Ellen G. White Writings

<< Back Forward >>

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Forward»

The Youth’s Instructor

July 20, 1893

Words to the Young

In childhood and youth Christ gives a pattern to the young as to how they should employ their time. He was diligent and faithful in all his work, and was subject unto his parents. If the youth and children in this age of the world could realize what are the God-given obligations of their parents, they would know that in performing humble domestic duties, in rendering obedience to their parents, they would escape many a snare that Satan has laid for their feet. But instead of submitting to their parents, how many utterly refuse to render obedience, and shun the homely duties of life. The cultivation of this lawless disposition opens wide the door for the temptations of Satan, and he leads the feet of the young away from the path of duty. They begin by yielding to his temptations to neglect the duty which comes to them every day for performance. If the daily duty was rightly performed, they would gain ability and acquire experience by which they might engage in greater and more important work.

Parents are under obligation to feed and clothe and educate their children, and children are under obligation to serve their parents with cheerful, earnest fidelity. When children cease to feel their obligation to share the toil and burden with their parents, then how would it suit them to have their parents cease to feel their obligation to provide for them? In ceasing to do the duties that devolve upon them to be useful to their parents, to lighten their burdens by doing that which may be disagreeable and full of toil, children miss their opportunity of obtaining a most valuable education that will fit them for future usefulness. It is in following the path of duty that God has marked out, that our feet enter the pathway of safety and honor.

God will bless the children who fear and honor their parents. He will exercise a sheltering care over them, and when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard for them against him. Of Christ in his childhood it is written that he “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Of John, the forerunner of Christ, it is written, “The child grew and waxed strong in spirit.” Again of Jesus it is said that he went down with his parents, and “was subject unto them.” Dear children and youth, let the example of Christ in his youth be your example in all things.

Christ was the anointed of God; yet his life was humble and without display. For thirty years of his life there is scarcely anything on record concerning him. His quiet, unostentatious life should be a lesson to parents, to guardians, to children, to youth, and even to manhood. Of the childhood and youth of the holiest and most exalted character that ever graced the world, there are recorded but few facts; and yet how significant they are!

In this age the race is far inferior in both physical and moral power to what it was in the days of Christ; yet how parents exalt their children, and praise and pet them. They relieve them from all responsibility and burden, and seem desirous of bringing their children into notice. They devote much time to the trimming of their clothes and the decoration of their bodies, that they may attract the notice and admiration of those with whom they come in contact; and thus they cultivate in their children pride, vanity, and selfishness. When very young, the love of approbation is fostered in their hearts, and they are trained to live for the exaltation of self.

How many toil-worn, burdened parents have become slaves to their children, while, in harmony with their education and training, the children live to please, amuse, and glorify themselves. Parents sow the seed in the hearts of their children which yields a harvest that they do not care to reap. Under this training, at the age of ten, twelve, or sixteen, children think themselves very wise, imagine that they are prodigies, and regard themselves as altogether too knowing to be in subjection to their parents, and too elevated to stoop to the duties of everyday life. The love of pleasure controls their minds, and selfishness, pride, and rebellion work out their bitter results in their lives. They accept the insinuations of Satan, and cultivate an unhallowed ambition to make a great show in the world.

There are many youth who might have been a blessing to society, and an honor to the cause of God, if they had been started in life with right ideas as to what constituted success. But instead of being controlled by reason and principle, they had been trained to yield to wayward inclination, and sought only to gratify themselves by indulging in selfish pleasure, thinking thus to obtain happiness. But they failed to attain their object; for seeking happiness in the path of selfishness will bring but misery. They are useless in society, useless in the cause of God. Their prospects both for this world and the next are of a most discouraging order; for by selfish love of pleasure, they lose both this world and the next.

Even among Christian parents, there has been too much sanctioning of the love of amusements. Parents have received the world's maxim, have conformed to the general opinion that it was necessary that the early life of children and youth should be frittered away in idleness, in selfish amusements, and in foolish indulgences. In this way, a taste has been created for exciting pleasure, and children and youth have trained their minds so that they delight in exciting displays; and they have a positive dislike for the sober, useful duties of life. They live lives more after the order of the brute creation. They have no thoughts of God, or of eternal realities; but flit like butterflies in their season. They do not act like sensible beings, whose life is capable of measuring with the life of God, and who are accountable to him for every hour of their time. What assurance has any child or youth that even one day of life may be his? Children and youth die, and they know not how soon their probation will close, and their destiny be fixed for eternal life or everlasting death. Let children and youth take Christ for their example, be subject unto their parents, and improve their time, knowing that Christ, who died for them, is looking upon them, to bestow his approval upon those who follow in his footsteps. Let them so live, through the merits of the grace of Christ, that he may say of them at last, “They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.”

Mrs. E. G. White

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Forward»