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Mind, Character and Personality, volume 2

Chapter 44

Laws Governing the Mind

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Man Created With Perfectly Balanced Mind.-The Lord made man upright in the beginning. He was created with a perfectly balanced mind, the size and strength of all its organs being perfectly developed. Adam was a perfect type of man. Every quality of mind was well proportioned, each having a distinctive office, and yet all dependent one upon another for the full and proper use of any one of them.-Testimonies for the Church 3:72 (1872).

Creator Ordained Laws of the Mind.-He who created the mind and ordained its laws provided for its development in accordance with them.-Education, 41 (1903).

God's Great Laws.-There are great laws that govern the world of nature, and spiritual things are controlled by principles equally certain. The means for an end must be employed if the desired results are to be attained. God has appointed to every man his work according to his ability. It is by education and practice that persons are to be qualified to meet any emergency which may arise, and wise planning is needed to place each one in his proper sphere that he may obtain an experience that will fit him to bear responsibility.-Testimonies for the Church 9:221, 222 (1909).

Transgression of Nature's Laws Is Sin.-A continual transgression of nature's laws is a continual transgression of the law of God. The present weight of suffering and anguish which we see everywhere, the present deformity, decrepitude, disease, and imbecility now flooding the world, make it, in comparison to what it might be and what God designed it should be, a lazar house; and the present generation are feeble in mental, moral, and physical power. All this misery has accumulated from generation to generation because fallen man will break the law of God. Sins of the greatest magnitude are committed through the indulgence of perverted appetite.-Testimonies for the Church 4:30 (1876).

Transgression Breaks Harmony.-The same power that upholds nature is working also in man. The same great laws that guide alike the star and the atom control human life. The laws that govern the heart's action, regulating the flow of the current of life to the body, are the laws of the mighty Intelligence that has the jurisdiction of the soul. From Him all life proceeds. Only in harmony with Him can be found its true sphere of action. For all the objects of His creation the condition is the same-a life sustained by receiving the life of God, a life exercised in harmony with the Creator's will. To transgress His law-physical, mental, or moral-is to place oneself out or harmony with the universe, to introduce discord, anarchy, ruin.-Education, 99, 100 (1903).

Effect Follows Cause With Certainty.-By the laws of God in nature, effect follows cause with unvarying certainty. The reaping testifies to the sowing. Here no pretense is tolerated. Men may deceive their fellowmen and may receive praise and compensation for service which they have not rendered. But in nature there can be no deception. On the unfaithful husbandman the harvest passes sentence of condemnation. And in the highest sense this is true also in the spiritual realm.

It is in appearance, not in reality, that evil succeeds. The child who plays truant from school, the youth who is slothful in his studies, the clerk or apprentice who fails of serving the interests of his employer, the man in any business or profession who is untrue to his highest responsibilities, may flatter himself that, so long as the wrong is concealed, he is gaining an advantage. But not so; he is cheating himself. The harvest of life is character, and it is this that determines destiny, both for this life and for the life to come.-Education, 108, 109 (1903).

Power of Self-deception.-Fearful is the power of self-deception on the human mind!-Testimonies for the Church 4:88 (1876).

Mind Has Power to Discriminate.-The human mind is endowed with power to discriminate between right and wrong. God designs that men shall not decide from impulse, but from weight of evidence, carefully comparing scripture with scripture. Had the Jews laid by their prejudice and compared written prophecy with the facts characterizing the life of Jesus, they would have perceived a beautiful harmony between the prophecies and their fulfillment in the life and ministry of the lowly Galilean.-The Desire of Ages, 458 (1898).

Disciplined Minds Have Increased Powers of Retention.-Habits of negligence should be resolutely overcome. Many think it a sufficient excuse for the grossest errors to plead forgetfulness. But do they not, as well as others, possess intellectual faculties? Then they should discipline their minds to be retentive. It is a sin to forget, a sin to be negligent. If you form a habit of negligence, you may neglect your own soul's salvation and at last find that you are unready for the kingdom of God.-Christ's Object Lessons, 358, 359 (1900).

Minds Adapts to Dimensions of the Familiar.-It is a law of the mind that it will narrow or expand to the dimensions of the things with which it becomes familiar. The mental powers will surely become contracted and will lose their ability to grasp the deep meanings of the Word of God unless they are put vigorously and persistently to the task of searching for truth.-The Review and Herald, July 17, 1888. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 127).

Mind Adapts to That Upon Which It Dwells.-It is a law of the mind that it gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is trained to dwell. If occupied with commonplace matters only, it will become dwarfed and enfeebled. If never required to grapple with difficult problems, it will after a time almost lose the power of growth.

As an educating power, the Bible is without a rival. In the Word of God the mind finds subject for the deepest thought, the loftiest aspiration. The Bible is the most instructive history that men possess. It came fresh from the fountain of eternal truth, and a divine hand has preserved its purity through all the ages

Here the great problems of duty and destiny are unfolded. The curtain that separates the visible from the invisible world is lifted, and we behold the conflict of the opposing forces of good and evil, from the first entrance of sin to the final triumph of righteousness and truth; and all is but a revelation of the character of God. In the reverent contemplation of the truths presented in His Word, the mind of the student is brought into communion with the infinite mind. Such a study will not only refine and ennoble the character, but it cannot fail to expand and invigorate the mental powers.-Patriarchs and Prophets, 596-599 (1890).

By Beholding We Become Changed.-It is a law both of the intellectual and the spiritual nature that by beholding we become changed. The mind gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is allowed to dwell. It becomes assimilated to that which it is accustomed to love and reverence. Man will never rise higher than his standard of purity or goodness or truth. If self is his loftiest ideal, he will never attain to anything more exalted. Rather, he will constantly sink lower and lower. The grace of God alone has power to exalt man. Left to himself, his course must inevitably be downward.-The Great Controversy, 555 (1888).

The Law of Substitute Desire.-Great harm is done by a lack of firmness and decision. I have known parents to say, You cannot have this or that, and then relent, thinking that they may be too strict, and give the child the very thing they at first refused. A lifelong injury is thus inflicted. It is an important law of the mind-one which should not be overlooked-that when a desired object is so firmly denied as to remove all hope, the mind will soon cease to long for it and will be occupied in other pursuits. But as long as there is any hope of gaining the desired object, an effort will be made to obtain it.-The Signs of the Times, February 9, 1882. (Child Guidance, 283, 284.)

Convictions Seek Expression.-It is a law of God that whoever believes the truth as it is in Jesus will make it known. The ideas and convictions of the individual mind will seek for expression. Whoever cherishes unbelief and criticism, whoever feels capable of judging the work of the Holy Spirit, will diffuse the spirit by which he is animated. It is the nature of unbelief and infidelity and resistance of the grace of God to make themselves felt and heard. The mind actuated by these principles is always striving to make a place for itself and obtain adherents. All who walk by the side of an apostate will be imbued by his spirit to share with others their thoughts and the result of their own inquiries, and the feelings which prompted their action; for it is not an easy matter to repress the principles upon which we act.-SpT Series A, No. 6, p 39, July 6, 1896. (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 290, 291.)

Expression Strengthens Thoughts and Feelings.-It is a law of nature that our thoughts and feelings are encouraged and strengthened as we give them utterance. While words express thoughts, it is also true that thoughts follow words. If we would give more expression to our faith, rejoice more in the blessings that we know we have-the great mercy and love of God-we should have more faith and greater joy. No tongue can express, no finite mind can conceive, the blessing that results from appreciating the goodness and love of God. Even on earth we may have joy as a wellspring, never failing, because fed by the streams that flow from the throne of God.-The Ministry of Healing, 251-253 (1905).

Mind Has Power of Choice.-God has given us the power of choice; it is ours to exercise. We cannot change our hearts, we cannot control our thoughts, our impulses, our affections. We cannot make ourselves pure, fit for God's service. But we can choose to serve God, we can give Him our will; then He will work in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus our whole nature will be brought under the control of Christ.-The Ministry of Healing, 176 (1905).

The tempter can never compel us to do evil. He cannot control minds unless they are yielded to his control. The will must consent, faith must let go its hold upon Christ, before Satan can exercise his power upon us. But every sinful desire we cherish affords him a foothold. Every point in which we fail of meeting the divine standard is an open door by which he can enter to tempt and destroy us. And every failure or defeat on our part gives occasion for him to reproach Christ.-The Desire of Ages, 125 (1898).

Man a Free Moral Agent.-To stir up rebellion in the fallen race, he [Satan] now represented God as unjust in having permitted man to transgress His law. "Why," said the artful tempter, "when God knew what would be the result, did He permit man to be placed on trial, to sin, and bring in misery and death?"

There are thousands today echoing the same rebellious complaint against God. They do not see that to deprive man of the freedom of choice would be to rob him of his prerogative as an intelligent being and make him a mere automaton. It is not God's purpose to coerce the will. Man was created a free moral agent. Like the inhabitants of all other worlds, he must be subjected to the test of obedience; but he is never brought into such a position that yielding to evil becomes a matter of necessity. No temptation or trial is permitted to come to him which he is unable to resist. God made such ample provision that man need never have been defeated in the conflict with Satan.-Patriarchs and Prophets, 331, 332 (1890).

Present Affects Future Decisions.-Your entire future will be influenced for good or for evil by the path you now choose.-Lt 41, 1891.

Advantage of Leading to Self-dependence.-God never designed that one human mind should be under the complete control of another Those who make it their object to so educate their pupils that they may see and feel that the power lies in themselves to make men and women of firm principle, qualified for any position in life, are the most useful and permanently successful teachers. Their work may not show to the very best advantage to careless observers, and their labors may not be valued as highly as are those of the teacher who holds the minds and wills of his scholars by absolute authority; but the future lives of the pupils will show the fruits of the better plan of education.-Testimonies for the Church 3:134 (1872).

Uncontrolled Mind Becomes Weak.-The mental powers should be developed to the utmost; they should be strengthened and ennobled by dwelling upon spiritual truths. If the mind is allowed to run almost entirely upon trifling things and the common business of everyday life, it will, in accordance with one of its unvarying laws, become weak and frivolous, and deficient in spiritual power.-Testimonies for the Church 5:272 (1885).

Prejudice Bars Enlightenment.-Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the reception of truth cannot receive the divine enlightenment. Yet, when a view of Scripture is presented, many do not ask, Is it true-in harmony with God's word? but, By whom is it advocated? And unless it comes through the very channel that pleases them, they do not accept it. So thoroughly satisfied are they with their own ideas that they will not examine the Scripture evidence with a desire to learn, but refuse to be interested, merely because of their prejudices.-Gospel Workers, 125, 126 (1893). (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 105, 106.)

Happiness Depends Upon Perfect Accord With God's Laws.-The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all created beings depended upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness. God desires from all His creatures the service of love-homage that springs from an intelligent appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced allegiance, and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service.-The Great Controversy, 493 (1888).