Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Ms 10, 1863

Temptations of the Young



Portions of this manuscript are published in HP 218.

I have been shown in regard to the temptations of the young. Satan is ever on their track, seeking to lead their inexperienced feet astray, and the youth seem ignorant of his devices. They do not guard themselves against the snares of the devil as they should. This foe is ever watchful, ever vigilant, and when the young cease watching their own hearts, cease guarding themselves, then Satan controls them and employs his arts against them. Secret prayer is the strength of the Christian. He cannot live and flourish in the Lord without constant watchfulness and earnest prayer. Jesus should be the object of our affections, but Satan will try to tear the affections from heavenly things and place them upon objects that are undeserving of our affection and love. 1LtMs, Ms 10, 1863, par. 1

The world is very corrupt, and worldlings have idols which they prefer before the Lord. The best affections of a great share of the world are bestowed upon worthless objects. The minds of the young, left unrestrained, are directed in a channel to suit their own corrupt nature. They relax their vigilance and watchfulness and bestow their affections upon each other, have special friends, special confidants, and when these friends are together, Jesus is not so much as named among them. Their conversation is not upon Christian experience, upon Christ, upon heaven, but upon frivolous things, and the minds of the girls are upon the boys and the boys’ minds are upon the girls. 1LtMs, Ms 10, 1863, par. 2

Young girls frequently make the advance and take a course to divert the attention of young men. It is not always thus, but more frequently by words and actions toward each other their affection is manifested and, while a few of the young are select associates, others are neglected and are not treated with due courtesy. This creates jealous feelings and unpleasant bickerings and destroys the true respect they should have for each other. These things require the parents to be on the watch, and when they discover the least signs of this evil they should check it. They can do it if their children are really striving to serve God; they will heed their advice. If not, they will be headstrong, think that they understand the matter better than their parents, and think their parents unnecessarily alarmed in regard to them. 1LtMs, Ms 10, 1863, par. 3

Such children do not know their own hearts. Their parents have experience, and who are so well prepared and qualified to shield, counsel, and lead their children as parents? They have an experience. The children are inexperienced, and that is why they are so easily led astray. They are unacquainted with the wiles of the devil, and at twelve, fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen think themselves young men and women, able to choose their own course and conduct themselves with propriety and caution. Parents should guard the virtues and morals of their children well, and give them daily lessons in virtue, modesty and correct deportment. 1LtMs, Ms 10, 1863, par. 4

Some parents do not have their own minds guarded. They are not elevated and their conversation is not elevated. They are too often joking and telling about marriages, and guessing who are the ones intending marriage, watching and misconstruing words and acts of Christians to mean wrong when there is not a shade of wrong and when their lives are blameless. Such mothers have not sanctified minds. Their children have a miserable example before them. They listen to this low joking and jesting and these witty remarks, and are learning lessons which unfit them to be true, whole-hearted followers of Christ. Such mothers can unblushingly make remarks and joke before boys and girls in regard to their getting married, and by thus doing they encourage immodest behaviour in their daughters and lead them to have their affections upon some boy, and their conversation is about this boy and that girl, and what that boy said and [The remainder of the manuscript is missing.] 1LtMs, Ms 10, 1863, par. 5