The Review and Herald

457/1902

September 25, 1888

Marrying and Giving in Marriage

EGW

The testimony of Noah, in regard to the judgments that were to fall upon the antediluvian world, was not received by the people as the message of God. The servant of God gave to the transgressors of the law of Jehovah, a warning which announced that in one hundred and twenty years the world would be destroyed by a flood. His warning was scoffed at, ridiculed, and rejected. The preacher of righteousness was proclaimed to be an ignorant fanatic, who had no knowledge of the laws of nature. The wise men of that time argued that it was an impossibility for water to rise high enough to deluge the world. They reasoned from scientific principles, that the world could not be destroyed, and that no attention should be paid to the predictions of Noah. This philosophy, or science falsely so called, exalted the law above the Lawgiver, and things created above the Creator. RH September 25, 1888, par. 1

Unmindful of the solemn words of the man of God, the people of that age continued their course of merriment, gratifying the desires of their carnal natures, and following the corrupt imaginations of their hearts. After rejecting the messenger of truth, they plunged more deeply than ever into the business of planting, and building, marrying, and giving in marriage. They spent the time of their probation as if it were one long holiday; and Noah and his predictions were the jest of the careless, wicked scoffers of the age. But while the people were lulled to sleep in the cradle of carnal security, the windows of heaven were opened, and the fountains of the great deep were broken up; and the prophecy was fulfilled, and “the world that then was being overflowed with water, perished.” RH September 25, 1888, par. 2

“As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” Then, the world was destroyed by a flood; in our day, it is to be destroyed by fire. The message of warning is going forth to the world, to prepare a people who will be saved out of the general ruin of earthly things. We are living in a very solemn time, and solemn thoughts should occupy the mind; the earnest inquiry should be made by every soul, “What shall I do to be saved?” The message that the coming of Christ is at hand, is not received. The thought that he is at the door, is not a welcome thought. As the message of the coming deluge was rejected, in the time of Noah, so the announcement of the final destruction of this world, is disbelieved. Thousands will reason after the same manner as did the people in the days prior to the flood. The message of truth is refused; and one turns away to his merchandise, another to his farm, another to his cattle, and another to the pleasures of life. While one is absorbed in business, and in the cares of this world, another is taken up with thoughts and plans for marriage, and he has no disposition to heed the warning of truth. He responds to the invitation of God to come, for the feast is now ready, “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” RH September 25, 1888, par. 3

Christ declared, “For as it was in the days that were before the flood, they were eating, and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” He foresaw that men would be engaged in every selfish work, living without fear of God, eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, when the day of final judgment was about to break. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false-accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” And while they are crying, “Peace and safety,” sudden destruction shall come upon them, and they shall not escape. RH September 25, 1888, par. 4

In the days of Noah, the earth was filled with violence. Is it not in a similar condition today? Of the vast population in the world before the flood, only eight persons were saved from the general destruction. In the days of Noah, the mass of mankind would not listen to the warning of the servant of the Lord. In our own day, the majority of men will “turn away their ears from hearing the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” In the time of Noah, the people were intensely worldly. They were without the fear of God. God was not in all their thoughts. They had no care whether he approved their course or not. They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, with no thought of their Creator, or of their responsibility to him. RH September 25, 1888, par. 5

There is in itself no sin in eating and drinking, or in marrying and giving in marriage. It was lawful to marry in the time of Noah, and it is lawful to marry now, if that which is lawful is properly treated, and not carried to sinful excess. But in the days of Noah, men married without consulting God, or seeking his guidance and counsel. So it is at the present day; marriage ceremonies are made matters of display, extravagance, and self-indulgence. But if the contracting parties are agreed in religious belief and practice, and everything is consistent, and the ceremony be conducted without display and extravagance, marriage at this time need not be displeasing to God. “But this I say, brethren, the time is short; it remaineth that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.” RH September 25, 1888, par. 6

The fact that all the relations of life are of a transitory nature, should have a modifying influence on all we do and say. In Noah's day it was the inordinate, excessive love of that which in itself was lawful, when properly used, that made marriage sinful before God. There are many who are losing their souls in this age of the world, by becoming absorbed in the thoughts of marriage, and in the marriage relation itself. In the days of Noah the people indulged the appetite and the baser passions, until they were an abhorrence in the sight of the holy God. They became the slaves of that which was vile, and they made a god of this world. The inhabitants of the earth are doing the same thing today. Eating, drinking, and amusement are the supreme order of the time. Men do not manifest an interest in the things that pertain to their eternal welfare. RH September 25, 1888, par. 7

God has placed men in the world, and it is their privilege to eat, to drink, to trade, to marry, and to be given in marriage; but it is safe to do these things only in the fear of God. We should live in this world with reference to the eternal world. The great crime in the marriages of the days of Noah, was that the sons of God formed alliances with the daughters of men. Those who professed to acknowledge and revere God, associated with those who were corrupt of heart; and without discrimination, they married whom they would. There are many in this day who have no depth of religious experience, who will do exactly the same things as were done in the days of Noah. They will enter into marriage without careful and prayerful consideration. Many take upon themselves the sacred vows as thoughtlessly as they would enter into a business transaction; true love is not the motive for the alliance. RH September 25, 1888, par. 8

The thought of marriage seems to have a bewitching power upon the minds of many of the youth. Two persons become acquainted; they are infatuated with each other, and their whole attention is absorbed. Reason is blinded, and judgment is overthrown. They will not submit to any advice or control, but insist on having their own way, regardless of consequences. Like some epidemic, or contagion, that must run its course, is the infatuation that possesses them; and there seems to be no such thing as putting a stop to it. Perhaps there are those around them who realize that, should the parties interested be united in marriage, it could only result in life-long unhappiness. But entreaties and exhortations are given in vain. Perhaps, by such a union, the usefulness of one whom God would bless in his service, will be crippled and destroyed; but reasoning and persuasion are alike unheeded. All that can be said by men and women of experience proves ineffectual; it is powerless to change the decision to which their desires have led them. They lose interest in the prayer-meeting, and in everything that pertains to religion. They are wholly infatuated with each other, and the duties of life are neglected, as if they were matters of little concern. Night after night, these young people burn the midnight oil to talk with each other,—in reference to subjects of serious and solemn interest?—O no. Rather of frivolous things, that are of no importance. Satan's angels are keeping watch with those who devote a large share of the night to courting. Could they have their eyes opened, they would see an angel making a record of their words and acts. The laws of health and modesty are violated. It would be more appropriate to let some of the hours of courtship before marriage run through the married life. But as a general thing, marriage ends all the devotion manifested during the days of courtship. These hours of midnight dissipation, in this age of depravity, frequently lead to the ruin of both parties thus engaged. Satan exults, and God is dishonored when men and women dishonor themselves. The good name of honor is sacrificed under the spell of this infatuation, and the marriage of such persons cannot be solemnized under the approval of God. They are married because passion moved them, and when the novelty of the affair is over, they will begin to realize what they have done. In six months after the vows are spoken, their sentiments toward each other have undergone a change. Each has learned in married life more of the character of the companion chosen. Each discovers imperfections that, during the blindness and folly of their former association, were not apparent. The promises at the altar do not bind them together. In consequence of hasty marriages, even among the professed people of God, there are separations, divorces, and great confusion in the church. RH September 25, 1888, par. 9

This kind of marrying and giving in marriage is one of Satan's special devices, and he succeeds in his plans almost every time. I have the most painful sense of helplessness when parties come to me for counsel upon this subject. I may speak to them the words that God would have me; but they frequently question every point, and plead the wisdom of carrying out their own purposes; and eventually they do so. They seem to have no power to overcome their own wishes and inclinations, and will marry at all hazards. They do not consider the matter carefully and prayerfully, leaving themselves in the hands of God, to be guided and controlled by his Spirit. The fear of God does not seem to be before their eyes. They think they understand the matter fully, without wisdom from God, or counsel from man. When it is too late, they find that they have made a mistake, and have imperiled their happiness in this life and the salvation of their souls. They would not admit that any one knew anything about the matter but themselves, when if counsel had been received, they might have saved themselves years of anxiety and sorrow. But advice is only thrown away on those who are determined to have their own way. Passion carries such individuals over every barrier that reason and judgment can interpose. RH September 25, 1888, par. 10

Love is a plant of heavenly origin. It is not unreasonable; it is not blind. It is pure and holy. But the passion of the natural heart is another thing altogether, While pure love will take God into all its plans, and will be in perfect harmony with the Spirit of God, passion will be headstrong, rash, unreasonable, defiant of all restraint, and will make the object of its choice an idol. In all the deportment of one who possesses true love, the grace of God will be shown. Modesty, simplicity, sincerity, morality, and religion will characterize every step toward an alliance in marriage. Those who are thus controlled, will not be absorbed in each other's society, at a loss of interest in the prayer-meeting and the religious service. Their fervor for the truth will not die on account of the neglect of the opportunities and privileges that God has graciously given to them. RH September 25, 1888, par. 11

If men and women are in the habit of praying twice a day before they contemplate marriage, they should pray four times a day when such a step is anticipated. Marriage is something that will influence and affect your life, both in this world, and in the world to come. A sincere Christian will not advance his plans in this direction without the knowledge that God approves his course. He will not want to choose for himself, but will feel that God must choose for him. We are not to please ourselves, for Christ pleased not himself. I would not be understood to mean that any one is to marry one whom he does not love. This would be sin. But fancy and the emotional nature must not be allowed to lead on to ruin. God requires the whole heart, the supreme affections. RH September 25, 1888, par. 12

The majority of the marriages of our time, and the way in which they are conducted, make them one of the signs of the last days. Men and women are so persistent, so headstrong, that God is left out of the question. Religion is laid aside, as if it had no part to act in this solemn and important matter. But unless those who profess to believe the truth are sanctified through it, and exalted in thought and character, they are not in as favorable a position before God as the sinner who has never been enlightened in regard to its claims. We are rapidly approaching the close of this world's history. Every moment is of the most solemn importance to the child of God. The questions that should come to every heart are, “Am I a Christian? Is the word of God my study? Is Christ dwelling in my heart by faith? Is the law of God the rule of my life? Do the searching truths I profess to believe, penetrate into the very secret places of my life? Do I carry out its principles in my business life? Is the influence I exert, having a saving power on those with whom I associate? Unless the truth does have a marked and decided influence upon the character and life of its recipient, it is not doing its office work in the life, as it should be; and those who are not being sanctified through obedience to the truth, must be converted, or they will be lost. RH September 25, 1888, par. 13