|2MR 235||Christmas Program|
|2MR 244||Literary Societies|
|2MR 246||Work for an Actor or Actress|
|AH 515||Satan Uses —|
|RH 11-06-83||EGW sat by Actress on Train|
|Ev 127||Leaders should forbid — in SDA Work|
|GC 463||Church —|
|RH 01-04-81||History of — in SDA church. Story of a Soul Lost.|
|9T 142||Evangelism in Cities|
|BE.ST 10-15-94||Satan uses Advertisements of —|
|11MR 334||New SDA Accompanied Daughters to —|
|AH 401||— Confuses our Youth|
|AH 516||— Most Dangerous Resort|
|CH 240||— in Sanitarium. Desire of Guests.|
|CH 481||Not in Evangelism|
|CS 134||Satan uses — to Waste our Money|
|CS 202||Church — Wreck Character|
|CSW 153||Don’t use — in Sabbath School|
|Ev 66||No Lasting Good From —|
|Ev 137||Success not from Expensive Preparations — These Dishonor God|
|Ev 136||Success not from Display|
|Ev 139||Christ’s Simplicity, not —|
|Ev 207||Ministers Should not use Anecdotes or —|
|Ev 396||Stay as far from — and the Extraordinary as Possible|
|Ev 501||Avoid Even Semblance of —|
|Ev 508||Worldly Singers and — Don’t use in Evangelism|
|Ev 640||Ministry Needs Reformation; no Shouting, Jumping, Etc.|
|Ev 644||— Gestures, Trifling, etc. Should not be Used|
|FE 229||Christ, our Example, did not Use —|
|GW 132||— is Below Dignity of a Minister of God|
|Te 240||In Temperance Meetings, — Shows Lack of Real Respect|
|TDG 359||— Weakens Impression of the Word|
|RH 02-20-66||Peer Pressure Regarding — Leads to Lost Youth|
|RH 02-14-07||Neither — or Sharp Thrusts in Evangelism|
|ST 01-26-82||— by Church Leads to Base Idolatry|
|ST 04-19-83||Danger for Youth|
|ST 10-13-90||Careless, Clownish manner, in Home and out. Dishonors God|
|PH100 68||Health Institutions. Loss of Spiritual Integrity.|
|9MR 387||Training of Members Hindered by —, — Causes Loss of Realization of Christ’s Presence|
|MR926 96||Fanny Bolton used — Style During Apostasy|
|RH 02-28-82||True Christian will not Desire|
|Ev 644||Mixing Comical and Religious|
|Te 252||— Hardens Men to God’s Entreaties and Warnings|
|RH 08-05-02||Frequenting — causes Materialism|
|ST 05-18-82||Satan is Lead Actor|
|ST 06-21-05||Christian has no Need or Desire for —|
|21MR 243||Minister Claiming “Youth Must Have Pleasure.”|
|Ed 233||Ministers Should Speak with Enthusiasm, Actors Do|
|2MR 235||Christmas program involving EGW’s granddaughter (6 years old) and according to A .L. White, dramatized in some way. Says “part acted by the children was good.” Appeals for more solid spiritual talk with less cost in “time and labour” while commending the “lighthouse.” “I must say I was pained at these things, so out of order with the very work of reformation we were trying to carry forward in the church and with our institutions that I should have felt better if I had not been present.” Mentions theatrical singing as a significant negative in the program. “Will it make those who acted their part in it more spiritual-minded?” Challenges Br. Morse to redirect the energy put into the program into soul saving.|
|2MR 244||Literary societies may be rightly motivated, but unless vigilantly guarded it “will be a decided failure in its exerting a saving influence.” If men of “short religious” experience are given prominent positions their influence will be controlling. “If youth, and men and women of mature age, should organize a society where Bible reading and Bible study should be made the prominent theme, dwelling upon and searching out the prophecies, and studying the lessons of Christ, there would be strength in the society.” Literary societies “and lyceums” are “almost universally” an injury to the youth. Cheap entertainments replace that which would be spiritually elevating. They lead away from solemn reflection and make “fervent prayer” less desirable. “If your lyceums and literary societies would be made an opportunity for searching the Bible, it would be far more an intellectual society than it can ever become through the attention being turned to theatrical performances.”|
|2MR 246||The Lord Jesus is ashamed when we use talents to make a display or to create a sensation. “Can you glorify God by being educated to represent characters in plays, and to amuse an audience with fables? Has not the Lord given you intellect to be used to His name’s glory in proclaiming the gospel of Christ? If you desire a public career, there is a work that you may do. Help the class you represent in plays- Come to the reality.” “Satan’s ruling passion is to pervert the intellect and cause men to long for shows and theatrical performances.” There was “no falsity, no acting” in Christ’s ministry.|
|AH 515||“Through the drama he has worked for ages to excite passion and glorify vice.” The opera is employed by Satan, as well as every gathering for pleasure, to lead men to forget God.|
|RH 11-06-83||EGW sat by an actress in train car. “I thirst not for the applause of the idle and pleasure-loving multitudes that seek the unnatural excitement of the drama. The theater is a poor place of resort for the strengthening of virtuous principles. Rather, its influence is highly injurious to both health and morals.” The only safe “amusements” are those that do not banish God from the thoughts, where we can take Jesus with us,|
|Ev 127||“ ‘I have a message for those in charge of our work. Do not encourage the men who are to engage in this work to think that they must proclaim the solemn, sacred message in a theatrical style. Not one jot or tittle of anything theatrical is to be brought into our work.” God’s work should bear the divine impress. “Let nothing of a theatrical nature be permitted, for this would spoil the sacredness of the work.” “In my very first labors, the message was given that all theatrical performances in connection with the preaching of present truth were to be discouraged and forbidden.” No sanction can be given to men whose ministries even “savored of the theatrical.” They should “have no place in the proclamation of the solemn messages entrusted to us.” Satan degrades the truth through “undignified demonstrations.”|
|GC 463||“. . . church theatricals, church fairs, fine houses, personal display, have banished thoughts of God”|
|RH 01-04-81||“It is often asked. Are literary societies a benefit to our youth?” We must improve our minds without moral and spiritual injury. What is the effect of literary societies as they are generally conducted?” “As the question was first stated, it would appear very narrow-minded to answer in the negative; but in every case where a literary society has been established among our people, its influence has proved to be unfavorable to religious life, and has led to backsliding from God.” They tried at Battle Creek, always with the same result. Usually unconsecrated and irreligious youth are admitted and given responsibilities. Satan out-generals the rules using those under his control. The mixing “ of the God-fearing with the unbelieving in these societies does not make saints of sinners. For a short time, there may be nothing seriously objectionable,” but the unrellish of some for “sober, sensible, and ennobling themes,” leads to the “superficial and unreal” taking prominence. Unless controlled by God’s wisdom, these societies will “become a positive evil.” “Various entertainments are introduced to make the meetings interesting and attractive for worldlings, and thus the exercises of the so-called literary society too often degenerate into demoralizing theatrical performances, and cheap non-sense.” The “spiritual element is ruled out by the irreligious, and the effort to harmonize principles which are antagonistic in their nature proves a decided failure.” The societies become “theaters on a cheap scale, and they create in the youth a taste for the stage. EGW here quotes a true story about a young lady that developed such a passion for acting from her days of dressing as an angel in church when young, and doing plays for charity when a little older, that she eventually said “I don’t want [Jesus to help me]. I believe if I knew I should die and be lost in three weeks from tonight, I would rather be lost than give up my passion.” It had been the study of EGW and others to establish a beneficial literary society with adults of “discretion and good judgment, who have a living connection with Heaven.” “But when such gatherings degenerate into occasions for fun and boisterous mirth, they are anything but literary or elevating. They are debasing to both mind and morals.” “Bible reading, the critical examination of Bible subjects, essays written upon topics which would improve the mind and impart knowledge, the study of the prophecies or the precious lessons of Christ,—these will have an influence to strengthen the mental powers and increase spirituality.” There is much here on the value and necessity of a “familiar acquaintance with the Scriptures. “Says the psalmist, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” But this is not the case when it is left unopened and unread.” Then follows a number of paragraphs on controlling our thoughts. “Pleasure-seeking, frivolity, and mental and moral dissipation, are flooding the world with their demoralizing influence. Every Christian should labor to press back the tide of evil, and save our youth from the influences that would sweep them down to ruin. May God help us to press our way against the current!”|
|9T 142||“The work in the large cities is to be done after Christ’s order, not after the order of a theatrical performance. It is not a theatrical performance that glorifies God, but the presentation of the truth in the love of Christ.”|
|BE.ST 10-15-94||Satan uses advertising of novels and theater to arouse passion and to create a familiarity with sin.|
|11MR 334||EGW talked to a lady that accompanied her daughters to the theater: 2 Cor. 6:17. Be separate. You did well to accept unpopular truth. “But now comes your danger. As a mother you have not felt your responsibility to so educate and train your children” for practical life. In this you have been a decided failure. You have been tempted through your children and have not maintained your surrender to Christ. You must follow Christ, but “in not decidedly taking your stand to give no sanction by your presence to the theatrical performance of your children, you have encouraged them in” their choice of the use they have made of their talents.” Those capabilities should “win souls away from everything that pertains to this class of fascinating amusement that absorbs the mind and draws it away from God and from heavenly things.” “The deceptive temptation that they can be a blessing to the world while serving as actresses is a delusion and a snare, not only to themselves, but to your own soul.” “Can the Lord Jesus Christ accept these theatrical exhibitions as service done for Him? Can He be glorified thereby? No. All this kind of work is done in the service of another leader.” Your family cannot understand as you do the reasons that lead “away from all such pursuits.” While divided in heart you are not free. Consider that “your influence in accompanying your daughters to the theater is decidedly against Christ.” Apply Matt. 10:37. Every power of Christians should be bent to “rescue the souls deceived and infatuated with Just such service as your daughters have entered upon—to amuse and delight the senses and endeavor to supply a necessity in which Christ has no part.” Your daughters should be working for Christ. Jesus died for them. “There is an abundance of theatrical performances in our world, but in its highest order it is without God. We need now to point souls to the uplifted Saviour.” “All who win eternal life will arm themselves for the conflict against every influence that would obstruct the way. They must bring their minds up to noble and elevated thoughts.” God does not disparage education, but it must be in harmony with our faith. You are not happy, for “to you the voice of your children is above the voice of Jesus Christ, and in not taking your stand firmly you are being led away from God.” You make yourself one with them by ” becoming their escort.” Thus you endorse “the ambitious enterprise that is perverting their talents.” “The food you thus give to your soul, in seeing and hearing,” is destroying your relish for the bread of heaven “Read the sixth chapter of John. You are choosing whom you will serve. If you keep before your eyes and in your ears the transactions of the theater, you will find in your heart no soul hunger for God. It is a question of life or death with you. The Lord has appointed means whereby you may gain spiritual strength and comfort. But if you close the door of your heart to the rays of light from the throne of God and give your mind to the performances of the stage, you can have no peace, no joy, no hope. Gradually you have been losing the spirit of assurance. Your love for Bible religion is dying out. You cannot serve God with a divided heart.” To your daughters I say “All the praise and glory you receive from human beings is of no value. Repent” and follow Christ who gave his life.|
|AH 401||Satan sets “ in operation games and theatrical performances that will so confuse the senses of the young that” they will perish while “light shines all about them.”|
|AH 516||The theater is one of “the most dangerous resorts for pleasure,” a ” very hotbed of immorality.” By “these entertainments” (Low songs, lewd gestures, etc.) morals are debased. “Every youth who habitually attends such exhibitions will be corrupted in principle.” “There is no influence.. ,more powerful to poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and to blunt the relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life than theatrical amusements.” They are addictive like intoxicating drink.” “The only safe course is to shun the theater, the circus, and every other questionable place of amusement.|
|CH 240||Leaders at the sanitarium should not weaken its influence and bring it down to a common level. “Worldly or theatrical entertainments are not essential” for prosperity of patients. “The more they have of this kind of amusements, the less will they be pleased unless something of the kind shall be continually carried on.” The mind wants, but shouldn’t have, things new and exciting. If allowed once, these amusements will destroy relish for simpler arrangements and repose. Their introduction removes “the objections to theatergoing in many minds. “The plea that moral and high-toned scenes are to be acted at the theater breaks down the last barrier.” Those that would allow these things need God’s wisdom. When “there has been a departure from the right path, it is difficult to return,” and “will lead to separation from God and may end in apostasy.” It takes less time to corrupt ourselves than to form righteous characters. Conclude now that you will never satisfy those seeking “something new and exciting.” They will not be cured by that which has cursed their lives. Give them living water rather than “frivolous, sensual, exciting amusements.” “The ennobling principles of religion will strengthen” mental powers and will destroy” a taste for these gratifications.|
|CH 481||There should be in our [evangelistic] meetings “nothing of a theatrical nature.”|
|CS 134||Satan squanders money given by God on [Satan’s] inventions, theatrical performances for example.|
|CS 202||“Sin is gilded over by church sanctity. These various forms of amusement in the churches of our day have ruined thousands who, but for them, might have remained upright and become the followers of Christ. Wrecks of character have been made by these fashionable church festivals and theatrical performances, and thousands more will be destroyed” yet “people will not be aware of the danger.”|
|CSW 153||It is not for the [Sabbath School] workers to seek for methods by which they can make a show, consuming time in theatrical performances and musical display, for this benefits no one. It does no good to train the children to make speeches for special occasions.” Win them to Jesus instead.|
|Ev 66||While doing city evangelism, guard carefully “against anything that borders on sensationalism.” In this extravagant age “men think it necessary to make a display in order to gain success.” Our ministers should show the truth by contrast. “As they labor with simplicity, humility, and graceful dignity, avoiding everything of a theatrical nature, their work will make a lasting impression for good.”|
|Ev 127||God “is dishonored by your expensive preparations” and advertisements and display. “This display makes the truth taste too strongly” of the dish. Man is exalted.” “Sensible men and women can see that the theatrical performances are not in harmony with the solemn message that you bear.”|
|Ev 136||“Some ministers make the mistake of supposing that success depends on drawing a large congregation by outward display, and then delivering the message of truth in a theatrical style.” “Not by startling notices and expensive display is His work to be carried to completion, but by following Christlike methods.” “It is the naked truth which, like a sharp, two-edged sword, cuts both ways, arousing to spiritual life those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Men will recognize the gospel when it is brought to them in a way that is in harmony with God’s purposes.”|
|Ev 139||Our success will depend on using Christ’s simplicity in our work, without any theatrical display.|
|Ev 207||“Ministers are not to preach men’s opinions, not to relate anecdotes, get up theatrical performances, not to exhibit self; but as though they were in the presence of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are to preach the Word. Let them not bring levity into the work of the ministry, but let them preach the Word in a manner that will leave a most solemn impression upon those who hear.”|
|Ev 396||“We are to keep as far from the theatrical and the extraordinary as Christ kept in His work. Sensation is not religion, although religion will exert its own pure, sacred, uplifting, sanctifying influence, bringing spiritual life, and salvation.”|
|Ev 501||The elder should counsel with the brethren and “ cut off from his meetings everything that has a semblance of theatrical display; for such outward appearances give no strength to the message that he bears.” When the Lord can work with him, he will not need so much money and advertisement. “He will not place so much dependence on the musical program. This part of his services is conducted more after the order of a concert in a theater, than a song service in a religious meeting.”|
|Ev 508||In evangelism we “are not to depend on worldly singers and theatrical display to awaken an interest.” They can not sing with the Spirit and with the understanding? Heaven can’t join them.|
|Ev 640||The ministry needs a “great reformation.” “Ministers in the desk have no license to behave like theatrical performers, assuming attitudes and expressions calculated for effect. They do not occupy the sacred desk as actors, but as teachers of solemn truths.” “Fanatical ministers” may “storm, halloo, jump up and down, and pound the desk before them,” but this disgusts “men and women of calm judgment and elevated views.” Ministers are duty bound to leave “ail coarseness and boisterous conduct outside the desk at least.”|
|Ev 644||“Theatrical gestures, all lightness and trifling, all jesting and joking,” are an offense to God. They unfit the mind for solid thought and labor, causing inefficiency and spiritually superficiality.|
|FE 229||“I cannot find an instance in the life of Christ where He devoted time to play and amusement. He was the great Educator for the present and the future life.” He did not train his disciples in football or “theatrical performances, and yet Christ was our pattern in all things.”|
|GW 132||“A spirit of frivolity may be in keeping with the profession of clowns and theatrical performers, but it is altogether beneath the dignity of a mouthpiece for God.”|
|Te 240||In “temperance meetings” “avoid a surface work and everything of a theatrical character.” Those with no real respect for the cause of temperance “show off their smartness upon the stage.”|
|TDG 359||“Oddities or eccentricities of movement on the part of those who speak the Word of truth” “w ill weaken the impression that should be made by the Word.” “Let there be no theatrical display, for this will not” strengthen belief in the Word of God. It will divert attention to the instrument.|
|RH 02-20-66||“God has committed to my care children, not to train for worldly amusement, but for Heaven.” I am guilty if I place them in the way of temptation via society or influence. There is enough frivolity around us to put God out of the mind. Thousands of youth who “bid fair” to be an honor to their parents and society have fallen through a friend that influenced them for the first time to break “over the barrier to their conscience and attended the theater, to see and hear the performance of some celebrated actor.” “They are intoxicated with excitement. They leave the theater; but their imagination continues to dwell upon the scenes they have witnessed, and they are anxious to go again, and again.” They may at times be convicted that the theater is not beneficial to their morals, but they are too weak to resist. The influence of professed Christian adults that attend aids to “stifle their conscience.” “They playing cards, thinking it an “innocent amusement,” but the company they acquire lead them downward still till they will commit any vice.|
|RH 02-14-07||“In the discourses, let nothing of a theatrical nature be introduced, no sharp thrusts given.”|
|ST 01-26-82||Church-members expend their Lord’s money in various forms of self-indulgence, and when means are needed to sustain the church, a fair, a theatrical entertainment, or a grand supper is given.” Is not the end result of this “base idolatry?”|
|ST 04-19-83||“We tremble for the youth of our day, because of the example that is given them by those who profess to be Christians.” Teach them that their words and actions will decide their future happiness or misery. “The festal gatherings, the gluttonous feasts, the lotteries, tableaux, and theatrical performances, are doing a great work that will bear a record with its burden of results to the Judgment.|
|ST 10-13-90||“Those who have a careless, clownish manner, either in the family or in society, dishonor their divine Lord. Even ministers have thus misrepresented Christ, when in the pulpit they have made a display of theatrical actions and eccentric manners.” Men may think them a virtue, but irreverent expressions and amusing anecdotes do not aid in representing the dignity and loveliness of Christ.|
|PH100 68||Various entertainments, some theatrical, and like in other health institutions, have been introduced into ours. They bring extra care and expense, and worse—a loss of spiritual integrity.|
|9MR 387||Holding audiences’ attention with theatrical devices causes one to “lose the realization of the presence of Christ.” Devoting much time to appearance excludes Christ from doing heart work. Let Elder Franke lay a different foundation. Satisfying the people’s appetite for theatrical preaching will not be salvational. This method does not educate the people for gospel missionary work [on a personal scale] hindering the work.|
|MR926 96||Fannie Bolton is not God’s messenger. “She would mingle the theatrical with her spiritual actions, that would not elevate, but degrade the cause of God. She is a farce.”|
|RH 02-28-82||“The true Christian will not desire to enter any place of amusement or engage in any diversion upon which he cannot ask the blessing of God.” Examples include “the theater, the billiard hall, or the bowling saloon” and other pleasures “that will banish Christ from the mind.” “No Christian would wish to meet death in such a place. No one would wish to be found there when Christ shall come. When we come to the final hour, and stand face to face with the record of our lives, shall we regret that we have attended so few parties of pleasure?” We will rather regret wasted time.|
|Ev 644||Is the object of ministry to mix the comical with the religious? The theater is the place for such exhibitions.” When Christ is formed within, you will have neither “jolly men,” nor “will you have sour, cross, crabbed men to teach the precious lessons of Christ to perishing souls.”|
|Te 252||Theater, among other things, benumbs men’s sensibilities and prevents them from receiving the warnings and entreaties God gives.|
|RH 08-05-02||“The frequenters of the theater and the ballroom, put eternity out of their reckoning. The whole burden of their life is” materialistic. They are not heavenward bound. These demand our service.|
|ST 05-18-82||“Professing Christian, when you resort to the theater, remember that Satan is there, conducting the play as the master-actor.” The ground is enchanting. “The very atmosphere is permeated with licentiousness.” It is so also at the masquerade, dance, and card-game. God is forgotten.|
|ST 06-21-05||“Reveal the living charm of the Saviour’s love…Christians have no need or desire for the billiard table, the theater, the dancing hall, or the many other forms of worldly diversion.” A Christian does nothing on which he can not ask the Lord’s blessing.|
|21MR 243||A minister seeks to please his congregation, and tells them that “young people must have pleasure, it is no harm to go to the theater and attend parties of pleasure and to dance, for Jesus attended a wedding feast.” “All this is in keeping with the theory that you are not saved by good works but by Christ and Christ alone. The ministers tell the congregations they cannot keep the law; no man ever kept it or ever can keep it. What a theory!” God gave His son, and He will freely give us all things, including the ability to keep the law.|
|Ed 233||Ministers should preach with the enthusiasm that matches the reality of their message, just as actors speak with an enthusiasm that matches their pretended reality.|
WHOLE PARAGRAPHS (Text in ALL CAPS is not EGW;
Page Breaks Not Apparent)
2MR pg. 235
I have risen at three o’clock this morning to write [*THIS COMMUNICATION WAS WRITTEN EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING, DECEMBER 26, 1888, AND RELATED TO A CHRISTMAS PROGRAM* PUT ON BY THE BATTLE CREEK SABBATH SCHOOL. THE CHILDREN WORE COSTUMES. ELLA M. WHITE, MRS. WHITE’S SIX-YEAR-OLD GRANDDAUGHTER, WAS IN THE PROGRAM, DRESSED TO TYPIFY AN ANGEL.] you a few lines. I was pleased with the lighthouse, and the scene which had required so much painstaking effort was one which could have been made most impressive, but tailed to be made as forcible and striking as it might have been when it cost so much time and labor in preparing it. The part acted by the children was good. The reading was appropriate- Then if there had been good, solid talk on that occasion in regard to children and teachers in the Sabbath schools laboring earnestly for the salvation of the souls of the children under your charge, presenting the most acceptable offering to Jesus, the gut of their own hearts, and impressive remarks, short and right to the point, [on] how they could do this, would it not have. been in keeping with the work we have been trying to do in the church?
Every stroke now should be in harmony for the one great purpose, preparing of the hearts, that individually pupils and teachers should be as a light set on a candlestick that it may give light to all that are in the house, which would be carrying out the idea strikingly of a lighthouse guiding souls that they may not make shipwreck of faith. Can you tell me what marked impression the two poems rehearsed by the two ladies on the stand would have to do with this work?
The singing was after the order we would expect it to be in any theatrical performance, but not one word to be distinguished. Certainly the tempest-tossed ship would be wrecked upon the rocks if there were no more light coming from the lighthouse than was seen in the exercises. I must say I was pained at these things, so out of order with the very work of reformation we were trying to carry forward in the church and with our institutions, that I should have felt better if I had not been present. This was an occasion that should have been gotten up not only for the Sabbath school children, but words should have been spoken that would have deepened the impression of a necessity of seeking for the favor of that Saviour who loved them and gave Himself for them. If [only] the precious hymns had been sung, “Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee,” and “Jesus lover of my soul- let me to Thy bosom fly, while the billows near me roll, while the tempest still is high.” Whose souls were inspired with new and fresh zeal for the Master in those songs sung whose virtue was in the different performances of the singer?
While these painstaking efforts were being made to get up the performances, meetings were being held of the deepest interest which should have engaged the attention, and which called for the presence of every soul lest they should lose something of the message the Master had sent to them. Now this Christmas has passed into eternity with its burden of record, and we are anxious to see the result of it. Will it make those who acted their part in it more spiritual-minded? Will it increase their sense of obligation to our heavenly Father who sent His Son into the world at such an infinite sacrifice to save fallen man from utter ruin? Was the mind awakened to grasp God because of His great low wherewith He has loved us?
We hope, now that Christmas is in the past, that those who have put forth so much painstaking effort will now manifest a decided zeal, and earnest, disinterested effort for the salvation of the souls of the teachers in the Sabbath school, that in their turn they may each labor for the salvation of the souls in their classes, to give them personal instruction as to what they must do to be saved. We hope that they will find time to labor in simplicity and in sincerity for the souls of those under their care, and that they will pray with them, and for them, that they may give to Jesus the precious offering of their own souls, that they make literally true the symbol of the lighthouse in the beams of light shining forth from their own strong efforts in the name of Jesus, which should be put forth in love, they themselves grasping the rays of light to diffuse this light to others, and that there shall be no settling down to a surface work. Show just as great skill and aptitude in winning souls to Jesus as you have shown in painstaking effort for this occasion just past. Point them in your efforts, with heart and soul enlisted, to the Star that shines out to the morally-darkened heaven at this time, even the Light of the world. Let your light shine that the tempest-tossed souls may set their eyes upon it and escape the rocks that are concealed beneath the surface of the water. Temptations are lying in wait to deceive them; souls are oppressed with guilt, ready to sink into despair. Labor to save them-, point them to Jesus who so loved them that He saw His life for them.
The Light of the world is shining upon us that we might absorb the divine rays and let this light shine upon others in good works that many souls shall be led to glorify our Father which is in heaven. He is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, and it grieves the heart of Jesus that so many refuse the offers of His mercy and matchless love.
Will all who acted an interested part in the program of last evening work as zealously and interestedly to show themselves approved unto God in dome their work for the Master, that they may show themselves intelligent workmen that need not to be ashamed? Oh, let the teachers in the Sabbath school be thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the message for this time, carrying that message into all their labor. There are souls to be saved, and while m the Sabbath school work there has been much form and a great amount of precious time occupied in reading of reports and records- there has been but little time to really let light shine forth in clear, steady rays in the very instruction needed to save the souls of the children and youth. Less elaborate speeches, less lengthy remarks, and plain, pointed truth presented, not one word uttered to exhibit profound knowledge, not one word in any speech- but the greatest evidence of real knowledge is the great simplicity. Ail who have taken knowledge of Jesus Christ will imitate Him in their manner of instruction.—Letter 5, 1888, pp. 1-4. (To Brother Morse, Dec. 26, 1888.)
* A. WHITE INDICATES THAT THIS WAS A DRAMATIZED PROGRAM. INTERNAL EVIDENCE SUGGESTS ONLY COSTUMES, RECITED POEMS, AND SONG.
2MR pg. 244
The purpose and object for which literary societies are established may be good, but unless wisdom from above, and continual reliance upon God, is preserved by all, there will be a decided failure in its exerting a saving influence.
When God’s professed people voluntarily unite with the world or give men of short religious experience the preeminence in these literary societies, they do not have a high estimate of eternal things. They step over the line in the very first movement. There may be boundaries, set rules and regulations made, but notwithstanding all this, the worldly element will take the lead. Men on the enemy’s ground, led and controlled by his power, will have a controlling influence unless there is an infinite power to work against them. Satan uses men as his agents to suggest, to lead out, to propose different acts, and a variety of amusing things which give no strength to the morals or elevation to the mind, but are wholly worldly. Soon the religious element is ruled out, and the irreligious elements take the lead.
Men and women who will not be ensnared, who will move straightforward in the path of integrity, loyal and true to the God of heaven whom they fear, love, and honor, can have a powerful influence to hold the people of God. Such an influence will command respect. But this vacillating between duty and the world gives the world all the advantage and will surely leave its molding power, so that religion, God, and heaven, will scarcely enter the thoughts.
If youth, and men and women of mature age, should organize a society where Bible reading and Bible study should be made the prominent theme, dwelling upon and searching out the prophecies, and studying the lessons of Christ, there would be strength in the society. There is no book from the perusal of which the mind is so much elevated and strengthened and expanded as the Bible. And there is nothing that will so endow with new vigor all our faculties as bringing them in contact with stupendous truths of the Word of God, and setting the mind to grasp and measure those truths.
If the human mind takes a low level, it is generally because it is left to deal with commonplace facts and not called out and exercised to grasp lofty, elevated truths, which are enduring as eternity. These literary societies and lyceums are almost universally exerting an influence entirely contrary to that which they claim, and are an injury to the youth. This need not be the case, but because unsanctified elements take the lead, because worldlings want matters to go to please themselves, their hearts are not in harmony with Jesus Christ; they are in the ranks of the Lord’s enemies, and they will not be pleased with that kind of entertainment which would strengthen and confirm the members of the society in spirituality. Low, cheap matters are brought in which are not elevating or instructive, but which only amuse.
The way these societies have been conducted leads the mind away from serious reflection, away from God, away from heaven. By attending them, religious thoughts and services have become distasteful. There is less desire for fervent prayer, for pure and undefiled religion. The thoughts and conversation are not on elevating themes, but dwelling upon the subjects brought up in these gatherings. What is the chaff to the wheat? The understanding will gradually bring itself down to the dimensions of the matters with which it is familiar, till the powers of the mind become contracted, showing what has been its food.
The mind that rejects all this cheapness, and is taxed to dwell only upon elevated, ponderous, deep, and broad truths, will strengthen. A knowledge of the Bible excels all other knowledge in strengthening the intellect. If your lyceums and literary societies would be made an opportunity for searching the Bible, it would be far more an intellectual society than it can ever become through the attention being turned to theatrical performances. What high and noble truths the mind may fasten upon and explore in God’s Word! The mind may go deeper and still deeper in its research, becoming stronger with every effort to comprehend truth, and yet there will be an infinity beyond.
Those who compose these societies, who profess to love and reverence sacred things, and yet allow the mind to come down to the superficial, to the unreal, to simple, cheap, fictitious acting, are doing the devil’s work just as surely as they look upon and unite in these scenes. Could their eyes be opened, they would see that Satan was their leader, the instigator, through agents present who think themselves to be something. But God pronounces their life and character altogether lighter than vanity. If these societies should make the Lord and His greatness, His mercies, His works in nature, His majesty and power as revealed in inspiration, their study, they would come forth blessed and strengthened.–Ms 41, 1900, pp. 10-12. (“Commandment Keeping,” July 23, 1900.)
2MR pg. 246
If we regard the advantages given to us as our own, to be used according to our pleasure, to make a display, and create a sensation, the Lord Jesus, our Redeemer, is put to shame by the characters of His professed followers.
Has God given you intellect? Is it for you to manage according to your inclinations? Can you glorify God by being educated to represent characters in plays, and to amuse an audience with fables? Has not the Lord given you intellect to be used to His name’s glory in proclaiming the gospel of Christ? If you desire a public career, there is a work that you may do. Help the class you represent in plays. Come to the reality. Give your sympathy where it is needed by actually lifting up the bowed down. Satan’s ruling passion is to pervert the intellect and cause men to long for shows and theatrical performances. The experience and character of all who engage in this work will be in accordance with the food given to the mind.
The Lord has given evidence of His love for the world. There was no falsity, no acting, in what He did. He gave a living gift, capable of suffering humiliation, neglect, shame, reproach. This Christ did that He might rescue the fallen.–Ms 42, 1898, p. 13.
AH pg. 515
Many of the amusements popular in the world today, even with those who claim to be Christians, tend to the same end as did those of the heathen. There are indeed few among them that Satan does not turn to account in destroying souls. Through the drama he has worked for ages to excite passion and glorify vice. The opera, with its fascinating display and bewildering music, the masquerade, the dance, the card table, Satan employs to break down the barriers of principle and open the door to sensual indulgence. In every gathering for pleasure where pride is fostered or appetite indulged, where one is led to forget God and lose sight of eternal interests, there Satan is binding his chains about the soul.
In the seat next us in the car was an actress, evidently a woman of ability, and possessed of many good qualities, which, if devoted to the service of God, might win for her the Saviour’s commendation, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” This woman and myself are both actors on the stage of life, but oh, how vastly different is our work! I felt not the slightest temptation to desire her honors. I thirst not for the applause of the idle and pleasure-loving multitudes that seek the unnatural excitement of the drama.
The theater is a poor place of resort for the strengthening of virtuous principles. Rather, its influence is highly injurious to both health and morals. The lady’s attendant remarked that it was somewhat trying to be deprived of sleep night after night until two and sometimes three o’clock in the morning, and then spend a large portion of the day in bed. The divinely-appointed order of day and night is disregarded, health is sacrificed, for the amusement of those who are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. The effect is demoralizing to all concerned. Two or three evenings a week spent in attending balls, or theatric or operatic entertainments, will enervate both mind and body, and prevent the development of that strength of character which is essential to usefulness in society. The only safe amusements are such as will not banish serious and religious thoughts; the only safe places of resort are those to which we can take Jesus with us.
I have a message for those in charge of our work. Do not encourage the men who are to engage in this work to think that they must proclaim the solemn, sacred message in a theatrical style. Not one jot or tittle of anything theatrical is to be brought into our work. God’s cause is to have a sacred, heavenly mold. Let everything connected with the giving of the message for this time bear the divine impress. Let nothing of a theatrical nature be permitted, for this would spoil the sacredness of the work.
I am instructed that we shall meet with all kinds of experiences and that men will try to bring strange performances into the work of God. We have met such things in many places. In my very first labors the message was given that all theatrical performances in connection with the preaching of present truth were to be discouraged and forbidden. Men who thought they had a wonderful work to do sought to adopt a strange deportment and manifested oddities in bodily exercise. The light given me was, “Give this no sanction.” These performances, which savored of the theatrical, were to have no place in the proclamation of the solemn messages entrusted to us.
The enemy will watch closely and will take every advantage of circumstances to degrade the truth by the introduction of undignified demonstrations. None of these demonstrations are to be encouraged. The precious truths given us are to be spoken in all solemnity and with sacred awe.
GC pg. 463
With every truly converted soul the relation to God and to eternal things will be the great topic of life. But where, in the popular churches of today, is the spirit of consecration to God? The converts do not renounce their pride and love of the world. They are no more willing to deny self, to take up the cross, and follow the meek and lowly Jesus, than before their conversion. Religion has become the sport of infidels and skeptics because so many who bear its name are ignorant of its principles. The power of godliness has well nigh departed from many of the churches. Picnics, church theatricals, church fairs, fine houses, personal display, have banished thoughts of God. Lands and goods and worldly occupations engross the mind, and things of eternal interest receive hardly a passing notice.
It is often asked, Are literary societies a benefit to our youth? To answer this question properly, we should consider not only the avowed purpose of such societies, but the influence which they have actually exerted, as proved by experience. The improvement of the mind is a duty which we owe to ourselves, to society, and to God. But we should never devise means for the cultivation of the intellect at the expense of the moral and the spiritual. And it is only by the harmonious development of both the mental and the moral faculties that the highest perfection of either can be attained. Are these results secured by literary societies as they are generally conducted?
As the question was first stated, it would appear very narrow-minded to answer in the negative; but in every case where a literary society has been established among our people, its influence has proved to be unfavorable to religious life, and has led to backsliding from God. This has been tried in Battle Creek and in other places, and the result has ever been the same. In some cases, long-standing evils have grown out of these associations.
The irreligious and unconsecrated in heart and life are usually admitted, and are often placed in the most responsible positions. Rules and regulations may be adopted that are thought to be sufficient to hold in check every deleterious influence; but Satan, a shrewd general, is at work to mold the society to suit his plans, and in time he too often succeeds. The great adversary finds ready access to those whom he has controlled in the past, and through them he accomplishes his purpose. The association of the God-fearing with the unbelieving in these societies does not make saints of sinners. For a short time, there may be nothing seriously objectionable, but minds that have not been brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ will not take readily to those things which savor of truth and righteousness. If they had heretofore had any relish for spiritual things, they would have placed themselves in the ranks of Jesus Christ. The two classes are controlled by different masters, and are opposites in their purposes, hopes, tastes, and desires. The followers of Jesus enjoy sober, sensible, and ennobling themes, while those who have no love for sacred things cannot take pleasure in these gatherings, unless the superficial and unreal shall make a prominent feature in the exercises.
The purposes and objects which lead to the formation of literary societies may be good; but unless wisdom from God shall control these organizations, they will become a positive evil. Various entertainments are introduced to make the meetings interesting and attractive for worldlings, and thus the exercises of the so-called literary society too often degenerate into demoralizing theatrical performances, and cheap non-sense. All these gratify the carnal mind, that is at enmity with God; but they do not strengthen the intellect nor confirm the morals. Little by little, the spiritual element is ruled out by the irreligious, and the effort to harmonize principles which are antagonistic in their nature proves a decided failure. When God’s people voluntarily unite with the worldly and unconsecrated, and give them the pre-eminence, they will be led away from him by the unsanctified influence under which they have placed themselves.
Many literary societies are in reality young theaters on a cheap scale, and they create in the youth a taste for the stage. While writing upon this point, my eye falls upon the following striking incident from real life.
“ ‘It is of no use, Mrs. W., I have tried again and again, and I cannot become a Christian.’
“ ‘So you said a year ago, yet you thought there was nothing in the way.’
“ ‘I don’t think there is now, but I don’t feel any different from what I did then, and I don’t believe I ever shall be a Christian.’
“The first speaker was a bright girl somewhat over twenty, who, on a previous visit nearly a year before, had confided to her elder friend her earnest desire to become a Christian. Of her evident sincerity there could be no doubt, and the visitor was sorely puzzled to understand why her young friend had not yet found peace. The two were standing by the half-opened door of the Sunday-school room, where a rehearsal for an ‘entertainment’ was in progress; and the girl, looking in, seemed suddenly to find there a suggestion for further thought.
“ ‘I believe,’ she said hesitatingly, ‘there is one thing I cannot give up.’
“ ‘Give it up at once, dear.’
“ ‘But I can’t.’
“ ‘Come to Jesus-first then, and he will give you the power.’
“ ‘I don’t want him to. I believe if I knew I should die and be lost in three weeks from tonight, I would rather be lost than give up my passion.’
“ ‘And what is this dearly loved thing, worth so much more than your salvation?’
“ ‘Oh, it isn’t worth more, only I love it more, and I can’t and won’t give it up. It’s that I–I want to be an actress; I know I have the talent; I’ve always hoped the way would open for me to go upon the stage, and I can’t help hoping so still.’
“ ‘Do you think it would be wrong for you to do so, provided the way did open?’
“ ‘I don’t know that it would be a sin ; but I couldn’t do it and be a Christian; the two things don’t go together.’
“ ‘How did you come by such a taste? I am sure you do not belong to a theater-going family?’
“ ‘Oh no! my father and mother are Methodists; they always disapproved of the theater. I’ve been in Sunday school all my life. They used to make me sing and recite at the entertainments when I was four years old, and I acted the angel and fairy parts in the dialogues; and when I grew older, I always arranged the tableaux, charades, etc. Then I joined a set of sociables got up by our church young people. At first we did “Mrs. Jarley’s Wax-works,” and sung “Pinafore” for the benefit of the church; and then we got more ambitious, studied, and had private theatricals, and last winter we hired Mason’s Hall and gave a series of Shakespearean performances, which cleared off a large part of the church debt. But that’s only second-class work, after all. I want to do the real thing, to go upon the stage as a profession. My father won’t hear of it; but I hope some time the way will be opened that I may realize my heart’s desire.’
“ ‘And meantime, will you not come to Jesus and be saved?”
“ ‘No, I cannot do it and keep to this hope, and I will not give this up.’
“And so the visitor turned sadly away, thinking for what miserable messes of pottage men and women are willing to sell their glorious birthright as children of God; thinking also of the seeds which are being sowed in our Sunday-schools, the tares among the wheat, and the terrible harvest that may yet spring up from this well-meant but injudicious seed-sowing.”
It has been our study to devise some plan for the establishment of a literary society which shall prove a benefit to all connected with it,–a society in which all its members shall feel a moral responsibility to make it what it should be, and to avoid the evils that have made such associations dangerous to religious principle. Persons of discretion and good judgment, who have a living connection with Heaven, who will see the evil tendencies, and, not deceived by Satan, will move straight forward in the path of integrity, continually holding aloft the banner of Christ,–such a class are needed to control in these societies. Such an influence will command respect, and make these gatherings a blessing rather than a curse. If men and women of mature age would unite with young persons to organize and conduct such a literary society, it might become both useful and interesting. But when such gatherings degenerate into occasions for fun and boisterous mirth, they are anything but literary or elevating. They are debasing to both mind and morals.
Bible reading, the critical examination of Bible subjects, essays written upon topics which would improve the mind and impart knowledge, the study of the prophecies or the precious lessons of Christ,–these will have an influence to strengthen the mental powers and increase spirituality. And why should not the Bible be brought into such meetings? There is a deplorable ignorance of God’s word, even with those who are thought to be intelligent.
“Most wondrous book! bright candle of the Lord!
Star of eternity! the only light
By which the bark of man can navigate
The sea of life, and gain the coast of bliss securely.”
A familiar acquaintance with the Scriptures sharpens the discerning powers, and fortifies the soul against the attacks of Satan. The Bible is the sword of the Spirit, which will never fail to vanquish the adversary. It is the only true guide in all matters of faith and practice. The reason why Satan has so great control over the minds and hearts of men, is that they have not made the word of God the man of their counsel, and all their ways have not been tried by the true test. The Bible will show us what course we must pursue to become heirs of glory. Says the psalmist, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” But this is not the case when it is left unopened and unread.
Literary societies are almost universally exerting an influence contrary to that which the name indicates. As generally conducted, they are an injury to the youth; for Satan comes in to put his stamp upon the exercises. All that makes men manly, or women womanly, is reflected from the character of Christ. The less we have of Christ in such societies, the less we have of the elevating, refining, ennobling element which should prevail. When worldlings conduct these meetings to meet their wishes, the spirit of Christ is excluded; for the Lord’s enemies are not pleased with that which would strengthen and confirm a love for spiritual and eternal things. The mind is drawn away from serious reflection, away from God, away from the real and substantial, to the imaginary and the superficial. Literary societies–would that the name expressed their true character! “What is the chaff to the wheat?”
The mind is so constituted that it must be occupied with either good or evil. If it takes a low level, it is generally because it is left to deal with common-place subjects–unimportant matters,–not being called out and reined up to grasp those grand and elevated truths which are as enduring as eternity. The understanding will gradually adapt itself to the subjects with which it is familiarized. Man has the power to regulate and control the workings of the mind, and give direction to the current of his thoughts. But this requires greater effort than we can make in our own strength. We must stay our minds on God, if we would have right thoughts, and proper subjects for meditation.
Few realize that it is a duty to exercise control over their thoughts and imaginations. It is difficult to keep the undisciplined mind fixed upon profitable subjects. But if the thoughts are not properly employed, religion cannot flourish in the soul. The mind must be pre-occupied with sacred and eternal things, or it will cherish trifling and superficial thoughts. Both the intellectual and the moral powers must be disciplined, and they will strengthen and improve by exercise.
To understand this matter aright, we must remember that our hearts are naturally depraved, and we are unable, of ourselves, to pursue a right course. It is only by the grace of God, combined with the most earnest efforts on our part, that we can gain the victory.
There are, in the Christian faith, subjects upon which every one should accustom his mind to dwell. The love of Jesus, which passeth knowledge, his sufferings for the fallen race, his work of mediation in our behalf, and his exalted glory,–these are the mysteries into which angels desired to look. Heavenly beings find in these themes enough to attract and engage their deepest thoughts; and shall we, who are so intimately concerned, manifest less interest than the angels, in the wonders of redeeming love?
The intellect, as well as the heart, must be consecrated to the service of God. He has claims upon all there is of us. However innocent or laudable it may appear, the follower of Christ should not indulge in any gratification, or engage in any enterprise, which an enlightened conscience tells him would abate his ardor, or lessen his spirituality.
Pleasure seeking, frivolity, and mental and moral dissipation, are flooding the world with their demoralizing influence. Every Christian should labor to press back the tide of evil, and save our youth from the influences that would sweep them down to ruin. May God help us to press our way against the current!
By the use of charts, symbols, and representations of various kinds the minister can make the truth stand out clearly and distinctly. This is a help, and in harmony with the word of God; but when the worker makes his labors so expensive that others are unable to secure from the treasury sufficient means to support them in the field, he is not working in harmony with God’s plan. The work in the large cities is to be done after Christ’s order, not after the order of a theatrical performance. It is not a theatrical performance that glorifies God, but the presentation of the truth in the love of Christ.
Bible Echo and Signs of the Times 10-15-94
In Christian homes a bulwark should be built against temptation. Satan is using every means to make crime and degrading vice popular. We cannot walk the streets of our cities without encountering flaring notices of crime presented in some novel, or to be acted at some theatre. The mind is educated to familiarity with sin. The course pursued by the base and vile is kept before the people in the periodicals of the day, and everything that can arouse passion is brought before them in exciting stories.
11MR pg. 334
Dear Sister: We had some conversation in reference to your accompanying your daughters to the theater. Last night I was commissioned to speak to you, saying, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate” (2 Cor. 6:17). [2 Cor. 6:14-18 quoted.]
My sister, you are to be connected with Jesus Christ. Our Saviour, in His example, has led the way which every sinner who turns from sin must follow. By taking the requisite steps–in conversion, in repentance, in faith, and baptism–he is to fulfill all righteousness. Christ has shown that repentance, faith, and baptism are the steps that all must take if they would follow His example. All who in obedience to Christ’s command follow in this ordinance, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, signify that they are dead to the world. They are buried in the likeness of Christ’s death, and raised again from the water in the likeness of His resurrection. Says the apostle Paul: [Colossians 3:1-4 quoted].
Christ is the light of the world. All who are born into the kingdom of God, Christ adopts into the household of faith. If you have been converted, then the whole tenor of your life is changed. You have been convicted by the Word of God. You have accepted unpopular truth. But now comes your danger. As a mother you have not felt your responsibility to so educate and train your children that they would consider themselves a part of the family firm, to take hold with their mother in their education and become efficient in learning a trade. This is essential for practical life, and this is work that devolves upon the parents. They are to educate and train their children in this probationary time, that they may not remain in disobedience and transgression, standing under the banner of the prince of darkness, and uniting their God-given powers with the enemy of righteousness.
My sister, you have decidedly failed in the duties which every mother should do in the fear of God, in training her children to lift with her the burdens that come with every child that is born into the family. You have a work to do even now, and God will help you if you will take up your work in your home life. Your children are God’s property, and they should not be left to become estranged from Him. True, you have had large odds to contend with, but you have not maintained the surrender you made of yourself to the Lord. Had you followed on to know the Lord, you would have better understood what it means to give up your way and will to the Lord. But the temptation and snare of the enemy came to your children, and through them to yourself, and as a family you are in constant peril of the loss of your souls.
Had you, my sister, followed on to know the Lord, you would during this period of time have had enlightenment from the Sun of Righteousness. Your only safety lay in following in His footsteps. But in not decidedly taking your stand to give no sanction by your presence to the theatrical performance of your children, you have encouraged them in their choice of the use they have made of their talents. Their capabilities and power belong to God, but they are not now being used to gather with Christ. All their talents were lent them to use to the honor and the glory of God, that they might win souls away from everything that pertains to this class of fascinating amusement that absorbs the mind and draws it away from God and from heavenly things. But they have not had an experimental knowledge of what is truth. The principles of truth have never been stamped upon their souls. The deceptive temptation that they can be a blessing to the world while serving as actresses is a delusion and a snare, not only to themselves, but to your own soul. Said Christ, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” Can the Lord Jesus Christ accept these theatrical exhibitions as service done for Him? Can He be glorified thereby? No. All this kind of work is done in the service of another leader.
My sister, you cannot have an experimental knowledge of the love of God in the soul, and the joy of true obedience to your Lord, who has bought you and your family with the price of His own blood, while you join yourself to these things. Your family do not understand as do you the reasons of the faith that leads away from all such pursuits. You can never be free in Jesus Christ and yet have a divided heart. My sister, you need now to consider that your influence in accompanying your daughters to the theater is decidedly against Christ. He declares that “he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37).
The Word of God is free. Under its hallowed power of influence you may with the disciple John say, “Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Thus you may cooperate with God in saving many souls to Christ. You may be a savor of life unto life by becoming a living influence in your family to save them from Satan’s deceptive snares. But if you are not steadfast, rooted and grounded in the truth, self-delusion will place you where God cannot use you as a vessel unto honor. The light that comes from God is the light which guides the human soul to God, and the Lord calls for every power He has lent the human agent to be exercised strenuously on Christ’s side of the question, to rescue the souls deceived and infatuated with just such service as your daughters have entered upon–to amuse and delight the senses and endeavor to supply a necessity in which Christ has no part.
You can see, my dear sister, that the blessing which attends the cheerful, consecrated sons and daughters of God cannot be realized by those who work with a divided heart. You do not feel the freedom, the rest, and the joy of believing in Christ because your mind is largely taken up with worthless things. Your work, and the work that God has given your children to do, you are not doing. They have consented to work up a counter-attraction that has no Christ in it.
If the truth as it is in Jesus is brought into actual contact with the souls that are ready to perish, it will produce good works. The talents of your daughters should be brought into the home life to make a model home. They should use their God-given powers to reform, to restore, and to bring order and discipline and sound principles into the home life. This would be the beginning of the work represented in the Word of God as bringing to the foundation gold and silver and precious stones, which are imperishable. This work will bring the approval of God. Angels of God in the heavenly courts would rejoice to see such a work done.
The “form of sound words” is to be prized, for it leads to right actions. The souls of your children cost the greatest sacrifice our God could make. He gave His Son to die that they might not perish. They have souls that Jesus loves. But if they follow a course of disregard for the truth and the commandments of God, they cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. If they accept the only One who can save them from ruin, He will accept them and their service. And angels of God will be their escorts as they use their powers in guiding lost and perishing souls to a haven of rest. The power of the truth will elevate the nature, refine the taste, sanctify the judgment, and give them characters after the divine similitude. They will become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King.
There is an abundance of theatrical performances in our world, but in its highest order it is without God. We need now to point souls to the uplifted Saviour. Deceptions, impositions, and every evil work are in our world. Satan, the wily foe in angel’s garments, is working to deceive and destroy. The object of the death of Christ was to declare His righteousness, and no man, woman or child can do this in his own strength, or by his own words.
Paul declared: [Ephesians 3:8-11 quoted].
To make known “unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places . . . the manifold wisdom of God.” Righteousness is made known in that manifold wisdom, for nothing that is unrighteous can be wise. The wisdom of God and the power of God are waiting every human agency. God desires that we shall put to the tax every spiritual nerve and muscle, that we shall strive for an entrance into that city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. All who win eternal life will arm themselves for the conflict against every influence that would obstruct the way. They must bring their minds up to noble and elevated thoughts. While they offer humble prayer to God, they are to search to know what is truth.
Does my sister place herself in a position where the Lord can come close to her to manifest His presence? What do the angels see in your house on the Sabbath day? All who become members of the heavenly family will have a philosophy and faith that is founded on a true faith in Jesus Christ. His life alone is to be our guide. His life, His attributes, are to become woven into all our life and all our works. God speaks from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, hear ye Him.”
Christ did not come into the world to disparage education, for He Himself was the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. Christ came to call the minds of His redeemed people to learn of Him. He will sanctify the human talents that are employed for His glory. He came to make human learning strong and pure and ennobling, and of such a character that He could commend. He came to give it a foundation upon which to stand–a knowledge of Himself. Christ declared, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil” (Matt. 5:17). He came to give every specification of the law a depth and meaning which the Pharisees had never seen nor understood. Christ is the originator of all the deep thoughts of true philosophy, of every line of that education that will be retained through sanctification of the spirit. True education is that which will not be left behind when He shall come to be admired in all them that believe.
Every member of your family is deciding his own destiny. Those who will be rewarded with the gift of eternal life in the kingdom of God will be those who are learning here of the great Teacher. You do not have peace and joy because you have not consecrated yourself to God. To you the voice of your children is above the voice of Jesus Christ, and in not taking your stand firmly you are being led away from God and His holy requirements. In becoming their escort and companion to go where they choose, you are making yourself one with them. You endorse the ambitious enterprise that is perverting their talents so that God cannot sanctify them. And the food you thus give to your soul, in seeing and hearing, is making its impression upon the mind. Should the heavenly intelligences offer you the bread of heaven, you would have no relish for it.
Just that which you give your soul to feed upon will determine the character of your experience. If you place yourself in objectionable positions where the Lord is not honored or glorified, you disqualify yourself for enjoying wholesome, heavenly instruction that would make you wise unto salvation. You are bought with a price. The plan of salvation is so vast that it brings into action the attributes of the divine nature.
If we will let Him, the Lord by His Holy Spirit will put every part of our entrusted capabilities into His service. He will cause us to feel our deep need of the grace of Christ, that we may feel His love constraining us to declare that, could we multiply our powers a thousandfold, they should all be invested in the work and cause of God. Our testimony would be, “Of Thine own we give Thee” (1 Chron. 29:14). When we have a soul hunger for Christ, we shall be filled with His fullness.
My sister, I have an intense interest that you shall have the rich manna of heaven upon which to feed. Read the sixth chapter of John. You are choosing whom you will serve. If you keep before your eyes and in your ears the transactions of the theater, you will find in your heart no soul hunger for God. It is a question of life or death with you. The Lord has appointed means whereby you may gain spiritual strength and comfort. But if you close the door of your heart to the rays of light from the throne of God and give your mind to the performances of the stage, you can have no peace, no joy, no hope. Gradually you have been losing the spirit of assurance. Your love for Bible religion is dying out. You cannot serve God with a divided heart.
I have a message for your daughters: You are not feeding upon the bread which came down from heaven, but upon husks. All the praise and glory you receive from human beings is of no value. Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Christ, the Sent of God, gave His life a sacrifice that the world might have a second probation in which to return to their loyalty to God. When Christ was threatened by His foes, He said, “My kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). It is not My mission to recognize caste and human theories, or to establish political interests. My kingdom is not to be set up by the power of human armies or the sword. If My kingdom were of this world, then would My soldiers fight. No human power can weaken or overthrow My kingdom through the enemies of God.”
Who are the subjects of the kingdom of heaven? Daniel tells the world the name by which they shall be called. “The saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever” (Daniel 7:18). And Paul writes to the Philippians: [Phil. 1:1,1,9-11; Eph. 2:18-22 quoted].
All who are enrolled as citizens of the heavenly country are required that their behavior shall be such as the gospel of Christ can approve. And it is our privilege to claim the rights and privileges of subjects of the kingdom of heaven. But to everyone who accepts Christ as his personal Saviour, He says, “Come out from among them [the world] and be ye separate.” We are to conform to the Lord’s requirements, and not disgrace our citizenship before the angels of heaven or before men. We are to render to God cheerful service. Christ does not speak to those who are no more to wrestle with temptation; who are not in any danger of being drawn away from Christ and overcome by the wiles of Satan, when He says: “Let your conversation be as becometh the gospel of Christ.. . . Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. . . . For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Philippians 1:27, 29). There is to be no strife or vainglory, no selfishness or murmuring, no disputing, nothing impure or dishonest found in the characters of the followers of Christ.–Letter 58a, 1898, pp. 1-11. (To Mrs. Gorick, July, 1898. Copied July 19, 1898.) White Estate Washington, D. C. December 10, 1981
Satan’s work is to lead men to ignore God, to so engross and absorb the mind that God will not be in their thoughts. The education they have received has been of a character to confuse the mind and eclipse the true light. Satan does not wish the people to have a knowledge of God; and if he can set in operation games and theatrical performances that will so confuse the senses of the young that human beings will perish in darkness while light shines all about them, he is well pleased.
Among the most dangerous resorts for pleasure is the theater. Instead of being a school for morality and virtue, as is so often claimed, it is the very hotbed of immorality. Vicious habits and sinful propensities are strengthened and confirmed by these entertainments. Low songs, lewd gestures, expressions, and attitudes deprave the imagination and debase the morals. Every youth who habitually attends such exhibitions will be corrupted in principle. There is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and to blunt the relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life than theatrical amusements. The love for these scenes increases with every indulgence as the desire for intoxicating drink strengthens with its use. The only safe course is to shun the theater, the circus, and every other questionable place of amusement.
CH pg. 240
Those who bear the responsibility at the sanitarium should be exceedingly guarded that the amusements shall not be of a character to lower the standard of Christianity, bringing this institution down upon a level with others and weakening the power of true godliness in the minds of those who are connected with it. Worldly or theatrical entertainments are not essential for the prosperity of the sanitarium or for the health of the patients. The more they have of this kind of amusements, the less will they be pleased unless something of the kind shall be continually carried on. The mind is in a fever of unrest for something new and exciting, the very thing it ought not to have. And if these amusements are once allowed, they are expected again, and the patients lose their relish for any simple arrangement to occupy the time. But repose, rather than excitement, is what many of the patients need.
As soon as these entertainments are introduced, the objections to theatergoing are removed from many minds, and the plea that moral and high-toned scenes are to be acted at the theater breaks down the last barrier. Those who would permit this class of amusements at the sanitarium would better be seeking wisdom from God to lead these poor, hungry, thirsting souls to the Fountain of joy and peace and happiness.
When there has been a departure from the right path, it is difficult to return. Barriers have been removed, safeguards broken down. One step in the wrong direction prepares the way for another. A single glass of wine may open the door of temptation which will lead to habits of drunkenness. A single vindictive feeling indulged may open the way to a train of feelings which will end in murder. The least deviation from right and principle will lead to separation from God and may end in apostasy. . . . It takes less time and labor to corrupt our ways before God than to ingraft upon the character habits of righteousness and truth. Whatever a man becomes accustomed to, be its influence good or evil, he finds it difficult to abandon.
The managers of the sanitarium may as well conclude at once that they will never be able to satisfy that class of minds that can find happiness only in something new and exciting. To many persons this has been the intellectual diet during their lifetime; there are mental as well as physical dyspeptics. Many are suffering from maladies of the soul far more than from diseases of the body, and they will find no relief until they shall come to Christ, the wellspring of life. Complaints of weariness, loneliness, and dissatisfaction will then cease. Satisfying joys will give vigor to the mind and health and vital energy to the body.
If physicians and workers flatter themselves that they are to find a panacea for the varied ills of their patients by supplying them with a round of amusements similar to those which have been the curse of their lives, they will be disappointed. Let not these entertainments be placed in the position which the living Fountain should occupy. The hungry, thirsty soul will continue to hunger and thirst as long as it partakes of these unsatisfying pleasures. But those who drink of the living water will thirst no more for frivolous, sensual, exciting amusements. The ennobling principles of religion will strengthen the mental powers and will destroy a taste for these gratifications.
The subjects should be presented in such a way as to impress the people favorably. There should be in the meetings nothing of a theatrical nature. The singing should not be done by a few only. All present should be encouraged to join in the song service. There are those who have a special gift of song, and there are times when a special message is borne by one singing alone or by several uniting in song. But the singing is seldom to be done by a few. The ability to sing is a talent of influence, which God desires all to cultivate and use to His name’s glory.
Satan has invented many ways in which to squander the means which God has given. Card playing, betting, gambling, horse racing, and theatrical performances are all of his own inventing, and he has led men to carry forward these amusements as zealously as though they were winning for themselves the precious boon of eternal life. Men lay out immense sums in following these forbidden pleasures; and the result is, their God-given power, which has been purchased by the blood of the Son of God, is degraded and corrupted. The physical, moral, and mental powers which are given to men of God, and which belong to Christ, are zealously used in serving Satan, and in turning men from righteousness and holiness.
Death, clad in the livery of heaven, lurks in the pathway of the young. Sin is gilded over by church sanctity. These various forms of amusement in the churches of our day have ruined thousands who, but for them, might have remained upright and become the followers of Christ. Wrecks of character have been made by these fashionable church festivals and theatrical performances, and thousands more will be destroyed; yet people will not be aware of the danger, nor of the fearful influences exerted. Many young men and women have lost their souls through these corrupting influences.
We might see a different order of things should a number consecrate themselves wholly to God, and then devote their talents to the Sabbath school work, ever advancing in knowledge, and educating themselves so that they would be able to instruct others as to the best methods to employ in the work; but it is not for the workers to seek for methods by which they can make a show, consuming time in theatrical performances and musical display, for this benefits no one. It does no good to train the children to make speeches for special occasions. They should be won to Christ, and instead of expending time, money, and effort to make a display, let the whole effort be made to gather sheaves for the harvest.
Ev pg. 66
Those who do the work of the Lord in the cities must put forth calm, steady, devoted effort for the education of the people. While they are to labor earnestly to interest the hearers, and to hold this interest, yet at the same time they must carefully guard against anything that borders on sensationalism. In this age of extravagance and outward show, when men think it necessary to make a display in order to gain success, God’s chosen messengers are to show the fallacy of spending means needlessly for effect. As they labor with simplicity, humility, and graceful dignity, avoiding everything of a theatrical nature, their work will make a lasting impression for good.
God is not pleased by your large outlay of means to advertise your meetings, and by the display made in other features of your work. The display is out of harmony with the principles of the Word of God. He is dishonored by your expensive preparations. At times you do that which is represented to me as the shredding of wild gourds into the pot. This display makes the truth taste too strongly of the dish. Man is exalted. The truth is not advanced, but hindered. Sensible men and women can see that the theatrical performances are not in harmony with the solemn message that you bear.
Some ministers make the mistake of supposing that success depends on drawing a large congregation by outward display, and then delivering the message of truth in a theatrical style. But this is using common fire instead of the sacred fire of God’s kindling. The Lord is not glorified by this manner of working. Not by startling notices and expensive display is His work to be carried to completion, but by following Christlike methods. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” It is the naked truth which, like a sharp, two-edged sword, cuts both ways, arousing to spiritual life those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Men will recognize the gospel when it is brought to them in a way that is in harmony with God’s purposes.
Our success will depend on carrying forward the work in the simplicity in which Christ carried it forward, without any theatrical display.–
Ev pg. 207
Ministers are not to preach men’s opinions, not to relate anecdotes, get up theatrical performances, not to exhibit self; but as though they were in the presence of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are to preach the Word. Let them not bring levity into the work of the ministry, but let them preach the Word in a manner that will leave a most solemn impression upon those who hear.
Ev pg. 396
In our work we are not to go onto a hilltop to shine. We are not told that we must make a special, wonderful display. The truth must be proclaimed in the highways and the byways, and thus work is to be done by sensible, rational methods. The life of every worker, if he is under the training of the Lord Jesus Christ, will reveal the excellence of His life. The work that Christ did in our world is to be our example, as far as display is concerned. We are to keep as far from the theatrical and the extraordinary as Christ kept in His work. Sensation is not religion, although religion will exert its own pure, sacred, uplifting, sanctifying influence, bringing spiritual life, and salvation.
Ev pg. 501
The presentation before me was that if Elder _____ would heed the counsel of his brethren, and not rush on in the way he does in making a great effort to secure large congregations, he would have more influence for good, and his work would have a more telling effect. He should cut off from his meetings everything that has a semblance of theatrical display; for such outward appearances give no strength to the message that he bears. When the Lord can co-operate with him, his work will not need to be done in so expensive a manner. He will not need then to go to so much expense in advertising his meetings. He will not place so much dependence on the musical program. This part of his services is conducted more after the order of a concert in a theater, than a song service in a religious meeting.
Ev pg. 508
In their efforts to reach the people, the Lord’s messengers are not to follow the ways of the world. In the meetings that are held, they are not to depend on worldly singers and theatrical display to awaken an interest. How can those who have no interest in the Word of God who have never read His Word with a sincere desire to understand its truths, be expected to sing with the spirit and the understanding? How can their hearts be in harmony with the words of sacred song? How can the heavenly choir join in music that is only a form?
Ev pg. 640
I see that great reformation must take place in the ministry before it shall be what God would have it. Ministers in the desk have no license to behave like theatrical performers, assuming attitudes and expressions calculated for effect. They do not occupy the sacred desk as actors, but as teachers of solemn truths. There are also fanatical ministers, who, in attempting to preach Christ, storm, halloo, jump up and down, and pound the desk before them, as if this bodily exercise profited anything. Such antics lend no force to the truths uttered, but, on the contrary, disgust men and women of calm judgment and elevated views. It is the duty of men who give themselves to the ministry to leave all coarseness and boisterous conduct outside the desk at least.
Ev pg. 644
All the sang-froid, which is so common, the theatrical gestures, all lightness and trifling, all jesting and joking, must be seen by the one who wears Christ’s yoke to be “not convenient” –an offense to God and a denial of Christ. It unfits the mind for solid thought and solid labor. It makes men inefficient, superficial, and spiritually diseased. . . .
FE pg. 229
Whatever is done under the sanctified stimulus of Christian obligation, because you are stewards in trust of talents to use to be a blessing to yourself and to others, gives you substantial satisfaction; for all is done to the glory of God. I cannot find an instance in the life of Christ where He devoted time to play and amusement. He was the great Educator for the present and the future life. I have not been able to find one instance where He educated His disciples to engage in amusement of football or pugilistic games, to obtain physical exercise, or in theatrical performances; and yet Christ was our pattern in all things. Christ, the world’s Redeemer, gave to every man his work and bids them “occupy till I come.” And in doing His work, the heart warms to such an enterprise, and all the powers of the soul are enlisted in a work assigned of the Lord and Master. It is a high and important work. The Christian teacher and student are enabled to become stewards of the grace of Christ, and be always in earnest.
GW15 pg. 132
The minister of Christ should be a man of prayer, a man of piety; cheerful, but never coarse and rough, jesting or frivolous. A spirit of frivolity may be in keeping with the profession of clowns and theatrical performers, but it is altogether beneath the dignity of a man who is chosen to stand between the living and the dead, and to be a mouthpiece for God.
Te pg. 240
Great care should be taken to make the temperance meetings as elevated and ennobling as possible. Avoid a surface work and everything of a theatrical character. Those who realize the solemn character of this work will keep the standard high. But there is a class who have no real respect for the cause of temperance; their only concern is to show off their smartness upon the stage. The pure, the thoughtful, and those who understand the object of the work, should be encouraged to labor in these great branches of reform. They may not be intellectually great, but if pure and humble, God-fearing and true, the Lord will accept their labors.
TDG pg. 359
Let there be no oddities or eccentricities of movement on the part of those who speak the Word of truth, for such things will weaken the impression that should be made by the Word. We must be guarded, for Satan is determined, if possible, to intermingle with religious services his evil influence. Let there be no theatrical display, for this will not help to strengthen belief in the Word of God. Rather it will divert attention to the human instrument. . . .
God has committed to my care children, not to train for worldly amusement, but for Heaven; and it is my duty to place them in the best possible conditions to understand their duty to God, and to become heirs of immortality. It is impossible for me to be guiltless if I place them in the way of temptation, where there is danger of their being thrown into every class of society, and being corrupted by surrounding influences. There is enough frivolity existing all around us, having a tendency to discourage serious impressions, and to put God out of the mind. Thousands of youth have bid fair to be an honor to their parents, and useful members in society, who have in an evil hour yielded to the Tempter who came in the form of a professed friend, and for the first time broke over the barrier to their conscience and attended the theater, to see and hear the performance of some celebrated actor. Everything fascinates them–their imagination is lively–their senses, their hearts, are carried away captive–they are intoxicated with excitement. They leave the theater; but their imagination continues to dwell upon the scenes they have witnessed, and they are anxious to go again, and again. They acquire a passion to witness theatrical performances. At times they may be convicted that card playing and attending theaters are not having a beneficial influence upon their health and morals; yet they do not possess sufficient fortitude and independence to tear away from these exciting pleasures. They may strengthen themselves with the thought that physicians have not only attended theaters themselves, but have recommended others to do so, and these physicians were Christians. They thus stifle conscience with the example of worldly, pleasure loving, professed Christians. They have learned to play cards, considering it an innocent amusement. In attending the theater they place themselves in the most dangerous company, and are exposed to the deceptive, fascinating charms of the gambler, the sensualist, and that class of females “whose steps take hold on hell.” They yield to temptation, and continue their downward course until their consciences become seared, and they will not hesitate to degrade themselves by any vice.
In the discourses, let nothing of a theatrical nature be introduced, no sharp thrusts given. We can not expect that eyes that have been blind will be at once opened to see all things clearly. Let labor be put forth wisely for those who are interested. Show those who have seen the truth, how to experience its power in their hearts. Thus the truth imparted will be as a nail driven in a sure place. Many are ignorant of vital godliness–of truth in the life-practice. On the part of these uninstructed ones, there must be a practical reception of Bible truth. The Lord will work with power upon the hearts of all who seek him and who prayerfully study his Word.
Church-members expend their Lord’s money in various forms of self-indulgence, and when means are needed to sustain the church, a fair, a theatrical entertainment, or a grand supper is given. Thus professed Christians unite with worldlings in mirth and frivolity, feasting and display– sometimes, far worse, in practices which in a slightly different form are denounced as crimes by the laws of the land. And all this to obtain means from those who have no interest in religion, and who are actuated only by a desire for sensual gratification! Is not this base idolatry?
We tremble for the youth of our day, because of the example that is given them by those who profess to be Christians. We cannot close the door of temptation to the youth, but we can educate them that their words and their actions may have a direct bearing upon their future happiness or misery. They will be exposed to temptation. They will meet foes without and foes within, but they can be instructed to stand firm in their integrity, having moral principle to resist temptation. The lessons given our youth by world-loving professors are doing great harm. The festal gatherings, the gluttonous feasts, the lotteries, tableaux, and theatrical performances, are doing a great work that will bear a record with its burden of results to the Judgment.
Those who have a careless, clownish manner, either in the family or in society, dishonor their divine Lord. Even ministers have thus misrepresented Christ, when in the pulpit they have made a display of theatrical actions and eccentric manners. This is not of God. Eccentricities are sometimes looked upon as virtues by men, but they do not aid in representing Christ. Careless attitudes and irreverent expressions may serve to please men of unrefined tastes, anecdotes may amuse, but the minister who seeks to cater to such tastes has a meager appreciation of the dignity, simplicity, goodness, and loveliness of the character of the divine Lord.
PH100 pg. 68
Various entertainments, some of them of a theatrical character, have been introduced into the Sanitarium for the benefit of the patients. These amusements, which are similar to those in vogue at other health institutions, too often take the place of religion and devotion. And they are necessarily attended with extra care and expense; but this is a small consideration when compared with the loss to spirituality and true religion integrity.
9MR pg. 387
Those who make use of devices that are theatrical in nature, to hold the attention of the people, lose the realization of the presence of Christ. Those who use so much time in preparing for their meetings, depending to a large extent on outward appearance to impress the people, give Jesus no opportunity to work on hearts. They mingle the common with the sacred. . . .
Let Elder [E. E.] Franke begin to lay a different foundation for his work, not depending so much on outward display and expensive preparation to call the people out to hear the truth. Brother Franke, thus yourself and your family are brought in, and God is left out. The creature is put before the Creator. The appetite of the people for a theatrical style of preaching may be satisfied, but the effects made have not saving results. Outward display, expensive arrangements, do not give the people the education in gospel missionary work that the Lord desires them to receive. These things work against the truth, hindering instead of advancing it; for the truth is mingled with common, worldly methods. God’s money is not to be expended in this way. . . .
MR926 pg. 60
I told Fannie Bolton that it had nearly cost me my life to connect with her, and if I had another one united with her and the two to handle, I should soon be buried. No, I am entirely separated from Fannie. Never while time lasts will another article of mine pass into her hands. She has sought to betray me, to turn traitor, to say things that leave untrue impressions upon minds. She has educated herself in theatrical methods, and can act out to life in apparent sincerity a thing that is false.
Fannie herself, notwithstanding the deception she was practicing, though she had, as she thought, deceived me for nearly one year, had the presumption to tell me that in her work of giving Bible readings, her words were inspired. She would tell how the ones she was talking with were wonderfully affected, and would turn pale. The strange part of the matter is that our own people are so ready to accept theatrical demonstrations as the inspiration of the Spirit of God. And I am more surprised, under the circumstances that they should encourage her to connect with sacred things.
MR926 pg. 96
Something is being sent to you in regard to Fannie Bolton. You need to say to all our people that she is not the Lord’s messenger, and she should in no way be encouraged. She would mingle the theatrical with her spiritual actions, that would not elevate, but degrade the cause of God. She is a farce. I have several copies of letters in her own handwriting, confessions, which I cannot possibly get copied. They must not go out of my hands until they are copied. Caldwell took a testimony from her hands that related to them both, and burned it up, and then told her she need not worry any more about [it]; she nor Sister White would ever see it again. Then he was pressed by me for the Testimony. Caldwell said he would bring it to me, and then said he could not find it; and then when I told him I knew what he had done with it, he said he must have burned it with some of his letters he did not care to keep; and then afterward he confessed his falsehoods, and said he burnt it designedly. Well, I have quite a large amount of letters concerning this matter between Fannie and me. If it needs to be all exposed before the people will be undeceived, I will send these letters after they are copied. But tell our people I do not want to expose Fannie, unless I am obliged to do this to save the cause of God from being corrupted.
The true Christian will not desire to enter any place of amusement or engage in any diversion upon which he cannot ask the blessing of God. He will not be found at the theater, the billiard hall, or the bowling saloon. He will not unite with the gay waltzers, or indulge in any other bewitching pleasure that will banish Christ from the mind. To those who plead for these diversions, we answer, We cannot indulge in them in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. The blessing of God would not be invoked upon the hour spent at the theater or in the dance. No Christian would wish to meet death in such a place. No one would wish to be found there when Christ shall come. When we come to the final hour, and stand face to face with the record of our lives, shall we regret that we have attended so few parties of pleasure? that we have participated in so few scenes of thoughtless mirth? Shall we not, rather, bitterly regret that so many precious hours have been wasted in self-gratification,–so many opportunities neglected, which, rightly improved, would have secured for us immortal treasures?
Ev pg. 644
What is the object of the ministry? Is it to mix the comical with the religious? The theater is the place for such exhibitions. If Christ is formed within, if the truth with its sanctifying power is brought into the inner sanctuary of the soul, you will not have jolly men, neither will you have sour, cross, crabbed men to teach the precious lessons of Christ to perishing souls.–
Te pg. 252
God’s people are to be of a ready mind, quick to see and to avail themselves of every opportunity to advance the Lord’s cause. They have a message to bear. By pen and voice they are to sound the note of warning. Only a few will listen; only a few will have ears to hear. Satan has artfully devised many ways of keeping men and women under his influence. He leads them to weaken their organs by the gratification of perverted appetite and by indulgence in worldly pleasure. Intoxicating liquor, tobacco, the theater and the racecourse,–these and many other evils are benumbing man’s sensibilities, and causing multitudes to turn a deaf ear to God’s merciful entreaties.
And those also who are dead in trespasses and sins demand our service. The man who is wholly absorbed in his countingroom, the man who finds pleasure at the gaming table, the man who loves to indulge perverted appetite, the frequenter of the theater and the ballroom, put eternity out of their reckoning. The whole burden of their life is, What shall we eat? what shall we drink? and wherewithal shall we be clothed? They are not in the procession that is moving heavenward. They are led by the great apostate, and if they continue in this path, they will with him be destroyed. All around us are souls perishing in their sins. Every year thousands upon thousands are dying without God and without hope of eternal life. The plagues and judgments of God are in the earth, and souls are going to ruin because the light of truth has not been flashed upon their pathway.
Let us strive to help those connected with us. To this work let us devote our tact and ingenuity. Let us reach higher and still higher for purity and devotion, our hearts filled with a desire to know the will of God. Let us consecrate our all to the service of humanity. We shall receive our reward in the future life. Reveal the living charm of the Saviour’s love. Represent Christ by revealing faith and hope and love. In short, copy the Pattern. Let your light shine forth in good works. Christians have no need or desire for the billiard table, the theater, the dancing hall, or the many other forms of worldly diversion. A Christian does nothing which he can not do to the glory of God, upon which he can not ask the Lord’s blessing.
21MR pg. 243
Another minister seeks to please his congregation, and tells them [that] young people must have pleasure; it is no harm to go to the theater and attend parties of pleasure and to dance, for Jesus attended a wedding feast. All this is in keeping with the theory that you are not saved by good works but by Christ and Christ alone. The ministers tell the congregations they cannot keep the law; no man ever kept it or ever can keep it. What a theory! The wise and good God presents to His people a law that is to govern their actions which it is impossible for them to observe! What a character to give our heavenly Father, who so loved man that in order to save him He did not withhold His only Son, but gave Him up for us all! How much more, says the inspired apostle, will He not with Him freely give us all things?
Ed pg. 233
An important element in educational work is enthusiasm. On this point there is a useful suggestion in a remark once made by a celebrated actor. The archbishop of Canterbury had put to him the question why actors in a play affect their audiences so powerfully by speaking of things imaginary, while ministers of the gospel often affect theirs so little by speaking of things real. “With due submission to your grace,” replied the actor, “permit me to say that the reason is plain: It lies in the power of enthusiasm. We on the stage speak of things imaginary as if they were real, and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.”