The Youth’s Instructor


February 4, 1897

Worldly Amusements


Gatherings for social intercourse are made in the highest degree profitable and instructive when those who meet together have the love of God glowing in their hearts; when they meet to exchange thoughts in regard to the word of God, or to consider methods for advancing his work and doing good to their fellow men. When the Holy Spirit is regarded as a welcome guest at these gatherings, when nothing is said or done to grieve it away, God is honored, and those who meet together are refreshed and strengthened. YI February 4, 1897, par. 1

But there are social gatherings of a different character, where pride of appearance, hilarity, and trifling are too often seen. In their desire for amusement, those who attend are in danger of forgetting God, and things take place that make the watching angels weep. The scene of pleasure becomes, for the time being, their paradise. All give themselves up to hilarity and mirth. The eyes sparkle, the cheek is flushed; but conscience sleeps. Such enthusiasm and inspiration have not a heavenly origin. They are entirely of this earth. Sadly the angels of heaven look upon the forgetfulness of those for whom Christ has done so much. When sickness and death come to those who have lived merely for self-pleasing, too late they find that they have no oil in their lamps, and that they are utterly unfit to close their life's history. YI February 4, 1897, par. 2

The tenor of the conversation carried on at many social gatherings reveals what the heart is set upon. The trifling talk, the foolish witticisms, spoken only to create a laugh, do not rightly represent Christ. Those who utter them would not be willing to meet a record of their words. Wrong impressions are made upon the listeners, and reproach is cast upon Christ. O that the youth would guard well their words! for by them they will be justified or by them condemned. Remember that Jesus is beside you wherever you go, noting your actions and listening to your words. Would you be ashamed to hear his voice speaking to you, and to know that he hears your conversation? YI February 4, 1897, par. 3

Turn to another scene. In the streets of a city a party is gathered for a bicycle-race. Some who compose this company profess to know God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent. But who that looks upon the exciting scene would think that those taking part were followers of the meek and lowly Jesus? Who would think that they regarded their time and their physical powers as gifts from God, to be preserved for his service? Did those participating in the race take time to think that death might be the result of the wild chase? Before starting, did they pray for the protection of the ministering angels? God is not glorified by gatherings where he is thus forgotten; but he who is playing the game of life for the souls of men is well pleased to see the things of this world absorbing the attention of the young. YI February 4, 1897, par. 4

The once earnest Christian who takes part in worldly amusements is on dangerous ground. He has left the region pervaded by the vital atmosphere of heaven, and has plunged into an atmosphere of mist and fog; for in many cases, pleasure parties and gatherings for amusement are a reproach to the religion of Christ. He who maintains his connection with God cannot in heart participate in them. The words he hears are not congenial to him; for they are not the language of Canaan. The speakers do not give evidence that they are making melody in their hearts to God. YI February 4, 1897, par. 5

Those who are artificial in character and religious experience too readily gather for pleasure and amusement, and their influence attracts others. Sometimes young men and women who are trying to be Bible Christians are persuaded to join the party. Unwilling to be thought singular, and naturally inclined to follow the example of others, they place themselves under the influence of those who, perhaps, have never felt the divine touch on mind or heart. Had they prayerfully consulted the divine standard, to learn what Christ has said in regard to the fruit to be borne on the Christian tree, they would have discerned that these entertainments were really banquets prepared to keep souls from accepting the invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb. YI February 4, 1897, par. 6

It sometimes happens that by frequenting places of amusement, youth who have been carefully instructed in the way of the Lord are carried away by the glamour of human influence, and form attachments for those whose education and training have been of a worldly character. They sell themselves into lifelong bondage by uniting with persons who have not the ornament of a Christlike spirit. Those who truly love and serve God will fear to descend to the world's level, by choosing the society of those who have not enthroned Christ in their hearts. They will stand boldly for Christ, even though their course may be one of self-denial and self-sacrifice. YI February 4, 1897, par. 7

Christ lived a life of toil and sacrifice for us, and can we not deny ourselves for him? Are not the atonement he has made for us, and the righteousness he waits to give us, themes worthy of occupying our minds? If the youth will draw from the storehouse of the Bible the treasures it contains, if they will meditate on the pardon, peace, and everlasting righteousness that crowns a life of self-denial, they will have no desire for questionable excitement or amusement. YI February 4, 1897, par. 8

Christ rejoices when the thoughts of the young are occupied by the grand and ennobling themes of salvation. He enters the hearts of all such as an abiding guest, filling them with joy and peace. And the love of Christ in the soul is as a well of water, springing up into everlasting life, sending forth living streams, that bring life and glory wherever they go. Those who possess this love will delight to talk of the things that God has prepared for them that love him. YI February 4, 1897, par. 9

The eternal God has drawn the line of distinction between the saint and the sinner, between converted and unconverted. The two classes do not blend into each other imperceptibly, like the colors of a rainbow, but are as distinct as midday and midnight. God's people cannot with safety enter into intimate associations with those who know the truth, but do not practise it. The patriarch Jacob, when speaking of certain deeds of his sons, which he contemplated with horror, exclaimed, “O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united.” He felt that his own honor would be compromised if he associated with sinners in their doings. He lifted the danger signal, warning us to shun wrong associations, lest we become tainted with evil. And the Holy Spirit, through the apostle Paul, utters a similar warning, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” YI February 4, 1897, par. 10

Mrs. E. G. White