The Youth’s Instructor


September 22, 1903

Lessons From the Life of Daniel—12

The Moral Deterioration of the Nation


“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” YI September 22, 1903, par. 1

The image revealed to Nebuchadnezzar, while representing the deterioration of the kingdoms of the earth in power and glory, also fitly represents the deterioration of religion and morality among the people of these kingdoms. As nations forget God, in like proportion they become weak morally. YI September 22, 1903, par. 2

Babylon passed away because in her prosperity she forgot God, and ascribed the glory of her prosperity to human achievement. YI September 22, 1903, par. 3

The Medo-Persian kingdom was visited by the wrath of heaven because in this kingdom God's law was trampled under foot. The fear of the Lord found no place in the hearts of the people. The prevailing influences in Medo-Persia were wickedness, blasphemy, and corruption. YI September 22, 1903, par. 4

The kingdoms that followed were even more base and corrupt. They deteriorated because they cast off their allegiance to God. As they forgot him, they sank lower and still lower in the scale of moral value. YI September 22, 1903, par. 5

The vast empire of Rome crumbled to pieces, and from its ruins rose that mighty power, the Roman Catholic Church. This church boasts of her infallibility and her hereditary religion. But this religion is a horror to all who are acquainted with the secrets of the mystery of iniquity. The priests of this church maintain their ascendency by keeping the people in ignorance of God's will, as revealed in the Scriptures. YI September 22, 1903, par. 6

It is sin that is ruining nations today. Even many leaders in the religious world have not a good conscience toward God. Many of those who claim to be Protestants have not the faith in God's word that Luther had in the early days of the Reformation. They have left the old landmarks, and depend on ceremony and formal display to make up for their lack of the purity and piety, the meekness and lowliness, found in obedience to God. YI September 22, 1903, par. 7

There is no real standard of righteousness apart from God's law. By obedience to this law the intellect is strengthened, and the conscience is enlightened and made sensitive. The youth need to gain a clear understanding of God's law. They are not left to follow blindly the guidance of men. The great prophetic waymarks which God himself has set up show the path of obedience to be the only path that can be followed with certainty. YI September 22, 1903, par. 8

Those who love and obey the law of God will meet with trials and temptations; but if they hope and pray, and trust his word, they will be able to say, with Paul, “I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” YI September 22, 1903, par. 9

My dear young friends, have you wholly given yourselves up to God, to do his will? Are you transformed by the grace of Christ? Some claim to be one with Christ, while their special work is to make void the law of God. Will you accept their assertions? How will you distinguish God's true servants from the false prophets that Christ said would arise to deceive many? There is only one test of character,—God's holy law. YI September 22, 1903, par. 10

We are living in a momentous period of this earth's history. The final conflict is just before us. We see the world corrupted under the inhabitants thereof. Satanic agencies have made the earth a stage for horrors that no language can describe. War and bloodshed are carried on by nations claiming to be Christian. A disregard for God's law has brought the sure result. YI September 22, 1903, par. 11

“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.” “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” YI September 22, 1903, par. 12

There will be a sharp conflict between those who are loyal to God and those who cast scorn upon his law. The church has joined hands with the world. Reverence for God's law has been subverted. The religious leaders have taught for doctrine the commandments of men. As it was in the days of Noah, so it is in this age. But shall the prevalence of disloyalty and transgression cause those who have reverenced God's law to have less respect for it, or to unite with the powers of earth in attempting to make it void? YI September 22, 1903, par. 13

The test comes to every one. There are only two sides. Dear young reader, on which side are you standing? YI September 22, 1903, par. 14

Mrs. E. G. White