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The Review and Herald Articles
for the Year 1901
(Vol. 78, #1)
The canvassing work, properly carried on, is missionary work of the highest order, and is as good and as successful a work as can be done in placing before the people the important truths for this time. The importance of the work of the ministry is unmistakable; but there are many who, though hungry for the bread of life, have not the privilege of hearing the truth from the lips of God's delegated preachers. For this reason it is essential that the publications containing these important matters be placed before the people, that the truth given us of God may go where the living preacher can not go. In this way the attention of many will be called to the important events that are to occur in the closing scenes of this world's history. God has ordained the canvassing work as a means of presenting before the people the light contained in these books, and canvassers should have impressed upon them the fact that the work of bringing before the world as fast as possible the books which are necessary for their spiritual education and enlightenment is the very work the Lord would have them do at this time. We can not too highly estimate this work; for were it not for the work of the canvasser, many would never hear the truth.
It is true that some who buy the books will lay them on the shelf or place them on the parlor table, and seldom look at them. Still God has a care for His truth, and the time will come when these books will be sought for and read. Sickness or misfortune enters the home, and through the truth contained in these books God sends peace and hope and rest. His love will be revealed to their souls, and they will understand the preciousness of the forgiveness of their sins. Thus the Lord cooperates with self-denying human workers.
There are others who, because of prejudice, will never know the truth unless it is brought to their doors and left in their homes. The canvasser may find these souls, and minister to them according to his God-given ability. He can do a line of work, of house-to-house labor, more successfully than any others. He can become acquainted with the people; he can pray with them, and can understand their true necessities. There is much responsibility resting upon the canvasser. He should go to his work prepared to explain the Scriptures, and nothing should be said or done to bind his hands. If he puts his trust in the Lord as he travels from place to place, the angels of God will be round about him, giving him words to speak, which will bring light and hope and courage to many souls.
Let the canvasser remember that he has an opportunity to sow beside all waters. Let him remember, as he sells the books which give a knowledge of the truth, that he is doing the work of God, and that every talent is to be used to the glory of His name. God will be with every one who seeks to understand the truth, that he may set it before others in clear lines. God has spoken plainly and clearly, and we are to make no delay in giving instruction to those who need it, that they may be brought to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus.
God calls upon us to lift up the standard. As God's standard bearers, we are ever to show our colors, revealing in our lives that we are keeping the commandments of God. Then let canvassers go forth with the word of the Lord, remembering that those who obey the commandments, and teach others to obey them, will be rewarded by seeing souls converted, and one soul truly converted will in turn bring others to Christ. Thus the work will advance into new territory.
The lost sheep of God's fold are scattered in every place, and the work that should be done for them is being neglected. From the light given me, I know that where there is one canvasser in the field, there should be one hundred. Canvassers should be encouraged to take hold of this work, not to canvass for story books, but to bring before the world the books containing truth so essential for this time.
The time has come when a large work should be done by the canvassers. The world, is asleep, and as watchmen they are to ring the warning bell to awake the sleepers to a sense of their danger. The churches know not the time of their visitation. How can they best learn the truth?--Through the efforts of the canvasser. Thus the reading matter is brought to those who otherwise would never hear the truth. Those who go forth in the name of the Lord are His messengers to give to the multitudes who are in darkness and error the glad tidings of salvation through Christ in obeying the law of God. All who consecrate themselves to God to work as canvassers are assisting to give the last message of warning to the world.
I have been instructed that even where the people hear the truth from the living preacher, the canvasser should carry on his work; for though much wearing labor is put forth by the minister in speaking to the people, much of the truth is not retained in their minds. The printed page is therefore essential not only in the work of awakening minds to a realization of the importance of the truth for this time, but that hearts may be rooted and grounded in the truth, and established against darkness and deceptive error. Papers and books containing the messages of truth are the Lord's means of thus keeping the truth continually before the minds of the people. These publications will do a far greater work than can be accomplished by the ministry of the word alone. Through the work of the canvasser, the silent messengers of truth that are placed in the homes of the people, enlightening and confirming men and women, will strengthen the gospel ministry in every way; for the Holy Spirit will impress minds as they read the books, just as He impresses the minds of those who listen to the preaching of the word by God's delegated ministers, and the same ministry of angels attends the books that contain the truth as attends the work of the minister who is educating the people as to what is truth. Thus the faithful, consecrated canvasser will lay up treasure beside the throne of God. By Mrs. E. G. White
(Vol. 78, #2)
Canvassing for our literature is a missionary work, and should be carried on from a missionary standpoint. Those selected as canvassers should be men and women who feel the burden of service, whose object is not to get gain, but to do the very work that needs to be done to enlighten the world. All our service is to be done to the glory of God, to give the light of truth to those who are in darkness. Selfish principles, love of gain, dignity, or position should not be once named among us.
Canvassers need daily to be converted to God, that their words and deeds shall be a savor of life unto life, that they may exert a saving influence upon those with whom they come in contact. The reason many have failed in the canvassing work is because they were not Christians; they did not know the spirit of conversion. They had a theory of how the work should be done, but they did not feel their dependence upon God.
Canvassers, remember that in the books which you are handling, you are presenting, not the cup containing the wine of Babylon, doctrines of error dealt to the kings of the earth, but the cup full of the preciousness of the truths of redemption. Will you drink it? Your minds can be brought into captivity to the will of Christ, and He can put His own superscription upon you. By beholding, you will become changed from glory to glory, from character to character. God wants you to come to the front, speaking the words He will give you. He wants you to show that you place an estimate upon humanity, humanity that has been purchased by the precious blood of the Saviour. When you fall upon the Rock and are broken, you will experience the power of Christ, and others will recognize the power of the truth upon your hearts.
To those who are attending school in order that they may learn how to do the work of God more perfectly, I would say, Remember that it is only by a daily consecration to God that you can become soul-winners. There have been those who were unable to go to school because they were too poor to pay their way. But when they became sons and daughters of God, they took hold of the work where they were, laboring for those around them. Though destitute of the knowledge obtained in school, they consecrated themselves to God, and God worked through them. As did the disciples when called from their nets to follow Christ, so they learned precious lessons from the Saviour. They linked themselves up with the Great Teacher, and the knowledge they gained from the Scriptures qualified them to speak to others of Christ. Thus they became truly wise, because they were not too wise in their own estimation to receive instruction from above. The renewing power of the Holy Spirit gave them practical, saving energy.
The knowledge of the most learned man, if he has not learned in Christ's school, is foolishness so far as leading poor, bewildered souls to Christ is concerned. God can work with those only who will accept the invitation, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Among many of our canvassers there has been a departure from right principles. Because of a desire to reap worldly advantage, their minds have been drawn away from the real purpose and spirit of the work. Let none think that display and show will make right impressions upon the minds of the people. These things will not secure the best or most permanent results. Our work is to direct minds to the solemn truths for this time. When our own hearts are imbued with the spirit of truth, which is contained in the book we are selling, and when in humility we call the attention of the people to these truths, real success will attend our efforts; for the Holy Spirit, which convinces of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, will be present to impress hearts.
Our books should be handled by consecrated workers, whom the Holy Spirit can use as His instrumentalities. Christ is our sufficiency, and we want to present the truth in humble simplicity, letting it bear its own savor of life unto life.
Humble, fervent prayer would do more in behalf of the circulation of our books than all the expensive pictures in the world. If the workers will turn their attention to that which is true and living and real; if they will pray for, believe for, and trust in, the Holy Spirit, He will be poured upon them in strong, heavenly currents, and right and lasting impressions will be made upon the human heart. Then pray and work, and work and pray, and the Lord will work with you.
Every canvasser has positive and constant need of the angelic ministration; for he has an important work to do, a work that he can not do in his own strength. Those who are born again, who are willing to be guided by the Holy Spirit, doing in Christ's way that which they can do; those who will work as if they could see the heavenly universe watching them, will be accompanied and instructed by holy angels, who will go before them to the dwellings of the people, preparing the way for them. Such help is far above all the advantages that illustrations are supposed to give.
When men realize the times in which we are living, they will work as in the sight of heaven. The canvasser will handle those books that bring light and strength to the soul. He will drink in the spirit of these books, and put his whole soul into the work of presenting them to the people. His strength, his courage, his success, will depend on how fully the truth presented in the books is woven into his own experience and developed in his character. When his own life is thus molded, he can go forward representing to others the sacred truth he is handling in the books for which he is finding a place in homes. Imbued with the Spirit of God, he will gain a deep, rich experience, and heavenly angels will give him success in the work.
To our canvassers, to all to whom God has given talents that they might cooperate with Him, I would say, Pray, O pray, for a deeper experience. Go forth with your hearts softened and subdued by a study of the precious truths which God has given us for this time. Drink freely of the water of salvation, that it may be in your hearts as a living spring, flowing forth to refresh souls ready to perish. God will then give wisdom to enable you to impart aright. He will make you channels for communicating His blessings. He will help you to reveal His attributes by imparting to others the wisdom and understanding which He has imparted to you.
May the Lord open your minds to comprehend this subject in its length and breadth, and may you realize your duty to represent the character of Christ, by your patient courage and steadfast integrity. If you will take with you into the canvassing field principles of righteousness, you will be respected, and many will believe the truth that you advocate, because your daily life will be as a bright light which gives light to all that are in the house. Even your enemies, as much as they may war against your doctrines, will respect you; and your simple words will have a power that will carry conviction to hearts. By Mrs. E. G. White
(Vol. 78, #3)
The work of God is to go into all the world, vindicating the claims of Christ, and writing His name on hearts. As laborers together with Him, we must never get above the simplicity of His work; for unless we walk humbly with God, the Holy Spirit can not attend our efforts.
The canvassing work is an important field of labor, and will do much toward carrying the gospel to all the dark corners of the world. The intelligent, God-fearing, truth-loving canvasser should be respected; for he occupies a position equal to that of the gospel minister. Many of our young ministers and those who are fitting for the ministry would, if truly converted, do much good by entering the canvassing field. They would there obtain an experience in faith. Their knowledge of the Scriptures would greatly increase, because as they endeavored to impart to others the light given them, they would receive more to impart. By meeting people and presenting to them our publications, they would gain an experience that they could not gain by simply preaching. As they go from house to house, they should converse with those with whom they meet, carrying with them the fragrance of Christ's life. The most precious ministry that can be performed is by ministers working in the canvassing field.
All our ministers should feel free to carry books with them, to dispose of wherever they go. Wherever a minister goes, he can leave a book in the family where he stays, either selling it or giving it to them. Much of this work was done in the early history of the message. Ministers acted as canvassers and colporteurs, using the money they obtained from the sale of books to help in the advancement of the work in places where help was needed. These can speak intelligently regarding this method of work; for they have had an experience.
Let none hold the impression that it belittles a minister of the gospel to canvass; for by doing this work, he is doing the very work as did the apostle Paul, who says: "Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews; and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, and have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." The eloquent Paul, to whom God manifested himself in a wonderful manner, went from house to house with all humility of mind, and with many tears and temptations.
All who wish an opportunity for true ministry, and who will give themselves unreservedly to God, will find in the canvassing work opportunities to speak upon many things pertaining to the future immortal life. The experience thus gained will be of the greatest value to those who are fitting themselves for the work of the ministry. It is the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit of God that prepares workers, both men and women, to become pastors to the flock of God. As they cherish the thought that Christ is their Companion, a holy awe, a sacred joy, will be felt by them amid all their trying experiences and all their tests. They will learn how to pray as they work. They will become educated in patience, kindness, affability, and helpfulness wherever they may be. They will practice true Christian courtesy, bearing in mind that Christ, their Companion, will not approve of harsh, unkind words or feelings. Their words will be purified. The power of speech will be regarded as a precious talent, lent them to do a high and holy work. The human agent will learn how to represent the divine Companion with whom he is associated. To that unseen, holy One he will show respect and reverence because he is wearing His yoke, and is learning His pure, holy ways. Those who have faith in this divine Attendant will develop. They will be gifted with a power to clothe the message of truth with a sacred beauty.
There are some who are adapted to the work of a colporteur, and who can accomplish more in this line than by preaching. If the Spirit of Christ dwells in their own hearts, they will find opportunity to present His word to others, and to direct minds to the special truths for this time. Men suited to this work undertake it; but some injudicious minister flatters them that their gifts should be employed in the desk, instead of in the work of the colporteur. Thus they are influenced to get a license to preach, and the very ones who might have been trained to make good missionaries to visit families at their homes, to talk and pray with them, are turned away from a work for which they are fitted, to make poor ministers, and the field where so much labor is needed, and where so much good might be accomplished for the cause, is neglected. The canvassers in the field, if consecrated to God, will learn every day by practice how to reach the souls for whom Christ has died.
May the Lord help every one to improve to the utmost the talents committed to his trust. May He help all to study the Bible as they should, that its teachings may have a practical bearing upon their lives. Whatever your work may be, dear brethren and sisters, do it for the Master, and do your best. Do not overlook present golden opportunities, and let your life prove a failure, while you sit idly dreaming of ease and success in a work for which God has never fitted you. Do the work that is nearest you. Do it, even though it may be amid the perils and hardships of the missionary field; and when tempted to complain of hardship and self-sacrifice, look at Christ, and behold the sacrifice that He has made that the light of the gospel might shine into benighted minds.
The preaching of the word is a means by which the Lord has ordained His warning message to be given to the world. In the Scriptures the faithful teacher is represented as a shepherd of the flock of God. He is to be respected, and his work appreciated. Genuine medical missionary work is bound up with the ministry, and the canvassing work is to be a part both of the medical missionary work and of the ministry. To those who are engaged in this work, I would say: As you visit the people, tell them you are a gospel evangelist, and that you love the Lord. Do not seek a home in a hotel, but stay at a private house, and become acquainted with the family. Christ sowed the seeds of truth wherever He was; and as His followers, you can witness for the Master, doing a most precious work in fireside labor. In thus coming close to the people, you will often find those who are sick and discouraged. If you are pressing close to the side of Christ, wearing His yoke, you will daily learn of Him how to carry messages of peace and comfort to the sorrowing and disappointed, the sad and brokenhearted. You can point the discouraged ones to the word of God, and take the sick to the Lord in prayer. As you pray, speak to Christ as you would to a trusted, much loved friend. Maintain a sweet, free, pleasant dignity, as a child of God. This will be recognized.
Canvassers should be able to give those with whom they stay instruction in regard to the way to treat the suffering. They should be educated in regard to the simple methods of hygienic treatment. Thus they may work as medical missionaries, ministering to the souls and bodies of the suffering. Now, just now, this work should be going forward in all parts of the country, that many might be blessed by the prayers and instruction of God's servants.
We need to realize the importance of the canvassing work as one great means of finding out those who are in peril, and bringing them back to Christ. The truth must go forward. The Church militant is not the Church triumphant. Canvassers should never be prohibited from speaking of the love of Christ, from telling their first experience in their service for the Master. They should be perfectly free to speak or to pray with those who are awakened. The simple story of Christ's love for man will open doors for them, even to the homes of unbelievers. Of all the gifts that God has given to man, none is more precious than the gift of speech; if it is sanctified by the Holy Spirit. It is with the tongue that we convince and persuade: with it we offer prayer and praise to God, and with it we convey rich thoughts of the Redeemer's love. Those who are fitted to enlighten minds will often have opportunity to read from the Bible or from books that teach the truth, and thus bring the evidence to enlighten souls. When canvassers discover those who are interestedly searching for truth, they should hold Bible readings with them. These Bible readings are just what the people need. God will use in His service those who thus show a deep interest in perishing souls. Through them He will impart light to those who are ready to receive instruction.
Some have a zeal that is not according to knowledge. Such should not attempt this work; they should not try to converse with those whom they meet; for they would be unable to enlighten them. Because of the lack of wisdom on the part of some, because they have been so much inclined to act the minister and theologian, restrictions have almost had to be enforced upon our canvassers. When the Lord's voice calls, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" the divine Spirit puts it into hearts to respond, "Here am I; send me." But bear in mind that the live coal from the altar must first touch your lips. Then the words you speak will be wise and holy words. Then you will have wisdom to know what to say, and what to leave unsaid. You will not try to reveal your smartness as theologians. You will be careful not to arouse a combative spirit or excite prejudice, by introducing indiscriminately all the points of our faith. You will find enough to talk about that will not excite opposition, but that will open the heart to desire a deeper knowledge of God's word.
The Lord desires you to be soul winners; therefore, while you should not force doctrinal points upon the people, you should "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." Why fear?--Fear lest your words should savor of self-importance, lest unadvised words be spoken, lest your words and manner should not be after Christ's likeness. Connect firmly with Christ, and present the truth as it is in Him. Hearts can not fail to be touched by the story of the atonement. As you learn the meekness and lowliness of Christ, you will know what you should say to the people; for the Holy Spirit will tell you what words you ought to speak. Those who realize the necessity of keeping the heart under the control of the Holy Spirit, will be enabled to sow seed that will spring up unto eternal life. This is the work of the gospel evangelist. By Mrs. E. G. White
(Vol. 78, #4)
The importance of the canvassing work is kept ever before me. This work has not of late had the spirit and life infused into it that were once given by the leading agents who made it a specialty. Canvassers have been called from their evangelistic work for the people in townships and cities to engage in other work. This is not as it should be. Our canvassers, if truly converted and consecrated, can gain access to hearts and homes, and place the truth before a large class of people.
We have the word of God to show that the end is near. There is a great work to be done, and there is no time to be lost. A world is to be warned, and as never before men are to be laborers with Christ. The work of warning has been given to us. We are to be channels of light in the world, reflecting to others light from the great Lightbearer. The words and works of all men are to be tried. Let us not be backward now. That which is to be done to warn the world must be done without delay. Let not the canvassing work be left to languish. Let the books containing the light on present truth be placed before as many as possible.
The presidents of our Conferences, and others in responsible positions, have a duty to do in this matter, that the different branches of the work of God may receive equal attention. Canvassers are to be educated and trained to do the work required in selling the books upon present truth which the people need. There is need of men of deep Christian experience, men of well-balanced minds, strong, well-educated men, to engage in this branch of the work. The Lord desires those to take hold of the canvassing work who are capable of educating others, who can awaken in promising young men and women an interest in this work, leading them to take up the book work and handle it successfully. Some have the talent, education, and experience that would enable them to educate the youth for the canvassing work in such a way that much more would be accomplished than is now being done.
Those who have thus gained an experience in this work have a special duty to perform in teaching others. Educate, educate, educate young men and women to become canvassers who will sell those books which the Lord by His Holy Spirit has stirred men to write. God desires men to be faithful in educating those who accept the truth, that they may believe to a purpose, and work intelligently in the Lord's way. Let these inexperienced persons be connected with experienced workers, that they may learn how to carry on the work. Let them seek God most earnestly. These may do a good work in canvassing if they will obey the words, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine." Those who give evidence that they are truly converted, and who take up the canvassing work, will see that it is the best preparation they could have to fit them for other lines of missionary work.
If those who know the truth would practice it, methods would be devised for meeting the people where they are. It was the providence of God which in the beginning of the Christian Church scattered the saints abroad, sending them out of Jerusalem into many parts of the world. The disciples of Christ did not stay in Jerusalem or in the cities near by, but they went beyond the limits of their own country, into the great thoroughfares of travel, seeking for lost sheep, that they might bring them into the fold. Today the Lord desires to see His work carried forward in many places. We must not confine our labors to one locality.
We must not discourage our brethren, weakening their hands so that the work that God desires to accomplish through them is not done. Too much time should not be occupied in fitting up men to do missionary work. Instruction is necessary; but let all remember that Christ is the Great Teacher, the source of all true wisdom. Let young and old consecrate themselves to God, take up the work, and go forward, doing their work in all humility of mind, under the control of the Holy Spirit. Let those who have been in school go out into the field, and put to a practical use the knowledge they have gained. If canvassers will do this, using the ability God has given them, seeking counsel of Him, and combining with the work that of the missionary evangelist, their talents will increase by exercise, and they will learn many practical lessons that they could not possibly learn in school. The education obtained in this practical way may properly be termed higher education.
There is no higher work than evangelistic canvassing; for it involves the performance of the highest moral duties. The agencies set in operation for its accomplishment need always to be under the control of the Spirit of God. There must be no exalting of self. What have any of us that we did not receive from Christ? We must love as brethren, revealing this love by helping one another. We must be pitiful and courteous. We must press together, drawing in even cords. Perfect harmony and unity of spirit must exist among the workers who handle the books that are to flood the world with light. Only those who live the prayer of Christ, working it out practically in their lives, will stand the test that is to come upon all the world. Those who exalt self place themselves in Satan's power, preparing to receive his deceptions as truth. The word of the Lord to His people is that we lift the standard higher and still higher. If we obey His voice, He will work with us, and success will crown our efforts. In our work we shall receive rich blessings from on high, and shall lay up treasure beside the throne of God.
If we only knew what is before us, we should not be so dilatory in doing the work of the Lord. There are ministers and workers who will present a tissue of nonsensical falsehoods as testing truths, even as the Jewish rabbis presented the maxims of men as the bread of heaven. These are given to the flock of God, as their portion of meat in due season, while the poor sheep are starving for the bread of life. Even now there seems to be a burning desire to get up something startling, and bring it in as new light. Thus men are weaving into the web as important truths a tissue of lies. This imaginary food that is being prepared for the flock will cause spiritual consumption, decline, and death.
We are in the shaking time, the time when everything that can be shaken will be shaken. The Lord will not excuse those who know the truth if they do not in word and deed obey His commands. If we make no effort to win souls to Christ, we shall be held responsible for the work we might have done, but did not do because of our spiritual indolence. Those who belong to the Lord's kingdom must work earnestly for the saving of souls. They must do their part to bind up the law and seal it among the disciples.
Some flatter themselves that the Lord will give them another chance, that there will be a second probation. Fatal delusion! Just now, day by day, hour by hour, we are building for the last great day. We are trading on our Lord's money, and at His coming He will reckon with us, and we shall have to give an account of what we have done with His goods. As responsible beings we are working for time and for eternity, making our records in the books of heaven, and preparing our reward or punishment. Our reward will be proportionate to our work. "My reward is with me," Christ declares, "to give to every man according as His work shall be." He will expect results from every one. Let those who are seeking an easy time arise and shine, for their light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon them.
The Lord desires that the light which He has given on the Scriptures shall shine forth in clear, bright rays, and it is the work of our canvassers to put forth a strong, united effort that God's desire may be accomplished. A great and important work is before us. The enemy of souls realizes this, and is using every means within his power to lead the canvasser to take up some other line of work. This order of things should be changed. God calls the canvassers back to their work. He calls for volunteers for the canvassing work, those who will put all their energies and enlightenment into the work, helping wherever there is an opportunity. The Master calls for every one to do the work given him according to his several ability. Who will respond to the call? Who will go forth to work in wisdom and grace and the love of Christ for those nigh and those afar off? Who will sacrifice ease and pleasure, to enter the places of error, superstition, and darkness, working earnestly and perseveringly, speaking the truth in simplicity, praying in faith, doing house-to-house labor? Who at this time will go forth without the camp, imbued with the power of the Holy Spirit, bearing reproach for Christ's sake, opening the Scriptures to men and women, and calling them to repentance?
God has His workmen in every age. The call of the hour is answered by human agencies. Thus when the divine voice cries, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" the response will come, "Here am I; send me." Let all who work effectually in these lines feel in their hearts that they are doing the work of the Lord in ministering to souls who know not the truth for this time. They are sounding the note of warning in the highways and byways to prepare a people for the great day of the Lord, which is to break upon the world. We have no time to lose. We must encourage this work. Who will go forth now with our publications? To every man and woman who will cooperate with divine power, the Lord imparts a fitness for the work. All the requisite talent, courage, perseverance, faith, and tact will come as they put the armor on. A great work is to be done in our world, and human agencies will surely respond to the demand. The world must hear the warning. When the call comes, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" send back the answer, clear and distinct, "Here am I; send me." By Mrs. E. G. White
(Vol. 78, #5)
Children are very susceptible. Undue severity hardens them, while a lack of discipline is like leaving a field untilled; it is speedily covered with thorns and thistles.
Blind affection is a snare. By it the young are led to look upon evil as a thing to be excused. Parents are in constant danger of indulging natural affection at the expense of obedience to God's law. Many parents to please their children, allow what God forbids.
In allowing children to do as they please, parents may think themselves affectionate, but they are practicing the veriest cruelty. Children are able to reason, and their souls are hurt by inconsiderate kindness, however proper this kindness may be in the eyes of the parents. As the children grow older, their insubordination grows. Their teachers may try to correct them, but too often the parents side with the children, and the evil continues to grow, clothed, if possible, with a still darker covering of deception than before. Other children are led astray by the wrong course of these children, and yet the parents can not see the wrong. The words of their children are listened to before the words of teachers, who mourn over the wrong. There is little hope of children in any age of the world, and especially in this age, whose fathers and mothers help them to testify to a lie.
In the history of Eli the danger signal for parents is lifted. Eli's sons did wickedly, but he restrained them not. His great desire was to avoid unpleasant feelings in the home. He remonstrated, but did not command. His blind affection for his sons led him to shrink from taking any decided action against their wicked course. He proved unworthy of the trust given him, and the Lord passed him by, and gave His message to the child Samuel. "The Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering forever."
Contrast the history of Eli with that of Abraham. Eli neglected to discipline his sons. They made Israel sin, and as a result, terrible calamity came upon the nation. Israel was defeated by the Philistines, and the ark was taken.
Abraham inquired daily, Is this the way of the Lord? He ruled his household by the combined influence of authority and affection; and the Heart searcher said of him: "I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment." Abraham cultivated home religion. God knew that he would not betray sacred trusts, that he would not show for his children the blind affection that allows the child to be master of father and mother.
Parents, the happiness of your children depends upon the way in which you discharge your duty toward them. Teach them carefully and prayerfully, here a little and there a little, leading, guiding, and when necessary commanding. Parents whose hearts are given to the Lord will follow His way in directing their household; and blessings will flow from them to their children.
While we are not to indulge blind affection, neither are we to manifest undue severity. Children can not be brought to the Lord by force. They can be led, but not driven. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me," Christ declares. He did not say, My sheep hear my voice, and are forced into the path of obedience. In the government of children, love must be shown. Never should parents cause their children pain by harshness or unreasonable exactions. Harshness drives souls into Satan's net.
Parents, as surely as you treat your children in a cold, unloving manner, just so surely will the image of God in the soul be defaced. Christians should act like Christ. Cherish and cultivate all that is pure and lovely in the heart of your child. Be kind. Do not oppress and repress your children by laying upon them burdens that are not sanctioned by the word of the Lord. Thus you cause the children to lose confidence in you. Let there be no fretting, no scolding, no unnecessary exactions. Administer the rules of the home in wisdom and love, not with a rod of iron. Children will respond by willing obedience to a rule of love. Commend your children whenever you can. Provide the little ones with innocent amusements. As soon as they are old enough, give them something to do, according to their strength. Encourage them with the thought that they are helping you. Then, in doing these little duties, they will find greater pleasure than in mere amusement. Do not let them pass through childhood in a dull routine. Never wound their hearts by a lack of consideration. Walk constantly in the way of the Lord, following the example set by Christ.
Make the home a Bethel, a holy, consecrated place. Make the lives of your children as happy as possible. Keep the soil of the heart mellow by love and affection, thus preparing it for the seed of truth. Remember that the Lord gives the earth not only clouds and rain, but the beautiful, smiling sunshine, causing the seed to spring up and the blossoms to appear. Remember that children need not only reproof and correction, but encouragement and commendation, the pleasant sunshine of kind words.
We need more sunshiny parents and more sunshiny Christians. We are too much shut up within ourselves. Too often the kindly, encouraging word, the cheery smile, are withheld from our children and from the oppressed and discouraged.
Parents, upon you rests the responsibility of being lightbearers and lightgivers. Shine as lights in the home, brightening the path that your children must travel. As you do this, your light will shine to those without.
Before parents can teach their children correctly, they must themselves learn in the school of Christ. Then, in humility and love, let them work for their children, determined not to fail nor be discouraged. They are to have faith that their efforts will not be in vain. Patient, untiring work will win the blessing of God. Divine power will combine with human endeavor, and the hearts of the children will be turned in loving obedience to Christ.
Be careful to show your children that Christ is a loving Saviour. Tell them that He died for children. Never cease to labor in love for their salvation, presenting the truth as it is in Jesus. Make the Christian life an attractive one. Speak of the country in which the followers of Christ are to make their home. As you do this, God will guide your children into all truth, filling them with a desire to fit themselves for the mansions which Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him.
Parents, are you working with unflagging energy in behalf of your children? The God of heaven marks your solicitude, your earnest work, your constant watchfulness. He hears your prayers. With patience and tenderness train your children for the Lord. All heaven is interested in your work. Angels of light will unite with you as you strive to lead your children to heaven. God will unite with you, crowning your efforts with success. Christ delights to honor a Christian family; for such a family is a symbol of the family in heaven. By Mrs. E. G. White
(Vol. 78, #6)
"For this cause," Paul wrote, "we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness." These words present an advancing religious experience.
"Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers." This is a warning appropriate for this time. Then comes a charge which will often need to be given: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Learn to take the truths that have been revealed, and to handle them in such a way that they will be food for the flock of God.
We shall meet those who allow their minds to wander into idle speculations about things of which nothing is said in the word of God. God has spoken in the plainest language upon every subject that affects the salvation of the soul. But He desires us to avoid all daydreaming, and He says, Go work today in my vineyard. The night cometh wherein no man can work. Cease all idle curiosity; watch, and work, and pray. Study the truths that have been revealed. Christ desires to break up all vacant reveries, and He points us to the fields ripe for the harvest. Unless we work earnestly, eternity will overwhelm us with its burden of responsibility. God has given us talents upon which to trade, and He expects us to increase them by faithful use. He has made us His almoners; and He requires that wherever we shall go, usefulness shall mark our path. If the contemplation of eternal realities unfits us for the duties of the present life, the blame lies with ourselves.
We have encouragement in the Scriptures that if we walk humbly before God, we shall receive instruction. But we are warned against undue curiosity. "Shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness," leading into paths of supposition and imagination, with which we have nothing to do. These are vain, unessential theories of human creation, which keep the mind dwelling upon nothingness. They have in them nothing sure or substantial. Of those who advance these theories, Paul says: "Their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some."
In the days of the apostles the most foolish heresies were presented as truth. History has been and will be repeated. There will always be those who, though apparently conscientious, will grasp at the shadow, preferring it to the substance. They take error in the place of truth, because error is clothed with a new garment, which they think covers something wonderful. But let the covering be removed, and nothingness appears.
"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor." The "great house" represents the Church. In the Church will be found the vile as well as the precious. The net cast into the sea gathers both good and bad.
"If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work." He is not to accept theories that, if received, would corrupt. He is to purify himself from all unrighteous sentiments, which, if received, would lead away from the sure word of God to unstable human devisings, degradation, and corruption. He is to resist the working of the enemy through vessels of dishonor. By searching the Scriptures with much prayer, he will find a path to follow, not the path of man, but a path that leads to heaven.
The work of purification is an individual work. No one can do this work for another. "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use." The Spirit of God will work through sanctified human agencies, leading them to work aright. Ability and grace will be provided. Men will be filled with an earnest desire to preach the truths of the gospel, firmly, decidedly, and in a clear manner.
The men intrusted with sacred responsibilities as teachers of spiritual things are representatives of Christ. Having His meekness and lowliness, they day by day witness for Him. They manifest His Spirit in their earnest endeavor to do good, and they receive the unction represented by the holy oil. The impartation of God's Spirit is an overflowing of the holy oil from the divine receptacle into human vessels prepared to receive it. Thus by the power and grace of God, and under His superintending care, the work is carried forward, in the face of mighty foes. This work is not to cease until its completion amid the triumphant shout of victory, "Grace, grace unto it."
"Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing them that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
The members of the Church of God need converting. Unless they are converted, they will lead away from Christ, making crooked paths for their own feet, and turning the lame out of the way. There is just as much need of repentance in and among believers who err from the principles of Christ as among those who have not a knowledge of the way of the Lord. Let the question come home to every soul, Am I walking in Christ's footsteps? True religion exerts a powerful influence. True Christians are filled with love for God and man; their earnest desire for the salvation of the souls ready to perish gives them decided victories. By Mrs. E. G. White
(Vol. 78, #7)
Since coming to America, my labors have been constant, and I have felt much of the sustaining power of the Lord. We arrived in Oakland late in the day, Friday, September 21. I was asked to speak on Sabbath afternoon in the Oakland church. The notice had gone out, and the church building was full. The Lord gave me special freedom.
The first part of the next week was devoted to house hunting, but after being conducted from place to place for days, we could find nothing suitable. Then I said, "I am done with house hunting. When the Lord provides a place for me, I will gladly accept it."
Thursday morning we went to St. Helena, and as I met Sister Ings, she said: "Below the hill is a place that is just the place for you. The house is large and comfortable, and well furnished. The surroundings are pleasant. There are orchards and vineyards, and the stable is supplied with horses and carriages. It is so near the sanitarium that you can be a great help to us, and we may be able to assist you in some way."
We examined the place, and found it well suited to our necessities. The sanitarium had purchased the place in order to secure all the water of a large spring belonging to it; and after retaining the spring, also five acres of land for the food factory, and ten acres for other purposes, they wished to sell me the remainder, comprising fifty-five acres of land, with the house, an old cottage that we have converted into office rooms for my helpers, the stables, horses, carriages, farm implements, for a sum less than I received for my home in Cooranbong. I need pay but a few hundred dollars now, and the rest in yearly installments, at a low rate of interest.
I had given up my home in Cooranbong with many regrets, feeling that I should never again find so quiet and comfortable a place. But lo, the Lord had prepared for me a place that was in many ways much better, and obtainable on easy terms. A large part of the proceeds of the Cooranbong place I can now loan to the Sydney Sanitarium, and other enterprises in need of funds.
Some have asked, "Why does Sister White invest six thousand dollars in a home at this stage in the world's history?" My answer is, Because I have an important work to do, and must have a suitable place in which to do it. Because the interest on this place is much less than the rent would be on the necessary rooms for my residence and offices for my helpers. I could sell portions of the place, but feel that I must keep it in order to meet the future needs of the sanitarium work.
As soon as we reached Crystal Springs, I was solicited to speak in the sanitarium chapel. This I did Thursday and Friday evenings. The audiences were large, and all seemed much interested.
Sabbath morning we went to Napa, where a district campmeeting was in session, and there I spoke to the people. I was moved by the Spirit of God to bear a most decided testimony. After I had spoken, many came forward for prayer. Much tenderness and weeping were seen in the meeting. Some of the nurses from the sanitarium were much broken in spirit, and earnestly sought the Lord.
On returning to St. Helena, I met my son, James Edson White, whom I had not seen for nine years. He had come to counsel with us while Elder Irwin was here. Through the week our counsels continued, and many important matters were considered.
Since coming here, I have spoken about twelve times at the sanitarium, once at St. Helena, once at Calistoga, and three times at Healdsburg. The Lord has blessed me in a marked manner. I see as I never expected to see that the good hand of the Lord is with me. Oh, it has been so wonderfully apparent in providing this beautiful home in this retired place!
While on the boat, I was visited by the angel of the Lord, and was instructed that it was in the order of God for me to come to America just at this time. This was against my wishes; for I wanted to remain in Australia. I love the people there, and I loved my work. I have not lost my love for Australia, nor my interest in the workers there.
The Lord will help all who take hold with good courage, and humbly do His work with honesty and fidelity and earnest zeal. The end is near, and I would say to those I love in every place, Be of good courage in the Lord. Ministers and people, the Lord is our Rock. We may be secure. The Lord will not leave His people to the will of the enemy. He will carry us through all the strait places. He can spread a table for us in the wilderness. We want not human zeal, but a zeal for the success of all our institutions. They are God's instrumentalities. They must be kept free from selfishness. They must be witnesses for the truth of God for this time.
Sabbath, November 10, I visited San Francisco, and spoke to a church full of people who had ears to hear and hearts to understand. They seemed to be hungry for the word of the Lord, and I believe they heard to a purpose. As I spoke the word of life in plain, simple language, I knew that Christ was with us, softening and subduing hearts. The Holy Spirit was evidently at work. Oh, how my heart yearned for the precious souls whom I was inviting to look and live!
After I had finished speaking, Elder Corliss invited all who wished to give themselves to Jesus to come forward. There was a quick and happy response, and I was told that nearly two hundred persons came forward. Men and women, youth and children, pressed into the front seats. The Lord would be pleased to have a work similar to this done in every church.
Many could not come forward, because the house was so crowded, yet the animated countenances and tearful eyes testified to the determination, "I will be on the Lord's side. From this time I will seek earnestly to reach a higher standard."
Most earnest efforts should be made to lead both the older and the younger members of our churches to take hold of the work where they are. The Lord will use all who will give themselves to Him in deed and in truth. The young men and young women who give themselves to the work of presenting the truth and laboring for the conversion of souls, should first be vitalized by the Holy Spirit; and then they should go forth without the camp into the most unpromising places. The Lord has not given to those of little experience the work of preaching to the churches. The message is to be proclaimed in the highways and hedges.
Where are the men who know how to organize? You are needed just now. Only those who are themselves guided by the great principles of truth, who have themselves felt the power of the grace of God, can be a blessing to others. These are the ones who can labor for those church members who are living in carelessness. Those who, on their knees and with the Bible before them, seek for a living connection with the Source of all power, will gain an experience that will be of more value to them than gold.
Careful management on all points is needed, so that we shall neither run into the fire of fanaticism nor drift into formalism, which will freeze our own souls and the souls of others. We need more of the good, old-fashioned religion which leads a man to walk humbly before God. He who possesses this religion brings into his work an awakened intellect. He grasps the theory of truth, but he does not stop there. He cooperates with God by using in His service all the capabilities and gifts intrusted to him. He spends much time in the study of the Scriptures and in prayer to God, and divine power comes to him, enabling him to understand the sacred art of saving souls.
There is no need of our making continual blunders in the work of the Lord. Ministers need the guiding philosophy which gives them strength to save souls ready to perish. This philosophy is necessary in the work of God. But how little effort is put forth to educate the youth before they enter God's vineyard. Little genuine zeal is shown in educating and training the inexperienced disciple to seek for souls as he that must give an account.
I beseech those who have received the light of truth to do all in their power to carry out the commission given by Christ to His disciples. Let ministers understand that they are to impart that which they receive. Let them remember that their success comes from God, who is always ready to give a fresh supply of grace to the humble and contrite. Let them live in the light and love of God, improving the opportunities presented to them, and drawing into the web threads that will help to make the perfect pattern. Each human being is weaving his own web, and each throw of the shuttle helps to decide his own destiny and the destiny of others.
The Church is in great need of purification. There are sins that are unrepented of and unconfessed. The poison of sin must be cleansed from the Church. Many have been so deceived, their principles so corrupted, that they have no pleasure in the word of God, and it has no power over their lives. God will test character. In the day of final judgment, when every man shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body, nothing will seem to have existence but character and the law of God. Man will be stripped of everything but the character he has formed. All will be seen to be either righteous or unrighteous.
Now pretense and semblance reign in the world. But God's law calls for more than words. An imperative voice says, "By their fruits ye shall know them." God calls for works. Our future happiness depends on our active faith and our good works.
Christ created human beings, and then, by a life of suffering and humiliation, and a death of agony and shame, He redeemed them from sin. O sinner, the Saviour endured all this for you. He died that you might be led to see the sinfulness of sin, and by coming to Him have eternal life. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #8)
Friday, December 21, I went to San Francisco, where I was to spend the Week of Prayer. Sabbath afternoon I spoke to the church there, although I was so weak that I had to cling to the pulpit with both hands to steady myself. I asked the Lord to give me strength to speak to the people. He heard my prayer, and strengthened me. I had great freedom in speaking from Rev. 2:1-5.
The deep moving of the Spirit of God came upon me, and the people were strongly impressed with the message borne. After I had finished speaking, all who desired to give themselves to the Lord were invited to come forward. A large number responded, and prayer was offered for them. Several who came forward are persons who have recently heard the Advent message, and are in the valley of decision. May the Lord strengthen the good impression made upon them, and may they give themselves wholly to Him. Oh, how I long to see souls converted, and hear them sing a new song, even praise to our God!
Sunday afternoon I spoke to a large audience, many of whom are not of our faith. My strength was renewed, and I was able, without clinging to the desk, to stand before the people. The Lord's blessing rested upon us, and increased strength came to me as I spoke. As on Sabbath, those seeking spiritual help were invited to come forward, and we were glad to see the ready response. The Lord came very near as we sought Him in prayer. I felt greatly strengthened, and after the meeting walked to the place where I was staying, a distance of five blocks.
As I stood before the large congregation in the San Francisco meetinghouse, I thought of our experiences twenty-four years ago, when a small company of believers were struggling to secure a house of worship large enough to meet future demands. It had been presented to me that San Francisco would always be an important missionary field. In a dream I saw two beehives, one in Oakland, and the other in San Francisco. In the Oakland hive all was activity, in the San Francisco very little was being done. Again I looked at the hive in San Francisco, and all was activity among the bees. They were hard at work. We understood this to mean that a large work would be done by the church in San Francisco, although it started slowly. For many years it was thought by some that the San Francisco meetinghouse was too large. Now it is well filled on the Sabbath day, and we wish it were larger.
We have every reason to believe that the work carried on in San Francisco by Elder Corliss and his brethren, is the work that needs to be done. San Francisco is a great center, and must be thoroughly worked. A much more extensive work should be done in this great and wicked city. The message of mercy must be proclaimed in the highways and hedges; all classes must be invited to the banquet provided by the Lord.
One day Brother Pearson drove us to Strawberry Hill, one of the beautiful parts of the city, and then to our vegetarian restaurant, on Market Street, near the heart of the city. Here we met Brother E. G. Fulton and his wife, who, with a company of willing helpers, are serving about five hundred meals a day. The building is narrow, and will accommodate about fifty persons at once. Everything about the place was clean, wholesome, and attractive. We were pleased to see that right principles are observed in the selection and preparation of all the foods. There was not a particle of meat, poultry, fish, nor anything that requires the sacrifice of life. We were also pleased to learn that this restaurant is wholly closed on the Sabbath. At first the complaints and pleadings of regular boarders were listened to, and some meals were served on the Sabbath. Many declared that the enterprise could not be maintained if it closed its doors on Saturday. But since the Sabbath closing, a special blessing has manifestly rested upon the work.
We are glad that an effort is being made to provide those who wish to change their diet, with food which is wholesome, nourishing, and palatable. The only thing I regretted on this occasion was the inability of the managers to accommodate many of those who wish to patronize the restaurant. If more of these restaurants could be carried on by our people, what a blessing they would be! By the practical demonstration of the best methods of preparing wholesome, palatable food without flesh meat, many would learn valuable lessons. They would become acquainted with health principles.
I wish that some of those who have means tied up in banks, could be led to study the situation, and devise means whereby this work of establishing vegetarian restaurants could be enlarged, so that more might be benefited.
Notice was given that I would speak on Christmas afternoon. At the time appointed we found a large company gathered in the church. I presented, verse by verse, part of the second chapter of Colossians. I have read this chapter many times, but it never seemed so impressive and encouraging as on this occasion. Please read this chapter carefully and prayerfully, and the Lord give you understanding. It is a treasure house of encouragement to the believer.
I tried to show what Christ is to us, and what we may be to Him as His helping hand. I dwelt upon the folly of turning from Christ to humanity for help, and urged all to accept the rich promises of God, which are so full, so abundant, and so assuring. When Jesus is appreciated, we shall see of the salvation of God; but when we treat the Saviour indifferently, closing the door against Him, and looking to man for guidance, how can we expect to have power?
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." If the heart is filled with gratitude, its treasure of love and thanksgiving will flow forth to refresh others. Little grievances will not be noticed. Larger difficulties will be met in the spirit of Christ. Hearts will go out in prayer for patience, perseverance, and forbearance. Then, when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard for tried, tempted souls.
We are warned, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily."
We show altogether too little reverence for God. Those who are serving under the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel, who have on their side the whole heavenly host, should give to the world a bright evidence of the saving power of truth. Our joy should be proportionate to the greatness of the truth we claim to believe. "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately." Now, just now, in this day of preparation, may the Lord awaken His people to a true sense of their responsibility! May they be led to give the world a correct representation of the great work for this time. Let us not mar our faith by accepting errors. We may be complete in Him who is the head of all principalities and powers.
The Lord gave us special victory in this meeting, and the countenances of those present showed their desire to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.
During the Week of Prayer my burden was to show the people that true service makes the believers self-sacrificing. It leads them to keep in view the need of personal holiness and consecration, that through the sanctification of the truth they may abound in works of benevolence for the uplifting of those around them.
Christ said to the Samaritan woman, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water. . . . Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." Thus is represented the experience of the thankful heart. It continually overflows with blessings for others.
The word of God is full of consolation. It presents before us great possibilities and advantages, which all should appreciate. By a faithful improvement of these blessings we may rise to the highest standard of Christian excellence. The gospel influences those who receive it to attain to perfection. They are inspired with faith and hope, and become Christlike in character.
Christ is our Creator and Redeemer, and He is glorified by the service of those who on earth act as His helpers. To fail to devote every capability to His service is to rob Him. He, our Lord and Master, calls for the cooperation of every human being.
Conversion is not a half-and-half-work, a serving of God and Mammon, but an entire turning to God. It is the working of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. Those who are truly converted have an understanding of spiritual things, which unites them to God and to one another in Christian love.
The Lord calls for workers who will deny self and follow in His footsteps. He calls for a faithful tithe, and for gifts and offerings, that there may be money in His treasury for the advancement of His work. Our money is His, and is to be returned to Him. Christ is the light and life and joy of His self-denying people. Because He lives, they shall live also. When He comes, it will be to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all them that believe.
The spirit of liberality came into our meeting in San Francisco, and the people gave willingly to the Lord's work. I feel very thankful to our Heavenly Father for this evidence of the moving of His Spirit upon hearts. Let the ninth chapter of second Corinthians be read in all our churches, that the members may catch the inspiration of liberality. God help His people to see things in a correct light, and to arouse to meet the pressing emergencies that always arise in aggressive warfare. As they give cheerfully and willingly of the Lord's intrusted means, He will intrust them with more to impart. He is able to make all grace abound toward cheerful givers, that, always having all sufficiency in all things, they may abound to every good work. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #9)
Truth is elevating and uplifting. Those who receive the truth in earnestness and sincerity bear fruit, which shows that the entire life is changed. But many who claim to believe the truth are no honor to the truth because they are not sanctified by it. They do not receive the truth into the soul, therefore it can not sanctify the life.
By the help of the Holy Spirit, men and women can rise from commonness, and live pure, holy lives. Those professed believers who do not do this, lie against the truth. They say, "I believe the Third Angel's Message. I believe that the Lord is coming." But they enter into controversy with others, revealing coarse, rough traits of character. They do not show forth in word and deportment the transforming power that attends the truth. How can the Lord be pleased with those who make no effort to rise to a high standard? Do they not claim to have received a high, noble truth? Yet in their home life and in their business associations they show no change for the better. Is not this lying against the truth?
"Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an 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." The apostle carries the minds of the people back to their former unrenewed condition. "Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God; which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."
God does not ask men and women to surrender anything that is for the health of soul or body, but He does ask them to surrender debasing, enfeebling vices, vices which, if cherished, will exclude them from heaven. He leaves them room for every pleasure that can be enjoyed without compunction of conscience, and remembered without remorse. He asks them, for their present and eternal good, to cultivate those virtues that bring health to the body and strength to the soul. Pure thoughts and correct habits are necessary to a man's happiness, as a man and as a Christian. Everything of a debasing character must be overcome if we would see the King in His beauty.
Christ says to us, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." The Lord can and will help every one who seeks His help in the effort to become pure and holy. God has given us His word as a guide and counselor, and we are without excuse if we fail to reach the standard set before us. Remember that you have in your possession the living oracles of God. In this precious book the truth is laid open before us in all its simplicity. But how many there are who fail to read this word earnestly and diligently, as if seeking for the hidden treasure.
Have earnest efforts been made to overcome natural inclinations to wrong, to conquer the habits and practices that were a part of the life before the acceptance of the truth? Are those who claim to believe the truth as untidy and disorderly in the home and as unchristlike in the daily life as before they professed to accept Christ? If so, they are not showing forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness. They have not put on Christ's righteousness.
Strive to make decided improvement. Cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord. Be neat and tidy in your dress, and kind and courteous in your manner. Be pure and refined; for heaven is the very essence of purity and refinement. As God is pure and holy in His sphere, so we are to be in our sphere.
Read carefully and critically the parable of the wedding garment, and make a personal application of the lessons it teaches. There are those who, having heard the truth, assent to it, yet are not transformed by it. The truth has not been received into the soul, and therefore it can not carry forward its work of purification in the life. Their family, their neighbors, do not see in them the marked change which they have a right to expect. Those who make a profession of faith, and yet remain unchanged in habit and practice, are represented in the parable by the man who came to the feast without a wedding garment. There are many who, while they believe what they read about Christ, do not believe in Christ. They do not receive Him as a personal Saviour. Their names may be registered on the Church roll, but they do not bring Christ into the daily life; and God can not accept them.
God is dishonored when those who claim to believe His precious, elevating truth refuse to put on the royal robe of Christ's righteousness. These offer insult to the Saviour. Wherever they go, they show that they have refused to accept the garment provided for them.
There are many, many, professed Christians who are waiting unconcernedly for the coming of the Lord. They have not on the garment of His righteousness. They may profess to be children of God, but they are not cleansed from sin. They are selfish and self-sufficient. Their experience is Christless. They neither love God supremely nor their neighbor as themselves. They have no true idea of what constitutes holiness. They do not see the defects in themselves. So blinded are they, that they are not able to detect the subtle working of pride and iniquity. They are clad in the rags of self- righteousness, and stricken with spiritual blindness. Satan has cast his shadow between them and Christ, and they have no wish to study the pure, holy character of the Saviour.
Those who do not become saints here can never be saints in heaven. God will accept in His service nothing less than the entire being,--body, soul, and spirit. At the coming of Christ many who now pass for Christians will be found wanting. They would not put on the righteousness of Christ. As they stand face to face with the Judge of all the earth, they will see their true condition. In the light of the law of God, they will see the destitution of their souls.
It is impossible for one to be a Christian and yet remain a spiritual dwarf. Those who are truly united to Christ will grow daily, they will attain to the full stature of men and women in Him. They will not, while claiming to be doers of the word of God, disobey its plain requirements. Why is there so little growth in Christian experience, so little manifestation of Christ in the life? Why is the religious life so dwarfed?--It is because there is so much of self and so little of Christ.
The law condemns all sin, and requires all virtue. It demands of man an outward respect, and it requires purity of soul. "Behold," writes the psalmist, "thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom." The law was exemplified in the life of Christ. He is a pattern for all humanity. He lived the law. His purity and beneficence, His devotion to the truth, and His zeal for God's glory reveal the perfection of the law. His every act was a revelation of the glory of the Father. He was all that the law required Him to be.
What the law demanded of Adam and Eve in Eden, and what it demanded of Christ, the second Adam, it demands of every human being. I call upon those who profess to believe the truth to reach a higher standard. I present before you Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, who left the royal courts, and for our sake became poor, that through His poverty we might be made rich. Look at the scenes in His life of suffering. Think of His agony in Gethsemane, when, oppressed by the powers of darkness, He prayed, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me." See Him betrayed by Judas, forsaken by His disciples, condemned by priests and rulers, and delivered by Pilate to a shameful death. All this He endured that man might be elevated and ennobled, and by partaking of the divine nature, be exalted to the right hand of God.
Shall Christ have died for us in vain? Shall we claim to be children of light, and yet walk and work in darkness and sin? Shall we not rather show that the converting power of God is molding and fashioning us? Shall we not obey the injunction, "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance; but as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation," "having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation"? By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #10)
The fact that the people were more interested in Christ's teaching than they were in the dry, tedious arguments of the Jewish teachers, maddened the scribes and Pharisees. These teachers spoke with uncertainty, interpreting the Scriptures to mean one thing, and then another. This left the people in great confusion. But as they listened to Jesus, their hearts were warmed and comforted. He presented God as a loving father, not as an avenging judge. He drew all, high and low, rich and poor, to see God in His true character, leading them to call Him by the endearing name, "Our Father."
By loving words and by works of mercy, Christ bore down old traditions and manmade commandments, and presented the love of the Father in its exhaustless fullness. His calm, earnest, musical voice fell like balm on the wounded spirit. He was revealing the image of God mirrored in himself. He presented to His hearers the truths of the prophecies, separating them from the obscure interpretations which the scribes and Pharisees had attached to them. He scattered the heavenly grains of truth wherever He went.
Determined to hear what Christ said to His disciples, the scribes and Pharisees kept spies on His track. These spies noted His words, and reported them to the Jewish authorities, who, when they heard them, were almost beside themselves with ill-concealed rage, which they interpreted to be zeal for God.
As the members of the Sanhedrin counseled together, there were not wanting men with strong, determined prejudices, who advised that this man who claimed so much be at once put down. If He were allowed to go on as He had been going, healing the sick on the Sabbath day, the sacredness of the day would be set at naught.
They saw that Christ's influence over the people was fast becoming greater than theirs. They longed to crush Him for daring to make their traditions of none effect, but they feared to move openly, because of the people. They thought that if they worked secretly, watching His words and actions, they would soon find such accusations against Him that He could be put on trial for His life. Declaring that the end justified the means, they decided to circulate falsehoods among the people, declaring that Jesus of Nazareth was an impostor, and that He was making of none effect Jewish traditions and customs. They declared that if these traditions were criticised by this man, the whole Jewish economy could be criticised by any crazy enthusiast. The nation would become distracted, and the Romans would come and take away the power they still possessed.
"Therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work."
Christ was accused of breaking the Sabbath by doing upon it works of healing. But He justified himself by stating that His work admitted of no interruption. He must work constantly, even as His Father works. It is by God's unfailing care that we are provided with daily food. Then should we not trust in Him who has undertaken our salvation. The knowledge that the Father and the Son are united in the work of redemption should give courage and hope to the most desponding.
Christ, the surety of the human race, works with uninterrupted activity. He speaks of himself as working in the same way as the Guardian of the universe. He worked untiringly for the people of Israel. He sought to lead them to trust in Him who can save to the uttermost all who come to Him. Christ is the light which lighteneth every man that cometh into the world. From Adam, through the patriarchal age, this light made plain the way to heaven. To it gave all the prophets witness. In mysterious procession future things swept before their vision. In every sacrifice Christ's death was pointed out. His righteousness ascended to God in every cloud of incense. His majesty was hidden in the holy of holies. Christ was as truly a Saviour before as after His incarnation. At the very moment of transgression and apostasy, He entered upon His work, laboring for the salvation of man with an activity equal to the activity of God.
"Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him because He not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making himself equal with God." The whole nation called God their Father, and if Jesus had done this in the same sense in which they did, the Pharisees would not have been so enraged. But they accused Jesus of blasphemy, showing that they understood that Christ claimed God as His Father in the very highest sense.
Christ threw back the charge of blasphemy, with the words, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that himself doeth." My authority for the work that I am doing, He said, is the fact that I am God's Son, one with Him in nature, will, and purpose. I cooperate with Him in His work. My Father loves me, and communicates to me all His counsels. Nothing is planned by the Father in heaven that is not fully opened to the Son.
"The Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that himself doeth: and He will show Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel." Christ was to do greater things than even the healing of disease. By His power the dead were to be raised to life. Scribes and Pharisees were to see that which would astonish them, at which they would be obliged to marvel, even though their hearts would be too proud and hard to make any acknowledgment.
"For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will." What a statement to make before those whose hearts were already filled with hatred and murder. Christ was giving the rulers of Israel light, which would make them inexcusable. Nothing was left undone that could be done to convince them of their error. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #11)
"For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." God has laid the work of judgment upon Christ because He is the Son of man. He was made in all points life unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest. He was to become acquainted with the weakness of every human being. He could do this only by taking upon himself human nature. He must be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, that at the judgment of the great day none might question the justice of the decisions made. Our High Priest has been over the ground over which we must pass. He is acquainted with the circumstances of every case. He sees not as man sees, and judges not as man judges. He judges righteously. He has shown His love for men and women by giving His own life to ransom them from the penalty that must fall upon the transgressors of God's law. He knows the value of human souls. He will not close the door of heaven against any one unless, for the safety of heaven, it is necessary to do so.
Lucifer refused to accept Christ as the Prince of heaven, his Sovereign and Leader. He refused to acknowledge the supremacy of the Son of God. The controversy between the Prince of life and the prince of darkness has been long and fierce. Those who place themselves under Satan's banner, who refuse, as did the Jews, to yield allegiance to God or to obey His laws, can never be members of the heavenly family. They would make war against the law of Jehovah, calling it, as did Satan, a yoke of bondage.
Ever since his fall, Satan has been the leader of rebellion. Ever since that time he has been leading men and women astray. Christ's work began with the beginning of transgression. Then the warfare between good and evil was begun. The Scriptures speak plainly of this warfare, carrying us down to the final triumph of Christ over Satan and his adherents. This conflict never ceases.
As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. Christ knew what He would have to suffer, yet He became man's substitute. As soon as Adam sinned, the Son of God presented himself as surety for the human race, with just as much power to avert the doom pronounced upon the guilty as when He died upon the cross of Calvary.
As our Mediator, Christ works incessantly. Whether men receive or reject Him, He works earnestly for them. He grants them life and light, striving by His Spirit to win them from Satan's service. And while the Saviour works, Satan also works, with all deceivableness of unrighteousness, and with unflagging energy. But victory will never be his.
"For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." Christ was engaged in this warfare in Noah's day. It was His voice that spoke to the inhabitants of the old world in messages of warning, reproof, and invitation. He gave the people a probation of one hundred and twenty years, in which they might have repented. But they chose the deceptions of Satan, and perished in the waters of the flood.
It was Christ who kept the ark safe amid the roaring, seething billows, because its inmates had faith in His power to preserve them.
When Christ came to the earth in person, Satan's fiercest warfare was directed against Him. But by causing the Son of God to be crucified. Satan struck a blow at himself. When Christ died on the cross, Satan's death-knell was sounded. His deceptions were narrowly watched by the inhabitants of the unfallen worlds, as he, in disguise, worked in such a way that he thought he could not possibly be detected. But he was left to follow his own course, to condemn himself by his own deeds. And before the cross of Calvary he stood revealed in his true character. When Christ cried out, "It is finished," the unfallen worlds were made secure. For them the battle was fought and the victory won. Henceforth Satan had no place in the affections of the universe. The argument he had brought forward, that self-denial was impossible with God, and therefore unjustly required from His created intelligences, was forever answered. Satan's claims were forever set aside. The heavenly universe was secured in eternal allegiance.
It was because of the issues at stake that the inhabitants of the unfallen worlds watched with such intense interest the struggle between the Prince of Life and the prince of darkness. Those who had not sinned needed not the application of Christ's blood, but they did need to be made secure from Satan's power. The result of the conflict had a bearing on the future of all the worlds, and every step that Christ took in the path of humiliation was watched by them with the deepest interest.
Christ overcame the enemy for every created intelligence. Thus He has secured the salvation of all who will accept the provision made. None who will accept Him need be vanquished. Around all is thrown the protection of His meditation.
By personal experience Christ is acquainted with the warfare which, since Adam's fall, has been constantly going on. How appropriate, then, for Him to be the judge. To Jesus, the Son of man, is committed all judgment. There is one mediator between God and men. Only by Him can we enter the kingdom of heaven. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. From His decision there is no appeal. He is the Rock of ages, a rock rent on purpose that every tried, tempted soul may find a sure hiding place.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you," Christ continued, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. . . . The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live."
Christ here referred to those occasions upon which He should raise the dead. But His words have a deeper meaning. Not only was He to give life to those who were physically dead, but to raise to spiritual life those who were dead in trespasses and sins. Hearts palsied by transgression were to be roused by the work of the Holy Spirit.
By nature man has no love for God. It is not natural for him to think of heavenly things. Satan has worked against God and His government, leading men to attribute to God the traits which belong to the power of evil. Christ came to this world to reveal the Father. The human family had sinned against God. The terror of a broken law hung over them; and so low had they sunk, that it seemed impossible to infuse them with spiritual life. But in His work Christ was not to fail nor to be discouraged.
The Saviour saw that man has vast powers and capabilities for good, which can be used in the upbuilding of God's kingdom. He came to restore to life those dead in sin. His voice is to be heard saying, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead." "As the Father hath life in himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in himself."
To arouse those spiritually dead, to create new tastes, new motives, requires as great an outlay of power as to raise one from physical death. It is indeed giving life to the dead to convert the sinner from the error of his ways; but our Deliverer is able to do this; for He came to destroy the works of the enemy. And will He not accomplish that which He has pledged himself to perform? By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #12)
In the name of the Lord I appeal again to our people in behalf of our institutions in Scandinavia. These institutions are in peril, and all who can should act their part without delay in delivering them. Let there be a consecrated, united effort to lift these institutions out of the difficulty into which they have fallen.
Those who love and serve God should feel the deepest interest in all that concerns the glory of His name. Who could see the institutions where the truth has been magnified, where the Lord has so often revealed His presence, where instruction has been given by the messengers of God, where the truth has been sent forth in publications that have accomplished great good,--who could bear to see these institutions passing into the hands of worldlings, to be used for common, worldly purposes? God would certainly be dishonored if His institutions were allowed to fall into decay for want of the money which He has intrusted to His stewards. Should this happen, men would say that it was because the Lord was not able to prevent it.
These things mean much to our brethren and sisters in Scandinavia. They will be sorely tried if their facilities are cut off. Let us make an effort to prevent them from falling into depression and discouragement.
Promptness of decision and action is necessary in this work. At the Week of Prayer there should have been a clear understanding of this matter in every church, and with the appeal before them, the people should have given their offerings to the place where holy interests are imperiled. Why is it that our ministers and church members are not more prompt in their decisions in regard to the subject of the greatest need? When the Lord places before us an appeal to be responded to, just at the time when offerings are to be made by our people, let the ministers and church officers take up the matter earnestly and vigorously. Let them as stewards of God decide what is to be done, and then do it. This is absolutely necessary when our institutions are in so great peril.
The embarrassment of the Scandinavian institutions should have been thoroughly understood. Prompt measures should have been taken to relieve these institutions, which are just as sacred in the sight of the Lord as are our institutions in America. The hands of those connected with these institutions should not be weakened because of their embarrassment.
Let all who love the Lord now act their part for the relief of these institutions. Do not allow the name of Christ to be reproached. There are those who have little faith, who with some flimsy excuse will try to discourage others from doing anything. It only needs a discouraging word to rouse and strengthen selfishness in the soul. Do not listen to those who would tempt you. Do not begin to censure and condemn. Waive the questions that will arise as to how the difficulty has come about. It is sufficient for us to know that distress has come upon our brethren, in whom we have confidence as the Lord's servants. Do what you can now to help those who need help. Those who do this work with faithfulness will be among the number to whom the Saviour's words apply, "Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice."
One part of the ministry of heavenly angels is to visit our world and oversee the work of the Lord which is in the hands of His stewards. In every time of necessity they minister to those who, as co-workers with God, are striving to carry forward His work in the earth. These heavenly intelligences are represented as desiring to look into the plan of redemption, and the angelic hosts rejoice whenever any part of God's work prospers.
Angels are interested in the spiritual welfare of all who are seeking to restore the moral image of God in man; and the human family are to connect with the heavenly family in binding up the wounds and bruises that sin has made. Angelic agencies, though invisible, are cooperating with visible human agencies, forming a relief-association with men. The very angels who, when Satan was seeking the supremacy, fought the battle in the heavenly courts, and triumphed on the side of God; the very angels who shouted for joy over the creation of our world, and over the creation of our first parents to inhabit the earth; the angels who witnessed the fall of man and his expulsion from his Eden home,--these very heavenly messengers are most intensely interested to work in union with the fallen, redeemed race for the salvation of human beings perishing in their sins.
Human agencies are the hands of heavenly instrumentalities; for heavenly angels employ human hands in practical ministry. Human agencies as hand-helpers are to work out the knowledge and use the facilities of heavenly beings. By uniting with these powers that are omnipotent, we are benefited by their higher education and experience. Thus, as we become partakers of the divine nature, and separate selfishness from our lives, special talents for helping one another are granted us. This is Heaven's way of administering saving power.
Is there not something stimulating and inspiring in this thought, that the human agent stands as the visible instrument to confer the blessings of angelic agencies? As we are thus laborers together with God, the work bears the inscription of the divine. The knowledge and activity of the heavenly workers, united with the knowledge and power imparted to human agencies, bring relief to the oppressed and distressed. Our acts of unselfish ministry make us partakers in the success that results from the relief offered.
With what joy and delight heaven looks upon these blended influences! All heaven is watching those agencies that are as the hand to work out the purposes of God in the earth, thus doing the will and purpose of God in heaven. Such cooperation accomplishes a work that brings honor and glory and majesty to God.
Oh, if all would love as Christ has loved, that perishing men might be saved from ruin, what a change would come to our world! Christ's life was a life of pure benevolence, of disinterested labor. He assumed human nature for no other purpose than to display the glory of God in the happiness of man. To accomplish this He gave His life. All that Christ is, He is to the true believers. All that Christ has, He has for us. We are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. How then can we hesitate and draw back when Christ asks for our cooperation in His great work? The Lord is giving us opportunity to manifest our faith and our love for Him by making a sacrifice for the relief of His institutions.
My brethren, the Lord is soon to come, and every talent He has intrusted to us is to be returned to Him with usury. He calls upon His people to use for His glory the goods He has lent them. Let those who have means at once return to the Lord His own to help the institutions out of their embarrassment. Let those in responsible positions set a right example. Every noble, Christian instinct in the men in responsible positions should lead them to plan and work with greater earnestness for the relief of our institutions than they would for the saving of their own property. Let all try to do something. Delay not for a day or an hour. Look over your affairs, and see what you can do to cooperate with the Lord in helping His suffering institutions.
Let the people of God think of the eternal consequences of rightly employing their property. Let them bring their offerings to the Lord, saying, "Lord, we who have been intrusted with thy goods freely give thee of thine own."
Large sums are needed; but if you can give only a small amount, remember that the Lord will accept your gift. Remember that you are placing this money in the hands of Christ in the person of His afflicted brethren. Thus God regards it.
Since God sees fit to delegate angels to minister unto all who are in need of help, we know that if we do our part, these heavenly representatives of omnipotent power will be commissioned to help in this time of special need. I hope and pray that everything which can be done may be done. If all will now do what they can, the difficulty will soon be in the past, no more to harass the cause of God.
There is a great work to be done in Europe. The cause of God there is not to become a stone of stumbling or a rock of offense to unbelievers. The institutions there are not to be closed, or given into the hands of those not of our faith. The Lord's servants in Europe are to rally to recover what has been lost, and the Lord will work with them. And I call upon our people in America to cooperate with their brethren in Europe in this effort.
We often fail of doing that which the Lord has planned, because we insist on carrying out some whim of our own. I pray that the Lord will fill our hearts with an intense desire to know and to do His will. From unfeigned lips let the prayer go forth, "Let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel." Let us work with heart and mind and soul. God's purpose will be accomplished if men and women will act their part in His great plan. Let us now be God's helping hand to relieve our institutions in Scandinavia. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #13)
"I can of mine own self do nothing," Christ continued; "as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which He witnesseth of me is true.
"Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth." John had declared, "He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand." "Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all; he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth; He that cometh from heaven is above all. And what He hath seen and heard, that He testifieth; and no man receiveth His testimony. He that hath received His testimony hath set to his seal that God is true."
Speaking of John to the Pharisees, Christ said, "He was a burning and a shining light; and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light." At first the Jewish teachers were greatly moved by the message of John, but it meant too much to practice his teachings. They rejected him because he pointed out the inconsistencies of their course.
"I have greater witness than that of John," Christ said; "for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me."
"Ye shall know them by their fruits." If the Jewish leaders had had no other testimony than the works of Christ, they would have been without excuse. They were not ignorant of the miracles which He wrought, but these works were a testimony against them; therefore they rejected them.
"And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me." At the baptism the Holy Spirit had descended on Christ, and God's voice had said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." But the Pharisees heard not the voice; they saw not the Spirit of God as a dove hovering over the Saviour. "Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape," Christ declared.
As at different times during Christ's work divinity flashed through humanity, and He stood transfigured before the people, the Jewish leaders were deeply impressed. But as they talked it over with one another, their unbelief strengthened, and the evidence that should have convinced them was rejected. The strongest evidence was no evidence to them, while the weakest, most superficial arguments, if against the truth which the Saviour brought, were sound in their estimation. They had started upon a path leading to eternal ruin.
"Ye have not His word abiding in you," Christ said; "for whom He hath sent, Him ye believe not. Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." They had in their possession the word of God, and they supposed that they knew its teachings. They were indignant that this new teacher should tell them to search the Scriptures.
Christ saw that the Jewish teachers misinterpreted the word of God, and He urged upon them a more diligent study of its precepts. In Him were fast being fulfilled the types and shadows of the Jewish economy. If they searched the Scriptures as they should, they would find that He claimed nothing which was not rightfully His.
Had the Jews searched God's word as they should, they would have seen that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. But they searched with proud, selfish ambition as a guide, and they found a Messiah of their own imagination. Therefore when the Saviour came, a humble man, bringing to naught by His teaching long-established theories and traditions, presenting truth entirely opposite to their practices, they said, Who is this invader that dares to set aside our authority? Christ did not come as they had expected; therefore they refused to receive Him, and called Him a deceiver and an impostor. Instead of listening to Him that they might learn the truth, they listened with evil intent, that they might find something over which to cavil. And when once they had set their feet in the path of the great leader in rebellion, it was an easy matter for Satan to strengthen them in opposition. Christ's wonderful works, which God meant to be heaven-sent evidence to them, Satan caused them to interpret against Him. The more marked the way in which God spoke to them by His works of mercy and love, the more confirmed did they become in their resistance. Blinded by prejudice, they refused to acknowledge that Jesus is divine.
"I receive not honor from men," Christ said. It was not the influence or sanction of the Sanhedrin that Christ desired. He wished not for human honor or approbation. He was invested with power from above. Had He desired honor, how quickly would the heavenly angels have come to His side! How quickly would the Father again have testified to the divinity of His Son! From no human source did Christ crave honor. He could not have been rendered more honorable if the whole school of the rabbis had lent Him their influence.
"I know you," Christ declared to the Pharisees, "that ye have not the love of God in you." He spoke to them thus plainly because they could not discern His divinity under the veil of humanity. He was God in human flesh, and He could not but work the works of God. Unbelief, prejudice, and jealousy beat about Him, and if His humanity had not been united with divinity, He would have failed and become discouraged. At times His divinity flashed through humanity, and He stood forth as the Son of God, His veil of flesh too transparent to hide His majesty. But the men who claimed to be the expositors of the prophecies refused to believe that He was the Christ. Satan had control of their minds, and they utterly refused to acknowledge the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth.
Since Christ was treated thus, can we be surprised when those to whom He has given His message are rejected and scorned by men whose resistance of light is even less excusable than was the resistance of the Jews?
Christ did not frame His words to accommodate the pretentious pride of a deceived, self-righteous people. "I know you," He said, "that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." Jesus came by the authority of God, bearing His image, seeking His glory, fulfilling His word. His mission bore the divine credentials. But His work failed to convince the hearts that were steeled by prejudice. Yet when others should come, assuming the title of Christ without giving genuine evidence that they were sent by God, speaking on the authority of their own finite judgment, acting for their own glory, they would be received because their theories agreed with cherished ideas and opinions.
"How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?" Christ asked. "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?"
Moses spoke only the words which the Great Teacher, enshrouded in the pillar of cloud, bade him speak. The writings of Moses presented types of the Messiah and promises of His coming. All these would condemn the Jews, because they professed to believe Moses. Had they really believed him, they would have welcomed the One of whom he wrote.
As Christ spoke, the scribes and Pharisees listened to words such as they had never heard before. But instead of receiving the speaker as the long-expected Messiah, they angrily rejected His claims. He questioned their doctrine, and this was regarded by them as a sin never to be forgiven. They were determined to stand by their traditions and commandments. They would teach them just as strenuously as if no counter-influence had been exerted to correct their errors and deceptions. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #14)
What a contrast to the reception given to Christ by the Jewish leaders was the reception given to Him by Simeon! The Jews lived in daily expectation of seeing the long-looked-for Messiah. They talked of His coming, and with proud ambition built hopes of worldly greatness on the prospect. But when He came, meek and lowly, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, they hid their faces from Him.
Simeon no sooner saw the infant in the priest's arms than he was divinely impressed. Taking Him in his arms, he blessed Him, and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel."
Simeon realized that he held in his arms One who was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There was at this time nothing in Christ's outward appearance to give him this assurance, but Simeon had lived in the atmosphere of heaven. The bright beams of the Sun of righteousness gave him spiritual discernment. His one desire had been to see Christ. The purity of his life corresponded to the light he had received, and he was prepared for the revelation of the great truth that this helpless infant was the Lord's anointed, even the Messiah. Joy and exultation transfigured his face as he held in his arms God's most precious gift to men. His illumined mind received the light flowing from the Source of all light. He saw that Christ was to be the hope of the Gentiles as well as of the Jews. The walls of tradition built up by Jewish prejudice did not exist in his mind. He realized that the Messiah was to bring redemption to all.
Turning to the Jews, we see the other side. The scribes and Pharisees had separated themselves from God by their national pride. There were in Judea schools of learning, and the leaders of these schools were filled with self-exaltation. They thought that they had all the light that had ever been given to the world. They looked for the Messiah to come as a temporal prince, to exalt the Jewish nation above all other nations on the earth. As their self-confidence increased, their dependence on God decreased. They walked in their own ways, and were filled with self-sufficiency and self-righteousness. They professed to be the expositors of Scripture, but they misinterpreted and misapplied its teachings. Instead of reflecting light to the people, they cast a shadow upon them. The voice of God speaking to them through His Son was to them the voice of a stranger.
The least difference of opinion expressed by Christ was an occasion for the Jews to resist and denounce Him. At times they charged Him with working miracles through Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. The least mention of Christ as a light to lighten the Gentiles roused to fury the national prejudice. The worst passions of the heart were stirred; for the Pharisees had taught the Jewish people to despise and hate the Gentiles. Were their commands and traditions to be treated with indifference, and, worse still, to be brushed away as error? Was this man, the son of a carpenter, to be accepted as knowing more than the priests and rulers? They would show him that he could not take the people from them. They determined to put him to death.
Why should there be such a difference between the reception of Christ by the Jewish teachers and His reception by Simeon?--Because the spiritual condition of the two was different. The Jews were guided and controlled by pride and selfishness. Simeon revered God, and walked in the way of the Lord. He listened constantly for the voice of God, and he was enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Those who wait on the Lord will, like Simeon, receive divine illumination.
Simeon and the priests represent two classes,--those who are guided by the Spirit of God because they are willing to be instructed, and those who, refusing to receive the light which would lead them into all truth, are guided by the spirit of the power of darkness, and are daily being led into deeper darkness.
By divine illumination Simeon understood Christ's mission. The Holy Spirit impressed his heart. But the priests and rulers were imbued with the spirit of the enemy of God; and today the same spirit influences human minds, controlling with power the hearts of men, and making of none effect the appeals of the Spirit.
The Jewish leaders claimed to be the expositors of prophecy; but while their hearts were filled with envy, evil surmisings, and selfish pride, they could not distinguish between the voice of the true Shepherd and the voice of a stranger. They strengthened one another in resistance. The same thing is done in our day. The same resistance of truth will be shown by those who stubbornly refuse to receive the cautions and reproofs which the Lord sends. But those who reject the word of God for tradition will not be able to stand amid the perils of the last days.
The Jews virtually said, as did Pharaoh, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?" The same power that had made itself felt all over the land of Egypt was striving with the Jews. But they refused to bow before it, and their hearts grew harder. The same voice is speaking to men and women today. We are in danger of falling into the error into which the Jews fell. God warns us not to do as they did.
If our hearts are open to receive the light of truth, we shall see what Jesus is to our world. But too often that which would be to the people of God the very light and blessing they need is rejected because of blindness of mind and hardness of heart. Many walk in darkness, and can see no light. To them truth seems to be error. The voice of One coming in the name of the Father is ignored. They prepare the way for Satan to bring them strong delusions, that they may believe a lie. God's word declares, "Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
God stands ready to bestow rich blessings upon men; but few will bend from their selfishness to receive the gracious gift. From age to age there is acted over the same rejection of light that grieved the heart of Christ when He was on earth. There is seen the same refusal to hear the voice of God through His appointed agencies, because the message borne does not sanction human theories. Christ is as really rejected today by the rejection of His messages of warning and reproof as when He stood in this world a man among men. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #15)
God has lent men talents--an intellect to originate, a heart to be the place of His throne, affection to flow out in blessings to others, a conscience to convict of sin. Each one has received something from the Master, and each one is to do his part in supplying the needs of God's work.
God desires His workers to look to Him as the giver of all they possess, to remember that all they have and are comes from Him who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working. The delicate touch of the physician's hand, his power over nerve and muscle, his knowledge of the delicate organism of the body, are the wisdom of divine power, to be used in behalf of suffering humanity. The skill with which the carpenter uses the hammer, the strength with which the blacksmith makes the anvil ring, come from God. He has intrusted men with talents, and He desires them to look to Him for counsel. Thus they may use His gifts with unerring aptitude, testifying that they are workers together with God.
Property is a talent. To His people the Lord sends the message, "Sell that ye have, and give alms." All that we have is the Lord's, without any question. He calls upon us to awake, to bear a share of the burdens of His cause, that prosperity may attend His work. Every Christian is to act His part as a faithful steward. The methods of God are sensible and right, and we are to trade on our pence and our pounds, returning our freewill offerings to Him to sustain His work, to bring souls to Christ. Large and small sums should flow into the Lord's treasury. All the people of God are to pay a faithful tithe. This is the Lord's portion, and He will reward a faithful return to Him of His own.
The Lord Jesus, whose we are by creation and by redemption, has pointed out our duty. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness," He says, "and all these things shall be added unto you." Those who choose to gratify every selfish desire will be judged accordingly. Living to please self, they dishonor God.
Speech is a talent. Of all the gifts bestowed on the human family, none should be more appreciated than the gift of speech. It is to be used to declare God's wisdom and wondrous love. Thus the treasures of His grace and wisdom are to be communicated.
An indwelling Saviour is revealed by the words. But the Holy Spirit does not abide in the heart of him who is peevish if others do not agree with his ideas and plans. From the lips of such a man there come scathing remarks, which grieve the Spirit away, and develop attributes that are satanic rather than divine. The Lord desires those connected with His work to speak at all times with the meekness of Christ. If you are provoked, do not become impatient. Manifest the gentleness of which Christ has given us an example in His life.
As Christians we should speak as Christ would speak were He in our place. We long to see reforms, but often because things do not move just as we wish them to move, an evil spirit puts drops of gall into our cup, and other souls are poisoned. By our ill-advised words they are chafed and stirred to rebellion. Make it your aim to speak the truth in love. Then the Lord Jesus by His Spirit will supply the force and power. Do not mingle self with anything done for God. Ever reveal the meek and lowly spirit of the Master.
All who claim to serve God should show by word and action that they are His children. To show by the daily life that we are members of the royal family is of more value in God's sight than all learning, all high accomplishments.
Strength is a talent, and is to be used to glorify God. Our bodies belong to Him. He has paid the price of redemption for the body as well as for the soul. "Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." God is the great Caretaker of the human machinery. Were it not for His constant care, the pulse would not beat, the action of the heart would cease, the brain would no longer act its part.
The brain is the organ and instrument of the mind, and controls the whole body. In order for the other parts of the system to be healthy, the brain must be healthy; and in order for the brain to be healthy, the blood must be pure. If, by correct habits of eating and drinking, the blood is kept pure, the brain will be properly nourished.
We can serve God better in the vigor of health than in the palsy of disease; therefore we should cooperate with God in the care of our bodies. Love for God is essential for life and health. Faith in God is essential for health. In order to have perfect health, our hearts must be filled with love and hope and joy in the Lord.
The tastes are to be elevated, the appetite subdued, by those who are seeking for the eternal inheritance, a life which measures with the life of God. The gospel demands an unreserved surrender of body and soul, with all their energies and capabilities. The Lord claims all the service which any human being, aided and enriched by divine grace, can render; and to withhold this from Him is robbery.
Influence is a talent, and it is a power for good when the sacred fire of God's kindling is brought into our service. The influence of a holy life is felt at home and abroad. The practical benevolence, the self-denial and self-sacrifice, which mark the life of a man, have an influence for good upon those with whom he associates.
Imperceptibly influences affect the mind, and form the character. If the mind does not appropriate high and holy influences, it appropriates those that are low and debasing. If there is not a growth in piety and grace, there is a growth in worldliness and sin.
In the Lord's plan there is a diversity in the distribution of talents. To one man is given one talent, to another five, to another ten. These talents are not bestowed capriciously, but according to the ability of the recipient.
According to the talents bestowed will be the returns called for. The heaviest obligation rests upon him who has been made a steward of the greatest abilities. A man who has ten pounds is held responsible for all that ten pounds would do if used aright. He who has only ten pence is accountable for only that amount. God accepts according to what a man has, not according to what he has not. He does not expect from the man who has only one talent what he expects from him who has five.
In the parable the man who received one talent hid it in the earth. He refused to do what he could to increase that which was given him, and then tried to make his lord responsible for his neglect. Had he been intrusted with five talents, he would have done just the same as he did with one.
It is the faithfulness with which the endowment has been used that wins the Lord's commendation. If we desire to be acknowledged as good and faithful servants, we must do thorough, consecrated work for the Master. He will reward diligent, honest service. If men will put their trust in Him, if they will recognize His compassion and benevolence, and will walk humbly before Him, He will cooperate with them. He will increase their talents.
God has left us in charge of His goods in His absence. Each steward has his own special work to do for the advancement of God's kingdom. No one is excused. The Lord bids us all, "Occupy till I come." By His own wisdom He has given us direction for the use of His gifts. The talents of speech, memory, influence, property, are to accumulate for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. He will bless the right use of His gifts.
We claim to be Christians, waiting for the second appearing of our Lord in the clouds of heaven. Then what shall we do with our time, our understanding, our possessions, which are not ours, but are intrusted to us to test our honesty? Let us bring them to Jesus. Let us use our treasures for the advancement of His cause. Thus we shall obey the injunction, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #16)
Satan is the originator of sin. In heaven he resolved to live to himself. He resolved to be leader. He determined to make himself a center of influence. If he could not be the highest authority in heaven, he would be the highest authority in rebellion against the government of heaven. Head he would be, to control, not to be controlled.
When Satan made this choice, when he ceased to cooperate with God in His plans for the universal good, he became by his own choice the leader in rebellion, and his influence was exerted solely to injure God. When Satan refused to exert his influence on the side of truth, heaven must no longer be his home. He gathered with him in rebellion an army of angels who had swerved from their allegiance. With these sympathizers he was cast out of heaven.
Satan was dependent on God for his life. He resolved to ignore this dependence, but he could not destroy the fact. He could cease to be loyal and true, cease to be the means of communicating hallowed influences, but he could never be that which he told his companions he would be,--the center of influence.
Satan separated himself from God, and selfishness became the law of those who placed themselves under his leadership. He came to this earth, and entered upon the work of conforming all things to himself. He sought in every way to deface the divine image in man, and to place his principles where the principles of heaven should be.
To a large degree Satan has succeeded in the execution of his plans. Through the medium of influence, taking advantage of the action of mind on mind, he prevailed on Adam to sin. Thus at its very source human nature was corrupted. And ever since then sin has continued its hateful work, reaching from mind to mind. Every sin committed awakens the echoes of the original sin.
Mutual dependence is a wonderful thing. Reciprocal influence should be carefully studied. We should find out without doubt on what side we are exerting our influence. When placed on the side of right, influence is a power for God; when placed on the side of evil, it is a power for Satan. One human being under Satan's control becomes a means of temptation to another human being. Thus evil grows into immense proportions.
Satan gathered the fallen angels together to devise some way of doing the most possible evil to the human family. One proposition after another was made, till finally Satan himself thought of a plan. He would take the fruit of the vine, also wheat, and other things given by God as food, and would convert them into poisons, which would ruin man's physical, mental, and moral powers, and so overcome the senses that Satan should have full control. Under the influence of liquor, men would be led to commit crimes of all kinds. Through perverted appetite the world would be made corrupt. By leading men to drink alcohol, Satan would cause them to descend lower and lower in the scale.
Satan has succeeded in turning the world from God. The blessings provided in God's love and mercy he has turned into a deadly curse. He has filled men with a craving for liquor and tobacco. This appetite, which has no foundation in nature, has destroyed its millions, yet it is indulged by high and low, rich and poor. Too often those appointed to guard the interests of the people are under the power of this appetite.
Not only is the evil of intemperance allowed and sanctioned in Christian lands; the curse is carried to heathen nations. Poor, unenlightened savages, ignorant of God, are taught to ask for liquor. So hardened have professed Christians become that they care not that the liquor curse is introduced into the dark regions of idolatry.
Satan wages an untiring warfare against the law of God. And so completely has he deceived men that his insinuations against this law are repeated from professedly Christian pulpits. Men, women, and children have been taught to believe them, and as a result--look at the world today. Satan is its god. Nations have become workers of iniquity. Evil has lifted up itself against good. Men say, It does not matter what God's law says; the laws of the nations must be obeyed. Despotic power shows itself strong. Manmade laws are climbing higher and still higher, to displace and make void the law of God, to take the consciences of men under their control, and defy God to His face. Satan is gathering the powers of evil, to give them back to a lawless world under the solemn names of law and religion.
The world is nearing the time of its destruction. Every generation takes up some phase of evil in advance of the one which preceded it, moving onward in the march of impenitence and rebellion. God is looking on, measuring the temple and the worshipers therein. Professed Christians are joining hands with the man of sin, to make void the law of God.
Soon the world is to be called to appear at the bar of God. John writes, "I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. . . . And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
The arm of Omnipotence alone can cleanse the earth from the evil which Satan has brought into it. This He will do by destroying the world by fire, even as He destroyed the old world by a flood.
No man liveth to himself. Consciously or unconsciously he is influencing others, either for good or evil. If for evil, his influence accumulates evil; if for good, it strengthens good. Not only do those human beings who give themselves up to work evil breathe the deadly infection of the time preceding their time; they add to the deadly influence their own disease, to the injury of those who come after them. But when men are guided and controlled by the power of the Holy Spirit, there goes out from them an influence that is a savor of life unto life.
The world has broken away from its true center. The churches of today have allowed Satan to enter in among them. Under his influence they have made void the law of God. The truths of the Bible are interpreted by religious teachers to mean something entirely different from what they do mean. Is there no remedy for this? Is the chain of dependence which unites the human family henceforth to be used to advance universal disorganization and hostility to God? Is the law of God always to be disobeyed? Is the law of influence to be used by Satan to drag mankind lower and lower? Is it not time that a people stood forth in moral independence, cherishing at the same time a sense of their dependence on God, and realizing that upon them rests the responsibility of declaring that the law of God is not changed and never will be changed? Let those who see the binding claims of the law arise and shine, because the glory of the Lord is risen upon them.
The Lord has sent to our world a message of warning, even the Third Angel's Message. All heaven is waiting to hear us vindicate God's law, declaring it to be holy, just, and good. Where are those who will do this work? God calls upon His people to gain a deeper insight into His plans and His law. His law is the transcript of His character. It is unchangeable; for God will not alter the thing that has gone out of His lips. Christ has declared that the law is perfect; and with David we may say, "It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law."
Jesus Christ is to be the center of influence. The Holy Spirit is to be the efficiency of every one who is trying to do right. With all their energies human beings are to cooperate with the great Center of infinite love and infinite power. There are those in our world who are longing for a deeper religious experience, who are bemoaning the dearth of the Holy Spirit's power in the lives of the professed followers of Christ. When men return to their loyalty to God, they will cease to trample underfoot His plain commands. They will exalt God. His word will be to them a light shining amid the moral darkness. They will obey the words, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
In Christ we have an example of patient endurance and unselfish love. The Commander of heaven made His way to our earth through all the ranks of hell, and in the midst of the world erected His cross. He descended from the heights of glory to the depths of humiliation and suffering. We can not fathom the love of the Son of God. To a world that refused to live unto God He presented an amazing sacrifice, turning His whole being into an atoning offering, with which no other sacrifice can be compared. "For your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich."
We see Him in the wilderness, enduring a fast of forty days. We see Him humiliated, despised, rejected, a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. We see Him tempted in all points like as we are. But though the enemy bruised and wounded the Saviour's body, he could not touch His mind. The Son of God remained true to His Father, firm and steadfast in His allegiance and loyalty.
Look upon Christ hanging on the cross of Calvary, sacrificed for us. "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
As the sinner looks upon the uplifted Saviour, conviction comes to him. He repents of his sin. Under the transforming influence of the Spirit, he is ready to sacrifice himself in the service of the Saviour. He does not live for himself; for from the cross has gone forth the proclamation that no one who lives for self can be benefited by the death of Christ. He who desires to live for himself is not a Christian. He who is truly repentant is created anew in Christ Jesus, and is no longer content to live for selfish enjoyment. His greatest desire is to do something for the Master, to be a faithful servant for his Lord. "Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price." A ransom has been paid, even the precious blood of Christ. "Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." Every part of the Christian's being, his time, his service, his property, his strength, have been paid for. His all is the Lord's. At the moment he gave himself to Christ, he was recorded as the Redeemer's willing agent, just as if the price of salvation had been paid for him alone. Upon him is laid the duty of revealing Christ in all he does. The life he lives is Christ's; for over the rent sepulcher of Joseph the Saviour proclaimed, "I am the resurrection and the life." He is to use his every power in Christ's service. His talents of reason, of influence, of speech, of means, all are the Lord's. They always were the Lord's, but before his conversion, he did not acknowledge this. He has now become one with Christ. With Paul he may say, "I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." His life is bound up with the life of Christ in the great plan of redemption. His character is to be a reproduction of the character of Christ. Christlike self-denial and self-sacrifice, Christlike patience and gentleness, are to be manifested by him.
Christ has put it out of our power to give Him anything that God has not first given us. All belongs to God; therefore every one is bound by the ransom which has been paid to return to God His own. Those who have witnessed a good confession should now draw together in the bonds of Christian fellowship, consecrating themselves wholly to God. Union is strength. Then let God's people draw in even cords, exerting the influence which Christ by His death has made it possible for them to exert. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #17)
The Lord has taken infinite pains to teach men His will. He has given them His law, which is to govern the world. It demands perfect obedience from rich and poor, high and low. Its divine requirements are that we love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. Its principles are binding upon the angels and upon all human intelligences. Without the law there could be no transgression; for "sin is the transgression of the law." "By the law is the knowledge of sin." The standard of righteousness, it is exceeding broad, prohibiting every evil thing.
Satan sees that to call the attention of human beings to the righteousness of the law barricades the soul against his specious devices. His only hope for securing the world is to lead men to ignore the law, to make them believe that the law is null and void, that belief in Christ is all that is necessary. If Satan can so deceive the world that sin will not appear exceeding sinful, he has gained what he desires to gain. And he has succeeded in leading multitudes to believe his falsehoods. Ministers of the gospel preach against the law, and especially against the Fourth Commandment.
We are nearing the close of this earth's history. Satan is making desperate efforts to make himself god, to speak and act like God, to appear as one who has a right to control the consciences of men. He strives with all his power to place a human institution in the position of God's holy rest day. Under the jurisdiction of the man of sin, men have exalted a false standard in complete opposition to God's enactment. Each Sabbath institution bears the name of its author, an ineffaceable mark showing the authority of each. The first day of the week has not one particle of sanctity. It is the production of the man of sin, who strives in this way to counterwork God's purposes.
God has designated the seventh day as His Sabbath. He declares, "Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. . . . It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed." "Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant."
Thus the distinction is drawn between the loyal and the disloyal. Those who desire to have the seal of God in their foreheads must keep the Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment. Thus they are distinguished from the disloyal, who have accepted a manmade institution in place of the true Sabbath. The observance of God's rest day is a mark of distinction between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.
When men make the assertion that a change has been made in the law of God's government, they cast a reflection upon God's character. If the law was just when given to Adam, it is just today. "It is easier for heaven and earth to pass," Christ declared, "than one tittle of the law to fail."
The substitution of the false for the true is the last act in the drama. When this substitution becomes universal, God will reveal himself. When the laws of men are exalted above the laws of God, when the powers of this earth try to force men to keep the first day of the week, know that the time has come for God to work. He will arise in His majesty, and will shake terribly the earth. He will come out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity. The earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
The belief that the law of God is not the standard of righteousness is now almost universal in the Christian world. Professed Christians think that the more contempt they place upon the law, the more commendable they are in God's sight. Each human being exerts an influence upon those with whom he associates. Those who are willing to be led by false theories and unsound doctrines, who build their hopes for eternity on shifting sand, will find that the storm and tempest of trial will sweep away their refuge of lies. Their structure will fall, and they will perish,--lost, lost for all eternity.
Adam listened to the words of the tempter, and yielding to his insinuations, fell into sin. Why was not the death penalty at once enforced in his case?--Because a ransom was found. God's only begotten Son volunteered to take the sin of man upon himself, and to make an atonement for the fallen race. There could have been no pardon for sin had this atonement not been made. Had God pardoned Adam's sin without an atonement, sin would have been immortalized, and would have been perpetuated with a boldness that would have been without restraint. Remember how soon after the transgression of Adam the apostasy of his posterity became so marked that God repented that He had made man. They followed the imaginations of their evil hearts, and the strivings of the Spirit were not heeded. They refused to be admonished. They had an abundance of blessings for their own enjoyment, and they soon forgot that they had forfeited immortality.
God granted them one hundred and twenty years of probation, and during that time preached to them through Methuselah, Noah, and many others of His servants. Had they listened to the testimony of these faithful witnesses, had they repented and returned to their loyalty, God would not have destroyed them. But warnings made an impression on them only for a time. Christ was their atoning sacrifice, their Mediator, but they had no faith in Him, and His intercessions in their behalf were unavailing. As the time of probation drew nearer its close, the service due to God from them passed entirely from their thoughts; and the word went forth, "The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth."
After the flood the earth was again corrupted under its inhabitants, and the signal judgments of God fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah. But soon this punishment was forgotten, and once more men corrupted their way before God, turning from the worship of the Creator to the worship of idols. God called out the Hebrew people from slavery, and from Sinai gave them His law. But Egypt was desolated by plagues before Pharaoh would consent to listen to the great I AM. He persisted in his stubbornness till Egypt was ruined, and the Egyptians, from the lowest serf to the king upon his throne, looked upon the dead bodies of their firstborn. Then Pharaoh consented to let the children of Israel go, but he followed them immediately with an imposing display of chariots and men of war. Another exhibition of God's power was required. The Red Sea was opened to the Israelites, but the Egyptians who pursued them were drowned in its waters.
The terrible judgments of God which were inflicted upon the idolaters in the lands through which the children of Israel passed, caused fear and dread to fall upon all people living on the earth. But Israel, for whom so much had been done, apostatized in the very sight of Sinai. Aaron, who had been left in charge, was afraid to stand firm against the vast host who were clamoring for gods to lead them back to Egypt.
After entering Canaan, the children of Israel gradually went into idolatry. By His prophets God sent them message after message. But they forgot the instructions of their leader, and followed their own inclinations and the imagination of their own hearts, until the Lord could no longer protect them. He permitted their enemies to overcome them, and to scatter them as captives in strange lands. But still He was willing to pardon them. He promised that if they would return to Him, He would heal all their backslidings, and reinstate them in His favor. He sent them warnings, reproofs, judgments, to save them from ruin. But notwithstanding these efforts, they wandered farther and farther from Him. As represented in the parable given by Christ, God sent His messengers to them, but these were persecuted and put to death. Last of all, He sent His only begotten Son. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, . . . full of grace and truth." But the people He came to save refused to receive Him. They rewarded Him evil for good, and in Pilate's judgment hall He was condemned to death by crucifixion. "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine fat? I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with me." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #17)
Before His ascension to heaven, Jesus, with hands outstretched in blessing His disciples, gave them their commission: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Repentance of sin was to be preached in His name among all nations, but the work was to begin at Jerusalem. Before going out into new fields of labor, the disciples of Christ were to give the message to their own people. Home missions were to receive their first attention.
Wherever the people of God are placed, in the crowded cities, in the villages, or among the country byways, there is a home mission field, for which a responsibility is laid upon them by their Lord's commission. They are to take up the duty that lies nearest. First of all is the work in the family; next they should seek to win their neighbors to Christ, and to bring before them the great truths of this time.
This work places a responsibility upon us to recommend by our daily life the faith which we profess. The piety of its believers is the standard by which worldlings judge the truth. In all your associations with unbelievers, be careful to give them no occasion to misjudge your faith, or to reproach the cause of truth which you advocate. Many hedge up the way by their own course of action. There is some indiscretion on their part. They are easily provoked. Little difficulties arise in trade or in some other temporal matter, which lead them to think themselves misjudged or wronged by their neighbors. These things are allowed to create coldness or ill-feeling, and thus to close the door of access to those who might be reached by the truth. We should never allow matters of temporal interest to quench our love for souls. Brethren, be kind and courteous on all occasions.
Never be sharp, critical, or exacting in your deal. If there is any advantage to be gained, give it to your neighbor, whom you are required to love as you love yourself. With the patience and love of Jesus, watch for opportunities to do him a kindness. Let him see that the religion that you profess does not close up nor freeze over the avenues of the soul, making you unsympathizing and exacting. Let a well-ordered life and a godly conversation testify to your sincerity and piety; and when you have thus gained his confidence, the way is open for you to reach the heart by introducing the truth.
If these matters, which may appear of minor consequence, are neglected, you may present the most convincing arguments in favor of the truth, but they will have no weight. If your family government is not according to the Bible rule, if your children are not brought up with habits of order and industry, if they are selfish, proud, disobedient, unthankful, unholy, be sure that your unbelieving neighbor will see and remark upon your neglect. "They would better spend their labor at home," he will say, "teaching piety and good behavior to their children, instead of trying to convert me." Very many have been caused to stumble by the inconsistencies of professed Christians, and have been led to reject the precious truths of the Bible. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #17)
Mrs. E. G. White: "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap."
Consider what that means. Fuller's soap makes a garment shrink into a much smaller compass. We want to stand in that position of humility where the life is hid with Christ in God. We claim Him; He is our righteousness; therefore, our lives are hid with Christ in God, we shall not shrink into nothingness.
To us has been given the work of preparing ourselves for the mansions. And this we can do through the help that is waiting for us. When God gave His Son to our world. He gave all heaven, all the facilities and powers of heaven. Those who fail to improve the glorious opportunities granted with the gift of God's Son will be without excuse.
Christ declared that all power in heaven and earth has been given to him, and He gives this power to those who truly believe on Him, to His disciples, that they may go forth to proclaim the message of hope and salvation to a fallen race. He takes His position at the head of humanity, covering humanity with divinity. In Him humanity and divinity are combined, and He can accomplish for the human race all that is necessary to enable them to overcome as He overcame, and sit down with Him in His Father's throne.
All the sufferings, all the distress, that came to Him who was equal with the Father, was borne that He might bring people to himself. For this purpose He laid off His royal robe, His royal crown, laid aside His high command, and stepped down to humanity. He who was the majesty of heaven, the King of glory, died for sinners.
We breathe because God takes charge of the human machinery. Day by day He keeps it in working order, and He wants us to think of the infinite sacrifice He has made for us in suffering with One equal with himself--His only begotten Son. He consented to let Him come to a world all seared and marred with the curse of sin, to stand at the head of humanity as a sin-bearing, sin-pardoning Saviour. God has pledged himself to receive sinners; for He "so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Everlasting life,--this is what we want. Shall we be satisfied to live in this poor world without a hope of a better life? God forbid. Let us lay hold of the power that has been provided to make it possible for us to gain eternal life. Let us take hold of the blessings heaven has given us that we may fit ourselves for the higher grade, fit ourselves for the mansions which Christ is preparing for us. He said, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #18)
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruit."
There are some who have departed from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, and who by falsehood and misrepresentation seduce others. These false teachers are represented by Christ as ravening wolves. Their work is to tear down that which God through His agencies is seeking to build up. "Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets which make my people to err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him. Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them. Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded; yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God."
False prophets are described by Paul in his second letter to Timothy: "Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." Paul warns his son in the gospel, saying, "This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; holding faith and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck."
Men oppose the truth with falsehood, and those who do not desire a knowledge of the truth listen eagerly to the fables presented to them. Their hearts are imbued with the same spirit of opposition to the truth that fills the hearts of the false teachers. They act toward God's commandment-keeping people in this time as the Jews acted when they refused to accept the truths that Christ unfolded before them. Christ presented to them the prophecies of the Old Testament, showing them that by their rejection of Him they were fulfilling these prophecies. But they continued in their evil course, and followed, to the end, the works that stand registered against them in the books of heaven, which have brought eternal infamy upon them as a nation.
What accusation did the Jews bring against Christ?--"He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils." Eagerly they received the testimony of false witnesses. They hired men to report against Christ, that they might have some pretext for condemning Him. They did everything that could be done to make themselves and others believe that He was a criminal. His every word and action was watched, and reported in a distorted light. Spies were constantly upon His track, saying, Show us a sign. Work some miracle.
When Christ said to the sick of the palsy, "Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee," He gave His enemies a sign which they could not set aside. "And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" Knowing their unspoken thoughts, Jesus said, "What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins (He said unto the sick of the palsy), I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today."
Did this evidence that Jesus was the Son of God cause the scribes and Pharisees to believe in Him?--No; this demonstration of His power only exasperated them. It was not evidence that He was the teacher sent from God, that they wanted, but evidence that He was a deceiver. Their hearts were not open to conviction. They were filled with intense hatred and bitter prejudice, and they were ever seeking to find some occasion to manifest their wrath.
"And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Next in Christ's work came a call from a ruler, saying, "My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did His disciples. . . . And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed Him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, He went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame thereof went abroad into all that land.
"And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed Him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. And when He was come into the house, the blind men came to Him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it."
Notwithstanding this charge, the restored men, "when they were departed, spread abroad His fame in all that country." This added fuel to the fire of prejudice. His enemies interpreted His works of mercy and compassion as a wrong done to themselves. The people were leaving them and listening to the teachings of Christ.
"As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel." These words, contrasting the works and mercy of Christ with the course pursued by the priests and Pharisees, exasperated the leading men. Every additional proof given them provoked them to increased resistance. When they saw that they could not prevent Him from working miracles, they put forth their skill to misrepresent and falsify Him. They could bear false witness, and this they did. They said, "He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils." But Jesus worked on, heeding not censure, prejudice, or opposition. The genuineness of His power and His work was kept before the people, and His enemies could not turn the multitude from following after Him.
In Christ's mighty works there was sufficient evidence to convince any one. But the Jewish rulers did not want the truth. They could not but acknowledge the reality of the works of Christ, but they cast condemnation upon them all. They were forced to acknowledge that supernatural power attended His work, but this power, they declared, was derived from Satan. Did they really believe this?--No; but they were so determined that the truth should not lead to their conversion that they charged the work of the Spirit of God to the devil. Thus they committed the sin against the Holy Ghost, which has no forgiveness in this world or in the world to come.
We read again of Christ: "When He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest."
All-compassionate Redeemer! what love, what matchless love, is thine! Charged by the great men of Israel with doing His works of mercy by the power of the prince of devils, He was as one who saw and heard not. The work He came from heaven to do must not be left undone. Truth must be unfolded to men. The Light of the world must flash His beams into the darkness of sin and superstition. The truth found no place in the hearts of those who should have been foremost to receive it, because they were barricaded with prejudice and wicked unbelief. Among those who had not such exalted privileges, Christ prepared hearts to receive His message. He made new bottles for the new wine.
Every truth is invested by the God of heaven with an influence proportionate to its character and importance. The plan of redemption, which means everything to a lost and ruined world, was to be proclaimed, and the Spirit of God in Christ Jesus was brought into vital contact with the heart of the world. Light and truth vibrated through the universe. The plan of redemption was made known, which thrills the soul and prepares it for the great power of God. A truth so large, so deep, so full and complete, it could be the center of all truth hitherto revealed.
By Christ the truth was proclaimed. The hearts of those who professed to be the children of God were barricaded against it; but those who had not been so highly privileged, those who were not clothed with the garments of self-righteousness, were drawn to Christ. Their minds were convinced and quickened into activity.
The cross stands as the great center of the world, bearing a certain testimony which will be the condemnation of every transgressor of the law of God. Today Satan endeavors to keep hidden from the world the great atoning sacrifice, which reveals the love of God and the binding claims of His law. He wars against the work of Christ. His evil angels unite with evil men in opposing this work. But while He is carrying on this work, heavenly intelligences are combining with God's human instrumentalities in the work of restoration.
The children of God are not to expect an easy time in this life. There are battles to be fought. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." We are not left alone to engage in this conflict. Jesus is the captain of our salvation. He clothed His divinity with humanity, and took the field himself, that He might teach us how to fight the battles of the Lord. He says, "Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #18)
The books of heaven will reveal a terrible record of unfulfilled home duties against parents who were regarded as intelligent missionary workers. How much more influence these parents might have had, how much more good they might have done, had they begun the work at the right point, by setting their own house in order, and presenting to their neighbors a well-ordered family as evidence of the power of the truth! When it is seen that the children are not like worldlings, when the beauty of faith and the spirit of genuine Christianity are seen in them, it will be as light pointing heavenward.
It is the acts of faith and love in the so-called little things of life, the spirit of Christ manifested at home, in the field, in the workshop, as well as in the church, that make us living epistles known and read of all. Men may combat and defy our logic, they may resist our appeals; but a life of holy purpose, of disinterested love, is an argument in favor of the truth which they can not gainsay. Far more can be accomplished by humble, devoted, virtuous lives, than can be gained by preaching when a godly example is lacking.
There is a sad neglect of personal effort, both for the members of the family and for our neighbors. Many seem to rest perfectly easy, as if the heavenly messengers were to come to earth, and in an audible voice proclaim the warning. They stand idle, virtually saying, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Many associate almost wholly with those of the same faith, and feel no duty to become acquainted with their neighbors who are ignorant of the great and testing truths for the last days. Ladies who, in the parlor, can engage in conversation with wonderful tact and earnestness, shrink from pointing the sinner to the Lamb of God. Oh! there is so much work for souls that is left undone because it is a cross, and because each seeks his own amusement, and works for his own selfish interests. Because of our unbelief, worldliness, and indolence, blood-bought souls in the very shadow of our homes are dying in their sins, and dying unwarned.
Until the judgment, it will never be known how much might have been done, how many plans might have been devised, to save souls by bringing them to a knowledge of the truth. But self-indulgence, unwillingness to sacrifice, and a lack of true spiritual discernment, have led many to overlook the open doors which they might have entered to do a good work for the Master. Love of ease has caused them to shun the wearing of Christ's yoke, the lifting of His burden.
Many, many, are approaching the day of God doing nothing, shunning responsibilities, and as a result, they are religious dwarfs. So far as work for God is concerned, the pages of their life history present a mournful blank. They are trees in the garden of God, but only cumberers of the ground, darkening with their unproductive boughs the ground which fruit bearing trees might have occupied. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #18)
Mrs. E. G. White: "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."
John tried to describe the love of God, but language failed. He could only call on us to behold it. We must behold this love for ourselves. We must strive to understand as far as possible the love the Father has bestowed upon us.
Let no one feel that he is stepping down in becoming a child of God. It was the only begotten Son of God who stepped down. He gave himself for us. Leaving His splendor, His majesty, His high command, and clothing His divinity, with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity, and divinity lay hold upon divinity. He came to this earth, and in our behalf suffered the death of the cross.
In the words I have read, our possibilities are opened before us. It is possible for every son and daughter of Adam through belief in Christ, to be cleansed from sin. "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name," Our part is to receive and believe on Jesus Christ.
Of Him on whom we are asked to believe, it is written, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. . . . That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
It is our privilege to walk in the light as Christ is in the light. We need not groan and murmur because the path heavenward is not a smooth one. Our part is to believe, to try to understand the words. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God." The assurance is, "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." Do we believe on His name?
Christ has made an infinite sacrifice. He gave His own life for us. He took upon His divine soul the result of the transgression of God's law. Laying aside His royal crown, He condescended to step down, step by step, to the level of fallen humanity. He hung upon Calvary's cross, dying in our behalf, that we might have eternal life. Why is it that we are so indifferent to this great sacrifice? Does it seem a small thing that He should endure all this that we might be called the sons of God? Does it seem a small thing to you to become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King, partakers of an immortal inheritance? Is it a small matter to become heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ? What sacrifice have we made in response to this infinite sacrifice?
Would you grasp the things of the world? The world knoweth not God. Give yourselves to the world, and you will not know God; you can not know Him. We need to behold Him. We need to purify our souls by obeying the truth.
No one can serve God by proxy. There are many who seem to think that there is some one in this world stronger than Christ, upon whom they can lean. And instead of coming right to Christ, just as they are, giving themselves unreservedly to Him, they reach out for human help. God wants us to have an individual experience, to form characters after the divine similitude. I can not work out a character for you, and you can not work out a character for me. We are to stand before God in our individuality, and know for ourselves what it means to have the light and comfort and love of God in our hearts. The Lord wants us to take Him at His word. He desires every one of us to reveal His character to the world. If all would accept the righteousness of Christ, we should not see so much sickness in our world. Every one would strive to take care of the house he inhabits. He would purify his soul by obeying the truth.
We read in Zechariah, "He showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee; is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel."
Joshua represents the people of God. When Satan accused him, the Lord rebuked him, and spoke to those that stood before him, saying, "Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him He said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said. Let them set a fair miter upon his head. So they set a fair miter upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by." Satan tries to bring reproach against those who are trying to serve and honor God. He presents them in a questionable light, as those who are clothed with filthy garments. God says, Take away the filthy garments. You have no right to put them upon my children. Take them away. My people may have imperfections of character. They may fail in their endeavors; but if they repent, I will forgive them.
This word of assurance is given to all who have faith in God. Receive this wonderful promise. It is not a human being who is speaking. "Thus saith the Lord of hosts: If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by."
"Among these that stand by." The hosts of the enemy, who are trying to bring God's people into disrepute, and the hosts of heaven, ten thousand times ten thousand angels, who watch over and guard the tempted people of God, uplifting them and strengthening them,--these are they who stand by. And God says to His believing ones, You shall walk among them. You shall not be overcome by the powers of darkness. You shall stand before me in the sight of the holy angels, who are sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation.
Mrs. E. G. White: The Scriptures teach us to seek for the sanctification to God of body, soul, and spirit. In this work we are to be laborers together with God. Much may be done to restore the moral image of God in man, to improve the physical, mental, and moral capabilities. Great changes can be made in the physical system by obeying the laws of God and bringing into the body nothing that defiles. Our dependence is not in what man can do: it is in what God can do for man through Christ. When we surrender ourselves wholly to God, and fully believe, the blood of Christ cleanses from all sin. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #18)
Given to the Ministers at General Conference, April 17.--I want to say a few words. God has left a few of the old pioneers who know something of the fanaticism which existed in the early days of this message. Here is Brother Prescott; he knows something about it. He is acquainted with phase after phase of the fanaticism that has taken place. Here is Brother Haskell. He knows something about it, and there are various ones of our older brethren who have passed over the ground, and they understand something of what we have had to meet and contend with. Then there is Brother Corliss; I speak of him because he knows something about fanaticism, not only in the early days, but in our later experience.
Let every one of us remember the men of gray hairs. Do not set them back in a corner, and say, We do not need you, because you are too old to be active workers. If on only one occasion these men of experience can stand and tell you what the right way is, it is worth to the cause of God more than you would pay a dozen laborers who have little or no experience in this work. God wants us to come to our senses. I thank God that there are a few who know what we have passed through in the beginning of the history of this work; God wants you to cherish them, and I want you to cherish them. God wants you to feel that it is a sacred duty to look after them, and not to ignore them or put them out of sight.
You may think that they have made mistakes. Have you made any? May God let His melting Spirit come into our hearts. May God come to us with His comforting power. What we want is not hearts of steel, but hearts of flesh. I hope that not a soul will go away from this meeting until he can say for himself, I know that I am Christ's in God.
When persons are in our midst who are moved by the Spirit of God, through whom the great treasures of His word are unfolded to us, increasing in every phase, let us not take the position that we know all that is worth knowing, and what we do not know is not worth knowing, hindering the very ones who are digging for the truth as for hidden treasure. The word of God is opening more and more to us. Just as long as we live on the earth, we shall be able to find a whole treasure house of beautiful things. Some will see beauty in one truth, some in another, and some will look at it in another way. We are not all constituted alike. But some think that what they have is all there is to acquire. They say of others, Do not let them come into our meetings; we do not want them here. They do not believe as we do. I wish to say. Hands off. Let God work through human instrumentalities according to His will.
Read the seventeenth chapter of John, and you will see that God has given us the privilege of being united in Christian love, brethren with brethren, all being bound together by the golden chain of love which has been let down from heaven to unite the believers. God wants you to be like himself. He wants to keep you unspotted from the world, to forgive your sins, and to draw you to himself, that you may step off the ladder into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
I wish to say to you today, The Lord wants you to be converted. At great expense to myself, in sickness and feebleness, I have come a long way to bear this testimony before the congregation which was presented to me before I left Cooranbong. If this had not been presented to me, I should not be here today. But I am here, in obedience to the word of the Lord, and I thank Him that He has given me strength beyond my expectations to speak to the people. I want you all, for Christ's sake, to heed His injunction to love one another. Thus you will bear witness to the world that God sent His Son to save sinners. Let not the enemy come in to break up the unity which should exist between brethren and sisters. Christ wants His people to be one. Why?--That the world may see that God loves His people even as He loves His Son.
Let us at this meeting humble our hearts before God. Night after night since coming here, I have been unable to sleep past one o'clock. I have pleaded with God to enter among us, and work mightily upon hearts and minds. He is willing to do this. He declares, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him." If he does not enter, it is because the door is closed against Him. Shall we not let Him in, that we may enjoy a heavenly feast with a heavenly Guest? God grant that at this meeting you may so consecrate yourselves to His service that you may go forth as did the disciples, bearing the message with such power from on high that thousands will be converted.
"Get ready," is the word sounded in my ears. "Get ready, get ready. He that is to come, will come and will not tarry. Tell my people that unless they improve the sacred opportunities given them, unless they do the work I have given them, Satan will come upon them with the stealthy tread of a thief, to deceive and allure them." God wants us to be wide awake, that when He shall come, we shall be ready to say, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us." He is coming to us by His Holy Spirit today. Let us recognize Him now; then we shall recognize Him when He comes in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. God calls upon you to get ready to meet Him in peace.
I leave this message with you, asking you, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, to love one another as He has loved you. Thus the world will see and recognize the amazing power of redeeming grace.
(Vol. 78, #19)
Christ gave His life to redeem humanity, and He calls upon men and women to make every sacrifice in their power to glorify God by placing light in contrast with darkness. Christ gave His life as a sacrifice, not to destroy God's law, not to create a lower standard, but to maintain justice, and to give man a second probation. No one can keep God's commandments except in Christ's power. He bore in His body the sins of all mankind, and He imputes His righteousness to every believing child.
Christ is our example in all things. He has magnified the law and made it honorable. By His unwavering obedience He testified to the truth that God's law is the standard of righteousness for all men. God requires of man nothing that is impossible for him to do. He "so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Possessing our nature, though unstained by sin, and tempted in all points like as we are, Christ kept the law, proving beyond controversy that man also can keep it.
The fiat has gone forth, "The wages of sin is death." The sinner must feel his guiltiness, else he will never repent. He has broken the law, and in so doing has placed himself under its condemnation. The law has no power to pardon the transgressor, but it points him to Christ Jesus, who says to him, I will take your sin and bear it myself, if you will accept me as your substitute and surety. Return to your allegiance, and I will impute to you my righteousness. You will be made complete in me.
Sin is the transgression of the law. God declares, "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit." Notwithstanding all the profession of lip and voice, if the character is not in harmony with the law of God, those making profession of godliness bear evil fruit.
"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,"--the will made known in the Ten Commandments, given in Eden when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy, and spoken with an audible voice from Sinai. "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." Many mighty works are done under the inspiration of Satan, and these works will be more and more apparent in the last days.
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."
The mischief done by the professed believers in God who are not doers of the Word, can not be estimated. Their lawless, unholy principles corrupt many, leading them away from the path of obedience.
A life of conformity to the Christlife can not be a life of disobedience to God's commands. The lawyer who questioned Christ concerning the law, in answering his own question, said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." "Thou hast answered right," Christ said; "this do, and thou shalt live." Sin can not reign in the life of the one who loves God supremely. Obedience to God is the fruit borne by love. Christ is not at war with Christ, and love to our neighbor prevents us from working ill to him. "The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." The law of God lays its claim upon the whole man. There is no period of time when the law does not make this demand upon every son and daughter of Adam.
Complete obedience is the only condition that meets the requirement of the law. "God is not a man, that He should lie." God's law is the rule of His government. He says, "This do, and thou shalt live." But to the disobedient He says, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them." "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." God has given the promise that those who obey His law will be rewarded, not only in the present life, but in the life to come. He declares just as decidedly that those who do not obey His requirements shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on them. By lips that never lie the obedient are blessed, and the disobedient are pronounced guilty.
There are only two classes in the world today, and only two classes will be recognized in the Judgment,--those who violate God's law, and those who keep His law. Two great opposing powers are revealed in the last great battle. On one side stands the Creator of heaven and earth. All on His side bear His signet. They are obedient to His commands. On the other side stands the Prince of darkness, with those who have chosen apostasy and rebellion.
When the judgment shall sit, and every one shall be judged by the things written in the books, the authority of God's law will be looked upon in a light altogether different from that in which it is now regarded by the Christian world. Satan has blinded their eyes and confused their understanding, as he blinded and confused Adam and Eve, and led them into transgression. The law of Jehovah is great, even as its Author is great. In the Judgment it will be recognized as holy, just, and good in all its requirements. Those who transgress this law will find that they have a serious account to settle with God; for His claims are decisive.
Christ has borne our sins in His own body, and those who accept Him as a personal Saviour are free from the penalty of the law. Jesus has been made the propitiation for our sin, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. "Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 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."
To the obedient child of God the commandments are a delight. David declares, "Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage forever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart. I have inclined my heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end. I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God. . . . I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies."
Did the contempt shown to the law of God extinguish David's loyalty? Hear his words. He calls upon God to interfere and vindicate His honor, to show that there is a God, that there are limits to His forbearance. "It is time for thee, Lord, to work," he says, "for they have made void thy law."
David saw the divine precepts thrown aside, and obstinacy and rebellion increasing. But he was not swept away by the prevalence of apostasy. The scorn and contempt cast upon the law did not lead him to refrain from vindicating the law. On the contrary, his reverence for the law of Jehovah increased as he saw the disregard and contempt shown for it by others. "They have made void thy law," he exclaims. "Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way."
As man studies and contemplates the precious statutes of the Most High, as he meditates upon them, and realizes their value, he exclaims: "Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them. The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. . . . Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #19)
Those who neglect their duty in the home and among their neighbors are, by their unfaithfulness, separating themselves from God. Their piety becomes tame and weak. Unfaithfulness in the home leads to unfaithfulness in the church. They do not strengthen and build it up. Through their failures in duty, all their work is marked with blunders and defects. Their indifference and neglect have a molding influence upon all who have confidence in them as Christians. The errors of one are copied by many, and thus the evil goes on deepening and widening. Brethren, you may not see this, but so it stands in God's sight, and you must meet it in the Judgment.
In the day of God, how many will confront us and say, "I am lost! I am lost! and you never warned me; you never entreated me to come to Jesus. Had I believed as you did, I would have followed every judgment-bound soul with prayers and tears and warnings."
In that day the Master will demand of His professed people, "What have you done to save the souls of your neighbors? There are many who were connected with you in worldly business, who lived close beside you, whom you might have warned. Why are they among the unsaved?"
Brethren and sisters, what excuse can you render to God for this neglect of souls? I would present this matter to you as it has been presented to me; and in the light from the life of the Master, from the cross of Calvary, I urge you to arouse. I entreat you to take upon your own hearts the burden of your fellow men.
No one who professes to love Jesus can long retain the favor of God if he feels no interest for sinners around him. Those who seek merely to save their own souls and are indifferent to the condition and destiny of their fellow men, will fail to put forth sufficient effort to secure their own salvation. In hiding their talents in the earth, they are throwing away their opportunities to obtain a star-gemmed crown.
I write plainly, that every effort may be made on the part of all to remove the frown of God from them by sincere repentance. Whatever the neglect of duty, of parents to children, or of neighbor to neighbor, let it now be understood and repented of. If we have sinned against the Lord, we shall never have peace and restoration to His favor without full confession and reformation in regard to the very things in which we have been remiss. Not until we have used every means in our power to repair the evil, can God approve and bless us. The path of confession is humiliating, but it is the only way by which we can receive strength to overcome. All the dropped stitches may never be picked up so that our work shall be as perfect and God-pleasing as it should have been; but every effort should be made to do this so far as it is possible to accomplish it.
We have the promise, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness," even so was "the Son of man . . . lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." We are to "look and live." Sinful and unworthy, we must cast our helpless souls upon the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. Then will God restore unto us the joy of His salvation, and uphold us by His free Spirit. Then we may teach transgressors His way, and sinners shall be converted unto Him.
Brethren, the Lord calls upon you to redeem the time. Draw nigh to God. Take on your neck the yoke of Christ; stretch out your hands to lift His burden. Stir up the gift that is within you. You who have had opportunities and privileges to become acquainted with the reasons of our faith, use this knowledge in giving light to others. And do not rest satisfied with the little knowledge you already have. Search the Scriptures. Let no moment be unimproved. Dig for the precious gems of truth as for hid treasures, and pray for wisdom that you may present the truth to others in a clear, connected manner.
Many who have been left to darkness and ruin might have been helped had their neighbors, common men and women, come to them with the love of Christ glowing in their hearts, and put forth personal efforts for them. Many are waiting to be addressed thus personally. Humble, earnest conversation with such persons, and prayer for them, heart being brought close to heart, would in most cases be wholly successful.
Let labor for souls become a part of your life. Go to the homes even of those who manifest no interest. While mercy's sweet voice invites the sinner, work with every energy of heart and brain, as did Paul, who "ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears." The heavenly messengers are waiting to cooperate with your efforts. Will you do the work appointed you of God? By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #19)
Mrs. E. G. White: I did not know how we should get along at this meeting. The Lord gave me instruction regarding this. I was referred to an incident in the life of the prophet Elisha. The prophet was in Dothan, and thither the king of Syria sent horses and chariots and a great host, to take him. "And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
"And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the Lord, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And He smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria. And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said. Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them? And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master."
God presented this to me, and I did not know what it meant. I did not understand it. I pondered over it, and then, as the lesson was fulfilled, I began to grasp its meaning. I do not know that I should ever have seen the significance had it not been fulfilled right here. Who do you suppose has been among us since this Conference began? Who has kept away the objectionable features that generally appear in such a meeting? Who has walked up and down the aisles of this Tabernacle?--The God of heaven and His angels. And they did not come here to tear you in pieces, but to give you right and peaceable minds. They have been among us to work the works of God, to keep back the powers of darkness, that the work God designed should be done should not be hindered. The angels of God have been working among us.
If any people have reason to praise God, we have. Angels of God have been at work here. The Lord knew our needs, and sent us food which has given spiritual strength, and light, showing us how we should work. We have been trying to organize the work on right lines. The Lord has sent His angels to minister unto us who are heirs of salvation, telling us how to carry the work forward.
Remember that there is a much better way to get along than to have controversy. When I was upon the waters of the Pacific amid the confusion and noise, the Lord spoke to me: Do not enter into any controversy. Speak to the people that they be of one mind.
When you are all in Christ, there can be no variance. Your brother may not have just the same manners and ways of speech as you have, but God does not require this of him. He may be able to reach a class that you can not reach. The very word which you wish he had not spoken may be the word which will bring conviction to hearts. Christ has made none of you church tinkers.
My brethren and sisters who are going to foreign fields, perhaps you will be connected with those whose habits and customs are not like yours. Do not let this hinder your work for the Master. Do all in your power to come into Christian relation with those for whom you shall work. May it not be that your ideas need changing? Remember that there is as much room in the world for one as for another.
Let us every one strive to be assimilated to the likeness of Christ. There are those in the Church who have made mistakes. But because of this, do not tear yourselves apart from them. I wish to ask, Is it not best for us to do all in our power to heal the souls that are wounded nigh unto death. Is it not best for us to try to prevent the enemy from gaining the victory over those for whom Christ died? Shall we not do the work Christ did? He said, "I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." If any of you should have a sheep, and it should fall into a hole, would you not take it out, even on the Sabbath day? And shall we not think as much of a man as we do of an animal?
The moral image of God is to be restored in man. It was to make it possible for this to be done that Christ came from the heavenly courts to this earth, full of heaven's compassion and heaven's love, to stand at the head of humanity.
Christ was ever kind and merciful, but He gave the most scathing rebukes to the hypocritical Pharisees. I hope that such rebukes as these will never have to fall on our leaders. Let these men remember the temptations which come to the young, and do all in their power to help them. Christ is spoken of as a tender Shepherd, who lovingly cares for the young, carrying them in his arms. If one hundred times more of this work were done by our leading men, they would be carrying out the plan of God. And by this work, the rough edges would be removed from their characters. They would be polished after the similitude of a palace.
After this meeting has closed, and we have separated, Satan will come to you with his temptations. He will bring up before you the errors and mistakes that have been made in the past. Remember that God has buried these, and He does not want you to think any more about them.
I was never more astonished in my life than at the turn things have taken at this meeting. This is not our work. God has brought it about. Instruction regarding this was presented to me, but until the sum was worked out at this meeting, I could not comprehend this instruction. God's angels have been walking up and down in this congregation. I want every one of you to remember this, and I want you to remember also that God has said that He will heal the wounds of His people.
Press together, press together. Let us be united in Christ. God is dishonored by disunion. I shall not keep you much longer, but I wish to say a few more words; for I feel that perhaps I shall never again see those who are going from us. I want to read you a few words, that you may see what God is willing to do for His people. Christ is praying to His Father, and He says: "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. . . . They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
Is this possible? It must be, or Christ would not have said it. He is ready to give us all the preciousness there is in the virtue of His character. There is joy in the Lord, joy in sanctification, in unity, in receiving Christ as our Saviour.
To those who are about to take up the work in new fields, I would say, Remember that Christ is by your side. He says, My right hand will uphold you. His blessing will rest upon you. If you will walk in the light of His countenance, you will be lights in the world. Regarding this, Christ says, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill can not be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
You are going forth to carry the torch of truth. Kindle your taper from the divine altar, and bear the truth to those who are in darkness. You may be sure that angels of God will be round about you. As you impart to others, you will realize that the life of Christ in you is as a well of water, springing up unto everlasting life.
The word of God is to be your daily food. Christ says, "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." Talk the truth wherever you go. There is more power in visiting families, talking to them of the truth, and praying with them, than there is in all the sermons that can be given. This does not mean that you are not to speak from the desk. You are; but you are to take time also for house-to-house labor. As you do this work, angels of God will be by your side, and will give you words to speak. Thus you will become all-around, efficient gospel workers, of whom people will say, They have nothing but the truth on their lips. God help us to be Christians in every sense of the word.
I may never meet you again on this earth. I feel that my life is almost over. I may meet you again; God knows; I do not. But if we meet no more here below, God grant that we may meet around His throne, each wearing on his brow a crown of immortality. Oh, what a time of rejoicing that will be! and we shall tell the story of our trials and difficulties on this earth, tell it, not with sorrow, but with joy.
God knows that we have only just begun the study of His word. He knows that many have only a surface knowledge of the truth. When in the redeemed family above we follow Him whithersoever He goeth, He will open to us the mysteries of His word. When this mortal shall put on immortality and this corruptible shall put on incorruption, He will say, Child, come up higher. We shall be caught up to meet our Lord in the air. The Saviour will welcome us with the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant; . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord,"--the joy of seeing souls redeemed. Then He will lead us by the living waters, and escort us through the paradise of God. He will show us the beauty and loveliness of His word, which now we do not half understand. Then we shall cast our glittering crowns at His feet, and touching our golden harps, fill all heaven with rich music, singing, "Worthy, worthy is the Lamb, who died, and who lives again, a triumphant conqueror." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #19)
Article Read by Mrs. E. G. White, April 22, 1901.--I have an intense interest in our school work. To discard many of the worldly textbooks will not lower the standard of education, but will raise it to a higher plane. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." If this is the breadth and depth of the Scriptures, shall we not lift the standard by making the word of God the foundation of our system of education?
Changes will have to be made. But it is hard to break away from old habits and practices; and there are those who have felt inclined stubbornly to resist everything in this line. I am glad to say that Brother Magan and Brother Sutherland have made advancement in reform. The question has arisen in regard to Brother Magan's connecting with Brother Daniells in his work. I asked Brother Magan if he felt called of God to take this position. He said, No. He said that he was satisfied that God wanted him to remain in the school, where he had been working. I told him that this was in accordance with the light and evidence given me on the subject.
I would say to Brother Magan and Brother Sutherland, You are not to think that you have made a failure in the school. Circumstances have been of a character to cause some misunderstanding. I wish now to present the matter as it was presented to me in my home at Crystal Springs, Cal. There should be in the school the same faculty that has been there in the past. The members of this faculty have been getting hold of right methods, and they are coming to see eye to eye. In a large degree they have learned how to work with unity of effort, and the school needs their talent and ability.
It has taken much determination and firm purpose to accomplish the work that has been done in regard to "Christ's Object Lessons." The Lord has manifested His approval of this work. It would be a mistake for those who have been carrying forward this effort to separate and scatter to one place and another, to engage in other work.
To seek to combine new elements in the school faculty at this time would not be for the educational interests of the students. Those who are now connected with the school have been learning and practicing their lessons in jots and tittles. Their self-denial, their example of individual consecration, is having an influence to make the school approach to what it should be. To take one and another teacher out of the school now would be a mistake. Let the workers blend together. Let all the strength of their united ability be exerted to draw in even cords, to carry the school forward according to the directions given by the Lord.
There has been much prejudice indulged in regard to those who stand at the head of the school. But these teachers are not to be moved by that which has been reported, much of which is untrue. The talent of voice and words needs to be refined, sanctified, ennobled, that it may be used to the glory of God. Our brethren are to go right along in the work, and let all see that God is working with them, giving them, as His agencies, varied experiences.
New workers could not advance the work as it should be advanced. They would have a new and untried experience. Under their management the school would not be as successful as if the same teachers, the same counselors, were to hold their position, and work to the point, making an object lesson of this school, according to the pattern God has given. God will work through those now in positions of trust in the school if they continue to work, and seek wisdom from Him. If there is need of more teachers to work in other lines, let these be added. But do not break up the faculty of the school, when the very strongest force is necessary. Let workers be selected as the Lord may appoint, but let not the ones who have been united and adapted to labor together in the school be separated because of the prejudice that has been created against them. Let not the impression be given that they must separate from the school because of the misjudging of those who have not known the true facts in the case. If those who will talk do not care to send their children to the school, because they suppose that mistakes have been made, they themselves must suffer the consequence. God pointed out errors in the school that need to be corrected, and when an effort was made to do this, there were those who saw not the evils or dangers; they saw no necessity for departing from the old plan. It was not an easy matter to do the work that needed to be done in seeking to correct existing evils, against the influence of many who desired to let things run in the same lines in which they had been running. This jot and that tittle, growing by being often repeated, made it very hard for the ones who were trying to make the changes which they saw needed to be made.
It is the Lord who has worked out matters in this Conference in regard to the medical missionary work and the ministry, and the Lord will manifest himself to His people, who have tried to place themselves in line. He will work for them if they are fully set to make Him their trust, and to link together in harmonious action. They should seek to the utmost of their ability to qualify students for different lines of work. We are not to have all study, nor all work. Work is to be conducted as nearly as possible as we have conducted it in Australia.
Those now in charge of the school work here have their hearts blended in unity of purpose to accomplish the thing which God has designated as the right thing to do. They have undertaken this work irrespective of the opposition that has come up, and the strife of tongues. These men have a grip on the work. They have been learning, and have plans to establish industrial schools out of the city, where a large space of ground can be secured. These men have a strong determination to succeed. They mean to be heroic reformers, to adopt solid, intellectual methods. Their thoughts and plans have been maturing, and now they are prepared for decided action.
It would be a mistake to take Brother Magan from the school work to engage in another line. It would be a mistake to separate Brother Sutherland from the school, because he has a spiritual hold upon educational lines of work. With the help of God, he can act his part in making the school a success.
Do not hinder those who have been trying to reach the place where the Lord desires them to stand. Do not tear them to pieces. Let them stand in the strength they have obtained, and let them press the battle to the gates. We must be strong in the strength of the Lord. The light of heaven is to shine through God's instrumentalities.
Some will place stumblingblocks in the way of attacking errors which are hoary with age. It is well to be consistent in all our movements, but we may quietly step over the stones which are thrown in the way of the work of reform. The objections need not be heeded. Prudence and God-fearing discretion are needed; for God wants every one to reveal the divine likeness. But timidity and cowardice are not to be shown by the followers of Christ.
The gospel of Christ lies at the foundation of all true education. Time is fast passing. The great work to be accomplished now is to establish schools that will prepare the youth for the mansions Christ is preparing for all who do their best in this life to perfect themselves in the knowledge of the word of God. In a spirit of kindness and love, reforms are to be carried forward to victory. Every reform is to be based on the unerring word, the judgment of inspiration. Reformers are not destroyers; they seek not to ruin, but to save.
The age in which we are living calls for decided reforms. Christ has declared that all who will be His disciples must turn away from self-indulgence, and with self-renunciation bear the cross and follow in His footsteps. "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Those who come out from the world, from its policies and its confederacies, and attempt to carry forward the work of reform, will need the help of the Spirit of God. Having determined what true reform is, carry it forward with earnestness and perseverance, determined not to fail nor be discouraged. Every one who carries forward reformatory action will meet with apparent losses in some lines, and decided victories in other lines. No educational institution can place itself in opposition to the errors and corruptions of this degenerate age without receiving threats and insults. But time will place such an institution upon an elevated platform. Having the assurance of God that they have acted right, the managers can say, "It is no disgrace to us if others are unable to understand our motives; for they judge us from their own standpoint."
The Lord is pleased with the effort that is being made to carry forward our school work on right lines. I believe that the meetings we have been holding will have an influence upon the minds of our people all over the world. Let us from henceforth be careful of our words. God is preparing a people to meet Him in peace. By the mighty cleaver of truth He has separated us from the world, and has placed us in His workshop to be hewed and polished and made fit for a place in His temple.
There is a right side and a wrong side. Shall we not stand on the right side? We are thankful that an interest is being shown in the work of establishing schools on a right foundation, as they should have been established years ago. If the proper education is given to students, it is a positive necessity to establish our schools at a distance from cities, where the students can do manual work. Great blessing will come to them as they exercise brain and body proportionately. From the things of nature they will learn lessons that will help them to work for the Lord.
This is what we have been trying to teach in Australia. I am very thankful that such steps are being taken by this Conference. God will prosper such plans. Although there may be few students at first, do not be discouraged. The school will win its way. Introduce the medical missionary work. Some of the students are to be educated as nurses, some as physicians. It is not necessary for our students to go to Ann Arbor for a medical education. They may obtain at our schools all the education that is essential to perform the work for this time.
It will take some time to get a right understanding of the matter, but just as soon as we begin to work in the lines of true reform, the Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us if we are willing to be guided. It is a delicate matter to deal with human minds, and no one should engage in this work without the aid of the Holy Spirit. All must place themselves under the influence of this Spirit. When they place themselves under the direction of the Spirit, they will accommodate themselves to Bible lines. When the word of God takes possession of the minds of teachers, then they are fitted to deal with the education of others.
Teachers are to so learn of Christ that they will remain converted from day to day. Then they will so labor for the students that they, too, will be converted. The angels of God will walk in their midst, beholding their order and diligence.
The word of God is to stand at the foundation of all education. It is to be made the basis of all the schools that we shall establish. Following "Thus saith the Lord," brings the schools into close connection with heavenly intelligences. The Lord has been greatly dishonored because His holy word, which will accomplish so much, has been placed in the background, while books which do not contain the highest instruction in regard to practical life and true science of eternal things have been brought to the front.
God's commands must settle all matters for us. That which His word advises and demands is to be strictly enforced. His word is to be plainly and earnestly opened before the students. This word will give spiritual health and strength. The instruction of the Bible, the wisdom of God, is to be brought into all business transactions. Selfishness will ever meet the disapproval of God.
God's dealings with His people are to be our guide in all educational advancement. His glory is to be the object of all study. Those who are being trained as medical missionaries are to realize that their work is to restore the moral image of God in man by healing the wounds which sin has made.
I would say to Brother Sutherland and Brother Magan, Go forward in the name of the Lord God of Israel, and the righteousness of God will go before you, and the glory of God will be your rearward. God can make the feeblest strong. He can give power to the weak. He can lighten the burdens of the heavy laden, and comfort those that are oppressed. He will help us to educate young men and young women to enter His work.
Brethren, shall we not help one another? Shall we not take hold of the Lord's work, not to tear one another to pieces, but to help one another? This is what God desires us to do. Some supposed that we were coming to this Conference to gather up the mistakes that had been made in the ministry, in the medical missionary work, and in the publishing and educational work. But we know that the Lord has another work for us to do. The mistakes that have been made, we are to bury in the depths of the ocean.
Let us blend together as brethren. God will bind us together, heart to heart, with the golden chain of love. To this Conference I wish to say, My heart, my soul, my interests are with you. The Lord is going to do something more for us than we have been willing to have done. Just as soon as men submit to God, His salvation will be revealed.
The Lord will cooperate with those who are striving to advance His work. I am glad to know that even though I may not live long, God will carry on His work. God will hold up our hands. He will work with those who are carrying forward the school work. He will be with the teachers and the students. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #20)
Every true child of God will be sifted as wheat, and in the sifting process every cherished pleasure which diverts the mind from God must be sacrificed. In many families the mantel shelves, stands, and tables are filled with ornaments and pictures. Albums filled with photographs of the family and their friends are placed where they will attract the attention of visitors. Thus the thoughts, which should be upon God and heavenly interests, are brought down to common things. Is not this a species of idolatry? Should not the money thus spent have been used to bless humanity, to relieve the suffering, to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry? Should it not be placed in the Lord's treasury to advance His cause and build up His kingdom in the earth?
This matter is of great importance, and it is urged upon you to save you from the sin of idolatry. Blessing would come to your souls if you would obey the word spoken by the Holy One of Israel, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Many are creating unnecessary cares and anxieties for themselves by devoting time and thought to the unnecessary ornaments with which their houses are filled. The power of God is needed to arouse them from this devotion; for to all intents and purposes it is idolatry.
He who searches the heart desires to win His people from every species of idolatry. Let the word of God, the blessed book of life, occupy the tables now filled with useless ornaments. Spend your money in buying books that will be the means of enlightening the mind in regard to present truth. The time you waste in moving and dusting the multitudinous ornaments in your house, spend in writing a few lines to your friends, in sending papers or leaflets or little books to some one who knows not the truth. Grasp the word of the Lord as the treasure of infinite wisdom and love; this is the guide book that points out the path to heaven. It points us to the sin-pardoning Saviour, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Oh that you would search the Scriptures with prayerful hearts, and a spirit of surrender to God! Oh that you would search your hearts as with a lighted candle, and discover and break the finest thread that binds you to worldly habits, which divert the mind from God! Plead with God to show you every practice that draws your thoughts and affections from Him. God has given His holy law to man as His measure of character. By this law you may see and overcome every defect in your character. You may sever yourself from every idol, and link yourself to the throne of God by the golden chain of grace and truth.
The apostle writes: "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality." "The night is far spent; the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof."
There is none too much self-denial, none too much self-sacrifice, none too much overcoming evil with good. If all the inclinations to gratify the taste for frivolous things were firmly resisted, there would be more money to use for God. Shall we not make decided changes in this respect? Shall we not set money flowing in channels where it will glorify God?
When I see families poorly clad, and houses destitute of those things that are necessary for comfort, and then visit the homes where every niche and corner is filled with useless ornaments, I am tired of the sight of my eyes. Let us search the Word and see if there is not some instruction there that will teach us how to relieve the maladies that have become chronic in the spiritual life of many. "Is not this the fast that I have chosen?" God asks, "to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward. . . . If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not."
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity," Paul declares, "I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil."
The Son of the infinite God came to this earth, and honored it with His presence. He emptied himself of His glory, and clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity, and reveal to fallen man the perfect love of God. Christ did not come to earth to live a life of pleasure, of self-indulgence. He lived not to please himself. "The Son of man," He said, "is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
We have great changes to make before we reach perfection. God calls for complete self-surrender. We must guard diligently our lips, lest they speak guile. We must be strict with ourselves, that we bring not false principles into our dealings with others, and lead souls from the safe path. We must work the works of God. Adhere to correct principles, whatever the cost to yourself. In appeals and warnings let your light shine forth to others. Economize your pence, that you may have pounds with which to help the cause of truth. Keep your tables free from many pictures and ornaments, which are as nothing in comparison with the word of God. Let your holy example lead the sympathies of your friends heavenward; "for he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another." "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Jesus Christ: that ye may with one mind and with one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #21)
The words of the apostle Paul to Timothy, "Take heed unto thyself, and to the doctrine," may be addressed to every member of the Church of God. We are not half awake. The enemy is watching for an opportunity to take God's standard from the hands of His people, and place there his own standard; but they discern it not. The call comes, "What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God." It is high time for us to awake out of sleep, to cast off the armor of Satan, and call upon Him who never slumbers nor sleeps. The Lord desires men and women to break their connection with the enemy, and link up with Christ. The mistakes of the past have been enough. Through them minds have been confused, precious opportunities have been neglected, and time, which is of more value than gold, has been wasted. We need now strong evidence that the Lord is with us of a truth. We need to consecrate ourselves and all we have to the service of God.
In every church there is need of a spiritual awakening; for many who profess to be Christ's servants are obeying the dictates of a natural heart. They do not the works of God. They have not a saving faith in Him whom the Father hath sent. Oh, if they could only understand that by their waywardness, their inconsistency, their halfhearted service, they are denying their Redeemer and putting Him to open shame!
There are many who do not possess that faith in Christ which would constitute them lights in the world. They are satisfied to stand on a low level. To them the Saviour says, "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
Important events are about to take place. While the world is asking in scorn, "Where is the promise of His coming?" the signs are rapidly fulfilling. While men are crying, "Peace and safety," sudden destruction is coming. The Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the earth, and calamity is following calamity by land and by sea. Tempests and earthquakes, fires and floods, are heard of on every hand. Only in God can security be found.
Those whom God has made the depositaries of sacred truth are to stand in a pure atmosphere. Few of those who profess to be the people of God are wearing Christ's yoke and lifting His burdens. Few are regarded by the heavenly intelligences as laborers together with God. Many who claim to be Christians have very shadowy ideas of what the name "Christian" comprehends.
The kingdom of Christ will come; but who are laboring to that end? If those who know the Lord's prayer would try to take in its meaning and realize its depth and breadth, the Church would be what God desires it to be--the light of the world. Men would have less desire for form and ceremony; for they would seek to plant in the heart those principles that sanctify the character.
Only when the Church is composed of pure, unselfish members, can it fulfill God's purpose. Too much hasty work is done in adding names to the church roll. Serious defects are seen in the characters of some who join the church. Those who admit them say, We will first get them into the church, and then reform them. But this is a mistake. The very first work to be done is the work of reform. Pray with them, talk with them, but do not allow them to unite with God's people in church relationship until they give decided evidence that the Spirit of God is working on their hearts.
Many of those whose names are registered on the church books are not Christians. They have not a genuine experience. If they were copying their Pattern, they would pray more and quarrel less. They would strive to be laborers together with God. Their sincere faith in Christ would lead to entire dependence on Him and perfect cooperation with Him.
Christ is followed by the earnest, the true, the faithful, the meek, and the pure, while angels clothed with the panoply of heaven stand by to guard and enlighten them, for they are heaven-bound. But there are those who are often heard talking doubt and unbelief, and dwelling upon the terrible struggles they have had with infidel feelings. They talk of the discouraging features of their experience. This affects their faith and courage. At times they seem to enjoy talking over the arguments of the infidel, thus strengthening their unbelief.
What is the reason of this darkness, this doubt and unbelief?--These men are not right with God, and they are not dealing honestly and truly with their own souls. They have neglected to cultivate personal piety. They have not separated themselves from selfishness and sin. They have failed to study Christ's life of self-denial and self-sacrifice. They have failed to imitate His purity and devotion. The sin which so easily besets them has been strengthened by cultivation. By their own negligence they have separated themselves from the company of the divine Leader, and He is a day's journey in advance of them. For their associates they have chosen the indolent, the backsliding, the unbelieving, the unthankful, the unholy; and evil angels are their attendants. What wonder is it that such are in darkness? What wonder is it that they are filled with doubt?
Such persons do not possess a religion that is pure and undefiled. Their religion is a religion of circumstances, a religion which the refining fires will wholly consume. If those around them are strong in faith and courage, if no influence is brought to bear against them, they are, to all appearance, strong in the faith. But let adversity come upon the cause, let the work drag heavily, and these souls lose faith, and hinder instead of helping. When apostasy and rebellion come, their voices are not raised in encouragement, saying, "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His."
This class should cultivate love for God and for secret prayer. The promise is sure, "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine." It will not be received with doubt and hesitancy. The heart will be filled with an assurance that will put to flight all doubt and questioning.
The light that is shining upon us with ever-increasing brightness keeps us under obligation to use every power in God's service. We are to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, seeking to find out how we can best glorify God in the use of our endowments.
It is the duty of every Christian to vindicate the honor of God by winning souls to Christ. But where are the missionaries to answer the calls that come from all parts of the world? Only those who place themselves in Christ's school, only those who are willing to lift His cross, can be successful missionaries. Men who can be depended on in the church, who understand its wants, who strive to keep its members true to God; men who pray and keep themselves pure from the defilement of sin, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh; men who do not leave God out of their reckoning,--these are the men whom God can use. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #22)
Let us listen to the words of Christ, the divine Teacher, as they fall from His lips upon the ears of the disciples, who press closely around Him, and upon the ears of the scribes and Pharisees, who watch His every movement, and listen to His every word, hoping to hear something which they can use as an accusation against Him. The vast multitude listen also to words full of grace and truth, spoken in a clear, musical voice. Such words they have never heard from the rabbis.
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets," Christ says; "I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill."
Our eternal well-being has not been left in uncertainty. We need not depend upon the writings of "the Fathers," or upon commentators, for explanations regarding the law of God. When these men have told us all that they in their human intelligence can, we find that they do not agree. We see such a diversity of opinions that were we to follow them in deciding what is truth, we should be left in confusion and uncertainty. The Lord has told us not to follow these human guides, but to take everything claiming to be Bible doctrine to the Scriptures. "Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth His face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for Him. Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion. And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."
"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." This light was shining forth as Christ in His sermon on the mount gave the true exposition of the law. The traditions, maxims, and false interpretations which had been brought in, had buried the precious jewels of truth beneath a mass of rubbish. Christ rescued these precious jewels, and placed them in the framework of truth. He bade them stand fast forever, to shine in their natural luster, commending truth to the intellect, arousing the slumbering conscience, leading the people away from human tradition to the word of God. Christ taught the people to ask, "What saith the word of the Lord?" I have a soul to save. I cannot afford to be mystified when my eternal well-being is at stake. Because my minister refuses to examine the Scriptures with a heart free from prejudice and stubbornness, because he refuses to admit the binding claims of the law of God, shall I do the same? Shall I refuse to lift the cross? Shall I be guided by preconceived opinions? Shall I lose the way to heaven because the shepherd cries in my ears, Peace, Peace, The Fathers, The Fathers? Shall I turn from the cool snow waters of Lebanon to the turbid streams of the valley?
Many among those who were listening to Christ were not seeking for evidence of the truth of His teaching. Of this they had had altogether too much. What they desired was not evidence, but an excuse to evade truths of eternal importance, which had for their foundation a "Thus saith the Lord." They did not wish to obey; for obedience involved a cross. So today many refuse to put their will on the side of God's will. They refuse to conform their lives to the great standard of righteousness. They have educated and trained their God-given intellect to make of none effect the law of Jehovah, treating it as a code of moral embarrassment, a yoke of bondage. In the lives of transgressors they see the result of disobedience, yet they will not yield. They are not willing to reason from cause to effect, because Satan has blinded their minds by his sophistry, clothing the truth with a shadow of darkness. Paul's words to the Galatians, "Who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?" come sounding down along the line to our time.
But whether the world, or the Church, which has joined hands with the world, obeys or disobeys, the law of God maintains its binding claims, notwithstanding the fact that men claim to have refuted every argument in its favor. The truth still lives; the light still shines; it cannot be put out. In the Dark Ages the Bible was set aside; it was burned. Men tried to banish it from the earth; but how signally they failed! The law of God may be ignored, despised, rejected, trampled upon, but it is still the great standard of righteousness, immutable and indestructible. It is eternal, like the character of Jehovah.
The keenest intellect may try to the utmost of its capacity to make void the law, but behold, the intellect of the greatest men perishes. Men build themselves up, full of a desire for high titles rather than for a growth in grace, but they go down to the grave. Their ambition perishes with them. Their eloquence and genius are forgotten. But God's holy law, unchangeable, eternal, and immortal, will stand firm forever and ever.
God will test all, even as He tested Adam and Eve, to see whether they will be obedient. Our loyalty or disloyalty will decide our destiny. Since the fall of Adam, men in every age have excused themselves for sinning, charging God with their sin, saying that they could not keep His commandments. This is the insinuation Satan cast at God in heaven. But the plea, "I cannot keep the commandments," need never be presented to God; for before Him stands the Saviour, the marks of the crucifixion upon His body, a living witness that the law can be kept. It is not that men cannot keep the law, but that they will not.
Today men dare to charge Christ with being a Sabbath-breaker. Those who repeat this charge, made by the scribes and Pharisees, place themselves on the side of the enemy of God, and directly contradict Christ's teaching. With sacrilegious words the Pharisees charged Him with transgression, and if they could have fastened crime upon Him, as they flattered themselves they could do, they would have been able to prove that He should be sentenced by the very law He had given. But they could not prove in a single instance that His works were not in perfect harmony with the law.
In His human nature Christ rendered perfect obedience to the law of God, thus proving to all that this law can be kept. He endured the death penalty himself, not to abrogate the law, not to immortalize sin, but to take away sin. It is because He has borne the punishment that man can have a second probation. He may, if he will, return to his loyalty. But if he refuses to obey the commands of God, if he rejects the warnings and messages God sends, choosing rather to echo the words of the deceiver, he is willingly ignorant, and the condemnation of God is upon him. He chooses disobedience because obedience means lifting the cross, practicing self-denial.
The natural mind leans toward pleasure and self-gratification. It is Satan's policy to manufacture an abundance of this. He seeks to fill the minds of men with a desire for worldly amusement, that they may have no time to ask themselves the question, How is it with my soul? The love of pleasure is infectious. Given up to this, the mind hurries from one point to another, ever seeking for some amusement. Obedience to the law of God counteracts this inclination, and builds barriers against ungodliness. Each person, as a rational human being, is under the most sacred obligation to obey the law. The Spirit has been provided to enable all to do this. Those who transgress the law by resting on the first day of the week instead of on the seventh, bear false witness to the world. God desires His people to uphold the dignity of His law by resting on the seventh day, His memorial of creation.
The ability to enjoy the riches of glory will be developed in proportion to the desire we have for these riches. How shall an appreciation of God and heavenly things be developed unless it is in this life? If the claims and cares of the world are allowed to engross all our time and attention, our spiritual powers weaken and die for lack of exercise. In a mind wholly given up to earthly things, every inlet through which light from heaven may enter is closed. God's transforming grace cannot be felt on mind or character. The talents that should be used in active piety are ignored and neglected. How, then, can a response be made when the invitation is heard, "Come; for all things are now ready"? How is it possible for a man to receive the commendation, "Well done, good and faithful servant," when he has been disobedient, unthankful, unholy? He has trained his mind to disregard God's plainest requirements. He loves the things of earth more than the things of heaven. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #22)
There is much that should be done in the Southern field. This long-neglected field must be given attention. Again and again the needs of this field have been pointed out, but very little has been done to redeem the neglect of the past. We hope that there will now be a decided awakening, and that our people will remove the reproach, by doing the work God has so decidedly laid upon them.
Schools and sanitariums must be established in the South. No time should be wasted before this work is taken up. There is need also of a well-equipped printing press, that books may be published for the use of the workers in the South. I have been instructed that the publication of books suitable for use in this field is essential. Something in this line must be done without delay.
I visited Vicksburg on my way to the General Conference, and I saw that in the buildings erected by the workers there, a good object lesson had been given to the people. Economy has been practiced in every line. The buildings are inexpensive, yet neat and tasty.
At Nashville I was surprised to find a printing office filled with busy workers. This office, with its furnishings, has been purchased at as little cost as possible. Everything about it is neat and orderly. The countenances of the workers express intelligence and ability, and the work they do is a valuable object lesson. But a larger building is needed; for many lines of business will open up as the work is carried forward. There is much work to be done in the South, and in order to do this work, the laborers must have suitable literature, books telling the truth in simple language, and abundantly illustrated. This kind of literature will be the most effective means of keeping the truth before the people. A sermon may be preached and soon forgotten, but a book remains.
The Lord has placed means in the hands of His people to be used in this work. I call upon my brethren and sisters to give of their means to provide a suitable publishing house for the Southern field.
God has placed us in a world which He himself has described as full of His goodness. The blessings which He has provided are without number, amply sufficient for the carrying forward of the work of letting the light of truth shine forth to the world. Sin has prevailed, and has marred and seared the world with its curse, but still the Lord in His mercy is working out His divine plan for fillng the earth with His glory. His bounty is inexhaustible.
I appeal to those who know the truth, to help the work in the Southern field. This is my burden. I am instructed to call upon those who have means, to give of their money to the Southern field, that the Lord's work be not hindered.
Nashville is to be made a center for the work. From this place will go forth an influence which will establish the work as the Lord may prepare the way. Let those who labor in the interest of the cause of God lay the necessities of the work in the South before the wealthy men of the world. Do this judiciously. Tell them what you are trying to do. Solicit donations from them. It is God's means which they have, means which should be used in enlightening the world. There are stored up in the earth large treasures of gold and silver. Men's riches have accumulated. Go to these men, with a heart filled with love for Christ and suffering humanity, and ask them to help you in the work you are trying to do for the Master. As they see that you reveal the sentiments of God's benevolence, a chord will be touched in their hearts. They will realize that they can be Christ's helping hand by doing medical missionary work. They will be led to cooperate with God, to provide the facilities necessary to set in operation the work that needs to be done.
For God's people to be selfish with their means at this time, would be to give the victory to Satan. Covetousness is idolatry. It can not grow and strengthen without great loss of souls to Christ. God has done great things for us. Should not every heart expand with generous emotion, filled with a determination to return to the Lord His intrusted talents, that the work of restoring His moral image in man may be accomplished?
Will our brethren awaken to a sense of their responsibility? Will they give liberally, that the work in the South may be so established that it may be self-sustaining? This world was established and is supported by the charity of a benevolent Creator. We are supported by God's compassionate love. He is the giver of all we have. He calls upon us to return to Him a portion of the abundance He has bestowed upon us. Think of the care He gives the earth, sending the rain and sunshine in their season, to cause vegetation to flourish. It is the great Husbandman who gives life to the seeds planted in the earth. He bestows His favors on the just and on the unjust. Shall not the recipients of His blessings show their gratitude to Him by giving of their bounties to help suffering humanity.
Will you not strive to be like Jesus? Will you not be His helping hand? Will not you who claim to be sons and daughters of God, members of the royal family, show the world that truth expels selfishness from the heart?
We may well feel that it is a privilege to be laborers together with God, to trade upon His goods by setting in operation that which will carry out His purposes in our world. Should we, receiving day by day the tokens of God's love and goodness and compassion, use our time and strength in self-serving, while the cause of God is languishing, and provision is not made for carrying forward to completion His purpose for the sanctification of the beings He has created and redeemed?
The Lord Jesus calls upon me to set these things before believers and unbelievers. Be merciful, even as your Father in heaven is merciful. Think of the great gift God has made you, even the gift of His Son. Think of what he has done to secure your salvation. Your sinful condition demanded a sacrifice. In your spiritual destitution you had nothing to offer. Christ came to this world, and on the cross offered himself as a sacrifice for you. You are not your own; for you have been bought with a price; "therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." He "so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Behold the substitute which heaven has provided for you! Herein is love! God has given you amazing proof of His love, a proof which defies all computation. We have no line with which to measure it, no standard with which to compare it. God gave His beloved Son as a propitiation for our sins.
What more can I say? Can we refuse the request of Him who has done so much for us? God invites us to let our gratitude flow forth in gifts and offerings. He calls upon us to be His merciful, helping hand, to bear His blessings to needy, perishing souls. He who, to save you from eternal death, gave up His only begotten Son, asks you to give to His work your worldly possessions. He asks for loving, compassionate service. This He does to test you; and in asking, He calls only for His own; for all you have is His. To test your allegiance to Him, He permits you to handle His goods. He wants you to make all you possibly can of yourself, because then you will have more capabilities to return to Him. You will impart, and receive to impart. Call to mind each day what God is to you. Talk of His perfection, of His glory, and with this in mind, ask yourself what you can do for Him. Remember that He has intrusted you with His goods. Repeat over and over, "This God is my God forever and ever." Those who in this life give willingly and cheerfully to God are laying up treasure in heaven. They will at last come into possession of an eternal weight of glory. Ellen G. White. Battle Creek, April 2.
(Vol. 78, #23)
The question is asked, How is the existence of sin reconcilable with the government of a wise, merciful, and omnipotent God? Why was sin permitted to enter heaven? Why was it permitted to take up its abode on the earth to cause discord and suffering?
It certainly was not God's purpose that man should be sinful. He made Adam pure and noble, with no tendency to evil. He placed him in Eden, where he had every inducement to remain loyal and obedient. The law was placed around him as a safeguard.
Evil originated with the rebellion of Lucifer. It was brought into heaven when he refused allegiance to God's law. Satan was the first lawbreaker.
God created Adam, and placed him in the garden of Eden. He told him that if he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he must surely die. Satan came to our first parents in the disguise of a serpent, and tempted them to disobey, telling them that if they ate the forbidden fruit, they would be as gods. They yielded to him. Thus sin entered the world.
God had power to hold Adam back from touching the forbidden fruit; but had He done this, Satan would have been sustained in his charge against God's arbitrary rule. Man would not have been a free moral agent, but a mere machine.
The law was given to man in Eden, "when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." But sin entered the world. And during their years of bondage, the children of Israel lost sight of the commandments. God delivered His people from bondage, and from Mount Sinai proclaimed to them His law. Look at this law. It is God's holiness made known. It is an expression of God's goodness; for it makes known what the Creator expects from His creatures.
The law of God is immutable. Were it otherwise, no confidence could be placed in his government. God rules the world in omnipotence, and all that His love inspires He will execute. He who rules the world in wisdom and love is a God who changes not. He does not abolish today that which He enforced yesterday.
Through all the ages Satan's work has been the same,--to make of none effect the law of God. He has infatuated men and women, leading them to mistake darkness for light, and error for truth. He began this work in heaven, and ever since, he has been trying to deceive. He tells men and women that God has abrogated all law, and will now open the gates of heaven to transgressors. He declares that his expulsion from heaven was a severe and uncalled-for action, and that those he led in rebellion may now enter into heaven; for his effort to abrogate the law has been successful, and God's government has been changed. But were this so, Satan would have done on earth that which he attempted to do in heaven, and he would therefore be entitled to the throne of heaven as the chief ruler.
Those who accept Satan's reasoning are terribly deceived. They accept a position which has no true foundation. God is unchangeable. He is satisfied with nothing short of perfect obedience. Perfection is the only title which will gain admittance to heaven. The law is the only standard of character.
The law of God and the law of Caesar have come into collision, and will come into collision again. The question we have to answer is, Shall we obey God, or Caesar? A great movement is now on foot to put the first day of the week in the place of the day God has sanctified and blessed. Satan works under a guise of religion, and guided by him, the professed Christian world will be very zealous in working against the law of God. Satan is leading men and women to complete the ruin he began in heaven. He is willing for the world to declare that the calamity by land and sea and the destruction by flood and fire, are because Sunday is desecrated. Herein lies his deception. He is well pleased when men and women exalt Sunday; for he has been working for centuries to place the first day of the week where the seventh should be. Of those who so zealously carry out the enemy's designs, God will inquire, "Who hath required this at your hand?" "To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams."
Men say in regard to the Sabbath, It makes no difference what day we keep, provided we keep the seventh part of time. How dare they substitute the word of man for the word of God? How dare they lead their fellow men away from obedience to the Creator? The Sabbath is God's memorial of creation, and had it always been observed, there would never have been an infidel or an atheist in our world.
Let man with his human theories step aside. Let the divine voice be heard, saying, "Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: . . . it is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever."
Many commit themselves to a course that insults the Spirit of God, and that in the face of the convictions of conscience. They make a free choice of the wrong side. They rebel against God. Mercy is despised, and justice defied. They become spiritually palsied, not because they cannot submit to God, but because they will not. Their feet are set in the way of the froward, and they have no desire to turn back.
The flood which came upon the old world proclaimed the verdict, Incurable. The overthrow of Sodom declared the existence of a far-reaching corruption beyond the hope of recovery. Christ declared, "As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man." "Come out from among them, and be ye separate," is the call, "and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters."
The law of God is made void, and God calls upon us to stand in defense of the truth. Satan is a powerful general. He had a long experience in the heavenly courts, and he knows how to mingle right sentiments and principles with evil. He knows how to misapply and wrest the Scriptures. Herein lies the power of his deception. Thus he deceives men, and seeks to obliterate the line of demarcation between believers and unbelievers. God calls for faithful Calebs, who will stand firmly and steadfastly at their post of duty.
Our work is aggressive. We need the heavenly anointing, that our spiritual eyesight may be clear. We are living in the last remnant of time. Truth is now to be sought for as hidden treasure. The commandments of men have taken the place of the commandments of God. The Lord calls upon His workmen to watch and work and pray. Precious truths are to be recovered from the human traditions under which men have buried them. God desires His people to show a constantly increasing interest in the things of eternity. He desires us to value more highly the favor of His friendship. Let us not become Satan's agents to belittle the solemn, important truth which we profess to believe. Let us not show an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.
God did not give His only begotten Son to die on the cross of Calvary in order that man might have liberty to transgress His law. He did not pay such an expensive price to make His law null and void. The falsehood that Christ died to abrogate the law originated with the enemy of all good. By giving His life for the life of the world, Christ placed the immutability of the law of God beyond controversy. His death on the cross is an indisputable testimony that not one jot or tittle of the law shall ever fail. Hear the words of the Saviour, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven." The disobedient will never find entrance there. "But whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
God weighs every man in the balances of the sanctuary. In one scale there is placed the perfect, unchangeable law, demanding continuous, unswerving obedience; if in the other there are years of forgetfulness, of selfishness, or rebellion and self-pleasing, God says, "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." But Christ has made it possible for us to keep the law. He lived on this earth a life of perfect obedience, that His righteousness might be imputed to us. To us is given the glorious assurance that though we have fallen through disobedience, we may, through the merits of the Son of God, hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant; . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #24)
"We are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, . . . of what sort it is."
Let us study these words carefully and prayerfully. In order to be understood, the Bible requires much thought. When we are preparing to go to a new country, and have received from our friends letters of instruction, how carefully we study those letters! We are strangers and pilgrims on this earth, journeying to a better country, even a heavenly, and to us have been given letters of instruction. Again and again we are enjoined to study these directions carefully, so that we shall make no mistake. God is faithful. If we are willing to be taught, He will do His part in teaching us. Let us not neglect our part. We are to labor together with God, working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that it is God who works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. If we are faithful in doing our part, in cooperating with Him, God will work through us the good pleasure of His will. But God cannot work through us if we make no effort. If we gain eternal life, we must work, and work earnestly. If we lack in spiritual strength, we may know that we have failed of doing our part. Just as soon as the plan of salvation was devised, Satan began to work; and if we hope to stand against him, we, too, must work. We must follow the example Christ has left us, submitting to Him in everything. Our will must be in harmony with His will.
"Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." Are we placing the right kind of material upon the right foundation? If we lay upon the foundation wood, hay, stubble, sad indeed will be the result! Will that which we are bringing to the foundation endure the fire of the great day of God? Are we using our talents in the Master's service? Are we kind and courteous to all around us? Do we cherish in our hearts, and reveal in our lives, the principles of the truth?
The characters we form here will decide our eternal destiny. What kind of material are we using in our character building? We must guard well every point, seeking to gain that purity which will make our lives harmonize with the saving truth we profess to believe. Our part is to put away sin, to seek with determination for perfection of character. As we thus work, God cooperates with us, fitting us for a place in His kingdom.
If we constantly receive grace from God, we shall be vessels unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master's use. Daily receiving blessings, we shall daily impart blessings to those around us. But in order to be successful in this work, we must deny self. We cannot at the same time please self and serve Christ. We are not to follow our own inclinations, but look to Jesus, waiting to receive orders from our Captain.
Our one desire should be to do God's will in a way that He will approve. All our blessings come from Him, and He desires us in return to give Him our glad and willing service. Are we doing this? Are we receiving and imparting His grace? Are we standing under His banner as faithful sentinels? Are we learning precious lessons, that we may teach others? Let us not rob God. All things come from Him, and He expects us to return Him of His own.
Our money belongs to God, and He calls upon us to acknowledge this by paying a faithful tithe and giving willing offerings. The children of Israel were taught that their possessions came from God, and that by the paying of tithe and freewill offerings they were to acknowledge this. Thus we, too, may acknowledge whence our blessings flow. By giving of our means to save those for whom Christ died, we may show our appreciation of His goodness.
Is it possible that we are robbing God? If so, His blessing cannot rest upon us. This may be the reason why there is not more of the power of God with us. Let each one examine himself, and see whether he is obeying the directions God has given. Remove from your lives everything which separates you from God. Serve Him to the very best of your ability. Show your faith by your works. Cling with living faith to Jesus. Come up to the help of the Lord. Labor earnestly for the Saviour. Then the rich blessing of God will be your portion.
The doing of God's will is essential if we would have an increased knowledge of Him. Let us not be deceived by the oft-repeated assertion, "All you have to do is to believe." Faith and works are two oars which we must use equally if we press our way up the stream against the current of unbelief. "Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." The Christian is a man of thought and practice. His faith fixes its roots firmly in Christ. By faith and good works he keeps his spirituality strong and healthy, and his spiritual strength increases as he strives to work the works of God.
There is a crown of eternal life to win, a heaven of bliss to gain. The way is rough, and there is much climbing to do. But those who endure the toil, urging their way through all obstacles, will receive the overcomer's reward.
Christ has a right to our entire obedience. "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
When we claim to accept Christ as our Saviour, and yet continue to cherish sinful practices, we misrepresent Him and put Him to open shame. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 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. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
No one should deceive himself by thinking that his defects are not very grievous. If he does not guard against these defects, they will be his ruin, and will be reproduced in those with whom he associates. Those who do not think that God requires them to watch and pray unceasingly, striving against every imperfection, are deluded by the enemy. Until they change their attitude, they cannot grow in grace. We all need to pray earnestly for determination to overcome every defect of character. Pray that, "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; . . . ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power."
How many there are who retain wrong habits because they think they cannot overcome them. They do not make determined efforts to overcome. They cherish their sins as if they were precious jewels. If they are reproved, they murmur against the one who is watching for their souls as he that must give an account. Some, when reproved, act disrespectfully toward the one who, in the fear of God, showed them that they were misrepresenting their Saviour. They need to learn the meaning of true conversion. Paul writes, "If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. . . . Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
Let us not be impatient and angry when our friends show us our mistakes and dangers. Some have followed their own way so long that they do not realize that they have serious defects of character, which influence others to their hurt. Let these remember that they are sowing seeds of imperfection, and that for this God will bring them into judgment.
We are enjoined to be "blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation." If your influence leads others astray, something is wrong. You are not obeying God's directions. Take advice. Do not dispute with the one who labors for your good. Put yourself under discipline. Remember that if you cannot see that you are guilty, you are in danger. Self-indulgence has blinded your eyes. Put forth an effort proportionate to the value of the object of which you are in pursuit. Remember that you are seeking for eternal life. It will not pay to be indolent and slothful on the very borders of the eternal world. Put to the stretch every spiritual sinew and muscle. Infinite resources have been provided for you. Then do not fail of being complete in Christ. God's work will triumph. The question we should each ask ourselves is. Shall I triumph with it? By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #25)
The time has come when everything that can be shaken will be shaken. We are in the shaking time. Be assured that only those who live the prayer of Christ for unity among His disciples, working it out in practical life, will stand the test.
The enemy will make most determined efforts to ensnare those who should be co-workers with Christ. All who seek to qualify themselves for the Lord's work are the objects of Satan's attacks. But the unity and love for which Christ prayed is an impregnable barrier against the enemy. When there is dissension, when each one seeks the highest place, the prayer of Christ is not answered. The enemy finds easy access, and there is weakness instead of strength in the Church. Those who exalt self place themselves in Satan's power, and are prepared to receive his deceptions as truth.
The will of God in regard to His people is plainly expressed in the sixth, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth chapters of John. The divine antidote for the sin of the whole world is contained in the gospel of John. "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood," Christ declared, "hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." He may die, as Christ died, but the life of the Saviour is in him. His life is hid with Christ in God. "I am come that they might have life," Jesus said, "and that they might have it more abundantly." He carries on the great process by which believers are made one with Him in this present life, to be one with Him throughout all eternity.
There are those today who will present falsehoods as testing truths, even as the Jews presented the maxims of men as the bread of heaven. Sayings of no value are given to the people of God as their portion of meat, while souls are starving for the bread of life. Fables have been devised, and men are trying to weave these fables into the web. Those who do this will one day see their work as it is viewed by the heavenly intelligences. They choose to bring to the foundation wood, hay, and stubble, when they have at their command the word of God, with all its richness and power, from which they can gather precious treasures of truth.
The food that is being prepared for the flock of God will cause spiritual consumption, decline, and death. When those who profess to believe present truth come to their senses, when they accept the word of God just as it reads, when they do not try to wrest the Scriptures, they will bring from the treasure house of the heart things new and old, to strengthen themselves and those for whom they labor.
There are those who say not only in their hearts, but in all their works, "My Lord delayeth His coming." Because Christ's coming has been long foretold, they conclude that there is some mistake in regard to it. But the Lord says, "The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come." It will not tarry past the time that the message is borne to all nations, tongues, and peoples. Shall we who claim to be students of prophecy forget that God's forbearance to the wicked is a part of the vast and merciful plan by which He is seeking to compass the salvation of souls? Shall we be found among the number who, having ceased to cooperate with God, are found saying, "My Lord delayeth His coming"?
Christ's true followers will represent Him in character. They will turn aside from worldly policy, and every day will train themselves for service in God's cause. In active service they find peace and hope, efficiency and power. They breathe the atmosphere of heaven, the only atmosphere in which the soul can truly live. By obedience they are made partakers of the divine nature. The doing of the living principles of God's law makes them one with Christ; and because He lives, they will live also. At the last day He will raise them as a part of himself. He declares, "As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." "This is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." Christ became one with us in order that we might become one with Him in divinity.
The Lord is soon to come in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. Is there not enough in the truths which cluster around this event and in the preparation essential for it, to make us think solemnly of our duty? "The Son of man shall come in His glory; . . . and before Him shall be gathered all nations." This subject should be kept before the people as a means to an end,--that end the judgment, with its eternal punishments and rewards. Then God will render to every man according to his work. Enoch prophesied of these things, saying, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all." And Solomon, the preacher of righteousness, when making his declaration and appeal, presented the judgment to come. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter," he said; "Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."
We have an abundance of weighty, solemn truths to proclaim without spending time in devising fanciful theories to present as testing truth. What is the chaff to the wheat? The final judgment is a most solemn event, which must take place before the assembled universe. When God honors His commandment-keeping people, not one of the enemies of truth and righteousness will be absent. And when transgressors receive their condemnation, all the righteous will see the result of sin. God will be honored, and His government vindicated; and that in the presence of the inhabitants of the universe. Oh, what a change will then take place in the minds of men! All will then see the value of eternal life.
To His Son the Father has committed all judgment. Christ will declare the reward of loyalty. "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son . . . and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man." Christ accepted humanity, and lived on this earth a pure, sanctified life. For this reason He has received the appointment of judge. He who occupies the position of judge is God manifest in the flesh. What a joy it will be to recognize in Him our Teacher and Redeemer, bearing still the marks of the crucifixion, from which shine beams of glory, giving additional value to the crowns which the redeemed receive from His hands, the very hands outstretched in blessing over His disciples as He ascended. The very voice which said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," bids His ransomed ones welcome to His presence. The very One who gave His precious life for them, who by His grace moved their hearts to repentance, who awakened them to their need of repentance, receives them now into His joy. Oh, how they love Him! The realization of their hope is infinitely greater than their expectation. Their joy is complete, and they take their glittering crowns and cast them at their Redeemer's feet.
When sinners are compelled to look upon Him who clothed His divinity with humanity, and who still wears this garb, their confusion is indescribable. The scales fall from their eyes, and they see that which before they would not see. They realize what they might have been had they received Christ, and improved the opportunities granted them. They see the law which they have spurned, exalted even as God's throne is exalted. They see God himself giving reverence to His law.
What a scene that will be! No pen can describe it! The accumulated guilt of the world will be laid bare, and the voice of the Judge will be heard saying to the wicked, "Depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Then those who pierced Christ will remember how they slighted His love and abused His compassion; how they chose in His stead Barabbas, a robber and murderer; how they crowned the Saviour with thorns, and caused Him to be scourged and crucified; how, in the agony of His death on the cross, they taunted Him, saying, "Let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him." "He saved others; himself He cannot save." They will seem to hear again His voice of entreaty. Every tone of solicitude will vibrate as distinctly in their ears as when the Saviour spoke to them. Every act of insult and mockery done to Christ will be as fresh in their memory as when the satanic deeds were done.
They will call on the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. "The wrath of the Lamb,"--One who ever showed himself full of tenderness, patience, and longsuffering, who, having given himself up as the sacrificial offering, was led as a lamb to the slaughter, to save sinners from the doom now falling upon them because they would not allow Him to take away their guilt.
The judgment will be conducted in accordance with the rules God has laid down. By the law which men are now called upon to obey, but which many refuse to accept, all will be judged. As by it character is tested, every man will find his proper place in one of two classes. He will either be holy to the Lord through obedience to His law, or be stained with sin through transgression. He will either have done good, cooperating in faith with Jesus to restore the moral image of God in man, or he will have done evil, denying the Saviour by an ungodly life. Christ will separate them from one another, as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on His right hand, and the goats on His left. Then men and women will see that their course of action has decided their destiny. They will be rewarded or punished according as they have obeyed or violated the law of God.
Are not these subjects of sufficient moment to present to the people? Should we not call upon the members of our churches to take their Bibles and study them, realizing that their eternal interest is at stake?
Let us remember that there will be no second probation. Some flatter themselves with the thought that the Lord will give them another opportunity. Fatal delusion! Just now, day by day and hour by hour, we are building for the judgment. We are trading on our Lord's goods, and at His coming He will reckon with us. He will expect results from every one. Let us arise and shine, because the glory of the Lord has risen upon us. Our reward will be proportionate to the work we have done. "My reward is with me," Christ declares, "to give every man according as his work shall be." Let all who can, go forth to work with wisdom and in the love of Christ for those nigh and afar off. The Master calls upon us to do according to our ability the work He has intrusted to us. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #26)
The fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah should be studied carefully and prayerfully. Here God's messengers are given a direct, forcible message: "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." It is to church members that this message is to be given, to those who suppose that they are righteous, who take delight in approaching to God. "They seek me daily," God declares, "and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness; and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God."
But they do not delight themselves in the truth. If they searched the Scriptures with a heart free from pride and prejudice, their eyes would be opened to see wonderful things in the law of God. But to accept the truth involves a cross, and therefore they reject it. They think they are righteous, but their righteousness is self-righteousness.
The people described in this chapter realize that they have not the favor of God; but instead of seeking His favor in His own way, they enter into a controversy with Him. Why, they ask, since we observe many ceremonies, does the Lord not give us special recognition? "Wherefore have we fasted, . . . and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge?"
God answers, "Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labors. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high."
The fasts observed by these worshipers are a mere pretense, a mockery of humility. They retain all their objectionable traits of character. Their hearts are not cleansed from defilement. They have not received the softening showers of the grace of God. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit, destitute of the sweetness of its influence. They manifest no repentance, no faith that works by love. They are unjust and selfish in their dealing with their fellow men, mercilessly oppressing those whom they regard as their inferiors. Yet they complain because God does not exalt them above all others because of their righteousness.
The Lord sends them a message of positive reproof, showing plainly why they are not visited by His grace. "Is it such a fast that I have chosen?" He asks, "a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?"
Will they accept this reproof, and pray for true repentance? Will they put away their sins and ask for pardon? Will they bring the atmosphere of heaven into their families, and into their association with their fellow men?
The Lord says, "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?"
Here are laid down the duties devolving upon those who claim to be Christ's followers. Those who are truly connected with the Saviour will reveal this connection by doing the works of mercy here outlined.
And to those who obey this command is given the promise, "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
"And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in." Notice the work that is to be done. A breach is to be repaired, and the Lord gives His ambassadors a message to bear to the people, calling upon them to do this work.
The Sabbath command has been set aside by human authority. Men have torn down God's holy day, and have exalted in its stead a common working day. Thus God has been greatly dishonored. The Sabbath is His memorial of creation. After He had finished creating the world, He rested from His work, and He sanctified and blessed the day on which He rested, giving it to man as a day of rest. It is to be a sign between Him and His people forever. He says to those who live in this age of the world: "If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father."
God has a message for the sinners in Zion, and the bearing of this message is the work before Seventh-day Adventists. The warning must be given. "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet." Be earnest and decided. Make no concessions to transgressors. Bear the message to all peoples, nations, and kindreds, telling them that God has a law which is as high above manmade laws as heaven is above the earth. Let not the truth languish upon your lips. Let not your words be words of peace and safety. Say not to the transgressors, It does not matter what you believe. Say to the people, as Christ said to Moses, "Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord."
A message of eternal importance is to be borne to those nigh and to those afar off. Let God's messengers form no confederacy with those who, after hearing the message, refuse to search the Scriptures to see whether or not these things are so. God's servants are to deal with evil as He has directed. They are to make no covenant with the world. The instruction which God gave to Moses for Israel is for us today: "Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee." Satan works through those who do not acknowledge God as their Ruler. "Ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: for thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God."
The message God sends through His servants will be scorned and derided by unfaithful shepherds, who tread down with their feet the feed of the pastures, giving the flock as food that which they have defiled. "Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord." No outward nearness to God will screen from divine wrath those who trample under their feet the law of Jehovah. God will render to every man according to his deeds; "to them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath. . . . As many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified."
God will not treat men according to the position they occupy, according to their possessions, or their color, but according to the character they have formed. Thus will be decided the case of each one. The punishment of those who have had abundant opportunity to know the truth, but who in blindness and unbelief have contended against God and His messengers, will be proportionate to the light they have rejected. God greatly favored them, giving them peculiar advantages and gifts, that they might let their light shine forth to others. But in their perversity they led others astray. God will judge them for the good they might have done, but did not. He will call them to account for their misused opportunities. They turned from God's way to their own way, and they will be judged according to their works. By walking contrary to the principles of the truth, they greatly dishonored God. They became fools in His sight by turning His truth into a lie. As they have been distinguished by the mercies bestowed on them, so they will be distinguished by the severity of their punishment. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #27)
The very first lesson for the Christian to learn is that God has given to every man his work, even a part to act in His great plan for the uplifting of humanity. Each one has his appointed post of duty. Not one has been left out.
Christ has linked together the human and the divine. On this earth, in the garb of humanity, He lived the life He desires His children to live,--a life of unselfish service. He is our pattern. He says to us, "Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart."
Some work in the ministry, some in various trades; but all, whatever their work, may do service for God. He who gives himself unreservedly to the Saviour serves Him with a devotion which calls for the energies of the whole being. He realizes that Christ is his owner, and this knowledge makes Him kind, gentle, and courteous. His every act is an act of consecration. "Holiness to the Lord" is his motto. Christ is training him for the courts above.
In His wonderful prayer for His disciples the Saviour said, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." The word of God is the great medium of sanctification. By studying and practicing this Word we receive power to glorify God. But the Word cannot strengthen those who do not receive it by faith. As we daily partake of food that we may be strong physically, so, if we would be strong spiritually, we must eat the Word, making it a part of ourselves.
"For their sakes I sanctify myself," Christ continued, "that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." If those who claim to be the children of God would make determined efforts to answer this prayer, they would be one with Christ and with their brethren. Then Christianity would be a power in the world, convicting and converting sinners. Then men would be given unmistakable evidence of the power of the gospel.
God's people should draw together in even cords; for in their unity lies their strength. They are weak when they love themselves more than Christ and their brethren. When they work unselfishly, each striving to help the other, and to build up the work in the great harvest field, they will lead men to believe that God has indeed sent His Son into the world.
"Come out from among them, and be ye separate, . . . and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." This is the message we are to proclaim. False religions must be exposed, that the truth may triumph. In this work the contest is unceasing. Earnest and untiring efforts must be made if those who are fighting against God lay down their arms and acknowledge the truth as it is in Jesus.
Truth is to be presented in clear, straight lines, and those to whom the light has come are to help in this work. Obligations are mutual. If God has done such a great work in our behalf, should we not be willing to make sacrifices to help Him in the work?
God's work has an eternal significance. Eternity is bound up with the ever-present now. Everywhere, every moment, let the worker for God link the seen with the unseen, that his faith may be complete.
The Lord says, Time is mine; the minutes, the hours, are my property; and those in my service should work faithfully and willingly, bringing love into all their service. As they labor to the best of their ability, I will labor with them. The world is dead in trespasses and sins. Prepare the way for the warning message to be proclaimed. Call for laborers. I will enable them to work for me with definite results.
Only those who are fully consecrated, who realize the sacredness of God's work, can labor successfully for Him. Not all who claim to be Christ's disciples are disciples indeed. The Saviour is grieved when men work against His plans. His work calls for entire consecration. He can cooperate with those only who have a right understanding of the work He wishes to accomplish, and who submit willingly to His control.
The way for Christ's coming is to be prepared. In this sacred work no worldly schemes or practices are to be adopted. Those who work for the Lord should labor diligently and self-sacrificingly. Christ gave himself for us, and He calls for workers who will share in His self-denial. Let us remember that we are working for the Master above, not for ourselves, and that we can make the way easy for Him to accomplish His work in the world. He foresees all the possibilities before those who work unselfishly. He, the divine Worker, calls His followers together, and makes a covenant with them, promising that they shall be abundantly blessed if they work as He worked to make His cause a success in the world.
We know not when the Master will come to settle the accounts of His servants. Let us be always prepared to meet Him in peace. The probation of any one of us may cease in a moment. Death by accident may suddenly and unexpectedly close our earthly history. How stands our life record today? By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #28)
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne."
In these words an individual work is laid out for each one of us. We are to make determined efforts to overcome as Christ overcame. From this warfare no one is excused. If for us the gates of the holy city swing ajar, if we behold the King in His beauty, we must now overcome as Christ overcame.
In order for us to understand how Christ overcame, we must study the record of His life on earth. We must seek to understand the infinite sacrifice He made in order to save the race from eternal death. He laid aside His robes of royalty, His high command, His riches, and for our sake became poor, that we might come into possession of an immortal inheritance. In our behalf, He met and conquered the prince of darkness.
Adam and Eve transgressed the law of God. They ate of the forbidden fruit, and were driven from Eden. We might well rejoice if this had been the only fall. But since the fall of Adam, the history of the human race has been a succession of falls.
Looking upon this earth, Christ saw that men were so weak in moral power that it was impossible for them to overcome in their own strength. Therefore He left His heavenly home, and walked a man among men. He brought to us divine aid; and as we accept this aid, we can claim certain victory through Jesus of Nazareth.
When we think of the conflict before us and the great work that we must do, we tremble. But we may remember that our Helper is almighty. We may feel strong in His strength. We may unite our ignorance to His wisdom, our feebleness to His might, our weakness to His unfailing strength. Through Him we may be "more than conquerors."
Through the power of appetite Satan has gained control of men and women. How difficult it is to obtain the victory over appetite when once it is established. How important that parents bring their children up with pure tastes and unperverted appetites. Parents should ever remember that upon them rests the responsibility of training their children in such a way that they will have moral stamina to resist the evil that will surround them when they go out into the world.
Christ did not ask His Father to take the disciples out of the world, but to keep them from the evil in the world, to keep them from yielding to the temptations which they would meet on every hand. This prayer fathers and mothers should offer for their children. But shall they plead with God, and then leave their children to do as they please? God cannot keep children from evil if the parents do not cooperate with Him. Bravely and cheerfully parents should take up their work, carrying it forward with unwearying endeavor. Temperance and self-control should be taught from the cradle. Upon the mother largely rests the burden of this work, and aided by the father, she may carry it forward successfully.
The lesson of self-control should begin with the infant in its mother's arms. The child should be taught that its will must be brought into subjection. It must learn that it does not live to eat, but eat to live. But how many parents, by the food which they place upon their tables, prepare the way for their children to crave stronger stimulants. Soon you will see the boys of such a family smoking. And as twin evils, tobacco and alcohol go together.
To the mother belongs the duty of making the home a pleasant place for her children. The home may be plain, but it can always be a place where cheerful words are spoken, and kindly deeds are done, where courtesy and love are abiding guests. Mothers instead of devoting so much time to the adornment of your own and your children's dresses, take time to get acquainted with your children. Study their dispositions and temperaments, that you may know how to deal with them. Some children need more attention than others. They need gentle, encouraging words. How easy it is for mothers to speak words of kindness and affection which will send a sunbeam to the hearts of the little ones, causing them to forget their troubles.
Who are these children committed to our care?--They are the younger members of the Lord's family. He says, Take these children and train them for me. Educate them so that they will be polished after the similitude of a palace, prepared to shine in the courts of my house.
What an important work! And yet we hear mothers sighing for missionary work! If they could only go to some foreign country, they would feel that they were doing something worth while. But to take up the daily duties of the home life and carry them forward, seems to them like an exhausting and thankless task. And why? Because the mother's work is rarely appreciated. She has a thousand cares and burdens of which no one knows. When her husband comes home at night, he frequently brings with him the cares of his business. He forgets that his wife has any care, and if things in the home do not exactly suit him, he speaks impatiently, and perhaps harshly.
The mother has perhaps done her utmost to keep things running smoothly. She has tried to speak kindly to the children, and this has cost her an effort. It has taken much patience to keep the children busy and happy. But she cannot speak of what she has done as some great achievement. It seems as if she had done nothing. But it is not so. Heavenly angels watch the careworn mother, noting the burdens she carries day by day. Her name may not have been heard in the world, but it is written in the Lamb's book of life. The mother occupies a position more exalted than that of the king upon his throne.
There is a God above, and the light and glory which shines from His throne rests upon the tired mother as she tries to educate her children to resist the influence of evil.
The husband should appreciate the work of his wife. When he enters the home in the evening, he should leave his business cares outside. He should enter the home with smiles and pleasant words. If the wife feels that she can lean upon the large affections of her husband, that his arm will sustain her, that his voice will be heard in encouragement, her work will lose half its dread.
Christ loves the children. He watches mothers to see if they are forming the characters of their little ones according to the perfect pattern. When He was upon this earth, mothers brought their children to Him, thinking that if they were to receive His blessing, they would be more easily trained in the way of God. When these mothers came, the disciples rebuked them; but Christ knew why they had come. He knew that they were expecting a Saviour's blessing, and drawing the children to Him, He said to the disciples, "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
It costs something to bring children up in the way of God. It costs a mother's tears and a father's prayers. It calls for unflagging effort, for patient instruction, here a little and there a little. But this work pays. Parents can thus build around their children bulwarks which will preserve them from the evil that is flooding our world.
Parents, take time to establish in your children correct appetites and habits. Take them into the open air, and point them to the beautiful things of nature. Teach them that in each leaf they can trace the wonderful power and love of God. Tell them that God's hand paints the colors on every flower.
When upon this earth, Christ pointed to the lilies opening their buds upon the bosom of the lake. There they grew, pressing their way through the weeds, refusing all that would taint their beauty, gathering to themselves only that which would help develop the beautiful blossom. "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow," the Saviour said; "they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." Thus Christ sought to lead us to think of God's great love for His children. "If God so clothe the grass of the field," He said, "which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?"
All effort for outward display is unnecessary and useless. We may spend our God-given time in striving for artificial adornment, and yet not bear comparison with a simple flower of the field. Draw the minds of your children from the artificial to the natural. Point them to the things which God has made. Teach them about God by means of His created works. The lessons thus given will be remembered.
The great burden in the education of children rests upon the mother. She it is who forms their characters. The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. Mothers, remember that in your work the Creator of the universe will give you help. In His strength, and through His name, you can lead your children to be overcomers. Teach them to look to God for strength. Tell them that He hears their prayers. Teach them to overcome evil with good. Teach them to exert an influence that is elevating and ennobling. Lead them to unite with God, and then they will have strength to resist the strongest temptation. They will then receive the reward of the overcomer.
(Vol. 78, #29)
In the world there are false theories which deny the existence of Satan, or make him so hideous as to encourage doubt of his existence. The world has no just conception of Satan. He is not thought of as the prince of the world, the general of a vast rebellion, a being logical and philosophical, possessing a powerful intellect. But thus it is. The adversary of God and leader in the great controversy waged against the world's Redeemer, his deceptive powers have been sharpened by constant practice; and in the final crisis he will deceive to their own ruin those who do not now seek to understand his methods of working.
Satan resolved to bend all his energies to defeat the plan of redemption. When the Redeemer came to this world, His path from the manger to the cross was marked with pain and sorrow. At every step He encountered the enemy, who sought in every way to turn Him from His purpose of love. And Satan works against Christians today as he worked against their Leader. He who in Eden used Eve to tempt Adam, uses men in this age to tempt their fellow men.
The great master of evil conceals himself, working behind the scenes. He lays his plans with wonderful ingenuity, so arranging matters that men will not have time to think of the things of eternity. As his instruments do the work assigned them, he directs and controls. He gives all who will serve him plenty to do. He can keep mind and hand employed. He fills those under his guidance with ambitious hopes for worldly greatness.
Thus Satan is playing the game of life for the souls of men, and he is succeeding in a way surprising even to himself. Men are straining every nerve to gain earthly treasure, but when eternal riches are offered them, they turn carelessly away. Very easily the enemy persuades them to renounce their supreme good. Satan hides Christ and heaven from their view, because they choose to have it so. Led by him, they worship the world and the things of the world. Too late they will find that they must stand before God without a fit preparation, to hear the words, "Depart from me," and to be forever banished from the divine presence.
In his work Satan pretends to be very religious. He finds this the most effective way of carrying on the work he began in heaven. Under his guidance the Christian world has made void the law of God by tearing down the seventh-day Sabbath, and exalting in its stead a common working day. As men depart further and further from God, Satan is permitted to have power over the children of disobedience. He hurls destruction among men. There is calamity by land and sea. Property and life are destroyed by fire and flood. Satan resolves to charge this upon those who refuse to bow to the idol which he has set up. His agents point to Seventh-day Adventists as the cause of the trouble. "These people stand out in defiance of law," they say. "They desecrate Sunday. Were they compelled to obey the law for Sunday observance, there would be a cessation of these terrible judgments."
The civil power is called to the aid of the Church in persecuting those who keep holy the seventh day. The Church and the world are united in trampling upon God's commandments, and those who obey these commandments they threaten with death. John declares, "The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." The decree goes forth that no man shall be allowed to buy or sell save he that has the mark or the number of the Beast.
As God's people approach the final crisis, they must with increasing power proclaim the message He has given them. The warning must be given to the churches. God's requirements must be laid before those who are transgressing His law. They must be made to understand that this is a life and death question. God's remnant people are to fill the earth with the cry of the third angel.
"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." These are they who are repairing the breach in the law of God. In the face of bitter opposition, they take their stand under the banner of Prince Immanuel, proclaiming, bravely and fearlessly, the message He has given them.
God watches over these faithful witnesses, and abundantly rewards their confidence. The way to His throne is always open to them. He sees and supplies their wants. They find their safety in looking to Him. When Jehovah gives them His protection, and says of them, Ye are laborers together with me, they are safe in the midst of the greatest danger. Satan tries to deceive them, but God lifts up for them a standard against the enemy. Those who work righteousness have an ever-present help in time of trouble. In every time of need He is near. When they are tempted, He stands as their defense, saying, "I will guide thee with mine eye." I will deliver thee from perplexity, and be a covert for thee against the strife of tongues.
The cause is the Lord's. He is on board the ship as commander-in-chief. He will guide us safely into port. He can command the winds and the waves, and they will obey Him. If we follow His directions, we have no need to be anxious or troubled. In Him we may trust. He bestows His richest endowments upon those who love Him and keep His commandments. He will never forsake those who work in His lines.
Satan will strive to retain every soul in his strong power. He will not willingly relinquish his dominion over men. Therefore the work of advancing the gospel will meet with great opposition from his synagogue. His last effort will be a desperate one, but his overthrow will be complete.
"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." John saw the remnant people of God when they had gained the victory over the Beast, and over his Image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name. Redeemed and glorified, they stood on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And he says, "They sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb." As they surround the throne of God, they see their Saviour bearing upon His glorified body the marks of the crucifixion, and from myriads of voices peals forth the chorus of praise, "Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #30)
Many argue that those who have received the truth should remain where they are in the world, and be as those of the world, joining in worldly amusements and festivities, and following worldly fashions. They say that thus an influence can be gained over the people of the world, who will in this way be brought up to the Christian's level.
But this cannot be. It is not right for those who claim to be children of God to retain their worldly habits and practices, to cling to the worldly pleasures so congenial to natural inclination. Let them not think that thus they can convert the world. There are unsurmountable obstacles to the success of such witness-bearing.
The Scriptures bear decided testimony against Christians maintaining a world-loving attitude. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." "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." "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
We cannot follow Jesus and retain the friendship of the world. There must be on the part of the Christian an entire surrender, a forsaking of the things of this earth. True Christians will take Christ as their pattern in all things, loving Him with the whole heart, and serving Him with the whole being. He says, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." The child of God must not be guided nor governed by human wisdom; for this always leads away from the path of self-denial and cross-bearing cast up for the ransomed of the Lord.
At this time there comes to us a most solemn message, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, . . . and touch not the unclean thing." God calls for faithful men and women to be in the world, but not of the world. The believing people of God, those who are worthy to claim kinship with Him, will demonstrate the genuineness of their relationship by being true witnesses for the truth. By their modesty in apparel, by their Christlike words and actions, they will show that they are sons and daughters of the heavenly King. They will wear the pilgrim's dress and manifest the pilgrim's spirit, witnessing a good confession.
We are not to shut ourselves away from the world to escape from it. Christ's prayer to His Father was, "Not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil." We have a work to do in the world, the work of seeking for lost souls. The law of God is made void. God calls upon us to stand in defense of this law. As Christ was the light of the world, so we are to be lights in the world. Christ lived in the world, but He was not of the world. Men did not understand Him. His self-sacrifice was to them a mystery. He lived a life apart from them. "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not." They hated Him because He would not be one with them. Had He united with them in eager pursuit for applause, for riches, for worldly honor, they would not have hated Him; for He would have been of them. And because the world knew not the Saviour, it knows not His followers.
Christ said of His followers, "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world." Many think that worldly appearance is necessary in our work, in order that the right impression may be made. But this is an error. Appearance has something, yes, much, to do with the impression made upon minds, but the appearance must be after a godly sort. Let it be seen that the workers are bound up with God and heaven. There should be no striving for recognition from the world in order to gain character and influence for the truth. Consistency is a jewel. Our faith, our dress, our deportment, must be in harmony with the character of our work,--the presentation of the most solemn message ever given to the world. Our effort should be to win men to the truth by preaching the word and by living godly lives. We should strive earnestly to show the consistency of our faith, to show that the great truths we are handling are a reality to us. The Lord will impress minds if we will work with earnestness.
The Lord sees not as man sees. Those whom He most loves and honors are often the objects of the scorn and derision of the enemy. He desires us to learn the lesson that we shall not gain true success in His work by trying to meet the criterion of the world. Hypocrisy and pretense can find no favor in His sight. The victories gained by the soul are not measured by outside appearance or by the praise of men, but by the goodness which shines forth in the life, by the firm adherence to God's holy law.
All the thoughts of the mind, all the aspirations of the soul, are read by Him with whom we have to do. In every line of His work let our principles, purposes, words, and deeds be pure and unselfish. Let us manifest truth and goodness to all men. Regard not pretense and show as a mark of greatness, but reveal the sanctified ambition which Christ revealed in His life, an ambition to make the world better by having lived in it.
In God's great work there is need of conscientious, godly men,--men who have been wrestlers in their lifework, who have maintained a good fight against evil, who have sought not for the applause of the people, but for the favor of God. Men are needed through whom God can work,--men who will wrestle with the Lord in prayer, and then go forth into the work with the inspiration He alone can give. Workers are needed who will pray, and then act their prayers, remembering that they are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.
When we read the word of God for the purpose of understanding it and responding to its claims, we shall not desire to be esteemed and honored by the world. We have no claim nor right to greatness only as Christ gives value to our influence. The estimate He places upon our work is alone of value. All true greatness comes through Him. The esteem of those who are not guided by God, who are not living in obedience to the laws of His kingdom, is valueless. It cannot add to nor detract from true worth of character. The wisdom of the world, with all its show and pretense, will come to nothingness; for in the sight of God it is foolishness.
Christ laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, gave up His position as Commander in the heavenly courts, and clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity, and divinity lay hold upon the throne of the Eternal. He became a partaker of humanity that He might bear the infirmities of humanity. "Verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted."
The God of heaven gave His Son up to a life of shame, humiliation, and reproach, in order that man might have a probation in which to mold his character after the divine model, that it might be said of him, "Ye are complete in Him." "The grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, 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."
Old and young, rich and poor, have only one road to travel, one Saviour to serve, honor, and obey. With Christ God has given us all privileges, all opportunities, and the very richest promises. This He has done that we may serve Him with the undivided affections. We are violating the conditions of His covenant with us when we keep our eyes fixed upon the world, its customs, ideas, and practices. Self is the god we worship when we do this. Self interposes between the soul and its highest interests. Those who choose to be Christians after a worldly style, in a way that suits themselves, may be satisfied with this kind of service: but in God's eyes it is of no value. Solid worth of character, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,--it is this that is in the sight of God of great price.
The choice of God's people is to represent Christ in all their works, their practices, and their teaching. They are to be untouched by the perverse principles prevailing in the world. Those who have any connection with the service of God are to be entirely separate from corrupting influences. They are to be guided by the principles which Christ gave while leading the children of Israel through the wilderness. It was God's design to establish the Israelites in Canaan as His chosen nation, to be an example to all nations that should live on the earth. They were to be a kingdom of priests, living only for His service. But they became filled with a desire to be like the nations round them, to have an earthly ruler. Through His prophet God told them what the result of their choice would be, and His word was verified. They obtained a king, but with him came trouble and distress. Today many professing Christians are making a similar choice. They are patterning after the world for the sake of gain. Christ has uttered a warning against this. Lifting up His voice, He cried, "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
By the great cleaver of truth, God's people have been cut away from the world, and brought into the workshop of the Lord. In this workshop the ax, the hammer, and the chisel are to be used to prepare the rough, misshapen stones for the process of polishing, that each may fill its exact place in the building of the Lord. Thus the temple is to grow to completion. Each stone is to be a living stone, emitting light to the world. So the children of God are to show that they are preparing for a home in the kingdom of God.
God requires from His blood-bought heritage the homage of the entire life. Every part of the being belongs to Him. He is our Creator and Redeemer, and therefore our Owner. He calls upon us to serve Him, not to bow at the altars of the world. Let us hide self in Christ, conforming the life to His life. Then we can claim the promise, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." God desires us to use our physical, mental, and moral powers in the enlargement and final triumph of His Church. But He cannot work with those who are continually seeking for worldly recognition. When those who labor for Him are humble and sincere, He will send His angels to work with them. This will give character to their work.
John presents the advantages gained by accepting Christ. "Beloved," he says, "now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." No pen can describe the honor that this relationship is to us. And yet many act as if it were a great humiliation to accept Christ as their Saviour.
In comparison with the honor which comes with Christ, all earthly honor sinks into insignificance. If our names are even mentioned by the great men of this earth, we think it a matter of sufficient importance to cherish, and tell again and again, that others may see how we have been honored. But the lips that uttered our names are but mortal. Dust they are, and to dust they must return. Our names may be uttered with joy by the Son of God. Honor has been promised us by Him who is King of kings. If we are faithful, the eternal God will claim us as His sons and daughters. Neither cherub nor seraph will be slow to recognize and welcome God's redeemed ones. Is not this honor worth striving for?
When we think righteously and sensibly, we shall be ashamed of our ideas as to what constitutes elevation of character. True elevation is ours only as we reveal the attributes of the Christlife. Our will must be placed in harmony with the divine will. We must accept Christ as a personal Saviour. Then the Sin Bearer takes away our sin and imputes to us His righteousness. We are cleansed in the blood of the Lamb.
This is the only true elevation. This is the highest standard to which we can reach. We are perfected by beholding Christ. Changed into the same likeness, from character to character, we are made complete in Him. His life is the standard of excellence. There is no exaltation for any of us only as it comes through Him. Our highest good is found in following Him. We meet with many failures because we do not strive lawfully. If we lift the cross cheerfully, and press forward bravely in the path of self-sacrifice, God will guide us by His Spirit, and afterward receive us into glory. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #31)
Among our workers are some who feel that a great object would be gained if their feet could tread the soil of old Jerusalem. But God's cause and work will never be advanced by His workers wandering about to find where Jesus traveled and wrought His miracles. Would you trace the footsteps of Christ, behold Him in that hovel, ministering to the poor; see Him at that sick bed, comforting the suffering, and speaking hope and courage to the desponding. Those who walk in the footsteps of Jesus will do as He did. "Whosoever will come after me," He said, "let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
The city of Jerusalem is no longer a sacred place. The curse of God is upon it because of the rejection and crucifixion of Christ. A dark blot of guilt rests upon it, and never again will it be a sacred place until it has been cleansed by the purifying fires of heaven. At the time when this sin-cursed earth is purified from every stain of sin, Christ will again stand upon the Mount of Olives. As His feet rest upon it, it will part asunder, and become a great plain, prepared for the city of God.
There is a work to do for God all around us. There is a world to save, and God calls upon us to be co-workers with Him. He calls upon us to work with earnestness and zeal for the unconverted.
We are engaged in an exalted, sacred work. Those who are called to teach the truth should be bodies of light, living near to God, where they can be all light in Him. Ministers need daily conversion to the Lord. They should show an unselfish interest in His cause and work. God calls for self-abasement, for a putting away of all evil surmising, envy, malice, and unbelief. He calls for a transformation of the entire being.
Many are in danger, after having preached to others, of themselves becoming castaways; for they do not see the importance of self-knowledge; they do not watch and pray lest they enter into temptation. By watchfulness and prayer they might become acquainted with those points in their character where they are most easily overcome by the enemy; by resistance of every attack, their weak points might become their strong points. Every follower of Christ should daily examine himself, and by constant prayer arm himself for conflict.
There are many who neglect self-examination. This neglect is positively dangerous. The example of those who receive the words of God to give to the people has a powerful influence. Unless they are sanctified by the truth they profess to believe, they will raise their converts no higher than their own low standard. It is seldom that a people rise higher than the minister. His ways, his words, his faith, his piety, are looked upon as a sample of what the people's should be. If the people follow the example of the one who has taught them the truth, they think they are doing their duty. Let the minister make the actions of each day a subject of careful thought, that he may know himself. By a close scrutiny of his daily life, let him seek to understand his motives and the principles underlying them. This review of the words and actions is necessary to all who wish to reach perfection of Christian character.
The Lord does not desire any minister to work in ignorance and rudeness. Neither is human elegance or learning to take the place of prayer and a study of the Word. Education alone will never make a successful shepherd of the flock. The preaching of the Word is not alone to give information. Hearts must be touched. Men and women must be directed to the path that leads to heaven. The teaching that fails of this is of no value.
Love for God and the truth, combined with perseverance and determined effort, will accomplish much. If some who are rough and uncourteous have blundered into the ministry, let them look to Jesus and follow His example. Let them daily be fitting themselves for the great work of God. Those who would excel must be toilers. They must work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. Their work must be mingled with earnest prayer and meditation. Then they will receive from Heaven grace to enable them to enlighten other minds.
The minister of God needs the Holy Spirit every moment; he needs to be imbued with the spirit of prayer, that the word he presents to the people may have force and power. His language should be such as can be understood by the most simple, and yet be refreshing to the most learned. He should become acquainted with those for whom he works, and be to them a savor of life unto life. He must participate alike in the joys and sorrows of the rich and the poor, the high and the low; for there is no respect of persons with God.
Many who profess to follow Christ have not genuine religion. They do not reveal in their lives the fruit of true conversion. They are controlled by the same habits, the same spirit of faultfinding and selfishness, which controlled them before they accepted Christ.
No one can enter the city of God who has not a knowledge of genuine conversion. In true conversion the soul is born again. A new spirit takes possession of the temple of the soul. A new life begins. Christ is revealed in the character. The spirit of a new life works within. Faith passes into knowledge, and the word of God is understood. The branch becomes a living part of the Vine.
Truth must stand as a counselor by the side of every worker. Charity must control the life,--that charity which "seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." Self must be hid in Christ.
We are altogether too indifferent in regard to the Holy Spirit, which is to take possession of heart and character. Those who are unenlightened by the Spirit of God can see only the things which are of the greatest importance in their human estimation. They mistake phantoms for realities, and realities for phantoms, calling a world an atom, and an atom a world. They need the Holy Spirit to control heart and mind, and to mold the character after the divine similitude. No one is safe in attempting to work without the Holy Spirit. The most powerful sermons may be preached, but the word spoken will be valueless unless it is accompanied by the Holy Spirit.
We cannot rightly estimate the value of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Those who yield themselves to the control of this Spirit are made pure and holy. Efficiency in God's work comes not by wading through an immense amount of study, but by a willingness to be guided and controlled by the Spirit. God only can give true success. Yoked up with Christ, men will become more precious than gold, even than the golden wedge of Ophir.
God's workers need faith in God. He is not unmindful of their labors. He values their work. Divine agencies are appointed to cooperate with those who are laborers together with God. When we think that God will not do as He has said, and that He has no time to notice His workers, we dishonor our Maker. We are to make God our trust. "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."
The true ministers of God are those who represent Christ. Men stand or fall, not by their own judgment, not by the opinions of their fellow men, but by the unchangeable law of God. We are to keep self in subordination, and work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, knowing nothing but Christ, and Him crucified. Separation from the world, obedience to the word of God, is the sure evidence of love to God. Christ declared, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."
A distinct work is assigned to every Christian. When a soul is converted and exercises faith in Christ, when prayer is offered and obedience rendered in accordance with the prayer, the active working of the Holy Spirit is revealed. Spiritual quickening from above enters the life. "I know whom I have believed," is the testimony borne as the newborn souls work out the divine purpose.
The God-fearing worker is storing up a treasure in heaven. Earthly riches are not enduring: they are swept away in a moment; but the love of Christ in the heart, expressed in deeds of mercy, love, and benevolence, will endure through the eternal ages. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #31)
When Brother Nelson came to my home in California with his message, I gave him all the time I could. I think he spoke for an hour face to face with me. I listened to what he had to say, but I told him that God has not given him his message. He brought the message that God had appointed me to act as Moses, and that he was to connect with me in the work as Joshua. But if God had made this appointment, I should have known something about it. God himself would have given me instruction.
God has not given Brother Nelson the work of acting as Joshua in connection with His people. From the light that I have had, this could not be. It is an impossibility.
Brother Nelson bore me the message also that I had not treated my workers well, that I had been hard with them. But this is the last thing any one who knows me would say against me. This message is false, every word of it. The position I occupy in regard to my workers is a position of tenderness and care. My family know that Brother Nelson's testimony regarding my treatment of them is entirely false. I am willing that they should bear their testimony concerning this. Sometimes I have to call them up at five o'clock in the morning to prepare matter to be sent out in the mail. They take hold cheerfully and willingly, and then when the mail has gone, I say to them, "You have been hurried with this work. You may spend the rest of the day as you please." I believe in guarding the health of my workers. Those in my household will bear witness that I watch them as a careful guardian. That I have been hard upon my workers I utterly deny. It is true that at times the work has been hard upon them as they have helped me in getting the light before the people.
When the Lord gives a man a message, He gives with it something whereby His people may know that the message is from Him. God does not ask His people to believe every one who comes to them with a message.
The Lord sends warnings to His people, not to destroy them, but to correct their errors. I have never been given the testimony to bear to any one, "You have committed the unpardonable sin." God never told any one to say to a fellow being, "You have committed the unpardonable sin." He has not given Brother Nelson this message to bear to Elder Breed, Elder Irwin, or Elder A. T. Jones.
I know that God never gave mortal man such a message as that which Brother Nelson has borne concerning his brethren. It is not like our God. After the disappointment of 1844 there were those who would say to others, "You are lost; you have gone too far to be saved." Then I was brought to my feet to bid them in the name of the Lord to cease their condemnation. God has never empowered one mortal to say to another mortal, "You are lost." We are all human beings. We are on this earth to form characters which will fit us to inherit eternal life. If we heed the word of the Lord, He will correct us and guide us.
Since I have been here, I have had messages to bear to different persons, but words like those uttered by Mr. Nelson have never escaped my lips. Brethren, we are to hold together. The satanic agencies are working to destroy, and God calls upon His servants to stand together, and to be meek and lowly in heart. We are to be kind and gentle in our treatment of one another.
We are living in perilous times. From the light I have, I know that Satan is trying to bring in that which will make people think they have a wonderful work to do. But when God gives a man a message, that man, by his meekness and lowliness, will give evidence that God is working through him. God lives and reigns, and He desires us to walk before Him in humility. He does not wish this man Nelson to force himself before a congregation. He does not want this element to come into our meetings to create a disturbance. God has not given Brother Nelson this work to do. It is the means whereby the enemy is trying to divert the minds of the people from the work which God has said must be done.
Mistakes have been made. There must be reorganization. God desires to carry forward the work of perfecting a people who will shine in the kingdom of glory. He is opening doors which His people can enter to work for the salvation of souls. It is that we may cooperate with Him in His work that we are here. We are not going to be interrupted in meeting after meeting by those who claim they have a message to deliver. He who presses himself forward into a place where he is not wanted is not doing the work of God. We are to work like soldiers in an army. We are not to step out of the ranks, and begin to work on our own account.
We have a very solemn, important work to do in this Conference, and we need to pray and search our hearts. We are to work in perfect harmony and order. As we obey the commands of Christ, moving forward in unity, we shall see the salvation of God.
We have come here at great expense to set things in order. There are those who have been working in one place for too long a time. They should have a change. They must go where they can see what God is doing outside of Battle Creek. We do not say to them, because they have made mistakes, "You have committed the unpardonable sin." We say, "Brethren, let us take hold together. Let us counsel together. Let us stand in our lot and in our place, and work for the whole field."
We love our brother. We want him to be saved, but we cannot allow him to take the time of this Conference. It is not his time. God has given us a work to do, and we intend to do it under His supervision, that souls may be brought to a knowledge of present truth. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #32)
The Lord has chosen to accomplish nothing in the redemption of the human race without the cooperation of the human agent. Christ took human nature that humanity might uplift humanity by laying hold of divine power. Immeasurably inferior is the part the human agent sustains in this work; but, linked up with the divinity of Christ, he can accomplish all things.
The life of Christ was a representation of God, an ever-widening, shoreless influence, which bound Him to God and to the whole human family. Through this gift, God has invested man with an influence which makes it impossible for him to live to himself. Individually we are connected with our fellow men, a part of God's great whole, and we stand under mutual obligations. No man can be independent of his fellow men; for the well-being of each affects others. It is God's purpose that we shall stand thus related; for He designs that each individual shall feel himself necessary to the welfare of others, and pledge himself to promote their happiness. Thus our influence, divested of selfishness, would produce a harmony akin to the harmony of heaven.
It is Satan's studied plan to imbue humanity with selfishness, and thus defeat God's purpose. He is working in every possible way to separate interests, and to nourish the spirit of rivalry. He seeks to break up the harmony which should exist between man and his fellow man, and to bring in principles which God hates. This selfishness, if admitted into the heart, will corrupt the experience. Springing up, it defiles the whole man, and through him, many others.
Why is it that self rises up so readily? Why is it that men are offended if others do not think in accordance with their opinions and ideas? The Lord has not in the past, nor will He in the future, lead men to act in this way. "The end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned." When we are partakers of the divine nature, and have the attributes of Christ, we shall not be easily drawn apart in judgment or opinions. Contentions come when the heart is not under Christ's discipline; and the apostle says, "Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." When the Lord is regarded as the great center, a close connection will exist between all lines of the work. There will be no divisions, no rivalry, but a feeling of mutual connection and dependence, a feeling which is devoid of all selfishness.
Paul writes for our admonition, "I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. . . . Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good." We are not to strengthen any evil work. Let those who have used their talents of influence in doing this, do so no longer. Let them not by pen or voice act on Satan's side of the question. In obedience to a "Thus saith the Lord," let unity of action be seen. "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another."
Christ prayed for His followers: "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." Divine grace is needed to sanctify the human being--body, soul, and spirit. We have no right to manufacture yokes by gathering to ourselves a multitude of burdens and cares; for these will leave us no time for devotion or prayer, and will drive the truth out of the soul temple. Christ is to be enthroned in the heart. Then every talent will be used for the benefit of God's purchased heritage, and every transaction will bear the test of heaven.
The Saviour desires His Church to be governed by the principles of love and truth. Love for one another reveals that the love of God is abiding in the heart. But many who profess to be followers of Christ are so filled with a sense of their own importance that they have no room in the heart for the sweet peace of Christ. They do not practice His instruction. They do not manifest His forbearance and love. Their hearts, once full of love for God and their brethren, are frozen by selfishness.
Christ presented before John a class who, in their self-satisfaction, say, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." These know not that they are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. Christ counsels all such: "Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."
Love of self excludes the love of Christ. Those who live for self are ranged under the head of the Laodicean Church. The ardor of their first love has lapsed into a selfish egotism. When the love of Christ abides in the heart, it will be expressed in the actions. If love for Christ is dull, love for those for whom Christ has died will diminish. There may be an appearance of ceremony and zeal, but this is the only fruit of their self-inflated religion. Christ represents them as nauseating to His taste. "I know thy works," He says, "that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth."
Faith and love are precious treasures, represented by pure gold. These graces are to dwell in our hearts, making our characters complete in Christ. But until these graces possess the soul, how can we understand Paul's words, "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #32)
When the Lord invited Israel to contribute for the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness, there was a hearty response. The people "came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord's offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation." They came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted. Men came with their gifts of gold and silver, choice fabrics, and valuable wood. The rulers brought precious stones, costly spices, and oil for the lights. "And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun." They brought "free offerings every morning," until the report was given to Moses, "The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord commanded to make." Ex. 35:21-25; 36:3,5. This generous hearted, willing service was pleasing to God, and when the tabernacle was completed, He signified His acceptance of the offering. "A cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle." Ex. 40:34.
Akin to this example of willing service has been the work done by our people for the relief of our schools. The generous, wholehearted way in which our publishing houses and our brethren and sisters in general have taken hold of this enterprise has brought great rejoicing. The Lord is pleased with the earnest effort made to free our schools from debt. It is according to His plan.
The Lord's Plan.--There are, in the divine providence, particular periods when we must arise in response to the call of God, and make use of our means, our time, our intellect, our whole being,--body, soul, and spirit,--in fulfilling His requirements. The present is such a time as this. The interests of God's cause are at stake. The Lord's institutions are in peril. Because of the terrible burden of debt under which our schools are struggling, the work is hindered on every side. In our great necessity, God has made a way through the difficulty; and has invited us to cooperate with Him in accomplishing His purpose. It was His plan that the book, "Christ's Object Lessons," should be given for the relief of our schools, and He calls upon all who love the truth to do their part in placing this book before the world. In this He is testing His people and His institutions to see if they will work together and be of one mind in self-denial and self-sacrifice.
All to Cooperate.--A good start has been made in the sale of "Christ's Object Lessons." What is needed now is for all our people to put their shoulder to the wheel. Let there be an earnest, united effort to complete the work that has been so well begun. In the Scriptures we read, "Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." Rom. 12:11. Every branch of God's cause is worthy of diligence, but nothing could be more deserving than this enterprise at this time. A decided work is to be done in accomplishing God's plan. Let every stroke tell for the Master in the selling of "Christ's Object Lessons." Let all who possibly can, join the workers.
From the success of the efforts already made, we see that it is far better to obey God's requirements today than to wait for what we might think a more favorable season. We must become men and women of God's opportunity, for great responsibilities and possibilities are within the reach of all who have enlisted for life service under Christ's banner.
The present is an opportunity which we cannot afford to lose. God calls us to action, that our educational institutions may be freed from debt. Let God's plan be worked out after His own order.
We call upon all our people to help to the utmost of their ability just now. We call upon them to do a work which will be pleasing to God in purchasing the book. We ask that every available means be used to assist in its circulation. We call upon the presidents of our Conferences to consider how they can forward this enterprise. We call upon our ministers; as they visit the churches, to encourage men and women to go out as canvassers, and to make a decided forward movement in the path of self-denial by giving part of their earnings for the help of our schools.
A general movement is needed, but this must begin with individual movements. In every church let every member of every family make determined efforts to deny self. Let the children act a part. Let all work together. Let us do our best at this time to render to God our offering, to carry out His specified will, and thus make an occasion for witnessing for Him and His truth in a world of darkness. The lamp is in our hands. Let its light shine forth brightly.
Young men, you who think of entering the ministry, take up this work. The handling of the book placed in your hands by the Lord is to be your educator. In improving this opportunity you will certainly advance in the knowledge of God and of the best methods for reaching the people.
The Lord calls for young men and young women to enter His service. The youth are receptive, fresh, ardent, hopeful. When once they have tasted the blessedness of self-sacrifice, they will not be satisfied unless they are learning constantly of the Great Teacher. The Lord will open ways before those who will engage in His service. He will give them power and success.
Bring into the work an earnest desire to learn how to bear responsibilities. With strong arms and brave hearts go forth into the conflict which all must enter, a conflict that will grow more and more severe as we approach the closing struggle. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #33)
Letters have come to me, asking in regard to the teaching of some who say that nothing that has life should be killed, not even insects, however annoying or distressing they may be. Is it possible that any one claims that God has given him this message to give to the people? The Lord has never given any human being such a message. God has told no one that it is a sin to kill the insects which destroy our peace and rest. In all His teaching, Christ gave no message of this character, and His disciples are to teach only what He commanded them.
There are those who are always seeking to engage in controversy. This is the sum of their religion. They are filled with a desire to produce something new and strange. They dwell upon matters of the smallest consequence, exercising upon these their sharp, controversial talents.
Idle tales are brought in as important truths, and by some they are actually set up as tests. Thus controversy is created, and minds are diverted from present truth. Satan knows that if he can get men and women absorbed in trifling details, greater questions will be left unheeded. He will furnish plenty of material for the attention of those who are willing to think upon trifling, unimportant subjects. The minds of the Pharisees were absorbed with questions of no moment. They passed by the precious truths of God's word to discuss the traditionary lore handed down from generation to generation, which in no way concerned their salvation. And so today, while precious moments are passing into eternity, the great questions of salvation are overlooked for some idle tale.
I would say to my brethren and sisters, Keep close to the instruction found in the word of God. Dwell upon the rich truths of the Scriptures. Thus only can you become one in Christ. You have no time to engage in controversy regarding the killing of insects. Jesus has not placed this burden upon you. "What is the chaff to the wheat?" These side issues which arise are as hay, wood, and stubble compared with the truth for these last days. Those who leave the great truths of God's word to speak of such matters are not preaching the gospel. They are dealing with the idle sophistry which the enemy brings forward to divert minds from the truths that concern their eternal welfare. They have no word from Christ to vindicate their suppositions.
Do not spend your time in the discussion of such matters. If you have any question as to what you should teach, any question as to the subjects upon which you should dwell, go right to the discourses of the Great Teacher, and follow His instructions. Study the counsel He gave the lawyer regarding the keeping of the law.
"Behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said, What is written in the law? how readest thou?" The lawyer answered, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." "Thou hast answered right," Christ said; "this do, and thou shalt live."
The lawyer felt annoyed by the Saviour's reply; for he knew that he had not fulfilled the requirements of the law, and he asked, "And who is my neighbor?" In answer, the Saviour related, in the form of a parable, an incident which had lately taken place. He spoke of a man who, going from Jerusalem to Jericho, fell among thieves, who robbed and wounded him, leaving him to die by the wayside. "And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side." They knew the precious lessons of mercy and compassion which from the pillar of cloud Christ had given to Moses to give to the children of Israel; but in utter disregard, they refused to help their suffering brother.
"But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee."
Then Christ asked the lawyer, "Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?" So interested had the audience become in the narrative that many voices united with the lawyer's in saying, "He that showed mercy on him." Then said Jesus, "Go, and do thou likewise."
Do not allow anything to draw your attention from the question, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" This is a life and death question, which we must each settle for eternity. Let the mind be weighted with the importance of the solemn truth which we possess. Those who allow the mind to wander in search of cheap, unimportant theories need to be converted.
The sixth chapter of John is full of elevating, ennobling instruction. "Labor not for the meat which perisheth," Christ said, "but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent. . . . Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. . . . I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. . . . Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. . . . It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
Read and study these words, instead of engaging in controversy regarding matters of little consequence. The character is built up from the food given to the mind. Let us, then, feed upon Christ. Let the mind dwell upon the subjects which are of eternal consequence. Let the people of God dig deep into the mines of truth, that they may secure the treasures of righteousness. Christ has the richest gifts of heaven to bestow on those who believe in Him. He has been intrusted with the greatest of all gifts,--the gift of eternal life. And to all He gives the invitation, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
This is the instruction which the people need. As we go to Christ in our helplessness, studying His word, applying it to our own experience, asking, "What saith the Master?" His word is made unto us life and strength, comfort and joy, hope and assurance. This is feeding on Christ.
Jesus offers himself for the life of the world. He stands before the Father, bearing the sins which man commits. To Him every believing soul may transfer his burden. "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Innocent of all sin, He bears the guilt of the sinner, that to the sinner may be imputed the merits of His righteousness.
How important are these lessons! Yet how few seek to understand them. How many, forgetting them, stoop down to gather up small trivialities, which are not of the least importance. The life of Christ, His ministry and teachings,--this is the theme upon which we are to dwell. We have no time for empty, foolish talk. The keeping of God's commandments is to be the subject of our conversation and the highest aim of our lives. Heaven is worth everything to us.
In our search for the gifts of heaven, we are directed to do one thing, and this includes all others. We are to believe on Him whom God has sent as His commissioner to reconcile man to God. The attributes of Christ are to be studied and earnestly sought for, that we may be complete in Him, revealing His beauty of character. As through Christ man returns to his loyalty and draws nigh to God, rest and peace and security come to him.
To believe in Christ, we must come to Christ and follow Him. Repentance toward God means the confession and forsaking of all sin. It means laying hold of Christ as a personal Saviour, and continuing to hold fast to Him as the chief good. He is our Prince, our Saviour. Only through Him can we approach the Father. Loving Him day by day and hour by hour, eating His flesh and drinking His blood, taking Him as the man of our counsel, living by every word that proceedeth out of His mouth,--only thus can we reach heaven.
To us has been given the high privilege of living as Christ lived. Our life is to be hid with Christ in God. Then we shall have the richest blessings of heaven to impart to those in need. From the indwelling Saviour we shall receive each day a fresh supply of grace and power. Reveal Christ in your willing obedience, your meekness and lowliness of heart, your self-sacrificing devotion. Thus you will let your light shine, and God will be glorified. Preach the gospel; for it brings salvation to those who accept it. Live the gospel, in the highest, most sacred sense. Doing this, you are laborers together with God, carrying out the plans of the wonderful Counselor.
Erroneous theories, with no authority from the word of God, will come in on the right hand and on the left, and to weaklings these theories will appear as truth which makes wise. But they are as nothingness. And yet many church members have become so well satisfied with cheap food that they have a dyspeptic religion. Why will men and women belittle their experience by gathering up idle tales and presenting them as matters worthy of attention? The people of God have no time to dwell on the indefinite, frivolous questions which have no bearing on God's requirements.
God desires men and women to think soberly and candidly. They are to ascend to a higher and still higher grade, commanding a wider and still wider horizon. Looking unto Jesus, they are to be changed into His image. They are to spend their time in searching for the deep, everlasting truths of heaven. Then there will be nothing frivolous in their religious experience. As they study the grand truths of God's word, they endure the seeing of Him who is invisible. They see that the most uplifting, ennobling truths are those most closely connected with the Source of all truth. And as they learn of Him, their motives and sympathies become firm and unchanging; for the impressions made by the All-wise are substantial and enduring. The living water, which Christ gives, is not like a surface spring, which babbles for a short time, and then dries up. The living water springs up unto everlasting life.
Let us follow the revealed will of God. Then we shall know that the light we receive comes from the divine source of all true light. Those who cooperate with Christ are on safe ground. God richly blesses them as they consecrate their energies to the work of rescuing the world from corruption. Christ is our example. By beholding Him we are to be changed into His image, from glory to glory, from character to character. This is our work. God help us rightly to represent the Saviour to the world. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #34)
"And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him."
This is the position that Satan now occupies toward the Church of God and the ministers of the gospel. He stands before the angel of the Lord to resist them in their official work, the ministry of the Word, to resist the Lord's working in behalf of His people. Satanic agencies are moved by a power from beneath to stir up wicked men to unite with the enemy in causing distress to the people who are keeping the commandments of God. The whole world is stirred against them because they will not worship the institution of the papacy. Satan is as full of bitter hatred and malignity against them as he was against Christ, when he stirred the world to choose a robber and murderer instead of the Son of God. When the question was asked, "Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?" the answer came back, "Release unto us Barabbas." The religious leaders and guides of the people--the men who ought to have led in right paths--persuaded the poor, ignorant multitude to reject the Son of God, and choose a robber and murderer in His place.
Let us remember that we are in the world in which the Son of God was crucified. Those who today allow the spirit of envy, hatred, and unbelief to control them will persecute the people of God even as the Jews persecuted Christ.
In the chapter preceding the one containing the words, "And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him," we read, "I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, and said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: for I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her. . . . Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord."
God had given commandment for Jerusalem to be rebuilt, and the measuring of the city was a symbol that He would give comfort and strength to His affected ones. Satan and his army were greatly discomfited and alarmed by this. Satan stood before the angel, representing to him the imperfections of God's people, and urging the disregard of His commandments. The work which he saw in prospect stirred him to resist Jesus in His work of mercy. He did not wish the people who had been suffering because of transgression to be favored. He wished to see them remaining in depression and sorrow, weakness and suffering. He saw the work the Lord was about to do for His people through the Messiah. He claimed the Church as his own, declaring that its members had dishonored God by yielding to temptation and disobeying God's commandments.
Both priest and people were in a position of repentance unto obedience, and in answer to their prayers and in pity for their affliction the Lord had come to their relief.
"And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan: even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?" Unworthy though they might be to do His great work, Christ declared that His people were accepted through the righteousness of One who had resisted every art and device of the enemy.
"Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel." Satan had represented the chosen people of God as full of defilement and sin. He could well speak of the sins of which the people had been guilty; for had he not led the confederacy of evil in tempting the people to commit these very sins? But Israel had repented. The people had accepted Christ.
Christ looked pityingly and compassionately upon the punished, repenting people; "and He answered and spake unto those that stood before Him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him He said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment."
The Lord does not deny the charge of Joshua's unworthiness, but He demonstrates that He has bought him with a price. He clothes him with His garments of righteousness, not putting these garments over the filthy garments of disobedience and transgression, but saying first, "Take away the filthy garments from him." Then He said to Joshua, "Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment." "Let them set a fair miter upon his head. So they set a fair miter upon his head," and on this miter was written, "Holiness to the Lord."
This change is made on condition of obedience. "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by."
When God's professed people repent of their sin in departing from plain Bible truth, they will bring forth fruit meet for repentance. Jesus will hear their prayers. They will work the works of righteousness. If those who have departed from the Lord will take warning, if they will change their course of action, they will be received into favor, and their transgressions will be pardoned. If they make thorough work, according to the measurement of God, avoiding a repetition of their sins, God will bestow rich blessings upon them. God tests and tries His people. He waits for them to show true repentance, that He may say, "It is enough," and that He may grant them pardon.
Nothing else in this world is so dear to the Lord as His Church. Nothing else is guarded by Him with such jealous care. He paid a costly ransom for His heritage, and He is not willing that anything should separate them from Him, so that He cannot protect them and give them prosperity. He permits them to be sorely tried in the fiery furnace, that the dross may be separated from them. But as they are being purified, He watches them every moment, that they may not be consumed.
"Thus saith the Lord of hosts: After the glory hath He sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye. . . . Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee. . . . And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee. And the Lord shall inherit Judah His portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #35)
Lift Him up, the Man of Calvary. Lift Him up, and cry, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Keep Christ before the people, and this will be giving to every man his portion of meat in due season. Jesus has said, "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. . . . Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day: for my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. . . . It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
This plain, simple statement may be understood by all. We are to preach Christ to the people. We are to act as if the clouds were rolled back, and we were in full view of seraphim and cherubim. We are to realize that we are under the eye of Jehovah. We are to fight for an immortal crown. "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Every soldier engaged in the spiritual conflict must be brave in God. Those who are fighting the battles for the Prince of life, must point their weapons of warfare outward, and not form a hollow square and aim their missiles of destruction at those who are serving under the banner of Prince Immanuel. We have no time for wounding and tearing down one another. How many there are who need to heed the words that Christ spoke to Nicodemus: "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. . . . Ye must be born again." There are many who claim to be followers of Christ, and whose names are enrolled on the church books, who have not been a strength to the Church. They have not been sanctified through the truth. In the prayer of Christ for His disciples, He says, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." It is not simply receiving the truth, but practicing the truth, that sanctifies the soul. Let those who would be sanctified through the truth search carefully and prayerfully both the Old and the New Testament, that they may know what is truth.
When the grace of Christ enters the heart, the mind at once becomes interested to know what saith the Scriptures. Those who are truly converted to Christ keep constant guard lest they shall accept error in place of truth. Those who think that it matters not what they believe in doctrine, so long as they believe in Jesus Christ, are on dangerous ground. There are some who think that they will be just as acceptable to God by obeying some other law than the law of God, by meeting some other conditions than those which He has specified in the gospel, as if they obeyed His commandments and complied with His requirements; but they are under a fatal delusion, and unless they renounce this heresy and come into harmony with His requirements, they cannot become members of the royal family. Goodness and truth alone will dwell with goodness and truth. Men may claim to be sanctified, but unless their sanctification is witnessed to by the law and the prophets, it is not according to Bible requirements. There are some who refuse to listen to the words of the Scriptures. They declare that they will have nothing to do with the Bible, for the Lord himself speaks directly to their souls. They declare that they are inspired by the Spirit of God; but when reminded that the Bible was written by men who were moved by the Holy Ghost, they reveal the fact that they are following the inspiration of another spirit. True inspiration never rejects true inspiration, but is in harmony with the Bible. Anything that leads away from the word of God is proved to be inspired from beneath. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."
Those who claim to be sanctified, and who give no heed to the words of divine authority spoken from Mount Sinai, make it manifest that they will not render to God the obedience that the Lawgiver requires. The very excuse they urge for evading the requirements of God proves their sanctification spurious. They say, "I am sanctified," and seek to prove this by setting up a standard of self-righteousness, a law of their own imagining. The law of God requires nothing short of spiritual perfection; and through the infinite sacrifice of the Son of God complete provision has been made that man may become a partaker of the divine nature, and through the merits of the blood of Christ be an overcomer. Of himself he has no perfection. "Without me," Christ says, "ye can do nothing." Provision for our perfection is found in union with Christ. "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."
What pleasure could it possibly be to souls who would not be drawn to Jesus in this life, to study His character, and to be with Him in the life that is to come? They would prefer to be anywhere else than in the presence and companionship of Him in whom they had no delight. They did not know Him while in the world, and could not learn to know Him in heaven. But of His disciples Jesus said, "O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #35)
Taken from Diary of 1899.--During the night season I was in a meeting in which the work in the Southern field was being discussed. The questions were asked by a company of intelligent colored people: "Since it is true that the Lord is soon to come, is it not time that something was done for the Southern field? Are the white people and the colored people of the Southern States to be passed by? Have they no souls to save? Does not the new covenant include them?
"We do not question the need of missions in foreign fields. But we do question the right of those who claim to have present truth to pass by millions of their fellow beings in their own country, many of whom are as ignorant as the heathen. Why is it that so little is done for the colored people of the South,--a people ignorant and destitute, who need to be taught that Christ is their Creator and Redeemer? How can they believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can one preach except he be sent?
"The colored people have been freed from the bondage of national slavery; but they are still in the slavery of ignorance. Does there not rest upon ministers of the gospel the responsibility of setting in operation plans whereby this people can be instructed? Does not the commission of the Saviour teach this? Is it right for professed Christians to hold themselves aloof from this work, allowing the burden to rest on a few? In all your plans for medical missionary work and for foreign missionary work, has God given you no message for us? Why have you not a deeper sense of the necessities of the Southern field?
"We lay this matter before you. O how thankful we shall be if this meeting is the means of bringing the needs of this people to your notice."
Then He who has authority arose, and called upon all to give heed to the instruction the Lord has given in regard to the Southern work. He said: "Much more evangelistic work should be done in the South. Scarcely anything has been done for this field. There should be a thousand workers there where there is now but one.
"The Southern field is represented by the man who, robbed and beaten, was left by the roadside to die. A priest came that way, looked at the suffering man, gave a sigh of pity, and passed by, wishing he had not seen him. Then came a Levite, who also passed by on the other side. 'But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.'
"After relating this incident, Christ asked in a clear, solemn voice, 'Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among thieves?' From many voices came the answer, 'He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus,...Go, and do thou likewise.'
"The wrong use of means has hindered the work which should have been done in the Southern field. Those who know their duty and do it not, are accountable to God. To Him they must answer for their neglect.
"Let the professed people of God awake. Think you that the Lord will bless those who have felt no burden but to hedge up the work in the South?"
As these words were spoken, deep feeling was manifested by some. Some offered themselves as missionaries for the Southern field, while others sat in silence, apparently taking no interest in the subject.
Then these words were spoken: "The South is a most unpromising field. But what a change would now be seen in it if, after the colored people had been released from slavery, Christians had worked for them as the followers of Christ ought to work, teaching them how to take care of themselves.
"Not a sparrow falls to the ground without the notice of the Heavenly Father. Will not God pronounce unfaithful stewards those who have left the colored race uncared for and uneducated? Some have worked nobly, and God will bless them. Others have made a few feeble efforts, and have then allowed their means to be diverted into wrong channels. God will hold them responsible for leaving the Southern field so largely unworked. He will call to account those who, have used selfishly the means lent them to be used in helping and blessing humanity. The word of God plainly points out their duty, but they refuse to obey. Unless they repent, they must answer at the bar of heaven for their neglect." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #36)
Those who are truly sanctified by a knowledge of God will render perfect obedience to God's requirements. They will understand for themselves what saith the Scriptures, and will present themselves as loyal children of God before their Maker. But many who claim sanctification refuse to comply with the conditions upon which the promises are made, and yet they presume to expect the blessing that God has promised to the obedient. Their hearts are at enmity with the law of God, and they are self-deceived and self-righteous. Unconsciously they yield to the suggestions of the first great rebel, who led Adam and Eve to transgress the holy law of Jehovah. They are breakers of God's law, and yet claim that they are sanctified and made perfect, and thus they are false lights in the world. Many others are deceived by their pretensions, and are led to practice the same iniquity that they do, to show the same disregard for God's law, and to teach others that they may transgress with impunity. This was the very attitude and work of Satan in bringing sin into our world, and through his agents he still continues his work of deception upon human minds, repeating the same story by which he led Adam and Eve to disregard the word of God, and to fail to bear the single test that God put upon them.
But that which God required of Adam in paradise before the fall, He requires in this age of the world from those who would follow Him,--perfect obedience to His law. But righteousness without a blemish can be obtained only through the imputed righteousness of Christ. Through the provision that God has made for the forgiveness and restoration of sinners, the same requirements may be fulfilled by men today that were given to Adam in Eden.
It was the transgression of the law that resulted in sin, sorrow, and death. Satan declared that he would prove to the worlds which God has created, and to the heavenly intelligences, that it was an impossibility to keep the law of God. When Adam yielded to the temptation of the enemy, and fell from his high and holy estate, Satan and his angels exulted. But from the throne of God a voice was heard speaking words of mysterious import. "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." When man fell, Christ announced His purpose of becoming man's substitute and surety. Who was He? Isaiah says of Him, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." John says of Him, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth."
"God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." When we accept God's free gift, we become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and are complete in Him. But those who do not obey God's law, make it manifest that they have not accepted the righteousness of Christ. They may claim sanctification, but it is of a spurious character; for they array themselves against the plainest Thus saith the Lord, and by their actions deny the Lord who bought them.
Satan claimed to be sanctified, and exalted himself above God even in the courts of heaven. So great was his deceptive power that he corrupted a large number of angels, and enlisted their sympathy in his selfish interest. When he tempted Christ in the wilderness, he claimed that he was sanctified, that he was a pure angel from the heavenly courts; but Jesus was not deceived by his pretensions, and neither will those be deceived who live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. God will not accept a willfully imperfect service. Those who claim to be sanctified, and yet turn away their ears from hearing the law, prove themselves to be the children of disobedience, whose carnal hearts are not subject to the law of God, and neither indeed can be.
From Genesis to Revelation the conditions upon which eternal life is promised, are made plain. God requires that those who shall enter heaven shall be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Keep my commandments and live, is the requirement of God. But one says, "My conscience does not condemn me in not keeping the commandments of God." But in the word of God we read that there are good and bad consciences and the fact that your conscience does not condemn you in not keeping the law of God, does not prove that you are uncondemned in His sight. Take your conscience to the word of God, and see if your life and character are in accordance with the standard of righteousness which God has there revealed. You can then determine whether or not you have an intelligent faith, and what manner of conscience is yours. The conscience of man cannot be trusted unless it is under the influence of divine grace. Satan takes advantage of an unenlightened conscience, and thereby leads men into all manner of delusions because they have not made the word of God their counselor. Many have invented a gospel of their own in the same manner as they have substituted a law of their own for God's law. The gospel of Jesus Christ gives full recognition to the law of God, and declares the authority of God supreme. The gospel of Christ requires penitence for sin; and sin is the transgression of the law. Paul, the great gospel preacher, declares, "I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Repentance toward God is sorrow for sin, the transgression of the law of God. The sinner sees himself condemned by the holy law, and as there is no saving quality in [the] law to save the transgressor of [the] law, he must not only exercise repentance toward God, but have faith in Jesus Christ, his sacrifice, surety, and mediator. Through the merits of Christ the sinner may claim the pardon of God.
Christ is continually drawing men to himself. He continues to give the gracious invitation for the weary and the heavy laden to come unto Him and find rest unto their souls. He says, "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Before one decides to come to Christ, the Holy Spirit is drawing him unto the Saviour. Many have stumbled over the way to come to Christ, and have not comprehended what it means to be converted, because they have not understood what is comprehended in repentance. As the sinner is convicted of sin, he is also attracted by the love and holiness of Christ; for Jesus is drawing him unto himself. No man can originate the repentance which is essential for the saving of the soul. He can no more bring himself to repentance than he can bring about his own conversion. Repentance is born in the heart by beholding the love of Christ, who gave His life to save the sinner. It is the love of God that softens the hardest hearts.
It is a mistake to think that you must come to repentance before you can come to Jesus. Come to Christ just as you are, and contemplate His love until your hard heart is broken. "A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." We may say that except the sinner repents of his sin, he cannot be forgiven; but while this is true, let him not put off coming to Christ until he has wrought himself up to a certain pitch of excited feeling, until he thinks his sorrow is of sufficient depth to merit forgiveness. Let the sinner come just as he is, and contemplate the love that has been bestowed upon him, all unworthy as he is; and the first thing he knows, he will realize that Christ's love has broken every barrier down, and that he exercises repentance which is not to be repented of. The sinner must go to Christ in order that he may be enabled to repent. It is the virtue that goes forth from Jesus which strengthens the purposes of the heart to turn away from sin and to cleave to that which is truth. It is Christ's virtue that makes repentance sincere and genuine. It has been stated that him whom Christ pardons He first makes penitent. Peter declares the source of repentance when he says, "Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."
When the sinner sees Jesus lifted up on the cross, dying that he might not perish but have everlasting life, he realizes something of the enormity of sin, and longs for pardon for all his transgressions, and for the favor of God. As the Holy Spirit impresses his mind, he prays most earnestly, and believes that if he asks, he shall receive. He presents the promise, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." He rejoices in the pardoning love of God; and his sincerity in the service of God, the reality of his conversion, is made manifest by the vigor of his endeavor to obey all God's commandments. The soul who has found the Lord will renounce every evil work, will cease to do evil and learn to do well, because Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #37)
During the night I was sorely distressed. A great burden rested upon me. I had been pleading with God to work in behalf of His people. My attention was called to the money which they have invested in photographs. I was taken from house to house, through the homes of our people, and as I went from room to room, my Instructor said, "Behold the idols which have accumulated!"
As I visited the homes of our people and our schools, I see that all the available space on tables, what-nots, and mantelpieces is filled up with photographs. On the right hand and on the left are seen the pictures of human faces. God desires this order of things to be changed. Were Christ on earth, He would say, "Take these things hence." I have been instructed that these pictures are as so many idols, taking up the time and thought which should be sacredly devoted to God.
These photographs cost money. Is it consistent for us, knowing the work that is to be done at this time, to spend God's money in producing pictures of our own faces and the faces of our friends? Should not every dollar that we can spare be used in the upbuilding of the cause of God? These pictures take money that should be sacredly devoted to God's service; and they divert the mind from the truths of God's word.
This making and exchanging photographs is a species of idolatry. Satan is doing all he can to eclipse heaven from our view. Let us not help him by making picture-idols. We need to reach a higher standard than these human faces suggest. The Lord says, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Those who claim to believe in Christ need to realize that they are to reflect His image. It is His likeness that is to be kept before the mind. The words that are spoken are to be freighted with heavenly inspiration.
Christ looks upon a world filled with the din of merchandise and trade, with the dishonesty and scheming of buyers and sellers. In their desire to get gain, men have lost sight of the laws of justice and equity. "It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth." Satan has devised a multitude of ways in which to keep men from serving God. He has invented sports and games, into which men enter with such intensity that one would suppose a crown of life was to reward the winner. At the horse races and football matches, which are attended by thousands and thousands of people, lives for which Christ shed His blood are thrown away. What will become of the souls of the men and boys whose lives are thus extinguished? Will they be counted worthy of the redemption which Christ died to secure for them?
Looking upon these God-dishonoring scenes, Christ asks, "What is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" He calls the attention of men to the nobler world which they have lost from view. He points them to the threshold of heaven, flushed with the glory of the infinite God.
Those who have taken part in the solemn rite of baptism have pledged themselves to seek for those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God; pledged themselves to labor earnestly for the salvation of sinners. God asks those who take His name, How are you using the powers that have been redeemed by the death of my Son? Are you doing all in your power to rise to a greater height in spiritual understanding? Are you adjusting your interests and actions in harmony with the momentous claims of eternity?
Let there be a reformation among the people of God. "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." Those upon whom the Lord has placed the burden of His work are struggling to proclaim the message, that souls perishing in ignorance may be warned. Can you not, by self-denial, do something to help them in their work? Arouse, and show by your unselfish zeal and earnestness that you are converted.
Every dollar is required in the work of saving souls. The money invested by the professed people of God in getting pictures made of human faces would support several missionaries in the field. Many small streams, when put together, swell into a large river.
We embezzle our Lord's goods when we use for selfish pleasure the means which should be used to proclaim the last message of warning. If you spend the Lord's money for self-gratification, how can you expect Him to continue to bestow His goods on you? How does the Master regard those who selfishly invest His money in photographs? That very money could have been used to purchase reading matter to send to those in the darkness of ignorance.
The truth that God has given us must be heralded to the world. We have been given the privilege of doing this work. We are to sow the seed of truth beside all waters. The Lord calls upon us to practice self-denial and self-sacrifice. The gospel demands entire consecration. The necessities of the cause demand all that we can give. Our indulgence in photographs has been a selfish gratification on our part, which bears silent witness against us. By this indulgence a large amount of wood, hay, and stubble has been brought to the foundation, to be consumed by the fires of the last day.
After going from home to home, and seeing the many photographs, I was instructed to warn our people against this evil. This much we can do for God. We can put these picture-idols out of sight. They have no power for good, but interpose between God and the soul. They can do nothing to help in sowing the seeds of truth. Christ calls upon those who claim to be following Him to put on the whole armor of God. Our educational institutions need to feel the reforming power of the Spirit of God. "If the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." Those who are engaged as teachers in our schools and sanitariums should reach a high standard of consecration. And the students in these institutions, who are fitting themselves to go forth as missionaries, should learn to practice self-denial.
We are God's stewards, and "it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." The money that God has intrusted to us is to be carefully husbanded. We are to increase in efficiency by putting to the best use the talents given us, that at God's coming we may return to Him His own with usury. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #38)
God is a vigilant observer of the actions of the children of men. Nothing occurs in earth or heaven without the knowledge of the Creator. Nothing can happen without His permission. He on whom the fate of an empire may depend is watched over with a vigilance which knows no relaxation by Him who "giveth salvation unto kings," to whom belong "the shields of the earth." And the poor man is as tenderly watched over as the monarch upon his throne.
God is constantly at work for the good of His creatures. Satan is also constantly at work, but for evil. The prince of the power of the air is the agent of destruction, the one who causes suffering and misery. Times without number God has interposed to avert death, to keep men, women, and children in safety when Satan purposed a result wholly disastrous.
God made everything good and beautiful; but evil gained entrance into the earth, and with it came defilement and degradation. It is God's purpose to obliterate all traces of sin from His handiwork, to restore human beings to their original purity. To fulfill this purpose, God's only Son, equal with the Father, assumed human nature. He stooped to our estate that He might lift us from a fallen, degraded condition to the pure and holy condition of Adam when he came from the hand of the Creator. As soon as man joined Satan in transgression, Christ took the field to fight in his behalf. He entered the conflict, and fought successfully the battle with the prince of evil.
This world has been signally blessed by God. Human beings are the recipients of countless mercies. Providence watches over and shields them. Upon them are poured the choicest gifts in heaven's treasury. Yet notwithstanding this, men show a growing disregard for God and a growing contempt for His law and for the salvation placed within their reach by the death of the Saviour.
Men have lifted themselves up in pride and self-sufficiency, casting down the needy and oppressing the hireling in his wages. Against them have been registered covetousness, pride, and self-indulgence. They show contempt for the laws which govern God's kingdom. God has borne long with them; but in response to His amazing forbearance, men are approaching that degree of iniquity which the antediluvians reached, to perish in the waters of the flood, and which the Sodomites reached, to be destroyed by fire from heaven.
Some believe Satan's assertion that there will be a second probation. They say that even though they now resist the Spirit of God, refusing to improve their day of grace, they will be given another opportunity to gain heaven. But those who cherish this belief are under a deception which leads to ruin. When God gave Christ to our world, He gave in this one gift all the treasures of heaven. He held back nothing. He can do no more than He has done to bring men to repentance. He has no means held in reserve for their salvation.
God bears long with the rebellion and apostasy of His subjects. Even when His mercy is despised and His love scorned and derided, He bears with men until the last resource for leading them to repentance is exhausted. But there are limits to His forbearance. From those who to the end continue in obstinate rebellion, He removes His protecting care. Providence will no longer shield them from Satan's power. They will have sinned away their day of grace.
God keeps a reckoning with the nations. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without His notice. Those who work evil toward their fellow men, saying, How doth God know? will one day be called upon to meet long-deferred vengeance. In this age a more than common contempt is shown to God. Men have reached a point in insolence and disobedience which shows that their cup of iniquity is almost full. Many have well-nigh passed the boundary of mercy. Soon God will show that He is indeed the living God. He will say to the angels, "No longer combat Satan in his efforts to destroy. Let him work out his malignity upon the children of disobedience; for the cup of their iniquity is full. They have advanced from one degree of wickedness to another, adding daily to their lawlessness. I will no longer interfere to prevent the destroyer from doing his work."
This time is right upon us. The Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the earth. When the angel of mercy folds her wings and departs, Satan will do the evil deeds he has long wished to do. Storm and tempest, war and bloodshed,--in these things he delights, and thus he gathers in his harvest. And so completely will men be deceived by him that they will declare that these calamities are the result of the desecration of the first day of the week. From the pulpits of the popular churches will be heard the statement that the world is being punished because Sunday is not honored as it should be. And it will require no great stretch of imagination for men to believe this. They are guided by the enemy, and therefore they reach conclusions which are entirely false.
Satan will bring in pleasing fables to meet the minds of all who love not the truth. With angry zeal he will accuse commandment-keepers. Furious because he cannot pervert their faith, he will vent his rage upon them. He will give to his angels the work of hardening wicked men against the truth. Knowing that he has but a short time, he will work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. In the form of friends who have died, fallen angels will come to the children of men, just and unjust. Thus Satan will deceive those who, had they honored the law of Jehovah, would have been barricaded against temptation.
When Christ was upon this earth, He declared of the nation that rejected Him, "In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." They made void the law of God by loading it down with needless ceremonies. They tore down the Lord's standard of righteousness, blinding the eyes and hardening the hearts of the people, leading them to believe a lie in the place of truth. Were Christ upon the earth today, He would say to many professed Christians, "Ye are both ignorant of the Scriptures and of the power of God."
Satan claims the world, but there is a little company who withstand his devices, and contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. Satan sets himself to destroy this commandment-keeping company. But God is their tower of defense. He will raise up for them a standard against the enemy. He will be to them "as an hiding place from the wind," and "as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." He will say to them, "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain." "And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #39)
The question is often asked, How is the existence of sin reconcilable with the government of a wise, merciful, and omnipotent God. Why was sin permitted to take up its abode in the earth to cause suffering and discord?
It certainly was not God's purpose that man should be sinful. He created him pure and noble, with no bias to evil. He placed him in the garden of Eden, surrounding him with every inducement to remain true to his allegiance. He placed His law around him as a safeguard.
There is no excuse for sin. It will be the final condemnation of Lucifer and his angels that when God shall ask, "Why have ye done this?" they will be able to assign no reason. And when at the last great day sinners are confronted with their sins, and are asked, "Why did you transgress?" every mouth will be stopped. The sinful will stand speechless before God.
Evil originated with Lucifer, who rebelled against the government of God. Before his fall he was a covering cherub, distinguished by his excellence. God made him good and beautiful, as near as possible like himself. Of him it is written, "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee." But self-exaltation entered his heart. Inspiration records the charge against him: "Thine heart wast lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness." "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend unto heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit."
When God placed Adam in Eden, He told him that he might eat of the fruit of every tree in the garden save one, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Thus Adam's obedience was to be tested. God left him free to obey or disobey. He could have held him back from touching the forbidden fruit, but had He done this, Satan would have been sustained in saying that God's rule was arbitrary. Adam was left perfectly free.
Looking upon the sinless pair in Eden, Satan saw an opportunity for carrying on the work which he had begun in heaven. Entering the garden in the disguise of a serpent, he told Eve that God was mistaken, that the fruit of the forbidden tree would not bring death, but wisdom. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." They fell under the temptation, and disobeyed God. Henceforth they could not live in Eden. God drove them forth, placing at the gate of the garden a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Through all the ages Satan's work has been the same,--to make of none effect the law of God, to lead men and women to transgress the divine commands. God requires of human beings today what He required of Adam,--perfect obedience. Satan strives to lead them to mistake darkness for light, and error for truth. He tells them that God has abrogated His law, and that all they have to do is to believe. Were this so, Satan would have accomplished on earth what he attempted to do in heaven, and he would therefore be entitled to the throne as ruler of the universe. But today, as in the beginning, his assertions are false. God's law is unchangeable; and though by human beings it has been slighted, scorned, and rejected, it will ever stand as firm as the throne of Jehovah.
Many cherish the false hope that God will change to suit their sinfulness. But He who rules the world in wisdom and love is a God who changes not. He governs the world in omnipotence, and all that His love inspires He will execute. Now, as ever, the only way in which we can gain admittance into heaven is by conforming to His standard of righteousness.
Of His law God says, "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward."
Satan declared that human beings could not keep the law. Christ has proved this statement false. He came to this earth, and lived among men the law of God. He died on the cross to bear witness to the unchanging character of the law. This law had been broken, and only by the offering of Christ's blood could the penalty be paid.
Christ came as a man, that He might meet men where they are. Had He come in all His glory, human beings could not have endured the sight. "Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich." He planted the cross between heaven and earth, and when the Father beheld the sacrifice of His Son, He bowed before it in recognition of its perfection. "It is enough," He said. "The atonement is complete."
Could the law have been changed, Christ need not have died. But it was impossible for God to change. The penalty of transgression must be borne. Therefore, that the human race might not perish, the Son of God came into this world to live in our behalf a life of perfect obedience, and by the sacrifice of himself to meet the demands of justice.
See the Saviour, sinless and undefiled, yet bearing the penalty of sin. Why?--That we might be spared. "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." God could not do more than He has done for us. He has left us without excuse. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #40)
"Search the Scriptures," Christ commanded; "for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." The Holy Spirit is beside every true searcher of God's word, enabling him to discover the hidden gems of truth. Divine illumination comes to his mind, stamping the truth upon him with a new, fresh importance. He is filled with a joy never before felt. The peace of God rests upon him. The preciousness of truth is realized as never before. A heavenly light shines upon the Word, making it appear as though every letter were tinged with gold. God himself speaks to the heart, making His word spirit and life.
Eternal life is the receiving of the living elements in the Scriptures, the doing of the will of God. This is what is meant by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. It is the privilege of all to partake of the bread of heaven by studying the word, and thus gain spiritual sinew and muscle.
Just before Christ's crucifixion one of the disciples asked Him, "Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?" Jesus answered, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
These words are not half comprehended by those through whom God wishes to communicate His truth. Let us believe the word. Let us practice the lessons given by Him who has bought us with His blood. He said, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
A rich banquet is set before those who accept Christ as a personal Saviour. Day by day, as they partake of His word, they are nourished and strengthened.
Why do God's people pass by the words of the Great Teacher? Why do they rely upon human beings for help and comfort, when they have the great and grand promise, "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. . . . He that eateth of this bread shall live forever"? He may die; but the life of Christ is in him, and at the resurrection of the just he will rise to newness of life. "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life."
It is the privilege of all to gain strong consolation from these precious utterances. Those who partake of the banquet provided for them will gain an experience of the highest value. They will see that in comparison with the word of God, the word of man is as chaff to the wheat.
In every plan we make, we must act with entire dependence upon God, else we shall be deceived by a semblance instead of the reality. As stewards of the grace of Christ, we are to inquire at every step, "Is this the way of the Lord?" The word of God is a character-detector, a motive-tester. We are to read this word with heart and mind open to receive the impressions that God will give. We must not think that the reading of the word can accomplish that which only He whom the word reveals, who stands behind the word, can accomplish. Some are in danger of hastening to the conclusion that because they hold firmly to the doctrines of the truth, they are actually in possession of the blessings which these doctrines declare shall come to the receiver of truth. Many keep the truth in the outer court. Its sacred principles have not a controlling influence over the words, the thoughts, the actions. They do not possess the faith which works by love and purifies the soul. An assent to the truth may quiet the conscience, but let every believer inquire, "Does my faith make me a daily, hourly follower of Christ? Has it a sanctifying influence on my soul? Can I say, The gentleness of Christ has made me great? A faultless creed and a carnal life are too often found together in professed believers. To be a means to a saving end, the word of God must be intelligently and practically understood and obeyed.
"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the World. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
Here is the standard which all must reach who enter the heavenly city. The end of our faith is the perfection of human character, the sanctification of the entire being. The Lord knows what His people need, and through His chosen agents He manifests His benevolence to them. He is constantly working for the happiness of those who love and serve Him. He is pleased with harmonious service; and when He sees men and women obeying His commandments, He greatly blesses them.
By reason of the waste in the body, the blood must be constantly renewed by food. So with our spiritual life. The word must be daily received, believed, and acted upon. Christ must dwell in us, energizing the whole being, renewing the lifeblood of the soul. His example is to be our guide. In our dealing with one another, we must reveal His sympathy. There must be a real working out of Christ's grace in our hearts. Then we can say with the apostle, "I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Christ's life abiding in the soul is the cause of our joy and the pledge of our glory. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #41)
The prosperity of God's people is dependent on their obedience. The Lord declares, "It shall come to pass if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, that I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will send grass in the fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full. Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; and then the Lord's wrath be kindled against you, and He shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you. . . .
"Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day; and a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but . . . go after other gods, which ye have not known."
"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: but because the Lord loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them: He will not be slack to him that hateth Him, He will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them."
These words should be as distinctly stamped upon every soul as though written with a pen of iron. Obedience brings its reward, disobedience its retribution.
God has given His people positive instruction, and has laid upon them positive restrictions, that they may obtain a perfect experience in His service, and be qualified to stand before the heavenly universe and before the fallen world as overcomers. They are to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Those who fall short of making the preparation essential will be numbered with the unthankful and the unholy.
The Lord brings His people by ways they know not, that He may test and prove them. This world is our place of proving. Here we decide our eternal destiny. God humbles His people that His will may be wrought out through them. Thus He dealt with the children of Israel as He led them through the wilderness. He told them what their fate would have been had He not laid a restraining hand upon that which would have hurt them. He speaks to them. Hear what He says: it is a revelation of the ministration of angels: "Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might humble thee, and that He might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end. . . . Thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord."
It is a solemn thought that by our present course of action we are deciding our eternal destiny. Let those who know the truth practice the truth, remembering that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and is of more value than all the treasure which the world contains. The world is the Lord's vineyard, and to each one of us He says, "Go work today in my vineyard. As I have cared for you, so you are to care for the honor of my name."
In His dealing with ancient Israel God has given us an illustration of the result of disobedience. Even as He punished the children of Israel, so He will punish all who cause His glory to be reproached. Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, even as Jerusalem, by her own course of action, was humiliated and brought low. Her people chose Barabbas, and God left them to their choice. They would not submit to God's way, so He permitted them to have their own way, to carry out the purposes of their unsanctified hearts.
Christ warned the Jews of their danger, and entreated them to return to Him; but they were too proud to accept His overtures of mercy. They persisted in their rebellious course, and as a result the protection of God's Spirit was withdrawn from them.
When Christ predicted the destruction of Jerusalem, He predicted also the destruction of the world. He saw that till the end of this earth's history men would refuse God's mercy. God has given men and women talents that they may work in His service; but many in their selfishness misuse these talents. By a love of money and a desire for the supremacy they rob God and hurt their brethren.
God blesses the work of men's hands that they may return to Him His portion. They are to devote their means to His service, that His vineyard may not remain a barren waste. They are to study what the Lord would do were He in their place. They are to take all difficult matters to Him in prayer. They are to reveal an unselfish interest in the building up of His work in all parts of the world.
Money and goods, houses and lands,--these the Lord has intrusted to His human agents for the advancement of His work. Those who use for self-gratification the talents which have been lent them are not following in Christ's footsteps. Their course of action shows self-exaltation, and hinders the work the Lord desires to accomplish.
God's people are to maintain the elevated character of His work. They are to carry forward this work in His lines. Christ is their pattern, and He says, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Let us remember that we are laborers together with God. We are not wise enough to work by ourselves. God has made us His stewards, to prove us and to try us, even as He proved and tried ancient Israel. He will not have His army composed of undisciplined, unsanctified, erratic soldiers, who would misrepresent His order and purity.
Those who think that they can please God by obeying some other law than His, and by performing works other than those which the gospel has enjoined, are mocking God. They are insulting the Holy One of Israel. Warning after warning is given in the last message of mercy to the world. Appeal after appeal is made. The worst of sinners are to hear the call. All are to be given a final test. Loath to give up, sorrowful, yet hoping, Christ knocks at the door of the heart.
When the Saviour saw in the Jewish people a nation divorced from God, He saw also a professed Christian Church united to the world and the papacy. And as He stood upon Olivet, weeping over Jerusalem till the sun sank behind the western hills, so He is weeping over and pleading with sinners in these last moments of time. Soon He will say to the angels who are holding the four winds, "Let the plagues loose; let darkness, destruction, and death come upon the transgressors of my law." Will He be obliged to say to those who have had great light and knowledge, as He said to the Jews, "If thou hadst known, even thou at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes"? By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #42)
By the great law of God, man is bound up with his fellow man. To the answer given by the lawyer, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself," Christ said, "Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live."
In these few words are laid down the terms of eternal life. True godliness is measured by the work done. Profession is nothing; position is nothing; a character like the character of Christ is the evidence we are to bear that God has sent His Son into the world. Those who profess to be Christians, yet do not act as Christ would were He in their place, greatly injure the cause of God. They misrepresent their Saviour, and are standing under false colors.
He in whose heart Christ abides shows forth to the world Christ's love for humanity. He is God's helping hand. The glow of spiritual health thrills his whole being as he receives from the Saviour grace to give to others. This is true missionary work. Its performance heals the wounds inflicted upon disordered human nature by the one who was once a covering cherub, but who through self-exaltation lost his high and holy estate, and took up a warfare against God and man. By his subtlety he led human beings into the pit of degradation, and it cost the life of the Son of man to redeem them. Christ gave His life to save every sinner. He is the light and life of men. He came as a mighty physician, a great medical missionary, to heal the wounds that sin had made in the human family. His mighty healing power sends a glow of spiritual health into the soul.
Pure and undefiled religion is not a sentiment, but the doing of works of mercy and love. This religion is necessary to health and happiness. It enters the polluted soul temple, and with a scourge drives out the sinful intruders. Taking the throne, it consecrates all by its presence, illuminating the heart with the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. It opens the windows of the soul heavenward, letting in the sunshine of God's love. With it comes serenity and composure. Physical, mental, and moral strength increase, because the atmosphere of heaven, as a living, active agency, fills the soul. Christ is formed within, the hope of glory.
God calls upon us to show, by the exercise of true piety, that we are under divine enlightenment. When those connected with the service of God center their hopes on Jesus, a change will be seen in their deportment. Supreme love for God and unselfish love for their fellow men will place them on vantage ground.
The gospel is good tidings of great joy. Its promises bring light to the soul and shine forth to the world. Therefore Christ says to those who have received the gospel, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Again: He illustrates the living reality of a Christian life by the saving properties of salt. "Ye are the salt of the earth," He says; "but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted?" Solemn question! If the saving principles of truth are not exemplified by professing Christians, what benefit does the world derive from their lives? When salt has lost its savor, "it is thenceforth good for nothing; but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men." When Christians do not reveal Christ, of what value are they? Are they not like savorless salt, "good for nothing"? But when they reveal in their lives the saving principles of the truth, poor, sin-hardened souls are not left to perish in corruption. Good works are seen; for the living principles of righteousness cannot be hidden. The gospel acted is like salt which contains all its savor. It is powerful in the saving of souls.
Christ inculcated the value of obedience, saying, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Is it not best for us to keep the commandments, so that through us God can reveal His power? If all God's people were obeying His law, they would indeed be lights in the world.
God's promises to the obedient gladden the humble, contrite soul. The life of the true Christian is radiant with the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. If men and women would act as the Lord's helping hand, doing deeds of love and kindness, uplifting the oppressed, rescuing those ready to perish, the glory of the Lord would be their rearward. Then they would not send thousands of miles to learn from human beings their duty. They would call, and the Lord would answer, "Here am I." They would turn to the One close beside them, the One who has given them the promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
Look, thirsty, bewildered souls! Can ye not see the fountain of life, opened for the weary, wayworn traveler? Can ye not hear the voice of Mercy as she beckons to you, saying, "'Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters;' 'whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely'"? The waters of this fountain contain medicinal properties which will heal both spiritual and physical infirmities. Drink deep from the fountain opened for Judah and Jerusalem. Then you can take the refreshing cup to parched, fainting souls.
Christ said of His work, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn." Notice, you are not to comfort only the few whom you are inclined to regard with favor, but all that mourn, all who apply to you for help and relief; and more, you are to search for the needy. Job says, "The cause which I knew not I searched out." He did not wait to be urged, and then turn away, saying, "I will not help him."
"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified."
Wake up, wake up, my brethren and sisters. You must do the work that Christ did when He was upon this earth. Remember that you may act as God's helping hand in opening the prison doors to those that are bound. Wonderful is the work that God desires to accomplish through His servants, that His name may constantly be glorified. He is waiting to work through His people. Those who are willing to be used will obtain a rich experience, an experience full of the glory of God.
Of those who act as His helping hand the Lord says, "Ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord; men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double; everlasting joy shall be unto them. For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among all the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed." "And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God."
Shall we not try to crowd all the goodness and love and compassion possible into our lives? By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #43)
"And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word."
At this time Israel was almost wholly given up to idolatry. Clouds and thick darkness covered the whole land. Images of Baalim and Ashtoreth were everywhere to be seen. Idolatrous temples and heathen idols occupied the sacred soil, and the air was polluted with the smoke of the sacrifices offered to false gods. Hill and vale resounded with the drunken cries of a heathen priesthood. Guided by the king and the priests, the people drank iniquity like water, and sported in shameful riot round their idols.
Alas! how had the glory of Israel departed! The light so graciously given them, despised and rejected, had indeed become darkness. The salt had lost its savor. The fine gold had become dim. So dense was the spiritual darkness that it could be felt.
Elijah saw that Israel had departed from God, that idolatry had become widespread, and he besought the Lord of heaven to arrest the people in their wickedness. He prayed that from those who had no appreciation of the mercies daily bestowed on them, these mercies might be withdrawn, that they might be brought to see their dependence, and to humble their hearts before God, confessing and forsaking their sins.
God answered his prayer by sending him to Ahab with the message of Heaven's curse. The prophet passed the guards,--they seemed to see him not,--and stood for a moment before the king, saying, "There shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word." Like a thunderbolt from a clear sky the message fell upon the ears of the wicked king, and before he could recover from his surprise, Elijah had disappeared, taking with him the key of heaven. The king made inquiry for him, but he was not to be found. No one had observed his coming or going.
No sooner had Elijah left the presence of Ahab than the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee." God placed His servant beyond the malice of a king who by his course of action had brought upon the land the terrible denunciation of an offended God.
The prophet's message had been delivered in the name of the Lord, and the judgment declared immediately followed. "There was a sore famine in Samaria." The country was desolated. Once flourishing cities and villages became places of mourning. The scorching rays of the sun and hot gusts of wind destroyed vegetation. Plants and trees withered and died. Streams dried up. The lowing herds and bleating flocks wandered hither and thither in distress.
"And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, show thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth."
Obeying the word of the Lord, Elijah presented himself before the king. "And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?" He cast upon the prophet the blame of the heavy judgment resting upon the land. Thus it is today when the truth is presented. A son, a daughter, a father, a mother, may heed the message of mercy. The other members of the family refuse to walk in the light. A division takes place, and the unbelieving ones feel that a great injury has been done them because the harmony of the family is destroyed. They cherish hatred against the one who bore the message of truth. The faithful presentation of the message of truth will always cause division. And upon the messenger of truth the blame of the trouble will be cast. "If these men had not come and turned things upside down, all would have been well," it is said. But the blame rests upon the people, even as it did upon Ahab.
The messengers sent by God to deliver His warnings are hated by those whom they warn. The people charge upon them the calamities which are the result of their own departure from righteousness. Those who thus place themselves in Satan's power do not see things as God sees them. They are blinded by Satan. When God's mirror is held up before them, instead of repenting and turning from sin, they become indignant to think that they should be reproved. They think that an uncalled-for attack is being made upon them, and that the messengers of God are their enemies.
Elijah did not attempt to excuse himself or to flatter the king. He did not smooth down his message in order to save himself. He did not seek to evade the king's wrath by the good news that the drought was almost over. "I have not troubled Israel," he answered ; "but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim." The prophet told the king plainly that his sins and the sins of his father's house had brought upon Israel the terrible calamity from which the land was suffering.
In this our day grievous sins have separated the people from God. Infidelity is fast becoming fashionable. "We will not have this man to reign over us," is the language of thousands. God's people must lift up the voice like a trumpet, and show the people their transgressions. The smooth sermons so often preached make no lasting impression. The trumpet does not give a certain sound. Men are not cut to the heart by the plain, sharp truths of God's word.
Many of those who profess to believe the truth would say, if they expressed their real sentiment, "What need is there of speaking so plainly?" They might as well ask, Why need John have said to the Pharisees, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Why need he have provoked the anger of Herodias by telling Herod that it was unlawful for him to live with his brother's wife? He lost his life by speaking so plainly. Why could he not have moved along without incurring the wrath of Herodias?
So men have argued, till policy has taken the place of faithfulness. Sin is allowed to go unrebuked. When will the voice of faithful rebuke be heard once more in the Church?
"Thou art the man." These words are almost unheard among us. If they were not so rare, we should see more of the power of God. The Lord's messengers should not complain of their efforts being without fruit until they repent of their own love for approbation, their desire to please men, which leads them to suppress the truth, and to cry, Peace and safety, when God has not spoken peace.
The world is full of flatterers and dissemblers. Those who are men-pleasers, who cry Peace, peace, might well humble their hearts before God, asking for pardon for their insincerity and lack of moral courage. Such men do not smooth down their message from love for their neighbor, but because they are self-indulgent and ease-loving. True love is a love which seeks first the honor of God and the salvation of souls. Those who have this love will not evade the truth to save themselves from the unpleasant results of plain speaking. When souls are in peril, they will not consider self. They will not excuse or palliate evil.
Would that every minister of God realized the holiness of his work and the sacredness of his office. As divinely appointed messengers, ministers are in a position of awful responsibility. They are to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering. In Christ's stead they are to labor as stewards of the mysteries of heaven, encouraging the obedient, and warning the disobedient. Worldly policy is to have no weight with them. Never are they to swerve from the plain path in which Jesus has bidden them walk. They are to go forward in faith, remembering that they are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. They are not to speak their own words, but the words which One greater than the potentates of earth has bidden them speak. Their message is to be, "Thus saith the Lord." God calls for men like Elijah, Nathan, and John the Baptist, men who will bear His message with faithfulness, regardless of the consequences, who will speak the truth bravely, though it calls for the sacrifice of all they have. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #44)
"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."
These words were spoken by the divine Teacher, our Lord Jesus Christ, for us to hear and to obey. God has not given men the power to read hearts. He has not placed them in the judgment seat, to pass sentence upon their fellow men. God has committed all judgment to His Son. Why, then, are human beings not more careful in regard to passing judgment upon one another? Let us seek to realize our own ignorance. When we have a full realization of this, we shall not speak evil of our brethren.
God has forbidden us to think or speak evil of one another. "Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?" Those who act toward their fellow men without mercy will one day themselves feel the need of mercy.
Christians have a most important work to do. They are commissioned by God to watch for souls as they that must give an account. They are to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all longsuffering. God said to the prophet Ezekiel, "So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul."
To speak the word of God with faithfulness is a work of the greatest importance. But this is an entirely different work from continually censuring, thinking evil, and drawing apart from one another. Judging and reproving are two different things. God has laid upon His servants the work of reproving in love those who err; but He has forbidden and denounced the thoughtless judging so common among professed believers.
Actions speak louder than words, and those who draw from their brethren show plainly that they do not wish to work with them, that they surmise evil of the men to whom the Lord has given a place in His work.
Those who show this lack of faith and confidence in their brethren grieve the Spirit of God. The Lord calls upon us to put away all haughtiness, to manifest sincere sympathy for the erring, who are seeking to recover themselves from the snare of the enemy.
"Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
"Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth." Let not those who cherish feelings of envy and strife claim advanced spiritual knowledge, for by so doing they lie against the truth. "This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."
"My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. . . . The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. . . . The tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." Only by the Lord's help can we bring our thoughts and words into subjection to the will of Christ.
The very first work we are to do is to unite in the bonds of Christian fellowship. Those who are working for God should put away all unkind criticism, and draw together in unity. Christ desires His soldiers to stand shoulder to shoulder, united in the work of fighting the battles of the cross. He desires the union between those who work for Him to be as close as the union between Him and His Father. Those who have felt the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit will heed the lessons of the divine Instructor, and will show their sincerity by doing all in their power to work in harmony with their brethren.
"Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the Judge standeth before the door." "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
"Thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?"
It is the one who has every reason to distrust his own principles who is keenly alive to the failings of others. If there were not some lack in our own experience, we would not be so suspicious of our brethren. It is the one whose conscience condemns him that so readily passes judgment. Let everyone tremble and be afraid of himself. Let him see that his own heart is right with God. Let him weed his own garden; he will find enough to keep him busily employed. If he does this work faithfully, he will not have time to find fault with the gardens of others. Instead of judging our brethren, let us judge ourselves. Let us make sure that we are among the number who are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #45)
Peace and righteousness and love should fill the heart of every believer in Christ. Let the leaven of truth work by its sanctifying power in your life. Truth is a working element. It leads us on to aggressive warfare, not against our brethren, but against satanic agencies. The battle in which we are called to fight is not a warfare against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Do not think that you are doing God's work by warring against one another. This work is done to the shame of those who claim to believe the truth.
Criticise yourself as closely and severely as you know you deserve. Let your anxiety be not to find fault with your brethren, but to obtain more and still more knowledge of Christ, and to exert an influence which shall be a savor of life unto life. "Take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
Christ's death and resurrection have opened before every soul an unlimited source of power from which to draw. This power will enable you to overcome the most objectionable traits in your character. God's supply of grace is awaiting the demand of every sin-sick soul. It will heal every spiritual disease. By it hearts may be cleansed from all defilement. It is the gospel remedy for the curse of sin. It unites human beings with Christ in the performance of good works, enabling them to run in the path of obedience, representing to the world the meekness and lowliness they have learned from the Saviour.
He who is wearing Christ's yoke has no time to judge others. His whole time is devoted to the rescue of sinners. He watches for opportunities to show that he has something worth imparting, something of the highest value, even the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ.
Christ says to His followers, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit." But in order to bring forth much fruit, we must be imbued with the vivifying, sanctifying power of Christ; for He says, "Without me ye can do nothing."
Our churches have no excuse for being without faith and without power. Christ says, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."
We are rapidly nearing the end. Strife and war and bloodshed and wickedness of every kind are making our world as it was in the days of Noah. Shall Christians war among themselves, when their one interest should be to advance God's kingdom?
The first chapter of 1 Corinthians contains instruction which all who are workers together with God should follow. Paul heard that there was contention among the church members at Corinth, and he wrote to them, saying, "I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." Those who practice this instruction will reveal in their lives the purity of Christ, and will manifest His love in their dealings with one another.
Paul says, "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." Instead of seeking to find fault with our brethren, let us dwell on the great love of Christ. The Saviour humbled himself to bear the reproach of men. Step by step He descended in the valley of humiliation, that He might stand at the head of humanity, a perfect pattern in human flesh for every son and daughter of Adam. "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." Let those who name the name of Christ study His work. When divine inspiration comes to them, there will be repentance and confession and humiliation of soul in every church.
Listen, all who have ears to hear: "Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."
Let the Church arise in the name of the Lord, and cast off all the works of darkness. "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Heed the instruction God has given regarding the cultivation of patience, kindness, and longsuffering. Bear with one another, and forgive one another. God has placed us in this world in companionship with one another. Let us walk together in love, bending our energies to the work of saving souls. As we thus serve God in holy companionship, we shall prove that we are laborers together with Him. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #46)
The circulation of our health publications is a most important work. It is a work in which all who believe the special truths for this time should have a living interest. God desires that now, as never before, the minds of the people shall be deeply stirred to investigate the great temperance question and the principles underlying true health reform.
The physical life is to be carefully educated, cultivated, and developed, that through men and women the divine nature may be revealed in its fullness. Both the physical and the mental powers, with the affections, are to be so trained that they can reach the highest efficiency.
That perfection of character which the Lord requires is the fitting up of the whole being as a temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God will accept of nothing less than the service of the entire human organism. It is not enough to bring into action certain parts of the living machinery. All parts must work in perfect harmony, or the service will be deficient. It is thus that man is qualified to cooperate with God in representing Christ to the world. Thus God desires to prepare a people to stand before Him pure and holy, that He may introduce them into the society of heavenly angels.
Perfection of character cannot be attained when the laws of nature are disregarded; for this is transgression of the law of God. His law is written by His own finger upon every nerve, every muscle, every fiber of our being, upon every faculty which has been intrusted to man. These gifts are bestowed, not to be abused and corrupted, but to be used to His honor and glory in the uplifting of humanity.
But how far have men departed from fulfilling God's purpose! Wherever we look, we see defilement and corruption. The world is full of disease and misery, deformity and sin. Life is regarded as of little value. Crime is increasing on every side. By many, sins of the very darkest dye are lightly regarded, or even justified. The violation of physical law, with its consequent suffering, has so long prevailed that the terrible results of such violation are now regarded as the appointed lot of humanity: God is not pleased to have this suffering exist. This is not His work. It is the work of man. The wretchedness and misery, poverty and woe, that exist all around us are brought about by wrong habits,--by violating the laws that God has made to give health and happiness.
What can be done to press back the inflowing tide of evil? The people must be led to understand its cause. With unerring certainty the seed sown produces a harvest of its kind. He who sows to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption. He who sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. In order that men may be more careful how and what they sow, they must be led to realize that they make their own harvest. This is the great need of the masses of mankind at the present time. The blessing that God gives as the result of obedience to the laws of health, is a healing power, a balm for many of the evils that are cursing the world today. Satan's strongest hold on man is through disobedience to these laws.
The relation that exists between mind and body is very intimate: when one is affected, the other is always more or less in sympathy. It is impossible for men, while under the power of sinful, health-destroying habits, to appreciate sacred truths. When the intellect is clouded, the moral powers are enfeebled, and sin does not look sinful. The most ennobling, grand, and glorious themes of God's word seem but idle tales. Satan can then easily snatch away the good seed that has been sown in the heart; for the soul is in no condition to comprehend or understand its true value. It is thus that selfish, health-destroying indulgences are counteracting the influence of the message which is to prepare a people for the great day of God.
We are living in a most solemn, awful moment of this earth's history. Not a soul whose life is one of careless self-degradation, through transgression of physical laws, will stand in the great day of trial just before us. There is a terrible account to be rendered to God by those who have but little regard for the human body, and treat it ruthlessly. Transgression of God's law is sin, and the punishment is death. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
Reform, continual reform, must be kept before the people, and by our example we must enforce our teachings. True religion and the laws of health go hand in hand. It is impossible to work for the salvation of men and women without presenting to them the need of breaking away from sinful gratifications, which destroy the health, debase the soul, and prevent divine truth from impressing the mind. Men and women must be taught to take a careful review of every habit and every practice, and at once put away those things that cause an unhealthy condition of the body, and thus cast a dark shadow over the mind.
If the word of God were studied as it should be, we would better understand the value which the Lord places upon men and women, whom He has purchased at infinite cost. Many of these are in great distress because they know not the truth in regard to these things. They are perishing for lack of knowledge. Our Heavenly Father sees the deplorable condition of these poor souls who, ignorant of the result, are disregarding the great foundation principles of nature's laws. And it is in love and pity that He has caused light to shine upon this subject, showing the blessings that are sure to reward obedience, as well as the terrible punishment that will follow transgression.
The Saviour has told us in plain language what would be the condition of the world just before His second coming. And today we cannot fail to see that His prophecy is rapidly fulfilling. "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." We are told that in the days of Noah before the flood, "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
Christ has given a warning message that the fearful destruction so soon to come upon the inhabitants of the world may not find them unprepared. "Take heed to yourselves," He says, "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. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." This message is to be given at this time. We are without excuse in failing to give it to the world with power.
God desires His people to be lightbearers to a world lying in midnight darkness. But if they refuse to go forward in the light which He causes to shine on their pathway, the light will finally become to them darkness; and instead of being lightbearers to the world, they themselves will be lost in the blackness that surrounds them. God desires His lightbearers ever to keep a high standard before them. By precept and example they must hold this perfect standard high above Satan's false standard, which, if followed, will lead to misery, degradation, disease, and death for both body and soul.
Those who act as teachers are to be intelligent in regard to disease and its causes, understanding that every action of the human agent should be in perfect harmony with the laws of life. The light of God has given on health reform is for our salvation and the salvation of the world. Men and women should be informed in regard to the human habitation, fitted up by our Creator as His dwellingplace, and over which He desires us to be faithful stewards. "For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." Our bodies are wonderfully made, and the Lord requires us to keep them in order. All are under obligation to Him to keep the human structure in a healthful, wholesome condition, that every muscle, every organ, may be used in the service of God. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind." God, who formed the wonderful structure of the body, will take special care to keep it in order, if men cooperate, instead of working at cross-purposes with Him.
These grand truths must be given to the world. We must reach the people where they are, and by example and precept lead them to see the beauties of the better way. The world is in sad need of instruction along these lines. The time has come when each soul must be stanch and true to every ray of light God has given, and begin in earnest to give this gospel of health to the people. We shall have strength and power to do this if we practice these truths in our own lives. If we all followed the light we have received, the blessing of God would rest on us, and we should be anxious to place these truths before those who know them not.
Those who are enjoying the precious blessings which come to them through obeying this message of mercy, will do all in their power that others may share the same blessings. But we may rest assured that Satan will do all in his power to prevent anything like a message of reform from being given to the world at this time. Shall God's people be found on the enemy's side, either by failing to heed it themselves, or by neglecting to give it to others? "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." If we would be safe, we must not fail to know on whose side we stand.
The people are in sad need of the light shining from the pages of our health and temperance journals. God desires to use these journals as mediums through which flashes of light shall arrest the attention of the people, and cause them to heed the warning of the message of the third angel. Our health journals are instrumentalities in the field to do a special work in disseminating the light which the inhabitants of the world must have in this day of God's preparation. They wield an untold influence in the interests of health and temperance and of social purity reform, and will accomplish great good in presenting these subjects in a proper manner and in their true light to the people.
In all our work, caution should be used that no one branch be made a specialty, while other interests are left to suffer. There has not been that interest taken in the circulation of our health journals that there should be. The circulation of these journals must not be neglected, or the people will suffer a great loss.
Let none think that the circulation of the health journals is a minor matter. All should take hold of this work with more interest, and make greater efforts in this direction. God will greatly bless those who take hold of it in earnest; for it is a work that should receive attention at this time.
Ministers can and should do much to urge the circulation of the health journals. Every member of the Church should work as earnestly for these journals as for our other periodicals. There should be no friction between the two. Both are essential, and both should occupy the field at the same time. Each is the complement of the other, and can in no wise take its place.
If men do not let their own minds and their own feelings come in to rule and change the Lord's design, there will be perfect harmony between these lines of work, and a most wonderful success will crown the efforts put forth to advance them. Unity will bring into the work a power that we have not yet seen. This will be the evidence to the world that the work is of God. The circulation of the health journals will be a powerful agency in preparing the people to accept those special truths that are to fit them for the soon coming of the Son of man. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #47)
God desires His people to remember the message given to the Church of Ephesus: "These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast labored, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. . . . He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches: To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."
"Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."
John was commanded to write this wonderful message for us. Why has it not more influence in our lives? Why are we satisfied with a low standard, when such wonderful incentives are placed before us to lead us to reach the standard of perfection?
If those who enter the service of God would strive earnestly to increase in fervency and genuine love, what a powerful and convincing evidence in favor of the truth would be given to the world! Hearts would be knit together. The believers would search the Scriptures daily, as did the noble Bereans. Their faith would rest upon a sure foundation, even the tried stone, which sustains the whole structure of Christianity. Founded upon truth, their convictions would not be shaken by storm or tempest. They would not depend on feeling, knowing that feelings are changeable. Their faith would lay hold of unchangeable, eternal truth.
When God gave Christ to our world, He endowed human beings with imperishable riches. John writes of Christ, "And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; the mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches."
This is the One who says to us today, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Then cling to Him. Do not, I beseech you, dishonor your Redeemer by turning from Him to seek help from human beings. Help those who are weak in faith by showing firm confidence in God. Do not encourage these souls to lean on any human prop. Do not insult the Saviour by turning from His promises, from the fullness of His love and assurance, to human resources. Speak not a word of doubt in the One who loves you, whose you are by creation and by redemption. Go not for help to those who are just as dependent as you are. Christ has declared, "Without me ye can do nothing." "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Christians, do you believe this promise? Had there been a surer way of finding rest, would not the Lord have pointed it out to His weary, fainting children? But He has told us of no way in which to find rest except by wearing His yoke. "Take my yoke upon you," He says, "and learn of me; . . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls." And the dear Saviour adds, "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
I wish to say to my friends here and in foreign countries, Do not waste time and money by writing to your friends for something with which to satisfy your soul-hunger. Christ says, "I am the bread of life."
When you need help, go to Him who alone is able to take away your sin. No human being can do this work. Then why do you appeal to men for wisdom? "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." In your unworthiness and helplessness, come to Christ, saying, "Lord, save, or I perish." From Him you can learn the manifold wisdom of God, wisdom more precious than words can tell. "Ask, and it shall be given you."
Have we not all acted disrespectfully and uncourteously toward the One to whom we owe all we have? God sees the dishonor we do Him, He knows that in humanity we shall find no solace for our woe, and He pities us because we are so needy yet so unwilling to make Him our confidant, our burden bearer. He sees human beings slighting the love and mercy provided for them, and He says, sadly, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." Our distrust is an insult to the One who has done so much for us. He will never neglect those who come to Him. Of the poor, fainting soul, tired of looking to humanity only to be betrayed and forgotten, Christ says, "Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me."
All are invited to eat of the bread of life. It is for our present and eternal happiness to accept this invitation. When we are in need of guidance, let us go directly to the One who says, "I know thy works." "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore." Our Saviour is not lying in Joseph's new tomb. He has proclaimed over the sepulcher, "I am the resurrection, and the life." Then do not take your sorrows and difficulties to man. Present yourself to Him who is able to do "exceeding abundantly," more than you ask or think. He knows just how to assist poor, trembling souls. Do not turn from the loving, compassionate Redeemer to human friends, who, though they may give you the very best they have, may lead you into wrong. Take all your troubles to Jesus. Cast your helpless soul upon Him who will not only take your burdens, but will receive you and strengthen and comfort you. He is the great Healer of all maladies.
"Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope." There is strength for us in Christ. He is our Advocate before the Father. He dispatches His messengers to every part of His dominion to communicate His will to His creatures. He walks in the midst of His churches. He desires to sanctify, elevate, and ennoble His followers. He holds the stars in His right hand, and it is His purpose to let His light shine forth through these to the world. He desires to say of His people, as He said of Israel of old, "Thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God." He desires to prepare His people for higher service in the Church above. He has given us a great work to do. Let us do it with accuracy and determination. Let us show forth in our lives what the truth has done for us. Let there be less dependence on human counsel. Why turn from Him who is all-sufficient to ask counsel of finite beings? Let us make the Saviour our confidence, saying, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #48)
During the General Conference the Lord wrought mightily for His people. Every time I think of that meeting, a sweet solemnity comes over me, and sends a glow of gratitude to my soul. We have seen the stately steppings of the Lord our Redeemer. We praise His holy name; for He has brought deliverance to His people.
"For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married."
"He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him; and His righteousness, it sustained Him. For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon His head; and He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; to the islands He will repay recompense. So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him."
We thank the Lord that He has wrought among us by His Spirit during the General Conference. Let His people offer Him praise and thanksgiving. Let them bring to Him their offerings of gratitude, that His work may go forward with power.
Think of the work the Redeemer accomplished in our behalf. Behold the cross of Calvary, erected to save us from eternal death. Above it, as though traced in characters of gold, shine the words, "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." Then shall we not offer Him praise and thanksgiving, in word and deed? He gives us talents to be employed in His service. We should gratefully return to Him a faithful tithe, with gifts and offerings, saying, "Of thine own we freely give thee." This we should do that His work in all parts of the vineyard may be sustained, that His name may be glorified by the memorials established for Him in every place.
Our hearts must be filled with unselfishness before we can enter the city of God. God's people should bring their offerings to Him in much greater abundance, and with much more cheerfulness. Man is permitted to handle the Lord's goods. Thus he is tested and proved. His heart must be perfumed with the incense of Christ's righteousness, the Saviour must work in him to will and to do of His good pleasure, in order for the handling of the goods intrusted to him to bear the indorsement of the God of heaven. Let us reveal Christ by the way in which we use His goods. Let us in every instance do as He would do. "For there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
To men and women God has given varied talents, and to each one He says, "Use my gifts for the saving of souls." Man is ever to remember that he is to act as God's helping hand in behalf of the human race. He is not to use selfishly that which the Lord has intrusted to him for the carrying forward of the divine enterprise of mercy. He is to take the Lord's suggestions, and work upon them for the blessing of those around him. Constantly he is to stand before his Lord in the attitude of obedience, saying, in word and action, "I delight to do thy will, O my God."
Every temporal and spiritual blessing comes from the great first Cause. God declares, "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last." He is the benefactor of the universe. His tender mercies are over all His works. "The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing." It is God's desire that man shall proclaim the benevolence of His character. In word and deed His people are to reveal His mercy, calling attention to His compassionate designs. The world is to see in the believers who make it their first aim to fulfill the will of Christ, a true representation of Christianity.
There is robbery of God among Seventh-day Adventists. For years this great evil has been increasing, till it seems as though the people had lost their connection with Jehovah. The money which should be returned to the Lord in tithes and offerings is spent for useless purposes, such as producing pictures of human faces. The many, many photographs in your houses are a dishonor to God. They bear silent witness that you have backslidden from righteousness. I look to heaven and cry, "Lord, how long shall this evil divert means from thy treasury?"
Think of the money that for the last few years has been spent in photographs! Think of the good it would have done if invested in the cause of God! Had the money God has intrusted to His people been used in accordance with His will, His institutions would not now be loaded down with debt.
I speak as I am instructed. I have a message for every family that has been robbing God in smaller or larger sums. Repent! Humble your hearts before God. Crucify self and selfishness. No longer use your intrusted means for selfish indulgence. Do all in your power to redeem the past. Show your friends and neighbors and your children that you regard money as too precious to be used for selfish purposes. Give for the advancement of the Lord's cause the money you would otherwise spend for photographs.
Christ desires, by the fullness of His power, so to strengthen His Church that the whole world shall be encircled with an atmosphere of grace. Infinite benevolence is pouring out its treasures for the saving of souls from sin, that man may be made one with God. The Lord calls upon us to cooperate with Him in the carrying out of His great purpose. He has given us the privilege of carrying forward the work that He began.
There are many souls to be brought to a saving knowledge of the truth. Sinners are far from the Father's house, perishing with hunger. Do you ask, How does God regard those who have wandered from Him? I point you to Calvary. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." "And not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
We have been chosen as laborers together with God. Then shall we not give the gospel plan our sympathy and cooperation? Shall we not, by denying self, advance God's enterprise of mercy? Shall we not refrain from spending money needlessly and selfishly, that we may bring to the Lord an offering in righteousness? Christ became poor, that through His poverty we might come into possession of eternal riches. Can we behold the suffering endured in our behalf by the Son of God without being filled with a desire to sacrifice something for Him? He left His home to die for us. Shall we not reveal to others His tenderness and compassion?
I call upon my brethren and sisters to bring an offering to the Lord, that His work may go forward with power. Bring a large offering if you can. But if your offering must be small, remember that the Lord will richly bless you in doing your best. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #49)
The Lord desires His people to realize that selfishness is the great sin of the world, and that it has also become the prevailing sin of the Church. The Lord has been greatly dishonored by the failure of the Church to impart of their means for the advancement of the work which He desires to see going forward with power. I entreat my brethren and sisters throughout the world to awaken to the responsibility that rests upon them to pay a faithful tithe. Do not allow lax principles to lead you to rob God. Keep a faithful account with your Creator. Realize fully the importance of being just with Him who has divine foreknowledge. Let every one search his heart diligently. Let him look up his accounts, and find out how he stands as related to God.
He who gave His only begotten Son to die for you, has made a covenant with you. He gives you His blessings, and in return He requires you to bring Him your tithes and offerings. No one will ever dare to say that there was no way in which He could understand in regard to this matter. God's plan regarding tithes and offerings is definitely stated in the third chapter of Malachi. God calls upon His human agents to be true to the contract He has made with them. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse," He says, "that there may be meat in mine house."
Duty is duty, and should be performed for its own sake. But the Lord has compassion upon us in our fallen condition, and accompanies His commands with promises. He calls upon His people to prove Him, declaring that He will reward obedience with the richest blessings. "Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts." He encourages us to give to Him, declaring that the returns He makes to us will be proportionate to our gifts to Him. "He which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." God is not unrighteous to forget your work and your labor of love.
How tender, how true God is with us! He has given us in Christ the richest blessings. Through Him He has put His signature upon the contract He has made with us. Are we trifling with God, selfishly robbing Him of the returns He has declared we should make to Him?
The Lord speaks, saying, "Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation." "Even from the days of your fathers ye have gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them." Souls are perishing in sin because church members are robbing God, lavishing indulgences upon themselves, while the treasury of God is poorly supplied with funds. Thus God is dishonored, and His cause is impoverished. There is not means enough in the treasury to supply God's laborers in the field of service. Christ looks upon a vineyard unworked, a world unwarned, with wickedness increasing on every hand. Men and women are spending the Lord's goods in selfish gratification, preparing for the fearful punishment that must come upon them unless they repent.
The treasury must be supplied with funds, that Christian missions may be set in operation and supported. Schools must be established, that the youth may be prepared to stand at the last day. The multitudes going to ruin must be labored for. For the accomplishment of this good work the tithes and offerings of the people of God are needed. Let church members do their very best in this matter. Withhold not your offering because it is small. If it is given with a willing mind and an understanding heart, the Lord will accept it, and in His hands it will be many times increased.
Can we not reason from cause to effect? Can we not see that because of our slothfulness in trading on the Lord's goods, because of our selfishness in refusing to return to Him His own portion, His work is retarded?
When Christ made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the applause of the multitude was at its height. Hosannas were on the lips of the people; but the Saviour felt no joy. He beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes." He saw the thousands and thousands soon to be involved in the terrible destruction of the doomed city. How deep must His emotion have been as He thought of the nation that had forged its own fetters, sealed its own doom, gathered about it the cloud of Jehovah's wrath. "You have defiantly resisted all my pleadings," He said. "Again and again I have averted the bolts of justice. In love I have waited for your penitence and repentance. I have borne with you as a man beareth with his own son that serveth him. But ye would not come unto me that ye might have life."
But Christ's agonizing tears were not shed only for Jerusalem. He wept as He thought of the terrible retribution to fall upon an unrepentant world. He is still working in patience and love for the salvation of sinners. Is not the divine Messenger knocking at the door of the heart for entrance? Is not the Spirit striving with sinners? Has not Christ invited sin-sick souls to sit at His feet and learn of Him, to wear His yoke of submission and obedience? Has He not traversed the length and breadth of the land, scattering blessings in His path? There is no wearying of His patience, no repressing of His love. Hear His voice speaking to the weak, the weary, the helpless. "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Will you not let grace soften the heart of stone?
God says to His people today, "It is my desire that you shall exemplify before a world sunken in sin and selfishness the sinlessness of the Redeemer's character. By the testimony you bear, men and women are to understand that this is the day of healing, the day of opportunity." How many who claim to believe on Christ have learned His lessons of kindness, of tender pity, of unselfish love for the thousands perishing in their sins, scattered in all lands like wrecks on a desert shore? Those who share in Christ's glory must share also in His ministry. Help the weak, the wretched, the desponding. Over and over again repeat the gracious invitation, "Come unto me, . . . and I will give you rest." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #50)
For our present and eternal good, God has given us temporal and spiritual blessings. He enjoins upon us to become servants of His love, to impart to others the grace He has bestowed upon us. We are to act as His helping hand. No narrow, indolent selfishness is to be cherished. We are to inquire, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Those who love Christ will love the souls for whom He gave His life, and will daily reveal this love. Let the members of the Church arouse. Let them not cherish a narrow, self-centered religion. Christ calls upon them to be earnest, energetic, persevering workers. Those who truly believe in Christ and truly love Him are drawn by Him to act a part in the great, grand work of heaven's love, giving thanks to God for His unspeakable gift.
Think of God's boundless compassion. He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Think of the Saviour's matchless love. While we were yet sinners, Christ died to save us from eternal death. In return for the great love wherewith Christ has loved you, you are to bring to Him your thank offering. You are to make a gratitude offering of yourself. Your time, your talents, your affections,--all are to flow to the world in a tide of love for the saving of the lost. Jesus has made it possible for you to accept His love, and in happy cooperation with Him to work under its fragrant influence. He requires you to use your possessions in unselfish service, that His plan for the salvation of souls may be carried forward with power. He requires you to give your undivided energies to His work. To have your name on the church book does not make you a Christian. You are to bring your gifts to the altar of sacrifice, cooperating with God to the utmost of your ability, that through you He may reveal the beauty of His truth. Withhold nothing from the Saviour. All is His. You would have nothing to give, did He not first give to you.
Selfishness has come in, and has appropriated to itself that which belongs to God. This is covetousness, which is idolatry. Men monopolize that which God has lent them, as though it were their own property, to do with as they please. When their power to grasp wealth is gratified, they think that their possessions make them of value in the sight of God. This is a snare, a deception of Satan. What does outward pomp and show avail? What do men and women gain by pride and self-indulgence? "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Worldly treasure is fleeting. Only through Christ can we obtain eternal riches. The wealth that He gives is beyond all computation. Having found God, you are supremely rich in the contemplation of His treasure. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."
Ask yourself the question, What am I doing with the Lord's talents? Are you placing yourselves where the words are applicable to you, "Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation"? We are living in a time of solemn privilege and sacred trust, a time in which our destiny is being decided for life or for death. Let us come to our senses. You who claim to be children of God, bring your tithes to His treasury. Make your offerings willingly and abundantly, according as God has prospered you. Remember that the Lord has intrusted you with talents, upon which you are to trade diligently for Him. Remember also that the faithful servant takes no credit to himself. All the praise and glory is given to the Lord: Thou deliveredst unto me thy pound. No gain could have been made unless there had first been a deposit. There could have been no interest without the principal. The capital was advanced by the Lord. Success in trading comes from Him, and to Him belongs the glory.
Oh, if all who have a knowledge of the truth would only obey the teaching of this truth! Why is it that men, standing on the very threshold of the eternal world, are so blinded? There is not a dearth of means, generally speaking, among Seventh-day Adventists. But many Seventh-day Adventists fail to realize the responsibility which rests upon them to cooperate with God and Christ for the saving of souls. They do not show forth to the world the great interest God has in sinners. They do not make the most of the opportunities granted them. The leprosy of selfishness has taken hold of the Church. The Lord Jesus Christ will heal the Church of this terrible disease if she will be healed. The remedy is found in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah.
Let us work earnestly and unselfishly for God, "knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof."
To us has been given the greatest wealth of truth ever committed to mortals. God desires us to have a true understanding of the words, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world." Enlarge your hearts. Embrace more and still more of the heavenly goods.
What shall we render to God for all His benefits to us? Does the weight of your obligation to your Creator rest heavily upon you? Are you seeking to save the souls who are perishing in sin? Do you realize that now is the time to work for the Master, that now is the time to bring your tithes and offerings into the storehouse? Upon His people God has placed the solemn charge of representing Him in this world. "Ye are the light of the world," He says to them. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." If the truth is not carried into new territory, if the warning message is not given to those who are in darkness, the Church will be held responsible.
Rightly appreciate the gifts of influence and property. Rightly estimate the value of the capital intrusted to you. It places you where you are held responsible to see and relieve the needs of God's cause. Labor for the advancement of the interests which are dearest to the heart of God. With your money, your time, your strength, your influence, work for the upbuilding of these interests. The Lord God of Israel needs the cooperation of every soul, because there is a large field to be worked. Hasten, my brethren and sisters, to bring to God a faithful tithe, and to bring Him also a willing thank offering. There are many who will not be blessed till they make restitution of the tithe which they have withheld. God is waiting for you to redeem the past. The hand of the holy law is laid upon every soul who enjoys God's benefits. Let those who have kept back their tithe make an accurate reckoning, and bring to the Lord that of which they have robbed His work. Make restitution, and bring the Lord peace offerings. "Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me." If you acknowledge that you have done wrong in misappropriating His goods, and freely and fully repent, He will forgive your transgression.
In heaven the angelic beings delight to do the will of God. On earth shall we be backward? God is waiting for you to bring your means to His treasury, that there may be meat in His house. First consecrate yourselves to Him; then bring to Him your gifts.
Wonderful blessing attended the liberality of the early Christian Church. Paul writes, "Our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. . . . Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many in our behalf. For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world and more abundantly to you-ward." "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that we, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: . . . being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God."
Unselfish liberality threw the early Church into a transport of joy. The members knew that thus the power of God was being borne to the needy. Their benevolent energy testified that they had not received the grace of God in vain. What could produce such liberality but the sanctification of the Spirit through the word? In the eyes of believers and unbelievers it was a miracle of grace.
We too often fail to tell of God's faithfulness in rewarding those who obey Him. By murmuring and complaining we darken our own pathway and the pathway of others. It is to be regretted that the Church today feels so little inclination to express thanksgiving to the Lord for enriching her with His grace, for giving her His talent of means, that she may have wherewith to supply His treasury.
The barren portions of the Lord's vineyard cry to God, saying, "Men have neglected to care for me." By allowing their fellow beings to remain in the bondage of want and degradation, men and women allow Satan to reproach God for permitting His children to suffer for the necessaries of life. God is insulted by the indifference of those to whom He has intrusted His goods. His stewards refuse to notice the distress which they might relieve. Thus they bring a reproach upon God.
Let no one trifle with his responsibilities. If you are not trading upon dollars, but only upon cents, remember that the blessing of God rests upon unwearied diligence. He does not despise the day of small things. A wise use of the littles will bring a wonderful increase. One talent wisely used will bring two to God. Interest is expected in proportion to the intrusted capital. God accepts according to what a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
God calls for what you owe Him in tithes and offerings. He calls for consecration in every line of His work. Act faithfully your part at your appointed post of duty. Work earnestly, remembering that Christ is by your side, planning, devising, and constructing for you. "God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work." Give cheerfully, gladly, willingly, thankful that you are able to do something to advance God's kingdom in the world. Empty the heart of selfishness, and brace the mind for Christian activity. If you are in close connection with God, you will be willing to make any sacrifice to place eternal life within the reach of the perishing.
In the name of the Lord, I beseech my brethren and sisters, at this crisis in our work, to come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Withholding from God always brings a curse. Spiritual prosperity is closely bound up with Christian liberality. Hunger only for the exaltation of imitating the divine beneficence of the Redeemer. You have the precious assurance that your treasure is going before you to the heavenly courts. Would you make your property secure? Place it in the hand that bears the nail prints of the crucifixion. Retain all in your possession, and it will be to your eternal loss. Give it to God, and from that moment it bears His inscription. It is sealed with His immutability. Would you enjoy your substance? Then use it to bless the suffering. Would you increase your possessions? "Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine."
If all will act their part, the barrenness of the Lord's vineyard will no longer speak in condemnation of those who profess to follow Christ. Medical missionary work is to open the door for the gospel of present truth. The Third Angel's Message is to be heard in all places. Economize! Strip yourselves of pride. Give to God your earthly treasure. Give what you can now, and as you cooperate with Christ, your hand will open to impart still more. And God will refill your hand, that the treasure of truth may be taken to many souls. He will give to you that you may give to others. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #51)
"Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God."
We need to realize the importance of consecrating our talents to God. We should give ourselves to Him, soul, body, and spirit, to do His will. Our talents are not our own; they are but lent to us; and they are to be sacredly employed in God's service. Let us not trifle with the responsibility of using them wisely. God will require them again at our hands.
In the parable of the talents, Christ has plainly declared the use He expects us to make of our endowments. "The kingdom of heaven," the Saviour said, "is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey."
Read carefully the record of the use made of these talents. The one who had received five talents, and the one who had received two, put their money out to usury, and on the return of their master, they were able to give back to him the principal and interest. These servants were equally commended. To each the master said, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
The servant who had received one talent did not appreciate the gift, but bound up his talent, and hid it in the earth. He did no good with that which his lord gave him. With murmuring and complaining he came to his lord, saying, "Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath."
Christ has made for us a complete offering, an offering without defect or blemish. Let us make an offering of wholehearted service to God. Let us bring our money to God as a thank offering for what He has done for us, even as the wise men brought to Christ their offerings of gold and frankincense and myrrh. As we do our best, making our gift proportionate to our ability to give, God will accept our offering. Remember the offering that Christ made,--the offering of himself to a life of suffering, humiliation, and shame, in order to save a world perishing in sin. Had not this offering been made, we must have perished. How much do we owe to Him who gave His life for us? As we look upon the self-sacrifice of Christ, do not the sacrifices we are called upon to make for Him sink into insignificance?
Christ has compassion upon fallen man. He places himself in his stead, to suffer the penalty of transgression. Thus He has made it possible for sinners to return to their allegiance, to take their place under the royal standard of the Prince of life. But many in the world are perishing in sin. Careless and worldly, they give no thought to God or to eternal realities. They are dishonest in dealing with God's property. They love not the truth. They turn away from the righteousness of Christ to the beggarly elements of the world. They trample under their feet the precepts of God's law, especially the Sabbath commandment. The heart of the Saviour is grieved by their conduct. He desires to save every soul whom He has purchased. Oh that men would understand this, and place themselves in connection with the great Master Workman, making willing sacrifices to save their fellow men!
Soon the Lord is coming to this earth with power and great glory. The work that we are to do is outlined in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. Who is doing this work? Who is building the Lord's altars? Who is preparing the people for the great day of the Lord? Now, just now, every one who claims to be a child of God should bring his means to the Lord's treasury, that there may be a supply to draw from to supply His workers with facilities for entering new places to present the truth to those who have never heard it. From His storehouse God supplies all our necessities. Shall we be only consumers? Shall we not be producers, giving of our means that the truth may be presented to those who will accept the message, and in turn give back to God His own?
There is ever to be in the treasury of the Lord means to be used for enlarging the work, for entering new territory, and building sanctuaries where those who accept present truth may worship Him in the beauty of holiness. God calls upon His people to bring of their means, in tithes and freewill offerings, to Him, that His workers may have wherewith to establish memorials for Him in villages, towns, and cities. These memorials will constantly bear witness that after creating the world in six days, God gave the seventh day to His people as a day of rest, to be a sign between Him and them, that they might know that He is the Lord who sanctifies them.
We are not merely to receive God's gifts. With a full sense of our accountability, we are to bring to Him a return, that His workers may carry His message from city to city and from country to country. God's self-sacrificing workers must be provided with sufficient facilities to make their work a success. Let us not forget the work in foreign fields. The sight as it is presented to me is deplorable. There is great need of workers, and of facilities to enable the workers to do successful work.
"The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." This earth is the Lord's storehouse, from which we are ever drawing. He has provided fruits and grains and vegetables for our sustenance. For us He makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall. The whole human family, good and evil, are constantly drawing from God's storehouse. It makes every difference with those so highly privileged how they receive the Lord's gifts, and how they treat the contract the Lord has made with them. He has made them His almoners, directing them to draw from His storehouse, and then make a return to Him in gifts and offerings, "that there may be meat in mine house," He says.
In the third chapter of Malachi is found the contract God has made with man. Here the Lord specifies the part He will act in bestowing His great gifts on those who will make a faithful return to Him in tithes and offerings. To the selfish ones God says, "Ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
There is no time to lose. Let God's people bring their offerings to Him, that they may worship Him with hearts full of rejoicing. Remember that God has imparted to you of His blessings, that you may have wherewith to give to Him. The Lord's work is now languishing because men do not realize the claims God has upon them. Our institutions in Europe are struggling under a burden of debt. The work of freeing these institutions from debt and embarrassment must be carried forward. They must not be left under a burden of debt.
Let the Lord see that His people are willing to make offerings of self-denial for the honor of His work; that they toil, not for selfish ends, but that under His prospering grace they may have wherewith to give to the objects in need of their help. Shall we not make an effort "to give to him that needeth"? Of what is there greater need than to release the Lord's instrumentalities from debt, and establish them upon a solid basis?
Just now we need to make special effort to help the departments of God's work which are in need of help. Those who are laboring in new fields should be encouraged to plant the standard in new places, to annex new territory for God. Campmeetings are to be held in many places. Churches are to be raised up and organized. There is to be a pressing into new territory. Will not my brethren and sisters throughout the world consecrate themselves and their possessions to God? God help them to bring freewill offerings to Him who gave His only begotten Son to save them from eternal death! Let the believers in Christ deny self, take up the cross, and follow their Leader. Let them make decided efforts to place themselves under His discipline, to take His yoke upon them, and learn of Him. Those who do this will find rest unto their souls.
Let believers in the truth bring to God a faithful tithe. Let them bring Him peace offerings and thank offerings for the great love wherewith He hath loved them. Then there will be no dearth of means in His treasury.
How long shall the apathy remain that is upon the people of God? The words in the fifty-fourth chapter of Isaiah are for us: "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shall not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall He be called."
Our time for work is short. We have not a moment to lose. Let us do something for Christ, and do it now. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #52)
Missions at home and missions abroad demand much more consideration than has been given them. Christ came to our world to teach us the importance of missionary effort. Laying aside His royal robe and kingly crown, He clothed His divinity with humanity, and came to a world all seared and marred with the curse, to rescue human beings from eternal death. He took His position at the head of a fallen race, uniting in His body humanity and divinity, in order that all might be done that could be done for the complete restoration of the image of God in man.
Christ is the example for all who go forth as missionaries. His work is the model for all missionary endeavor. It calls for unreserved surrender, for the consecration of time and talents. It calls upon us to return to God the goods He has intrusted to us, with the interest which has come to us as we have traded on them. All is to be put into the cause, to advance the work which Christ came to the world to do.
In the night season I was in a council meeting. We were seeking the Lord with earnest prayer in regard to opening new fields when there was little encouragement given by those at the head of the work that financial aid would be forthcoming. One of authority spoke to us words of instruction, the substance of which I shall trace.
Every family that is converted is to act as God's helping hand. Had every child for centuries in the past been trained to realize his accountability to God to do missionary work, what a change would be seen in the world today. Every morning and evening, sincere, earnest prayer should ascend from every family altar. The Lord will accept individuals from every family for special service, according to their several ability. Fathers and mothers are to act in the place of God to their children, representing Him whose they are by creation and by redemption. They should spare no pains to train their children in the right way, preparing them for service in the Lord's work.
In this age of the world, apostasy is the fashion. God's people are to make constant, untiring efforts to press upward. Gratitude offerings of prayer and praise are to be offered to God, but these are unacceptable unless serious, prayerful consideration is given to destitute, unworked fields. What mean the narrow, defective plans on which Christians are working? Why do parents neglect to train their children to go forth as missionaries?
While the Church, in comparison with past years, has made some advance, yet in comparison with what she should be, in comparison with the great sacrifice made in Gethsemane and on Calvary, she is far behind in the most important work ever given to mortals. May God help those to whom He has intrusted talents to awaken to His design and their individual responsibility. God says to them, "I have put you in possession of my goods, that by trading wisely on them, you may carry forward the Christian missions which are to be established far and near. I have given you the benefit of accumulated knowledge. The advantages of the past and the present are yours. Upon you rests the weighty burden of accumulated light."
With every age God's plan deepens and broadens to embrace the world. God's lightbearers are to adjust their movements to His progressive plans. They are to embrace new territory. The churches are to be wide awake, moving with the force of Omnipotence, because they move in harmony with God's purpose. They are to seize every opportunity for blessing a world lying in darkness.
Church members should show greater devotion. They should labor with greater zeal for the promulgation of the last message of mercy. Now is the time for all to work. Now is the time to cut away every species of self-indulgence and idolatry. Those who are engaged in Christian ministry are to labor unselfishly for the Lord, dying to self, and pressing together in unity. They are to love as brethren; they are to be kind and courteous; their influence is to be a savor of life unto life.
Many young men and women now engaged in secular labor will feel earnestly stirred to give themselves to the service of God. Some will feel a burden to enter the canvassing field, and will become able evangelists. Let these be given an opportunity to obtain an education for the work of God.
Those who are impressed to take up the work in the home field or in the regions beyond are to go forward in the name of the Lord. They will succeed if they give evidence that they depend on God for grace and strength. At the beginning their work may be very small, but it will enlarge if they follow the Lord's plan. God lives; He will work for the unselfish, self-sacrificing laborer, whoever and wherever he may be.
God does not ask His servants to show their devotion to Him by burying themselves in monasteries, or by going on long, painful pilgrimages. It is not necessary to do this in order to show a willingness to deny self. It is by working for those for whom Christ died that we show true love. By humiliation, suffering, and death Christ purchased the salvation of human beings. Those who love Him will think of how He laid aside His glory, and came to this earth to live in our behalf the life of the poorest, suffering often with hunger. "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests," He said, "but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head." Beholding this divine love, this wonderful sacrifice, they are filled with a desire to spend and be spent in the service of the Redeemer.
To each human being God has assigned a work. Abraham was called to go forth from his home, a lightbearer to the heathen. And without questioning he obeyed. "He went out, not knowing whither he went." So today God's servants are to go where He calls, trusting Him to guide them and give them success in their work.
God's people are to feel a noble, generous sympathy for every line of work carried on in the great harvest field. They are to be interested in everything which concerns the human brotherhood. By their baptismal vows they are pledged to make persevering, self-denying efforts to promote, in the hardest parts of the field, the work of soul-saving. God has placed on every believer the responsibility of striving to rescue the helpless and the oppressed. They are to break every yoke, letting the oppressed go free from the power of vicious habits and sinful practices.
Christians are to be Christlike in their earnest desire to save souls. They should regard it as the highest honor to be enlisted in Christ's army. They should thank God for the privilege of using the talent of speech to win souls to Christ. They should look upon no privilege as more precious than that of imparting to others the knowledge they have received.
My heart aches when I think of how many more might have been saved if men had done their duty. "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."
God says to those who profess to believe in Him, "Go forth into all parts of the world, and diffuse the light of my truth, that men and women may be led to Christ." Let us awaken to our duty. Let us do all we can to help forward the Lord's work. Let superficial excuses be blown to the winds of heaven. No longer grieve the Spirit of God by delaying. Forget not the words, "We are laborers together with God." Cooperate with angels sent from the heavenly courts to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation.
Time is passing; the end is near. While you are unconsecrated, golden opportunities to help souls to see Jesus as He is--full of grace and truth--are being lost. That which you have not done as a devoted Christian in the year which has now almost passed into eternity, you cannot now do. But through the grace of Christ you may redeem the time by redoubling your exertions. Let your interest in the souls for whom Christ has died deepen and broaden. Inquire not, "What shall this man do?" for then Christ would say to you, as He said to Peter, "What is that to thee? follow thou me." Keep in the love of the truth, and work with untiring endeavor to win souls to the Saviour.
Look upon the world today. Is the voice of prayer heard amid the din of confusion? Altars are created, but it is not to God that the sacrifices are offered. Deceivers, robbers, and murderers are many. Pride of ancestry and pride of wealth minister to the work of soul-destruction. Avarice, sensuality, malice,--these are the attributes which bear sway. Thousands are standing on the brink of perdition. Do you see them?--many of them lost, eternally lost to Christ, while professing Christians sleep the sleep of indifference!
More earnest, self-sacrificing men are needed, men who will go to God, and with strong crying and tears plead for the precious souls who are going to ruin. There can be no harvest without seed-sowing, no result without effort.
Christ gave His life to save sinners, and He says to His people, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." He has laid out before us the work to be done, and has declared that He will give us power to do this work. Shall we take Him at His word, believing that He meant just what He said when He declared that the whole world is to hear the message of mercy?
The work is fast closing up, and on every side wickedness is increasing. We have but a short time in which to work. Why do not those to whom God has given light move out into new places? They will have to do this, whether they wish to or not; for God will scatter them to many places.
God is not willing that any should perish. He has abundantly provided for the salvation of all. If His people had gone forth as they should, giving the invitation to thousands, many souls would have been added to the Church. Let us awaken from spiritual slumber, and consecrate all that we have and are to the Lord. His Spirit will abide with true missionaries, furnishing them with power for service. God is an overflowing fountain of efficiency and strength. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes. When this power is utilized, it will be found to be more than sufficient to meet the power of the enemy.
It is impossible for the man who believes in Christ to see the work that needs to be done and not do anything. Daily the Church is to receive from heaven the healing balm of God's grace to impart to the needy and suffering. God's people are weighted with the most sacred responsibilities and the most glorious privileges. All who believe the message for this time will go forth into the field to do something for the Master, relying on the assurance, "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." In practical obedience to the divine command, his confidence will increase, and his talents will multiply. The spiritual desert will rejoice and blossom as the rose.
Arise, ye sleeping virgins, and trim your lamps. Take up your appointed work. "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 78, #53)
When a man accepts Christ, he pledges himself to live the life of a Christian. If he fails of doing this, he dishonors the name of Christian. In all matters of dealing he is to be true and honest, just and liberal, following the perfect example set by the Saviour. He is to keep vigilant watch over himself, lest in word or action he misrepresent the Redeemer.
Ungodliness is not Christianity. Do not think that you can stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel unless as faithful soldiers you obey His orders. In word and action you must say, "I am a Christian. I realize that I must love my neighbor as myself."
Watch well your words; for Christ declares, "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." The Lord is greatly dishonored when cheap, frivolous words fall from the lips of those whose names are registered on the church books.
The talent of speech was given to be used for the benefit of all. Let your praiseworthy example, your peaceable words and unselfish deeds, be a savor of life unto life. Pleasant, cheery words cost no more than unpleasant, moody words. Do you dislike to have harsh words spoken to you? Remember that when you speak such words, others feel the sharp sting.
In this life every one has difficulties with which to wrestle. Every one meets with grievances and disappointments. Shall we not bring sunshine instead of gloom into the lives of those with whom we come in contact? Shall we not speak words that will help and bless? Such words will be just as much a blessing to us as to those to whom they are spoken. Shall we not in word and deed sow seeds which will spring up to bear fruit unto eternal life?
Parents, bring practical godliness into the home. Angels are not attracted to a home where discord reigns. Educate your children to speak words that will bring sunshine and joy. Begin the work of grace in the Church in your own home, so conducting yourselves that your children shall see that you are cooperating with the heavenly angels. Be sure that you are converted every day. Train yourselves and your children for life in the kingdom of God. Angels will be your strong helpers. Satan will tempt you, but do not yield. Do not speak one word of which the enemy can take advantage.
In His word God has marked out a plan for the education of children, and this plan parents are to follow. They are to teach their children to overcome all indolence. Each child should be taught that he has a work to do in the world. Mothers, there is nothing more important than training your children for usefulness. It is in the home that a child gains fitness to wrestle with the problems of life.
The Holy One has spoken words to parents and children: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; . . . that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
Parents are to teach their children the need of obedience, and they are to live so that their children can honor and obey them. They are never to provoke their children to wrath, but are to deal with them as the younger members of the Lord's family. They are to require obedience, being sure at the same time that their own will is in subjection to the will of God. Parents who desire their children to be patterns of piety must be patterns of piety themselves.
It is impossible to depict the evil which results from leaving a child to its own will. Some who go astray because of neglect during childhood, will, through patient, painstaking effort, be brought to the light, and led to walk in the narrow way; but many are lost forever because in childhood they received only a one-sided culture. The precious motive-power of the life is wasted, and the sin lies at the door of the parents, who must answer to God for their neglect.
To the parents who have received the truth of God, I am instructed to say, Be sure to give your children patient instruction and tender care. When the parents in our churches do the work the Lord has laid upon them, His work will advance with mighty power.
Let no parents betray their trust. Let them do their work with the fear of God ever before them. Let the determination of each member of the family be, "I will be a Christian; for in the school here below I must form a character which will give me entrance into the higher grade in heaven. I must do to others as I desire them to do to me; for only those who thus reveal Christ can enter the heavenly courts."
Make the home life as nearly as possible like heaven. Let the members of the family forget not, as they gather round the family altar, to pray for those in positions of responsibility in God's work. The physicians in our sanitariums, the ministers of the gospel, the workers in our publishing houses and schools,--these need your prayers. They all have temptations. As you plead with God to bless them, your own hearts will be subdued and softened by His grace. The more we pray, the nearer will heaven be to us.
Christ reads the heart. He knows the motives that prompt to action. Let us watch ourselves. Let us weed our own gardens before we attempt to weed the gardens of others. Let not a day pass in known sin. God says, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath." Before the setting of the sun, settle every difficulty. Thus will you gain a victory over self.
The commonness of sin does not make it less objectionable to God's sight, nor render its penalty less sure. You may think your transgression small, but its smallness does not make it any the less a sin. Adam's sin was seemingly small, but it opened the floodgates of woe upon our world.
The Church militant is not the Church triumphant. Unless the people of God wage a valiant warfare against every species of sin, they will never pass through the portals of the holy city. And we shall have no second trial. Now is the accepted time, the time in which we are to obtain the education that will enable us to live in the heavenly courts. The whole heavenly universe is watching with the deepest interest to see who in this primary school is practicing the lessons of Christ.
What does the Scripture say?--"Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?"
This is the great day of atonement. How much better it is for us to afflict our souls than to be engaged in strife for the highest place, causing heart-burning and discord. Never think or speak evil. When tempted to do this, go by yourself, and ask God to help you to overcome this hateful sin. Humble yourselves in the sight of God, and He will lift you up. Let us praise God that when we humble ourselves, His merciful hand lifts us up. By Mrs. E. G. White.