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The Review and Herald Articles
for the Year 1861
(Vol. 18, #5)
In the epistle of Paul to Titus [chap. ii, 13, 14], we read, "Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works." This great work is to be performed for those only who are willing to be purified, willing to be peculiar, and who manifest a zeal in good works. How many shrink from the purifying process! They are unwilling to live out the truth, unwilling to appear singular or peculiar in the eyes of the world. It is this mixing up with the world which destroys our spirituality, pureness and zeal. Satan's power is constantly exercised to stupefy the sensibilities of God's people, that their consciences may not be sensitive to wrong, and that the sign of distinction between them and the world may be destroyed.
I have frequently received letters of inquiry in regard to dress, and some have not rightly understood what I have written. The very class which have been presented before me, who were imitating the fashions of the world, have been very slow, and the last to be affected or reformed. There has been another class who lacked taste and order in dress, who have taken advantage of what I have written, and taken the opposite extreme, and considered that they were free from pride, and have looked upon those who dress orderly and neat as being proud. Oddity and careless dress have been considered by some a special virtue. Such take a course which destroys their influence over unbelievers. They disgust those who might be benefitted. While the visions have reproved pride and imitating the fashions of the world, they have reproved those who were careless of their apparel and lacked cleanliness of person and dress. Especially have I been shown that those who profess present truth should have a special care to appear before God to worship him upon the Sabbath in a manner showing that we respect the Creator who has sanctified and placed special honors upon that day. All who have any regard for the Sabbath should be cleanly in person, neat and orderly in dress, for they are to appear before a jealous God who marks every token of disrespect. God is offended at uncleanness and disorder. Individuals have thought it would be wrong to wear anything upon their heads but a sun-bonnet. Such go to great extremes. It cannot be called pride to wear a neat, plain, straw or silk bonnet. Our faith, if carried out, will lead us to be so plain in dress and zealous of good works that we shall be marked as peculiar. But when we lose taste for order and neatness in dress we virtually leave the truth, for the truth never degrades, but elevates. Unbelievers look upon Sabbathkeepers as degraded, and when individuals are neglectful of their dress, and are coarse and rough, in their manners, their influence strengthens unbelievers in their conclusions.
Those who profess to be Christians in these last days which are full of peril, and do not imitate the humble, self-denying Pattern, place themselves in the enemy's ranks. He considers them his subjects, and they serve as important a purpose for Satan as any of his subjects, for they have a name to live and are dead. Others take them for example, and by their following them, lose heaven, when if they had not professed to be Christians, they would have shunned their example. These unconsecrated professors are not aware of the weight of their influence. They make the conflict much more severe for those who would be God's peculiar people. Paul in Titus ii, 15, refers to God's people who are looking for the appearing of Christ. He says, "These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke, with all authority. Let no man despise thee." As we bear testimony against pride and following the fashions of the world, we are met with excuses and self-justification. Some urge the example of others. Such a sister wears hoops, if it is wrong for me to wear them it is wrong for her. Children urge the example of other children whose parents are Sabbathkeepers. Bro. A. is a deacon of the church. His children wear hoops, and why is it any worse for me to wear them than it is for them? Those who by their example furnish unconsecrated professors with arguments against those who would be peculiar, are laying a cause of stumbling in the way of the weak, and to God they must render an account for such example. I am often asked, "What do you think of hoops?" I reply, I have given you the light which has been given me. I was shown that hoops were a shame, and that we should not give the least countenance to a fashion carried to such ridiculous lengths. I am often surprised to hear that "sister White says it is not wrong to wear small hoops." No one has ever heard me say this. After being shown what I have in regard to hoops, nothing would induce me to give the least encouragement to any one to wear them.
A sister writes, "I cannot see the difference between small hoops and heavy rope skirts, which show off as much as hoops, or two or three heavy quilted skirts, which are worn to take the place of hoops."
I agree with the sister, if we discard hoops, it is wrong to put on heavy quilts to make it appear as near like hoops as possible. We know that it is injurious to wear heavy quilts. I contend that heavy quilts and hoops are alike unnecessary. He that framed us never designed that we should be deformed with hoops, or anything to look like them. It is the inventions and fashions of the world that have led God's people, and they are unwilling to move out independent of the fashions and customs of the world. While I study God's word, I am alarmed for the Israel of God in these last days. They are exhorted to flee from idolatry. I fear that God's people are asleep and so conformed to the world that we can hardly know them, or discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. The distance is widening between Christ and his people, and lessening between them and the world. The marks of distinction between Christ's professed people and the world, have almost disappeared. They follow after the abominations of the nations around them, as did ancient Israel. From what has been shown me, hoops are an abomination. They are indecent, and God's people err, if they follow in the least degree, or give countenance to this fashion.
Sabbathkeepers who profess to be God's chosen, peculiar people, should discard hoops, and their practice and example should be a living rebuke to those who wear them. Some may plead convenience. I have traveled much, and have seen a great deal of inconvenience attending the wearing of hoops; and those who plead the necessity on account of health, wear them in the winter, which is a greater injury than quilted skirts. While traveling in the cars and stages, I have often been led to exclaim, Oh, modesty, where is thy blush! I have seen large companies crowding into the cars, and in order to make any headway, the hoops had to be raised and placed into a shape which was indecent. And the exposure of the form was ten-fold more with those who wore hoops, than with those who did not; and were it not for fashion, those who immodestly expose themselves would be hissed at; but modesty and decency must be sacrificed to the god of fashion. May the Lord deliver his people from this grievous sin. God will not pity those who will be slaves to fashion. But supposing there is some little convenience in wearing hoops, does this prove that it is right to wear them? Let the fashion change and convenience would no longer be mentioned. It is the duty of every child of God to inquire, Wherein am I separate from the world? Let them suffer a little inconvenience and be on the safe side. What crosses do God's people bear? They mingle with the world, partake of their spirit, dress, talk and act like them.
Please read 1 Tim, ii, 9,10. "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh godliness) with good works."
1 Pet. iii, 3-5. "Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands."
The power of example is great. Sister A. ventures to wear small hoops; sister B. says it is no worse for me to wear hoops than sister A., and she wears hoops a little larger. Sister C. imitates the example of sister A. and B., and wears her hoops a little larger than A. and B., but all contend that their hoops are small.
Parents who would teach their children the evil of following the fashions of the world, have a hard battle. They are met with, "Why, mother, sisters A., B. and C. wear hoops; if it is wicked for me, it is for them." What can the parents say? They should set a right example before their children, and although the example of professed followers of Christ causes the children to think that their parents are too careful and severe in their restrictions, yet God will bless the efforts of these conscientious parents. If the parents do not take a decided, firm course, their children will be borne down with the current, for Satan and his evil angels are working upon their minds, and the example of unconsecrated professors is against their efforts which makes the work of overcoming far more laborious for their children. Yet with faith in God and earnest prayer, believing parents may press on in this rugged path of duty. The way of the cross is an onward, upward way. And as we advance therein, seeking the things that are above, we must leave farther and farther in the distance the things which belong to the earth. While the world and carnal professors are rushing downward to death, those who climb the hill will have to put forth efforts or they will be carried down in the broad road.
The children of the world are called the children of darkness. They are blinded by the god of this world, and are led by the spirit of the prince of darkness. They cannot enjoy heavenly things. The children of light have their affections set on things above. They leave behind them the things of this world. They fulfill the command, "Come out from among them and be ye separate." Here is the conditional promise, "I will receive you." Christ from the beginning has chosen his people out of the world, and required them to be separate, having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. If they love God and keep his commandments, they will be far from having the friendship, and loving the pleasures, of the world. There is no concord between Christ and Belial.
The prophet Ezra, and faithful servants of the Jewish church, were astonished when the princes came to them saying, "The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations. And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this, should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? Wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? O Lord God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold we are before thee in our trespasses, for we cannot stand before thee because of this." Ezra ix, 1, 13-15.
2 Chron. xxxvi, 14-16: "Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the Lord which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes and sending; because he had compassion on his people and on his dwellingplace. But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against this people, till there was no remedy."
Lev. xviii, 26, 27: "Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you; (for all these abominations have the men of the land done which were before you, and the land is defiled.)"
Deut. xxxii, 16-22: "They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods, that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons and of his daughters. And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be; for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith. They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities, and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains."
We here read the warnings which God gave to ancient Israel. It was not his good pleasure that they should wander so long in the wilderness, and he would have brought them immediately to the promised land, if they had submitted, and loved to be led by him; and because they so often grieved him in the desert, he sware in his wrath that they should not enter into his rest, save two, who wholly followed him. God required his people to trust in him alone. He did not wish them to receive help of those who did not serve him. Please read Ezra iv, 1-5: "Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the Lord God of Israel, then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you; for we seek your God as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esar-haddon, king of Assur, which brought us up hither. But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build a house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded. Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, and hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose."
Ezra viii, 21-23: "Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way; because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. So we fasted and besought our God for this, and he was entreated of us."
The prophet and these fathers did not consider them the worshipers of the true God, and though they professed friendship and wished to help them, they dare not unite with them in anything relating to his worship. When going up to Jerusalem, to build the temple of God and to restore his worship, they would not ask help of the king to assist them in the way, but by fasting and prayer sought the Lord for help. They believed God would defend and prosper his servants in their efforts to serve him. The Creator of all things needeth not the help of his enemies to establish his worship. He asks not the sacrifice of wickedness, nor accepts the offerings of those who have other gods before the Lord.
We often hear the remark, You are too exclusive. As a people we would make any sacrifice to save souls, or lead them to the truth. But to unite with them, to love the things that they love, and have friendship with the world, we dare not, for we should then be at enmity with God.
By reading the following scriptures we shall see how God regarded his ancient Israel:
Ps. cxxxv, 4. "For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure."
Deut. xiv, 2. "For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth."
Deut vii, 6, 7. "For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God; the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people."
Ex. xxxiii, 16. "For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth."
How frequently ancient Israel rebelled, and how often were they visited with judgments, and thousands slain because they would not heed the commands of God who had chosen them.
The Israel of God in these last days are in constant danger of mixing with the world and losing all signs of their being the chosen people of God. Read again Titus ii, 13-15. We are brought down to the last days, when God is purifying unto himself a peculiar people. Shall we provoke God as did ancient Israel? Shall we bring his wrath upon us by departing from him and mingling with the world, and following the abominations of the nations around us?
The Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself, and this consecration to God and separation from the world is plainly declared and positively enjoined in both the Old and New Testaments. There is a wall of separation which the Lord himself has established between the things of the world and the things he has chosen out of the world and sanctified unto himself. The calling and character of God's people are peculiar. Their prospects are peculiar, and these peculiarities distinguish them from all people. All of God's people upon the earth are one body, from the beginning to the end of time. They have one head that directs and governs the body. The same injunctions rest upon God's people now, to be separate from the world, as rested upon ancient Israel. The great Head of the church has not changed. The experience of Christians in these days are much like the travels of ancient Israel. Please read 1 Cor. x, especially from the 6th to the 15th verse.
"Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. . . . Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say."
1 John iii, 1. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not."
1 John ii, 15-17. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever."
2 Pet. ii, 2. "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning."
James iv, 4. "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
James i, 27. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
Titus ii, 12-14. "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
Rom xii, 2. "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."
John xvii, 14, 15, 17. "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth."
Luke vi, 22, 23. "Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets."
John xv, 16-19. "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
1 John iv, 4, 5. "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them."
1 John ii, 5, 6. "But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk even as he walked."
1 Pet. ii, 9. "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."
As we read the word of God, how plain that God's people are peculiar and distinct from the unbelieving world around them. Our position is interesting and fearful; living in the last days, how important that we imitate the example of Christ, and walk even as he walked. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me." The opinions and wisdom of men must not guide or govern us. They always lead away from the cross.
The servants of Christ have not their home or their treasure here. Would that all of them could understand that it is only because the Lord reigns that we are even permitted to dwell in peace and safety among our enemies. It is not our privilege to claim special favors of the world. We must consent to be poor and despised among men until the warfare is finished and the victory won. The members of Christ are called to come out and be separate from the friendship and spirit of the world, and their strength and power consists in their being chosen and accepted of God.
The Son of God was the heir of all things, and the dominion and glory of the kingdoms of this world were promised to him. Yet when he appeared in this world it was without riches or splendor. The world understood not his union with the Father; and the excellency and glory of his divine character were hid from them. He was therefore "despised and rejected of men," and "we did esteem him smitten of God and afflicted."
Even so the members of Christ are as he was in this world. They are the sons of God and joint heirs with Christ; and the kingdom and dominion belong to them. The world understand not their character and holy calling. They perceive not their adoption into the family of God. Their union and fellowship with the Father and the Son are not manifest to the world, and while they behold their humiliation and reproach, it does not appear what they are, or what they shall be. They are strangers. The world knows them not, and appreciate not the motives which actuate them.
The world is ripening for its destruction. God can bear with sinners but a little longer. They must drink the dregs of the cup of his wrath unmixed with mercy. Those who will be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ to the immortal inheritance, will be peculiar. Yes, so peculiar that God places a mark upon them as his, wholly his. Think ye that God will receive, honor and acknowledge a people so mixed up with the world that they differ from them only in name? Read again Titus ii, 13-15. It is soon to be known who is on the Lord's side, who will not be ashamed of Jesus. Those who have not moral courage to take their position conscientiously in the face of unbelievers, and leave the fashions of the world and imitate the self-denying life of Christ, are ashamed of him, and do not love his example. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 18, #13)
God is punishing this nation for the high crime of slavery. He has the destiny of the nation in his hands. He will punish the South for the sin of slavery, and the North for so long suffering its overreaching and overbearing influences.
All heaven beholds with indignation, human beings, the workmanship of God, reduced to the lowest depths of degradation, and placed on a level with the brute creation by their fellow men. And professed followers of that dear Saviour whose compassion was ever moved as he witnessed human woe, heartily engage in this enormous and grievous sin, and deal in slaves and souls of men. Angels have recorded it all. It is written in the book. The tears of the pious bondmen and bondwomen, of fathers, mothers and children, brothers and sisters, are all bottled up in heaven. Agony, human agony, is carried from place to place, and bought and sold. God will restrain his anger but a little longer. His anger burns against this nation, and especially against the religious bodies who have sanctioned, and have themselves engaged in this terrible merchandise. Such injustice, such oppression, such sufferings, many professed followers of the meek and lowly Jesus can witness with heartless indifference. And many of them can inflict, with hateful satisfaction, all this indescribable agony themselves, and yet dare to worship God. It is solemn mockery, and Satan exults over it, and reproaches Jesus and his angels with such inconsistency, saying, with hellish triumph, Such are Christ's followers!
These professed christians read of the sufferings of the martyrs, and tears course down their cheeks. They wonder that men could ever possess hearts so hardened as to practice such inhuman cruelties toward their fellow men, while at the same time they hold their fellow men in slavery. And this is not all. They sever the ties of nature, and cruelly oppress from day to day their fellow men. They can inflict most inhuman tortures with relentless cruelty, which would well compare with the cruelty papists and heathens exercised toward Christ's followers. It will be more tolerable for the heathen and for papists in the day of the execution of God's judgment than for such men. The cries and sufferings of the oppressed have reached unto heaven, and angels stand amazed at the hardhearted, untold, agonizing suffering, man in the image of his Maker, causes his fellow man. The names of such are written in blood, crossed with stripes, and flooded with agonizing, burning tears of suffering. God's anger will not cease until he has caused the land of light to drink the dregs of the cup of his fury.
At the Roosevelt conference, when the brethren and sisters were assembled on the day set apart for humiliation, fasting and prayer, Sabbath, Aug. 3, the Spirit of the Lord rested upon us, and I was taken off in vision, and shown the sin of slavery. Slavery has long been a curse to this nation. The fugitive slave law was calculated to crush out of man every noble, generous feeling of sympathy, that should arise in his heart for the oppressed and suffering slave. It was in direct opposition to the teaching of Christ. God's scourge now is upon the North, that they have so long submitted to the advances of the slave power. The sin of Northern proslavery men is great. They have strengthened the South in their sin, and sanctioned the extension of slavery, and acted a prominent part in bringing the nation into its present distressed condition.
I was shown that many realize not the extent of the evil which has come upon us. They have flattered themselves that the national difficulties would soon be settled, and confusion and war end; but all will be convinced that there is more reality in the matter than was anticipated. Many have looked for the North to strike a blow, and the controversy be ended.
I was pointed back to ancient Israel held in bondage by the Egyptians. The Lord wrought by Moses and Aaron to deliver the children of Israel. Miracles were performed before Pharaoh to convince him that they were especially sent of God to bid him to let Israel go. But Pharaoh's heart was hardened against the messengers of God, and he reasoned away the miracles performed by them. Then the Egyptians were made to feel God's judgments. They were visited by plagues. While suffering under the effect of the several plagues, Pharaoh consented to let Israel go. But as soon as the cause of their suffering was removed, his heart was hardened. His mighty men and counselors strengthened themselves against God and endeavored to explain the plagues as the result of natural causes. Each visitation from God was more severe than the preceding one, yet they would not release the children of Israel, until the angel of the Lord slew the firstborn of the Egyptians. From the king upon the throne, down to the most humble and lowly, was there wailing and mourning. Then Pharaoh commanded to let Israel go. After the Egyptians had buried their dead, Pharaoh relented that he had let Israel go. His counselors and mighty men tried to account for their bereavement. They would not admit that the visitation or judgment was from God, and they pursued after the children of Israel. When the Israelites beheld the Egyptian host in pursuit, some upon horses and some in chariots, and equipped for war, their hearts failed them. The Red sea was before, the Egyptian host behind. They could see no way of escape. A shout of triumph burst from the Egyptians to find Israel completely in their power. The Israelites were greatly terrified. The Lord commanded Moses to bid the children of Israel go forward, to lift up the rod and stretch out his hand over the sea and divide it. He did so, and lo, the sea parted and the children of Israel passed over dry shod. Pharaoh had so long withstood God, and hardened his heart against his mighty, wondrous works, that he in blindness rushed into the path God had miraculously prepared for his people. Again Moses was commanded to stretch forth his hand over the sea, "and the sea returned to his strength," and the waters covered the Egyptian host and they were drowned.
This scene was presented before me to illustrate the selfish love of slavery, the desperate measures the South would adopt to cherish the institution, and the dreadful lengths to which they would go before they would yield. The dreadful system of slavery has reduced and degraded human beings to the level of the brutes, and the majority of slavemasters regard them as such. Their consciences have become seared and hardened as was Pharaoh's; and if compelled to release their slaves, their principles are unchanged, and they would make the slave feel their oppressive power if possible. It looked to me like an impossibility now for slavery to be done away. God alone can wrench the slave from the hand of his desperate, relentless oppressor. All the abuse and cruelty exercised toward the slave is justly chargeable to the upholders of the slave system, whether they be Southern men or Northern men.
The North and the South were presented before me. The North have been deceived in regard to the South. They are better prepared for war than has been represented. Most of their men are well skilled in the use of arms, some of them from experience in battle, others from habitual sporting. They have the advantage of the North in this respect, but have not, as a general thing, the power of endurance and valor that Northern men have.
I had a view of the late disastrous battle at Manassas, Va. It was a most exciting, thrilling, distressing scene. The Southern army had everything in their favor, and were prepared for a dreadful contest. The Northern army was moving on with triumph, not doubting but that they would be victorious. Many were reckless, and marched forward boastingly as though victory were already theirs. As they neared the battlefield, many were almost fainting through weariness and want of refreshment. They did not expect so fierce an encounter. They rushed into battle and fought bravely, desperately. The dead and dying were on every side. Both the North and the South suffered severely. The Southern men felt the battle, and in a little would have been driven back still further. Northern men were rushing on, although their destruction was very great. Just then an angel descended and waved his hand backward. Instantly there was confusion in their ranks. It appeared to the Northern men that their armies were retreating, when it was not in reality so; and a precipitate retreat commenced. It seemed wonderful to me. Then it was explained, that God had this nation in his own hand, and would suffer no victories to be gained faster than he ordained, and no more losses to the Northern men than in his wisdom he saw fit, to punish the North for their sin. And in this battle had the Northern army pushed the battle still further, in their fainting, exhausted condition, a far greater struggle and destruction awaited them, which would have caused great triumph in the South. God would not permit this, and sent an angel to interfere. The sudden falling back of the Northern troops was a mystery to all. They knew not that God's hand was in the matter.
The destruction of the Southern army was so great that they had no heart to boast. The sight of the dead, dying and wounded gave them but little courage to triumph. This destruction, occurring when they had every advantage, and the North great disadvantage, caused them great perplexity. They know that if the North have an equal chance with them, victory is certain for the North. Their only hope is to occupy positions difficult of approach, and then have formidable arrangements to hurl destruction on every hand.
The South have been strengthening themselves greatly since their rebellion first commenced. Then if active measures had been taken by the North, this rebellion would have been speedily crushed out. But that which was small at first has increased in strength and numbers until it is a most powerful rebellion. Other nations are intently watching this nation, for what purpose I was not informed, and are making great preparations for some event.
The greatest anxiety now exists among our national men. They are in great perplexity. Proslavery men and traitors are in their very midst, and while they are professedly in favor of the Union, they have an influence in decisions, some of which even favor the South.
I was shown the inhabitants of the earth in the utmost confusion. There was war, bloodshed, want, privation, famine and pestilence, in the land; and as these things were without, God's people began to press together, and cast aside their little difficulties. Self-dignity no longer controlled them. Deep humility took its place. Suffering, perplexity and privation, caused reason to resume its throne, and the passionate and unreasonable man became sane, and acted with discretion and wisdom.
My attention was then called from the scene. There seemed to be a little time of peace. Then the inhabitants of the earth were again presented before me, and everything was in the utmost confusion again. Strife, war and bloodshed, with famine and pestilence, raged everywhere. Other nations were engaged in this confusion and war. War caused famine. Want and bloodshed caused pestilence. And then men's hearts will fail them for fear, "and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth."
The unbelieving world will soon have something to think of besides their dress and appearance; and as their minds are torn from these things by distress and perplexity, they have nothing to turn to. They are not prisoners of hope, and therefore do not turn to the "Strong Hold." Their hearts will fail them for repining and fear. They have not made God their refuge, and he will not be their consolation then, but will laugh at their calamity, and mock when their fear cometh. They have despised and trampled upon the truths of God's word. They have indulged in extravagant dress, and have spent their lives in hilarity and glee. They have sown to the wind, they must reap the whirlwind.
In the time of distress and perplexity of nations there will be many who have not given themselves wholly to the corrupting influences of the world and the service of Satan, who will humble themselves before God, and turn to him with their whole heart and find acceptance and pardon.
(Vol. 18, #13)
Those among Sabbathkeepers who have been unwilling to make any sacrifice, but have yielded to the influence of the world, are to be tested and proved. The perils of these last days are upon us, and a trial is before the young which they have not anticipated. They are to be brought into most distressing perplexity. The genuineness of their faith will be proved. They profess to be looking for the coming of the Son of man, yet some of them have been a miserable example to unbelievers. They have not been willing to give up the world, but have united with them, have attended picnics, and other gatherings of pleasure, flattering themselves that they were engaged in innocent amusement. Yet I was shown that it was just such indulgences that separate them from God and make them children of the world. God owns not the pleasure or amusement seeker as his follower. He has given us no such example. Those only who are self-denying, and who live a life of sobriety, humility and holiness, are true followers of Jesus; and such cannot engage in and enjoy the frivolous, empty conversation of the lovers of the world.
Isa. iii, was presented before me. I was shown that this prophecy has its application to these last days; and the reproofs are given to the daughters of Zion who have thought only of appearance and display. Read verse 25: "Thy men shall fall by the sword and thy mighty in the war." I was shown that this portion of Scripture will be strictly fulfilled. Young men and women professing to be christians, yet having no christian experience, and having borne no burdens, and felt no individual responsibility, are to be proved. They will be brought low in the dust, and long for an experience in the things of God, which they failed to obtain. "War lifts his helmet to his brow, O God, protect thy people now."
A day of heart-rending anguish is before us. I was shown that pointed testimonies should be borne, and those who will come up to the help of the Lord, will receive his blessing. But Sabbathkeepers have a work to do. Hoops, I was shown, were an abomination, and every Sabbathkeeper's influence should be a rebuke to this ridiculous fashion, which has been a screen to iniquity. In arose from a house of ill-fame in Paris.
Individuals were shown me who will despise instruction, even if it comes from heaven, and they will frame some excuse to avoid the most pointed testimony, and in defiance of all the light given, and testimony borne, will put on hoops because it is the fashion, and risk the consequences.
(Vol. 18, #13)
I was shown that some have been fearing they should become Babylon if they organize; but the churches in Central New York have been perfect Babylon, confusion. And now unless the churches are so organized that they can carry out and enforce order, they have nothing to hope for in the future. They must scatter into fragments. Previous teachings have nourished the elements of disunion. A spirit has been cherished to watch and accuse, rather than to build up. If ministers of God would unitedly take their position and maintain it with decision, there would be a uniting influence among the flock of God. Separating bars would be broken to fragments. Hearts would flow together and unite like two drops of water. Then there would be power and strength in the ranks of Sabbathkeepers far exceeding anything we have yet witnessed. The hearts of God's servants are made sad by meeting, as they journey from church to church, the opposing influence of other ministering brethren. Individuals have stood ready to oppose every step of advance God's people have made. Those who have dared to venture out have their hearts saddened and distressed by the lack of union of action on the part of their fellow laborers. We are living in solemn times. Satan and evil angels are working with mighty power, with the world on their side to help them. And professed Sabbathkeepers, claiming to believe important, solemn truth, unite their forces with the combined influence of the powers of darkness to distract and tear down that which God designs to build up. Their influence is recorded as those who retard the work of advance and reform among God's people.
The agitation of the subject of organization has revealed a great lack of moral courage on the part of ministers proclaiming present truth. Some who were convinced that organization was right failed to stand up boldly and advocate it. They let some few understand that they favored it. Was this all God required of them? No: he was displeased with their cowardly silence, and lack of action. They feared blame and opposition. They watched the brethren generally to see how their pulse beat before standing manfully for what they believed to be right. The people waited for the voice of their favorite minister in the truth, and because they could hear no response in favor from them, decided that the subject of organization was wrong. Thus the influence of some of the ministers was against this matter while they professed to be in favor. They were afraid of losing their influence. Some one must move here and bear responsibility, and venture his influence; and as he has become inured to censure and blame, he is suffered to bear it. His fellow laborers who should stand by his side and take their share of the burden, are looking on to see how he succeeds in fighting the battle alone. But God marks his distress, his anguish, his tears, his discouragements and despair, while his mind is taxed almost beyond endurance; and as he is ready to sink, God lifts him up and points him to the rest for the weary, the reward for the faithful; and again he puts his shoulder under the heavy burden. I saw that all will be rewarded according as their works shall be. Those who shun responsibility will meet with loss in the end. The time for ministers to stand together is when the battle goes hard. Ellen G. White. Grass River, St. Law. Co., N.Y., Aug. 16, 1861.
(Vol. 18, #25)
Inquiries are often made in regard to our duty to the poor who embrace the third message; and we have long been anxious to know, ourselves, how to manage with discretion the cases of poor families who embrace the Sabbath. But while at Roosevelt, N.Y., Aug. 3, 1861, I was shown some things in regard to the poor.
God does not require our brethren to take charge of every poor family that shall embrace this message. If they should do this, the work of the messengers to enter new fields must cease, for the fund would be exhausted. Many are poor from their own lack of diligence and economy, and they know not how to use means aright. If they should be helped it would hurt them. Some will always be poor. If they should have the very best advantages, their case would not be helped. They have not good calculation, and would use all the means they could obtain, be it much or little. Some know nothing of denying self and economizing to keep out of debt, and get a little ahead for a time of need. If the church should help such individuals instead of leaving them to rely upon their own resources, they would injure them in the end; for they look to the church, and expect to receive help from them, and do not practice self-denial and economy when they are well provided for. And if they do not receive help every time, Satan tempts them, and they become jealous, and very conscientious for their brethren, fearing that they do not do all their duty to them. The mistake is on their own part. They are deceived. They are not the Lord's poor.
The instructions given in the word of God in regard to helping the poor do not touch such cases. The instructions given in God's word are for the unfortunate and afflicted. God in his providence has afflicted individuals to test and prove others. Widows and invalids are in the church to prove a blessing to the church. They are part of the means God has chosen to develop the true character of Christ's professed followers, and to call into exercise the precious traits of character manifested by our compassionate Redeemer.
Many who are single, and can but barely live, choose to marry and raise a family, when they know they have nothing to support them. And worse than this, they have no family government. Their whole course in their family is marked with their loose, slack habits. They have but little control of themselves, are passionate, impatient, and fretful. Such embrace the message, and then feel that they are entitled to assistance from their more wealthy brethren; and if their expectations are not met, they complain of the church and accuse them of not living out their faith. Who must be the sufferers in this case? Must the cause of God be sapped, and the treasury in different places exhausted, to take care of these large families of poor? No. The parents must be the sufferers. They will not as a general thing suffer any greater lack after they embrace the Sabbath than they did before.
There is an evil among some of the poor which will certainly prove their ruin unless they overcome it. They have embraced the truth with their coarse, rough, uncultivated habits, and it takes some time for them to see and realize their coarseness, and that it is not in accordance with the character of Christ. They look upon others who are more orderly and refined as being proud, and you may hear them say, "The truth brings us all down upon a level." Here is an entire mistake in thinking that the truth brings the receiver down. It brings him up, refines his taste, sanctifies his judgment, and if lived out is continually fitting him for the society of holy angels in the city of God. The truth is designed to bring us all up upon a level.
The more able should ever act a noble, generous part in their deal with their poorer brethren, and also give them good advice, and then leave them to fight life's battles through. I was shown that a most solemn duty rests upon the church to have an especial care for the destitute widows, orphans, and invalids. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 18, #26)
When at Roosevelt, N.Y., Aug. 3, 1861, the condition of God's people was presented before me. Many failed in coming up to the standard set up by our Saviour. They are in an alarming condition, not careful to examine the foundation of their hope, but are indifferent to their state, and self-deceived. Some, I saw, had departed from God, and were united with the spirit of the world. As different fashions are introduced, one after another have fallen back from their steadfastness, and have lost their peculiarity. It is crossing to come out from the world and be separate. As soon as individuals cease warring against the spirit of the world they are Satan's easy prey. Our efforts are too feeble to resist an influence which leads us from God, and which brings us in union with the world.
Those who separate from God and lose their spirituality, do not fall back all at once into a state which the true Witness calls lukewarm. They conform to the world little by little. As its influence steals upon them, they fail to resist it and maintain the warfare. After the first step is taken to have friendship with the world, darkness follows and they are prepared for the next. At every step they take in the downward course darkness gathers about them, until they are enshrouded. As they conform to the world they lose the transforming influence of the Spirit of God. They do not realize their distance from God. They think themselves in good case because they profess to believe the truth. They grow weaker and weaker, until the Spirit of God is withdrawn, and God bids his angels, Let them alone! Jesus spues them out of his mouth. He has borne their names to his Father; he has interceded for them, but he ceases his pleadings. Their names are dropped, and they are left with the world. They realize no change. Their profession is the same. There has not been so glaring a departure from the appearance of right. They had become so assimilated to the world that when heaven's light was withdrawn they did not miss it.
Truths have been committed to our trust more sacred than were ever imparted to mortals upon earth, yet we have not as a people been faithful to our trust. Unfaithful Sabbathkeepers are the worst enemies the truth can have. If those who profess the truth would live it out, then the Lord would magnify his name among them, and make them a powerful people.
The inhabitants of the earth are given to idolatry. They are filling the cup of their iniquity. Fashion is a tyrant, and nearly all are slaves to it. Travel in the cars, steamboats, or where you will, and you will see the human frame covered with extravagant decorations, and deformed with hoops. Modesty is rare; it seems to have departed from this enlightened age. Sodom and Gomorrah will rise up in the judgment and condemn this generation, for if they had been privileged with the light which now shines upon the inhabitants of the earth, they would have repented long ago.
God will have a separate and peculiar people. Their faith is peculiar. Their prospects are peculiar and glorious, and if they do not consider the heavenly inducement offered them of sufficient value to lead them to renounce the fashions of the world, when God rises up to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, they must perish with them. Please read Isa. xxvi, 21: James iv, 4. "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." 1 John ii, 15 "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." We are called upon in these perilous times to elevate the standard. It has been left to trail in the dust. The fashions of the world hold God's people in bondage.
Those who have really chosen God and heaven as their portion will be peculiar. The sanctifying influence of the truth has separated them from the world, and they will have moral courage to carry out their faith, and by their simple plainness of dress and holy living condemn the idolatry and extravagance of this age. Professed Sabbathkeepers who would advocate the wearing of hoops and useless ornaments, no matter how high their profession, the truth has not had its sanctifying influence upon the heart. They are not dead to the world. When the tree dies the leaves fall off. There is just as wide a difference between the follower of Jesus Christ and the worldling, as there is between a tree clothed with its green foliage and a dead and leafless tree. The truth accomplishes a work for the receivers. It causes them to die to the world, and live unto God. Such can receive no satisfaction in adorning their heads with flowers, while they have a true sense of the sufferings of their Redeemer on account of their sins. His sacred brow was encircled with cruel thorns, which bruised his holy temples. This thought should be enough to cause every true follower of Jesus to discard any useless ornaments to decorate their bodies.
Some Sabbathkeepers so earnestly desire to have friendship with the world, that they mangle their feelings and make wretched work of following Christ. They desire the approval of God and the friendship of the world too. Such, I saw, would certainly lose heaven. They do not enjoy this world, therefore they lose both. In these hours of probation all can choose life if they will. Their fruits will show their choice. For a life of humble obedience here, God will grant the rich reward hereafter. He will accept of nothing but entire consecration. A dreadful deception is upon many minds, even of Sabbathkeepers. They have neglected to cherish and follow the light God has given them, and have been left completely deceived. Please read Matt. vii, 21-23. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Souls will come up to the day of God's visitation under a perfect deception. They had marked out a course for themselves. They did not let the Bible place the bounds for them. They did not heed the exhortation, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean; and I will receive you."
I was shown that God is not slack concerning his promises, if his people will obey his requirements. He is faithful who hath promised. The condition of our being received of God is, to separate ourselves from the world. The followers of Jesus and the world can not unite. Please read John xvii, 14. "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world." John xv, 18, 19. "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
There is a disposition among some Sabbathkeepers to rejoice that they have truths that can be sustained by the word of God, and that the unbeliever can not gainsay, and they rest satisfied. They make no advancement in the divine life; their faith is not made perfect by works; they do not feel their lack of spirituality, but boast that they have the truth, and they sometimes advocate it in an unbecoming manner. They feel rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and know not that they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. What stronger delusion can deceive the human mind than that which makes us believe we are on the right foundation, and God accepts our works, when we are not conforming to his will, and when we mistake the form of godliness for the spirit and power thereof, supposing we need nothing when we need all things. Please read James i, 27. "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
What a work is before us! Self-denial and the cross were shown me as standing all along in the way of life. Can we persevere in such a warfare as this? Grace is against nature, and the whole strength of self is opposed to the victory. Can we take up the cross and bear it after Jesus, and consent to be like him who was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin? When the pleasures of the world come before us, we must renounce them instantly, and prefer before these the favor of God and the cross of Christ. And in this self-denying course we shall obtain victories, and in the end win eternal glory. The unbelieving world were shown me, unwilling to submit to the claims and order of God's government. They refuse obedience to his will; they are at variance with their Maker, and their words and works are opposed to the principles and laws of his government. Therefore we can not enjoy, and be in harmony with, the friendship of the world, and not become estranged from God.
Amos ix, 9, 10, was presented before me. "For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us."
God's people will be tested and proved. The plain and pointed testimony must act a prominent part in this work. In these days of darkness and peril who is able to stand and speak the whole truth? Multitudes of teachers prophesy smooth things. They see no special cause of alarm in the present condition of the professed people of God. The people are asleep, and the teachers are asleep. They cry, Peace, peace, and the multitude that hear believe their report and are at ease. This makes the necessity greater for faithful teachers to bear the pointed, faithful testimony. The present is a time of scouring and purifying, a time of warfare and trial. The house of Israel is being sifted, even as corn is sifted in a sieve. The chaff must be removed, and it will require close work to separate the chaff from the kernels of grain. God's discerning eye will detect the smallest particle of chaff, and yet he will not cause to fall upon the ground the least kernel of grain. Ellen G. White.