The world has many holidays, and men become engrossed with games, with horse-races, with gambling, smoking, and drunkenness. They show plainly under what banner they are standing. They make it evident that they do not stand under the banner of the Prince of life, but that the prince of darkness rules and controls them.
Shall not the people of God more frequently have holy convocations in which to thank God for His rich blessings? Shall we not find time in which to praise Christ for His rest, peace, and joy, and make manifest by daily thanksgiving that we appreciate the great sacrifice made in our behalf, that we may be partakers of the divine nature? Shall we not speak of the prospective rest in the paradise of God, and tell of the honour and glory in store for the servants of Jehovah? "My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places." We are homeward-bound, seeking a better country, even a heavenly.
Excitement and Enthusiasm
The world is full of excitement. Men act as though they had gone mad over low, cheap, unsatisfying things. How excited have I seen them over the result of a cricket match! I have seen the streets in Sydney densely crowded for blocks, and on inquiring what was the occasion of the excitement, was told that it was because some expert player of cricket had won the game. I felt disgusted. Why are not the chosen of God more enthusiastic? They are striving for an immortal crown, striving for a home where there will be no need of the light of the sun or moon, or of lighted candle; for the Lord God giveth them light, and they shall reign forever and ever. They will have a life that measures with the life of God; but the candle of the [1 "SPECIAL TESTIMONIES ON EDUCATION," PP. 80-83.]
wicked shall be put out in ignominious darkness, and then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
The Holy Watcher in our Schools
Why should we not expect the Holy Watcher to come into our schools? Our youth are there to receive an education so that they may do all in their power to acquire a knowledge of the most high God, and to make Him known as the only true God. They are there to learn how to present Christ as a sin-pardoning Saviour. They are there to gather up precious rays of light, in order that they may diffuse light again. They are there to show forth the loving-kindness of the Lord, to speak of His glory, to sound forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.
Those who are faithful will be clothed with white robes, will have palms of victory in their hands, and will stand in the heavenly courts. John says, "I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white roves, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb."
Again and again the heavenly messenger has been sent to the school. When his presence has been acknowledged, the darkness has fled away, and the light has shone forth, and hearts have been drawn to God. The last words spoken by Christ to John were, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." When we respond to God, and say, "Lord, we come," then with joy will we draw water our of the wells of salvation.
Festivals of Rejoicing
Shall we not keep holy festivals unto God? Shall we not show that we have some enthusiasm in His service? With the grand, ennobling theme of salvation before us, shall we be as cold as statues of marble? If men can become so excited over a match game of cricket, or a horse-race, or over foolish things that bring no good to any one, shall we be unmoved when the plan of salvation is unfolded before us? Let the school and the church henceforth have festivals of rejoicing unto the Lord.
I do not recommend pleasure parties where young people assemble together for mere amusement, to engage in cheap, nonsensical talk, and where loud, boisterous laughter is to be heard. I do not recommend this kind of gathering, where there is a letting down of dignity, and the scene is one of weakness and folly.
Many times young men for whom heavenly intelligences have been waiting in order to number them as missionaries for God, are drawn into the gatherings for amusement, and are carried away with Satan's fascinations. Instead of being afraid to continue their association with girls whose depth of mind is easily measured, whose character is of a cheap order, they become enamoured of them, and enter into an engagement. Satan knows that if these young men enter into an engagement with cheap-minded, pleasure-loving, worldly-minded, irreligious young women, they will bind themselves to stumbling-blocks. Their usefulness will be largely crippled, if not utterly destroyed. Even if the young men themselves succeed in making an unreserved surrender to God, yet they will find that they are greatly crippled by being bound to an untrained, undisciplined, unchristlike wife who is dead to God,
dead to piety, and dead to true holiness. Their lives will prove unsatisfying and unhappy.
Gatherings for amusement confuse faith, and make the motive mixed and uncertain. The Lord accepts no divided heart. He wants the whole man. He made all there is of man. He offered a complete sacrifice to redeem the body and soul of man. That which He requires of those whom He has created and redeemed, is summed up in these words. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. * * * Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." God will accept nothing less than this.