The Review and Herald

969/1902

January 10, 1899

A Neglected Duty

EGW

The charge given to Peter by Christ just before his ascension was, “Feed my lambs,” “feed my sheep;” and this commission has been given to every minister and worker. But the work has been neglected. While something has been done for the education and religious training of the youth, there is still a great lack. Many more need to be encouraged and helped. There is not that personal labor given which the case requires. It is not the ministers alone who have neglected this solemn work of saving the youth; the members of the churches will have to settle with the Master for their indifference and neglect of duty. RH January 10, 1899, par. 1

The Lord is not glorified when the children are neglected and passed by. They are to be educated, disciplined, and patiently instructed. They require more than casual notice, more than a word of encouragement. They need painstaking, prayerful, careful labor. The heart that is filled with love and sympathy will reach the hearts of the youth who are apparently careless and hopeless. RH January 10, 1899, par. 2

We must not be careless in regard to any soul, however unpromising he may appear. We must yoke up with Christ, and in his name understand his work and do it. “We are laborers together with God,” Christ declares; “ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” “Ye are the light of the world.” We must gather up the divine rays of light coming from Christ, and let the heavenly splendor be reflected upon the broad ways and byways of life, to guide the feet of the wanderers into the path that leads to eternal life. RH January 10, 1899, par. 3

All can not be helped with the same line of work. God deals with each according to his temperament and character, and we must cooperate with him. Wisdom is needed in dealing with individual minds. There must be more study, more earnest prayer for wisdom. Often those whom we pass by with indifference, because we judge them from outward appearances, are the ones who have in them the best material for workers, and who will repay all the efforts we bestow upon them. The ways and means used in winning them to Christ will be gratefully used by them in winning others. RH January 10, 1899, par. 4

The Lord would have the education in our schools such as will advance every pupil in the knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ, whom he has sent. A great mistake is made by teachers when they give their students the impression that in order to reach perfection in literary attainments, they must sip at the impure fountain where customs and traditions and errors that are hoary with age continue to flow. This is the greatest dishonor that can be done to God. Teachers and students are to heed the instruction given through the apostle Paul. “All Scripture,” he says, “is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” RH January 10, 1899, par. 5

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” RH January 10, 1899, par. 6

The true dignity of the youth who makes God his trust will reveal itself. The Holy Spirit will work in him to make of him a representative of God, to declare the message of God. He may stand as a counselor before kings; for heavenly intelligences stand by his side. Mark the counsel given by the youthful Joseph to the kings and rulers and so-called great men of Egypt. He bore the test of character in adversity, and the gold was undimmed in prosperity. He showed the same sacred regard for God's will when he stood next the throne as when in a prison-cell. Joseph carried his religion everywhere; this was the secret of his unwavering fidelity. RH January 10, 1899, par. 7

Daniel in Babylon was given words of wisdom, and reproof, and counsel, by the heavenly intelligences. His life is given us as a bright example of what man may become, even in this life, if he will make God his strength, and wisely improve the opportunities and privileges within his reach. Daniel was but a youth when he was carried away captive to Babylon; but he would not permit any power to turn him aside from the path of duty. He refused to use wine as a beverage, though it was placed before him at the king's command. He might have argued that under the circumstances, there was no other course for him than to do what was required. But while Daniel was willing to obey those who had the rule over him, kings and decrees could not make him swerve from his allegiance to the King of kings. He knew that by use, wine would become pleasant to him, and would be preferred to water. RH January 10, 1899, par. 8

A second consideration of these youthful captives was that at the king's table the blessing of the heathen gods was invoked. The king set apart a portion of his food and wine to be presented to these idols. By this act, according to their religious instruction, the whole was consecrated to the idols. Daniel and his three brethren deemed it a dishonor to the God of heaven to eat the food thus consecrated. These four children decided that they could not eat of the king's food, nor drink of his wine; for to do this would be to implicate them with heathenism, and dishonor the principles of their religion. RH January 10, 1899, par. 9

Much was involved in this decision. They were regarded as slaves, though they were particularly favored because of their apparent intelligence and comeliness of person. But they decided that even any pretense to eat of the king's food, or to drink of his wine, would be a denial of their religious faith. There was no presumption with these youth, but a firm love for truth and righteousness. They did not choose to be singular; but they must be, else they would corrupt their ways in the court of Babylon, and be exposed to every kind of temptation in eating and drinking. The corrupting influences would remove their safeguard, and they would dishonor God, and ruin their own character. RH January 10, 1899, par. 10

The education that these four youth had received was not after the order of the worldly schools, but according to the design of God. The school in which they had been educated was not after the order of the schools that existed before the flood,—schools in which nature was worshiped above the God of nature, in which infidel sentiments prevailed, and the ideas of God were cloudy and obscure. Their education was not after that of Sodom and Gomorrah, to the exclusion of all true religion. These youth had been brought up in homes where they were taught to fear the Lord. And this early education was to them the means of their preservation. The lessons learned in their earliest years were the means of their remaining uncorrupted in the courts of Babylon. The truth was truth to them. Its principles were stamped upon their hearts. It was understood by them that “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” The first and great commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind,” was truth to them, and it was obeyed. RH January 10, 1899, par. 11

Joseph, Daniel, and the three Hebrew children came forth from their trial like pure gold. If the curtain could have been rolled back, men would have seen the heavenly universe looking with admiration upon these youth, who, amid temptation and moral corruption, made God their trust. The Lord saw that these youth would be vessels unto honor; they would not defile the channels through which he worked: and all heaven rejoiced. RH January 10, 1899, par. 12

These representative youth are an illustration of the unanswerable question, “Who teacheth like him?” For the youth of this time who will read the will and purposes of God, these Hebrew youth are a testimony of what all may become when connected with the living God. Their noble example should bring strength to the tried and tempted, even at the present day. RH January 10, 1899, par. 13

Time brings to every human being a responsibility; and the youth are to use the faculties of mind and body in accomplishing the work that God has given them to do. They are required to use every hour in doing good in the service of the Master. Every passing day brings us nearer to the time when we shall see him whom our souls love. Beyond this present is the eternal future. Just now is the time of our test and trial. Now is the seedtime of grace and the ripening harvest. Time is very precious. Days and weeks and months are filling up the year; and as they pass, we have one day, one week, one month, less in which to prepare for the future life. Yet thousands are lingering in careless and heedless indifference, feeling no need of bearing responsibilities, spending their precious time as if it were of no value. This pleasure, this excursion, they say, will pass away time. This is not the true view of life. Time is a precious talent, for which they must render an account to God. RH January 10, 1899, par. 14

God calls for laborers in his vineyard. He wants those who have an education in the word of God, those whose weapons of warfare are not carnal, “but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” With such the great thought will be: Is this God's will? Is it his way? Have I engaged in a business that will keep me from prayer, from serving God? If so, I must give it up; for in the place of reflecting light upon the pathway of others, I shall be leading away from God. Is this amusement that I am engaged in of a character that will strengthen my heart for the faithful service of God? Will it fortify me for trial, and enable me to discern temptation and the ways of the world? Can I ask God to go with me in this arrangement for my pleasure? If not, I will not enter into it, however attractive it may be. I am to have an eye single to the glory of God. Nothing is to come in to make me view things in a perverted light, so that my interest shall be divided, and I shall not, with my whole heart, glorify God. RH January 10, 1899, par. 15

Not all the teachers in our schools have honored God. Some are going over the same routine in educational lines as are those in the schools that have not had the light and knowledge that God has graciously given us for this time. Where is the gracious acknowledgment coming from the lips of teachers and students? When the Lord has drawn nigh, and given tokens of his presence and his blessing, some have shown unmistakable signs of annoyance. They could not see the wisdom of the Lord in interrupting their routine of studies. They saw not nor acknowledged God. The manifestation of the Holy Spirit among them has been regarded by some as an altogether unnecessary element, and even a hindrance. That which should have called forth heartfelt gratitude and thanksgiving has been treated almost with scorn. Virtually, they have said, We do not want God's words or works interwoven with our work of teaching. RH January 10, 1899, par. 16

The educators of the youth should be Christians. Then they will have a sense of their responsibility as Christians. This they will maintain under all circumstances and provocations, never displaying passion nor an arbitrary spirit. They will reveal sound principles, unswerving integrity, and pure sentiments, expressed in pure words. These are the high thoughts that will draw the youth to the higher education, in which an atmosphere of purity will surround the soul. RH January 10, 1899, par. 17