The Source of True Happiness
There are persons with a diseased imagination to whom religion is a tyrant, ruling them as with a rod of iron. Such are constantly mourning over their depravity and groaning over supposed evil. Love does not exist in their hearts; a frown is ever upon their countenances. They are chilled with the innocent laugh from the youth or from anyone. They consider all recreation or amusement a sin and think that the mind must be constantly wrought up to just such a stern, severe pitch. This is one extreme.
Others think that the mind must be ever on the stretch to invent new amusements and diversions in order to gain health. They learn to depend on excitement, and are uneasy without it. Such are not true Christians. They go to another extreme.
The true principles of Christianity open before all a source of happiness, the height and depth, the length and breadth of which are immeasurable. It is Christ in us a well of water springing up into everlasting life. It is a continual wellspring from which the Christian can drink at will and never exhaust the fountain.
Zeal Which Quickly Fades — We are not to encourage a spirit of enthusiasm that brings zeal for a while but soon fades away, leaving discouragement and depression. We need the Bread of life that comes down from heaven to give life to the soul. All who labor in the vineyard of the Lord must learn that feeling is not faith. To be always in a state of elevation is not required. But it is required that we have firm faith in the Word of God as the flesh and blood of Christ.
Neither Cold Orthodoxy Nor Careless Liberalism — The progress of reform depends upon a clear recognition of fundamental truth. While, on the one hand, danger lurks in a narrow philosophy and a hard, cold orthodoxy, on the other hand there is great danger in a careless liberalism. The foundation of all enduring reform is the law of God. We are to present in clear, distinct lines the need of obeying this law. Its principles must be kept before the people. They are as everlasting and inexorable as God Himself.
Well-balanced Minds Needed
Much is said in the Epistles of being sound in the faith. This should teach us the necessity of caution. We must not weave into our experience our own inclinations and strong traits of character. This will misrepresent the precious, elevating, ennobling principles of truth and lead others astray. Soundness in the faith means more than many discern. It means to correct every error that exists in our thoughts and actions, lest we corrupt the Word of God.
There are needed for this time well-balanced minds, healthy, wholesome Christians. Many of those who profess Christ have a sickly experience. They cannot bear anything unfavorable. They lose heart if they think they are in any way slighted or hurt, if their brethren have not been as tender with them as they think they should be. The Great Physician would, by His infinite skill, restore them to sound moral health; but the patient refuses to take the prescription He offers. These persons may apply the word of God to their case for a short time, but they do not become doers of that Word. They soon come under influences which suit their natural tastes and counteract all they have gained.
All Faculties to Be Cultivated
If certain faculties are used to the neglect of others, the design of God is not fully carried out in us, for all the faculties have a bearing and are dependent, in a great measure, upon one another. One cannot be effectually used without the operation of all, that the balance may be carefully preserved. If all the attention and strength are given to one, while others lie dormant, the development is strong in that one and will lead to extremes, because all the powers have not been cultivated. Some minds are dwarfed and not properly balanced. All minds are not naturally constituted alike. We have varied minds; some are strong upon certain points and very weak upon others. These deficiencies, so apparent, need not and should not exist.
If those who possess them would strengthen the weak points in their character by cultivation and exercise, they would become strong.
Call All Powers of Mind Into Use
All the powers of the mind should be called into use and developed in order for men and women to have well-balanced minds. The world is full of one-sided men and women who have become such because one set of their faculties was cultivated while others were dwarfed form inaction.
The education of most youth is a failure. They overstudy, while they neglect that which pertains to practical business life. Men and women become parents without considering their responsibilities, and their offspring sink lower in the scale of human deficiency than they themselves. Thus the race is fast degenerating.
The constant application to study, is unfitting youth for practical life. The human mind will have action. If it is not active in the right direction, it will be active in the wrong. In order to preserve the balance of the mind, labor and study should be united in the schools.
Means of Improvement Within Reach of All — Young men are wanted who are men of understanding, who appreciate the intellectual faculties that God has given them and cultivate them with the utmost care. Exercise enlarges these faculties, and if heart-culture is not neglected, the character will be well-balanced. The means of improvement are within the reach of all. Then let none disappoint the Master, when He comes seeking for fruit, by presenting nothing but leaves. A resolute purpose, sanctified by the grace of Christ, will do wonders.