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The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials - Contents
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    Counsels for Husbands and Wives; Also, Guidelines for Students and Faculty in a School

    I wish to present before you some things existing in yourself that have been at the foundation of the sorrow and disappointment which you unjustly charge upon others. I have often read these words, “Marriage is a lottery.” Some act as if they believed the statement, and their married life testifies that it is such to them. But true marriage is not a lottery. Marriage was instituted in Eden. After the creation of Adam, the Lord said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet suitable for him.” When the Lord presented Eve to Adam, angels of God were witnesses to the ceremony. But there are few couples who are completely united when the marriage ceremony is performed. The form of words spoken over the two who take the marriage vow does not make them a unit. In their future life is to be the blending of the two in wedlock. It may be made a really happy union if each will give to the other true heart affection.1888 1214.1

    But time strips marriage of the romance with which imagination had clothed it, and then the thought finds entrance into the mind through Satan's suggestions, “We do not love each other as we supposed.” Expel it from the mind. Do not linger over it. Let each, forgetful of self, refuse to entertain the ideas that Satan would be glad to have you cherish. He will work to make you suspicious, jealous of every little thing that shall furnish the least occasion in order to alienate your affections from each other. Life is a real matter, and it can be made unbearable by the husband and wife. When the romance is gone, let each think, not after a sentimental order, how they can make the married life what God would be pleased to have it.1888 1214.2

    Life is a precious gift of God, and is not to be wasted in selfish regrets or more open indifference and dislike. Let the husband and wife talk things over together. Renew the early attentions to each other, acknowledge your faults to each other, but in this work be very careful that the husband does not take it upon him to confess his wife's faults or the wife her husband's. Be determined that you will be all that it is possible for you to be to each other, and the bonds of wedlock will be the most desirable of ties. Let not the thought be entertained for one moment that you are bound by irrevocable vows to one whom you cannot love. It is as a terrible nightmare for two persons to be apparently living as one through a lifetime, and yet be in reality as two.1888 1215.1

    The evil is always increased when either the wife or the husband, finding someone who appears to be a congenial spirit, ventures to whisper to this trusted one the secrets of the married life. The very act of making known the secret confirms the existence of a condition of things that would not be at all necessary if the husband and wife loved God supremely.1888 1215.2

    But the fact is, in many cases where these difficulties are thought to exist, the cause is imaginary. Mistakes are made through ignorance, and the result that is sure to follow is misunderstanding and alienation. If the husband and wife would freely talk over the matter with each other in the spirit of Christ, the difficulty would be healed. But too often they remain apart, and brood over the trouble, and it wounds them continually. If they loved God supremely, their hearts would be so filled, so satisfied, with His love that they would not be consumed with longing for affection to be manifested in acts toward themselves. Many have mistaken the true duty of the wife to the husband and the husband to the wife. Self becomes all-absorbing, and Satan can manage the matter to suit himself. He has his net all ready to draw about the human soul, to get it so entangled by human imagination that it seems impossible for human wisdom to disentangle the meshes of his finely woven snares.1888 1215.3

    But what human wisdom cannot do, the wisdom of God can do through the surrender of the will, the mind, the soul, the strength, the entire being, to God. His providence can unite hearts in bonds that are of heavenly origin. But the result will not be a mere external interchange of affection in soft and flattering words. There will be a new experience; the loom of heaven weaves with warp and woof finer, yet more firm, than those of earth. The material is not a mere tissue fabric but a texture that will bear the wear and test of trial; heart is bound to heart in the golden chain of a love that is genuine. There is a love that it is cruelty to feed or to give vent to. It is regarded as very fine, very elevated, yet it absorbs so much that God cannot be glorified in the life of the ones He has purchased by the sacrifice of His own life to unite them with Himself.1888 1216.1

    Husbands and wives should feel it their privilege and their duty to reserve for the privacy of each other's society the interchange of love tokens between themselves. For while the manifestation of love for each other is right in its place, it may be made productive of harm to both the married and the unmarried. There are persons of an entirely different cast of mind and character, and of different education and training, who love each other just as devotedly and healthfully as do those who have educated themselves to manifest their affection freely; and there is danger that by contrast these persons who are more reserved will be misjudged, and placed at a disadvantage.1888 1216.2

    While the wife should lean on her husband with respect and deference, she can, in a wholesome, healthful way, manifest her strong affection for and confidence in the man she has chosen as her life companion. She gives real, unvarnished proofs of her love, and does not think it essential to exhibit sentimentalism as the evidence of a happy union.1888 1217.1

    It is the high privilege and the solemn duty of Christians to make each other happy in their married life, but there is positive danger of making self all absorbing, pouring out all the wealth of affection upon each other, and being too well satisfied with such a life. All this savors of selfishness. Instead of shutting up their love and sympathy to themselves, they should seize every opportunity of contributing to the good of others, distributing the abundance of affection in a chaste and sanctified love for souls that in the sight of God are just as precious as themselves, being purchased by the infinite sacrifice of His only-begotten Son.1888 1217.2

    Kind words, looks of sympathy, expressions of appreciation, would be to many a struggling and lonely one as the cup of cold water to a thirsty soul. A word of sympathy, an act of kindness, would lift burdens that are resting heavily upon some shoulders. And words of counsel, admonitions, warnings from a heart sanctified by love, are just as essential as an effusion of loving sentiments and expressions of appreciation. Every word or deed of unselfish kindness to souls with whom we are brought in connection is an expression of the love that Jesus has manifested for the whole human family. That love is beautifully presented to us by Christ Himself. [John 4:10, 13, 14, quoted.]1888 1217.3

    Too often the marriage relation is entered into without proper consideration; none should marry in uncertainty. But if they have not been properly considerate in this matter, and after marriage find themselves dissimilar in character, and liable to reap unhappiness in the place of joy, let them not breathe into another's mind the fact that their marriage was unwise. Let no third person become acquainted with the matter, but let each in the fear of God seek to understand and to help the other. In my experience many cases have come before me that were most difficult to deal with. Fictitious reading has confused the mind, and marriage is falsely colored. As Christians we should discard all this class of reading that creates so much unhappiness in the marriage life. Persons do not realize their expectations, and nothing that the companion can do is pleasing. The one in this dangerous position should center the affections upon God, and drink of the water that Christ shall give, which will be as “a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”1888 1218.1

    How anxiously I watched during the camp meeting to see who would give heed to the Saviour's invitation, and seek unto Him for the water of life. I watched to see who would fall on the Rock and be broken. Some of our sisters who might have been helped and blessed were not helped because they were in a condition very like that of those at the Minneapolis meeting. They had the same spirit; they were doing a similar work in seeking to find spot and stain in others. I longed to see the work of the Spirit of God upon their hearts. But there was no perceptible change. I knew that when the divine enlightenment came to them, there would be such an emptying of self that there would be a vacuum to be supplied by the Holy Spirit working in the human heart with saving power.1888 1219.1

    When after the camp meeting it was urged upon me by the Spirit of God to bear a testimony and do a work which was not pleasant, I dreaded to undertake it. After the case of one was touched and I had done all that I could do to change the order of things, Brother Starr said to me, “I hope now you can lay down this burden and rest. You cannot continue to pass wakeful nights and suffer thus in mind without decided injury to your health.” I said, “Oh, Brother Starr, the work is but just entered upon. You know not the true condition of things.” That which I looked upon as the most difficult to attempt to set in order is the case of Sister Rousseau and Sister Daniells. I would leave for New South Wales if I dared to do so, but I greatly fear and tremble to touch a matter which has been working deeper and deeper under the specious training of Satan, until the meshes of his net have entangled these souls in a self-conscious righteousness and a Satanic deceiving that makes falsehood appear as truth and truth appear as falsehood. It is no easy matter to break this deception of the artful deceiver.1888 1219.2

    Brother and Sister Starr have not brought these matters before me. It has been here as at Minneapolis. Supposition is taken for fact because our sisters have not walked in the light of the Word of God and been doers of that Word. Satan has insinuated his awful, deceiving suggestions, and they have believed a falsehood. They have not opened the mind to the very ones they should have spoken to. They have allowed their mischievous confidences to lead them into false paths. Satan has put his construction upon matters, and they do not discern the truth. A malarious atmosphere has surrounded their souls.1888 1220.1

    How much greater would have been the manifestation of the Spirit of God in the working of the school, had the atmosphere been pure and holy. If all who have come into the school had cherished a pure missionary spirit, faithful to the interest of the One who has given them their work to do, the Holy Spirit could have worked with these sisters. How much time has been wasted in false sympathy in pitying self and in evil surmising and evil speaking, time which might have been turned to profit, the thoughts purified, the heart opened to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. What an exalted satisfaction would it be to all the heavenly intelligences to see those who had long had knowledge and light and experience, the wives of ministers, closely united, answering the prayer of Christ that they might be one in heart and in purpose. Loving God supremely, they would have loved their neighbors as themselves.1888 1220.2

    In the school our sisters were surrounded by active, inquiring minds, quick to discern and to draw conclusions. The state of the mind is easily read, as revealed in little actions, in a word which is a seed dropped now and then. It is manifest whether or not one is on the side of order and obedience to rules and regulations. Unless these rules are respected and obeyed, the school would speedily become demoralized. When those who carried the burden of responsibility feel the necessity of requiring correct deportment, respect, and obedience, it is a sad thing that Sister Rousseau should be on the wrong side, feeling that those who disregard the rules should be treated in such a way that the rules would mean nothing to them. Sister Rousseau does not regard her words and attitude thus, but thus God regards them.1888 1221.1

    The discipline of the school is not to be lowered, but all who have any part to act in relation to the school are required to come up to the right standard. They must maintain propriety of conduct in every line, and stand shoulder to shoulder. Those who profess to be followers of Christ are to draw with all their power in even cords. Every worker in the school needs to learn daily in the school of the chief Teacher, Jesus Christ, how to control the feelings, how to subdue the passions. We must live in obedience to the words of Christ, adhering strictly to His rules, heeding His injunctions to the letter. One may possess fine sensibility, but unless this is balanced by sanctified common sense, it becomes a wearisome burden in every council. It is as a ship without a helm to guide it.1888 1221.2

    Under such an influence the students would soon override all government, and the school would fail of accomplishing the object for which it was established. It could not become elevated and ennobled, giving character to the work of present truth by showing what the truth can do for the students through knowledge of and obedience to its principles. It must be impressed upon the students that they are to make a proper improvement of their time, that they should keep clear from every influence that would divert their minds from their studies. If those who are working in the interest of the school neglect this point, they are unfaithful stewards. Parents and friends are paying out their money to support the pupils in school. They do this because they have high hopes that the students for whom they have this special interest shall repay them by doing their very best.1888 1222.1

    The school is not to be regarded as a place for courtship or marriage, but as a place where the youth are to be educated and disciplined for practical life. Flirtation or special attentions between young ladies and young men cannot be permitted in the school.*See Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 101 and 6 Biography 382-386. Were the rules so lax as to admit of this, the education and home training of many have been so entirely different from what they ought to have been that the school would become demoralized, and parents would feel no safety in sending their children to the school.1888 1222.2

    Education means all that the term implies; it cannot be acquired without painstaking effort and patient application. It requires all there is of the human mind to dig for the precious ore, and by persevering effort hold all that is gained. Every grain of knowledge is to be regarded as of high value, because it enables the student to understand better his own capabilities, and to use his powers to the glory of God. The period of school life is full of great opportunities and privileges. The students should improve every moment to increase their knowledge, that they may put it to practical use as laborers together with God for the help and blessing of their fellow men.1888 1222.3

    Education is of no special benefit unless it has for its end true goodness and purity, preparing the student for the service of the Lord. He who studies to be good, that he may do good, will, like Daniel, come into possession of the richest treasures of knowledge. Let not one be content with superficial knowledge, trying to combine pleasure-seeking with the student's life, for he will meet with great loss.1888 1223.1

    The parable of the talents is given for our study, and it may be considered with great profit to the soul. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Heaven bestows upon us very large gifts when it gives us opportunities. Those who are ever desiring greater opportunities seldom show that they appreciate the opportunities they do have. The precious opportunities are appreciated when the small advantages are eagerly seized upon and improved. The talent of time is a precious gift of heaven. So the power of speech is a talent entrusted of God, to be wisely used in trading with the Lord's goods. We cannot possibly do this unless we are closely connected with Christ. Those who are vitalized by His divine nature can and will work in Christ's lines.1888 1223.2

    In Christ crucified we behold the manifestation of the wisdom and power of God, daily converting the soul and divinely adapted to meet all the obstacles and trials that come to us all in our daily experience. There is very little genuine faith in a personal Saviour who will help the soul in every emergency. Christ was crucified to take away our sins. Risen from the dead He is our Intercessor, our chosen and appointed Advocate, our Substitute and Surety in God's presence. Through His blood every soul may have access to God. In Him humanity and divinity are combined. It is enough; all sufficiency is provided for every soul. The follower of Christ is fitted for every work and every trial. In his desire for virtue and holiness he is opposed at every step by the synagogue of Satan, and he has to engage in a personal, spiritual conflict. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in high places” [Ephesians 6:12, margin].—Letter 76, 1894. (Written to a sister in the church from Melbourne, Australia, in March 1894.)1888 1224.1

    Ellen G. White Estate
    Washington, D. C.
    October 5, 1983

    Entire Letter Released

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