The Youth’s Instructor


July 1, 1897

The First Temptation


“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.” We should make it the business of our lives to keep God in our remembrance, to call to mind the injunctions which he has given in his law, and respect them by humble obedience. All the sin and misery in the world came as the result of forgetting God. YI July 1, 1897, par. 1

It is not safe, dear youth, to harbor temptation for one moment. If you stop to reason how you can evade God's commands, you will surely become entangled in unbelief, and be led to question the plainest utterances of God. Satan comes to the youth in disguise, as he came to Eve in Eden, and seeks to make them believe that God does not mean just what he says; and, like Eve, they venture to do those things which he has commanded them not to do. Eve lingered by the tempter, and entered into a controversy with him. By flattery he gained her attention, and then said, “Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? ... Ye shall not surely die.” YI July 1, 1897, par. 2

Satan gave a new version of the words of God when he said, “God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Eve was charmed with the pleasing delusion presented before her. The statement of Satan that by eating of the forbidden tree she would reap great advantage, led her to desire the fruit. Her appetite prevailed against principle; she ate, and wanted Adam to share in the blessings that she fancied she had obtained. Here is where our great danger lies,—in accepting statements from others, contrary to the plain word of God. The men who make such statements may profess to be messengers from heaven, but if their words mutilate or misinterpret the plain, “Thus saith the Lord,” they should have no weight with us. YI July 1, 1897, par. 3

Many things that charm the eye it is not best for us to have. We can see where Eve made her mistake; she lost all practical remembrance of God's prohibition when she accepted the pleasing lie of Satan. The sight of her eyes and the words of the tempter made her regardless of his command. Thus she proved disloyal to her best friend. Thousands today fall into the same error, and do as she did. The object of desire so engages the senses that the prohibition of God is forgotten; the result of Eve's disobedience has been the experience of every transgressor of God's law. YI July 1, 1897, par. 4

“Your eyes,” said Satan, pointing to the tree, “shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods,”—independent. This had been the aim of Satan; this was why he fell from his high and holy estate. Now he sought to instill the same principle into the mind of Eve. He told her that God had forbidden her to eat of the fruit, in order to show his arbitrary authority, and to keep the holy pair in a state of dependence and subjection. He told her that in the violation of this commandment, advanced light would be hers; that she would be independent, untrammeled by the will of a superior. But Satan knew, as Eve did not, the result of disobedience, for he had tried it. Whatever of misery there is in the world, whatever of physical suffering, of ingratitude, rebellion, robbery of God, and contempt and defiance of him, is the result of attempting to be independent, to secure that exaltation and homage which belong alone to God. YI July 1, 1897, par. 5

This falsehood the adversary of man has successfully presented to the race ever since he gained the victory in the garden of Eden. Instead of a calamity overtaking you, he said, you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. This was the first step in the deception in regard to the destiny of mortal beings,—that instead of dying, they should be like gods. He tells us that death, instead of being a dread enemy, is the pathway to eternal life, enjoyment, and happiness. Is not this the doctrine which he has repeated down through the centuries to the present day? This lie of Satan is the foundation of Spiritualism. YI July 1, 1897, par. 6

Satan has adapted his temptations to meet the case of every individual. He would have us believe that God does not mean what he says; that his law is a yoke of bondage, withholding good from us. It is not safe, dear youth, to enter upon any path that is not plain and distinct. We are to shun the first departure from the expressed will of God. We are to study what he has prohibited; and when he says, “Thou shalt not,” let this be the end of all controversy. Do not listen to the tempter when he boasts of freedom found in transgressing the law of God; for God declares, “Of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” Do not tamper with and pervert the statements of Scripture to justify any course of action; for this will open the door for doubt and questioning to creep into the mind, and these, if cherished in the heart, will cause you to be overcome. YI July 1, 1897, par. 7

We shall do well to remember that transgressors are never satisfied to be sinners alone. They will, both by precept and example, seek to draw others away to do as they have done. Those whom Satan overcomes he employs as his mediums, even as he used Eve to allure her husband from his loyalty to God. YI July 1, 1897, par. 8

Your only course of safety lies in devoting much of your time to the study of the Scriptures, and, on your knees before God, seeking for wisdom that, instead of venturing in the path of transgression, you may earnestly and with determination resist the first temptation to question the purpose of God in his restrictions and prohibitions. It is enough for us to know that he has said this. We belong to God; he made us, and has a right to claim our undivided service. If we give him this heartily, we shall have his approval, and he will lift up a standard for us against the enemy. YI July 1, 1897, par. 9

Mrs. E. G. White