The Youth’s Instructor


November 3, 1908

Suffer the Children to Come


When the Saviour was on earth, he took little children in his arms, and blessed them. On one occasion the disciples would have sent these little ones away, but Jesus heard their words of rebuke, and he said to them, “Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” YI November 3, 1908, par. 1

In the children who were brought in contact with him, Jesus saw the men and women who should be the heirs of his grace and subjects of his kingdom, and some of whom would become martyrs for his sake. He knew that these children would listen to him, and accept him as their Redeemer far more readily than would grown-up people, many of whom were worldly wise and hard-hearted. In his teaching he came down to their level. He, the Majesty of heaven, did not disdain to answer their questions, and simplify his important lessons to meet their childish understanding. He planted in their minds the seeds of truth, which in after-years would spring up and bear fruit unto eternal life. YI November 3, 1908, par. 2

It is still true that children are most susceptible to the teachings of the gospel; their hearts are open to divine influences, and strong to retain the lessons received. The little children may be Christians, having an experience in accordance with their years. YI November 3, 1908, par. 3

It has been my privilege to see many of the young converted and baptized, some in their early childhood. In one church where I labored with my husband in our early experiences in the message, there were about fourteen children nearly of an age, who wished to be baptized. A father came to Elder White and said, “What are you going to do with these children? They say they are converted to God; but they are too young to be baptized.” “No, indeed, they are not,” my husband responded. “My wife can tell you a story of what a child can experience in spiritual things, if you care to hear.” Then I related my own experience in conversion. YI November 3, 1908, par. 4

I was eleven years old when the light broke into my heart. I had pious parents, who in every way tried to make their children acquainted with their Heavenly Father. We sang the praises of God in our household. Every morning and evening we had family prayer. There were eight children in the family, and every opportunity was improved by our parents to lead us to give our hearts to Jesus. YI November 3, 1908, par. 5

I was not unmindful of the voice of prayer daily going up to God. These influences were working on my heart; and in my earlier years I had often sought for the peace that there is in Christ; but I could not seem to find the freedom that I desired. A terrible feeling of sadness and despair rested upon my heart. I did not think of anything that I had done to cause me to feel sad; but it seemed that I was not good enough ever to enter heaven. Such a thing seemed altogether too much for me to expect. YI November 3, 1908, par. 6

The mental anguish I passed through at this time was very great. I believed in an eternally burning hell; and as I thought of the wretched state of the sinner before God, I was in deep despair. I feared that I should be lost, and that I should live through eternity suffering a living death. But I learned better than this. I learned that I had a God who is altogether too merciful to perpetuate throughout eternity the lives of the beings whom he created for his glory, but who, instead of accepting the Saviour, had died unrepentant, unforgiven, and unsaved. I learned that the wicked shall be consumed as stubble, and that they shall be as ashes under our feet in the new earth; they shall be as though they had not been. There is no eternally burning hell; there are no living bodies suffering eternal torment. YI November 3, 1908, par. 7

But for a long time not one ray of light pierced the dark cloud of distress and despondency that was surrounding me. My sufferings were very great. Night after night, while my twin sister was sleeping, I would arise, and bow by the bedside before the Lord, and plead with him for mercy. All the words that I had any confidence to utter were, “Lord, have mercy.” Such complete hopelessness would seize me that I would fall on my face with an agony of feeling that can not be described. Like the poor publican, I dared not so much as lift my eyes toward heaven. YI November 3, 1908, par. 8

Finally I had a dream which gave me a faint hope that I might be saved. Soon afterward I attended a prayer-meeting, and when others knelt to pray, I bowed with them tremblingly; and after two or three had prayed, I began to pray. Then the promises of God appeared to me like so many precious pearls that were to be received only by asking for them. As I prayed, the burden and agony of soul, that I had felt so long, left me, and the blessing of God came upon me like gentle dew, and I gave glory to God for what I felt. Everything was shut out from me but Jesus and glory, and I did not know what was going on around me. It seemed as if I was at the feet of Jesus, and that the light of his countenance was shining upon me in all its brightness. YI November 3, 1908, par. 9

Everything appeared glorious and new, and as if smiling and praising God. I seemed to be shut in with God. I was then willing to confess Jesus everywhere. The sacrifice that my Redeemer had made to save me from death and sin seemed very great. I could not dwell upon it without weeping. I experienced the peace of Christ, which the world could not give nor take away. Although I expected to live but a few months because of feeble health, my life was peaceful and happy. I clung in faith to the Lord, and he took control of me and healed me. YI November 3, 1908, par. 10

From this time I felt that I was the happiest being on the earth. I could see Jesus in everything. How I loved him! How precious he was to me! I felt that I must reveal his loveliness to my companions, and I began at once to work for the young. YI November 3, 1908, par. 11

I arranged meetings with my young friends, some of whom were considerably older than myself, and a few were married persons. A number of them were vain and thoughtless; my experience sounded to them like an idle tale, and they did not heed my entreaties. But I determined that my efforts should never cease till these dear souls, for whom I had so great an interest, yielded to God. Several entire nights were spent by me in earnest prayer for those for whom I was so earnestly laboring. YI November 3, 1908, par. 12

Some of these attended from curiosity to know what I had to say; others thought me beside myself to be so persistent in my efforts, especially when they felt no concern on their part. But at every one of our little meetings I continued to exhort, and to pray for one and then another, until every one had yielded to Jesus, acknowledging the merits of his pardoning love. YI November 3, 1908, par. 13

Night after night in my dreams I seemed to be laboring for the salvation of souls. At such times special cases were presented to my mind; these I afterward sought out and prayed with. YI November 3, 1908, par. 14

Some of our more formal brethren feared that I was too zealous for the conversion of souls; but time seemed to me so short that it behooved all who had a hope of blessed immortality, and looked for the soon coming of Christ, to labor without ceasing for those who were still in their sins and standing on the awful brink of ruin. YI November 3, 1908, par. 15

Though I was very young, I felt that it was my duty to continue my efforts for the salvation of precious souls, and to pray, and confess Christ at every opportunity. My entire being was offered to the service of my Master. Let come what would, I determined to please God, and live as one who expected the Lord to come and reward the faithful. I felt like a little child coming to God as to my father, and asking him what he would have me to do. Then as my duty was made plain to me, it was my greatest happiness to perform it. Peculiar trials sometimes beset me. Those older in experience than myself endeavored to hold me back, and cool the ardor of my faith; but with the smiles of Jesus brightening my life, and the love of God in my heart, I went on my way with a joyful spirit. YI November 3, 1908, par. 16

The children and youth who give themselves to God can do a similar work of service for him. It is your privilege to lead your companions and associates to Christ. You can not tell what an influence you may have with the young of your own age. You can give them an example, and the older ones can help the children who want to give their hearts to God. You can have little prayer-meetings. I remember how in my childhood I used to go a mile to attend a little prayer-meeting in a family, and then another day we would go to another, and then to still another family. In these little meetings we used to read the Bible, sing a hymn, pray, and then speak to one another, relating experiences, and telling how we could love and serve God. YI November 3, 1908, par. 17

I know that if we had such experiences now, we would have happier homes. We would see of the salvation of God, and the light of his countenance would shine upon us. Begin to say that you love the Lord, and that you will give yourselves to him. In doing this, you will begin to have new courage and faith to believe that your hearts are converted, that your souls are saved. YI November 3, 1908, par. 18

God can not make you good, unless you condescend to be good. You must condescend to be good, and then God will co-operate with you, and he will help you to do good, and to keep from sinful ways. Shall we not together, young and old, get ready for the kingdom of heaven? Before we can enter the gates of the city of God, we must have the spirit that the heavenly beings possess; and we can never have this spirit until we bow in humility before God and accept the cross of Christ. “Whosoever will come after me,” the Saviour said, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” YI November 3, 1908, par. 19

Ellen G. White.