The Youth’s Instructor



January 4, 1894

Words to the Young


“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.” YI January 4, 1894, par. 1

The denunciation that God pronounces upon the wicked at the day of judgment is not called forth by revolting crimes, by actual outbreaking sins, but condemnation comes because of the neglect of doing the good that the wicked might have done, had they possessed the qualifications that Christ has made it possible for every sinner to possess. Jesus clothed his divinity with humanity in order that humanity might touch humanity, that moral power might combine with human effort, and that man might become a laborer together with God. By looking to Jesus, by beholding his character, he is changed into Christ's image, works along the same lines as those in which Christ worked, and becomes better and better acquainted with God, and with Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. Principles of eternal justice will be revealed in the decisions of the last great day, when the judgment shall sit, and the books be opened. YI January 4, 1894, par. 2

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, before whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” The question concerning those to be judged, is, What is the character of their works? Jesus has given his life in order that transgressors may become transformed in character, and be made fit subjects for the kingdom of God, members of the royal family, children of the heavenly king. With the gross, sinful, corrupt transgressors that are named as outside the city, are the five foolish virgins, who took no oil (they had not the grace of God) in their vessels with their lamps. They had lamps,—a knowledge of the truth,—but no living connection with God. They were not vitalized by the Holy Spirit. They went out as those who were wise, but they were wise only in their own conceit; for they had no saving faith in Christ as their personal Saviour. They had not been growing in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. YI January 4, 1894, par. 3

The same lesson of unfaithfulness is presented in the parable of the talents, where the servant to whom was entrusted the one talent went and dug in the earth, and hid his Lord's money. When his Lord returned, and inquired for his own with usury, this man made charges against God, just as many are doing today,—making charges against those who are bearing burdens and carrying responsibility in the cause of God. It was the unprofitable servant who made charges against his Lord. He said, “Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed: and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His Lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.” YI January 4, 1894, par. 4

The Lord expects that every one shall put to use the ability of influence or means given him. We are to do the works of Christ, to practise the lessons he has given us, and, by exercising our powers, we are to increase and strengthen them. But if we fail to improve the talent given us of God, we prove ourselves unprofitable servants, and the Lord will say to us as to the man in the parable, “Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him that hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” The Lord put no confidence in the unprofitable servant. Under test and trial, the principles which controlled his actions were developed, and he was found wanting. He educated himself to complain of those with whom he was brought into contact, and finally he complained of God. YI January 4, 1894, par. 5

Christ says, “Ye are my witnesses.” But those who have not improved their knowledge, who have not increased their entrusted abilities, by working in Christ's lines, would not be faithful and obedient in the future life. What a lesson is here given us! Judgment and retribution will come upon evil doers because of their lack of piety, because they have failed to exercise their entrusted abilities in blessing those around them. They will be found wanting because they failed to do the good that Jesus made it possible for them to do, by the provision of his grace. They refused the grace that Jesus died to bestow upon them, and disappointed the Master who has given to every man his work. For the neglect of doing the work given of God, the retributive judgment of God will fall upon the wicked and slothful servant. The unprofitable servant may have occupied himself in looking diligently after his own affairs, but he has dropped eternity out of his reckoning. By his own blood, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, has purchased sinners, and both the man and his talents belong to God. “Know ye not that ... ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price.” YI January 4, 1894, par. 6

Mrs. E. G. White