The Review and Herald

270/1902

July 15, 1884

Dangerous Amusements for the Young

EGW

We are living in an unfortunate age for the young. A heavy current is setting downward to perdition, and parents should deal faithfully with the souls committed to their trust. Satan is constantly presenting inducements to attract minds from the solemn work of preparation for scenes just in the future. He is in every sense of the word a deceiver, a skillful charmer. He is wide awake, busily engaged in leading the world captive. Through the agency of worldlings, he keeps up a continual pleasing excitement to induce the unwary to unite with them. The desire for excitement and pleasing entertainment is a temptation and a snare to God's people, and especially to the young. There are shows, lectures, and an endless variety of entertainments constantly arising, that are calculated to lead to a love of the world; and through this union with the world faith is weakened. RH July 15, 1884, par. 1

The prevailing influence in society is in favor of allowing the youth to follow the natural turn of their own minds. If they are very wild, parents flatter themselves with the hope that when they are older, and reason for themselves, they will leave off their wrong habits, and become useful men and women. What a mistake! For years they permit an enemy to sow the garden of the heart, suffer wrong principles to grow and strengthen, and in many cases all the labor bestowed on that soil will avail nothing. Satan is an artful, persevering workman, a deadly foe. Whenever an incautious word is spoken to the injury of youth, whether in flattery, or to cause them to look upon some sin with less abhorrence, he takes advantage of it, and nourishes the evil seed, that it may take root and yield a bountiful harvest. RH July 15, 1884, par. 2

He has many finely woven, dangerous nets, which appear innocent, but are skillfully prepared to entangle the young and unwary. Often these snares are disguised in coverings of light borrowed from heaven; but those who fall victims to these devices pierce themselves through with many sorrows. RH July 15, 1884, par. 3

The standard of piety is low among professed Christians generally, and it is hard for the young to resist the influence. The mass of professed Christians have removed the line of distinction between them and the world, and while they profess to be living for Christ, they are really living for the world. They do not discern the excellence of heavenly things, and therefore cannot truly love them. They profess to be Christians because it is considered honorable, and there is no cross for them to bear; but their religion has but little influence to restrain them from worldly pleasures. Some such professors can enter the ball-room, and unite in all the amusements which it affords. Others cannot go to such lengths as this; yet they can attend parties of pleasure, picnics, donations, shows, and other places of amusement; and the most discerning eye would fail to detect in such professors of religion one mark of Christianity. There is no difference between their appearance and that of unbelievers. In the present state of society, it is no easy task for parents to restrain their children, and instruct them according to the Bible rule of right. They often become impatient, and wish to have their own way, and go and come as they please. Especially from the age of ten to eighteen, they often feel that there would be no harm in going to picnics and other gatherings of young associates; yet the experienced Christian parent sees danger. Parents are acquainted with the peculiar temperaments of their children, and know the influence of these things upon their minds, and from a desire for their salvation, keep them back from these exciting amusements. Even when the children choose for themselves to leave the pleasures of the world, and become Christ's disciples, the labor of the parents must not cease. They have just commenced in earnest the warfare against sin and the evils of the natural heart, and they need the counsel and watchcare of their parents. RH July 15, 1884, par. 4

Young Sabbath-keepers who have yielded to the influence of the world, will have to be tested and proved. The perils of the last days are upon us, and a trial is before the young which they have not anticipated. They will be brought into distressing perplexity, and the genuineness of their faith will be proved. They profess to be looking for the Son of man; yet some of them have been a miserable example to unbelievers. They have not been willing to give up the world, but have united with them in attending picnics and other gatherings for pleasure, flattering themselves that they were engaging in innocent amusement. Yet it is just such indulgences that separate them from God, and make them children of the world. God does not own the pleasure-seeker as his follower. Those only who are self-denying, and who live a life of sobriety, humility, and holiness, are true followers of Jesus; and such cannot enjoy the frivolous, empty conversation of the lovers of the world. RH July 15, 1884, par. 5

There is chaff among us, and this is why we are so weak. Some are constantly leaning to the world. Their views and feelings harmonize much better with the spirit of the world than with that of Christ's self-denying followers. It is perfectly natural for them to prefer the company of those whose spirit will best agree with their own. And such have quite too much influence among God's people. RH July 15, 1884, par. 6

They take part with them, and have a name among them, and are a text for unbelievers and the weak and unconsecrated ones in the church. These persons of two minds will ever have objections to the plain, pointed testimony which reproves individual wrongs. In this refining time, they will either be wholly converted, and sanctified by obeying the truth, or they will be left with the world, where they belong, to receive their reward with them. RH July 15, 1884, par. 7

It cannot be harmless for servants of the heavenly King to engage in the pleasures and amusements which Satan's servants engage in, even though they often repeat that such amusements are harmless. God has revealed sacred and holy truths to separate his people from the ungodly, and purify them unto himself, and they should live out their faith. RH July 15, 1884, par. 8

The true followers of Jesus will have sacrifices to make. They will discard places of worldly amusement; for they find no Jesus there,—no influence which will make them heavenly-minded, and increase their growth in grace. Obedience to the word of God leads us to come out from all these things, and be separate. But the things of the world are sought for, and considered worthy to be admired and enjoyed, by all who are not spiritually minded. RH July 15, 1884, par. 9

“By their fruits ye shall know them.” All the followers of Christ bear fruit to his glory. Their lives testify that a good work has been wrought in them by the Spirit of God, and their fruit is unto holiness. Their lives are elevated and pure. Right actions are unmistakable fruits of true godliness, and those who bear no fruit have no experience in the things of God. They are not in the Vine. Says Jesus, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.” RH July 15, 1884, par. 10

If we would be spiritual worshipers of the true God, we must sacrifice every idol. Jesus said to the lawyer, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” The first four precepts of the decalogue allow no separation of the affections from God. Nor is anything allowed to divide or share our supreme delight in him. Whatever divides the affections, and takes away from the soul supreme love to God, assumes the form of an idol. Our carnal hearts would cling to our idols, and seek to carry them along; but we cannot advance till we put them away, for they separate us from God. RH July 15, 1884, par. 11

The great Head of the church has chosen his people out of the world, and requires them to be separate. He designs that the spirit of his commandments shall draw them to himself, and separate them from the elements of the world. To love God and keep his commandments is far from loving the world's pleasures and friendship. There is no concord between Christ and Belial. The people of God may safely trust in him alone, and without fear press on in the way of obedience. RH July 15, 1884, par. 12

Young people who follow Christ have a warfare before them; they have a daily cross to bear in coming out from the world, and being separate, and imitating the life of Christ. But there are many precious promises on record for those who seek their Saviour early. Says the wise man, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.” Wisdom calls to the sons of men, “I love them that love me; and they that seek me early shall find me.” They will find that the “path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day;” and at the last, the Judge of all the earth will give every one according to his works. RH July 15, 1884, par. 13