Manuscript Releases, vol. 6 [Nos. 347-418]


MR No. 350—Must the Christian Be Humorless?

He [Jesus] is the joy and light of the world. “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness.” John 8:12. Heaven is all light, peace, and joy. Jesus says, “Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24. 6MR 90.1

Jesus had grief, but He did not carry it in His face. Wherever He moved blessings followed in His track. Joy and gladness were imparted to the children of men. Children loved to be in His presence. He took them in His arms. Christ was an earnest, thoughtful man, an intense worker for the good of others, but He was never frowning or gloomy. The calm, steady light of a holy peace was expressed in His life and character. His presence hushed levity and none could be in His presence without feeling that life was earnest, serious, charged with a great responsibility. The more I know of Jesus’ character the more cheerful I am.”—Manuscript 1, 1867, 8. (“Reminiscent Account of James White's Sickness and Recovery,” written in early 1880's.) 6MR 90.2

My sister, you talk too much. I was pointed back and shown that your life has not been the best calculated for you to make an exemplary Christian.... In your past life you have been one that has stirred up strife, and then you have enjoyed the fruit of evil which has followed. Your tongue has kindled a fire and you have enjoyed the conflagration. All this has no part in the truth. When you received the truth you believed it from the heart and were ardent in its proclamation and here has been shown a lack of wisdom in using the truth in a manner to raise opposition, arouse combativeness and make war instead of possessing a spirit of peace and true humbleness of mind. Dear sister, there must be in you an entire transformation of character. The tongue must be tamed. Your words must be select, well chosen. If Christ is formed in you the hope of glory, fruits will appear unto righteousness. You sport and joke and enter into hilarity and glee. Does the Word of God sustain you in this? It does not. 6MR 90.3

Christ is our example. Do you imitate the great Exemplar? Christ often wept but never was known to laugh. I do not say it is a sin to laugh on any occasion. But we cannot go astray if we imitate the divine, unerring Pattern. We are living in a sad age of this world's history.... 6MR 91.1

As we view the world bound in darkness and trammeled by Satan, how can we engage in levity, glee, careless, reckless words, speaking at random, laughing, jesting, and joking? It is in keeping with our faith to be sober, watch unto the end, for the grace to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ.... 6MR 91.2

Christian cheerfulness is not condemned by the Scriptures, but reckless talking is censured. Those who live in the last days should be circumspect in words and acts. Sobriety is more in accordance with our faith than levity. Those who realize the solemnity of the times in which we live will be among the number who bear about with them a weight of solemn influence. They are rich in good works, bearing the burden of souls, and by holy example faithfully represent Jesus Christ and win souls to accept Christ as their Saviour.—Manuscript 11, 1868, 1-3. (“Testimony,” circa 1868.) 6MR 91.3

I advise and exhort that those who have charge of the youth shall learn how to adapt themselves to meet the youth where they are, by learning useful lessons themselves of Him who was meek and lowly of heart, that they may bring into their life and character the love of Jesus. They should be kind, cheerful, and courteous, and bind the hearts of the youth to their hearts by the strong cords of love and affection. 6MR 92.1

Do not be afraid to let them know that you love them. If the love is in the heart give it expression, do not smother it. When they gather about the table to partake of God's precious bounties make this a season of cheerfulness. Do not make it a season of grave decorum as though they were standing about a coffin, but have it a social season where every countenance is full of joy and happiness, where naught but cheerful words are spoken. And the youth should not feel that they are under an eye that is watching them, ready to reprove and condemn. Approve whenever you can; smile whenever you can; do not arrange your countenance as though a smile would bring the condemnation of heaven. Heaven is all smiles and gladness and gratitude. I wish we all knew more about heaven and would bring its pure, healthful, holy influence into our lives, for then we would bring sweet joy into many a life that needs it. 6MR 92.2

In association with one another we should cultivate habits and ways and manners that would attract and invite the confidence of the young. Satan has abundance of alluring temptations to charm and captivate the youth. If Christians would bring more pleasantness into their lives they would make religion and truth a power for good. I verily believe that few know how to deal with the young. They need more of the spirit that pervades heaven before their own religious life will be as the sweet perfume, and before they can exert a proper influence over the faulty, erring youth who, notwithstanding all their faults, have a depth of love and affection if it could only be called forth by love and affection. 6MR 92.3

Oh that we could be more like Christ and not repulse but attract. With what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged. With what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again. God will deal with us as we deal with one another. Then let us be very careful that we do not become pharisaical, but let us be Christlike. This your school in South Lancaster needs. 6MR 93.1

If anyone has a motherly influence that tries to help and encourage the young do not let the idea be entertained that she is teaching them to be rebellious; because there is a kind, courteous spirit manifested to help the young do not let this be interpreted as working against the instructors of the youth. It will certainly be a contrast to the attitude of some, and the children will prefer to be in the company of those who have a sunny temperament, who possess some joyfulness and gladness; but this should not create envy or jealousy or evil surmisings. This spirit of cheerfulness and hope and joy must be an element in your school, or it will never flourish and grow up and become a missionary field as every school should be.... 6MR 93.2

I will work against this cold, cast-iron, unsympathizing religion as long as I have strength to wield my pen. The Lord knows there is enough of this element in the churches in our land. My soul is pained beyond measure as I see so little of the love of Jesus. We need to live very close to Jesus, to have wise discrimination, to have wisdom to speak a kind word, that will have a soothing and comforting influence at the right time, throwing sunshine into the minds and hearts. Oh for the sunshine of the Son of righteousness to rise in our hearts!—Letter 19, 1886, pp. 4-6. (To Elder S. N. Haskell, July 12, 1886.) 6MR 93.3

There is far more Pharisaism among our people than they suppose. This has no Saviour in it. That makes us in danger of being rigorous and gloomy, as though Jesus were still in Joseph's tomb. We want our attitude in the religious life to be one of peace, happiness and joy. Jesus is not dead. We have a living Saviour, One who is making intercession for us, and who bears our cases by name before the Father. We want to cultivate more joy and bring attractiveness into the religious life, everything testifying that we have a risen Saviour, a living Jesus. 6MR 94.1

There are those who have never studied human nature, those who know not how to deal with human minds, those who act as though it were a sin to smile and to show joy and gladness. This is the spirit that is separating them far from the youth, that they cannot understand them. This is what I have been shown, and I know it is truth, but I had hoped that general principles laid down would correct the evils that seemed to be steadily growing.—Letter 84, 1886, p. 3. (To Elders Butler and Haskell, September 14, 1886.) 6MR 94.2

We have comfortable lodgings [in Sweden] but the meals and manner of eating are not at all like our American style; but they try to make it as pleasant for us as they can. We try to talk and cannot be understood. Then we laugh at one another for our blunders and make the best of the situation.—Manuscript 26, 1885, 21. (Diary, October 15 to 30, 1885.) 6MR 94.3

We stepped on board the train [at Lucerne, Switzerland] and were glad that we could have our own apartment to ourselves. We were rather a wet, uncomfortable, sorry-looking set. Ella clapped her hands and in a joyous tone exclaimed, “Now Sarah aren't you glad you went to the Rigi? Sarah, aren't you glad you went to the Rigi?” We had a good laugh and tried to look at the matter in her light and drop out the dark colorings.—Manuscript 33, 1886, 7. (Untitled, September 2, 1886.) 6MR 95.1

We have been on the road since Sunday morning at two o'clock, five days and four nights. Everything has thus far been very favorable.... The care of our children, Addie and May [daughters of Ellen White's niece] has taxed me considerably. Not that the children have been unusual and unmanageable. They are good children. They are universally cheerful and happy and willing to obey our expressed wishes cheerfully. This has lightened my burden of care wonderfully. Were these children as unruly and boisterous as many children in this car, I should be indeed worn out before this time, but their innocent ways and happy laugh are contagious. We cannot be otherwise than cheerful.—Letter 33, 1875, p. 1. (To “Dear Children,” September 22, 1875.) 6MR 95.2

Released January 23, 1974.