Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2


Chapter 40—Self-Deceived Youth

Brother O,

I have been shown in vision the dangers of youth. Your case was presented before me. I saw that you had not adorned your profession. You might have done good, and your example might have been a blessing to the youth with whom you have associated; but, alas! your inmost soul has not been converted to God. If you had taken the course a consistent Christian should, your relatives and friends would have been influenced by your godly course to follow in your footsteps. My brother, your heart is not right with God; your thoughts are not elevated; you permit your mind to run in a wrong channel. Your morals have not taken a pure, elevated tone. Your habits have been such as to injure your physical health and have been death to spirituality. You cannot prosper in religious things until you are converted. 2T 288.2

When you realize the transforming influence of the power of God upon your heart, it will be seen in your life. You have lacked a religious experience, but it is not too late for you now to seek God with earnest, heartfelt cries: “What shall I do to be saved?” You can never be a true Christian until you are thoroughly converted. You have been a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God. You have been seeking after pleasure, but have you found real enjoyment in this course? You have sought to make yourself agreeable to young, inexperienced girls. You have had your mind so much upon them that you could not direct it upward to God and heaven. “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded.” This exhortation is applicable to you. You need to learn the ways, the will and works of God. You need pure and undefiled religion; you need to cultivate devotional feelings. Cease to do evil, and learn to do well. The blessing of God cannot rest upon you until you become more like Christ. 2T 289.1

I am pained as I see the lack of godliness with the young. Satan takes the mind and turns it in a channel which is corrupt. A self-deception is upon many of the young. They think they are Christians, but they have never been converted. Until this work shall be wrought in them, they will not understand the mystery of godliness. There is no peace to the wicked. God requires truth and sincerity of heart. He sees and pities you, and all the youth who are eagerly following childish toys and wasting short, precious time for things of no value. Christ has bought you at a dear price, and offers you grace and glory if you will receive it; but you turn from the precious promise of the gift of everlasting life, to the meager and unsatisfactory pleasures of earth. 2T 289.2

Your labor in this direction will bring no profit, but great loss. The wages of sin is death. Life and heaven are before you, but you seem not to know their value. You have not meditated upon the precious things of heaven. If the inestimable love of Christ be turned from, if heaven and glory and everlasting life be considered of little value, what motive can we present to move? what inducement to charm? Will foolish sports and a round of exciting pleasures attract the mind, and separate from God, and deaden the heart to His fear? 2T 289.3

Oh, I beg of you who have so little interest in holy things, to closely investigate your own heart. What plea will you make before God for your worldly, unconsecrated life? In that dread day you will have no plea to make. You will be speechless. Think, oh, think, in your pleasure-seeking hours, that all these things have an end. Did you have correct views of life, endless life with God, how quickly would you turn from a life of pleasure and sin. How quickly would you change your mind, your course, and your company, and turn the strength of your affection to God and heavenly things. How resolutely would you scorn to yield to temptations which have deceived and captivated you. How zealous would be your efforts for the blessed life; how earnest and persevering your prayers to God for His grace to abide upon you, for His power to sustain you and help you resist the devil. How diligent would you be to improve every religious privilege to learn the ways and will of God. How careful would you be in meditating upon the law of God, and in comparing your life with its claims. How fearful would you be lest you sin in word or deed, and how earnest to grow in grace and true holiness. Your conversation would not be on trifling things, but in heaven. Then glorious and eternal things would open before you, and you would not rest until you should increase more and more in spirituality. But earthly things claim your attention, and God is forgotten. I implore you to face rightabout, and to seek the Lord, that He may be found of you; call upon Him while He is near. 2T 290.1