Chapter 6—Youth and the Future

An Index to the Future—The youth of today are a sure index to the future of society; and as we view them, what can we hope for that future? The majority are fond of amusement and averse to work. They lack moral courage to deny self and to respond to the claims of duty. They have but little self-control, and become excited and angry on the slightest occasion. Very many in every age and station of life are without principle or conscience; and with their idle, spendthrift habits they are rushing into vice and are corrupting society, until our world is becoming a second Sodom.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 45. Te 186.1

The Time to Establish Good Habits—If correct and virtuous habits are formed in youth, they will generally mark the course of the possessor through life. In most cases, it will be found that those who in later life reverence God and honor the right, learned that lesson before there was time for the world to stamp its image of sin upon the soul. Those of mature age are generally as insensible to new impressions as is the hardened rock; but youth is impressible. Youth is the time to acquire knowledge for daily practice through life; a right character may then be easily formed. It is the time to establish good habits, to gain and to hold the power of self-control. Youth is the sowing time, and the seed sown determines the harvest, both for this life and the life to come.—Counsels on Health, 113. Te 186.2

To Be Temperate Is to Be Manly—The only way in which any can be secure against the power of intemperance, is to abstain wholly from wine, beer, and strong drinks. We must teach our children that in order to be manly they must let these things alone. God has shown us what constitutes true manliness. It is he that overcometh who will be honored, and whose name will not be blotted out of the book of life.—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 37. Te 186.3

In our large cities there are saloons on the right hand and on the left, tempting passers-by to indulge an appetite which, once established, is exceedingly hard to overcome. The youth should be trained never to touch tobacco or intoxicating drink. Alcohol robs men of their reasoning powers.—The Review and Herald, June 15, 1905. Te 187.1

Nadab and Abihu Had Formed the Habit of Drinking—Anything that lessens the physical power enfeebles the mind, and makes it less clear to discriminate between good and evil, between right and wrong. This principle is illustrated in the case of Nadab and Abihu. God gave them a most sacred work to perform, permitting them to come near to Himself in their appointed service; but they had a habit of drinking wine, and they entered upon the holy service in the sanctuary with confused minds.... “And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, 427, 428. Te 187.2

A Warning to Parents and Youth—Parents and children should be warned by the history of Nadab and Abihu. Appetite, indulged, perverted the reasoning powers, and led to the breaking of an express command, which brought the judgment of God upon them. Notwithstanding children may not have had the right instruction, and their characters not have been properly molded, God proposes to connect them with Himself as He did Nadab and Abihu, if they will heed His commands. If they will with faith and courage bring their will in submission to the will of God, He will teach them, and their lives may be like the pure white lily, full of fragrance on the stagnant waters. They must resolve in the strength of Jesus to control inclination and passion, and every day win victories over Satan's temptations. This is the way God has marked out for men to serve His high purposes.—The Signs of the Times, July 8, 1880. Te 187.3

The One Worthy of Honor—The young man who is determined to keep his appetite under the control of God, and who refuses the first temptation to drink intoxicating liquor, saying courteously, but firmly, “No, thank you,” is the one who is worthy of honor. Let young men take their stand as total abstainers, even though the men standing high in the world have not the moral courage to take their stand boldly against a habit that is ruinous to health and life.—Letter 166, 1903. Te 188.1

The Influence of One Consecrated Youth—One youth who has been instructed by right home training, will bring solid timbers into his character building, and by his example and life, if his powers are rightly employed, he will become a power in our world to lead others upward and onward in the path of righteousness. The salvation of one soul is the salvation of many souls.—The Review and Herald, July 10, 1888. Te 188.2

Weaving a Web of Habits—Remember that you are daily weaving for yourself a web of habits. If these habits are according to the Bible rule, you are going every day in steps heavenward, growing in grace and the knowledge of the truth; and like Daniel, God will give you wisdom as He gave to him. You will not choose the paths of selfish gratification. Practice habits of strictest temperance, and be careful to keep sacred the laws which God has established to govern your physical being. God has claims upon your powers, therefore careless inattention to the laws of health is sin. The better you observe the laws of health, the more clearly can you discern temptations, and resist them, and the more clearly can you discern the value of eternal things.—The Youth's Instructor, August 25, 1886, 135. Te 188.3

Daniel's Example—No young man or young woman could be more sorely tempted than were Daniel and his companions. To these four Hebrew youth were apportioned wine and meat from the king's table. But they chose to be temperate. They saw that perils were on every side, and that if they resisted temptation, they must make most decided efforts on their part, and trust the results with God. The youth who desire to stand as Daniel stood must exert their spiritual powers to the very utmost, co-operating with God, and trusting wholly in the strength that He has promised to all who come to Him in humble obedience. Te 189.1

There is a constant warfare to be maintained between virtue and vice. The discordant elements of the one, and the pure principles of the other, are at work striving for the mastery. Satan is approaching every soul with some form of temptation on the point of indulgence of appetite. Intemperance is fearfully prevalent. Look where we will, we behold this evil fondly cherished. Te 189.2

Honorable to Refuse—The followers of Jesus will never be ashamed to practice temperance in all things. Then why should any young man blush with shame to refuse the wine cup or the foaming mug of beer? A refusal to indulge perverted appetite is an honorable act. To sin is unmanly; to indulge in injurious habits of eating and drinking is weak, cowardly, debased; but to deny perverted appetite is strong, brave, noble. In the Babylonian court, Daniel was surrounded by allurements to sin, but by the help of Christ he maintained his integrity. He who cannot resist temptation, when every facility for overcoming has been placed within his reach, is not registered in the books of heaven as a man. Te 189.3

“Dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone!” Have courage to do the right. A cowardly and silent reserve before evil associates, while you listen to their devices, makes you one with them. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters.” Te 189.4

Moral Courage Needed—At all times and on all occasions it requires moral courage to adhere to the principles of strict temperance. We may expect that by following such a course we shall surprise those who do not totally abstain from all stimulants; but how are we to carry forward the work of reform if we conform to the injurious habits and practices of those with whom we associate? ... Te 190.1

In the name and strength of Jesus every youth may conquer the enemy today on the point of perverted appetite. My dear young friends, advance step by step, until all your habits shall be in harmony with the laws of life and health. He who overcame in the wilderness of temptation declares: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.”—The Youth's Instructor, July 16, 1903. Te 190.2

Not Removed From Temptation—Daniel loved, feared, and obeyed God. Yet he did not flee away from the world to avoid its corrupting influence. In the providence of God he was to be in the world yet not of the world. With all the temptations and fascinations of court life surrounding him, he stood in the integrity of his soul, firm as a rock in his adherence to principle. He made God his strength and was not forsaken of Him in his time of greatest need.—Testimonies for the Church 4:569, 570. Te 190.3

The Result of Faithful Home Training—Daniel's parents had trained him in his childhood to habits of strict temperance. They had taught him that he must conform to nature's laws in all his habits; that his eating and drinking had a direct influence upon his physical, mental, and moral nature, and that he was accountable to God for his capabilities; for he held them all as a gift from God, and must not, by any course of action, dwarf or cripple them. As the result of this teaching, the law of God was exalted in his mind, and reverenced in his heart. During the early years of his captivity, Daniel was passing through an ordeal which was to familiarize him with courtly grandeur, with hypocrisy, and with paganism. A strange school indeed to fit him for a life of sobriety, industry, and faithfulness! And yet he lived uncorrupted by the atmosphere of evil with which he was surrounded. Te 190.4

The experience of Daniel and his youthful companions illustrates the benefits that may result from an abstemious diet, and shows what God will do for those who will co-operate with Him in the purifying and uplifting of the soul. They were an honor to God, and a bright and shining light in the court of Babylon. Te 191.1

God's Call to Us—In this history we hear the voice of God addressing us individually, bidding us gather up all the precious rays of light upon this subject of Christian temperance, and place ourselves in right relation to the laws of health. Te 191.2

We want a share in the eternal inheritance. We want a place in the city of God, free from every impurity. All heaven is watching to see how we are fighting the battle against temptation. Let all who profess the name of Christ so walk before the world that they may teach by example as well as precept the principles of true living. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”—Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 23, 24. Te 191.3

Students to Take Care—The character of the food and the manner in which it is eaten exert a powerful influence on the health. Many students have never made a determined effort to control the appetite, or to observe proper rules in regard to eating. Some eat too much at their meals, and some eat between meals whenever the temptation is presented. Te 191.4

The need of carefulness in habits of diet should be impressed on the minds of all students. I have been instructed that those attending our schools are not to be served with flesh foods or with preparations of food that are known to be unwholesome. Nothing that will serve to encourage a desire for stimulants should be placed on the table. I appeal to all to refuse to eat those things that will injure the health. Thus they can serve the Lord by sacrifice.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 297. Te 192.1

Assert Your Manly Liberty—Young men, who think that you cannot eat the simple wholesome food provided at the Health Institute and that you must go down to the restaurant and get something to gratify your appetite, it is time for you to arouse and assert your manly liberty.—Manuscript 3, 1888. Te 192.2

Enter Not Into Temptation—Will you allow temporal, earthly employment to lead you into temptation? Will you doubt your Lord, who loves you? Will you neglect the work given you, of doing service for God? Your associations are with a class who are earthly, sensual, and devilish. You have breathed moral malaria, and you are in serious danger of failing where you might win if you would place yourself in right relation with Jesus, making His life and character your criterion. Now, in order to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust, you must be a partaker of the divine nature. It is your duty to keep your soul in the atmosphere of heaven. Te 192.3

You should not place yourself where you will be corrupted by dissolute companionship. As one who loves your soul I beseech you to shun, as far as possible, the company of the profligate, the licentious, and the ungodly. Pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” that is, “Do not, O Lord, suffer us to be overcome when assailed by temptation.” Watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation. There is a difference between being tempted, and entering into temptation.—Letter 8, 1893. Te 192.4

Jesus Social and Temperate—Jesus rebuked intemperance, self-indulgence, and folly; yet He was social in His nature. He accepted invitations to dine with the learned and noble, as well as the poor and afflicted. On these occasions, His conversation was elevating and instructive, holding His hearers entranced. He gave no license to scenes of dissipation and revelry, yet innocent happiness was pleasing to Him. A Jewish marriage was a solemn and impressive occasion, the pleasure and joy of which were not displeasing to the Son of man.—Redemption; or the Miracles of Jesus, pages 13, 14. Te 193.1

Direct, but Do Not Repress—The word of God does not condemn or repress man's activity, but tries to give it a right direction. While the world is filling mind and soul with excitement, the Lord puts the Bible into your hands, for you to study, to appreciate, and to heed as a guide to your steps. The word is your light.—Letter 8, 1893. Te 193.2