The Signs of the Times


July 1, 1903

Worldliness and Licentiousness


Lessons from the Past

Satan has ever achieved his greatest successes through the neglect of God's people to maintain their separation from the world,—its customs, its practises and principles. There are but two great parties among men—the servants of Christ, and the servants of Satan. Their leaders are opposites in every particular. Our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to conquer the prince of darkness, says, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” Here Christ makes a marked distinction between His followers and the world. Those who are of the world are in direct opposition to those who love God and keep His commandments. The heart must be kept with all diligence, that the human be not exalted above the Divine. If those who profess to love and serve God, follow blind impulse, rather than reason and conscience, they will fall by the artifice of Satan. The affections should be guarded and controlled, lest they be placed upon unworthy objects that are forbidden in the Word of God. ST July 1, 1903, par. 1

Samson, that mighty man of valor, was under a solemn vow to be a Nazarite during the period of his life; but, becoming infatuated by the charms of a lewd woman, he rashly broke that sacred pledge. Satan worked through his agents to destroy this ruler of Israel, that the mysterious power which he possessed might no longer intimidate the enemies of God's people. It was the influence of this bold woman that separated him from God, her artifices that proved his ruin. The love and service which God claims, Samson gave to this woman. This was idolatry. He lost all sense of the sacred character and work of God, and sacrificed honor, conscience, and every valuable interest, to base passion. ST July 1, 1903, par. 2

The life of Solomon should prove a beacon of warning to God's people in every age. The Lord had erected a barrier between Israel and other nations. He had made that people the depositaries of His law, and their safety lay in preserving their peculiar, holy character. But as King Solomon's heart was lifted up in pride, he became eager for still greater wealth and power. To secure these, political alliances were formed with idolatrous nations. ST July 1, 1903, par. 3

Honor and riches flowed in to him as the result; but these temporal advantages were dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle. His kingdom was enriched with the gold of Tarshish, but the fine gold of character was tarnished by the corrupting influence of paganism. Once over the wise barrier which God had erected, the king took, one after another, the fatal steps that led him away from hope and happiness and heaven. From the wisest of the rulers, Solomon became a despot. Satan triumphed as this man, who had thrice been called the beloved of his God, became a slave of passion, and sacrificed his integrity to the bewitching power of woman. ST July 1, 1903, par. 4

The cases mentioned are sufficient to show the danger of corrupting the soul by mingling with God's enemies. These examples are placed on record for the benefit of those who live amid the perils of the last days. The devices of Satan are no less now than in ancient times. Indeed, as we near the period of Christ's second coming, Satan redoubles his efforts to work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. The youth especially are in constant and fearful danger of being overcome by his temptations. ST July 1, 1903, par. 5

Watchfulness and vigilance are needed now. The lustful eye must be turned off from beholding vanity. Boldness and immodesty must be met with a decided rebuke. Let none yield to a spirit of self-confidence, and feel that they are in no danger. As long as Satan lives, his efforts will be constant and untiring to make the world as wicked as before the flood, and as licentious as were the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. The prayer may well be offered daily by all who have the fear of God before them, that He will preserve their hearts from evil desires, and strengthen their souls to resist temptation. Those who, in their self-confidence, feel no need of watchfulness and unceasing prayer, are near some humiliating fall. All who do not feel the importance of resolutely guarding their affections will be captivated by those who practise their arts to ensnare and lead astray the unwary. ST July 1, 1903, par. 6

Satan exulted to see Samson, a man whom God could have used to His glory, so infatuated that he could betray his strength into the hands of Delilah. Satan knew that he had taken Samson captive. Few who go thus far again see clearly the aggravated character of sin. Reputation, strength, and usefulness are sacrificed for sinful indulgence. Blind infatuation leads men on in the way to destruction. The power of Satan, his arts and machinations,—who can know them? Those who, in defiance of all the warnings and entreaties of God's Word, venture to indulge in sin are sleeping on the very brink of eternal ruin. Because God bears long with transgressors, of His law, because He sends them warnings and entreaties, because punishment does not immediately follow their evil deeds, they abuse His mercy and forbearance, and blindly rush on in a course of crime. When assailed by temptation, many have not moral strength to say, as did Joseph, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” They do not give a decided refusal to the first invitation to transgress the law of God, and soon unlawful indulgence becomes habitual, and they are ready to deny that it is a sin. ST July 1, 1903, par. 7

Unwise marriages are the curse of this age. Such an alliance can but be disastrous to both parties. That love which has no better foundation than mere sensual gratification will be headstrong, blind, and uncontrollable. Honor, truth, and every noble, elevated power of the mind, is brought under the slavery of passions. The man who is bound in the chains of this infatuation is too often deaf to the voice of reason and conscience; neither argument nor entreaty can lead him to see the folly of his course. ST July 1, 1903, par. 8

Men and women professing godliness should tremble at the thought of entering into a marriage covenant with those who do not respect and obey the commandments of God. It was this that opened the flood-gates of sin to the antediluvians. Such a connection with the world is a direct departure from God's express requirements,—“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” ST July 1, 1903, par. 9

In these alliances the creature receives the love which should be given to the Creator. There is danger in entering into any intimate relation with those who have no connection with Heaven. This is the friendship which Inspiration calls enmity with God. We can not be too jealous of ourselves, lest, by associating with worldlings, we fall into the same habits. It was for this reason that the Israelites were commanded to dwell alone, as a people separate from all other nations. The friendship of the Lord's enemies is more to be dreaded than their enmity; for Satan is constantly working through pleasing, intelligent unbelievers, to tempt the people of God to sin. ST July 1, 1903, par. 10

When one commandment of the Decalogue is broken, the downward steps are almost certain. When once the barriers of female modesty are removed, the basest licentiousness does not appear exceeding sinful. Alas, what terrible results of woman's influence for evil may be witnessed in the world today! Through the allurements of “strange women,” thousands are incarcerated in prison cells, many take their own lives, and many cut short the lives of others. How true the words of Inspiration, “Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.” ST July 1, 1903, par. 11

Beacons of warning are placed on every side in the pathway of life, to prevent men from approaching the dangerous, forbidden ground; but, notwithstanding this, multitudes choose the fatal path, contrary to the dictates of reason, regardless of God's law, and in defiance of His vengeance. ST July 1, 1903, par. 12

Those who would preserve physical health, a vigorous intellect, and sound morals, must “flee youthful lusts.” Those who will put forth zealous and decided efforts to check the wickedness that lifts its bold, presumptions head in our midst, are hated and maligned by all wrong-doers, but they will be honored and recompensed of God. ST July 1, 1903, par. 13