Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2


Chapter 31—Contemplating Marriage

I was pointed back to last May, when the Lord visited -----, and was shown the case of Brother D. He was not prepared to take part in that work. His mind and heart were elsewhere. He was contemplating marriage and could not listen to the invitation of Jesus: “Come; for all things are now ready.” His contemplated marriage engrossed his attention. He had no time or inclination to open the door of his heart to the gracious Visitor. Had he done this, Christ would have given him good counsel, which, if heeded, would have been of priceless value to him. He would have presented before him in its true light his danger of yielding to the dictates of a wayward inclination and setting aside the glory of God and the decisions of sober reason. He would have charged him to beware how he trod in the footsteps of those who had fallen and been ruined. But this brother did not consider that God had claims upon him; that he should make no move without consulting Him who had bought him. We are instructed that whatever we do, we should do all to His glory. 2T 225.3

Did you, Brother D, as a disciple, a learner, of Christ, go to Him in humble, sincere prayer and commit your ways to him? You failed to do this. You did not investigate all your motives and move with carefulness lest you should bring a reproach upon the cause of Christ, your Redeemer. You did not consider whether this move would have an effect to increase your spiritual sensibility, quicken your zeal, and strengthen your steadfastness in the truth and your efforts to deny self. You were ignorant of your own heart. The work of God was seen in the church, but you had no longings for the divine Spirit. The things of heaven were insipid to you. You were infatuated by your new hopes of uniting your interests with those of another. You did not consider that a marriage alliance would vitally affect your interest for life, short though that life must be. 2T 226.1

You should have felt that with your own evil heart to subdue you could not be brought in connection with an influence which would make it more difficult for you to overcome self, make your path upward to heaven more rugged. You have now made your religious progress tenfold more difficult than when you stood alone. It is true you were lonely, for you had lost a precious jewel. But if you had counseled with your brethren, and committed your ways to the Lord, He would have opened the way for you to have connected yourself with one who could have been a help to you instead of a hindrance. 2T 226.2

If you will now humbly turn to the Lord with all your heart, He will pity and help you. But you are just where you are shorn of your strength, and are prepared to compromise your faith and your allegiance to God to please your new wife. God pity you, for ruin is before you unless you arouse like a true soldier of Christ and engage anew in the warfare for everlasting life. Your only safety is in keeping with your brethren, and obtaining all the strength you can from them to remain in the truth. You are about to sacrifice the truth for the sake of peace and happiness here. You are selling your soul at a cheap market. It is now your duty to do all you can to make your wife happy, and yet not to sacrifice the principles of truth. You should exercise forbearance, patience, and true courtesy. By thus doing, you can show the power of true grace and the influence of the truth. 2T 227.1

I was shown that the love of money is a snare to you. Money, independent of the opportunity it furnishes for doing good, blessing the needy, and advancing the cause of God, is really of but little value. The little you possess is a snare to you, and unless you use it as a wise and faithful steward in the service of your Master, it will yield you little else but misery. You are close and penurious. You need to cultivate a noble, liberal spirit and separate your affections from the world or you will be overcome. The deceitfulness of riches will so corrupt your soul that the good will be overcome by evil. Selfishness and love of gain will triumph. 2T 227.2

If you, my dear brother, are saved, it will indeed be a miracle of mercy. The love of the world is increasing upon you. Carefully consider the words of Christ: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” My brother, you have obeyed neither the first nor the second of these commandments. You would not hesitate to reach out and advantage yourself, although you knew it would greatly disadvantage your neighbor. You look to your own selfish interest, and say: “Am I my brother's keeper?” 2T 228.1

You are not laying up treasure in heaven and becoming rich toward God. Self and selfish interests are eating out true godliness from your soul. You are bowing to the god of this world. Your heart is alienated from God. An inspired writer says: “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” The steps of a Christian may at times appear feeble and faltering, yet in his conscious weakness he leans upon the Mighty One for support. He is sustained, and makes sure progress onward and upward toward perfection. He gains new victories daily, and comes nearer and nearer to the standard of perfect holiness. His eye is not downward to the earth, but upward, ever keeping in view the heavenly Pattern. 2T 228.2

Brother D, the glitter and tinsel of the corruptible things of earth have eclipsed the charms of heaven, and made eternal life of but little value to you. As a servant of Christ, I entreat you to awake that you may see yourself as you are. The profits you will obtain in the course you are now pursuing will be eternal loss. You will find at last that you have made a terrible mistake which can never be remedied. 2T 228.3

You can now face rightabout, heed the call of mercy, and live. Rejoice that your probation has not ended, that you may now, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life. Rejoice that she who has been your faithful companion for years shall rise again, that mortality will be swallowed up of life. Look forward to the morning of the resurrection, when she who shared your joys and sorrows for more than a score of years will come forth from her prison house. Will you have her look for you, her companion, in vain? Will you be missing then, as her voice is raised in triumph and victory: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Oh, that day will bring honor to the saints! No shame, no reproach, no suffering then; but peace, joy, and immortal praise upon every redeemed tongue! Oh, that God would speak to your heart and impress you with the value of eternal life. And may you be led, my brother, to ever possess a spirit of noble generosity, that you may discharge the duties of your stewardship with faithfulness, having an eye single to the glory of God, that the Master may say to you: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” 2T 229.1