The Youth’s Instructor


November 16, 1893

Words to the Young


“And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men; and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.” YI November 16, 1893, par. 1

When the Ephesians were converted, they changed their habits and practices. Under the conviction of the Spirit of God, they acted with promptness, and laid bare all the mysteries of their witchcraft. They came and confessed, and showed their deeds, and their souls were filled with holy indignation, because they had given such devotion to magic, and had so highly prized the books in which the rules of Satan's devising had laid down the methods whereby they might practice witchcraft. They were determined to turn from the service of the evil one, and they brought their costly volumes, and publicly burned them. Thus they made manifest their sincerity in turning to God. YI November 16, 1893, par. 2

This portion of history has been written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. The Ephesians claimed to have intercourse with invisible beings, from whom they derived their knowledge of that which was to come to pass. In our day this communion with spirits is called Spiritualism, and the arts practiced by mediums are not all slight of hand, cunning, and pretense. The visible and invisible worlds are in close connection. Satan is the master deceiver, and his confederates in evil are in training under him to work in the same line in which he works. The apostle says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance.” YI November 16, 1893, par. 3

Those who surrender their will and their way to God, doing as did Abraham in keeping the way of the Lord, will be guided into safe paths. Their prayers will go up continually to God for help, and holy angels will be on their side, working through them, that they shall not be overcome of the evil one. YI November 16, 1893, par. 4

The books the Ephesians committed to the flames on their conversion to the gospel, they formerly delighted in, and permitted them to rule their consciences and guide their minds. They might have sold them, but by so doing the evil would be perpetuated. They now abhor the Satanic mysteries, the magical arts, and regard with aversion the knowledge they obtained from them. I would ask the young who have been connected with the truth, Have you burned your magical books? We do not charge you with the evil that had bound the Ephesians, or claim that you have practiced magic, and dealt in the arts of sorcery in the same way as they have. We do not say that you have followed the mysteries of necromancy, or held communion with evil spirits. But are you not in communion with the author of all evil, with the deviser of all these mysteries and hellish arts? Do you not listen to the suggestions of him who is the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air? Have you not submitted to his falsehoods, and yielded yourselves as his agents to work that which was in harmony with your life before conversion? Have you not given yourselves up to be Satan's agents, and in a broader sense, are you not holding intercourse with fallen angels, and learning lessons from them in the art of deceiving your own soul and the souls of others? YI November 16, 1893, par. 5

What about the magical books? What have you been reading? How have you been employing your time? Have you been seeking to study the sacred oracles in order that you may hear the voice of God speaking to you out of his word? The world is deluged with books which sow the seeds of skepticism, infidelity, and atheism, and to a larger or less degree you have been learning your lessons from these books, and they are magical books. They put God out of the mind, and separate the soul from the true Shepherd. The volumes you have read have been devised by the agents of Satan to bewitch the mind with theories formed in the synagogue of Satan, to show you how you may serve the evil one with satanic dignity. How numerous are the books of infidel tendencies, which are calculated to unsettle the mind through specious doubts! Satan has breathed his poisonous breath upon them, and a deadly, spiritual malaria affects the soul that reads them. What a mass of fictitious reading is there in the world, to fill the mind with fancies and follies, thus creating a disrelish for the words of truth and righteousness! The mind is thus unfitted for solemn thought, for patient, persevering investigation of the Scriptures, which is the guide book by which you are to be directed to the paradise of God. YI November 16, 1893, par. 6

Much is written in regard to gaining earthly treasure, as though the wealth of this world would buy us a passport into heaven. What volumes of history have been written, filled with the daring, presumptuous achievements of men whose lives do not throw one glimmer of light upon the pathway that leads to the better country! How many books are there concerning war and bloodshed, which mislead the youth! As they read, Satan stands at their side to inspire them with the spirit of the warrior of whom they read, and their blood becomes heated in their veins, and they are stirred up to do cruel actions. How numerous are immoral books, which lead to unholy desires, and fire the passions of the heart, and lead away from all that is pure and holy! YI November 16, 1893, par. 7

You have had your magical books, in which the very scenes and pictures were inspired by him who was once an exalted angel in the courts of heaven. He had knowledge; he possessed wisdom high and deep. Long was he in connection with God, and was trained in the school of Christ. He had a masterly mind, a powerful intellect, and yet he apostatized, and now his one aim is to lead men in various ways, according to their gifts, to array themselves against God, that he may counteract the influence of the Spirit of God on human hearts. YI November 16, 1893, par. 8

I would ask, Shall the magical books be burned up? In the synagogue of Satan, there are places of attraction where licentiousness is fostered and indulged; but the witness is there, and an unseen visitant testifies to the deeds done in darkness. In the associations of the vain, the proud, the mirthful, Satan presides, and is the chief mover in scenes of gayety. He is there in disguise. Witchcraft is going on around us on every hand, and the world and the church are under the influence of one who will lead them to do things they never dreamed of doing. Should they be informed of the deeds they will perform, they would be as much astonished as was Hazael when the prophet told him of his future course. The apostle asks the Galatians, “Who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?” YI November 16, 1893, par. 9

Every man, woman, and child that is not under the control of the Spirit of God, is under the influence of Satan's sorcery, and by his words and example, he will lead others away from the path of truth. When the transforming grace of Christ is upon the heart, a righteous indignation will take possession of the soul because the sinner has so long neglected the great salvation that God has provided for him. He will then surrender himself, body, soul, and spirit to God, and will withdraw from companionship with Satan, through the grace given him of God. He will, like the Ephesians, denounce sorcery, and will cut the last thread that binds him to Satan. He will leave the banner of the prince of darkness, and will come under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel. He will burn the magical books. YI November 16, 1893, par. 10

Mrs. E. G. White