The Youth’s Instructor


November 3, 1886

A Good Character


A good character is of slow but steady growth. Mental ability and genius are not character; for these are often possessed by those who have the very opposite of a good character. Reputation is not character. True character is a quality of the soul, revealing itself in the conduct. YI November 3, 1886, par. 1

If the youth rightly appreciate this important matter of character-building, they will see the necessity of doing their work so that it will stand the test of investigation before God. The humblest and weakest, by persevering effort in resisting temptation and seeking wisdom from above, may reach heights that now seem impossible. These attainments cannot come without a determined purpose to be faithful in the fulfillment of little duties. It requires constant watchfulness that crooked traits shall not be left to strengthen. The young may have moral power; for Jesus came into the world that he might be our example, and give to all youth and those of every age divine help. YI November 3, 1886, par. 2

God has been very merciful in giving you reasoning faculties, which he has not bestowed on the brute creation. But if with these God-given endowments, man is not faithful in his sphere, God will call him to account for the abuse of those gifts which place him above the beasts. The lowest of the brute creation, in making the best use of their instinct, sometimes do far better than many men who are never grateful to God for their reasoning faculties. If man, by sinful practices; lessens the power God has given him, he must render an account to God for this. Let young men and young women conscientiously study how they can meet the expectations of God, and there will be far less weakness and indecision, and far greater strength of purpose to attain a symmetrical character. If they will place themselves in connection with Jesus, they will become like him. YI November 3, 1886, par. 3

The inspired record concerning Christ is: “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him.” “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Of John the record says: “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his birth. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” “And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest; for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace.” “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel.” The record concerning Samuel is: “And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favor both with the Lord and also with men.” These examples are given for the young to imitate. If they make this their aim, they will see the necessity of a close connection with the Source of power and grace. Christ has said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” Solomon spake to the youth in God's stead: “My son, forget not my law, but let thine heart keep my commandments; for length of days and long life and peace shall they add unto thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee; bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart, so shalt thou find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” In these words of inspiration the youth have encouragement and counsel. YI November 3, 1886, par. 4

Children and youth should begin early to seek God; for early habits and impressions will frequently exert a powerful influence upon the life and character. Therefore the youth who would be like Samuel, John, and especially like Christ, must be faithful in the things which are least, turning away from the companions who plan evil, and who think that their life in the world is to be one of pleasure and selfish indulgence. Many of the little home duties are overlooked as of no consequence; but if the small things are neglected, the larger duties will be also. You want to be whole men and women, with pure, sound, noble characters. Begin the work at home; take up the little duties and do them with thoroughness and exactness. When the Lord sees you are faithful in that which is least, he will intrust you with larger responsibilities. Be careful how you build, and what kind of material you put into the building. The characters you are now forming will be lasting as eternity. YI November 3, 1886, par. 5

Let Jesus take possession of your mind, your heart, and your affections, and work as Christ worked, doing conscientiously the home duties, little acts of self-denial, and deeds of kindness, employing the moments diligently, keeping a careful watch against little sins, and a grateful heart for little blessings, and you will have at last such a testimony for yourself as was given of John and Samuel, and especially of Christ: “And he increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with man.” YI November 3, 1886, par. 6

Mrs. E. G. White