The Natural Heart Seeks Pleasure. --The natural mind leans toward pleasure
and self-gratification. It is Satan's policy to manufacture an abundance of
this. He seeks to fill the minds of men with a desire for worldly amusement,
that they may have no time to ask themselves the question, How is it with my
soul? The love of pleasure is infectious. Given up to this, the mind hurries
from one point to another, ever seeking for some amusement.
Worldly pleasures are infatuating; and for their momentary enjoyment many
sacrifice the friendship of Heaven, with the peace, love, and joy that it
affords. But these chosen objects of delight soon become disgusting,
Millions Flock to Places of Amusement. --In this age of the world there is an
unprecedented rage for pleasure. Dissipation and reckless extravagance
everywhere prevail. The multitudes are eager for amusement. The mind becomes
trifling and frivolous because it is not accustomed to meditation or disciplined
to study. Ignorant sentimentalism is current. God requires that every soul shall
be cultivated, refined, elevated, and ennobled. But too often every valuable
attainment is neglected for fashionable display and superficial pleasure.
The exciting amusements of our time keep the minds of men and women, but more
especially the youth, in a fever of excitement, which is telling upon their
stock of vitality in a far greater degree than all their studies and physical
labours, and have a tendency to dwarf the intellect and corrupt the morals.
The youth are swept away by the popular current. Those who learn to love
amusement for its own sake open the door to a flood of temptations. They give
themselves up to social gaiety and thoughtless mirth. They are led on from one
form of dissipation to another, until they lose both the desire and the capacity
for a life of usefulness. Their religious aspirations are chilled; their
spiritual life is darkened. All the nobler faculties of the soul, all that link
man with the spiritual world, are debased.
Among Pleasure Lovers Are Many Church Members. --Many are eagerly
participating in worldly, demoralizing amusements which God's word forbids. Thus
they sever their connection with God and rank themselves with the pleasure
lovers of the world. The sins that destroyed the antediluvians and the cities of
the plain exist today--not merely in heathen lands, not only among popular
professors of Christianity, but with some who profess to be looking for the
coming of the Son of man. If God should present these sins before you as they
appear in His sight, you would be filled with shame and terror.
The desire for excitement and pleasing entertainment is a temptation and a
snare to God's people and especially to the young. Satan is constantly preparing
inducements to attract minds from the solemn work of preparation for scenes just
in the future. Through the agency of worldlings he keeps up a continual
excitement to induce the unwary to join in worldly pleasures. There are shows,
lectures, and an endless variety of entertainments that are calculated to lead
to a love of the world; and through this union with the world, faith is
Satan, a Skilful Charmer. --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
endeavouring to show that these amusements are harmless, innocent, and even
important for health.
He [Satan] presents the path of holiness as difficult, while the paths of
worldly pleasure are strewn with flowers. In false and flattering colours he
arrays the world with its pleasures before the youth. But the pleasures of earth
will soon come to an end, and that which is sown must also be reaped.
He is in every sense of the word a deceiver, a skilful charmer. He has many
finely woven nets, which appear innocent, but which are skilfully prepared to
entangle the young and unwary.
Education Is Dwarfed by the Love of Pleasure. -- Parents make a mistake in
rushing their children into society at an early age, fearing that they will not
know anything unless they attend parties and mingle with those who are lovers of
pleasure. Even while they are at school, they allow their children to attend
parties and mingle in society. This is a great mistake. In this way children
learn evil much faster than they do the sciences, and their minds are filled
with useless things, while their passion for amusement is developed to such an
extent that it is impossible for them to obtain a knowledge of even the common
branches of education. Their attention is divided between education and a love
of pleasure, and as the love of pleasure predominates, their intellectual advancement is slow.
Like Israel of old, the pleasure lovers eat and drink and rise up to play.
There is mirth and carousing, hilarity and glee. In all this the youth follow
the example of the authors of the books placed in their hands for study. The
greatest evil of it all is the permanent effect that these things have upon the
God's Last Message Regarded With Indifference. -- As the time of their
probation was closing, the antediluvians gave themselves up to exciting
amusements and festivities. Those who possessed influence and power were bent on
keeping the minds of the people engrossed with mirth and pleasure, lest any
should be impressed by the last solemn warning. Do we not see the same repeated
in our day? While God's servants are giving the message that the end of all
things is at hand, the world is absorbed in amusements and pleasure seeking.
There is a constant round of excitement that causes indifference to God and
prevents the people from being impressed by the truths which alone can save them
from the coming destruction.
Sabbathkeepers Will Be Tested and Proved. -- Young Sabbathkeepers who have
yielded to the influence of the world will have to be tested and proved. The
perils of the last days are upon us, and a trial is before the young which many
have not anticipated. They will be brought into distressing perplexity, and the
genuineness of their faith will be proved. They profess to be looking for the
Son of man, yet some of them have been a miserable example to unbelievers. They
have not been willing to give up the world, but have united with the world in attending picnics[* NOTE: THE SIMPLE OUTDOOR GATHERING OF FAMILIES OR CHURCH
MEMBERS IS NOT REFERRED TO HERE, BUT THAT IN WHICH CHURCH MEMBERS "UNITED
WITH THE WORLD" IN A CARNIVAL TYPE OF COMMUNITY GATHERING QUITE COMMON
THEN.] and other gatherings for pleasure, flattering themselves that they were
engaging in innocent amusement. Yet it is just such indulgences that separate
them from God and make them children of the world. . . .
God does not own the pleasure seeker as His follower. Those only who are
self-denying and who live lives of sobriety, humility, and holiness are true
followers of Jesus. And such cannot enjoy the frivolous, empty conversation of
the lover of the world.
The All-Important Consideration. --Let none begin to believe that amusements
are essential and that a careless disregard of the Holy Spirit during hours of
selfish pleasure is to be looked upon as a light matter. God will not be mocked.
Let every young man, every young woman, consider: "Am I prepared today for
my life to close? Have I the heart preparation that fits me to do the work which
the Lord has given me to do?"