Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

August 10, 1899

Marriages, Wise and Unwise

The Eden home of our first parents was prepared for them by God himself. When he had furnished it with everything that man could desire, he said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them.”

We have here revealed to us the truth concerning the origin of man. These words prove how false is the invention of Satan, which has been reiterated by man, that the human race has been developed, stage by stage, from the lowest order of animals. This is one of the deceptions by which Satan seeks to lower in the eyes of man God's great work of creation.

God said, “Let us make man in our image.” He gave to the work of his hands not only a form resembling his own, but a mind capable of comprehending divine things. His understanding, his memory, his imagination,—every faculty of man's mind,—reflected the image of God. In disposition and heart he was qualified to receive heavenly instruction. He possessed a right understanding, a true knowledge of his Creator, of himself, his duty, his obligations in respect to the law of God. His judgment was uncorrupted, unbiased, and disposed to obedience and affection, regulated according to reason and truth. He was capable of enjoying to the utmost capacity the good gifts of God. Everything upon which he looked was transporting to his senses; every sound was as music in his ears. Yet he was not placed beyond the reach of temptation. He stood as the representative of the human race,—a free moral agent.

The Lord was pleased with this last and noblest of all his creatures, and designed that he should be the perfect inhabitant of a perfect world. But it was not his purpose that man should live in solitude. He said: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.” So God created Eve, and gave her to Adam as a companion.

Thus marriage was instituted. God himself united the holy pair; and this first marriage is an example of what all marriages should be. God gave the man one wife. Had he deemed it best for man to have more than one wife, he could as easily have given him two; but he sanctioned no such thing. Wherever polygamy is practised, it is against our Heavenly Father's wise arrangement. Under this practise the race degenerates, and all that makes married life elevated and ennobling is blasted.

Immature marriages are productive of a vast amount of the evils that exist today. Neither physical health nor mental vigor is promoted by a marriage that is entered on too early in life. Upon this subject altogether too little reason is exercised. Many youth act from impulse. This step, which affects them seriously for good or ill, to be a lifelong blessing or curse, is too often taken hastily, under the impulse of sentiment. Many will not listen to reason or instruction in the matter. They are unwilling to consider this subject from a Christian point of view.

The marriages formed by students at school are not right nor proper. Young boys and girls, unfitted in every way to bear life's responsibilities, do not guard their affections; and many who are too young to take care of themselves, too young to know their own minds, who have never been tested as to whether they can make home happy, and support themselves, assume the responsibilities of married life.

Many mothers have gone into the grave because the son or daughter, who heretofore had been respectful and obedient, would not be advised with reference to this important relation. The youth take this step regardless of the counsel of parents and friends, and heedless of the approval of God. His command, “Honor thy father and thy mother,” is disregarded, and so his promise can not be fulfilled. His blessing can not rest upon those who pursue this course of reckless wilfulness. The minister of Christ may seek to warn them of their danger; but a bewitching power draws them away from the very ones who would do them good, and they determine to follow their own inclinations.

The world is full of misery and sin today in consequence of ill-assorted marriages. In many cases it takes only a few months for husband and wife to realize that their dispositions can never blend; and the result is that discord prevails in the home, where only the love and harmony of heaven should exist. By contention over trivial matters, a bitter spirit is cultivated. Open disagreements and bickering bring inexpressible misery into the home, and drive asunder those who should be united in the bonds of love. Thus thousands have sacrificed themselves, soul and body, by unwise marriages, and have gone down in the path of perdition.

It is a dangerous thing to form a worldly alliance. Satan well knows that the hour which witnesses the marriage of many young men and women closes the history of their religious experience and usefulness. For a time they may make an effort to live a Christian life, but all their strivings are made against a steady influence in the opposite direction. Once they felt it a privilege to speak of their joy and hope; but soon they become unwilling to make this a subject of conversation, knowing that the one with whom they have linked their destiny takes no interest in these things. Thus Satan insidiously weaves about them a web of skepticism, and faith in the precious truth dies out of the heart.

It is Satan's studied effort to secure the youth in sin; for then he is sure of the man. The enemy of souls is filled with intense hatred against every endeavor to influence the youth in the right direction. He hates everything that will give correct views of God and of Christ. His efforts are especially directed against those who are placed in a position favorable for receiving light from heaven; for he knows that any movement on their part to come into connection with God will give them power to resist his temptations. As an angel of light he comes to the youth with his specious devices, and too often succeeds in winning them, step by step, from the path of duty.

Young persons who are thrown into one another's society may make their association a blessing or a curse. They may edify, strengthen, and bless one another, improving in deportment, in disposition, in knowledge; or, by permitting themselves to become careless and unfaithful, they may exert only a demoralizing influence. The youth who finds joy and happiness in reading the word of God and in the hour of prayer, will be constantly refreshed by drafts from the fountain of life. He will attain a height of moral excellence and a breadth of thought that others can not conceive of. Communion with God encourages good thoughts, noble aspirations, clear perception of truth, and lofty purposes of action. Those who connect with God will be acknowledged by him as his sons and daughters. They will reach higher and still higher, obtaining clearer views of God and of eternity, until the Lord can make them channels of light and wisdom to the world.

Jesus will be the helper of all who will put their trust in him. Those who are connected with Christ have happiness at their command. They follow in the path where their Saviour leads, for his sake crucifying the flesh, with the affections and lusts. These persons build their hope upon Christ, and the storms of life are powerless to sweep them from the sure foundation.

Mrs. E. G. White

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