Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

June 22, 1893

Words to the Young

“No man liveth unto himself.” It is impossible for any of us to live in such a way that we shall not cast an influence in the world. No member of the family can inclose himself within himself, where other members of the family shall not feel his influence and spirit. The very expression of the countenance has an influence for good or evil. His spirit, his words, his actions, his attitude toward others, are unmistakable. If he is living in selfishness, he surrounds his soul with a malarious atmosphere, while if he is filled with the love of Christ, he will manifest courtesy, kindness, tender regard for the feelings of others, and will communicate to his associates, by his acts of love, a tender, grateful, happy feeling. It will be made manifest that he is living for Jesus, and daily learning lessons at his feet, receiving his light and his peace. He will be able to say to the Lord, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.”

When we place ourselves in a position where we shall catch the bright rays of the Sun of righteousness, we enlist the whole heart in diffusing a pleasant atmosphere to those around us. We become a living channel of light; we are living epistles, “known and read of all men.” We cooperate with heavenly agencies, and drink of the waters of life. Those who drink of the waters of life, will ever have a fresh supply, for Christ is in them a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. Jesus has promised, “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.”

He who deservedly bears the name of Christian, which signifies Christlike, will be filled with piety and purity, with love and reverence for God and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent; and his spirit, his words, his actions, will all bear the impress of Heaven. Others will see that he has been with Jesus and learned of him. His prayers will be simple and fervent, and will ascend to God on the wings of faith. Learning in the school of Christ, he will have a humble opinion of himself; and though he may be poor in this world's goods, he may be rich in the graces of God's Spirit, and may bless and enrich others by his spirit and influence, because Christ is in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. He will shed about him an atmosphere of hope and courage and strength, and will put to shame those who are worldly, selfish, formal professors, who have a name to live and are dead.

He who is rich in faith, who is God-fearing, devoted who cooperates with heavenly agencies, will so conduct himself that his influence will tell for time and eternity, and through him whole families may be converted to the truth. His example of cross-bearing, of self-denial, of long-suffering, of patience, will make him a worthy example to others, and he will be a channel of light to the world. This is the standard to which the youth may attain. They may become living, working agencies, an army of faithful soldiers for Jesus Christ. If they will put to the best use their ability, and serve God from the heart, he will accept them as a most precious offering.

The Lord has promised to bestow the Holy Spirit upon those who earnestly desire it, who manifest fervor and zeal in seeking for the precious gift. A form of godliness without the power is a weariness and burden; but when the whole heart is enlisted in the service of Christ, there is rest to the soul; for God causeth such to triumph daily over the powers of darkness. God helps him who commits his soul unto the Lord as unto a faithful Creator. But those who are merely formal professors, bear the name but not the fruits of a connection with God. They are as false sign-boards, pointing to perdition, while professing to direct in the way to heaven. They may hold high positions, be members of councils, but their counsels are of an order that work against the plans and counsels of God. Those who are merely professors have a withering influence both in the church and in the home, and they are a curse to the world. It is not possible for any one to live simply unto himself; each one is a part of the great web of humanity, a part of the great whole; and old and young exert an influence, and each one is responsible for the influence he exerts. Whether good or evil, others will be affected by your life, and others will follow your example. Those who are half-hearted will lead others astray; and many are delighted when they find professors whose standard is so low that worldlings can call themselves, “as good as such Christians.”

O that all our youth would have a disposition to seek for the truth as for hid treasure, that they might find it, and bring it into contact with those who know it not! O that the truth that is unfolded to our minds may bear practical fruit in our lives, that what has been imparted to us may be imparted to others through us! Unless the truth of God is received in the heart and carried out in practical life, it is not truth to the one to whom it has been presented, but only a delusion. The mind of God must unite with the mind of man, that every thought may be brought into captivity to Christ. When the truth is fully received, it will be made manifest by a transformation of character. But those who do not thus receive the truth, though their names may be upon the church-books, are as whited sepulchers, full of corruption within. Sin has not been expelled from the soul, and impurity, self-indulgence, fleshly lusts, moral depravity,—are all discerned by the All-seeing Eye that reads the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Those who would truly follow Christ must let him abide in the heart, and enthrone him there as supreme. They must represent his spirit and character in their home life, and show courtesy and kindness to those with whom they come in contact. There are many children who profess to know the truth, who do not render to their parents the honor and affection that are due to them, who manifest but little love to father and mother, and fail to honor them in deferring to their wishes, or in seeking to relieve them of anxiety. Many who profess to be Christians do not know what it means to “honor thy father and thy mother,” and consequently will know just as little what it means, “that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Our youth profess to be among those who keep the commandments of God, and yet many of them neglect and break the fifth commandment; and the rich blessing promised to those who observe this precept, and honor father and mother, cannot be fulfilled to them. Unless they repent of their sin, and reform their practices and character through the grace of Christ, they will never enter into the new earth, upon which they may live eternally. Those who do not respect and love their parents will not respect and honor God. Those who fail to bear the test, who fail to honor their God-fearing parents, fail to obey God, and therefore cannot expect to come into the land of promise.

The youth are now deciding their own eternal destiny, and I would appeal to you to consider the commandment to which God has annexed such a promise, “that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Children, do you desire eternal life? Then respect and honor your parents. Do not wound and grieve their hearts, and cause them to spend sleepless nights in anxiety and distress over your case. If you have sinned in not rendering love and obedience to them, begin now to redeem the past. You cannot afford to take any other course; for it means to you the loss of eternal life. The Heart-searcher knows what is your attitude toward your parents; for he is weighing moral character in the golden scales of the heavenly sanctuary. O, confess your neglect of your parents, confess your indifference toward them, and your contempt of God's holy commandment. Give your heart to God, and submit your will to the will of Christ. The hearts of your parents have been drawn out in tender sympathy toward you, and can you return their love with cold ingratitude? They love your souls, they want you to be saved; but have you not often despised their counsel, and done your own will, your own way? Have you not followed your own independent judgment, when you knew that such a stubborn course would not meet the approval of God? Many fathers and mothers have gone down broken-hearted to the grave, because of the ingratitude, the lack of respect, shown them by their children. O my young friends, be not among the number of those who cause grief to father and mother, who are workers of iniquity, and who know not what it is to have the tender spirit of Christ. Pray earnestly that you may be enabled by the grace of Jesus, who was subject unto his parents, to keep God's commandment with promise, “that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

Mrs. E. G. White

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