Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

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Ms 32, 1900

Dangers in Amusements

NP

June 26, 1900 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in 6BC 1068-1069, 1120; 12MR 257-258. +Note

In the amusements which were carried, on the school grounds on the occasion of the celebration of the opening of the school, Satan gained a victory, and the teachers were weighed in the balances and found wanting. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 1

This beginning is the very thing that should have been zealously and jealously guarded. So many lines of work should not be undertaken that there is little time left in which to consider and mature plans for the uplifting and for the spiritual exercises of the school. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 2

In the place of providing exhibitions which merely amuse, arrangements should be made for exercises that will be productive of good. The science of amusements and entertainments is a science in which Satan is educating his followers in the world, that they may through this means forget God. As teachers in our schools, you should have stood firm, and decided not to give place to the enemy in any such line. You have been making history, but it is a marred record, and the Spirit of God is grieved. The students have been encouraged in a way the effects of which will not easily be effaced. Once enter this path of amusement and there is no end to it; it is going just so many steps in a path in which Christ has not travelled. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 3

On one occasion a view of these things was presented before me. The students were playing games of tennis and cricket matches. Then I saw an expression of the character of those amusements. It was presented to me as a species of idolatry, like the idols of the nations. The were more than visible spectators on the ground; Satan and his angels were at work on human minds, making his impressions. Hearing a voice, I turned to see who spoke to me, when One with dignity and command said, “Is this the celebration of the opening of the school? Is this the gratitude offering you present to God for the blessings He has given you? The world could render as acceptable on offering to God on this memorial occasion. The teachers are making a mistake in the same line that has been done over and over again when the Lord has shown His disapproval. They should learn wisdom from these experiences of the past. The careless, godless world can offer an abundance of just such offerings as these.” 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 4

Turning to the teachers, he said, “You have made a mistake in this action that will leave its slimy trail and will be hard to efface. The Lord God of Israel is not glorified in the school. If, at this time, the Lord should permit your life to end, many would be lost, eternally separated from God and the righteous.” 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 5

These things are a repetition of the course of Aaron, who allowed the first beginning of wrong in permitting a spirit of hilarity and commonness with the armies of Israel. God and Moses were in the mount. The first men of the people of Israel were also in the mount, but they were not in communion with God as was Moses. Aaron was left in the responsible position of a general in Moses’ place. He showed his weakness by not withstanding the propositions of the people. They ate and drank as they chose; they became so intemperate in eating and drinking that they afterward rose up to have a play, an innocent frolic, as they supposed. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 6

Aaron could have exercised his authority to hold the people back, but just as in his home he failed with his children, so the same defective ministration was shown in his management of the congregation of Israel. His weakness as a general was shown in his desire to please the people, even at the sacrifice of principle. As a result he lost his commanding power at the very first permission given. The spirit of idolatry came in, and the current [that was] agitated could not be stayed. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 7

Now something decisive must be done. The Lord gave [His] commandments, and Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day.” [Exodus 32:26-29.] A decided course taken by Aaron would have saved all these terrible consequences. His unfaithful course made sad work. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 8

God bestows various talents and gifts upon men, not that they may lie useless, nor that they may be employed in amusements, or in selfish gratification; but that they may be a blessing to others in doing earnest, self-sacrificing missionary work. God grants time to man for the purpose of promoting His glory. When this God-given time is used in selfish pleasure and amusement, it is hours lost for all time and for eternity. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 9

God calls for all who claim to have received Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour to educate themselves by precept and example to obey the words of Christ. “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Mark 8:34.] “We are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 10

“Wherefore also it is contained in the Scriptures, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. ... But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” [1 Peter 2:5, 6, 9.] “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence ... firm unto the end.” [Hebrews 3:6.] 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 11

We do not meet God’s standard. God’s promises are connected with the obedience of His people, and cannot be fulfilled except His people hearken to His voice and carefully follow the self-denying, self-sacrificing path which our Saviour, the Prince of heaven, has appointed by His own example. God is the inexhaustible fountain of wisdom and strength. From age to age the Lord has raised up for His church all the human helpers and defenders which she has needed in her conflict with Satan’s kingdom. With God’s presence and favor His people are safe. Although there may be tares among the wheat, although some will turn away from faith in the living God and trust to their own power and riches, they shall be overthrown. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 12

With all who are connected with our school there must be a devoted piety, for not one thread of self-exaltation or self-sufficiency is favored of God. The Lord has a message for His people, “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire and like fuller’s soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they shall offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.” [Malachi 3:2, 3.] 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 13

The minds of students and teachers should not be so much occupied with things of a business nature that they shall have no time to seek the Lord. “Ye have wearied the Lord with your words.” [Malachi 2:17.] God calls for close examination. We are all under obligation to Him to receive every advantage offered in religious and spiritual lines. Neither principal, teachers nor students are walking safely unless they are under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 14

What shall be done now? Believe the promise, “The meek will he guide in judgment: the meek will he teach his way.” [Psalm 25:9.] Yea, saith the Lord, “I will instruct thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” [Psalm 32:8.] “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.” [Psalm 27:11.] 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 15

If the curtain could be rolled back, and each one could discern the constant activities of the heavenly family to preserve the inhabitants of the earth from Satan’s seductive wiles, lest in their careless attitude they should be led astray through satanic strategy, they would lose a large degree of their self-confidence and self-assurance. They would see that the armies of heaven are in continual warfare with satanic agencies to obtain victories in behalf of those who do not sense their danger, and who are passing on in unconscious indifference. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 16

Right here in this school, right here, with all the advantages to obtain an experience that will be a safeguard to them all their life, many are failing. Self must pass through the severe conflict of death, that the human agent shall understand the language of Paul, “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” [Galatians 2:20.] “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.” [Romans 8:18.] “Thy word, O God, is truth.” [John 17:17.] 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 17

You are having the Scriptures presented before you daily, and you suppose that you understand them. But you are not gaining a saving understanding of the Word. There are those in this school who need to be converted. Their whole life experience has been a mistake, and it would be useless for me to explain matters to them in clear, plain lines, because they would not understand me. Unconverted souls (and there are many here) cannot understand. They do not obey the Word of God; they have not a Christian experience. I would advise that the time they devote to amusement be devoted to searching the Scriptures, that they may understand the words of Christ and have an intelligent knowledge of His divine character. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 18

If you are to receive the virtues of His blood, even the forgiveness of your sins, you must consent to the conditions He imposes. “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Mark 8:34.] Seeking true pardon of sin from His cross, you will then seek direction from His throne. The windows of the soul must be closed earthward and opened heavenward. I point you to the cross of Calvary. Looking to and believing in Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour is your only hope of salvation. Receiving Christ in all His completeness, we are in truth able to sing: 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 19

“I will follow thee, my Saviour,
Wheresoe’er my lot may be.
Where thou goest I will follow;
Yes, my Lord, I’ll follow thee.”
15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 20

As followers of the Lamb of God we shall practice His virtues. All the cheap, common phase of character which we have received will appear disgusting and valueless. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 21

Of the disciples of Christ we read that they understood not His disclosures in regard to His humiliation, His rejection, and His crucifixion. But when Christ was risen from the dead, they understood. When the Holy Spirit came upon them at the day of Pentecost, they understood. Look at the change wrought under the Holy Spirit’s guidance in the faltering, stumbling, erring, misinterpreting, misunderstanding ones. Passages from the living oracles are seen in a new light. No comparison can be made with the disciple before the reception of the Holy Spirit, and the disciple renewed, converted, baptized by the Spirit of God. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 22

Men may study and try to learn the living words of God, but unless the Holy Spirit shall unite with the human understanding, and the human unite with the divine by becoming partakers of the divine nature, they are blind and cannot see afar off, and have forgotten that they were purged from their old sins. But the touch of the Holy Spirit upon the human mind makes decided changes. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 23

Behold those disciples, hidden in that upper chamber for fear of the priests and rulers. They were to go everywhere to preach the Word. They were to speak with new tongues, not a foreign language, but words eloquent from lips which had been touched with the live coal from off the altar. After the disciples had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the priests and rulers marvelled at the words which they spake, for they knew them as unlearned and ignorant men. But they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 24

Their teaching was a second edition of the teachings of Christ, the utterance of simple, grand truths that flashed light into darkened minds, and converted thousands in a day. The disciples began to understand that Christ was their Advocate in the heavenly courts, and that He was glorified. They could speak because the Holy Spirit gave them utterance. “The entrance of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.” [Psalm 119:130.] 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 25

Bible truth spoken by sanctified lips is eloquence and power. The disciples had a saving understanding of the words of Christ. Because they were united with Christ by eating His flesh and drinking His blood, the inspired book was to them spirit and life. We may understand the Bible as we understand other books, but it is not thus taken into our minds and hearts as the living bread from heaven. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 26

When we partake of this bread intelligently, we shall practice the teachings of Christ, having upon us the spirit that inspired the words of life. Then, with the Bible in our hands, with a humble, meek, and lowly spirit of a learner, our hearts will be in a proper condition to enable us to read the Scriptures in a right spirit. When we do this, the obscurity in its meaning will be gone. Light proceeding from the heaven of light will so magnify and glorify the words of God that the whole book will express the glory of the golden truths which shine from it into the understanding. This pure light enables the true searcher after truth to see his way clearly in the narrow path and through the narrow gate to the broad, beautiful city beyond. Heavenly communications of light sharpen the memory, and the Word, through the light shining upon it, becomes a new revelation. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 27

All who do not believe in Christ will be utterly without excuse. To all who receive Him, “to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to as many as believe on his name.” [John 1:12.] We need at this period of time to inquire most diligently, Is it well with my soul? Is my name written in the Lamb’s book of life? 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 28

Can we now be indifferent to the sayings of Christ in John 14? “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: ... I go to prepare a place for you.” [Verses 1, 2.] When Christ saw His disciples sorrowing because He was about to leave them, He would have them believe in His love. Therefore He said, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” [Verse 3.] Who is thinking that this preparation is being made for them? Christ came into the world to redeem us. He went to heaven above to prepare a place for us. While He is getting ready His mansions for us, are we getting heart and character ready to be fitted for those mansions? 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 29

In bringing men to repentance, it is not the office work of the Holy Spirit to reveal new truths, but to present to the mind and urge upon the conscience the precious lessons which Christ has given in the Old and New Testaments. The sixth chapter of John bears the decided word from Christ Himself, the great Teacher, that the words contained in the Old Testament Scriptures are all-sufficient. Christ lived to save the souls of them in that age of the world, and if all believed the Old Testament Scriptures in this age, they would believe the New. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 30

The Word of God is declared in the Holy Scriptures to be the truth. It encourages us individually to look to Christ in faith for pardon and acceptance. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” [1 Peter 1:22, 23.] 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 31

By obeying every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God, we show that we have savingly—received it into our hearts, that we have it abiding in us. The Word of God is the divinely appointed instrument of our salvation. Drawing nigh to God, being partakers of the divine nature, earth-born amusements sink into nothingness. Our minds will take a more elevated turn, and by beholding the character of the Lord Jesus, we shall strive to be like Him. Then, let our souls be absorbed in meditating on the rich truths of the Word of God. Let us gird up the loins of our minds, that our desires may not be for games or for pleasure. 15LtMs, Ms 32, 1900, par. 32