The Only Safety
Isn’t it a sad thing, friends, that most all the pleasures of this world (that the people of this world enjoy) are simply illusions? The things they do to make them happy are for the purpose of an escape from reality. If they go to a movie, what do they see on the screen? Truth or fiction? Fiction. They go out into an unreal world, a dream world, to forget their troubles. But when they get home, the dishes are still in the sink, aren’t they? They may bury themselves in the pages of a novel, but when they get through, life with its stark realities stares them in the face.
Oh, my friends, to learn that life with God in its reality is beautiful, and that the illusions, the delusions, of the devil are nothing for us – they are worse than nothing – to learn that clear through every phase of life!
Now, take this matter of literature. I want to direct your attention to a wonderful chapter here in this book Ministry of Healing, beginning on page 439. You remember that we read that man’s words, if of any value, echo the Words of God. The devil knows that, so here it says:
The master mind in the confederacy of evil is ever working to keep out of sight the words of God, and to bring into view the opinions of men. – Ministry of Healing, pg. 439
What is the devil trying to hide? He is trying to hide the Words of God. He doesn’t want people to read what God says or to listen to what God says, so he seeks to bring into view what? The opinions of men. The name of this chapter is “The False and the True in Education.” I would like to have you read this chapter, and notice the description of item after item in the devil’s menu. Infidel authors are mentioned on page 448. Then over on page 443 the classics, 444 sensational literature, 445 romance and high-class fiction, 446 myths and fairy tales. And as through every one of the 66 books of the Bible runs the golden thread of truth, so through all these classes of literature that satan is sponsoring runs the scarlet thread of falsehood.
Some are more false than others, but never think, my friends, that a dish is more dangerous that has more poison in it. If your worst enemy was trying to poison you, he wouldn’t try to get you to drink something that was 90% poison and only 10% something good, would he? No, you would probably what? Refuse it. Some of the most dangerous literature in this world is that which is nearly all truth. And that is true in every phase of life.
As you read through this wonderful chapter, you will find that God has a cure for the lover of fiction, the one that likes to read novels, story books, romance, all that. There is a cure:
It is often urged that in order to win the youth from sensational or worthless literature, we should supply them with a better class of fiction. This is like trying to cure the drunkard by giving him, in the place of whiskey or brandy, the milder intoxicants, such as wine, beer, or cider. The use of these would continually foster the appetite for stronger stimulants. The only safety for the inebriate, and the only safeguard for the temperate man, is total abstinence. For the lover of fiction the same rule holds true. Total abstinence is his only safety. – Ministry of Healing, pg. 446
And with that agrees Volume 2:
The world is flooded with novels of every description. Some are not as dangerous as others … but all are pernicious in their influence. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 2, pg. 236
In other words, no lie is of the truth. Well, somebody says, “What about religious novels? What about a book on the life of Christ that is written in a fiction form?” Well, let’s see. Would you think that God would take pure grape juice and fermented wine and mix them up together and give them to people? Would you think that? Why, no. And it is through the Spirit of Prophecy we have this wonderful statement:
Parents, do not encourage your children to read literature that will be no help to them spiritually. Do not encourage them to read the story of the life of Christ in the form of a novel.
I haven’t been drunk with whiskey or wine or beer. I have never tasted it. But I know what it is to be drunk with what we are studying about right now. I have experienced that. When I was 12 years old, I read a religious novel. It was a Seventh-day Adventist novel on the life of Christ. My dear friends, it made me drunk. My father and mother had a hard time with me when I was reading that book. I wasn’t interested in work or study. I was interested in that book, because I wanted to see what was in the next chapter and the next chapter and the next chapter. To learn more about Jesus that the book was supposed to be about? Oh, no. To see how that thrilling story was going to come out.
It had nothing to do with what was written in the Bible. Oh, the same names were there. John and Mary were there, and Peter, and all these people in the Bible, and some other people that the Bible says nothing about, all mixed together in one great fermentative mass of truth and fiction. But friends, it made me drunk. I am so glad I have learned a better way. I want the truth. As Ministry of Healing, page 447, says, we have an abundance of that which is real, that which is divine, so we don’t need to go to polluted fountains.
One of the great novel writers, fiction writers, of the past generation was Joseph Conrad. You will find his name in the books on English literature. But listen to what he wrote at the end of his life, my friends, after having written many, many books of fiction which the world acclaims as wonderful. This is what he, the novelist, said:
“It is a fool’s business to write fiction for a living. It is indeed. It is strange. The unreality of it seems to enter one’s real life, penetrate into the bones, make the very heart-beats pulsate illusions through the arteries. One’s will becomes the slave of hallucinations – a strange state, a kind of fiery trial of untruthfulness. And one goes through it with an exaltation as false as all the rest of it. One goes through it, and there is nothing to show at the end. Nothing, nothing, nothing.” – Joseph Conrad
Oh, my friends, what a life, what a death. Thank God for something better than all that illusion and delusion. Whether in literature or in any other phase of life, we want the real, the true, the beautiful. And you remember in that matchless presentation of love in 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle says about love:
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. – 1 Corinthians 13:6
Can you find joy in truth? Well, God is going to give you an eternity of it, if you like the taste of it that you get here in this world.
You may have all this world, but give me the Truth – Give me Jesus!
We’ll see you (and your invited guest) as we continue in our search for God’s beautiful Truth – God’s beautiful Way!
Did you know that we have more online classes available (and posted daily)?
- Country Living
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- The Christian Home
- Child Guidance
- Army of Youth
- The School of Health
- Other Present Truth Studies
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.