Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1


(B) The Negative

(Words of Restraint and Caution)

Marriage Not Designed to Cover Sensuality and Base Practices—God never designed that marriage should cover the multitude of sins that are practiced. Sensuality and base practices in a marriage relation are educating the mind and moral taste for demoralizing practices outside the marriage relation.—The Review and Herald, May 24, 1887. 1MCP 223.4

Sexual Excesses Endangering Health and Life—It is not pure, holy love which leads the wife to gratify the animal propensities of her husband at the expense of health and life.... 1MCP 223.5

It may be necessary to humbly and affectionately urge, even at the risk of his displeasure, that she cannot debase her body by yielding to sexual excess. She should, in a tender, kind manner, remind him that God has the first and highest claim upon her entire being and that she cannot disregard this claim, for she will be held accountable in the great day of God.—Testimonies for the Church 2:475 (1870). 1MCP 224.1

Sexual excess will effectually destroy a love for devotional exercises, will take from the brain the substance needed to nourish the system, and will most effectively exhaust the vitality.—Testimonies for the Church 2:477 (1870). 1MCP 224.2

Perversion of a Sacred Institution—Because they have entered into the marriage relation, many think that they may permit themselves to be controlled by animal passions. They are led on by Satan, who deceives them and leads them to pervert this sacred institution. He is well pleased with the low level which their minds take; for he has much to gain in this direction. 1MCP 224.3

He knows that if he can excite the baser passions and keep them in the ascendancy, he has nothing to be troubled about in their Christian experience; for the moral and intellectual faculties will be subordinate, while the animal propensities will predominate and keep in the ascendancy; and these baser passions will be strengthened by exercise, while the nobler qualities will become weaker and weaker.—Testimonies for the Church 2:480 (1870). 1MCP 224.4

The Abuse in Marriage of Sexual Privileges—The animal passions, cherished and indulged, become very strong in this age, and untold evils in the marriage life are the sure results. In the place of the mind being developed and having the controlling power, the animal propensities rule over the higher and nobler powers until they are brought into subjection to the animal propensities. What is the result? Women's delicate organs are worn out and become diseased; childbearing is no more safe; sexual privileges are abused. 1MCP 224.5

Men are corrupting their own bodies, and the wife has become a bed servant to their inordinate, base lusts until there is no fear of God before their eyes. To indulge impulse that degrades both body and soul is the order of the marriage life.—Manuscript 14, 1888. 1MCP 225.1

Prenatal Influences—Satan seeks to debase the minds of those who unite in marriage that he may stamp his own hateful image upon their children.... 1MCP 225.2

He can mold their posterity much more readily than he could the parents, for he can so control the minds of the parents that through them he may give his own stamp of character to their children. Thus many children are born with the animal passions largely in the ascendancy, while the moral faculties are but feebly developed. These children need the most careful culture to bring out, strengthen, and develop the moral and intellectual powers, that these may take the lead.—Testimonies for the Church 2:480 (1870). 1MCP 225.3

The Degrading Process—The mind of a man or woman does not come down in a moment from purity and holiness to depravity, corruption, and crime. It takes time to transform the human to the divine or to degrade those formed in the image of God to the brutal or the satanic. 1MCP 225.4

By beholding we become changed. Though formed in the image of his Maker, man can so educate his mind that sin which he once loathed will become pleasant to him. As he ceases to watch and pray, he ceases to guard the citadel, the heart, and engages in sin and crime. The mind is debased, and it is impossible to elevate it from corruption while it is being educated to enslave the moral and intellectual powers and bring them in subjection to grosser passions. 1MCP 225.5

Constant war against the carnal mind must be maintained; and we must be aided by the refining influence of the grace of God, which will attract the mind upward and habituate it to meditate upon pure and holy things.—Testimonies for the Church 2:478, 479 (1870). 1MCP 225.6

Counsel to Women—I write with a distressed heart that the women in this age, both married and unmarried, too frequently do not maintain the reserve that is necessary. They act like coquettes. They encourage the attentions of single and married men, and those who are weak in moral power will be ensnared. 1MCP 226.1

These things, if allowed, deaden the moral senses and blind the mind so that crime does not appear sinful. Thoughts are awakened that would not have been if woman had kept her place in all modesty and sobriety. She may have had no unlawful purpose or motive herself, but she has given encouragement to men who are tempted and who need all the help they can get from those associated with them. 1MCP 226.2

By being circumspect, reserved, taking no liberties, receiving no unwarrantable attentions, but preserving a high moral tone and a becoming dignity, much evil might be avoided.—Manuscript 4a, 1885. (The Adventist Home, 331, 332.) 1MCP 226.3

Women as Tempters—Shall not the women professing the truth keep strict guard over themselves lest the least encouragement be given to unwarrantable familiarity? They may close many a door of temptation if they will observe at all time strict reserve and propriety of deportment.—Testimonies for the Church 5:602 (1889). 1MCP 226.4

Women are too often tempters. On one pretense or another they engage the attention of men, married or unmarried, and lead them on till they transgress the law of God, till their usefulness is ruined, and their souls are in jeopardy.—Testimonies for the Church 5:596 (1889). 1MCP 226.5

Sympathetic Pastor—Be men of God, on the gaining side. Knowledge is within the reach of all who desire it. God designs the mind shall become strong, thinking deeper, fuller, clearer. Walk with God as did Enoch; make God your counselor and you cannot but make improvement.... 1MCP 226.6

There are men who claim to keep God's commandments, who will visit the flock of God under their charge and lead unwary souls into a train of thought that results in shameless liberties and familiarities.... 1MCP 227.1

He [a minister] will, as he visits families, begin to inquire the secrets of their married life. Do they live happily with their husbands? Do they feel that they are appreciated? Is there harmony in their married life? And thus the unsuspecting woman is led on by these ensnaring questions to open her secret life, her disappointments, her little trials and grievances, to a stranger as the Catholics do to their priests. 1MCP 227.2

Then this sympathizing pastor puts in a chapter of his own experience; that his wife was not the woman of his choice; that there is no real affinity between them. He does not love his wife. She does not meet his expectations. The barrier is thus broken down, and women are seduced. They believe their life is one great disappointment, and this shepherd has great sympathy for his flock. Lovesick sentimentalism is encouraged, and the mind and soul is spoiled of its purity, if this kind of work does not result in the breaking of the seventh commandment. 1MCP 227.3

Polluted thoughts harbored become habit, and the soul is scarred and defiled. Once do a wrong action and a blot is made which nothing can heal but the blood of Christ; and if the habit is not turned from with firm determination, the soul is corrupted and the streams flowing from this defiling fountain corrupt others. His influence is a curse. God will certainly destroy all those who continue this work.... 1MCP 227.4

We must be elevated, ennobled, sanctified. We may have strength in Jesus to overcome; but when the character is lacking in purity, when sin has become a part of the character, it has a bewitching power that is equal to the intoxicating glass of liquor. The power of self-control and reason is overborne by practices that defile the whole being; and if these sinful practices are continued, the brain is enfeebled, diseased, and loses its balance.—Letter 26d, 1887. 1MCP 227.5

Men, Women, and Youth Involved in Moral Depravity—The moral dangers to which all, both old and young, are exposed are daily increasing. Moral derangement, which we call depravity, finds ample room to work, and an influence is exerted by men, women, and youth professing to be Christians that is low, sensual, devilish.—Letter 26d, 1887. 1MCP 228.1

Satan is making masterly efforts to involve married men and women and children and youth in impure practices. His temptations find acceptance in many hearts, because they have not been elevated, purified, refined, and ennobled by the sacred truth which they claim to believe. Not a few have been low and vile in thought and common in talk and deportment so that when Satan's temptations come, they have no moral power to resist them and fall an easy prey.—Letter 26d, 1887. (In Heavenly Places, 199.) 1MCP 228.2

The Downward Steps—Satan's constant temptations are designed to weaken man's government over his own heart, to undermine his power of self-control. He leads man to break the bands which connect him in holy, happy union with his Maker. 1MCP 228.3

Then, when he is disconnected from God, passion obtains control over reason, and impulse over principle, and he becomes sinful in thought and action, his judgment is perverted, his reason seems to be enfeebled, and he needs to be restored to himself by being restored to God by a correct view of himself in the light of God's word.—Letter 24, 1890. 1MCP 228.4

Avoid Reading, Seeing, and Hearing Impurity—Those who would not fall a prey to Satan's devices must guard well the avenues of the soul; they must avoid reading, seeing, or hearing that which will suggest impure thoughts. The mind must not be left to dwell at random upon every subject that the enemy of souls may suggest. The heart must be faithfully sentineled, or evils without will awaken evils within, and the soul will wander in darkness.—The Acts of the Apostles, 518 (1911). 1MCP 228.5

You will have to become a faithful sentinel over your eyes, ears, and all your senses if you would control your mind and prevent vain and corrupt thoughts from staining your soul. The power of grace alone can accomplish this most desirable work.—Testimonies for the Church 2:561 (1870). 1MCP 229.1

Salacious Novels and Pornography—Impure pictures have a corrupting influence. Novels are eagerly perused by many, and as the result, their imagination becomes defiled. 1MCP 229.2

In the cars, photographs of females in a state of nudity are frequently circulated for sale. These disgusting pictures are also found in daguerrean saloons [photographic studios], and are hung upon the walls of those who deal in engravings. This is an age when corruption is teeming everywhere. 1MCP 229.3

The lust of the eye and corrupt passions are aroused by beholding and by reading.... The mind takes pleasure in contemplating scenes which awaken the lower and baser passions. These vile images, seen through defiled imagination, corrupt the morals and prepare the deluded, infatuated beings to give loose rein to lustful passions. Then follow sins and crimes which drag beings formed in the image of God down to a level with the beasts, sinking them at last in perdition. Avoid reading and seeing things which will suggest impure thoughts. Cultivate the moral and intellectual powers.—Testimonies for the Church 2:410 (1870). 1MCP 229.4

The Mind the Determining Factor—Said Paul, “With my mind serve I the law of God.” Becloud this mind through indulgence of animal appetite and passions, and the moral powers are weakened so that the sacred and common are placed upon a level.—Letter 2, 1873. 1MCP 229.5

Masturbation [Note: The author treats this subject at length in Testimonies for the Church 2:346-353, 480-482, and the out-of-print pamphlet an Appeal to Mothers (1864). See Child Guidance, Section XVII, “Preserving Moral Integrity,” Patriarchs and Prophets, 439-468, for a comprehensive coverage of the subject drawn from all published and unpublished sources.—Compilers.]—Youth and children of both sexes engage in moral pollution [masturbation] and practice this disgusting, soul-and-body-destroying vice. 1MCP 230.1

Many professed Christians are so benumbed by the same practice that their moral sensibilities cannot be aroused to understand that it is sin, and that if continued its sure results will be utter shipwreck of body and mind. Man, the noblest being upon the earth, formed in the image of God, transforms himself into a beast! He makes himself gross and corrupt. 1MCP 230.2

Every Christian will have to learn to restrain his passions and be controlled by principle. Unless he does this, he is unworthy of the Christian name. 1MCP 230.3

Some who make high profession do not understand the sin of self-abuse and its sure results. Long-established habit has blinded their understanding. They do not realize the exceeding sinfulness of this degrading sin, which is enervating the system and destroying their brain nerve power. 1MCP 230.4

Moral principle is exceedingly weak when it conflicts with established habit. Solemn messages from heaven cannot forcibly impress the heart that is not fortified against the indulgence of this degrading vice. The sensitive nerves of the brain have lost their healthy tone by morbid excitation to gratify an unnatural desire for sensual indulgence. The brain nerves which communicate with the entire system are the only medium through which Heaven can communicate to man and affect his inmost life. 1MCP 230.5

Whatever disturbs the circulation of the electric currents in the nervous system lessens the strength of the vital powers, and the result is a deadening of the sensibilities of the mind.—Testimonies for the Church 2:347 (1870). 1MCP 230.6

Some children begin to practice self-pollution in their infancy; and as they increase in years the lustful passions grow with their growth and strengthen with their strength. Their minds are not at rest. Girls desire the society of boys, and boys that of the girls. Their deportment is not reserved and modest. They are bold and forward and take indecent liberties. The habit of self-abuse has debased their minds and tainted their souls.—Testimonies for the Church 2:481 (1870). 1MCP 231.1

Sexual Activity Before Marriage (counsel to a Seventh-day Adventist youth)—Few temptations are more dangerous or more fatal to young men than the temptation to sensuality, and none if yielded to will prove so decidedly ruinous to soul and body for time and eternity.... 1MCP 231.2

You were shown me in her [N's] society hours of the night; you know best in what manner these hours were spent. You called on me to speak whether you had broken God's commandments. I ask you, Have you not broken them? 1MCP 231.3

How was your time employed hours together night after night? Were your position, your attitude, your affections such that you would want them all registered in the ledger of heaven? I saw, I heard things that would make angels blush.... No young man should do as you have done to N, unless married to her; and I was much surprised to see that you did not sense this matter more keenly. 1MCP 231.4

Why I write now is to implore you for your soul's sake to dally with temptation no longer. Make short work in breaking this spell that like a fearful nightmare has brooded over you. Cut yourself loose now and forever, if you have any desire for the favor of God.... 1MCP 231.5

You have spent hours of the night in her company because you were both infatuated.... In the name of the Lord, cease your attention to N or marry her.... You might as well marry her as to be in her society and conduct yourselves as only man and wife should conduct themselves toward each other.... 1MCP 231.6

If through the period of your life you wish to enjoy the society of N as you now appear to enjoy it and be fascinated with it, why not go a step farther than you already have and make yourself her lawful protector and have an undisputed right to devote the hours you choose in her company? ... Your acts and conversation are offensive to God.—Letter 3, 1879. 1MCP 231.7

Sodom's Dissolute Morals—We are not ignorant of the fall of Sodom because of the corruption of its inhabitants. The prophet has here [Ezekiel 16:49] specified the particular evils which led to dissolute morals. We see the very sins now existing in the world which were in Sodom and which brought upon her the wrath of God, even to her utter destruction.—The Review and Herald, July, 1873. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 4:1161.) 1MCP 232.1

Sins of the Antediluvians and of Sodom on the Increase—Everywhere are seen wrecks of humanity, neglected family altars, broken-up families. There is a strange abandonment of principle, a lowering of the standard of morality; the sins are fast increasing which caused the judgments of God to be poured upon the earth in the Flood and in the destruction of Sodom by fire.—Testimonies for the Church 5:601 (1889). 1MCP 232.2

Invading the Church Today—Impurity is today widespread, even among the professed followers of Christ. Passion is unrestrained; the animal propensities are gaining strength by indulgence, while the moral powers are constantly becoming weaker.... 1MCP 232.3

The sins that destroyed the antediluvians and the cities of the plain exist today—not merely in heathen lands, not only among popular professors of Christianity, but with some who profess to be looking for the coming of the Son of man. If God should present these sins before you as they appear in His sight, you would be filled with shame and terror.—Testimonies for the Church 5:218 (1882). 1MCP 232.4

Shutting the Eyes to Light—Indulgence of the baser passions will lead very many to shut their eyes to the light, for they fear that they will see sins which they are unwilling to forsake. All may see if they will. If they choose darkness rather than light, their criminality will be none the less. 1MCP 232.5

Why do not men and women read and become intelligent upon these things which so decidedly affect their physical, intellectual, and moral strength? God has given you a habitation to care for and preserve in the best condition for His service and glory. Your bodies are not your own.—Testimonies for the Church 2:352 (1885). 1MCP 233.1