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The Review and Herald Articles
for the Year 1863
(Vol. 21, #6)
At the Conference at Battle Creek, May 27th, 1856, I was shown in vision some things that concern the church generally. The glory and majesty of God was made to pass before me. Said the angel, "He is terrible in his majesty, yet ye realize it not; terrible in his anger, yet ye offend him daily. Strive to enter in at the straight gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; because straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." These roads I saw were distinct, separate, in opposite directions. One leads to eternal life, the other to death, eternal death. I saw the distinction in these roads, also the distinction between the companies traveling these roads. The roads are opposite; one is broad and smooth; the other narrow and rugged. So the parties that travel these roads are opposite in character, in life, in dress, and conversation.
Those traveling in the narrow way are talking of the joy and happiness they will have at the end of the journey. Their countenances are often sad, yet often beam with holy, sacred joy. They do not dress like the company in the broad road, or talk like them, or act like them. A Pattern has been given them. A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief opened that road for them, and traveled that road himself. His followers see his footsteps and are comforted and cheered. He went through safely, so can they, if they follow his footsteps.
In the broad road all are occupied with their persons, their dress, and the pleasures in the way. Hilarity and glee they fully indulge in, and think not of their journey's end, of the certain destruction at the end of the path. Every day they approach nearer their destruction, yet they madly rush on faster and faster. Oh! how dreadful this looked to me.
I saw many traveling in this broad road who had written upon them, "Dead to the world, The end of all things is at hand, Be ye also ready." They looked just like all the vain ones around them, except a shade of sadness which I noticed upon their countenances. Their conversation was just like the gay, thoughtless ones around them; but they would occasionally point to the letters on their garments with great satisfaction, calling for the others to have the same upon theirs. They were in the broad way, yet they professed to be of that number who were traveling the narrow way. Those around them would say, "There is no distinction between us; we are all alike; we dress and talk and act alike."
Then I was pointed back to the years 1843 and 1844. There was a spirit of consecration then, that there is not now. What has come over the professed peculiar people of God? I saw the conformity to the world, the unwillingness to suffer for the truth's sake. I saw a great lack of submission to the will of God. I was pointed back to the children of Israel after they left Egypt. God in mercy called them out from the Egyptians that they might worship him without hindrance or restraint. He wrought for them in the way by miracles, he proved them, he tried them by bringing them into straight places. After the wonderful dealings of God, and their deliverance so many times, when tried or proved by God, they murmured. Their language was, "Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt." They lusted for the leeks and onions there.
I saw many who profess to believe the truth for these last days, think it strange that the children of Israel murmured as they journeyed, and after the wonderful dealings of God to them, should be so ungrateful, and forget what God had done for them. Said the angel,"Ye have done worse than they." I saw that God has given his servants the truth so clear, so plain, that it cannot be resisted. Every where they go they have certain victory. The enemies cannot get round the convincing truth. Light has been shed so clear that the servants of God can stand up anywhere and let truth, clear and connected, bear away the victory. This great blessing has not been prized, has not been realized. If any trial arises, some begin to look back and think, they have a hard time. Some of the professed servants of God do not know what purifying trials are. They make trials sometimes for themselves, imagine trials, and are so easily discouraged, so easily hurt, self-dignity is so quick to feel, that they injure themselves, injure others, and the cause. Satan magnifies and puts things into the mind that if given way to will destroy the usefulness and influence of such.
I saw that some had felt tempted to take themselves from the work, to labor with their hands. I saw that if the hand of God should be taken from them, and they left subject to disease and death, then such would know what trouble is. It is a fearful thing to murmur against God. They do not bear in mind that the way they are traveling in is a rugged, self-denying, self-crucifying way, and they must not expect everything to move on as smoothly as though they were traveling in the broad road.
I saw that some of the servants of God, even messengers, are so easily discouraged, self is so quickly hurt, that they imagine themselves slighted and injured when it is not so. They think their lot hard. Such realize not how they would feel should the sustaining hand of God be withdrawn, and they pass through anguish of soul. Their lot they then would see would be tenfold harder than it was before, while they were employed in the labor of God, suffering trials and privations, yet withal having the approbation of God. Some that are laboring in the cause of God know not when they do have an easy time. They have had so few privations, have hardly known anything of want or wearing, labor or burden of soul, that when they have an easy time, their lives almost entirely free from anguish of spirit, are favored of God, they know it not, and think their trials great. I saw that unless such have a spirit of self-sacrifice, and are ready to labor cheerfully, not sparing themselves, God will release them. He will not acknowledge them as his self-sacrificing servants; but will raise up those who will labor, not slothfully, but in earnest, and will know when they have an easy time. God's servants must feel the burden for souls, and weep between the porch and the altar, and cry, "Spare thy people, Lord."
Some of the servants of God have given up their lives, to spend and be spent, for the cause of God, until their constitutions are gone, and they are almost worn out with mental labor, incessant care, toil and privations, while others have not had, and would not take, the burden upon them. Yet just such ones think they have a hard time, because they never have experienced hardships. They never have been baptized into the suffering part, and never will be, as long as they manifest so much weakness, and so little fortitude, and love their ease so well. From what God has shown me, there needs to be a scourging among the messengers, and the slothful, and dilatory, and self-caring ones, scourged out, and have a pure, faithful, and self-sacrificing company that will not study their ease, but minister faithfully in word and doctrine, that are willing to suffer and endure all things for Christ's sake, and to save those for whom he died. Let these servants feel the woe upon them if they preach not the gospel, and it will be enough; but all do not feel this.
I was shown the conformity of some professed Sabbathkeepers to the world. Oh, I saw it was a disgrace to their profession, a disgrace to the cause of God. They give the lie to their profession. They think they are not like the world, but they are so near like them in dress, in conversation, and actions, that there is no distinction. I saw them decorating their poor mortal bodies, which are liable any moment to be touched by the finger of God, and laid upon a bed of anguish. Oh, then, as they approach their last change, mortal anguish racks their frames, and the great inquiry then is,"Am I prepared to die? prepared to appear before God in judgment, and stand the grand review?" Ask them then how they feel about decorating their bodies, and if they have any sense of what it is to be prepared to appear before God, they will tell you that if they could take back and live over the past, they would correct their lives, shun the follies of the world, its vanity, its pride, and would adorn the body with modest apparel, and set an example to others around them. They would live to the glory of God. Why is it so hard to lead a self-denying, humble life? Because professed Christians are not dead to the world. It is easy living after we are dead. But there is a hankering after the leeks and onions of Egypt. They have a disposition to dress and act as much like the world as possible, and yet go to heaven. Such climb up some other way. They do not enter through the narrow way and straight gate.
Such will have no excuse. Many, I saw, dressed like the world to have an influence. But here they make a sad and fatal mistake. If they would have a true and saving influence, let them live out their profession, show their faith by their righteous works, and make the distinction great between the Christian and the world. I saw that the words, the dress, and actions should tell for God. Then a holy influence will be shed upon all, and all will take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus, and unbelievers will see that the truth we profess has a holy influence, and that faith in Christ's coming affects the character of the man or woman. If any wish to have their influence tell in favor of truth, let them live it out, and imitate the humble Pattern.
I saw that God hates pride, and that all the proud, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up. I saw that the third angel's message must yet work like leaven upon many minds that profess to believe it, and purge away their pride, selfishness, covetousness, and love of the world.
Jesus is coming, and will he find a people conformed to the world? and will he acknowledge them as his people that he has purified unto himself? Oh, no. None but the pure and holy will he acknowledge as his. Those that have been purified and made bright through suffering, and have kept themselves separate, unspotted from the world, he will own as his.
As I saw the dreadful fact that God's people were conformed to the world, with no distinction, only in name, between many of the professed disciples of the meek and lowly Jesus, and unbelievers, my soul felt deep anguish. I saw that Jesus was wounded and put to an open shame. Said the angel, as with sorrow he saw the professed people of God loving the world, partaking of the spirit of the world, and following its fashions, "Cut loose! Cut loose!" lest he appoint thee thy portion with hypocrites and unbelievers outside the city. Thy profession will only cause thee greater anguish, and thy punishment will be greater, because ye knew his will, but did it not."
I saw that those who profess to believe the third angel's message, often wound the cause of God by lightness, joking, and trifling. This evil, I was shown, was all through our ranks. I saw that there should be an humbling before God, and that the Israel of God should rend the heart and not the garment. Childlike simplicity is rarely seen; the approbation of man is more thought of than to fear to displease God. Said the angel, "Set thine heart in order, lest he visit thee in judgment, and the brittle thread of life be cut, and ye lie down in the grave unsheltered, unprepared for the judgment. Or if ye do not make your bed in the grave, unless ye soon make your peace with God, tear yourselves from the world, your hearts will grow harder, and ye will lean upon a false prop, a supposed preparation, and find out your mistake too late to secure a well-grounded hope."
I saw that some professed Sabbathkeepers spend hours that were worse than thrown away, studying this or that fashion, to decorate the poor mortal body. While, you make yourselves appear like the world, and as beautiful as you can, remember that the same body may, in a few days, be food for the worms. And while you fix it up to your taste to please the eye, you are dying spiritually. God hates your vain, wicked pride, and he looks upon you as a whited sepulchre; but within full of corruption and uncleanness. Mothers set the example of pride to their children, and while so doing, sow seed that will spring up and bear fruit. The harvest will be plenteous and sure. That which they sow, they shall reap. There will be no failure in the crop.
I saw, parents, that it is easier for you to learn your children a lesson of pride, than a lesson of humility. And that Satan and his angels stand right by your side to make the act of yours, or the word that you may speak to them, effectual to encourage them to dress, and in their pride to mingle with society that is not holy. Oh, parents, you plant a thorn in your own bosoms that you will often feel in anguish. And when you would counteract the sad lesson you have learned your children, you will find it a hard thing. It is impossible for you to do it. You may deny them things that will gratify their pride, yet that pride lives in the heart, yet longing to be satisfied, and nothing can kill this pride but to have the quick and powerful Spirit of God find way to the heart, and work like leaven there and root it out. E. G. White.
(Vol. 21, #7)
I saw that young and old neglect their Bibles. They do not make that book their study, and the rule of life as they should, especially the young. Most of them are ready, and find plenty of time to read almost any other book. But the word that points to life, eternal life, is not perused and daily studied. That precious, important book, that is to judge them in the last day, is scarcely studied at all. Idle stories have been attentively read, while the Bible has been passed by, neglected. A day is coming, of clouds and thick darkness, when all will wish to be thoroughly furnished by the plain, simple truths of the word of God; that they may meekly, yet decidedly, give a reason of their hope. This reason of their hope, I saw, they must have to strengthen their own souls for the fierce conflict. Without this they are wanting, and cannot have firmness and decision.
Parents had much better burn the idle tales of the day, and the novels as they come into their houses. It would be a mercy to their children. Encourage the reading of these storybooks, and it is like enchantment. It bewilders and poisons the mind. I saw that unless parents awake to the eternal interest of their children, they will surely be lost through their neglect. And the possibility of these unfaithful parents being saved themselves is very small. Parents, I saw, should be exemplary. They should exert a holy influence in their families. They should let their dress be modest, different from the world around them. You should rebuke pride in your children, if you value their eternal interest. Faithfully rebuke this pride, and encourage it not in deed or word. I saw that this pride must be torn out of our families. O, the pride that was shown me of God's professed people. It has increased every year, until it is now impossible to designate professed Advent Sabbathkeepers from all the world around them. Much, I saw, was expended for ribbons and laces for the bonnets, collars and other needless articles to decorate the body, while Jesus the King of glory, who gave his life to redeem them wore a crown of thorns. This was the way their Master's sacred head was decorated. He was "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed." And yet the very ones that profess to be washed by the blood of Jesus, spilt for them, can dress up, and decorate their poor, mortal bodies, and dare to profess to be the followers of the holy, self-denying, humble Pattern. O, I wish that all could see this in the light that God sees it, and showed it to me. It seemed too much, too much for me to bear, to feel the anguish of soul that I felt as I beheld it. "God's people," said the angel, "are peculiar, such he is purifying unto himself." I saw that the outside appearance was an index to the heart. When hung with ribbons, collars and needless things, it plainly shows that all this is in the heart, and unless that such persons are cleansed from their corruption, they can never see God, for the pure in heart alone will see him.
I saw that the axe must be laid at the root of the tree. Such pride should not be suffered in the church. It is these things that separate God from his people, that shuts the Ark away from them. Israel has been asleep to the pride, and fashions, and conformity to the world, in their very midst. They advance every month in pride, covetousness, and selfishness, and love of the world. When the truth affects the heart, it will cause a death to the world, and the ribbons, laces and collars will be laid aside, and if dead, the laugh, the jeer, and scorn of unbelievers will not move them. They will feel an anxious desire to be separate from the world, like their Master. They will not imitate its pride, fashions or customs. The noble object will be ever before them, to glorify God, and gain the immortal inheritance. This prospect will swallow up all besides of an earthly nature. God will have a separate and distinct people from the world. And if any have a desire to imitate the fashions of the world, that they do not immediately subdue, just so soon God ceases to acknowledge them as his children. They are the children of the world and darkness. They hanker after the leeks and onions of Egypt, want to be as much like the world as possible; and those who profess to have put on Christ, by thus doing put him off, and show that they are strangers to grace, strangers to the meek and lowly Jesus. If they had acquainted themselves with him, they would walk worthy of him.
I saw that the Israel of God must arise, renew their strength in God by renewing, and keeping their covenant with Him. Covetousness, selfishness, and love of money, and love of the world, are all through the ranks of Sabbathkeepers. These evils are drying up the sacrifice of God's people. Those that have this covetousness in their hearts are not aware of it. It has gained upon them imperceptibly. And unless it is rooted out, their destruction will be as sure as Achan's was. Many have taken the sacrifice from God's altar, and they love the world, love its gain and increase, and unless there is an entire change they will perish with the world. God has lent them means. It is not their own; but God has made them his stewards. And because of this, they call it their own, and hoard it up. But, O, how quick, when the prospering hand of God is removed from them, it is all snatched away in a moment. There must be a sacrificing for God, a denying self for the truth's sake. O, how weak and frail is man. How puny his arm. I saw that soon the loftiness of man is to be brought down, and the pride of man humbled. Kings and nobles, rich and poor, alike shall bow, and the withering plagues from God shall fall upon them. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 21, #8)
I have been shown that while parents who have the fear of God before them restrain their children, they should study their dispositions and temperaments, and should seek to meet their wants. Some parents attend carefully to the temporal wants of their children; if sick, they kindly and faithfully nurse them, and then think their duty done. They mistake here. Their work has but just begun. The wants of the mind should be cared for. It requires skill to apply the proper remedies to cure a wounded mind. Children have trials just as hard to bear, just as grievous in character, as older people. Parents do not always feel alike. Their minds are often perplexed. They labor under mistaken views and feelings. Satan buffets them, and they yield to his temptations. They speak irritably, and in a manner to excite wrath in their children, and are sometimes exacting and fretful. The poor children partake of the same spirit, and the parents are not prepared to help them, for they were the cause of the trouble. Sometimes everything seems to go wrong. It is fretfulness all around, and all have a very miserable, unhappy time of it. The parents lay the wrong upon their poor children, and think them very disobedient and unruly, and the worst children in the world, when the cause of the disturbance is in themselves. In this manner some parents raise many a storm, by their lack of self-control. Instead of kindly asking the children to do this, or that, they are ordered in a scolding tone, and at the same time a censure or reproof is on their lips which the children have not merited. This course, pursued toward children, destroys their cheerfulness and ambition. They do your bidding, not from love, but because they dare not do otherwise. Their heart is not in the matter. It is a drudgery, instead of a pleasure, which often leads them to forget to follow out all your directions, which increases your irritation, and makes it still worse for the children. The faultfinding is repeated, their bad conduct arrayed before them in glowing colors, until a discouragement comes over the children, and they are not particular whether they please or not. A spirit of "I don't care" seizes them, and they seek that pleasure and enjoyment away from home, away from their parents, which they do not find at home. They mingle with street company, and are soon as corrupt as any of the worst.
Upon whom rests this great sin! If home had been made attractive, had the parents manifested love and affection for their children, and with kindness found employment for them, in love instructed them how to obey their wishes, they would have touched an answering cord in their hearts, and their willing feet, and hands, and hearts, would have all readily obeyed them. Parents, by controlling themselves, and speaking kindly, and praising their children when they try to do right, encourage their right efforts, make them very happy, and throw a charm into the family circle which will chase away every dark shadow, and bring cheerful sunlight in.
Parents sometimes excuse their own wrong course because they do not feel well. They are nervous, and cannot, they think, be patient and calm, and speak pleasantly. They deceive themselves in this thing, and please Satan. He exults that the grace of God is not allowed by them as sufficient to overcome natural infirmities. They can, and should, at all times, control themselves. God requires it of them. They should realize that when they give way to fretfulness and impatience they cause others to suffer. Those around them are affected by the spirit they manifest, and if they in their turn act out the same spirit, the evil is increased, and everything goes wrong.
Parents, when you feel fretful, you should not commit so great a sin as to poison the whole family with this dangerous irritability. At such times set a double watch over yourself, and resolve in your heart not to offend with your lips. Nothing but pleasant, cheerful words should escape from your lips. Say to yourself, "I will not mar the happiness of my children by a fretful word." By thus controlling yourself, you will grow stronger. Your nervous system will not be so sensitive. You will be strengthened by the principles of right. The consciousness in your heart that you are faithfully discharging your duty, will strengthen you. Angels of God will smile upon your efforts, and help you. When you feel impatient, you too often think it is all in your children, and you blame them when they do not deserve it. At another time they might do the very same things, and all be acceptable and right. Children know, and mark, and feel these irregularities, and they are not always alike. Sometimes they are better prepared to meet changeable moods, and at other times they are nervous, and fretful, and cannot bear censure. Their spirit rises up in rebellion against it. Parents want all due allowance made for their state of mind, yet do not always see the necessity of making the same allowance for their poor children. They excuse in themselves that, which if they see in their children, who have not their years of experience and discipline, they would highly censure. Some parents are of a nervous temperament, and when fatigued with labor or oppressed with care, do not labor to preserve a calm state of mind, but manifest to those who should be dearest to them on earth, fretfulness and lack of forbearance, which displeases God, and brings a cloud over the family. Children, in their troubles, should often be soothed with tender sympathy. Mutual kindness and forbearance will make home a paradise, and attract holy angels into the family circle.
The mother can and should do much toward controlling her nerves and mind when it is depressed; and even when she is sick, she can, if she only schools herself, be pleasant and cheerful, and can bear more of their noise than she would once have thought it possible. If infirmities, or depression of spirits affect the mother, she should not make the children feel her infirmities, and cloud their young, sensitive minds, and cause them to feel that the house is a tomb, and the mother's room the most dismal place in the world. The mind and nerves can gain tone, and strength, by exercising the will. The power of the will in many cases will prove a mighty soother of the nerves.
Do not let your children see you with a clouded brow. If they yield to temptation, and afterwards see and repent of their error, forgive them just as freely as you hope to be forgiven of your Father in heaven. Kindly instruct them, and bind them to your hearts. It is a critical time for children. Influences will be thrown around them to wean them from you, which you must counteract. Teach them to make you their confident. Let them whisper in your ear their trials and joys. By encouraging this, you will save them from many a snare that Satan has prepared for their inexperienced feet. But if you treat your children only with sternness, if you forget your own childhood, and forget that they are but children, and try to make them perfect, and make them men and women in their acts at once, you will close the door of access which you might otherwise have to your children, and you drive them to open a door for injurious influences, to affect their young minds, and before you awake to their danger, their minds have been poisoned by others.
Satan and his host are making most powerful efforts to sway the minds of the children, and they must be treated with candor, Christian tenderness and love. This will give you a strong influence over them, and they will feel that they can repose unlimited confidence in you. Throw around your children charms for home, and your society. If you do this, they will not desire so much the society of other young associates. Satan works through young associates to influence and corrupt the minds of each other. It is the most effectual way he can work. Young associates have a powerful influence over one another. Their conversation is not always choice and elevated. Evil communications will be breathed into the ear, which, if not decidedly resisted, find a lodgment in the heart, take root, and spring up to bear fruit, and corrupt their good manners. Because of the evils now in the world, and the restriction necessary to be placed upon the children, parents should have double care to bind them to their hearts, and let them see they wish to make them happy.
Parents should not forget their childhood years, how much they yearned for sympathy and love, and how unhappy they felt when censured and fretfully chided. They should be young again in their feelings. You should bring your mind down to understand the wants of your children. With firmness, all mixed with love, require your children to obey you. Your word should be implicitly obeyed.
Angels of God are watching the children with the deepest interest, to see what characters they develop. If Christ dealt with us as we often deal with each other and with our children, we should stumble and fall through utter discouragement. I saw that Jesus knows our infirmities, and himself hath felt their experience in all things but in sin, therefore he hath proportioned a way and a path to our strength and capacity, and like Jacob, hath marched softly and in evenness with the children as they were able to endure, that he might entertain us by the comfort of his company, and be to us a perpetual guide. He does not despise, neglect, or leave behind the children of the flock.
He has not bid us to move forward and leave them. He has not traveled so hastily as to leave us with our children behind. O no, but he has evened the path to life, even for children. And parents are required in his name to lead them along the narrow way. God has proportioned a way and a path according to the strength and capacity of children. Ellen G. White.