Jesus Did Not Enforce Celibacy. --Those who regard the marriage relation as
one of God's sacred ordinances, guarded by His holy precept, will be controlled
by the dictates of reason.
Jesus did not enforce celibacy upon any class of men. He came not to destroy
the sacred relationship of marriage, but to exalt it and restore it to its
original sanctity. He looks with pleasure upon the family relationship where
sacred and unselfish love bears sway.
Marriage Is Lawful and Holy. --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. . . .
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.
The marriage relation is holy, but in this degenerate age it covers vileness
of every description. It is abused and has become a crime which now constitutes
one of the signs of the last days, even as marriages, managed as they were previous to
the Flood, were then a crime. . . . When the sacred nature and the claims of
marriage are understood, it will even now be approved of Heaven; and the result
will be happiness to both parties, and God will be glorified.
The Privileges of the Marriage Relation. --Those professing to be Christians
. . . should duly consider the result of every privilege[* NOTE: ON ANOTHER
OCCASION MRS. WHITE SPEAKS OF THE "PRIVACY AND PRIVILEGES OF THE FAMILY
RELATION." SEE TESTIMONIES, VOL. 2, P. 90.-- COMPILERS .] of the marriage
relation, and sanctified principle should be the basis of every action.
In very many cases the parents . . . have abused their marriage privileges,
and by indulgence have strengthened their animal passions.
Duty to Avoid Excesses. --It is carrying that which is lawful to excess that
makes it a grievous sin.
Many parents do not obtain the knowledge that they should in the married
life. They are not guarded lest Satan take advantage of them and control their
minds and their lives. They do not see that God requires them to control their
married lives from any excesses. But very few feel it to be a religious duty to
govern their passions. They have united themselves in marriage to the object of
their choice and, therefore, reason that marriage sanctifies the indulgence of
the baser passions. Even men and women professing godliness give loose rein to
their lustful passions and have no thought that God holds them accountable for
the expenditure of vital energy, which weakens their hold on life and enervates
the entire system.
Let Self-denial and Temperance Be the Watchword. --Oh, that I could make all
understand their obligation to God to preserve the mental and physical organism
in the best condition to render perfect service to their Maker! Let the
Christian wife refrain, both in word and act, from exciting the animal passions
of her husband. Many have no strength at all to waste in this direction. From
their youth up they have weakened the brain and sapped the constitution by the
gratification of animal passions. Self-denial and temperance should be the
watchword in their married life.
We are under solemn obligations to God to keep the spirit pure and the body
healthy, that we may be a benefit to humanity and render to God perfect service.
The apostle utters these words of warning: "Let not sin therefore reign in
your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof." He urges us
onward by telling us that "every man that striveth for the mastery is
temperate in all things." He exhorts all who call themselves Christians to
present their bodies "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God."
He says: "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by
any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
It is not pure love which actuates a man to make his wife an instrument to
minister to his lust. It is the animal passions which clamour for indulgence.
How few men show their love in the manner specified by the apostle: "Even
as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might [not
pollute it, but] sanctify and cleanse it; . . . that it should be holy and
without blemish." This is the quality of love in the marriage relation
which God recognizes as holy. Love is a pure and holy principle, but lustful
passion will not admit of restraint and will not be dictated to or controlled by reason. It is blind to
consequences; it will not reason from cause to effect.
Why Satan Seeks to Weaken Self-control. --Satan seeks to lower the standard
of purity and to weaken the self-control of those who enter the marriage
relation, because he knows that while the baser passions are in the ascendancy,
the moral powers grow steadily weaker, and he need have no concern as to their
spiritual growth. He knows, too, that in no way can he better stamp his own
hateful image upon their offspring, and that he can thus mould their character
even more readily than he can the character of the parents.
Results of Excesses. --Men and women, you will one day learn what is lust and
the result of its gratification. Passion of just as base a quality may be found
in the marriage relation as outside of it.
What is the result of giving loose rein to the lower passions? . . . The
bedchamber, where angels of God should preside, is made unholy by unholy
practices. And because shameful animalism rules, bodies are corrupted; loathsome
practices lead to loathsome diseases. That which God has given as a blessing is
made a curse.
Sexual excess will effectually destroy a love for devotional exercises, will
take from the brain the substance needed to nourish the system, and will most
effectively exhaust the vitality. No woman should aid her husband in this work
of self-destruction. She will not do it if she is enlightened and has true love
The more the animal passions are indulged, the stronger do they become, and
the more violent will be their clamours for indulgence. Let God-fearing men and women awake to their
duty. Many professed Christians are suffering with paralysis of nerve and brain
because of their intemperance in this direction.
Husbands to Be Considerate. --Husbands should be careful, attentive,
constant, faithful, and compassionate. They should manifest love and sympathy.
If they fulfill the words of Christ, their love will not be of a base, earthly,
sensual character that will lead to the destruction of their own bodies and
bring upon their wives debility and disease. They will not indulge in the
gratification of base passions, while ringing in the ears of their wives that
they must be subject to the husband in everything. When the husband has the
nobility of character, purity of heart, elevation of mind that every true
Christian must possess, it will be made manifest in the marriage relation. If he
has the mind of Christ, he will not be a destroyer of the body, but will be full
of tender love, seeking to reach the highest standard in Christ.
When Doubts Creep In. --No man can truly love his wife when she will
patiently submit to become his slave and minister to his depraved passions. In
her passive submission she loses the value she once possessed in his eyes. He
sees her dragged down from everything elevating to a low level, and soon he
suspects that she will as tamely submit to be degraded by another as by himself.
He doubts her constancy and purity, tires of her, and seeks new objects to
arouse and intensify his hellish passions. The law of God is not regarded. These
men are worse than brutes; they are demons in human form. They are unacquainted
with the elevating, ennobling principles of true, sanctified love.
The wife also becomes jealous of the husband and suspects that if opportunity
should offer, he would just as readily pay his addresses to another as to her.
She sees that he is not controlled by conscience or the fear of God; all these
sanctified barriers are broken down by lustful passions; all that is Godlike in
the husband is made the servant of low, brutish lust.
The Problem of Unreasonable Demands. --The matter now to be settled is: Shall
the wife feel bound to yield implicitly to the demands of her husband when she
sees that nothing but base passions control him, and when her reason and
judgement are convinced that she does it to the injury of her body, which God
has enjoined upon her to possess in sanctification and honour, to preserve as a
living sacrifice to God?
It is not pure, holy love which leads the wife to gratify the animal
propensities of her husband at the expense of health and life. If she possesses
true love and wisdom, she will seek to divert his mind from the gratification of
lustful passions to high and spiritual themes by dwelling upon interesting
spiritual subjects. It may be necessary to humbly and affectionately urge, even
at the risk of his displeasure, that she cannot debase her body by yielding to
sexual excess. She should, in a tender, kind manner, remind him that God has the
first and highest claim upon her entire being, and that she cannot disregard
this claim, for she will be held accountable in the great day of God.
If she will elevate her affections, and in sanctification and honour preserve
her refined, womanly dignity, woman can do much by her judicious influence to
sanctify her husband, and thus fulfill her high mission. In so doing she can
save both her husband and herself, thus performing a double work. In this matter, so delicate and so difficult to manage, much
wisdom and patience are necessary, as well as moral courage and fortitude.
Strength and grace can be found in prayer. Sincere love is to be the ruling
principle of the heart. Love to God and love to the husband can alone be the
right ground of action. . . .
When the wife yields her body and mind to the control of her husband, being
passive to his will in all things, sacrificing her conscience, her dignity, and
even her identity, she loses the opportunity of exerting that mighty influence
for good which she should possess to elevate her husband. She could soften his
stern nature, and her sanctifying influence could be exerted in a manner to
refine and purity, leading him to strive earnestly to govern his passions and be
more spiritually minded, that they might be partakers together of the divine
nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. The
power of influence can be great to lead the mind to high and noble themes, above
the low, sensual indulgences for which the heart unrenewed by grace naturally
seeks. If the wife feels that in order to please her husband she must come down
to his standard, when animal passion is the principal basis of his love and
controls his actions, she displeases God; for she fails to exert a sanctifying
influence upon her husband. If she feels that she must submit to his animal
passions without a word of remonstrance, she does not understand her duty to him
or to her God.
Our Bodies a Purchased Possession. --The lower passions have their seat in
the body and work through it. The words "flesh" or "fleshly"
or "carnal lusts" embrace the lower, corrupt nature; the flesh of
itself cannot act contrary to the will of God. We are commanded to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. How shall we do it? Shall
we inflict pain on the body? No; but put to death the temptation to sin. The
corrupt thought is to be expelled. Every thought is to be brought into captivity
to Jesus Christ. All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher
powers of the soul. The love of God must reign supreme; Christ must occupy an
undivided throne. Our bodies are to be regarded as His purchased possession. The
members of the body are to become the instruments of righteousness.