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The Review and Herald Articles
for the Year 1869
(Vol. 33, #2)
Ministers who are engaged in active labor in the cause of God, and who have earned a reputation among our people, should use their influence to the very best advantage.
Their responsibilities do not cease with their pulpit labors. It is the duty of all who can write, especially those who minister in holy things, to exercise their talents in this direction. They should feel that it is one branch of their work to give tangible proofs of their interest in the Review and Herald, by the pointed, spiritual, articles from their pens for its columns. This paper, which is the only preaching that hundreds have, is not what it might be, or what it should be. Here is an opportunity to speak to thousands, and all who do speak through the Review should have a burden of something to say.
Men of but small experience who have but little influence, can get up commonplace sermon. Some of the people read them, while others feel no interest to read them. There is nothing in the words, or arrangement of ideas that melts and burns its way into the heart. Some have interest enough to read every sermon, however deficient in new ideas and interest. When individuals in process of time become acquainted with the men whose names appear at the head of their sermons, they see that these men are not all what they profess to be--that they are deficient in experience. They lose confidence in the paper, and when they read sermons from the pens of men whose names they are not acquainted with, they feel a distrust, because they have been deceived before, and although good matter may be contained in the sermons, they do not acknowledge it as food, therefore they lose much good instruction. Some men would be ministers who have mistaken their work. To them were committed talents, not more than two, or one. Their position is in a humble sphere. God only requires them to do their duty according to their measure of responsibility, and he will accept the work of such, if well done, as readily as the work of those who have greater ability; of them he expects corresponding returns.
Christians will not make light of the smallest gift in the church. But some of the writers of the sermons which have appeared in the Review have not been at work upon their one, or two talents, but have been handling the five not committed to them at all. They make bad work. The Master knew their ability, and gave them no more than they could make the very best use of, that at the reckoning time, he need not require more of them than they had ability to perform. None should needlessly mourn that they cannot glorify God by talents he has never committed to them. Those who are restricted to only one talent, if they use it well, God will accept according to their ability.
God would not have us aspire after great things, seeking to a large work, but he requires all to do their work well. If men are entrusted with limited talents, let them not aspire to trade with the five, but let them with contented humility, feeling the weight of their responsibility, make the most of what they have. The Master will require no larger interest than was proportionate to the amount entrusted to them.
Some of our ministers are capable of bearing greater responsibilities than they are willing to take. They prefer to trade with two talents, when five have been committed to them. In bearing responsibilities, something must be ventured, as in the case of one engage in trade. Some shrink from this through fear. Their trust is not in God. They fear censure, or that loss will be incurred by them. A due amount of caution is necessary, but even this excellent qualification may be abused, and a spirit of indolence or cowardice encouraged. God does not design that individual responsibility shall be laid off.
Especial efforts should be made by ministers who have the cause of God at heart, to contribute to the columns of the Review the most interesting, spiritual articles. All can find time to do this if they have a will and heart to engage in the work. Some are too indolent and ease loving. They will spend hours in chatting upon subjects not especially connected with the advancement of the cause and work of God. The time thus spent is lost, and they are unprofitable servants. If the time had been occupied in the study of the word of God, thoroughly furnishing themselves from its precious pages, fitting themselves to be able ministers, their employment would be more profitable. They would have something to write. They could furnish articles which would instruct and encourage the people of God. Such would be only doing their duty, and would be giving to the flock of God their portion of meat in due season. Some of our ministers occupy considerable time in reading. This is all right if not carried too far. Much reading is as great a weariness to the flesh as making many books. But few realize that much reading is brain-wearing work, as much so as writing. A portion of the time occupied by these who love reading, and who feel that it is a great privation to be diverted from their favorite exercise, should investigate carefully their object. Is it in reading merely to benefit themselves, that they may have an intellectual feast? Even in reading God's word selfishness may come in. You may feast yourselves upon portions of the word which shine with special brightness, and if you make no further use of the blessing, and shut up these precious rays of light to yourselves, your light will become dim, and finally go out.
If God makes you a channel through which to communicate his light, that others may be benefited, be careful how you hide it under a bushel. According to the directions of Christ, the proper course is to set it upon a candlestick, that it may give light to all who are in the house. Better take a portion of the time you devote to reading, and attend to duties that some one must perform. Some must write, that the people of God scattered abroad may be instructed. Have the cogitations of your mind been fruitful upon Bible subjects, or in religious experience, in connection with the work of God? Well, write out these thoughts for the benefit of others who need them. In thus doing, the cause of God can be served as well, and it may be better than by pulpit labor.
When feasting upon God's word, because of the precious light you gather therefrom, present it to others that they may feast with you. But let your communications be free and heartfelt. You can best meet the people where they are, rather than in seeking for lofty words which reach to the third Heavens. The people are not there, but right here in this sorrowing, sinful, corrupt world, battling with the stern realities of life.
Christ came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. He was our example, and God has apportioned to us our work, to minister to the necessities of others, according to the ability he has given us. As we use this ability to the best account, it will increase. Those who do all they can on their part with what God has entrusted to them, and bear their whole weight upon him, he will strengthen them just when strength is required. In thus doing, we give God room to work for us; to teach and lead and impress us, and make us channels through which his light can be communicated to many who are in darkness.
As a people we are surely saying by our works, "My Lord delayeth his coming." Our Lord has given us a fearful caution, not even to say this in "our hearts." With many the warning is utterly disregarded. Their works, and words, and their life is saying distinctly to others, My Lord delayeth his coming. Say not, unfaithful steward, this concerneth not me, I am a Christian. Was not the evil steward a professed Christian? a forgetful, negligent, slothful steward of his Lord's goods? He was outwardly a steward, a professed Christian. He calls Christ, "My Lord." He believes in the coming of his Lord; but he only says, That coming is delayed. Then he presumes on that delay to use for the gratification of his own appetite and pleasure, his Lord's goods. But his portion is assigned him with hypocrites and unbelievers, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth. I entreat you my brethren to arouse from your sloth, and take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. As a people we are increasing in riches. I am alarmed as I see so little of the spirit of sacrifice. Selfishness and the love of the world is closing up the soul, that the rays of heavenly light cannot penetrate it. As God's stewards, I entreat of you to dispense of your means; lighten the load of care, burden and responsibility which is resting upon you.
Brethren, use your influence to obtain a more extended circulation of the Review. You can do much more than you are doing in obtaining subscribers for the Review. If you would imitate, in this good work, the example of our enemies who publish error, or the example of Satan in his perseverance in circulating slander and falsehood, the list of subscribers would be greatly increased. Let every one go to work earnestly, perseveringly, to see what they can do in interesting others to read. Let all become missionaries; and you who have talents of money, put it out to the exchangers. Invest in the cause of God. Do not, I entreat you, continue to pursue a course of robbery with God.
Some of the brethren who are intrusted with the larger talents, have failed to improve upon them as they should have done. Some have talents of influence, some have talents of means, and others have both talents of influence and money. Upon such, rest weighty responsibilities. We profess to be servants of Jesus Christ. As servants, to us is committed a work. It is not our own means intrusted to us for investment. Were it ours, we might study our pleasure in its use. The capital is the Lord's. We are responsible for its use or abuse. If we bury our talents of influence or money in the earth, and allow them to lie dormant, withholding them from his cause, we shall be condemned when the Master comes to reckon with us, and to require his own, not ours, with usury. He has purchased us with his own sufferings and blood, to secure from us willing servitude; yet we withhold from him that which is his own. There is a failure upon the part of ministers and people. They withhold from God. They do not use their talents of influence and means to the glory of God. Ministers have not interested themselves in the prosperity of the Review as was their duty. Here is an opportunity to speak to thousands. Those engaged in active labor in the gospel field should understand that all are interested in their mission. They should feel it a privilege and duty to report their meetings, and communicate matters of interest, which would be for the encouragement of God's people scattered abroad.
About one week since, I dreamed of being before a large concourse of people. Those who labor in the Office, also the ministers who are engaged in active labor in the cause and work of God, were present Brethren Smith, Amadon and Gage stood each holding a copy of the Review. They raised it in their hands above the heads of the people to attract their attention. Their countenances expressed interest and anxiety. I felt burdened to speak. I arose, and referred to the important work in which we were engaged, in warning the world to prepare for the coming of the Lord. I stated that this warning message would be a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death; if this message was not received unto salvation, it would prove the condemnation of those who rejected it. How important, then, that the truth be presented in the most attractive light, in the power of the Holy Spirit, which shall have a winning and compelling power upon those who shall come under its influence. I said to the people, Those who minister in word and doctrine, and those who are handling sacred things in the Office, are engaged in the same work. Our work is of the same exalted character; and we should feel a deep interest in the Review, and make it a channel through which the brightest beams of light shall shine forth to the people. That paper is as dear to me as an only son. The Lord would have us all feel an individual interest in the prosperity of the Review. All should feel as deep an interest as they would in an only son.
All who act a part in contributing to the paper, and all who are engaged in the work of selecting articles for it, should have a zealous care that its columns should contain the most precious light. Especially the ministers should arouse. They should feel a special interest in the paper, and if it is not as full of interest as they could wish they should feel that perhaps they have failed to do their duty. When your zeal and interest come up to the right standard the people will feel a deeper interest in liberally sustaining it, and when this is fully done, if the people desire a larger paper, and will sustain it by their means and influence, it will be made just as large as they desire. God's cause will be strong and triumph if ministers and people will alike show their faith by their works. And it will be weak, and languish, if the ministers and people have small faith and small works. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 33, #3)
While at Battle Creek, about five months since, I dreamed of being with a large body of people. A portion of this assembly started out prepared to journey. We had heavily loaded wagons. As we journeyed, the road seemed to ascend. On one side of this road was a deep precipice. On the other side was a high, white, smooth wall, like the hard finish upon plastered rooms.
As we journeyed on, the road grew narrower and steeper. Some places in the road seemed very narrow, so much so that we concluded that we could travel no longer with the loaded wagons. We then loosed them from the horses, and took a portion of the luggage from the wagons and placed it upon the horses, and journeyed on horseback.
As we progressed, the path still continued to grow narrow. We were obliged to press close to the wall, in order to save ourselves from falling off the narrow road, down the deep precipice. In doing this, the luggage on the horses pressed against the wall, and caused us to sway toward the precipice. We feared that we should fall, and be dashed in pieces on the rocks.
We then cut the luggage from the horses, which fell over the precipice. We continued, on horseback, greatly fearing as we came to the narrower places in the road, that we should lose our balance, and fall. At such times, a hand seemed to take the bridle and guide us over the perilous way. As the path grew more narrow, we decided that we could go no longer on horseback with safety, and we left the horses and went on foot, in single file, one following in the footsteps of another.
At this point, small cords were let down from the top of the pure white wall, which we eagerly grasped, to aid us in keeping our balance upon the path. As we traveled, the cord moved along with us. The path finally became so narrow that we concluded that we could travel more safely without our shoes; so we slipped them from our feet, and went on some distance without them. Soon it was decided that we could travel more safely without our stockings; these were removed, and we journeyed on with bare feet.
We then thought of those who had not accustomed themselves to privations and hardships. Where were such now? They were not in the company. At every change, some were left behind, and those only remained who had accustomed themselves to endure hardships. The privations of the way only made these more eager to press on to the end. Our danger of falling from the pathway increased. We pressed close to the white wall, yet could not place our feet fully upon the path,for it was too narrow.
We then suspended nearly our whole weight upon the cords, and would exclaim, "We have hold from above! We have hold from above!" The same words were uttered by all the company in the narrow pathway. As we heard the sounds of revelry and mirth that seemed to come from the abyss below, we shuddered. We heard the profane oath, the vulgar jest, and low, vile songs. We heard the war songs and the dance songs. We heard instrumental music, and the loud laugh, mingled with cursing and cries of anguish and bitter wailing, and were more anxious than ever to keep upon the narrow, difficult pathway.
Much of the time we were compelled to suspend our whole weight upon the cords. And these increased in size as we progressed.
I noticed that the beautiful white wall was stained with blood. It caused a feeling of regret to see the wall thus stained. This feeling, however, lasted but for a moment, as I soon thought that it was all as it should be. Those who are following after will know that others have passed the narrow, difficult way before them, and will conclude that if others were able to pursue their onward course, they can do the same. And as the blood should be pressed from their aching feet, they would not faint with discouragement; but, seeing the blood upon the wall, they would know that others had endured the same pain.
At length we came to a large chasm at which our path ended. There was nothing now to guide the feet, nothing upon which to rest them. Our whole reliance must be upon the cords, which had increased in size, until they were as large as our bodies. Here we were for a time thrown into perplexity and distress. We inquired in fearful whispers, "To what is the cord attached?"
My husband was just before me. The large drops of sweat were falling from his brow. The veins in his neck and temples were increased to double their usual size, and suppressed, agonizing groans came from his lips. The sweat was dropping from my face, and I felt such anguish as I had never felt before. A fearful struggle was before us. If we failed here, all the difficulties of our journey had been experienced for naught. Before us, on the other side of the chasm, was a beautiful field of green grass, about six inches high. I could not see the sun, but bright, soft beams of light, resembling fine gold and silver, were resting on this field. Nothing I had seen upon earth could compare in beauty and glory with this field.
But could we succeed in reaching it? was the anxious inquiry. Should the cord break, we must perish. Again, in whispered anguish, the words were breathed, "What holds this cord?" For a moment we hesitated to venture. Then we exclaimed, "Our only hope is to trust wholly to the cord. It has been our dependence all the difficult way. It will not fail us now." Still we were hesitating and distressed. The words were then spoken, "God holds the cord. We need not fear." These words were then repeated by those behind us, accompanied with, "He will not fail us now. He has brought us thus far safely."
My husband then swung himself over the fearful abyss into the beautiful field beyond. I immediately followed. And oh, what a sense of relief and gratitude to God we felt! I heard voices raised in triumphant praise to God. I was happy, perfectly happy.
I awoke, and found that from the anxiety I had experienced in passing over the difficult route, every nerve on my being seemed to be in a tremor. This dream needs no comment. It made such an impression upon my mind that probably every item in it will be vivid before me while my memory shall continue. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 34, #3)
I would be glad if I had more strength today. But my trust is in God, that if he has a testimony for me to bear to this people, I shall have strength to bear it before this meeting shall close. I feel the deepest interest in the work and cause of God. It has been a privilege to me, although unable to sit up through the entire meeting, to be present, and to hear what I have heard this afternoon. I feel thankful for this privilege.
We have the deepest interest that this meeting, at this time, shall not be in vain. We want to see the work of God prospering. We know that it is a very important time. It is a solemn time. We feel the importance of our people's arousing and awaking, that they may understand the time in which we live. The probation of all of us must soon close. And are we ready for the appearing of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven? Have we the wedding garment on? Or shall we be of that number that shall be left outside because unready? How anxious we are that every one of you should have the wedding garment on. Not the garment of your own righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ; that you should have this on, and so be prepared, that, when the examination of the guests shall take place, you may not be of those that shall be bound hand and foot, and cast out, because unready. It is readiness that we want. It is fitness that we want. And who is ready? To be unready will be an entire failure. To be unready will be an eternal loss. But if we can, in this day of probation, see that we are unready; if we can here see our wretchedness, and our need, and now humble ourselves before God, he will be found of us, and he will work for us mightily. And now is the time for us to begin to work. You that have not entered, heart and soul and spirit, into this work, now is the time for you to engage in it with all your souls. Christ has said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength." Tell me, is any provision made here for a division of your affections? Where is there any chance for your affections to be separated from God, and yet you be acquitted in the day of God? I terribly fear that many that bear the name of Seventh-day Adventists are stumblingblocks in the way of sinners. They neither enter into the work themselves, and those that would enter in, they hinder by their unconsecrated lives. God forbid that we should go down to death with the blood of souls upon our garments. God forbid that we should stand merely bearing the name of Christians, when we are not sanctified by the truths we profess. God forbid that we at last find that our lives have been an entire failure, an entire mistake, and there appear no soul to whom we can point, as one whom we have been the means of saving, and bringing in through the gates, into the city. Shall it appear finally that we have been wrapped up in our own self-righteousness, all covered up with the spirit and love of the world?
And you that have not sanctified your souls by obeying the truth, do you expect that Christ at his appearing will make you ready? There will then be no atoning blood to wash away the stains of sins. It is while it is called today that you may, if you will, hear his voice, and harden not your heart, as in the day of provocation. It is today that the Spirit of God invites. It is today that the sweet voice of mercy is falling upon your ears. It is today that the heavenly invitation comes to you. It is today that in Heaven everything says, Come. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely.
Will you enter into the work right here at the commencement of the meeting? We have not come here for the amusement of any. We have not come here to gratify the curiosity of any. We have come here thinking that perhaps God, in our weakness, would give us strength to speak a word to the people, and invite them to come, for all things are now ready. The heavenly invitation to the supper has gone forth, and we want you to come. We do not want you, backslidden ones, to wait till the meeting is about closing, and then try to put in for a share. You want the blessing at the very commencement.
Do you want to find Jesus? He is at the feast. You may find him here. He has come up to the feast. There are men and women that have brought him with them; and now we want you to press through, and touch the hem of his garment, that you may receive of the virtue that is found in him, and triumph in the God of your salvation.
The waters of the fountain are freely opened for you; and will you drink? Will you come? Will you obey the gracious invitation? Come, for all things are now ready. Whosoever will, let him come and partake of the waters of life freely. It is now that we want childlike simplicity. We want to see everything like pride, and vanity, and folly, put away. We have the Judgement in view. Men and women will want strength that is greater than any human aid to lean upon. They must lean upon the mighty arm of Jehovah. We have in view that day when the works of men are to be tried, and tested; and we want you to get ready. We make appeals to you, in the name of our Master, to get ready. We make appeals to you to rid yourselves of the pride of the world, the pride, and vanity, and folly, of life. Jesus loves you. Jesus pities you. The angelic host he sends to minister unto you. And now, while all Heaven is interested for you, will you be interested for yourselves? Will you begin to seek God earnestly for your own salvation? Will you work it out with fear and trembling? Will you be careful how you step before God? Will you have the approbation of him whose arm moves the universe? Give me the smiles of God, and the approving glance of my Redeemer, and I will give you the whole world besides. Let me have one word of approbation from Jesus, and it is enough. I love him, for in him my hopes of everlasting life are centered. I love his word and his requirements. I love to do his will. And only let me know what my duty is, and I am ready to perform. It is my meat and drink.
I look a little ahead, and I see a crown of glory that is laid up for us who wait, and love, and long for, the appearing of the Saviour.
It is the waiting ones who are to be crowned with glory, honor, and immortality. You need not talk to me of the honors of the world, or the praise of its great ones. They are all vanity. Let but the finger of God touch them, and they would soon go back to dust again. I want honor that is lasting, honor that is immortal, honor that will never perish; a crown that is richer than any crown that ever decked the brow of a monarch.
Oh! to have the approbation of high Heaven! This is what we want. Let us gain the spirit of humility. Let in a spirit of confession. Do not be so afraid that if you confess your sins, no one will have confidence in you. The apostle says, Pray one for another, and confess one to another, that ye may be healed. You want to let the spirit of humility right in here. You want to find Jesus. We want to triumph in him here. We want a shout of the King in the camp. But we must first have him in our midst.
And you who have been hanging on to the skirts of Zion, we want to hear your songs for rejoicing ere this meeting shall close. We want to see you stand in the congregation of the saints, and say, Hear what the Lord has done for me. We want to hear your voices speaking forth the honors of your Redeemer. We want to hear songs of praise from lips that have not sounded his praise for months. We want to hear shouts of victory from those that have been overcome. We want to have the sweet Spirit of Christ come freely into our midst. We want the waters of salvation to flow here. And we want all to take hold of the work together. Shall we take right hold together, and sweet union and love be here, melting, and cementing, and uniting, our hearts together as one? Oh, that here we might triumph in God! Oh, that all you that are here might go home better men and women, and carry a power with you into your families, a saving power into your neighborhoods, a saving power wherever you go. You who engage in your various employments, you want the power of the truth inwrought in your very souls. Not merely put on; but inwrought in your very being, that you can talk to others as though these things were living realities. Get away from the chilling influence, and spirit of earth. Get a little higher. "Upward to God be the heart's adoration." A little nearer to God, to Jesus, and to angels. Get the heavenly unction; and then you can take it home with you.