"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world," says the inspired apostle. Then he adds the warning: "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." It is an alarming fact that the love of the world predominates in the minds of the young. They decidedly love the world and the things that are in the world, and for this very reason the love of God finds no room in their hearts. They find their pleasures in the world and in the things of the world, and are strangers to the Father and the graces of His Spirit. God is dishonored by the frivolity and fashion, and empty, vain talking and laughing that characterize the life of the youth generally. Paul exhorts the youth to sobriety: "Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded. In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you."
I entreat the youth for their souls' sake to heed the exhortation of the inspired apostle. All these gracious instructions, warnings, and reproofs will be either a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. Many of the young are reckless in their conversation. They choose to forget that by their words they are to be justified or condemned. All should take heed to the words of our Saviour: "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." How little regard is paid even to the instructions of the heavenly Teacher. Many either do not study the word of God or do not heed its solemn truths, and these plain truths will rise up in judgment and condemn them.
Words and acts testify plainly what is in the heart. If vanity and pride, love of self and love of dress, fill the heart, the conversation will be upon the fashions, the dress, and the appearance, but not on Christ or the kingdom of heaven. If envious feelings dwell in the heart, they will be manifested in words and acts. Those who measure themselves by others, do as others do, and make no higher attainments, excusing themselves because of the faults and wrongs of others, are feeding on husks and will remain spiritual dwarfs as long as they gratify Satan by thus indulging their own unconsecrated feelings. Some dwell upon what they shall eat and drink, and wherewithal they shall be clothed. These thoughts flow out from the abundance of the heart, as though temporal things were the grand aim in life, the highest attainment. These persons forget the words of Christ: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
The youth have their hearts filled with the love of self. This is manifested in their desire to see their faces daguerreotyped by the artist; and they are not satisfied with being once represented, but sit again and again for their picture, each time hoping that the last will excel all their previous efforts and appear really more beautiful than the original. Their Lord's money is squandered in this way, and what is gained? Merely their poor shadow upon paper. The hours that should have been devoted to prayer are occupied upon their own poor selves; precious hours of probation are thus wasted.
Satan is gratified to have the attention of youth attracted by anything to divert their minds from God so that the deceiver can steal a march upon them and they, unprepared for his attacks, be ensnared. They are not aware that the great heavenly Artist is taking cognizance of every act, every word, and that their deportment, and even the thoughts and intents of the heart, stand faithfully delineated. Every defect in their moral character stands revealed to the gaze of angels, and they will have the faithful picture presented to them in all its deformity at the execution of the judgment. Those vain, frivolous words are all written in the book. Those false words are written. Those deceptive acts, whose motives were concealed from human eyes, but discerned by the all-seeing eye of Jehovah, are all written in living characters. Every selfish act is exposed.
The young generally conduct themselves as though the precious hours of probation, while mercy lingers, were one grand holiday, and they were placed in this world merely for their own amusement, to be gratified with a continued round of excitement. Satan has been making special efforts to lead them to find happiness in worldly amusements and to justify themselves by endeavoring to show that these amusements are harmless, innocent, and even important for health. The impression has been given by some physicians that spirituality and devotion to God are detrimental to health. This suits the adversary of souls. There are persons with diseased imaginations who do not rightly represent the religion of Christ; such have not the pure religion of the Bible. Some are scourging themselves all through life because of their sins; all they can see is an offended God of justice. Christ and His redeeming power through the merits of His blood they fail to see. Such have not faith. This class are generally those who have not well-balanced minds. Through disease transmitted to them from their parents, and an erroneous education in youth, they have contracted wrong habits which injure the constitution and the brain, causing the moral organs to become diseased and making it impossible for them to think and act rationally upon all points. They have not well-balanced minds. Godliness and righteousness are not destructive to health, but are health to the body and strength to the soul. Says Peter: "He that will love life, and see good days, ...let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it: for the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." "But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled."
The consciousness of rightdoing is the best medicine for diseased bodies and minds. The special blessing of God resting upon the receiver is health and strength. A person whose mind is quiet and satisfied in God is in the pathway to health. To have a consciousness that the eyes of the Lord are upon us and His ears open to our prayers is a satisfaction indeed. To know that we have a never-failing Friend in whom we can confide all the secrets of the soul is a privilege which words can never express. Those whose moral faculties are beclouded by disease are not the ones to rightly represent the Christian life or the beauties of holiness. They are too often in the fire of fanaticism or the water of cold indifference or stolid gloom. The words of Christ are of more worth than the opinions of all the physicians in the universe: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." This is the first great object--the kingdom of heaven, the righteousness of Christ. Other objects to be attained should be secondary to these.
Satan will present the path of holiness as difficult while the paths of worldly pleasure are strewed with flowers. In false and flattering colors will the tempter array the world with its pleasures before you. Vanity is one of the strongest traits of our depraved natures, and he knows that he can appeal to it successfully. He will flatter you through his agents. You may receive praise which will gratify your vanity and foster in you pride and self-esteem, and you may think that with such advantages and attractions it really is a great pity for you to come out from the world and be separate, and become a Christian, to forsake your companions, and be alike dead to their praise or censure. Satan tells you that with the advantages which you possess you could to a high degree enjoy the pleasures of the world. But consider that the pleasures of earth will have an end, and that which you sow you must also reap. Are personal attractions, ability, or talents too valuable to devote to God, the Author of your being, He who watches over you every moment? Are your qualifications too precious to devote to God? Testimonies to the Church, Volume 1 Pg. 495-513
ONLY THROUGH CHRIST!