but idle tales. Satan can then easily snatch away the good seed that has been sown in the heart; for the soul is in no condition to comprehend or understand its true value. It is thus that selfish, health-destroying indulgences are counteracting the influence of the message which is to prepare a people for the great day of God. 

We are living in a most solemn, awful moment of this earth's history. Not a soul whose life is one of careless self-degradation, through transgression of physical laws, will stand in the great day of trial just before us. There is a terrible account to be rendered to God by those who have but little regard for the human body, and treat it ruthlessly. ... True religion and the laws of health go hand in hand. 

The least departure from the strictest integrity under any circumstances because it is convenient, will harden the conscience and prepare the way for the violation of moral obligations in other ways. If we treat the health of the body, which is our highest earthly interest, without due consideration, we prepare the way for temptation and the violation of higher claims. 

Chap. 261 - The Light of Health Reform

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3 John 2. 

The light God has given on health reform is for our salvation and the salvation of the world. Men and women should be informed in regard to the human habitation, fitted up by our Creator as His dwelling place, and over which He desires us to be faithful stewards. . . . Our bodies are wonderfully made, and the Lord requires us to keep them in order. All are under obligation to Him to keep the human structure in a healthful, wholesome condition, that every muscle, every organ, may be used in the service of God. . . . God, who formed the wonderful structure of the body, will take special care to keep it in order, if men cooperate, instead of working at cross-purposes, with Him. 

These grand truths must be given to the world. We must reach the people where they are, and by example and precept lead them to see the beauties of the better way. The world is in sad need of instruction along these lines. The time has come when each soul must be staunch and true to every ray of light God has given, and begin in earnest to give this gospel of health to the people. We shall have strength and power to do this if we practice these truths in our own lives.... 

Those who are enjoying the precious blessings which come to them through obeying this message of mercy will do all in their power that others may share the same blessings. But we may rest assured that Satan will do all in his power to prevent anything like a message of reform from being given to the world at this time. Shall God's people be found on the enemy's side, either by failing to heed it themselves, or by neglecting to give it to others? "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." Matt. 12:30. If we would be safe, we must not fail to know on whose side we stand. 

God desires His light bearers ever to keep a high standard before them. By precept and example they must hold this perfect standard high above Satan's false standard. 

Chap. 262 - A Perfected People

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31. 

With an eye single to the glory of God, we should give careful, thoughtful attention to the matter of our eating and drinking. We need divine guidance, even in our commonest habits of everyday life, that there may be no little leaks which will consume means unnecessarily, simply for the gratification of perverted appetites. In the New Testament not one of God's requirements loses its binding force, or relaxes in the least its obligation to be fulfilled. . . . Instead of the requirements of God being relaxed in the New Testament, the lines are drawn closer, and duty is more distinctly defined. The apostle says, "Whatsoever ye do," even in the matter of eating and drinking, "do all to the glory of God." The question may be asked, "May I not do what I like with myself? Am I never to have my own way? Is not my body my own?" You may have your own way, but it will be at the loss of your soul, or you may have God's way and live to a purpose in this world, and in the world to come have life everlasting. 

Those who have received instruction regarding the evils of the use of flesh foods, tea and coffee, and rich and unhealthful food preparations, and who are determined to make a covenant with God by sacrifice, will not continue to indulge their appetite for food that they know to be unhealthful. God demands that the appetites be cleansed, and that self-denial be practised in regard to those things which are not good. This is a work that will have to be done before His people can stand before Him a perfected people. . . . 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. 

Do not misuse or abuse any portion of your God-given powers, physical, mental, or moral. All your habits are to be brought under the control of a mind that is itself under the control of God. 

Chap. 263 - The Reward of Temperate Habits

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank. Dan. 1:8. 

Inspiration has recorded the history of Daniel and his companions as a shining example for the youth of all succeeding ages. . . . Those who would preserve their powers unimpaired for the service of God must observe strict temperance in the use of all His bounties, as well as total abstinence from every injurious or debasing indulgence. 

The youth are surrounded by allurements addressed to the appetite. . . . Those who, like Daniel, refuse to defile themselves, will reap the reward of their temperate habits. With their greater physical stamina and increased power of endurance, they have a bank of deposit upon which to draw in case of emergency. 

Right physical habits promote mental superiority. Intellectual power, physical strength, and longevity, depend upon immutable laws. There is no happen-so, no chance, about this matter. The higher powers will not interfere to preserve men from the consequences of the violation of nature's laws. 

The question with every youth ... should be, Shall I consult my inclination, and indulge my appetite, or shall I follow the dictates of conscience, and keep my head clear and preserve my physical powers by abstaining from every practice that would bring weakness upon them? Shall I fall a prey to the customs of the world, ... or shall I separate myself from every custom that is debasing in its results? Shall I not honour God, rather than please the world? . . . 

Daniel and his fellows realised that principle was at stake, and that they could afford to make no compromise with the tempter. The light and truth reflected from the throne of God were dearer to them than any honour that men could bestow. It is the privilege of the young people of today to be as firm and true, as modest and successful, as were the Jewish youths in the kingdom of Babylon.... God honoured Daniel, and He will honour every youth who takes the course that Daniel took in honouring God.

Chap. 264 - A Sound Mind in a Sound Body

But 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. 1 Cor. 9:27. 

Whatever detracts from physical vigour weakens mental effort. Hence, every practice unfavourable to the health of the body should be resolutely shunned. . . . We cannot maintain consecration to God, and yet injure our health by the wilful 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. . . . 

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....

None need fail in this work of self-renunciation. God will give help to every earnest seeker.... If we sincerely seek His grace, our life will correspond with our profession of faith. . . . He knows whether our hearts are wholly devoted to His service, or given to the things of the world. We may profess what we will, but unless our life corresponds with our profession, our faith is dead. The rule given by the apostle Paul is the only safe rule for our guidance in all the affairs of life. "Whether ... ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31. In the selection of our food, we should not seek merely to please the taste, but should choose that which is most healthful. In dress, we should seek that which is simple, comfortable, convenient, and appropriate. 

He who will observe simplicity in all his habits, restricting the appetite and controlling the passions, may preserve his mental powers strong, active, and vigorous, quick to perceive everything which demands thought or action, keen to discriminate between the holy and the unholy, and ready to engage in every enterprise for the glory of God and the benefit of humanity. 

Chap. 265 - A Distinction in Dress

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. 1 Tim. 2:9, 10. 

The children of Israel . . . were commanded to have a simple ribbon of blue in the border of their garments, to distinguish them from the nations around them, and to signify that they were God's peculiar people. {See Num. 15:39, 40.} The people of God are not now required to have a special mark placed upon their garments. But in the New Testament we are often referred to ancient Israel for examples. If God gave such definite directions to His ancient people in regard to their dress, will not the dress of His people in this age come under His notice? Should there not be in their dress a distinction from that of the world? Should not the people of God, who are His peculiar treasure, seek even in their dress to glorify God? And should they not be examples in point of dress, and by their simple style rebuke the pride, vanity, and extravagance of worldly, pleasure-loving professors? God requires this of His people. Pride is rebuked in His Word. 

We must know more of Jesus and His love than of the fashions of the world. In the name of my Master, I call upon the youth to study the example of Christ. When you wish to make an article, you carefully study the pattern, that you may reproduce it as nearly as possible. Now set to work to copy the divine Exemplar.... You cannot be like Jesus, and cherish pride in your heart.... 

Of how little value are gold or pearls or costly array, in comparison with the meekness and loveliness of Christ. Natural loveliness consists in symmetry, or the harmonious proportion of parts, each with the other; but spiritual loveliness consists in the harmony or likeness of our souls of Jesus. This will make its possessor more precious than fine gold, even the golden wedge of Ophir. The grace of Christ is indeed a priceless adornment. It elevates and ennobles its possessor, and reflects beams of glory upon others, attracting them also to the Source of light and blessing. 

Chap. 266 - The Charm of Simplicity

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:16. 

Pride of dress is not a small matter, but a serious evil. It causes time, thought, and money to be spent in the decoration of the body, while the culture of the heavenly graces is neglected. Precious hours that our Saviour has exhorted us to devote to prayer and the study of the Scriptures are given to an unnecessary preparation of apparel for outward display. 

Satan stands in the background, devising the fashions which lead to extravagance in the outlay of means. In forming the fashions of the day, he has a fixed purpose. He knows that time and money which are devoted to meet the demands of fashion will not be used for higher, holier objects. Precious time is wasted in keeping pace with ever-changing and never-satisfying fashions. No sooner is one style introduced than new styles are devised, and then, in order for fashionable persons to remain fashionable, the dress must be remodelled. Thus professing Christians, with divided hearts, waste their time, giving to the world nearly all their energies.... 

Correct taste in dress is not to be despised or condemned. . . . Nothing is gained in trying to save means by purchasing cheap fabrics. Let the clothing be plain and neat, without extravagance or display. 

Young ladies who break away from slavery to fashion will be ornaments in society. The one who is simple and unpretending in her dress and in her manners shows that she understands that a true lady is characterized by moral worth. How charming, how interesting, is simplicity in dress, which in its comeliness can be compared with the flowers of the field! ... 

Those who practice simplicity in dress have time to visit the afflicted, and are better prepared to pray with and for them. On every Christian man and woman rests the solemn duty of regulating and contracting personal expenses, that by so doing they may be able to help the needy, feed the hungry, and clothe the naked. 

Chap. 267 - A Mark of Christian Womanhood

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or 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. 

Lovers of fashion may claim to be followers of Christ, but their dress and conversation show what occupies the mind and engages the affections. The outside appearance is an index to the heart. True refinement does not find satisfaction in the adorning of the body for display. A modest, godly woman will dress modestly. Simplicity of apparel always makes a sensible woman appear to the best advantage. A refined, cultured mind will be revealed in the choice of simple and appropriate attire. In the sanctified heart there is no place for thoughts of needless adornment. 

There is an ornament that will never perish, that will promote the happiness of all around us in this life, and will shine with undimmed lustre in the immortal future. It is the adorning of a meek and lowly spirit. God has bidden us wear the richest dress upon the soul. 

The inward adorning of a meek and quiet spirit is priceless. In the life of the true Christian the outward adorning is always in harmony with the inward peace and holiness.... Self-denial and sacrifice will mark the Christian's life. Evidence that the taste is converted will be seen in the dress of all who walk in the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord. 

It is right to love beauty and to desire it; but God desires us to love and seek first the highest beauty, that which is imperishable. No outward adorning can compare in value or loveliness with that "meek and quiet spirit," the "fine linen, white and clean" (Rev. 19:14), which all the holy ones of earth will wear. This apparel will make them beautiful and beloved here, and will hereafter be their badge of admission to the palace of the King. His promise is, "They shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy." Rev. 3:4. 

Chap. 268 - The Beauty of Christlikeness

Shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Titus 2:10. 

Everyone who names the name of Christ is to adorn the doctrine of Christ our Saviour by a well-ordered life and a godly conversation, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.... Possessing this, you will have favour both with God and with men. 

Words spoken hastily wound and bruise souls, and the deepest wound is made upon the soul of the speaker. Christ's gift, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, is authoritatively declared by Him who can make no mistake to be of great price. We must each find out its worth for ourselves by seeking it from God. However men may estimate us, if we wear this ornament, we bear the sign of our discipleship with Christ. We are esteemed by the Most High; for the ornament we wear is in His sight of great price. This precious gem is to be sought for.... 

To every soul things will come to provoke, to stir up anger, and if you are not under the full control of God, you will be provoked when these things come. But the meekness of Christ calms the ruffled spirit, controls the tongue, and brings the whole being into subjection to God. Thus we learn how to bear with the censure of others. We shall be misjudged, but the precious ornament of a meek and quiet spirit teaches us how to bear, how to have pity for those who utter hasty, unadvised words. Any unpleasant spirit displayed is sure to arouse the demon of passion in unguarded hearts. Unholy anger need not to be strengthened, but bridled. It is a spark which will set on fire untamed human nature. Avoid speaking words which will stir up strife. Rather suffer wrong than do wrong. God requires every one of His followers, as far as is possible, to live peaceably with all men.... 

We must be Christlike. Let us strive to make our lives what Christ designs them to be, full of the fragrance of love to God and our fellow men, full of Christ's own divine Spirit, full of holy aspirations toward God, rich in the beauty of Christlikeness. 

Chap. 269 - Consecrated Eyes

The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness. Prov. 15:14. 

Many do not earnestly seek to understand the lessons found in God's Word. They lay aside the Bible, and allow their minds to become engrossed with the cheap reading found in books of fiction, newspapers, and magazines. 

The pernicious practice of story reading is one of the means employed by Satan to destroy souls. The mind that is occupied with exciting stories loses all relish for solid reading.... I am acquainted with many sad examples of the evil effects of this baneful practice.... The more they indulged the appetite for this kind of mental food, the greater was the demand. The imagination constantly craved its accustomed stimulus, as the inebriate longs for his wine or tobacco. Their mental and moral powers were weakened and perverted. They lost their interest in the Scriptures, and their relish for prayer; and they were as truly ruined, mentally and spiritually, as is the liquor drinker or the tobacco devotee. Novel readers are mental inebriates; and they need to sign a pledge of total abstinence as verily as does the victim of any other form of intemperance. 

God has given to His people the choicest reading matter. Let the Word of God find a place in every room in the house. Keep the Bible, the bread of life, in plain sight. . . . Keep choice, elevating literature ever before the members of the family. 

The reading of God's Word does not fascinate the imagination and inflame the passions, like the fictions of a storybook, but it softens and soothes the heart, and elevates and sanctifies the affections. 

It is the privilege of the youth to say, "The Lord has given me my sight and hearing for His glory. I will close my ears to that which is foolish and cheap. I will read that Word that will fit me for a place in the home Christ is preparing for those who have sanctified their souls by obedience to the truth. My voice shall proclaim the glory of God; every power of my being shall be consecrated to God." 

Chap. 270 - Be Careful What You Read

For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. Prov. 2:6, 7. 

Age after age the curiosity of men has led them to seek for the tree of knowledge; and often they think they are plucking fruit most essential, when, like Solomon in his research, they find it altogether vanity and nothingness in comparison with the science of true holiness.

Books from the pens of infidels should have no place in the libraries of those who would serve God. They will make better kindling material for your stove than food for the mind. Infidel books have been a cause of ruin to many souls. Men have studied these books of Satan's inspiration, and they have become confused in regard to what was truth. Satan stands at the side of him who opens an infidel book, and he will educate the mind that peruses such literature, and so bewitch the soul that it will be almost impossible to break the infatuation. Let no believer flatter himself that his mountain standeth sure, and that he will never be moved away from his position of faith. 

We are surrounded by unbelief. The very atmosphere seems charged with it; and only by constant effort can we resist its power. Those who value their soul's salvation should shun infidel writings as they would shun the leprosy.

To the youth I would say, Be careful what you read. So long as the mind is directed into wrong channels by an improper course of reading, it is impossible for you to make the truth of God the constant subject of meditation. If there was ever a time when a knowledge of the Scriptures was more important than at any other, that time is the present. I appeal to old and young, Make the Bible your textbook. Here you will find the true standard of character. 

Do not devote the precious talent of sight to reading that which ... will not benefit you.... The powers of mind and soul and body are to be sanctified to the Lord Jesus, who has bought you with His blood. 

Chap. 271 - Chaff or Wheat?

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Prov. 4:20-22. 

Light and truth are within the reach of all, . . . but if they do not set their minds to searching God's Word, Satan will find chaff to fill their minds, leaving no room for the growth of the precious seed of truth. . . . We are surrounded with temptations so disguised that they allure while they taint and corrupt the soul. 

The youth of our cities breathe in the tainted, polluted atmosphere of crime.... They are educated in crime by reading the stories which fill the popular publications of the day. Having no regard for the right because it is right, as they read stories of theft, murder, and every other species of crime, they are led to devise plans by which they could improve upon the criminals' methods, and escape detection. Thus these foul publications assist in perfecting the education of the youth in the way that leads to perdition. 

It is a great evil to bring these trashy magazines into the family, and yet many parents are asleep to this peril. They do not know what kind of food is being supplied to the minds of their children. The food that is given to the mind should be pure and wholesome. God calls upon His people to turn away from the brackish streams of the valley, and drink from the pure streams of Lebanon. A study of God's Word, which is eternal life to the receiver, would invigorate and strengthen the mind; but too often the grace of Christ finds the right of way obstructed by the mass of rubbish which has been allowed to accumulate in the mind. The mind is not kept hungry for the blessed Word, which must be eaten in order for the thoughts to be pure and holy. . . . 

To those who are tempted to indulge in trashy reading I would say, Read your Bible. "Search the scriptures," Christ commanded; "for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." John 5:39. Obedience to the Word of God is our only safety. 

Chap. 272 - Walking with God in a Corrupt World

And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. Gen. 5:24. 

Enoch's life and character, which were so holy that he was translated to heaven without seeing death, represent what the lives and characters of all must be, if, like Enoch, they are to be translated when Christ shall come. His life was what the life of every individual may be if he closely connects with God. We should remember that Enoch was surrounded with influences so depraved that God brought a flood of waters on the world to destroy its inhabitants for their corruption.... 

When Christ shall come, our vile bodies are to be changed, and made like His glorious body; but the vile character will not be made holy then. The transformation of character must take place before His coming. Our natures must be pure and holy; we must have the mind of Christ, that He may behold with pleasure His image reflected upon our souls. . . . 

Joseph preserved his integrity when surrounded by idolaters in Egypt, in the midst of sin and blasphemy and corrupting influences. When tempted to turn from the path of virtue, his answer was, "How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" Gen. 39:9. Enoch, Joseph, and Daniel depended upon a strength that was infinite. This is the only course of safety for Christians to pursue in our day. . . . 

The lives of these marked men were hid with Christ in God. They were loyal to God amidst infidelity, pure amidst depravity, devout and fervent when brought in contact with atheism and idolatry. By faith they gathered to themselves only those properties which are favourable to the development of pure and holy characters. Thus may it be with us; whatever our position, however repulsive or fascinating our surroundings, faith can reach above it all and find the Holy Spirit. 

The spirit which Enoch, Joseph, and Daniel possessed, we may have. We may draw from the same source of strength, and realise the same power of self-control; and the same graces may shine out in our lives. 

Chap. 273 - Youth to Stand Up for Christ

For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. Luke 9:26. 

Always stand up for Christ. In word, in spirit, in action, be His witness. He loves you, and He wants to impart to you His rich grace, that you may impart this to others. . . . Christ has purchased you with His own blood. Then, everywhere, at all times and under all circumstances, stand up for Jesus. Remember that thus you will exert the very best influence upon all with whom you associate. . . . 

It is your privilege ever to grow in grace, advancing in the knowledge and love of God, if you maintain the sweet communion with Christ it is your privilege to enjoy. In the simplicity of humble faith ask the Lord to open your understanding, that you may discern and appreciate the precious things of His Word. Thus you may grow in grace, grow in simple, trusting faith. Then your light will shine forth to all with whom you associate. Keep your mind fixed upon the Saviour. . . .

Be sure that your spiritual life does not become poor, sickly, inefficient. There are many who have need of the words and example of a Christian. Weakness and indecision provoke the assaults of the enemy, and any one who fails to increase in spiritual growth, in a knowledge of truth and righteousness, will frequently be overcome by the enemy. 

Let your countenance reflect the joy of the Lord. Speak of His goodness and tell His power. Then your light will shine more and more distinctly. Above your trials and disappointments will be revealed the reflection of a pure, healthy religious life. 

There is no limit to the influence of the human agent who wears the yoke with Christ. Daily he studies the life of Christ and conforms his life to the divine pattern.... It is by the manifestation of the spirit of Christ in our words and actions that the world takes knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus, that we are the children of God. The true nature of our religion is ... in the gentle spirit, the kindness, the peace which we manifest.