The Youth’s Instructor


July 27, 1893

Words to the Young


Of the child Jesus it is written, “And the Child grew, and waxed strong in the spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him.” “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” The physical constitution of Jesus, as well as his spiritual development, is brought before us in these words, “the child grew,” and “increased in stature.” In childhood and youth attention should be given to physical development. Parents should so train their children in good habits of eating, drinking, dressing, and exercise, that a good foundation will be laid for sound health in after life. The physical organism should have special care, that the powers of the body may not be dwarfed, but developed to their full extent. This places the children and youth in a favorable position, so that, with proper religious training, they may, like Christ, wax strong in spirit. YI July 27, 1893, par. 1

The life of Jesus was filled with industry, and he took exercise in performing varied tasks in harmony with his developing physical strength. In doing the work that was marked out for him, he had no time for indulgence in exciting, useless amusements. He took no part in that which would poison the moral and lower the physical tone, but was trained in useful labor, and even for the endurance of hardship. Many claim that it is necessary for the preservation of physical health to indulge in selfish amusement. It is true that change is required for the best development of the body, for mind and body are refreshed and invigorated by change; but this object is not gained by indulgence in foolish amusements, to the neglect of daily duties which the youth should be required to do. The active mind and hands of youth must have employment, and if they are not directed to tasks that are useful, that will develop them and bless others, they will find employment in that which will work injury to them in both body and mind. YI July 27, 1893, par. 2

The youth should cheerfully share the burdens of life with their parents, and by so doing preserve a clear conscience, which is positively necessary to physical and moral health. In doing this, they should be guarded from being taxed in the same direction for any great length of time. If the youth are kept steadily at one kind of employment, until the task becomes irksome, less will be accomplished than might have been through a change of work, or a season of relaxation. If the mind is too severely taxed, it will cease to become strong, and will degenerate. By a change in the work, health and vigor may be retained. There will be no need to cast aside the useful for the useless; for selfish amusements are dangerous to the morals. It is not necessary that the youth should be inactive, or should engage in folly, in order to retain physical strength. Let heart and mind and hands be engaged in doing good, in blessing others; let the work be regulated by the principles of truth, in harmony with the dictates of conscience; and let the worker feel his accountability to God. YI July 27, 1893, par. 3

No amusement is safe for our youth to indulge in, unless they can bow down and ask God's blessing upon it before engaging in it. If they cannot take Jesus with them to their scenes of pleasure, they may take it for granted that such amusements are positively dangerous, both to physical and moral health. If you would not be willing to have Jesus come and find you engaged in your chosen amusements, you may know that you cannot engage in them today with safety. If your conscience tells you that you are doing wrong in the pursuit of pleasure, you may know that your amusements are not calculated to make you grow as did Jesus, waxing strong in spirit, to resist the devices of the enemy. YI July 27, 1893, par. 4

The youth generally are weak and vacillating. They have but little strength to pursue a right course. If sinners entice them, they have no courage to say, “No.” Yet God has commanded that we should decidedly refuse to do evil. “If sinners entice thee, consent thou not,” are the words of Inspiration. We cannot afford to sin against the light that God has given us; for by so doing, the conscience becomes blunted. We are now passing through the period of our probation, and we may know for a certainty that it is wrong for us to engage in any amusement of a character that will destroy our love for serious reflection, and destroy a relish for spiritual things. The welfare of the soul should not be endangered by the gratification of any selfish desire, and we should shun any amusement which so fascinates the mind that the ordinary duties of life seem tame and uninteresting. By indulgence in such pleasure, the mind becomes confirmed in a wrong direction, and Satan so perverts the thoughts that wrong is made to appear as right. Then restraint and submission to parents, such as Christ rendered to his parents, seem unbearable. YI July 27, 1893, par. 5

The greater part of the amusements of the present time are originated through the agents of Satan, to allure and deceive the young, and even to allure those of more mature age, so that the things of eternity may be dropped out of our reckoning. Amusements coming from such a source will unbalance the mind, disqualify the body for the performance of daily responsibilities, and create a positive dislike for practical domestic duties. Christ presents before us a pattern for youth and children. His early life was lived under conditions favorable to the obtaining of physical development, and to the acquisition of moral power to resist temptation, so that he might remain untainted amid the corruption of wicked Nazareth. YI July 27, 1893, par. 6

Parents make a mistake in rushing their children into society at an early age, fearing that they will not know anything unless they attend parties, and mingle with those who are lovers of pleasure. Even while they are at school, they allow their children to attend parties and mingle in society. This is a great mistake. In this way children learn evil much faster than they do the sciences, and their minds are filled with useless things; while their passion for amusement is developed to such an extent that it is impossible for them to obtain a knowledge of even the common branches of education. Their attention is divided between education and a love of pleasure, and as the love of pleasure predominates, their intellectual advancement is slow. Thus it is that during the time when youth should take advantage of their privileges to lay a strong foundation for character and usefulness, they live in inactivity and vanity, and fail of the object that they should attain. YI July 27, 1893, par. 7

The education of Christ, during the time he was subject to his parents, was of the most valuable kind. In performing the common duties of life, he became inured to a life of privation and hardship. The physical and mental exercise that was necessary to the performance of his tasks, developed both physical and mental strength. His life of industry and retirement closed the avenues through which Satan could enter to tempt him to the love of vanity and display. He waxed strong in body and spirit, thus gaining a preparation for the duties of manhood, and for the performance of the important duties that afterward devolved upon him. He increased in wisdom and stature, growing in favor with God and man. Let our youth do likewise. YI July 27, 1893, par. 8

Mrs. E. G. White