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The Review and Herald Articles
for the Year 1857
(Vol. 11, #3)
At Monterey, Oct. 8th, 1857, I was shown in vision that the condition of many Sabbathkeepers was like the young man who came to Jesus to know what he should do to inherit eternal life.
"And behold, one came, and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
"And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God: but, if thou wilt enter into life, keep the Commandments.
"He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother; and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
"The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up; what lack I yet?
"Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
"But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
"When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matt. xix, 16-26.
Jesus quoted five of the last six commandments to the young man, also the second great commandment on which the last six commandments hang. These mentioned, he thought he had kept. Jesus did not mention the first four commandments, containing our duty to God. In answer to the inquiry of the young man, What lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven."
Here was his lack. He failed of keeping the first four commandments, also the last six. He failed of loving his neighbor as himself. Said Jesus, "Give to the poor." Jesus touches his possessions. "Sell that thou hast, and give to the poor." In this direct reference he pointed out his idol. His love of riches was supreme, therefore it was impossible for him to love God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his mind. And this supreme love for his riches shut his eyes to the wants of his fellow men. He did not love his neighbor as himself, therefore he failed to keep the last six commandments. His heart is on his treasure. It is swallowed up with his earthly possessions. He loves his possessions better than God, better than the heavenly treasure. He heard the conditions from the mouth of Jesus. If he would sell and give to the poor, he should have treasure in heaven. Here was a test of how much higher he prized eternal life than his riches. Did he eagerly lay hold of the prospect of eternal life? Did he earnestly strive to remove the obstacle that was in his way of having a treasure in heaven? O, no, "he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions."
I was pointed to these words, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Said Jesus, "with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Said the angel. "Will God permit the rich men to keep their riches, and yet they enter into the kingdom of God?" Said another angel, "No, never."
I saw that it was God's plan that these riches should be used properly, and distributed to bless the needy, and to advance the work of God. I saw that if men love their riches better than their fellow men, better than God, or the truth of his word, and their hearts are on their riches, they cannot have eternal life. They would rather yield the truth, than sell and give to the poor. Here they are proved to see how much God is loved, how much the truth is loved, and like the young man in the Bible, many go away sorrowful, because they cannot have their riches and a treasure in heaven too. They cannot have both. They venture to risk their chance of eternal life for a worldly possession.
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Then I saw that with God all things are possible. Truth set home to the heart by the Spirit of God, will crowd out the love of riches. The Love of Jesus and riches cannot dwell in the same heart. The love of God so far surpasses the love of riches, that the possessor breaks away from his riches and transfers his affections to God. And then he is led through his love to God, to administer to the wants of God's cause, It is his highest pleasure to make a right disposition of his Lord's goods. Love to God and his fellow men predominates, and he holds all that he has as not his own, and faithfully discharges his duty as God's steward. Then can he keep the first four commandments, and the last six. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." In this way it is possible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first."
Here is the reward for those who sacrifice for God. They receive an hundred fold in this life, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many, I saw, that are first, shall be last, and the last shall be first. I was shown those who receive the truth, but do not live it. They cling to their possessions, and are not willing to distribute of their substance to advance the cause of God. They have no faith to venture and trust God. Their love of this world swallows up their faith. God has called for a portion of their substance, but they heed it not. They reason thus, that they have labored hard to obtain what they have, and they cannot lend it to the Lord, for they may come to want. "O ye of little faith!" That God who cared for Elijah in the time of famine, will not pass by one of his self-sacrificing children. He that has numbered the hairs of their head, will care for them, and in days of famine they will be satisfied. While the wicked are perishing all around them for want of bread, their bread and water will be sure. Those who will still cling to their earthly treasure, and will not make a right disposition of that which is lent them of God, will lose their treasure in heaven, lose everlasting life.
I saw that God in his providence has moved upon the hearts of some of those who have riches, and has converted them to the truth, that they with their substance may assist to keep his work moving. And if those who are wealthy will not do this, if they do not fulfill the purpose of God, he will pass them by, and raise up others to fill their place who will fulfill his purpose, and with their possessions gladly distribute to meet the necessities of the cause of God. In this they will be first. God will have those in his cause who will do this.
I saw that God could send means from heaven to carry on his work; but this is out of his order. He has ordained that men should be his instruments, that as a great sacrifice was made to redeem them, they should act a part in this work of salvation, by making a sacrifice for each other, and by thus doing show how highly they prize the sacrifice that has been made for them.
I was directed to James v. "Go to, now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days."
I saw that these fearful words apply particularly to the wealthy who profess to believe the present truth. The Lord calls them to use their means to advance his cause. Opportunities are presented to them, but they shut their eyes to the wants of the cause, and cling fast to their earthly treasure. Their love of the world is greater than their love of the truth, the love of their fellow men, or their love to God. He has called for their substance, but they selfishly, covetously, retain what they have. They give a little now and then to ease their conscience, but have not overcome their love for this world. They do not sacrifice for God. The Lord has raised up others that prize eternal life, that can feel and realize something of the value of the soul, and their means they have freely bestowed to advance the cause of God. The work is closing; the rich men have kept their riches, their large farms, their cattle, &c. Their means are not wanted then, and I saw the Lord turn to them in anger in wrath, and repeat these words: "Go to, now, ye rich men." He has called, but you would not hear. Love of this world has drowned his voice. Now he has no use for you, and lets you go, bidding you, "Go to now, ye rich men."
Oh, I saw it was an awful thing thus to be let go by the Lord. A fearful thing to hold on to a perishable substance here, when he has told you, if you will sell and give alms, you can lay up treasure in heaven.
I was shown that as the work was closing up, and the truth going forth in mighty power, these rich men will bring their means and lay it at the feet of the servants of God, begging them to accept it. The answer from the servants of God is, "Go to now, ye rich men. Your means are not needed. Ye withheld it when ye could do good with it in advancing the cause of God. The needy have suffered, they have not been blessed by your means. God will not accept your riches now. Go to now, ye rich men."
Then I was directed to these words: "Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them which have reaped, are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabbath."
I saw that God was not in all the riches that have been obtained. Satan has much more to do with it than God. It has, much of it, been obtained by oppressing the hireling in his wages. The natural, covetous, rich man has obtained these riches by grinding down the hireling, and taking advantage of individuals where he could, and adding to his treasure here, that will eat his flesh as it were fire. A strictly honest, honorable course has not been taken by some. Such must work fast and take a very different course to redeem the time.
I saw that many Sabbathkeepers are at fault here. Advantage is taken even of their poor brethren, and those who have of their abundance exact more than the real worth of things, more than they would pay for the same thing, while these same brethren are embarrassed and distressed for want of means. God knows all these things. Every selfish act, every covetous extortion, will bring its reward.
I saw it was cruel and unjust to have no consideration of a brother's situations. If he is distressed, or poor, yet doing the best he can, allowance should be made for him, and even the full value of the things he may purchase of the wealthy should not be exacted; but they should have bowels of compassion for him. God will approve of such kindly acts, and the doer will not lose his reward. But I saw a fearful account will stand against many Sabbathkeepers for close, covetous acts.
I was pointed back, and saw when there was but few that listened to, and embraced the truth, they had not much of this world's goods. The wants of the cause were divided among a very few. Then there was a necessity for houses and lands to be sold and obtain cheaper to serve them as a shelter or home, while their means were freely, and generously lent to the Lord, to publish the truth, and to otherwise aid in advancing the cause of God. As I beheld these self-sacrificing ones, I saw they had endured privation for the benefit of the cause. I saw an angel standing by them pointing them upward, and saying these words, "Ye have bags in heaven!" "Ye have bags in heaven, that wax not old! Endure unto the end, and great will be thy reward."
I saw that God had been moving on hearts. The truth that a few sacrificed so much for, in order to get it before others, has triumphed, and multitudes have laid hold of it. God has in his providence moved upon those that have means and has brought them into the truth, that as the work of God increases, the wants of the cause may be met. Much means are brought into the ranks of Sabbathkeepers.
I saw that at present God did not call for the houses his people need to live in, unless expensive houses are exchanged for cheaper ones. But if those who have of their abundance do not hear his voice, and cut loose from the world, and dispose of a portion of their property and lands, and sacrifice for God, he will pass them by, and call for those who are willing to do anything for Jesus, even to sell their homes to meet the wants of the cause. God will have a freewill offering. Those who give must esteem it a privilege to do so.
I have seen that some give of their abundance, but yet they feel no lack. They do not particularly deny themselves of any thing for the cause of Christ. They still have all that heart can wish. They give liberally, and heartily. God regards it, and the action and motive is known, and strictly marked by him. They will not lose their reward. You that cannot bestow so liberally, must not excuse yourselves, because you cannot do as much as some others. Do what you can. Deny yourself of some article that you can do without, and sacrifice for the cause of God. Like the widow, cast in your two mites. You will actually give more than all those who have given of their abundance. And you will know how sweet it is to give to the needy, to deny self, and sacrifice for the truth, and lay up treasure in heaven.
I was shown that the young, especially, young men, who profess the truth have yet a lesson of self-denial to learn. I saw that if they made more sacrifice for the truth, they would esteem the truth more highly. It would affect their hearts, purify their lives, and they would hold it more dear and sacred.
I saw the young do not take the burden, or feel the responsibility of the cause of God. Is it because God has excused them? Oh, no. I saw that they excuse themselves. They are eased, and others are burdened. They do not realize that they are not their own. Their strength, their time, is not their own. They are bought with a price. A dear sacrifice was made for them, and unless they possess the spirit of self-denial, and sacrifice, they can never possess the immortal inheritance. E. G. W.
(Vol. 11, #8)
Nov. 20th, I was shown the people of God, and saw them mightily shaken. I saw some with strong faith and agonizing cries, pleading with God. Their countenances were pale, and marked with deep anxiety which expressed their internal struggle. There was firmness and great earnestness expressed in their countenances, while large drops of perspiration rose upon their foreheads, and fell. Now and then their faces would light up with the marks of God's approbation, and again the same solemn, earnest, anxious look settled upon them.
Evil angels crowded around them, pressing their darkness upon them, to shut out Jesus from their view, that their eyes might be drawn to the darkness that surrounded them, and they distrust God, and next murmur against him. Their only safety was in keeping their eyes directed upward. Angels were having the charge over the people of God, and as the poisonous atmosphere from these evil angels was pressed around these anxious ones, the angels, which had the charge over them, were continually wafting their wings over them, to scatter the thick darkness that surrounded them.
Some, I saw, did not participate in this work of agonizing and pleading. They seemed indifferent and careless. They were not resisting the darkness around them, and it shut them in like a thick cloud. The angels of God left them, and went to the aid of those earnest, praying ones. I saw the angels of God hasten to the assistance of every one who were struggling with all their energies to resist those evil angels, and trying to help themselves by calling upon God with perseverance. But the angels left those who made no effort to help themselves, and I lost sight of them.
As these praying ones continued their earnest cries, at times a ray of light from Jesus came to them, and encouraged their hearts, and lighted up their countenances.
I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen. I was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. It will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver of the testimony, and it will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. This straight testimony, some will not bear. They will rise up against it, and this will cause a shaking among God's people.
I saw that the testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the Church hangs, has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded. This testimony must work deep repentance, and all that truly receive it, will obey it, and be purified.
Said the angel, "List ye!" Soon I heard a voice that sounded like many musical instruments, all sounding in perfect strains, sweet and harmonious. It surpassed any music I had ever heard. It seemed to be so full of mercy, compassion, and elevating, holy joy. It thrilled through my whole being. Said the angel, "Look ye!" My attention was then turned to the company I had seen before, who were mightily shaken. I was shown those whom I had before seen weeping, and praying with agony of spirit. I saw that the company of guardian angels around them had doubled, and they were clothed with an armor from their head to their feet. They moved in exact order, firm like a company of soldiers. Their countenances expressed the severe conflict which they had endured, the agonizing struggle they had passed through. Yet their features, marked with severe internal anguish, shone now with the light and glory of heaven. They had obtained the victory, and it called forth from them the deepest gratitude, and holy, sacred joy.
The numbers of this company had lessened. Some had been shaken out, and left by the way. The careless and indifferent who did not join with those who prized victory and salvation enough to agonize, persevere, and plead for it, did not obtain it, and they were left behind in darkness, and their numbers were immediately made up by others taking hold of the truth, and coming into the ranks. Still the evil angels pressed around them, but they could have no power over them.
I heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth in great power. It had effect. I saw those who had been bound; some wives had been bound by their husbands, and some children had been bound by their parents. The honest who had been held or prevented from hearing the truth, now eagerly laid hold of the truth spoken. All fear of their relatives was gone. The truth alone was exalted to them. It was dearer and more precious than life. They had been hungering and thirsting for truth. I asked what had made this great change. An angel answered, "It is the latter rain. The refreshing from the presence of the Lord. The loud cry of the Third Angel."
Great power was with these chosen ones. Said the angel, "Look ye!" My attention was turned to the wicked, or unbelievers. They were all astir. The zeal and power with the people of God had aroused and enraged them. Confusion, confusion, was on every side. I saw measures taken against this company, who were having the power and light of God. Darkness thickened around them, yet there they stood, approved of God, and trusting in him. I saw them perplexed. Next I heard them crying unto God earnestly. Through the day and night their cry ceased not. I heard these words, "Thy will, O God, be done! If it can glorify thy name, make a way of escape for thy people! Deliver us from the heathen round about us! They have appointed us unto death; but thine arm can bring salvation." These are all the words I can bring to mind. They seemed to have a deep sense of their unworthiness, and manifested entire submission to the will of God. Yet every one, without an exception, was earnestly pleading, and wrestling like Jacob for deliverance.
Soon after they had commenced their earnest cry, the angels, in sympathy would have gone to their deliverance. But a tall, commanding angel suffered them not. Said he, "The will of God is not yet fulfilled. They must drink of the cup. They must be baptized with the baptism."
Soon I heard the voice of God, which shook the heavens and the earth. There was a mighty earthquake. Buildings were shaken down, and fell on every side. I then heard a triumphant shout of victory, loud, musical, and clear. I looked upon this company who, as short time before were in such distress and bondage. Their captivity was turned. A glorious light shone upon them. How beautiful they then looked. All weariness and marks of care were gone. Health and beauty were seen in every countenance. Their enemies, the heathen round them, fell like dead men. They could not endure the light that shone upon the delivered, holy ones. This light and glory remained upon them, until Jesus was seen in the clouds of heaven, and the faithful, tried company was changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, from glory to glory. And the graves were opened and the saints came forth, clothed with immortality, crying victory over death and the grave, and together with the living saints, were caught up to meet their Lord in the air; while the rich, musical shouts of Glory, and Victory, were upon every immortal tongue, and proceeding from every sanctified, holy lip. E. G. W.