Mind, Character and Personality/Mind, the Citadel
The Capital of the Body—Every organ of the body was made to be servant to the mind. The mind is the capital of the body.—Testimonies for the Church 3:136 (1872).
The mind controls the whole man. All our actions, good or bad, have their source in the mind. It is the mind that worships God and allies us to heavenly beings. Yet many spend all their lives without becoming intelligent in regard to the casket [jewel case] that contains this treasure.— Special Testimonies On Education, May 11, 1896, 33. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 426.)
Brain Controls the Body—There are many invalids today who will ever remain so because they cannot be convinced that their experience is not reliable. The brain is the capital of the body, the seat of all the nervous forces and of mental action. The nerves proceeding from the brain control the body. By the brain nerves, mental impressions are conveyed to all the nerves of the body as by telegraph wires, and they control the vital action of every part of the system. All the organs of motion are governed by the communications they receive from the brain.—Testimonies for the Church 3:69 (1872). (p.73)
The brain nerves which communicate with the entire system are the only medium through which Heaven can communicate to man and affect his inmost life.—Testimonies for the Church 2:347 (1870).
Satan Strikes at the Perceptive Faculties [See chapter 35, “The Influence of Perception.”]—Satan comes to man with his temptations as an angel of light, as he came to Christ. He has been working to bring man into a condition of physical and moral weakness that he may overcome him with his temptations and then triumph over his ruin. And he has been successful in tempting man to indulge appetite, regardless of the result. He well knows that it is impossible for man to discharge his obligations to God and to his fellowmen while he impairs the faculties God has given him. The brain is the capital of the body. If the perceptive faculties become benumbed through intemperance of any kind, eternal things are not discerned.—The Review and Herald, September 8, 1874. (Messages to Young People, 236.)
The Tyranny of Custom—The strength or the weakness of the mind has very much to do with our usefulness in this world and with our final salvation. The ignorance that has prevailed in regard to God’s law in our physical nature is deplorable. Intemperance of any kind is a violation of the laws of our being. Imbecility is prevailing to a fearful extent. Sin is made attractive by the covering of light which Satan throws over it, and he is well pleased when he can hold the Christian world in their daily habits under the tyranny of custom, like the heathen, and allow appetite to govern them.—The Review and Herald, September 8, 1874. (Messages to Young People, 237.)
Guarding the Citadel—All should feel the necessity of keeping the moral nature braced by constant watchfulness. Like faithful sentinels, they should guard the citadel of the soul, never feeling that they may relax their vigilance for a moment.— Testimony for the Physicians and Helpers of the Sanitarium, 1879, 65. (Counsels on Health, 411.) (p.74)
The Mind Rightly Trained Wavers Not—The mind must be trained through daily tests to habits of fidelity, to a sense of the claims of right and duty above inclination and pleasure. Minds thus trained do not waver between right and wrong, as the reed trembles in the wind; but as soon as matters come before them, they discern at once that principle is involved, and they instinctively choose the right without long debating the matter. They are loyal because they have trained themselves in habits of faithfulness and truth.—Testimonies for the Church 3:22 (1872).
The Unguarded Citadel—By beholding we become changed. Though formed in the image of his Maker, man can so educate his mind that sin which he once loathed will become pleasant to him. As he ceases to watch and pray, he ceases to guard the citadel, the heart, and engages in sin and crime. The mind is debased, and it is impossible to elevate it from corruption while it is being educated to enslave the moral and intellectual powers and bring them in subjection to grosser passions. Constant war against the carnal mind must be maintained; and we must be aided by the refining influence of the grace of God, which will attract the mind upward and habituate it to meditate upon pure and holy things.—Testimonies for the Church 2:479 (1870).
Source of the Issues of Life or Death—“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). The heart is the citadel of the man. From it are the issues of life or death. Until the heart is purified, a person is unfit to have any part in the fellowship of the saints. Does not the Heart Searcher know who are lingering in sin, regardless of their souls? Has there not been a witness to the most secret things in the life of everyone?
I was compelled to hear the words spoken by some men to women and girls—words of flattery, words that would deceive and infatuate. Satan uses all these means to destroy souls. Some of you may thus have been his agents; and if so, you will have to meet these things in the judgment. (p.75) The angel said of this class. “Their hearts have never been given to God. Christ is not in them. Truth is not there. Its place is occupied by sin, deception, and falsehood. The Word of God is not believed and acted upon.”—Testimonies for the Church 5:536, 537 (1889).
Ease, Self-indulgence, Security—Traitors Within the Walls—It was when the Israelites were in a condition of outward ease and security that they were led into sin. They failed to keep God ever before them, they neglected prayer and cherished a spirit of self-confidence. Ease and self-indulgence left the citadel of the soul unguarded, and debasing thoughts found entrance. It was the traitors within the walls that overthrew the strongholds of principle and betrayed Israel into the power of Satan.
It is thus that Satan still seeks to compass the ruin of the soul. A long preparatory process, unknown to the world, goes on in the heart before the Christian commits open sin. The mind does not come down at once from purity and holiness to depravity, corruption, and crime. It takes time to degrade those formed in the image of God to the brutal or the satanic. By beholding we become changed. By the indulgence of impure thoughts man can so educate his mind that sin which he once loathed will become pleasant to him.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 459 (1890).
Tobacco Benumbs the Sensibilities—Tobacco, in whatever form it is used, tells upon the constitution. It is a slow poison. It affects the brain and benumbs the sensibilities so that the mind cannot clearly discern spiritual things, especially those truths which would have a tendency to correct this filthy indulgence.
Those who use tobacco in any form are not clear before God. In such a filthy practice it is impossible for them to glorify God in their bodies and spirits, which are His. And while they are using slow and sure poisons, which are ruining their health and debasing the faculties of the mind, God cannot approbate them. He may be merciful to them (p.76) while they indulge in this pernicious habit in ignorance of the injury it is doing them, but when the matter is set before them in its true light, then they are guilty before God if they continue to indulge this gross appetite.—Spiritual Gifts, 4a:126 (1864).
Slaves to Alcohol and Drugs—On every side Satan seeks to entice the youth into the path of perdition; and if he can once get their feet set in the way, he hurries them on in their downward course, leading them from one dissipation to another, until his victims lose their tenderness of conscience and have no more the fear of God before their eyes. They exercise less and less self-restraint. They become addicted to the use of wine and alcohol, tobacco and opium, and go from one stage of debasement to another. They are slaves to appetite. Counsel which they once respected, they learn to despise. They put on swaggering airs and boast of liberty when they are the servants of corruption. They mean by liberty that they are slaves to selfishness, debased appetite, and licentiousness.—The Signs of the Times, June 22, 1891. (Temperance, 273, 274.)
Satan’s Weapons—The indulgence of fleshly lusts wars against the soul. The apostle in the most impressive manner, addresses Christians, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Romans 12:1). If the body is saturated with liquor and the defilement of tobacco, it is not holy and acceptable to God. Satan knows that it cannot be, and for this reason he brings his temptations to bear upon men upon the point of appetite, that he may bring them into bondage to this propensity and thus work their ruin.—The Review and Herald, September 8, 1874.
The Deciding Factor of Passion and Appetite—If men and women of intelligence have their moral powers benumbed through intemperance of any kind, they are, in many of their habits, elevated but little above the heathen. (p.77) Satan is constantly drawing the people from saving light to custom and fashion, irrespective of physical, mental, and moral health. The great enemy knows that if appetite and passion predominate, health of body and strength of intellect are sacrificed upon the altar of self-gratification, and man is brought to speedy ruin. If enlightened intellect holds the reins, controlling the animal propensities, keeping them in subjection to the moral powers, Satan well knows that his power to overcome with his temptations is very small.—The Review and Herald, September 8, 1874. (Messages to Young People, 237.)
What Might Have Been—If parents in past generations had, with firmness of purpose, kept the body servant to the mind and had not allowed the intellectual to be enslaved by animal passions, there would be in this age a different order of beings upon the earth.—Healthful Living, 38, 1865 (Part 2). (Selected Messages 2:431, 432.)
Choice of Mind or Body Control—Every student needs to understand the relation between plain living and high thinking. It rests with us individually to decide whether our lives shall be controlled by the mind or by the body. The youth must, each for himself, make the choice that shapes his life; and no pains should be spared that he may understand the forces with which he has to deal and the influences which mold character and destiny.—Education, 202 (1903).
Teach the People—Present before the people the need of resisting the temptation to indulge appetite. This is where many are failing. Explain how closely body and mind are related and show the need of keeping both in the very best condition.— Circular Letter to Physicians and Evangelists, 1910. (Counsels on Health, 543.)