Ministers of Christ should feel it a duty binding upon them, if they receive the hospitalities of their brethren or friends, to leave a blessing with the family by seeking to encourage and strengthen its members. They should not neglect the duties of a pastor, as they visit from house to house. They should become familiar with every member of the family, that they may understand the spiritual condition of all, and vary their manner of labour to meet the case of each. When a minister bearing the solemn message of warning to the world receives the hospitable courtesies of friends and brethren, and neglects the duties of a shepherd of the flock and is careless in his example and deportment, engaging with the young in trifling conversation, in jesting and joking, and in relating humorous anecdotes to create laughter, he is unworthy of being a gospel minister and needs to be converted before he should be entrusted with the care of the sheep and lambs. Ministers who are neglectful of the duties devolving on a faithful pastor give evidence that they are not sanctified by the truths they present to others and should not be sustained as labourers in the vineyard of the Lord till they have a high sense of the sacredness of the work of a minister of Christ. 3T 232
I was shown the greatness and importance of the work before us. But few realise the true state of things. All who are asleep, and who cannot realise any necessity for vigilance and alarm, will be overcome. Young men are arising to engage in the work of God, some of whom have scarcely any sense of the sacredness and responsibility of the work. They have but little experience in exercising faith and in earnest soul hunger for the Spirit of God, which ever brings returns. Some men of good capabilities, who might fill important positions, do not know what spirit they are of. They run in a jovial mood as naturally as water flows downhill. They talk nonsense, and sport with young girls, while almost daily listening to the most solemn, soul-stirring truths. These men have a religion of the head, but their hearts are not sanctified by the truths they hear. Such can never lead others to the Fountain of living waters until they have drunk of the stream themselves. 3T 473
Brother F, God is merciful to you. Your life has been a mistake, nothing like what it might and should have been. There has not been in you genuine manliness, true elevation and purity of feeling. You have not had proper self-respect, and therefore have not had proper respect for others. You have not magnified Christ and the power of His grace. You have needed guardians all the way along through life. The same frivolity and fickleness, the same inconsideration and lack of self-control, the same selfishness and impatience, which were seen in your conduct at an early period of your life, are developed in a marked manner now that you are past the meridian. This need not have been, had you put away childish feelings and childish temper, and put on the firmness of the man. You have favoured yourself altogether to your injury. Your pains and infirmities have been magnified. You look at them and talk complainingly of them, but do not look away to Jesus. Think how little you suffer, how little you endure, in comparison with the sufferings of Christ; and He was sinless--the Just suffering for the unjust. 4T 346
Parties for frivolous, worldly pleasure, gatherings for eating, drinking, and singing, are inspired by a spirit that is from beneath. They are an oblation to Satan. The exhibitions in the bicycle craze are an offence to God. His wrath is kindled against those who do such things. In these gratifications the mind becomes besotted, even as in liquor drinking. The door is opened to vulgar associations. The thoughts, allowed to run in a low channel, soon pervert all the powers of the being. Like Israel of old, the pleasure lovers eat and drink, and rise up to play. There is mirth and carousing, hilarity and glee. In all this the youth follow the example of the authors of the books placed in their hands for study. The greatest evil of it all is the permanent effect that these things have upon the character.
Those who take the lead in these things bring upon the cause a stain not easily effaced. They wound their own souls, and through their lifetime will carry the scars. The evildoer may see his sins and repent; God may pardon the transgressor; but the powers of discernment, which ought ever to be kept keen and sensitive to distinguish between the sacred and the common, are in a great measure destroyed. Too often human devices and imaginations are accepted as divine. Some souls will act in blindness and insensibility, ready to grasp cheap, common, and even infidel sentiments, while they turn against the demonstrations of the Holy Spirit. 8T 66
Many gatherings have been presented to me. I have seen the gaiety, the display in dress, the personal adornment. All want to be thought brilliant, and give themselves up to hilarity, foolish jesting, cheap, coarse flattery, and uproarious laughter. The eyes sparkle, the cheek is flushed, conscience sleeps. With eating and drinking and merry-making they do their best to forget God. The scene of pleasure is their paradise. And Heaven is looking on, seeing and hearing all. . . . PH048 14
I entreat the students in our schools to be sober minded. The frivolity of the young is not pleasing to God. Their sports and games open the door to a flood of temptations. PH048 20
Our probation is short at best; we have no time to spend in erratic movements. The familiarity of married men with married women and with young girls, is disgusting in the sight of God and holy angels. The forwardness of young girls in placing themselves in the company of young men, hanging around where they are at work, entering into conversation with them, talking common, idle talk, is belittling to womanhood. It lowers them, even in the estimation of those who indulge in such things. There is a positive necessity for reform. All frivolity, all undue attention of men to women, or women to men, must be condemned and discontinued. These things have produced great evil in the world. PH088 10
There are those who do not feel that it is a religious duty to discipline the mind to dwell upon cheerful subjects, that they may reflect light rather than darkness and gloom. This class of minds will either be engaged in seeking their own pleasure, in frivolous conversation, laughing and joking, keeping the mind continually elated with a round of amusements; or they will be depressed, having great trials and mental conflicts, which they think but few have ever experienced or can understand. These persons may profess Christianity, but they deceive their own souls. They have not the genuine article. The religion of Jesus Christ is first pure, then peaceable, full of righteousness and good fruits. Many have fallen into the sad error which is so prevalent in this degenerate age, especially with females. They are too fond of the other sex. They love their society. Their attentions are to them flattering, and they encourage, or permit, a familiarity which does not always accord with the exhortation of the apostle, to "abstain from all appearance of evil." RH MAR.12,1872
There is a positive necessity for reform in all our institutions. All frivolity, all undue attention of men and women, must be condemned and discontinued. Some, even married men, who have indulged in this trifling familiarity, have endeavoured to excuse themselves, and escape censure by claiming that they have done no moral wrong. Was it no moral wrong to jest, joke, and pay flattering attentions to young women? Are you not starting in their minds a train of thought which it is impossible for you to change? Do you not by your levity and coquetry, sanction such conduct? You who hold positions of trust, and claim to be Christians, do you not give countenance to a familiarity which leads to sin? What record is made in the books of heaven by the divine Watcher? Was there no moral wrong done to the souls of those with whom you were so familiar? Indeed there was. Impressions were made that will be enduring. These girls are confirmed in coquetry and flirting. Every such indulgence tends to make them coarse and bold. They become more and more infatuated with the society of men and women who are trifling and frivolous, whose conversation is anything but holy, pure, and ennobling. SPTB16 6
Many have been cultivating habits which lead directly to earthly, sensual actions; and unless the power of God breaks the snare, souls will be lost in consequence. God has claims upon you that you do not realise; for you have not brought Christ into your life, and great decision of character will now be necessary on your part to change this order of things. No weak efforts will accomplish this work. You can not do it yourselves; you must have the grace of Christ or you can never overcome. All your plans will prove a failure unless you are actuated by higher motives, and upheld by greater strength than you can have of yourselves. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." There will be no taste for trifling conversation on the part of those who are looking to Jesus for strength, depending upon His righteousness for salvation. By faith they accept Jesus as their personal Saviour, and become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. While men and women in an institution for health should be kind and courteous, while they are required to be affable and congenial to all, they should shun even the appearance of undue familiarity. And not only should they themselves observe the strictest propriety of conduct, but by precept and example they should educate others to be modest and shun looseness, jesting, flattery, and nonsensical speeches. Everything savouring of unbecoming familiarity should be discarded by physicians, superintendent, and helpers. There should be no giving of special favours or special attentions to a few, no preferring of one above another. This has been done and is displeasing to God. There are worthy persons who are afflicted and suffering but do not complain, who are in need of special attention. These men and women are often passed by with indifference and with a hardness of heart that is more like Satan's character than like Christ's, while, young forward misses, who in no way need or deserve favours, receive special attention. All this neglect is written in the books of heaven. All these things are developing character. . . . SPTB16 9
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven." Matt. 5:16.
The truth in the soul will be seen in the circumspect life. Levity of conduct, undue familiarity, will not exist. If everyone who claims to be a child of God would cherish the spirit of kindness and love, without base thoughts and undue attention, and devote his God-given powers to spreading the truth, in seeking to save souls, what a bright, steady light would shine forth to the world! TDG 207