Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

August 17, 1899

Self-culture

A character formed after the divine likeness is the only treasure that a man can take from this world to the next. I would urge the youth to regard every moment of time as golden. Do not waste it in indolence, do not spend it in folly, but use it in grasping higher treasures. Cultivate the thoughts and expand the soul by refusing to allow the mind to be filled with unimportant matters. Secure every advantage within your reach for strengthening the intellect. Do not rest satisfied with a low standard. Be not content until, by faithful endeavor, watchfulness, and earnest prayer, you have secured the wisdom that is from above. Thus you may gain an influence over other minds, which will enable you to lead them in the path of uprightness and holiness. This is your privilege. YI August 17, 1899, par. 1

Cherish every ray of light you can obtain by searching the word of God. Take up your God-given work today, and see how much good you can accomplish in the strength of Christ. Make God your counselor. Discipline and control the mental faculties. Self-control is a power which all may possess. It is gained by placing the will wholly on the side of God, taking the divine will for your will. YI August 17, 1899, par. 2

Christ remembered our nature in the requirements he made. He took our nature upon himself, and brought to man moral power to combine with human effort. He would conform us to his authority, that we may know his will. He can and will, if we submit to him, fill the chambers of the mind and the recesses of the soul with his Spirit. Then our will is in perfect harmony with the divine will. Our spirit may be so identified with his Spirit that in thought and aim we shall be one with him. Then Satan will no longer control us. Christ is our Leader, and his true followers like to keep in step with him. He speaks, and they obey his voice. His people are made willing in the day of his power. YI August 17, 1899, par. 3

The Lord's claims extend to our words and actions. Even the thoughts must be brought into captivity to Christ. Then the whole life is a witness for the right. God's true servants subordinate every act to the universal law of obedience. “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” is the inquiry of the soul. They keep their eyes directed heavenward, that they may be approved of God, workmen that need not to be ashamed. They maintain a watching, praying attitude. They remember the words, “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.” Thus Enoch walked with God, constantly realizing his accountability. YI August 17, 1899, par. 4

The intellectual, moral, and physical faculties are to be equally cultivated and improved, that we may reach the highest standard in the attainment of knowledge. Education is one-sided unless the whole of the human machinery is used. Those who are fitting themselves for ministers or teachers need to combine physical and mental labor. The intellect must not be allowed to become inactive. The mind must work, else it will become feeble, and will lose the power to think. It is not the length of time spent in acquiring an education that fits a man for a position of influence and responsibility. It is working with earnest effort to cultivate the talents, to wrestle with new problems. God has given us our reasoning powers for a high and holy purpose,—that we may grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Our faculties were given us to be improved, not to remain unused. He who knows of the goodness and mercy and love of Jesus Christ should make them known to his fellow men; for this knowledge is given to be imparted. The mental faculties are to be aroused to earnest activity. God designs that the youth shall consecrate all their gifts to their Creator. By a right use of their talents they may link themselves by a golden chain to the higher world. They may become partakers of the divine nature. YI August 17, 1899, par. 5

Daniel of sacred history was but a youth when with his friends he was taken captive to Babylon. But he stands before the heavenly universe, before the worlds unfallen, and before a rebellious world, as a bright example of what the grace of God can do for man. The Lord purposed what Daniel should do; and Daniel gave himself up, with all his energies, to carry out the plan of his Creator. It was not his choice to be exposed to the profligacy, the gluttony, and the spendthrift habits of that heathen nation. But he set his heart, while there, to serve the Lord. He co-operated with God. He stood under Christ's banner as a loyal subject of the heavenly King. As he educated himself to reach the highest standard, he carried with him the fragrance of Christ's righteousness. He was kind and submissive, he made friends with those who had charge over him; yet he would not swerve one inch from pure, true, righteous principles. He was willing to meet all the requirements of those who had rule over him, when he could do this consistently; but all the kings of the earth, all the nobles, all those in power, could not lead him to do one act that would mar his character. He was determined to be true to his God, and God calls him “a man greatly beloved.” YI August 17, 1899, par. 6

To every human being, life should be a serious problem. The character formed in this world determines the destiny for eternity. The element of value in the life in this world will be of value in the world to come. Our future is determined by the way in which we now allow ourselves to be influenced. If we cherish hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong, indulging appetite and passion, we can never enter the kingdom of God. But if we strive to repress evil inclinations, if we are willing to be governed by the Spirit of Christ, we are transformed. We take Christ's yoke upon us, and learn his way. Thus we become strengthened, as were Joseph, Samuel, and Daniel. We show that we are God's husbandry, God's building, and that we are using only solid timbers in our character-building. YI August 17, 1899, par. 7

Mrs. E. G. White YI August 17, 1899

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