Spalding and Magan Collection


Words to the Young

Shall we see persons pursuing a wrong course to their own detriment and to the injury of others, and yet have nothing to say? Do we love souls, and still let them pass on in evil, flattering themselves that they are all right, and never tell them that the work they are doing will never stand the test of the judgment? SpM 77.3

Shall the faithful servant of God keep silent when there is under his notice those who make it evident by the way they perform their daily duties, that unless their evil habits are changed, he will work at a great disadvantage? There are some young men and women who have no method of doing their work. Though they are always busy, they can present but little results. They have erroneous ideas of work, and think they are working hard, when if they had practiced method in their work, and applied themselves much more in a shorter time. By dallying over the less important matters, they find themselves hurried, perplexed, and confused when they are called upon to do those duties that are more essential. They are always doing, and they think, working very hard; and yet there is little to show for their efforts. Under circumstances like these, where young men and women are making such mistakes in their life discipline, it would be sinful not to speak words of advice and counsel. SpM 77.4

It is an extremely delicate thing to tell people of their faults. The reprover is likely to find in those reproved, pride and stubbornness to assert themselves, and the will is arrayed in defiance and opposition. But for all this, advice should be given, and faults should be laid bare. Let the young cultivate a teachable spirit that they may be benefitted by the efforts of those who seek to help them. You may feel that you are doing your best, and that you have been reproved for very trifling matters, and you may be impatient that any one should feel that it is his duty to reprove you for such small matters; but this is the injunction given by the Apostle: “Obey them that have rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for our souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief; for this is unprofitable for you.” These specific directions would not have been given, unless there were those who needed reproof and counsel. SpM 78.1

There are persons who will never receive reproof, who build themselves up in their own way, and insist on clinging to their own evil habits and practices. When reproved they say, “Why do you tell me these things? I can not be any different.” But they deceive themselves in saying this. They could make changes if they would; but they prefer to have their own way, rather than to make a determined effort to seek a better and more perfect way, by which their usefulness might be greatly increased, and their ability developed to fill positions of trust. SpM 78.2

Those who will never admit that they are wrong, feel injured when reproved, and bring forth reasons as numerous as vain, to justify themselves. They always think that they are right, and so continue to practice their wrong habits, thus making it more and more improbable that they will reform. They are too indolent to put forth a determined effort to make reformation. Cautions, counsels, prayers, entreaties, result in making little change in their course of action. They do not see that they are defective, and are satisfied with their own erroneous way of doing, and think that every one else should be a satisfied with them as they are with themselves. They see no necessity for reproof and counsel. The Word of God describes such cases in this language: “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.” SpM 78.3

There are young men and young women who are very much opposed to order and discipline. Let them purpose in their hearts that they will bring themselves under discipline, and practice orderly rules. God is a God of order, and it is the duty of the youth to observe strict rules; for such practices will work to their advantage. SpM 78.4

As far as possible, it is well to consider what is to be accomplished through the day. Make a memorandum of the different duties that await your attention, and set apart a certain time for the doing of each duty. Let everything be done with thoroughness, neatness, and dispatch. If it falls to your lot to do chamber work, then see that the rooms are well aired, and that the bed clothing is exposed to the sunlight. Give yourself a number of minutes to do the work, and do not stop to read papers and books that take your eye, but say to yourself, “No, I have just so many minutes in which to do my work, and I must accomplish my task in a given time.” If the room is decorated with little ornaments, and you would have an eye single to the glory of God, let these little idols be stored away; but if this can not be done and these ornaments must be exposed to your admiration, then handle them expeditiously. Do not take them up, one after another, as you dust them, dream over each one, and hesitate and admire, keeping it in your hand as though you were loath to replace it. Let those who are naturally slow of movement, seek to become active, quick energetic, remembering the words of the Apostle, “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” SpM 78.5

If it falls your lot to prepare the meals, make careful calculations, and give yourself all the time necessary to prepare the food, and set it on the table in good order, and on exact time. To have the meal ready five minutes earlier than the time you have set is more commendable than to have it five minutes later. But if you are under the control of slow, dilatory movements, if your habits are of a lazy order, you will make a long job out of a short one; and it is the duty of those who are slow, to reform, and become more expeditious. If they will, they can overcome their fussy, lingering habits. In washing dishes, they may be careful, and at the same time do quick work. Exercise the will to this end, and the hands will move with dispatch. SpM 79.1

Another defect which has caused me much uneasiness and trouble, is the habit some girls have of letting their tongues run, wasting precious time in talking of worthless things. While girls give their attention to talk, their work drags behind. These matters have been looked upon as little things, unworthy of notice. Many are deceived as to what constitutes a little thing. Little things have an important relation to the great world. God does not disregard the infinitely little things that have to do with the welfare of the human family. He is the owner of the whole man. Soul, body, and spirit are his. God gave his only begotten Son for the body as well as the soul, and our entire life belongs to God, to be consecrated to his service, that through the exercise of every faculty he has given, we may glorify him. SpM 79.2

Let no one say, “I can not overcome my defects of character;” for if this is your decision, then you can not have eternal life. The impossibility is all in your will. If you will not, that constitutes the can not. The real difficulty is the corruption of an unsanctified heart, and an unwillingness to submit to the will of God. When there is a determined purpose born in your heart to overcome, you will have a disposition to overcome, and will cultivate those traits of character that are desirable, and will engage in conflict with steady, persevering effort. You will exercise a ceaseless watchfulness over defects of character, and will cultivate right practices in little things. The difficulty of overcoming will be lessened in proportion as the heart is sanctified by the grace of Christ. Earnest, persevering effort will place you on the vantage-ground of victory: for he who strives to overcome, in and through the grace of Christ, will have divine enlightenment, and will understand how great truths can be brought into little things, and religion can be carried in the little, as well as in the large concerns of life. SpM 79.3

Ellen G. White.

The Youth's Instructor, August 31 and September 7, 1893.