[SeeSection V, "Life's Energizing Force."]
Courtship-Good Common Sense Needed.-The youth trust altogether too much to impulse. They should not give themselves away too easily or be captivated too readily by the winning exterior of the lover. Courtship, as carried on in this age, is a scheme of deception and hypocrisy, with which the enemy of souls has far more to do than the Lord. Good common sense is needed here if anywhere; but the fact is, it has little to do in the matter.-The Review and Herald, January 26, 1886. (Messages to Young People, 450.)
Noblest Traits to Be Developed.-The ideas of courtship have their foundation in erroneous ideas concerning marriage. They follow impulse and blind passion. The courtship is carried on in a spirit of flirtation. The parties frequently violate the rules of modesty and reserve and are guilty of indiscretion, if they do not break the law of God. The high, noble, lofty design of God in the institution of marriage is not discerned; therefore the purest affections of the heart, the noblest traits of character, are not developed.-MS 4a, 1885. (.)
Pure Affection More Heavenly Than Earthly.-Not one word should be spoken, not one action performed, that you would not be willing the holy angels should look upon and register in the books above. You should have an eye single to the glory of God. The heart should have only pure, sanctioned affection, worthy of the followers of Jesus Christ, exalting in its nature, and more heavenly than earthly. Anything different from this is debasing, degrading in courtship; and marriage cannot be holy and honorable in the sight of a pure and holy God unless it is after the exalted Scriptural principle.-MS 4a, 1885. (.)
Danger of Late Hours.-The habit of sitting up late at night is customary; but it is not pleasing to God, even if you are both Christians. These untimely hours injure health, unfit the mind for the next day's duties, and have an appearance of evil. My brother, I hope you will have self-respect enough to shun this form of courtship. If you have an eye single to the glory of God you will move with deliberate caution. You will not suffer love-sick sentimentalism to so blind your vision that you cannot discern the high claims that God has upon you as a Christian.-Testimonies for the Church 3:44, 45 (1872).
Infatuation a Poor Ground for Marriage.-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.-The Review and Herald, September 25, 1888. (The Adventist Home, 56.)
Counterfeit Love Uncontrollable.-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 are 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.-The Signs of the Times, July 1, 1903. (The Adventist Home, 51.)
Unsanctified Love Misleads.-Unsanctified human affection always misleads, for it beckons in other paths than the way God has pointed out.-Lt 34, 1891.
Repetition of Sin Lessens Powers of Resistance.-He who has once yielded to temptation will yield more readily the second time. Every repetition of the sin lessens his power of resistance, blinds his eyes, and stifles conviction. Every seed of indulgence sown will bear fruit. God works no miracle to prevent the harvest.-Patriarchs and Prophets, 268 (1890).
Passion Destroys Everything.-The words of Christ should ever be borne in mind: "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank" (Luke 17:26, 27). Appetite bears sway over mind and conscience in this age. Gluttony, winebibbing, liquor drinking, tobacco using prevail, but Christ's followers will be temperate in eating and drinking. They will not indulge appetite at the expense of health and spiritual growth.
"They married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all" (verse 27). We see the same manifestation now in regard to marriage. Youth, and even men and women who ought to be wise and discerning, act as if bewitched upon this question. A satanic power seems to take possession of them. The most indiscreet marriages are formed. God is not consulted. Human feelings, desires, and passions bear down everything before them, until the die is cast. Untold misery is the result of this state of things, and God is dishonored. The marriage vow covers every kind of lustful abomination. Shall there not be a decided change in reference to this matter?-Lt 74, 1896. (SpTMWI 41.)
Blind Love Affects Every Faculty.-Every faculty of those who become affected by this contagious disease-blind love-is brought in subjection to it. They seem to be devoid of good sense, and their course of action is disgusting to all who behold it. My brother, you have made yourself a subject of talk and have lowered yourself in the estimation of those whose approval you should prize.
With many the crisis of the disease is reached in an immature marriage, and when the novelty is past and the bewitching power of lovemaking is over, one or both parties awake to their true situation. They then find themselves ill-mated, but united for life.
Bound to each other by the most solemn vows, they look with sinking hearts upon the miserable life they must lead. They ought then to make the best of their situation; but many will not do this. They will either prove false to their marriage vows or make the yoke which they persisted in placing upon their own necks so very galling that not a few cowardly put an end to their existence.-Testimonies for the Church 5:110, 111 (1882).
Early Teenage Love.-Satan controls the minds of the youth in general. Your daughters are not taught self-denial and self-control. They are petted, and their pride is fostered. They are allowed to have their own way until they become headstrong and self-willed, and you are put to your wit's end to know what course to pursue to save them from ruin. Satan is leading them on to be a proverb in the mouth of unbelievers because of their boldness, their lack of reserve and womanly modesty.
The young boys are likewise left to have their own way. They have scarcely entered their teens before they are by the side of little girls of their own age, accompanying them home and making love to them. And the parents are so completely in bondage through their own indulgence and mistaken love for their children that they dare not pursue a decided course to make a change and restrain their too-fast children in this fast age.-Testimonies for the Church 2:460 (1870).
Clandestine Courtships.-The young have many lessons to learn, and the most important one is to learn to know themselves. They should have correct ideas of their obligations and duties to their parents and should be constantly learning in the school of Christ to be meek and lowly of heart. While they are to love and honor their parents, they are also to respect the judgment of men of experience with whom they are connected in the church.
A young man who enjoys the society and wins the friendship of a young lady, unbeknown to her parents, does not act a noble Christian part toward her or toward her parents. Through secret communications and meetings he may gain an influence over her mind; but in so doing he fails to manifest that nobility and integrity of soul which every child of God will possess. In order to accomplish their ends they act a part that is not frank and open and according to the Bible standard, and prove themselves untrue to those who love them and try to be faithful guardians over them. Marriages contracted under such influences are not according to the Word of God. He [a young man] who would lead a daughter away from duty, who would confuse her ideas of God's plain and positive commands to obey and honor her parents, is not one who would be true to the marriage obligations.-The Review and Herald, January 26, 1886. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 101, 102.)
Not to Trifle With Hearts.-To trifle with hearts is a crime of no small magnitude in the sight of a holy God. And yet some will show preference for young ladies and call out their affections, and then go their way and forget all about the words they have spoken and their effect. A new face attracts them, and they repeat the same words, devote to another the same attentions.-The Review and Herald, November 4, 1884. (The Adventist Home, 57.)
Talk of Subjects Upon Which Minds Run.-With many young ladies the boys are the theme of conversation; with the young men, it is the girls. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh" (Matthew 12:34). They talk of those subjects upon which their minds mostly run. The recording angel is writing the words of these professed Christian boys and girls. How will they be confused and ashamed when they meet them again in the day of God! Many children are pious hypocrites. The youth who have not made a profession of religion stumble over these hypocritical ones and are hardened against any effort that may be made by those interested in their salvation.-Testimonies for the Church 2:460 (1870).
Why Youth Prefer Company of Youth.-Why the young feel more liberty when the older ones are absent is: they are with those of their kind. Each thinks he is as good as the other. All fail of the mark but measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves among themselves, and neglect the only perfect and true standard. Jesus is the True Pattern. His self-sacrificing life is our example.-Testimonies for the Church 1:154, 155 (1857).
A Young Lady Counseled to Guard the Affections.-You are altogether too free with your affections and would, if left to your own course of action, make a lifelong mistake. Do not sell yourself at a cheap market. Do not be free with any gentleman student. Consider that you are preparing to do a work for the Master, that in order to act well your part, and render back the talents to Him who has given them to you, and to hear the precious commendation from His lips, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23), you must take heed and not be careless of your associations.
In order to act your part in the service of God you must go forth with the advantages of as thorough an intellectual training as possible. You need a vigorous, symmetrical development of the mental capabilities, a graceful, Christian, many-sided development of culture, to be a true worker for God. You need your taste and your imagination chastened and refined and all your aspirations made pure by habitual self-control. You need to move from high, elevated motives. Gather all the efficiency you can, making the most of your opportunities for the education and training of the character to fill any position which the Lord may assign you. You need so much a balance wheel in judicious counsel. Do not despise advice.-Lt 23, 1893.
Discipline Yourself.-You will be inclined to accept the attention of those who are your inferiors in everything. You must be made wiser through the grace of Christ. You must consider every step in the light [of the fact] that you are not your own; you are bought with a price. May the Lord be your Counselor. Do nothing to impair or cripple your efficiency. Deal faithfully with yourself; with painstaking effort discipline yourself. The grace of Jesus Christ will help you at every step if you will be teachable and considerate.
I write you this now, and will write again erelong, for as the mistake of your past life has been set before me, I dare not withhold most earnest entreaties that you hold yourself strictly to discipline....
Be not led astray into any false paths and do not show a preference for the society of young men, for you will not only injure your own reputation and future prospects, but you will raise hopes and expectations in the minds of those to whom you show preference, and they will become as if bewitched with love-sick sentimentalism and spoil their student life. You and they are at the school for the purpose of obtaining an education to qualify you in intellect and character for greater usefulness in this life and for the future immortal life. Make no mistake in receiving attentions or giving encouragement to any young man. The Lord has designated that He has a work for you to do. Let it be your motive to answer the mind and will of God, and not to follow your own inclination and be bound up in future destiny with cords like bands of steel.-Lt 23, 1893.
Wrong Attachments Can Impair Mental Powers (counsel to a girl of eighteen).-You have no right to place your affections on any young man without your father's and your mother's full sanction. You are but a child, and for you to show a preference for any young man without the full knowledge and sanction of your father is to dishonor him. Your attachment to this young man is robbing you of a peaceful mind and of healthful sleep. It is filling your mind with foolish fancies and with sentimentalism. It is retarding you in your studies and is working serious evil to your mental and physical powers. If opposed, you become irritable and low spirited.-Lt 9, 1904.
School Regulations.-The rules of this college [at College City in northern California] strictly guard the association of young men and young women during the school term. It is only when these rules are temporarily suspended, as is sometimes the case, that gentlemen are permitted to accompany ladies to and from public gatherings.
Our own college at Battle Creek has similar regulations, though not so stringent. Such rules are indispensable to guard the youth from the danger of premature courtship and unwise marriage. Young people are sent to school by their parents to obtain an education, not to flirt with the opposite sex. The good of society, as well as the highest interest of the students, demands that they shall not attempt to select a life partner while their own character is yet undeveloped, their judgment immature, and while they are at the same time deprived of parental care and guidance.-The Signs of the Times, March 2, 1882. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 62.)
Factors of Age, Conditions, and Turn of Mind.-In all our dealings with students, age and character must be taken into account. We cannot treat the young and the old just alike. There are circumstances under which men and women of sound experience and good standing may be granted some privileges not given to the younger students. The age, the conditions, and the turn of mind must be taken into consideration. We must be wisely considerate in all our work. But we must not lessen our firmness and vigilance in dealing with students of all ages or our strictness in forbidding the unprofitable and unwise association of young and immature students.-Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 101 (1913).
Perils of Infatuation.-Some of those who attend the college do not properly improve their time. Full of the buoyancy of youth, they spurn the restraint that is brought to bear upon them. Especially do they rebel against the rules that will not allow young gentlemen to pay their attentions to young ladies. Full well is known the evil of such a course in this degenerate age.
In a college where so many youth are associated, imitating the customs of the world in this respect would turn the thoughts in a channel that would hinder them in their pursuit of knowledge and in their interest in religious things. The infatuation on the part of both young men and women in thus placing the affections upon each other during school days shows a lack of good judgment. As in your own case, blind impulse controls reason and judgment. Under this bewitching delusion the momentous responsibility felt by every sincere Christian is laid aside, spirituality dies, and the judgment and eternity lose their awful significance.-Testimonies for the Church 5:110 (1882).
When Human Loves Come First.-With many, the love for the human eclipses the love for the divine. They take the first step in backsliding by venturing to disregard the Lord's express command; and complete apostasy is too often the result. It has ever proved a dangerous thing for men to carry out their own will in opposition to the requirements of God. Yet it is a hard lesson for men to learn that God means what He says. As a rule, those who choose for their friends and companions, persons who reject Christ and trample upon God's law eventually become of the same mind and spirit.-The Signs of the Times, May 19, 1881. (Sons and Daughters of God, 165.)
Mixed Marriages.-If you, my brother, are allured to unite your life interest with a young, inexperienced girl, who is really deficient in education in the common, practical, daily duties of life, you make a mistake; but this deficiency is small compared with her ignorance in regard to her duty to God. She has not been destitute of light; she has had religious privileges, and yet she has not felt her wretched sinfulness without Christ. If, in your infatuation, you can repeatedly turn from the prayer meeting-where God meets with His people-in order to enjoy the society of one who has no love for God and who sees no attractions in the religious life, how can you expect God to prosper such a union?-Testimonies for the Church 3:44 (1872).
Marriage of Christians With Unbelievers.-There is in the Christian world an astonishing, alarming indifference to the teaching of God's Word in regard to the marriage of Christians with unbelievers. Many who profess to love and fear God choose to follow the bent of their own minds rather than take counsel of Infinite Wisdom. In a matter which vitally concerns the happiness and well-being of both parties for this world and the next, reason, judgment, and the fear of God are set aside, and blind impulse, stubborn determination, is allowed to control.
Men and women who are otherwise sensible and conscientious close their ears to counsel; they are deaf to the appeals and entreaties of friends and kindred and of the servants of God. The expression of a caution or warning is regarded as impertinent meddling, and the friend who is faithful enough to utter a remonstrance is treated as an enemy. All this is as Satan would have it. He weaves his spell about the soul, and it becomes bewitched, infatuated. Reason lets fall the reins of self-control upon the neck of lust; unsanctified passion bears sway, until, too late, the victim awakens to a life of misery and bondage. This is not a picture drawn by the imagination but a recital of facts. God's sanction is not given to unions which He has expressly forbidden.-Testimonies for the Church 5:365, 366 (1885).
Definition of an Unbeliever.-Though the companion of your choice were in all other respects worthy (which he is not), yet he has not accepted the truth for this time; he is an unbeliever, and you are forbidden of Heaven to unite yourself with him. You cannot, without peril to your soul, disregard this divine injunction.-Testimonies for the Church 5:364 (1885).
The Forbidden Ground of Unholy Fancies (counsel to a minister).-You have been represented to me as being in great peril. Satan is on your track, and at times he has whispered to you pleasing fables and has shown you charming pictures of one whom he represents as a more suitable companion for you than the wife of your youth, the mother of your children.
Satan is working stealthily, untiringly, to effect your downfall through his specious temptations. He is determined to become your teacher, and you need now to place yourself where you can get strength to resist him. He hopes to lead you into the mazes of spiritualism. He hopes to wean your affections from your wife and to fix them upon another woman. He desires that you will allow your mind to dwell upon this woman until through unholy affection she becomes your god.
The enemy of souls has gained much when he can lead the imagination of one of Jehovah's chosen watchmen to dwell upon the possibilities of association, in the world to come, with some woman whom he loves, and of there raising up a family. We need no such pleasing pictures. All such views originate in the mind of the tempter....
It is presented to me that spiritual fables are taking many captive. Their minds are sensual, and unless a change comes, this will prove their ruin. To all who are indulging these unholy fancies, I would say, Stop; for Christ's sake, stop right where you are. You are on forbidden ground. Repent, I entreat of you, and be converted.-Lt 231, 1903. (.)
Free Love.-I have seen the results of these fanciful [spiritualistic and pantheistic] views of God, in apostasy, spiritualism, and free-lovism. The free-love tendency of these teachings was so concealed that at first it was difficult to make plain its real character. Until the Lord presented it to me, I knew not what to call it, but I was instructed to call it unholy spiritual love.-Testimonies for the Church 8:292 (1904).
Love Is Not Sentimentalism.-The love and sympathy which Jesus would have us give to others does not savor of sentimentalism, which is a snare to the soul; it is a love that is of heavenly extraction, which Jesus exemplifies by both precept and example. But instead of manifesting this love, how often we are alienated and estranged one from another.... The result is estrangement from God, a dwarfed experience, a blighting of Christian growth.-The Youth's Instructor, October 20, 1892. (Sons and Daughters of God, 147.)
Counterfeit Identified.-We are admonished by the apostle: "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another" (Romans 12:9, 10). Paul would have us distinguish between the pure, unselfish love which is prompted by the spirit of Christ, and the unmeaning, deceitful pretense with which the world abounds.
This base counterfeit has misled many souls. It would blot out the distinction between right and wrong, by agreeing with the transgressor instead of faithfully showing him his errors. Such a course never springs from real friendship. The spirit by which it is prompted dwells only in the carnal heart. While the Christian will be ever kind, compassionate, and forgiving, he can feel no harmony with sin. He will abhor evil and cling to that which is good, at the sacrifice of association or friendship with the ungodly. The spirit of Christ will lead us to hate sin, while we are willing to make any sacrifice to save the sinner.-Testimonies for the Church 5:171 (1882).
Selecting a Companion.-Let a young woman accept as a life companion only one who possesses pure, manly traits of character, one who is diligent, aspiring, and honest, one who loves and fears God. Let a young man seek one to stand by his side who is fitted to bear her share of life's burdens, one whose influence will ennoble and refine him and who will make him happy in her love.-The Ministry of Healing, 359 (1905).