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The Review and Herald Articles
for the Year 1902
(Vol. 79, #1)
"Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God."
What has prevented this promise of the gospel from being fulfilled in all who believe in Christ? Why has not the truth of the living God filled the hearts of the church members with power, that it may be carried to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples? Why has not the plan of divine benevolence, with its saving, restoring qualities, brought a much larger number to the standard of loyalty to God? The reason is the unfaithfulness of those who have a knowledge of the truth. They have not fulfilled the commission given them by Christ. They have not taken the truth to those who are in the darkness of error. Their selfishness has placed the candlestick of truth under a bushel.
The condition of the world today is represented by the condition of the world in Noah's day. Then, we read, "the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth." "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. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. . . . And God said unto Noah, 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. . . . Behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and everything that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee."
The forms of wickedness existing in Noah's day are current in the world today. God's word declares: "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 in 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."
Noah was given a message to give to the antediluvians. But they scorned his warning. So today the message that God has sent to be given to the world will be rejected. But this message must be given. The people of God are to make every other interest secondary to its proclamation.
Every provision has been made for the salvation of the fallen race. All power has been given to Him who offered himself as a sacrifice for the redemption of every son and daughter of Adam. "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."
Christ came to this world and stood before men with the hoarded love of eternity. The whole ocean of divine love was flowing forth from its great center. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were working in behalf of man. Every power in the heavenly universe was put into activity to carry forward the plan of redemption. The cross of Calvary was erected, and while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The Just suffered for the unjust, that He might become the justifier of all who believe in Him. He took human nature upon himself, that He might be a partaker with us in all our temptations. He clothed His divinity with humanity, that by enduring the agony of the cross, He might make His soul an offering for sin.
Christ died to save a selfish world from the sure consequences of selfishness. He has opened His heart in love and pity and sympathy for the whole world. He invites fallen beings to come to Him and receive full and free forgiveness. His character stands before the heavenly universe free from every taint of selfishness. He has made a complete sacrifice to bring to men and women that benevolence which dwells in His own heart. He has sent His Holy Spirit to impress the mind and heart, to lead men to love their fellow men as Christ has loved them.
Infinite benevolence is pouring out all its treasures for the saving of souls from sin, that man may be made one with God. God calls upon human agencies to cooperate with Him in the carrying out of His great purpose. The Lord has given to His people the privilege of carrying forward in the earth the work which He did while here. He calls upon us to cooperate with Him in restoring and saving our fellow men. Christ desires, by the fullness of His power, so to strengthen His Church that the whole world will be encircled with an atmosphere of grace.
God wants those who have accepted the truth and have identified themselves with His chosen people, elect and precious, to unite with Christ in His work of drawing men, women, and children to the cross of Calvary. Behold the Man who said, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." He arose from the dead, and over the rent sepulcher of Joseph proclaimed, "I am the resurrection and the life. I was dead, but behold, I am alive for evermore."
The cross teaches the lesson of self-sacrifice. As by faith men behold the royal Sufferer, the conviction comes to them that the sure result of sin is death. Let the believing soul stand beside the cross of Calvary, and with a heart swelling with grateful love, cry, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!" Behold Him! Say it with heart and soul and voice. Induce the sinner to look. When his gaze is arrested, amazed at such wonderful condescension, he steps nearer, and learns of the Saviour the lesson all must learn,--the lesson of meekness and lowliness. The believing soul sees Jesus as He is, and beholding, is changed into His image. The experience of those who are truly converted testifies that God is the author of eternal salvation, and that the grace of Christ is wisdom and power.
Christ loves the human race; and in every action of His life He has expressed this love. He calls upon men to love one another as He has loved them. His saving power and love are ever to be the theme of those who believe in God. Just before His ascension, He gave to His disciples the commission, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
Thus was given to the disciples a most precious trust. They were to be the executors of the will in which Christ has bequeathed to the world the treasure of eternal life. They realized the responsibility of their work. They knew that they held in their hands the bread of life for a famishing world, and they went everywhere preaching the word. The love of Christ constrained them, and they could not forbear breaking the bread of life to all who were in need. The last words of the Saviour were constantly sounding in their ears.
In the trust given to the first disciples, each believer has a share. Each one is to be an executor of the Saviour's will. Each one has been given sacred truth to give to the earnest seeker. Every believer is to be a laborer together with God.
I appeal to all who claim to believe the truth, to realize the importance of the message God has given us to bear to the world. In city after city self-sacrificing work must be done. Province after province must be enlightened. The truth is to go forth as a lamp that burneth. Those who profess to know God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, must not fall into the cold, selfish practices of the world. Their zeal must not die. They must not allow spiritual declension, with all its baleful influence, to come in. Church members are in great danger of forgetting the peculiar benefits and blessing which have been given them, and the responsibility which rests upon them,--in danger of turning away from Christ and allowing their thoughts to run in worldly channels for the sake of gain.
The gospel will not sustain a final defeat; it will triumph. But for years it has been evident that selfishness, under the form of godliness, has been entering the Church. The perverse ways of Satan have taken the place of the ways of God. Unholy difference of opinion, under the garb of zeal for religion, has taken the place of Christian charity. By their bigotry, professed Christians have violated the principles which should ever be sacredly cherished. Criticism and denunciation have taken the place of sympathy and forbearance. An inquisition has been set up among those who should be free from all overbearing.
God calls for the extinction of this satanic devising. The love of Christ in the heart forbids all oppression. Remember His words to the disciples when they desired Him to permit them to call down fire from heaven upon those who did not give Him due honor. "He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of." Those who work for the Redeemer must cultivate Christian love. But for years, some, even among those who claim to believe present truth, have acted in an oppressive manner, cherishing in the heart that fearful, hateful thing which has led them to exclude their brethren from their fellowship and their councils, because they supposed them wanting in some respects, as though the Lord has made them judges of character. The spirit has been entertained which presumes to limit the Holy One in the judicial working of His grace. In the place of coming close to those for whom the Lord has seen fit to work, men have stood apart, saying, "I am holier than thou. I cannot connect with you in religious service. Your ways and my ways do not agree."
The Lord Jesus Christ is our judge and our lawgiver. Let those in God's service turn from everything that will mar their usefulness. A hasty temper, a lack of patience, an inclination to speak hastily,--these are things against which the Lord's servants must guard. They must remember that He who has appointed them their work, says to them, "Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord."
Be very careful how you attempt to number Israel. Not to you nor to any other man has God given this work. You make a great mistake when you put your human measurement upon any of your brethren. You cannot read the heart. It is probable that the one with whom you find fault is more righteous in the sight of God than you are. "Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." "For there is no respect of persons with God. For 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, . . . in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
"Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest His will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; and art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonorest thou God? for the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? and shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."
This instruction is for those who are living amid the perils of these last days. Be careful how you measure your brother. Take heed to yourself, and put no occasion of stumbling in your brother's way. "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
Let us make diligent efforts to serve God. We need to reach a higher standard. The truth must not be kept in the outer court. Bring its principles into the inner sanctuary of the soul. Make Christ the guide of every action. Separate from the soul all selfishness. Hate it; for it is the destroyer of peace and godliness. "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him." The grace of our Saviour is the grand, healing influence which conforms the life to the life of God. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #1)
[One afternoon of the recent session of the Atlantic Union Conference was occupied in presenting principles and plans relating to the forward movement. Sister White spoke first upon the importance of following the light which has been given upon the principles of healthful living, both for our own sake and that we may be a greater blessing to others. The following is a portion of her talk at that time:--]
In the twelfth chapter of Romans we read, "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." Much is comprehended in this. Here the apostle beseeches us to reach the high standard that it is possible to attain. Christ made it possible when He laid aside His royal robes, His royal crown, stepped down from His royal throne, clothed His divinity with humanity that humanity might touch humanity. He could not with His glory and majesty take His position among men. The glory must be laid aside He must take the rude garments of humanity that He might be afflicted with all the afflictions of humanity, that He might understand their temptations. He would become a faithful judge of how much they had to contend with in the conflict with satanic agencies. Through this experience Christ was enabled to give power to His people, for to "as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." See where our power is. It is not in ourselves.
The Lord wants every one of us to educate himself for God. At baptism, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost we were set apart to engage in the very work that Christ came to the world to do. What was He?--In the highest sense He was a missionary, and He was a healing missionary. He went from place to place healing the sick and suffering, and His disciples were gaining from Him that instruction which alone could be called higher education. The Lord wants the work that has been neglected in our cities to be taken hold of without delay. There is a great work to be done. Solemn interests are at stake in our cities: souls are hungering for the bread of life. Shall we receive the word from Christ to give to him that is hungry, and to impart to the thirsty the water of life? Why should we pass by and neglect the most wealthy classes? God gives somebody a message to them, a call to repentance, as did John, "for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." There is nothing in the world to accomplish this, to open doors where truth can enter, like the medical missionary work. This work will commend itself to the hearts of men whose whole life has been perverted. Indulgence of appetite has spoiled them. They have been in the habit of eating and drinking, and having their luxuries, and what is the result?--They are broken down before they come to maturity. They are in need of heavenly truth, Bible enlightenment. Do you not think that there is hope of saving some of these?--Certainly there is. There is nothing that will help them into right paths like the presentation of the necessity of becoming acquainted with the human temple that God has given them, the beautiful machinery to be brought into perfect order.
No one is to be indifferent in this matter. Life, eternal life, is presented to all as a gift of God, if they will receive it. Will they show wisdom, as did Daniel and his fellows, to refuse the meats and the wines which, if used, will spoil the Lord's wonderful and beautiful machinery? Will they reason from cause to effect? They--yes, the supposedly wealthy men--need wisdom as to how to conduct themselves so as to preserve their powers of mind and body. They are ignorant in regard to the effect of their eating and drinking, and do not know what a temperate diet will do for them.
We should not be prevailed upon to take anything into the mouth that will bring the body into an unhealthy condition, no matter how much we like it. Why?--Because we are God's property. You have a crown to win, a heaven to gain, and a hell to shun. Then for Christ's sake I ask you, Will you have the light shine before you in clear and distinct rays, and then turn away from it and say, "I love this, and I love that"? God calls upon every one of you to begin to plan, to cooperate with God in His great care and love, to elevate, ennoble, and sanctify the whole soul, body, and spirit, that we may be workers together with God.
There is a work to be begun in every city, in every town. What are you going to do to help it forward? You are to obtain all the light and knowledge that you can. There are the health books. Our canvassers can take these books right along with them, and read them. As they go, they will find that there is light in them, which they can present to the families they visit. They will find persons sick, and they can read something in those books that will do these persons good. Many are going to work on this plan. God never sets a man to work, and leaves him without putting any ideas into his mind. God gave Daniel knowledge, superior knowledge, in all matters of difficulty, and the Lord gave him the power to obtain that education that placed him on the highest platform of higher education before all the astrologers and magicians in all the realm of mighty Babylon. Now what is God going to do for every diligent searcher for truth. You see what He gave to Daniel. Daniel would not touch the king's meat. Who of us are eating meat today? Who have thought that they must live upon the flesh of dead animals? We should not do it. We are composed of what we eat. God has given you those things that will make you healthy. Do not put corpses upon your tables; do not, I beg of you, eat the flesh of dead animals; for there is enough that you can live upon without that.
What does meat-eating do?--It creates animalism in the human agent, it strengthens the animal propensities, which are already strong enough. You would better be strengthening the spiritual powers. God helps us that we may, by self-denial and self-sacrifice, keep a clear brain and an understanding mind. It is better to let sweet things alone. Let alone those sweet dessert dishes that are placed on the table. You do not need them. You want a clear mind to think after God's order. We should now come into line with health reform principles. There is a work to be done, and we want to unite with Dr. Kellogg in doing this work. He knows what he is talking about; and we want to take the light from the word of God, and form ourselves into companies to work for others. God will help us do this work.
There is an abundance to eat. We do not believe in a poverty-stricken diet; but we want to eat those things that shall not corrupt in our stomachs, and sour our tempers. It is bad eating and sour stomachs which make men that are called Christians act unreasonably. They get a little mote of difficulty before their mind's eye, and exalt that mote to a mountain; and then the mountain of eternal spiritual advantages that ought to be exalted will become a molehill. That is the way the enemy wants it to be; but we do not want to work in such a way; for it is not profitable. Let us reverse the whole matter. Eat wholesome, good food; and sweeten up in your disposition.
There is a work to be done, a large work to be done. There is a world to save, a world to put on the right track. What have you been doing these years with the light that God has been flashing upon your pathway? I ask you, What have you been doing?
Are you "rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer"? You cannot do that unless you have a good, sweet stomach. With a sour stomach you are thinking all the time, "Oh, dear, how my stomach hurts me! What is the matter with me?" If you had thought just a little earlier, and eaten the right things, you would have avoided the difficulty. Let us all be temperate. It is our duty to be cheerful. We are not to be like a band that is marching along in a slow and mournful tread. That is not our place. What we want is to rejoice in hope.
You can go to the houses all around you, to those of the high as well as to those of the lowly, and find access. Their souls are just as hungry for the truth of God as the very lowliest among us; and we want to get together and organize for service. God will give us wisdom. He will give us strength for this work if we continue instant in prayer. The light of heaven will shine into our minds and hearts.
From the light which God has given me, there is a solemn accountability that rests upon you who for years have had the light on health reform. What have you been doing? Have you been living it out to the letter? Our sanitariums are to represent health reform. As they have patients there, they are to present the very best kind of food which will be for the health of these patients. If you expect to do your patients good, provide simple food, do not tempt them with sweet pies and puddings which will place them where it will take more than one or two baths and fomentations to take away the evil effects of that which you brought before them to eat. We want to teach all the people all these things. Teach them in every place that faith and works must harmonize. The Lord calls upon you to show your colors. Stand as eternal health reformers, and do not be in such a condition that when they ask you if you are a health reformer, you will blush for shame. No; you want to say, Certainly, I am; certainly I am a health reformer in every respect; and I want to help others to be health reformers. This work is the right hand of the gospel. It is this health reform, and this healthful living, that is cleaving the way for us right to the hearts of thousands who have nearly killed themselves with their improper diet. Now let us begin to save them. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 79, #2)
Everything that God could do was done to save a perishing world. "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 has made it impossible for it to be said that He could have done more than He has done for the fallen race. When He gave His Son, He gave himself. In one great gift He poured out the whole treasure of heaven. He has revealed a love that defies all computation, a love that should fill our hearts and lives with gratitude.
Christ loves human beings, and He died to save them. At an infinite price He ransomed them from the power of the enemy. He invites them to become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. He desires to see them prepared to receive the crown of life. He longs to bestow on them the eternal riches. He came to restore in them the image of divinity. He calls upon those who have accepted Him to join Him in this work. He has chosen us as His instruments. By us He desires to carry out His merciful purposes. He says, You are laborers together with me. Shall we not cooperate with Him in His great plan, working earnestly to save His blood-bought heritage?
He has given us grand and solemn truths to impart to those who are in darkness. Let us not mar these truths by imperfect utterance. God has given us voices that we may speak His truth. He desires that the music of the voice shall aid in impressing His word upon minds.
We should train ourselves to take deep, full inspirations, and to speak clearly and distinctly. The voice should not be dropped at the end of a sentence, so that the closing words are hardly audible.
Those who open the oracles of God to the people should improve in their manner of communicating the truth, that it may be presented to the world in an acceptable way. Place proper emphasis upon the words that should be made impressive. Speak slowly. Let the voice be as musical as possible.
God desires His ministers to seek for perfection, that they may be vessels unto honor. They are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit; and when they speak, they are to show an energy proportionate to the importance of the subject they are presenting. They are to show that the power about which they speak has made a change in their lives. When they are truly united with Christ, they will give the heavenly invitation with an earnestness that will impress hearts. As they manifest zeal in proclaiming the gospel message, a corresponding earnestness will be produced in the hearers, and lasting impressions for good will be made.
The greater the influence of the truth upon us, the greater will be our earnestness in seeking for perfection in our manner of imparting truth.
Sin brings physical and spiritual disease and weakness. Christ has made it possible for us to free ourselves from this curse. The Lord promises, by the medium of truth, to renovate the soul. The Holy Spirit will make all who are willing to be educated able to communicate the truth with power. It will renew every organ of the body, that God's servants may work acceptably and successfully. Vitality increases under the influence of the Spirit's action. Let us, then, by this power lift ourselves into a higher, holier atmosphere, that we may do well our appointed work.
By constant obedience those who are born again are fitted for service. The entire being is to be placed under the molding, fashioning hand of God, that physical, mental, and spiritual perfection may be attained. Christians are to grow to the full stature of men and women in Christ.
The Lord desires His servants to improve in their manner of praying. He inquires, Where is the vivifying influence of your prayers? He does not accept the tame, lifeless, lengthy prayers, which are so destitute of His Spirit. He calls for a reformation, else He will remove the candlestick out of its place. He desires the candle to burn brightly, sending forth light to all parts of the world. When the Church turns fully to the Lord, lifeless, spiritless prayers will no more be heard.
I urge my ministering brethren to improve in their manner of praying. This can and must be done. I must say to them, The shorter you make your spiritless prayers, the better will it be for the congregation. It is generally the case that the less of heaven's vitality there is in a prayer, the more lengthy it is. Do not spend a long time in prayer before a congregation unless you know that God is inditing the prayer. Let the prayers made in public be short and full of earnestness. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much; but the prayer uttered in a low, monotonous tone and spiritless manner is not accepted by God. The voice of prayer should rise to God from hearts burdened by a sense of need. Let there be a revival of the Holy Spirit, that your prayers may be filled with the power of heaven.
Learn to seek the Lord most earnestly for power to reach sinners. Heed the message God has sent to His Church of today: "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold or hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 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."
The Lord calls for those in His service to make all the improvement He has made it possible for them to make. The truth in our possession is of infinite importance. How essential, then, that it should lose none of its power in passing from us to those who are in darkness. It should not be bereft of its luster by our inefficiency. Our expression of God's wondrous lovingkindness, frame our words as we may, will be tame enough as it falls from our lips. But when, with sanctified lips, we offer praise for God's love, hearts are reached. Let us pray that the wondrous message of Christ's love may reach hearts. Let us watch for the Lord more earnestly than they that watch for the morning. Let us hope in Him and walk in His ways. He is well-pleased when His servants work with implicit faith in Him, asking Him to supply all their needs.
From the experience of Jacob we may learn the power of importunate prayer. On his way to meet Esau, Jacob sent his family across the river Jabbok, while he alone remained behind. He had decided to spend the night in prayer, and he desired to be alone with God.
It was a lonely, mountainous region, the haunt of wild beasts and the lurking place of robbers and murderers. Solitary and unprotected, Jacob bowed in deep distress upon the earth. It was midnight. All that made life dear to him were at a distance, exposed to danger and death. Bitterest of all was the thought that it was his own sin that had brought this peril upon the innocent. With earnest cries and tears he made his prayer before God. Suddenly a strong hand was laid upon him. He thought that an enemy was seeking his life, and he endeavored to free himself from the grasp of his assailant. In the darkness the two struggled for the mastery. Not a word was spoken, but Jacob put forth all his strength, and did not relax his efforts for a moment. While he was thus battling for his life, the sense of guilt pressed upon his soul; his sins rose up before him to shut him out from God. But in his terrible extremity he remembered God's promises, and his whole heart went out in entreaty for His mercy. The struggle continued till near the break of day, when the stranger placed his finger upon Jacob's thigh, and he was crippled instantly.
The patriarch now discerned the character of his antagonist. He knew that he had been in conflict with a heavenly messenger, and this was why his almost superhuman effort had not gained the victory. It was Christ, "the Angel of the covenant," who had revealed himself to Jacob. The patriarch was disabled, and suffering the keenest pain, but he would not loosen his hold. All penitent and broken, he clung to the angel; "he wept, and made supplication," pleading for a blessing. He must have the assurance that his sin was pardoned. Physical pain was not sufficient to divert his mind from this object. His determination grew stronger, his faith more earnest and persevering, until the very last. The angel tried to release himself; he urged, "Let me go, for the day breaketh;" but Jacob answered, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me."
Had this been a boastful, presumptuous confidence, Jacob would have been instantly destroyed; but his was the assurance of one who confesses his own unworthiness, yet trusts the faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God.
Jacob "had power over the angel, and prevailed." Through humiliation, repentance, and self-surrender, this sinful, erring mortal prevailed with the Majesty of heaven. He had fastened his trembling grasp upon the promises of God, and the heart of infinite Love could not turn away the sinner's plea.
Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined. His experience testifies to the power of importunate prayer. It is now that we are to learn this lesson of prevailing prayer, of unyielding faith. The greatest victories to the Church or to the individual Christian are not those that are gained by talents or education, by wealth, or the favor of men; they are those victories that are gained in the audience chamber with God, when earnest, agonizing faith lays hold upon the mighty arm of power.
We can do nothing of ourselves. In our helpless unworthiness we must trust in the merits of the crucified and risen Saviour. None will ever perish while they do this. The long, black catalogue of our delinquencies is before the eye of the Infinite. The register is complete; none of our offenses are forgotten. But He who listened to the cries of His servants of old, will hear the prayer of faith, and pardon our transgressions. He has promised, and He will fulfill His word. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #2)
I am commissioned to say that the prosperity of the medical missionary work is in God's order. This work must be done; the truth must be carried into the highways and byways. Ministers and church members should awake to the necessity of cooperating in this work.
With earnest, untiring energy, those who have felt the burden of the Christian Help work have testified by their works that they are not content to be mere theoretical believers. They have tried to walk in the light. They have put their belief into practice. They have combined faith and works. They have done the very work the Lord has specified should be done, and many souls have been enlightened, and convicted, and helped.
The indifference among our ministers in regard to health reform and the medical missionary work is surprising. Even those who do not profess to be Christians treat the subject with greater respect than do some of our own people, and these are going in advance of us.
Why, I inquire, are some of our ministerial brethren so far behind in proclaiming the exalted theme of temperance? My brethren, the word given to you is, "Take hold of the work of health reform; go forward." If you think that the medical missionary work is assuming undue proportions, take the men who have been working in these lines with you into your fields of labor, two here, and two there. Receive these medical missionaries as you would receive Christ, and see what work they can do. You will not find them dwarfs in religious experience. See if in this way you cannot bring much of heaven's vital current into the churches. See if there are not some who will grasp the education they so much need, and bear the testimony, "God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved), and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Eph. 2:4-6. Our great need is unity, perfect oneness in God's work.
The gospel ministry is an organization for the proclamation of the truth to the sick and to the well. It combines the medical missionary work and the ministry of the word. By these combined agencies, opportunities are given to communicate light, and to present the gospel to all classes and all grades of society. God wants the ministers and the church members to take a decided, active interest in the medical missionary work.
To take people right where they are, whatever their position or condition, and help them in every way possible,--this is gospel ministry. Those who are diseased in body are nearly always diseased in mind, and when the soul is sick, the body also is affected. Ministers should feel it a part of their work to minister to the sick and afflicted whenever opportunity presents itself. The minister of the gospel is to present the message, which must be received if the people are to become sanctified and made ready for the coming of the Lord. This work is to embrace all that was embraced in Christ's ministry.
Those who understand physiology and hygiene will, in their ministerial labor, find it a means whereby they may enlighten others in regard to the proper and intelligent treatment of the physical, mental, and moral powers. Therefore those who are preparing for the ministry should make a diligent study of the human organism, that they may know how to care for the body, not by means of drugs, but from nature's own laboratory. The Lord will bless those who make every effort to keep themselves free from disease, and lead others to regard as sacred the health of the body as well as of the soul.
The ambassadors of Christ, those to whom have been committed the living oracles of God, can be doubly useful if they know how to help the sick. A practical knowledge of health reform will better qualify men and women to proclaim the message of mercy and retribution to the world. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #3)
"Unto the angel of the Church in Sardis write: These things saith He that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."
The minister of the gospel of Christ is to watch for souls as he that must give an account. He is to be often on his knees in prayer, asking for heavenly wisdom, that he may strengthen "the things which remain, that are ready to die." By living in accordance with the will of God, he is to place himself under divine power. The word of God is to be his guide. In this word there are promises, directions, warnings, and reproofs, which he is to use in his work as the occasion may require. With a humble heart and a willing mind he is to search this word, that for the benefit of others he may draw from the storehouse of truth things new and old. He is ever to seek to lead minds to gain a personal knowledge of the truth. Many are sorely tempted and ready to die because they have not a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus.
In every congregation that gathered about Jesus, there were souls who were hungering and thirsting for a knowledge of God. As they listened to the truths that fell from the lips of the divine Teacher, truths so different from the traditions of the rabbis, hope sprang up in their hearts. In the Saviour's teaching there was a power that sent the truth home to the heart. God's ministers are to learn Christ's method of teaching, that, like Him, they may present the great principles of truth in the power of the Spirit.
And the minister's work does not end with the presentation of truth from the pulpit. He is to do earnest, personal, house-to-house work, studying the Scriptures with the people, and praying with them. Thus many will be brought to a knowledge of God. Souls ready to perish will be imbued with the Spirit of Christ. But this work has been neglected; and therefore the churches are lacking in power. There are many ordained ministers who have never yet exercised a shepherd's care over the flock of God, who have never watched for souls as they that must give an account. The Church, instead of developing, is left to be a weak, dependent, inefficient body. The members of the Church, trained to rely upon preaching, do little for Christ. They bear no fruit, but rather increase in selfishness and unfaithfulness. They put their hope in the preacher, depending on his efforts to keep alive their weak faith. Because the church members have not been properly instructed by those whom God has placed as overseers, many are slothful servants, hiding their talents in the earth, and still complaining of the Lord's dealing toward them. They expect to be tended like sick children.
The best help that ministers can give the members of our churches is not sermonizing, but planning work for them. Give each one something to do for others. Help all to see that as receivers of the grace of Christ they are under obligation to work for Him. And let all be taught how to work. Especially should those who are newly come to the faith be educated to become laborers together with God. If set to work, the despondent will soon forget their despondency, the weak will become strong, the ignorant intelligent, and all will be prepared to present the truth as it is in Jesus. They will find an unfailing helper in Him who has promised to save all that come unto Him.
I am pained, my brethren, as the weak, sickly condition of our churches is presented before me. "Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?" I have been instructed that our ministers are not as efficient as God desires them to be. He has made every provision that they may have His grace and power for the accomplishment of His work. But He is disappointed in them, because they do not cooperate with Him. The lifeless condition of many of the churches in our Conferences testifies to the lack of the grace of Christ in the hearts of the men appointed to act as His ambassadors.
Brethren, I appeal to you to change this order of things. To whom have you been looking for strength? Have you not been trusting in your own efficiency? Have you not been looking to men, and making flesh your arm? What a difference there would be in the character of your work if you kept before you a realization of the abiding presence of a just and holy God, who requires you not merely to go through the form of preaching, but to give full proof of your ministry by revealing clusters of precious fruit.
It is from God that we are to receive power for service. And He has promised to give this power to all who ask in faith. "If any of you lack wisdom," the apostle declares, "let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord."
Obedience to this word is the secret of success. God is the source of wisdom. From Him we must receive our supplies. What precious experiences would have been gained if those who have been trusting in man had trusted in God, relying on Him to do that which they cannot do. They would have found that His word is Yea and Amen. They would have been encouraged to ask, and ask again. They would have gained a knowledge of the Lord and Saviour; for they would have been brought into close companionship with Him.. Love for Him would have burned more and more brightly on the altar of the heart as they proved Him, and found Him to be a very present help in every time of need.
"Come unto me," Christ said, "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." No human being is wise enough or strong enough to sustain you. Take all your burdens to Jesus. You may lean your whole weight on Him, and He will uphold you; for He is all-powerful. He will not sink under the burdens placed on Him.
The parable of the wise and foolish virgins comes as a solemn warning to every church. In the parable, all the ten virgins went out to meet their lord. All had lamps, and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the Church that lives just before Christ's second coming. All have a knowledge of the Scriptures. All have heard the message of Christ's soon approach, and confidently expect His appearing. But as in the parable, so it is now. A time of waiting intervenes, faith is tried; and when the cry is heard, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him," many are unready. They have no oil in their vessels with their lamps. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit.
Working, waiting, watching, and praying,--this constitutes genuine Christianity. Our work is not to be all waiting in idle expectancy; neither is it to be all bustle and excitement, to the neglect of personal piety. Working, waiting, watching, and praying are to be blended in the life of God's minister. He is to be "not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." The needs of his soul must be supplied with the oil of grace. Constantly he is to increase in spiritual power.
He who taught the disciples is willing to teach His servants today. Christ is the true Light, "which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." If our labors amount to more than beating the air, we must have a close union with Christ. He must be an abiding presence in the heart. And in order for Him to enter the heart, it must be cleansed from defilement.
The minister of the gospel who is a laborer together with God will learn daily in the school of Christ. By his wisdom in dealing with minds, he will give full proof of his ministry. He will become acquainted with the parents and children in his congregation, and will speak kind, earnest words to them. No light, trifling words will fall from his lips; for is he not an ambassador for Christ, bearing a divine message to perishing souls? All jesting and joking, all lightness and trifling, is painful to the cross-bearing disciple of Christ. He is weighed down by the burden he feels for souls. Constantly his heart is drawn out in prayer to God for the gift of His grace, that he may be a faithful steward. He prays to be kept pure and holy, and then refuses to rush heedlessly into temptation. He heeds the injunction, "As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." Daily he grows in grace, ever gaining a deeper knowledge of God. He overcomes selfishness. His affections are elevated and ennobled. Not only a Bible reader, but a Bible believer, he gives a portion of meat to every man in due season. Keeping close to his Master, he receives words from Him to speak to the people. Lifting as Christ lifts, loving as Christ loves, working as Christ works, he goes about doing good. He strives with all his power for self-improvement, that by precept and example he may lead others to a purer, higher, nobler life. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #4)
In every land there are thousands of souls in darkness, without the knowledge of the truth, souls who have never heard the last message of mercy to a perishing world. They know not that the end of all things is at hand. "Peace and safety" is the cry that is sounded from the popular pulpits. And yet how many of God's professed people are at ease in Zion. The churches in general are weak and dependent. They think that some one must be with them every Sabbath to spread for them a gospel feast. They do not realize that they must individually appropriate to themselves the truth that has been unfolded to them, and communicate its light to those who know it not; and they are doing comparatively nothing, either in the home missions or in the "regions beyond." Can you, dear brethren and sisters, be doers of the word of God, while indifferent to the souls that are perishing around you? Can you listen to the truth Sabbath after Sabbath, and not impart its light to others?
The Church must not depend so fully as she has done in the past upon the ordained minister alone to carry the gospel to the world. God has given to every man his work. For many years He has been bidding His people, "Go work today in my vineyard." He calls upon men who understand the Scriptures to go into places where the message of truth has never penetrated, and there work, imparting to others what God has imparted to them. They can be as the salt, communicating saving properties to those with whom they come in contact.
The standard of truth may be raised by humble men and women; and the youth, and even the children, may be a blessing to others, by revealing what the truth has done for them. God will use the most feeble instruments if they are wholly submitted to Him. He can work through them to help souls to whom the minister could not obtain access. In the highways and byways the lost are to be sought. With your Bible in your hand, with your heart warm and glowing with the love of God, you may go out and tell others your experience; you may make known to them the truth that has impressed your heart, praying with faith that God will make your efforts successful in their salvation. Communicate light, and you will have more light to communicate. Thus you may become laborers together with God.
God desires that His children shall make use of all their powers; and in working to bless others, you may grow strong in the strength of Jesus. You may not be learned; you may not be thought capable of doing a great work for God; but there are things which you can do. You can let your light shine forth to others. Through the prophet Isaiah Christ has said, "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? 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. . . . 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."
Every one may have an understanding of the truth, and exert an influence for good. Then go to work, my brethren and sisters. Gain an experience by working for others. You may make mistakes; but this is not more than the most intelligent, and those in positions of trust, have done again and again. You will not always meet with success; but you can never know the result of humble, disinterested effort to help those who are in darkness. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit, you may win souls from error to truth, and in so doing your own souls will be filled with the love of God. Unaccustomed paths will open before you in your work of ministry. You will often have to step out of the beaten track, and, under the Holy Spirit's guidance, do special work for God; but if you make Him your dependence, He will give you wisdom and strength according to your need.
I pray that church members may see the peril of departing from God's expressed commandment, and repent of their lifelong neglect of the service of Christ while professing to be His followers. If they would go forth as pilgrims and strangers, and make for themselves homes where there is work to be done, letting their light shine forth to those who are in darkness and error, they would then be able to say, "And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace." We shall receive fresh supplies of grace as we impart to others that which we already have.
The Holy Spirit will impress upon the mind that the religion of the Bible is a grand and precious reality. You need not only to assent to the truth, but to put it into practice. Let every ray of light that shines from the word be heeded as the eternal truth of God. Then as you place your will on the Lord's side, look around for some work to do for the Master. Set to work at whatever your hand finds to do; for it is in practicing truth, in blessing others, that you work out your own salvation. If God works in you to will and to do of His good pleasure, you will cultivate those traits of character that every heir of heaven must possess.
Many have a superficial experience because they do so much for themselves, and so little for Jesus. Intercourse with those who are in need of help, with the purpose of saving their souls, will lead us to pray for wisdom, and look to Jesus as our Helper. By unselfish labor for others, we shall establish ourselves in the faith far more firmly than by listening to so many sermons. The Holy Spirit will be our helper, giving us arguments with which to meet opposition, and in all our work giving us steadfast faith and unshaken confidence. Thus we shall gain an experience of more value than gold, or silver, or precious stones.
The Lord would awaken His Church to her calling,--to follow in the footsteps of Christ, and present Him to the world, that the world may say of His disciples, They have been with Jesus, and have learned of Him. Then let each engage in this work in all humility of mind. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren," said Christ, "ye have done it unto me." Shall we not, then, without delay, go without the camp, bearing the reproach for Christ's sake? In so doing, we shall share largely of the Holy Spirit's teaching and leading.
There must be no idlers in the work of God. He desires that His people shall engage in living missionary work, and thus be doers of His word. He desires that they shall labor in love for one another; that they shall pray most earnestly for themselves that they may be branches in the living Vine, daily drawing nourishment from it, and bearing rich clusters of precious fruit. "Herein is my Father glorified," He says, "that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #4)
Nashville, Tenn., Dec. 27, 1901.--To the ministers and other friends of the Berrien Springs School: There are times when things do not look as bright and cheerful as we could wish, because difficulties stand in the way of rapid advancement; but we hope, brethren and sisters, that you all will be encouraged to take a deep interest in the establishment of the school at Berrien Springs, and aid it by the sale of "Christ's Object Lessons," and in other ways. Let the sale of "Christ's Object Lessons" be taken hold of interestedly in our large cities and in the smaller settlements. Brethren, wake up! The good hand of the Lord has been with our people in the selection of a place for the school. This place corresponds to the representations given me as to where the school should be located. It is away from the cities, and there is an abundance of land for agricultural purposes, and room so that houses will not need to be built one close to another. There is plenty of ground where students may be educated in the cultivation of the soil. "Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building."
We would have all understand, when canvassing for "Christ's Object Lessons," that they are doing a work that is essential. The school building should now be in course of erection. The Lord will help each one who will pray and work, and work and pray. The light which I have tried to present before our people is that we must arouse ourselves from sleep, and feel an interest in the school that is to be built up at Berrien Springs. Do not let this matter of erecting suitable buildings fade away from your interest. It is for this purpose that the sale of "Christ's Object Lessons," should now be vigorously carried forward. Let our prompt action enable the interested ones to make successful the work of moving our school out of Battle Creek.
The land has been secured, and now the work of preparing suitable buildings is to be engaged in without delay. Let all plans be laid, and the most desirable place be selected. Let those who have been faithful workers take hold and do their best. Let not this work fail. Let the students take hold of this matter in earnest. Let not managers, teachers, or helpers swing back in their old customary ways of letting their influence negative the very plans the Lord has presented as the best for the physical, mental, and moral education of our youth.
The Lord calls for steps in advance. Because the teachers may never have been trained in physical or manual labor, they are not easily persuaded in regard to the very best methods to secure for the youth an all-round education; and even the very ones who have been the most reluctant to come into line in this matter, had they been given in their youth the physical, mental, and moral education combined, might have saved themselves many attacks of illness, and their brain, bone, and muscle would at this time be in a more healthful condition because all the Lord's machinery would be proportionately taxed. The best instructors should be secured in spiritual lines, in agricultural employments, and also in the carpenter's trade, and in the printing business. The Lord would have these mechanical industries brought in and taught by competent men.
Whoever shall engage in the sale of "Christ's Object Lessons" should have the help and encouragement of their brethren. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 79, #5)
"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."
This scripture teaches that God, as the Giver of all our benefits, has a claim upon them all; that His claim should be our first consideration; and that a special blessing will attend all who honor this claim.
Herein is set forth a principle that is seen in all God's dealing with men. The Lord placed our first parents in the garden of Eden. He surrounded them with everything that could minister to their happiness, and He bade them acknowledge Him as the possessor of all things. In the garden He caused to grow every tree that was pleasant to the eye or good for food; but among them He made one reserve. Of all else, Adam and Eve might freely eat; but of this one tree God said, "Thou shalt not eat of it." Here was the test of their gratitude and loyalty to God.
So the Lord has imparted to us Heaven's richest treasure in giving us Jesus. With Him He has given us all things richly to enjoy. The productions of the earth, the bountiful harvests, the treasures of gold and silver, are His gifts. Houses and lands, food and clothing, He has placed in the possession of men. He asks us to acknowledge Him as the Giver of all things; and for this reason He says, Of all your possessions I reserve a tenth for myself, besides gifts and offerings, which are to be brought into my storehouse. This is the provision God has made for, carrying forward the work of the gospel.
It was by the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who gave His life for the life of the world, that this plan for systematic giving was devised. He who left the royal courts, who laid aside His honor as Commander of the heavenly hosts, who clothed His divinity with humanity in order to uplift the fallen race; He who for our sake became poor that we through His poverty might be rich, has spoken to men, and in His wisdom has told them His own plan for sustaining those who bear His message to the world.
The Lord has devised this plan because it is best for us. Satan is constantly working to foster in men worldliness, covetousness, and avarice, that he may ruin their souls, and hinder the work of God. The Lord is seeking to cultivate in us gratitude and liberality. He desires to free us from selfishness, which is so offensive to Him, because so contrary to His character. In carrying out God's plan, men may, by His grace, so relate themselves to Him and to their fellow men that they will be registered in the books of heaven as co-laborers with Christ in the great plan of redemption.
Not only does the Lord claim the tithe as His own, but He tells us how it should be reserved for Him. He says, "Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase." This does not teach that we are to spend our means on ourselves, and bring to the Lord the remnant, even though it should be otherwise an honest tithe. Let God's portion be first set apart. The directions given by the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul in regard to gifts, present a principle that applies also to tithing: "On the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him." Parents and children are here included. Not only the rich, but the poor, are addressed. "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart [through the candid consideration of God's prescribed plan], so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." The gifts are to be made in consideration of the great goodness of God to us.
And what more appropriate time could be chosen for setting aside the tithe and presenting our offerings to God? On the Sabbath we have thought upon His goodness. We have beheld His work in creation as an evidence of His power in redemption. Our hearts are filled with thankfulness for His great love. And now, before the toil of a week begins, we return to Him His own, and with it an offering to testify our gratitude. Thus our practice will be a weekly sermon, declaring that God is the possessor of all our property, and that He has made us stewards to use it to His glory. Every acknowledgment of our obligation to God will strengthen the sense of obligation. Gratitude deepens as we give it expression, and the joy it brings is life to soul and body.
The duty and privilege of systematic giving to the cause of God is a matter that should by no means be neglected by our ministers. God has called them to watch for souls as they that must give an account. He has commissioned them to bear His message to the churches. They should see that none are left in ignorance concerning this subject. They should seek to impress the people with a sense of their entire dependence upon God, and their accountability to Him for all His benefits.
God has given special direction as to the use to which the tithe should be devoted. He does not design that His work shall be crippled for want of means. That there may be no haphazard work and no error, He has made our duty on all these points very plain. The portion that God has reserved for himself is not to be diverted to any other purpose than that which He has specified. Let none feel at liberty to retain their tithe, to use according to their own judgment. They are not to use it for themselves in an emergency, nor to apply it as they see fit, even in what they may regard as the Lord's work. God has shown honor to men in taking them into partnership with himself in the great work of redemption. He expects His agents to labor not against Him, but in unison with Him, that His treasury may be supplied.
The minister should, be precept and example, teach the people to regard the tithe as sacred. He should not feel that he can retain and apply it according to his own judgment, because he is a minister. It is not his. He is not at liberty to devote to himself whatever he thinks is his due. Let him not give his influence to any plans for diverting from their legitimate use the tithes and offerings dedicated to God. Let them be placed in the Lord's treasury, and held sacred for His service as He has appointed.
The tithe is God's portion, not at all the property of man, and the Scripture declares that he who withholds it is guilty of robbery. Who, then, will stand with clean hands before the Lord?
In the night season I was in my dreams in a large meeting, with ministers, their wives, and their children. I wondered that the company present was mostly made up of ministers and their families. The prophecy of Malachi was brought before them in connection with Daniel, Zephaniah, Haggai, and Zechariah. The teaching of these books was carefully investigated. The building of the temple, and the temple service, were considered. There was close searching of the Scriptures in regard to the sacred character of all that appertained to the temple service. Through the prophets, God has given a delineation of what will come to pass in the last days of this earth's history; and the Jewish economy is full of instruction for us.
The offering of beasts did not cleanse away sin, but was a symbol of the great and complete sacrifice that was to be made for the sins of the whole world. The rivers of blood that flowed at the harvest thanksgiving, when sacrifices were offered in such large numbers, were meant to teach a great truth. For even the productions of the earth, the bounties provided for man's sustenance, we are indebted to the offering of Christ upon the cross of Calvary. God teaches us that all we receive from Him is the gift of redeeming love. From His instruction to Israel, He would have us learn that He has made ample provision for the poor to receive the comforts of this life, and also for the gospel to be carried to all those who are perishing in their sins.
The whole sanctuary service was designed to impress the people with the fact that the things which God has set apart for himself are holy. They were ever to observe the distinction between the sacred and the common. Holy things must be kept holy.
All these things were closely studied by the company before me in my dream. Scripture was compared with scripture, and application was made of the word of God to our own time. After a diligent searching of the Scriptures, there was a period of silence. A very solemn impression was made upon the people. The deep moving of the Spirit of God was manifest among us. All were troubled, all seemed to be convicted, burdened, and distressed, as they saw their own life and character represented in the word of God, and the Holy Spirit was making the application to their hearts.
Conscience was aroused. The record of past days was making its disclosure of the vanity of human inventions. The Holy Spirit brought all things to their remembrance. As they reviewed their past history, there were revealed defects of character that ought to have been discerned and corrected. They saw how through the grace of Christ the character should have been transformed. The workers had known the sorrow of defeat in the work intrusted to their hands, when they should have had victory.
The Holy Spirit presented before them Him whom they had offended. They saw that God will not only reveal himself as a God of mercy and forgiveness and long forbearance, but by terrible things in righteousness He will make it manifest that He is not a man that He should lie.
Words were spoken by One, saying, "The hidden, inner life will be revealed. As if reflected in a mirror, all the inward working of the character will be made manifest. The Lord would have you examine your own lives, and see how vain is human glory." "Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts; all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life."
The period of our probation is fast closing. Soon our opportunity to give the last message of mercy to the lost will be forever past. The help of every one that loves Jesus is needed now, in the Lord's work. Let there be no idlers in the Master's vineyard. Let there be no robbery of God in tithes and offerings, which are needed to sustain His cause.
Those who are laborers in word and in doctrine will have all that they can possibly do in improving their God-given charge: "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." The minister's wife may be a great help to her husband in seeking to lighten his burden if she keeps her own soul in the love of God. She can teach the word to her children. She can manage her own household with economy and discretion. United with her husband, she can educate her children in habits of economy, teaching them to restrict their wants. Those who have large families will have burdens in the home life. Those who have but one or two children to engage their time and attention may educate themselves to do service for the Lord in helping their husbands in more general work.
"The liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand." "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty." The promise to those who honor God with their substance still stands upon record on the sacred page. If the Lord's people had faithfully obeyed His directions, the promise would have been fulfilled to them. But when men disregard the claims of God, plainly set before them, the Lord permits them to follow their own way, and reap the fruit of their doings. Whoever appropriates to his own use the portion that God has reserved, is proving himself an unfaithful steward. He will lose not only that which he has withheld from God, but also that which was committed to him as his own.
Let all study with special care the third chapter of Malachi. That chapter contains warning and instruction in righteousness for every soul. The Lord is still testing us to see whether we will prove faithful servants. He is calling upon His people to consider His goodness, to respond to His mercy, and to give proof of their loyalty by bringing all the tithes into His storehouse. "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." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #6)
All heaven took a deep and joyful interest in the creation of the world and of man. Human beings were a new and distinct order. They were made "in the image of God," and it was the Creator's design that they should populate the earth. They were to live in close communion with heaven, receiving power from the Source of all power. Upheld by God, they were to live sinless lives.
Satan determined to defeat God's plan. He began by bringing jealousy into the heavenly courts. To many of the angels he communicated his disaffection, and there was war in heaven, which ended in the expulsion of Satan and his sympathizers.
Thrust out of heaven, Satan determined to set up his kingdom on the earth. Through him sin entered the world, and death by sin. By listening to his misrepresentations, Adam fell, and the flood gates of woe were opened on the world.
There was no excuse for Adam's transgression. All his wants were generously supplied. Only one prohibition was laid upon him. God said, "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
This prohibition Satan used as a means of insinuating his suggestions. "God doth know," he said to the woman, "that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
"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."
And God said to Adam, "Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
"And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."
This lesson is for all mankind. By it God teaches that His word is to be sacredly respected, and His commands implicitly obeyed.
Through the ages that followed the expulsion of Adam from Eden, Satan strove to instill his evil principles into the minds of men, till, when Christ came to the earth, He found His chosen people filled with the selfsame jealousy that led Satan to stir up rebellion in heaven. The Jewish leaders would not receive Christ, because His coming and His work were not in harmony with their belief. And they were jealous of Him; for they saw that His influence over the people was greater than theirs. Spiritually blind, they made no effort to receive enlightenment, choosing rather to remain in darkness.
Christ's miracle of restoring the sight of the man who had been born blind was a convincing evidence of the divinity of His mission. When the people saw the transformation in the man, they said to him, "How were thine eyes opened?" He answered, "A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not."
Then they brought him to the Pharisees, and "the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed; and do see."
But with hearts hardened by prejudice and unbelief, the Pharisees said, "Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is."
And the man answered, "Why herein is a marvelous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners; but if any man be a worshiper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out."
So the Pharisees made themselves even more blind than they already were; and not content with closing their own eyes, they tried to close the eyes of the man who had been healed. They saw that Jesus was working wonderful miracles, and they hated Him, fearing that He would be honored above them. Their hatred grew until they crucified Him, and mocked Him as He hung on the cross.
Can we afford to tamper with jealousy,--the cause of so much of the misery in the world today? Is it not best to work on Christ's plan,-- the plan outlined in the words, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them"?
In the condition of the world today we see the terrible result of living for self. God's Spirit is being withdrawn from the earth, which in its moral pollution is as it was before the flood, and as it was in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. So great is the corruption of the cities, that the moral atmosphere is as poisonous as the atmosphere of a pesthouse. From generation to generation sin has demoralized society, bringing a continual increase of depravity and degradation. Soon, from the highest authority in the universe will come the word, Shorten the days, lest no flesh be saved.
The world is becoming more and more devoted to the service of sin. Each age, as it passes, bequeaths to the one following its accumulation of contamination. Satan is the god of the world. With despotic power he rules in palace and temple, working with intense earnestness to overthrow every plan set in operation to counteract the increasing disregard of God's law. The destructive power of his agencies is dedicated to bringing destruction and death into the world. In his hands temptation has become a science. Under his control, men sin by rule.
The enemy works with great power through children of disobedience who are church members. The life of one who is a professed Christian, and at the same time an instrument in Satan's hands, is a terrible power for evil.
Is it not time for those who claim to believe the truth to awaken? Shall not the people who have had great light depart from all iniquity? Shall they not set a more Christlike example? Shall they not show with greater distinctness the power of the truth to sanctify? The Lord calls upon His Church to arise and shine amid the moral darkness. His people are to be a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.
If we realized the solemnity of the time in which we are living, if we realized how greatly the world needs to see Christ's grace revealed in His followers, we would work more earnestly and diligently for the Master. Let those who claim to believe the truth put their belief into practice. Let all unite in carrying out God's will. All are to work in perfect harmony, receiving from the same source their influence and their power.
Many who profess to love God and keep His commandments are making void His law. God is greatly dishonored by the failure of professed Christians to reveal the unity that should be seen among His children. No one can enter the heavenly portals who fails of practicing the great principle of love. Those who love God will love one another. They will show by a Christlike life that they are members of the royal family.
It is the plan of God that every Conference, every church, shall cherish the spirit of sympathy and helpfulness. We are to build one another up in the most holy faith, seeking the impartation of the Holy Spirit, that in clear, bright rays we may reflect the light of heaven. Shall we allow the enemy to enter to cause discord and separation, to rob families of happiness and the Church of usefulness? Shall we allow him to use us to prevent the great and blessed work of reformation? Who can say, "It is well with my soul," while evil thinking and evil speaking are allowed to rule in the heart?
Christianity transforms the character, bringing the will into harmony with the will of God. The Lord's people are plainly distinguished from worldlings because they follow God's plan. To those who are inclined to sow the seeds of jealousy and envy, Christ says, "Ye must be born again." God grant that they may be thoroughly converted.
When the truth is practiced, when God's people are obedient to all His commandments, there will be no contention as to who is the greatest. There will be no strife for the supremacy. Then will be cherished the love that brings peace and joy into the home, and usefulness into the Church. Then will the Redeemer be honored. Then will be obeyed the injunction: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." By Mr. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #6)
There is a close relation between the moral law and the laws that God has established in the physical world. If men would be obedient to the law of God, carrying out in their lives the principles of its ten precepts, the principles of righteousness that it teaches would be a safeguard against wrong habits. But as, through the indulgence of perverted appetite, they have declined in virtue, so they have become weakened through their own immoral practices and their violation of physical laws. The suffering and anguish that we see everywhere, the deformity, decrepitude, disease, and imbecility now flooding the world, make it a lazar house in comparison with what it might be even now, if God's moral law and the law which He has implanted in our being were obeyed. By his own persistent violation of these laws, man has greatly aggravated the evils resulting from the transgression in Eden. How dishonoring to God is all this! how opposed to His design that men should glorify Him in their body and spirit, which are His! How destructive, too, to the health and happiness of mankind!
Against every transgression of the laws of life nature utters her protest. She bears abuse as long as she can; but finally retribution comes, and the mental as well as the physical powers suffer. Nor does the punishment fall on the transgressor alone; the effects of his indulgence are seen in his offspring, and thus the evil is passed on from generation to generation.
Many complain of providence when their friends suffer, or are removed by death; but it is not in the order of God that men and women should lead lives of suffering, and die prematurely, leaving their work unfinished. God would have us live out the full measure of our days, with every organ in health, doing its appointed work. It is unjust to charge Him with a result which, in many cases, is due to the individual's own transgression of natural law.
Because mankind have, by the transgression of these laws, departed so far from God's purpose in their creation, and have brought upon themselves such untold woe, a reform in habits relating to health has become an important branch of the great work of God in the earth. The soul temple has been polluted, and men are called upon to awake, and win back their God-given manhood.
There is an intimate relation between the mind and the body; they react upon each other. In order, then, to reach a high standard of moral and intellectual attainment and to secure a strong, well-balanced character, the laws that control our physical being must be heeded; both the mental and the physical powers must be developed. Such a training will produce men of strength and solidity of character, of keen perception and sound judgment,--men who will be an honor to God and a blessing to the world.
In the providence of God, the laws that govern our physical being, with the penalties for their violation, have been made so clear that intelligent beings can understand them, and all are under the most solemn obligation to study this subject, and to live in harmony with natural law. Health principles must be agitated, and the public mind deeply stirred to investigation.
As in everything else, the Bible is the standard on this subject. The teaching of the Bible has a vital bearing upon men's prosperity in all the relations of life. Compliance with its requirements will be a blessing to both soul and body. The fruit of the Spirit is not only love, joy, and peace, but temperance also,--health of body as well as health of mind. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #7)
"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 ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; He hath given to the poor: His righteousness remaineth forever. Now He that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness); being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God."
God is in heaven, but He has delegated His work to those on this earth. This work is to represent Christ. Christ gave himself, a full, complete offering, for the life of the world; and God calls upon all men to make a complete surrender of all they have and are to Him, that they may be co-laborers with Christ. This call is just; for to whom is every member of the family indebted for his possession?--To God, who not only gave temporal blessings, but freely offered up His only begotten Son, "that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
God has intrusted men with His gifts, that they may represent His benevolence toward those who are poor and needy. If they have the Spirit of Christ, they will reveal it unmistakably by their helpfulness to others, by a faithful discharge of their duty, by acting tenderly and kindly toward God's heritage. As God sees that His children manifest compassion toward those who are poor and needy, He will bless them as faithful stewards.
"Moreover, brethren," writes the apostle Paul, "we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; how that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves. Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. Therefore, as ye abound in everything, if faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. . . . For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich."
To a youthful ruler who inquired of Him, "Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered, "Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me." This was not a hard requirement; for the ruler's property was not his own; it had been intrusted to him by the Lord. The choice was left with him; he must decide for himself. Did he accept the eternal treasure, or did he decide to gratify his desire for earthly treasure, and in so doing, refuse the eternal riches?--When he heard Christ's words, "he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions." He chose the earthly good, and lost the eternal weight of glory.
Individually we are tried as was the young ruler. God tests us to see if, as stewards, we can safely be trusted with the eternal riches. Shall we do as the ruler did,--fasten our grasp upon the treasures lent us by God, choosing that which appears most agreeable to the natural heart, and refusing to use our possessions as God plainly states He expects us to, or shall we take up our cross and follow our Saviour in the path of self-denial?
Millions of people in our world are making the choice of the young ruler. They have intelligence, but they cannot decide to be honest stewards of their Lord's goods. Many say, "I will bless and glorify myself; I will be honored as a man above his fellows." Jesus paid the price for their redemption; for their sake He became poor, that they might be rich; and yet, though wholly dependent on Him for all their earthly possessions, they refuse to do His will by showing love to their fellow men. They are not willing to alleviate the necessities of those around them with the means the Lord has placed in their hands for this purpose. They refuse to appropriate the Lord's capital for the benefit of those around them, and hold fast to their possessions. Like the ruler, they refuse the heavenly treasure, and choose that which is agreeable to themselves. By such selfishness they prove themselves unworthy of the eternal riches. They show that they are unfit for a place in the kingdom of God; if they were allowed to enter there, they would, like the great apostate, claim everything as if they had created it, and would spoil heaven by their covetousness.
Moses was called upon to choose between the world and God. Two conflicting objects were placed before him. The treasures of Egypt, the honor of a temporal crown, and the consequences that would follow his choice, were presented by the prince of this world. The opposite side was presented by the Prince of light, the world's Redeemer. He held out the recompense of reward, viewed by the eye of faith, and the path of affliction, self-denial, and self-sacrifice, that must be traveled in order to gain this reward.
The decision was left with Moses. As a free moral agent, he was at liberty to choose. All heaven was interested in the matter. What would be his choice,--obedience to God, with the eternal recompense of reward, or obedience to that most agreeable to his own will? "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.
"By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible." This is a lesson for all who would have correct ideas of true service. We must not venture to remain where our associations will tend to draw us from God, and to obscure our view of the reward of obedience.
There is no saving faith in Christ only as it is revealed by obedience. Every human being is under a solemn responsibility to obey God. His present and eternal happiness depends upon his willing obedience to all God's requirements. Man's will and inclination are to be wholly yielded to God. When this is done, man will cooperate with the Lord, showing, by precept and example, that he has chosen to be, in all his ways, under the control of his Maker.
God rejoices when, like Moses, His children choose to serve Him rather than to enjoy the pleasures of this world. Could the curtain be rolled back, could men behold the angelic host as they glorify God with songs of gladness and rejoicing, they would realize that obedience ever causes joy, and disobedience sorrow. God and the angels rejoice over every victory gained by the Christian, but when temptation overcomes the soul, there is sorrow in heaven.
Men are tested while in this world by the society they choose, and by the attributes of character they develop. All who belong to the kingdom of Christ are of one family. They love God supremely, and their neighbors as themselves. "Therefore, as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also,"--the grace of Christian liberality. "To do good and to communicate forget not." By this communicating the apostle means Christian liberality. God desires that the bounties He has freely given to His children be communicated to those who do not possess so many temporal blessings. By this communication, by the utterance of kindly words, accompanied with deeds of love, those who work for God will find entrance to hearts, and win others to Christ. This part of religion we are not to forget; "for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."
"Charge them that are rich in this world," continues the apostle, "that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate." God would have those whom He has blessed with means take of their abundance, and relieve the necessities of the poor, giving of their means to help the needy. As they do this, they receive their reward; for they are "laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."
God's children should be educated to see that God has claims upon them. All our supplies come from Him. As regularly as the seasons come round, He gives us the harvest of the earth. His liberality is constant and systematic; and our returns to Him are to be made in accordance with the gifts which day by day He bestows upon us. The steady, unfailing flow of Jehovah's goodness testifies of His love and benevolence. Then shall we not, with hearts filled with gratitude for all His blessings, respond by giving Him what He claims in tithes and offerings?
All classes are intrusted with the Lord's gifts, and none are exempt from the work of Christian beneficence. There will be those who by their unfaithfulness will make God's benevolence to them a curse. Let us carefully follow God's directions in this work, and as we do this, He will supply grace for every time of need; for He is acquainted with the desires of the human heart to follow a wrong course, and with the temptations that surround us. Let us carry out God's requirements by imparting our blessings to others, not from compulsion, but because He has, for our own good, made us a part of His firm. He has ordained that we shall sustain and carry forward His work by an active, living benevolence, which has for its foundation a "Thus saith the Lord." In His strength we can do this; for He is able to make all grace abound toward us, that we, "always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work." By Mr. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #8)
"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."
I am instructed to say that these words are applicable to Seventh-day Adventist churches in their present condition. The love of God has been lost, and this means the absence of love for one another. Self, self, self, is cherished, and is striving for the supremacy. How long is this to continue? Unless there is a reconversion, there will soon be such a lack of godliness that the Church will be represented by the barren fig tree. Great light has been given to her. She has had abundant opportunity for bearing much fruit. But selfishness has come in, and God says, "I will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."
Jesus looked upon the pretentious, fruitless fig tree, and with mournful reluctance pronounced the words of doom. And under the curse of an offended God, the fig tree withered away. God help His people to make an application of this lesson while there is still time.
Just before His ascension, Christ said to His disciples, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." God's people today are not fulfilling this commission as they should. Selfishness prevents them from receiving these words in their solemn significance.
In many hearts there seems to be scarcely a breath of spiritual life. This makes me very sad. I fear that aggressive warfare against the world, the flesh, and the devil has not been maintained. Shall we cheer on, by a half-dead Christianity, the selfish, covetous spirit of the world, sharing its ungodliness and smiling on its falsehood?--Nay! By the grace of God let us be steadfast to the principles of truth, holding firm to the end the beginning of our confidence. We are to be "not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." One is our Master, even Christ. To Him we are to look. From Him we are to receive our wisdom. By His grace we are to preserve our integrity, standing before God in meekness and contrition, and representing Him to the world.
Sermons have been in great demand in our churches. The members have depended upon pulpit declamations instead of on the Holy Spirit. Uncalled for and unused, the spiritual gifts bestowed on them have dwindled into feebleness. If the ministers would go forth into new fields, the members would be obliged to bear responsibilities, and by use their capabilities would increase.
God brings against ministers and people the heavy charge of spiritual feebleness, saying, "I know thy works, 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. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 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." God calls for a spiritual revival and a spiritual reformation. Unless this takes place, those who are lukewarm will continue to grow more abhorrent to the Lord, until He will refuse to acknowledge them as His children.
A revival and a reformation must take place, under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit. Revival and reformation are to do their appointed work, and in doing this work they must blend.
"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." "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Christ gave His life for a fallen race, leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps. To him who does this will be spoken the words of approval, "Well done, good and faithful servant; . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
The word of the Lord never represses activity. It increases man's usefulness by guiding his activities in the right direction. The Lord does not leave man without an object of pursuit. He places before him an immortal inheritance, and gives him ennobling truth, that he may advance in a safe and sure path, in pursuit of that which is worth the consecration of his highest capabilities,--a crown of everlasting life.
Man will increase in power as he follows on to know the Lord. As he endeavors to reach the highest standard, the Bible is as a light to guide his footsteps homeward. In that word he finds that he is a joint heir with Christ to an eternal treasure. The Guidebook points him to the unsearchable riches of heaven. By following on to know the Lord, he is securing never-ending happiness. Day by day the peace of God is his reward, and by faith he sees a home of everlasting sunshine, free from all sorrow and disappointment. God directs his footsteps, and keeps him from falling.
God loves His Church. There are tares mingled with the wheat, but the Lord knows His own. "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
Shall not the counsel of Christ have an effect on the churches? Why halt, ye who know the truth, between two opinions? "If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him." Christ's followers have no right to stand on the ground of neutrality. There is more hope of an open enemy than of one who is neutral.
Let the Church respond to the words of the prophet, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee."
God's people have lost their first love. They must now repent and make steady advancement in the path of holiness. God's purposes reach to every phase of life. They are immutable, eternal; and at the time appointed they will be executed. For a time it may seem that Satan has all the power in his hands; but our trust is in God. When we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us, and will work with mighty power to accomplish His gracious purposes.
God rebukes His people for their sins, that He may humble them, and lead them to seek His face. As they reform, and His love revives in their hearts, His loving answers will come to their requests. He will strengthen them in reformatory action, lifting up for them a standard against the enemy. His rich blessing will rest upon them, and in bright rays they will reflect the light of heaven. Then a multitude not of their faith, seeing that God is with His people, will unite with them in serving the Redeemer. By Mr. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #9)
The Lord's people are to be as true as steel to principle. He has pointed out the work devolving on every church member. He declares that the church members are faithfully to do their duty to those within their own borders. They are generously to support their own poor. They are to engage in systematic missionary work, teaching their children to keep the way of the Lord, and to do judgment and justice.
But the light which for years has been before the churches has been disregarded. The work that ought to have been done for suffering humanity in every church has not been done. Church members have failed to heed the word of the Lord, and this has deprived them of an experience they should have gained in gospel work.
There is a great work to be done in the cities throughout the States, and especially in the cities of the Southern States, so many of which are unworked. In this work there are many difficulties to meet, and the Lord calls for wise and understanding workers, who will surmount these difficulties. Little can be done in large cities unless the workers are humble and teachable, daily looking to the Lord for guidance.
Many have stood off to criticise and condemn; but what have they done to help in the great necessity? Had those claiming to believe the truth taken up the work of health reform, and gone forth to do missionary work in the cities of the South, a harvest of souls would have been gathered for the Lord. Men and women ought to be working in this field, preparing colored workers to labor for the colored people. This work must be done with the greatest caution. No careless, headstrong movements should be made.. Medical missionary work,--Christlike ministry for the suffering,--this is the work that will remove the mist of ignorance and superstition which for so long has hung over the Southern field.
If God's workers had labored in new fields as they should, if they had done medical missionary work as they should, much fruit would now be seen in places that are yet barren. Had they sought the Lord diligently, He would have given them places in which to work.
The instruction the Lord has given me is that a field should not be shunned because it has objectionable features. This world was seared and marred by the curse, but still Christ came to it. He, the Son of the most high God, was made flesh, and dwelt among us. He willingly left His high command to take His place at the head of a fallen race, becoming poor, that through His poverty we might be made rich. He is the greatest medical missionary who ever blessed the world. He gave His disciples practical lessons, teaching them how to work in such a way that souls would be made glad in the truth. Constantly He went about doing good, sympathizing with the weary, the heavy laden, the oppressed, feeding the hungry and healing the sick. By His loving words and kindly deeds, He interpreted the gospel. Intelligence and virtue marked His work. Benevolence, compassion, and love were revealed wherever He went. He gave His life to save the world. His example rebukes our halfhearted efforts. How can He acknowledge us as laborers together with Him?
We read of Christ, "And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the seacoast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nepthalim: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nepthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. . . . And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And His fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and He healed them."
The Lord continually performed deeds of loving ministry, and this every minister of the gospel should do. He has appointed us to be His ambassadors, to carry forward His work in the world. To every true, self-sacrificing worker is given the commission, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Read carefully the instruction given in the New Testament. The work that the Great Teacher did in connection with His disciples is the example we are to follow in our medical missionary work. But have we followed this example? The glad tidings of salvation are to be proclaimed in every village, town, and city. But where are the missionaries? In the name of God I ask, Where are the laborers together with God?
It is only by an unselfish interest in those in need of help that we can give a practical demonstration of the truths of the gospel. "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." "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
Much more than mere sermonizing is included in preaching the gospel. The ignorant are to be enlightened; the discouraged are to be uplifted; the sick are to be healed. The human voice is to act its part in God's work. Words of tenderness, sympathy, and love are to witness to the truth. Earnest, heartfelt prayers are to bring the angels near.
The evangelization of the world is the work that God has given to those who go forth in His name. They are to be co-laborers with Christ, revealing to those ready to perish His tender, pitying love. God calls for thousands to work for Him, not by preaching to those who know the truth, going over and over the same ground, but by warning those who have never heard the last message of mercy. Work, with a heart filled with an earnest longing for souls. Do medical missionary work. Thus you will gain access to the hearts of the people. The way will be prepared for more decided proclamation of the truth. You will find that relieving their physical suffering gives you opportunity to minister to their spiritual needs.
The Lord will give you success in this work; for the gospel is the power of God unto salvation when it is interwoven with the practical life, when it is lived and practiced. The union of Christlike work for the body and Christlike work for the soul is the true interpretation of the gospel. By Mr. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #10)
"Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light."
I would present before you the necessity of seeking most earnestly to heed the counsel of the True Witness; for now, "in this thy day," is your opportunity. The message to the Laodicean Church is applicable to all who have had great light and many opportunities, and yet have not appreciated them. "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, 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. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire [the gold of faith and love], that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment [the righteousness of Christ], 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."
Unless missionaries shall constantly seek to reach a higher standard, they will become "lukewarm," "neither cold nor hot," and ready to be spewed out of the mouth of God. Unless they have a living connection with Him, they will mingle self and common, earthly practices and habits with the sacred, holy principles of truth. The truth should be placed before the people in its true, elevated position. All should constantly seek for the true faith that works, not by an earthborn, emotional element, but by love that purifies the soul. This love cleanses the soul temple from pride, and expels every idol from the throne of the heart.
God is not glorified by those who claim to be missionaries, and who yet center their affections upon human beings to such an extent that they cherish inordinate affection, and commit the sin of idolatry. This quality of love is entirely selfish, and diverts the mind and draws the affection from God. Great activity on the part of such workers does not manifest that they have genuine religion. Let us listen to the voice of God. The word of inspiration says, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. . . . 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; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth." "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. . . . Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him."
You must be doers of the word, and possess that love that was manifested in the life and character of Christ. This love is no narrow, selfish affection. You are to be constrained by this love "to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand. But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth."
The Gospel Minister's Work.--The work ever before the minister of Christ is to preach the gospel with earnest fidelity to them that are nigh, and to them that are in the "regions beyond." This involves self-denial, and necessitates cross-bearing. This kind of work that will lead us both to be faithful home missionaries and to press forward into new fields, must be carried on more and more as we near the close of earth's history. The gospel is not to be restricted to any time, nor confined to any place. The world is the field for the gospel minister, and the whole human family is his congregation. When he has finished giving a discourse, his work is only just entered upon; for the word of life is to be presented from house to house. The truth must be carried from city to city, from street to street, from family to family. Every method by which access may be gained to the homes of the people must be tried; for the messenger must become acquainted with the people. The truth must be carried from province to province, from kingdom to kingdom. The highways and byways must be thoroughly gleaned, and the message must spread from continent to continent until the whole earth is belted with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ministers and missionaries must ever keep in view the "regions beyond." The Saviour has said of His people, "Ye are the light of the world." The truth is to be proclaimed, the light is to shine forth in clear, steady rays. Self-denial, self-sacrifice, wholeheartedness, must be put into the work; the light must shine forth until precious souls are brought to take their stand on the Lord's side. Then the worker is to press on into the "regions beyond," where souls are to be gathered, and precious light shine amidst the moral darkness that enshrouds the people. Thus must the truth be preached until the minds of those who sit in darkness, as under the pall of death, are enlightened, elevated, and broadened. Every worker must stand at his post of duty, not only to preach, but to come close to souls, to become acquainted with them at their homes, as did Jesus, working unselfishly, devotedly, until the work is nicely bound off. When one company is raised up to carry light to the community, openings will be seen, inviting the laborers into the "regions beyond." The workers for God will ever be pressing onward, ever depending upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The minister or missionary and his wife must be vitalized by the Holy Spirit, leaving the things that are behind, and ever pressing onward and upward. The minister's wife may do a large work, if she realizes her dependence upon Christ, and finds Him to be her full sufficiency. It is poor work that any of us can do, even though we consecrate every ability to God. But if we do not thus consecrate ourselves, we become stumblingblocks. I would urge upon all the necessity of aiming to reach the highest standard in spirituality. A form of godliness has but little value, indeed it is a positive curse when the heart is unrenewed, unregenerated. Great responsibilities rest upon the missionary's wife. A great deal will depend upon whether she is gathering heavenly treasures, or allowing her mind to grasp things of trifling importance. If she is dwelling upon heavenly things, she will have the true missionary spirit; her love for souls will flow out in copious streams, and will constrain her to seek and to save that which is lost.
Labor among the Churches.--The Lord will not approve of ministers' spending much of their time with churches that already believe the truth. When they preach to those who understand the truth for this time, and labor with them, devoting their time to the flock, they teach the people to depend upon them in their various perplexities. It is needful that our churches should be visited by ministers, but the churches must not expect that the minister is to hold them up, and make them believe. By such a course, the church is weakened rather than strengthened. Ministers have a work to do that will call them forth from believing companies; for they are to preach in "regions beyond," and bear the warning message to those who have never heard the truth for this time.
The end of all things is at hand, and a world is to be warned. Eternity must be urged upon the people. Their attention must be called away from the things of this world, and attracted to everlasting realities. It is a time when the most poisonous errors are prevailing among men, working the destruction of souls. May God bless His messengers who feel the burden and the importance of the message which He has given them to bear to the world.
In all his labors, let the minister educate his hearers from the very first. Let him present to them the precious pearls of truth, and not confine his work to mere sermonizing, but let him minister to the people. Let him visit his hearers at their homes, not waiting for invitations, but going as one sent of God. Let him invite himself to the people's homes, in meekness and humbleness of mind seeking admission, and then present to them a sin-pardoning Saviour. The minister, when visiting at the homes of the people, is not to spend the precious time in mere talk upon common themes of conversation, but he is to watch for an opportunity to introduce them to his best Friend. Too often men and women are indifferent and careless in regard to that which concerns their spiritual interests, but even to this class, a word in season may be as seed dropped into good soil.
Necessity of Personal Work.--Every one has his work. Paul said to Timothy, "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." The ministers of Jesus Christ will have more than a mere casual interest for the people. They will seek to know the state of their spiritual being, even as a physician seeks to understand the physical difficulties of his patients. They will engage in personal conversation, and adapt their counsel to every individual case according to the need of the soul. This personal work cannot be looked upon as of secondary importance. The minister is the Lord's appointed undershepherd to the flock of God, and it is his business to minister to the sin-sick, tempted, and erring. This very work is needed among all classes and in all places. It is the character of the work to be done in "regions beyond." In different places are families, and individual members of families, who have left their native land, and are sojourners and strangers in a strange land. In leaving their own country and coming to a new place, they have failed to form new church relations, and have grown cold to their best Friend, and have drawn away from Him at the very time when they most needed His presence. They have given up calling upon their strong and mighty Helper, because many perplexities have engaged their minds, and cares have come in between their souls and Jesus, who has assured them that He is a present help in every time of need. They do not pray, they do not lay hold upon Him who is mighty to save unto the uttermost all who come unto God by Him, believing that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. This class need Jesus, and the ministers should educate them, pointing them, as did John, to "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." If they will only come to Jesus, He will hear them. Present to such souls, not doctrinal points, but a living Saviour, and open to them the Scriptures, showing them the way to find Jesus, Him who has promised to heal all their backslidings; thus great good may be accomplished.
If ministers who are called upon to preach the most solemn message ever given to mortals, evade the truth, they are unfaithful in their work, and are false shepherds to the sheep and the lambs. The assertions of man are of no value. Let the word of God speak to the people. Let those who have heard only traditions and maxims of men, hear the voice of God, whose promises are Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus. If the character and deportment of the shepherd is a living epistle to the people of the truth which he advocates, the Lord will set His seal to the work. True friendships will be formed with the people, and the shepherd and the flock will become one, united by a common hope in Christ Jesus.
The love of Christ is not a fitful feeling, but a living principle, and it is not only to be expressed in words, but to be lived out in the life, and to be made manifest as an abiding power in the heart. Where this love exists, there will be unity, and in unity there is strength. The love of Christ warms the heart of both teacher and learners, and they are quickened together by the Holy Spirit. They all drink from the same fountain, and are all moved by the motive power that comes from love to Christ, which is revealed in good works for Jesus Christ and for those who are purchased by the infinite price of His own precious blood. When love wanes in the Church, it is a sure testimony that ministers and people have lost their first love, and that they need to hear the words of the True Witness as He says, "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." By Mr. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #11)
"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." And "as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." When He gave Jesus to our world, He included all heaven in that one gift. He did not leave us to retain our defects and deformities of character, or to serve Him as best we could in the corruption of our sinful nature. He has made provision that we may be complete in His Son, not having our own righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ. In Christ the whole storehouse of knowledge and of grace is at our command; for in Him dwells "all the fullness of the Godhead bodily."
Christ has given His life for us; we are His property. "Know ye not," He says, "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." God's children are to show their love for Him by meeting His requirements, by giving themselves to Him. Then only can He use them in His service, that others, through them, may discern the truth and rejoice in it.
But the people of God are asleep to their present and eternal good. The Lord says to them, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." He desires them to go to work in unity, in faith, and love. He desires that the work of reformation shall begin in the home, with the fathers and mothers, and then the Church will realize the Holy Spirit's working. The influence of this work will go through the Church like leaven. Fathers and mothers need converting. They have not educated themselves to mold and fashion the characters of their children aright.
As God's ministers, dear parents, you must use the precious remnant of time in doing the work He has left for you. He desires that by wise methods in your home you shall train your children for Him. Learn of Jesus; be doers of His word. When you do this, you will not become angry at things that take place in the home. Harshness and threats do no good. Parents must be kind if they would teach their children to love Jesus as their best friend.
Religion to Be Made Attractive.--Children need to have religion made attractive, not repulsive. The hour of family worship should be made the happiest hour of the day. Let the reading of the Scriptures be well chosen and simple; let the children join in singing; and let the prayers be short, and right to the point.
The minister alone cannot do the work that needs to be done for our churches. The members must have the savor of salt in themselves. But if the salt has lost its savor, how can the families be salted? how can they be preserved from the corruptions and immorality that exist in this age? "Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh."
Christ is our pattern. In Him was perfection of character,--of outward manner, and inward grace. He never spoke a discourteous word; He was meek and lowly in heart. When He saw the hypocrisy, the deception, and the wicked devising of the priests and rulers, when He saw them misleading the people by false interpretation of the Scriptures, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men, he was indignant at their boldness and their false statements. He could discern in all this the working of satanic agencies. It was Satan and his angels whom He had to meet in the specious, deceptive reasonings of priests and rulers. Keen and searching were His denunciations of sin. He had a holy wrath against the prince of darkness; but He manifested no irritated temper.
Christ knew with whom He was contending; Satan knew whom he was resisting. Our Redeemer wrestled 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."
The follower of Christ will have these same agencies to meet. In his efforts to help his fellow beings, he will be opposed by the unseen forces of evil. But Christ has said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Consider, my brethren and sisters, that you are in the service of God, that you have access to One who is a present help in every time of need. "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. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord."
How to Become Fruitful Branches.--Christ says to His Church, "Ye are the light of the world." If each would let his light shine in the home, he would then be able to work earnestly for the Church. But the Christian is powerless unless he is in living connection with Christ. It is only through its connection with the vine, that the branch can bring forth the same fruit as does the vine. "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." This is the fruit that every branch which is grafted into the True Vine will bear. There will be no pomposity, no rash, independent, self-sufficient movements. No envy or jealousy, no evil surmisings or harsh denunciations, will be manifested by any who love Jesus. There will be no crowding, no climbing above one another; for there is room for all to work.
"But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth." This kind of fruit is not borne by the branch that abides in the Vine. "This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. . . . 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. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."
Through the apostle Peter the Holy Spirit admonishes us: "Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . . Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
By living and working upon this plan of addition, we shall receive the rich grace of God. For as we, with the grace given, work to benefit other souls in need, God will work in our behalf on the plan of multiplication: "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
A Call to Service.--Will God's people listen to His voice speaking to them through His word? will they take the instruction that comes from the source of all light? Will they receive the Holy Spirit's teaching? In the words of Scripture I have quoted is a sermon for every member of the Church. Will you receive it, and profit by it? Will you be wise in your conception of what constitutes Christian character and Christian experience? Will you hear and receive the truth because it is truth? Will you have the faith that works by love, and purifies the soul from every spiritual defilement?
The Lord is coming. This earth's history is soon to close. Are you prepared to meet the Judge of all the earth? Bear in mind that "he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy." How terrible it will be in the last great day to find that those with whom we have been familiarly associated are separated from us forever; to see the members of our family, perhaps our own children, unsaved; to find those who have visited our homes, and eaten at our tables, among the lost. Then we shall ask ourselves the question, Was it because of my impatience, my unchristlike disposition; was it because self was not under control, that the religion of Christ became distasteful to them?
The world must be warned of the soon coming of the Lord. We have but a little time in which to work. Years have passed into eternity that might have been improved in seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and in diffusing the light to others. God now calls upon His people who have great light, and are established in the truth, having had much labor bestowed upon them, to work for themselves and for others as they have never done before. Make use of every ability; bring into exercise every power, every intrusted talent; use all the light that God has given you to do others good. Do not try to be preachers, but become ministers for God. As the truth is better understood, it will ever appear in a more striking light; as you seek to enlighten others, with your mind under the holy influence of the Spirit of God, your attention will be directed toward those things that are of eternal interest. In such efforts, mingled with prayer for divine light, your own hearts will throb with the quickening influence of the grace of God; your own affections will glow with more divine fervor, and your whole Christian life will be more of a reality, more earnest, more prayerful. Thus with Christ abiding in the heart, you may become laborers together with God. By Mr. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #12)
Those who desire to know the truth have nothing to fear from the investigation of the word of God. But upon the threshold of investigation of the word of God, inquirers after truth should lay aside all prejudice, and hold in abeyance all preconceived opinion, and open the ear to hear the voice of God from His messenger. Cherished opinions, long-practiced customs and habits, are to be brought to the test of the Scriptures; and if the word of God opposes your views, then, for your soul's sake, do not wrest the Scriptures, as many do to their soul's destruction in order to make them seem to bear a testimony in favor of their errors. Let your inquiry be, What is truth? not, What have I hitherto believed to be truth? Do not interpret the Scriptures in the light of your former belief, and assert that some doctrine of finite man is truth. Let your inquiry be, What saith the Scriptures? Let God speak to you from His living oracles, and open your heart to receive the word of God.
Many are following the traditions of men; but as the traditions of men are erroneous, and no error has sanctifying power, their souls are not sanctified to God. Yet they hold on to the doctrines of men with firm tenacity, and will not be moved by the testimony of Scripture. They have been educated to believe falsehood, and they use every ingenious method to make it appear that the Bible supports them in their position of error, making falsehood appear to be truth. But the first work to be done by those who would know the truth, is to open the Bible with a determined purpose to conform to the requirements of the word of God, establishing their faith upon "It is written." Make up your mind that your former theories must change if they are not in harmony with the doctrines of the Bible. You are called upon to put forth diligent effort to discover what is truth. This should not be thought a hard requirement; for men are called upon to toil for their temporal and earthly blessings, and it is not to be expected that we shall find the heavenly treasure unless we are willing to dig in the mines of truth, and exercise all our powers of mind and heart to understand.
We thank God for the Bible; for it is the treasure house of knowledge, and it is the duty and privilege of every son and daughter of Adam to search the pages of both the Old and the New Testament with diligence, in order that all may know what are the terms of salvation. We are to explore the sacred word as a miner searches the earth, and examines the rocks for hidden treasures, for the gold and the silver concealed in the veins of the mountains. Those who come to the searching of the sacred mine of truth with a humble and teachable spirit, will soon discover jewels of truth that will reward the earnest seeker. The Bible contains the science of salvation, and directs the way to Christ. Do you want to know more of the character of God? then bear in mind that the Bible gives the revelation of Him in the character of Jesus Christ. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
How to Read God's Word.--Beware lest you read the word of God in the light of erroneous teaching. It was on this very ground that the Jews made their fatal mistake. They declared that there must be no different interpretation placed upon the Scriptures than that which had been given by the rabbis in former years; and as they had multiplied their traditions and maxims, and had clothed them with sacredness, the word of God was made of no effect through their traditions; and if Jesus Christ, the Word of God, had not come into the world, men would have lost all knowledge of the true God. Christ was the light of the world. All the communications of the Old Testament were from Jesus Christ; but the rabbis, the scribes, and the Pharisees had perverted the meaning of the Scriptures, and while pretending to be worshipers of God, they held to their own tradition. Christ said of them, "In vain they do worship me, teaching the doctrines the commandments of men." "Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and men that walk over them are not aware of them. . . . Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchers of the prophets, and your fathers killed them."
He told them that they made the commandments of God of no effect through their tradition. The requirements of men were placed where the requirements of God should have been, and Jesus charged them with being ignorant both of the Scriptures and of the power of God. It is Satan's studied plan to pervert the Scriptures, and to lead men to put a false construction on the words of God. He has led the Roman Church to take a position that the Bible is to be read in the light of the interpretation of the Fathers and of the Church, and therefore the Lord cannot penetrate the minds of the members of this Church until they read the Bible as the word of the infinite God. All articles of faith, all doctrines and creeds, however sacred they have been regarded, are to be rejected if they contradict the plain statements of the word of God. If the Bible supports the doctrine we have held in the past, we are justified in retaining it; for the word of God gives us foundation for our faith.
The holy oracles should be studied with humble hearts and earnest prayer, in order that we may bring the truth which we see plainly stated into our practical, everyday life. Thus we shall make it evident that we conform our life to the teachings of God's word. Jesus presents to us two classes who have been blessed with an understanding of divine truth. One class not only hear His sayings, but they also do them, and another class hear, but do them not. He says, "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."
Those who see evidences of truth, and yet refuse to walk in its light, because they see that in so doing they would be obliged to make some sacrifice of opinions, of business, or of some other temporal advantage, who put aside their convictions, and reject the plain "Thus saith the Lord," and turn from the truth unto fables, misapplying and misinterpreting the Scriptures in such a way as to make them appear to sustain their errors,--these persons come under the woe pronounced upon Chorazin and Bethsaida. In the days of Christ it was this class who were approved by His words when He said, "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee."
Experience to be Tested by the Word.--There are many who claim that they have been sanctified to God, and yet when the great standard of righteousness is presented to them, they become greatly excited, and manifest a spirit which proves that they know nothing of what it means to be sanctified. They have not the mind of Christ; for those who are truly sanctified will reverence and obey the word of God as fast as it is opened to them, and they will express a strong desire to know what is truth on every point of doctrine. An exultant feeling is no evidence of sanctification. The assertion, "I am saved, I am saved," does not prove that the soul is saved or sanctified. Many who are greatly excited are told that they are sanctified, when they have no intelligent idea of what the term means; for they know not the Scriptures nor the power of God. They flatter themselves that they are in conformity to the will of God, because they feel happy; but when they are tested, when the word of God is brought to bear upon their experience, they stop their ears from hearing the truth, saying, "I am sanctified," and that puts an end to the controversy. They will have nothing to do with searching the Scriptures to know what is truth, and prove that they are fearfully self-deceived. Sanctification means very much more than a flight of feeling. Excitement is not sanctification. Entire conformity to the will of our Father which is in heaven is alone sanctification, and the will of God is expressed in His holy law. The keeping of all the commandments of God is sanctification. Proving yourselves obedient children to God's word is sanctification. The word of God is to be our guide, not the opinions or ideas of men. Let those who would be truly sanctified search the word of God with patience, with prayer, and with humble contrition of soul. Let them remember that Jesus prayed. "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
Christianity is simply living by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. We are to believe in, and live in, Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life. We have faith in God when we believe His word; we trust and obey God when we keep His commandments; and we love God when we love His law. Believing a lie will not put any one of us in the way of being sanctified. Should all the ministers in the world tell us that we were safe in disobeying a single precept of the holy standard of righteousness, it would not lessen our obligations, nor make our guilt less, if we reject a plain "Thou shalt" or "Thou shalt not." We need not think that because our fathers did a certain way, and died happy, we may follow in their footsteps, and be accepted in rendering the same service, and doing the same works, that they did. We have had more light than they had in their day; and if we would be accepted of God, we must be as faithful in obeying the light and walking in it as they were in receiving and obeying the light that God sent to them. We must accept and improve the light that shines upon our pathway, as faithfully as they accepted and improved the light that fell upon their pathway in their generation. We shall be judged according to the light that shines into the soul temple in our day; and if we follow the light, we shall be free men and women in Christ Jesus. By Mr. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #13)
In the Church today there are tares among the wheat. Christ declared: "The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. . . .
"Then Jesus sent the multitudes away, and went into the house: and His disciples came unto Him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of the world. The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."
Read this instruction carefully, doing all in your power to understand the parable. The Holy Spirit will impress the minds of those who desire a clear comprehension of this parable.
How the Growth of the Gospel Seed is Hindered.--The Saviour said again: "Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the wayside. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful."
Those who do not follow true Christian principles, whose natural and cultivated tendencies to wrong have not been changed by the grace of God, have no root in themselves; and therefore they lose the interest which they once felt in the truth. They return to their sinful practices. They may continue to make a profession of Christianity, but they do not honor the truth. They do not go on from grace to grace. For a time they are neither cold nor hot, but they finally become hardened to all good impressions. They grow careless, worldly, inattentive. They hear the truth, but do not receive it. Of this class Christ says: "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."
Of Chorazin and Bethsaida, cities in which so many of Christ's mighty works were done, which were exalted to heaven by being honored with His presence, the Saviour declared: "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee."
Those who have been favored with great light and many opportunities, but who have not accepted the light nor improved the opportunities, who have not followed correct principles in dealing with their brethren or with unbelievers, will receive punishment in accordance with their sin. They will meet with some sad surprises in the last great day, when every case shall be brought up in review before God. In their record they will see that which will fill them with shame, but nothing can be changed. All is beyond recall.
Christ has made every provision for the sanctification of His Church. He has made abundant provision for every soul to have such grace and strength that he will be more than a conqueror in the warfare against sin. The Saviour is wounded afresh and put to open shame when His people pay no heed to His word. He came to this world and lived a sinless life, that in His power His people might also live lives of sinlessness. He desires them by practicing the principles of truth to show to the world that God's grace has power to sanctify the heart.
Church Members Are to Help One Another.--Christ has given direction for their guidance, declaring that they are to show Christian interest in one another. If one commits sin, do not talk of it among yourselves. Go first to the one who has offended. "Tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother." "If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." Do church members obey this word? Suppose that in every institution established among us, in publishing houses, sanitariums, and schools, God's people had sought to understand and follow His plan, as it is outlined in the Old and New Testaments. Suppose that the instruction given by Christ to the children of Israel had been woven into the life-practice. Would not we as a people stand today on vantage ground?
The instruction given in Matthew presents the work that must be done to keep the Church purified from error and defilement. The brethren in the Church are to be faithful to one another, and this is in every sense applicable to the sisters also. When you bring an offering to God, ask yourself, Am I cherishing wrong feelings toward any of my brethren in the faith? If you are, do all in your power to be reconciled to the one with whom you are at variance.
It is a sin to cherish anger against a brother or a sister in the Church. Christ treats anger as murder. He declares, "I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause"--O, how much there is of this in the Church today!--"shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." God has a controversy with that man. He thinks he has occasion for feeling angry, for calling his brother raca, "vain fellow;" but these passionate words are a savor of death unto death. He who utters them is not cooperating with God, but with Satan. In heaven his wicked railing is placed in the same list as swearing. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #14)
Many things that do not now appear in a correct light, will be made plain in the day of the Lord. But the question of forgiveness needs not to be interpreted. There is never a time when it is right for you or me to say, "I will not forgive my brother; I will not walk in fellowship with him." He who does this places himself in opposition to the teachings of Christ. If your brother does you an injustice ignorantly, and then holds out the hand of fellowship, saying, "If I have erred and have done you an injury, forgive me," and you draw away from him, refusing to forgive, you walk away from the great Counselor, and need yourself to repent and be forgiven.
If he does you an injury knowingly, and afterward repents, saying, "Forgive me," it is not for you to turn away, refusing to forgive because you may think that he does not feel humble enough, and does not mean what he says. You have no right to judge him, for you cannot read the heart.
If a brother errs, forgive him if he asks you. If he is not humble enough to ask, forgive him in your heart, and express your forgiveness in word and action. Then the weight of his sin will not in any degree rest on you. "Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." "If he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him." And we are not only to forgive seven times, but seventy times seven. Just as often as God forgives us, we are to forgive one another.
One man is never to say to another, "When I see that you have reformed, then I will forgive you." This is not God's plan. This is in accordance with the promptings of human nature. By showing that you do not desire fellowship with your brother, you not only hurt his soul and your own, but you also wound and bruise the heart of Christ.
While hatred is cherished, there is not an iota of love in the heart; therefore when a man has an offering to present to God, he is to clear away all hatred, that his path may not be blocked. If he humbles his heart before God, confessing his mistake in giving way to the passion which opened the door for Satan to enter and take control of the mind, God will forgive his sin and accept his offering.
Christ sees that little heed is paid to his instruction. His people come to him in prayer, asking favors of him, while at the same time they are cherishing hatred against their brethren, not only thinking, but speaking evil of them. God cannot bless them; for they refuse to put out of the way that which causes discord and variance. They would not appreciate the blessing of God should he give it to them as they desire.
O how much better it would be if church members would humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, seeking to remove everything that hinders pure, loving fellowship. Christ points his followers to the path of self-sacrifice and self-surrender. Those who walk in this path not only help themselves, but help their brethren and sisters, clearing away the cloud of misunderstanding which Satan throws across the pathway.
My brethren and sisters, prepare the way, that you may come to God and be forgiven. Act your part in the work of confession. It is not your brother's sin that you are to confess, but your own. In doing this, you are making straight paths for his feet, and softened and subdued, he will fall on the Rock, and be broken. And the Lord will look with pleasure on the offerings brought to him.
Study the Saviour's words, "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case"--whatever your position--"enter into the kingdom of heaven." The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was of a selfish character, consisting of external forms. The righteousness which God requires is internal as well as external. The heart must be purified, else Christ cannot be enthroned there. The life must be conformed to the will of God.
There is no need to marvel that the church is not vivified by the Holy Spirit's power. Men and women are setting aside the instruction Christ has given. Anger and covetousness are obtaining the victory. The soul temple is full of wickedness. There is no room for Christ. Men follow their own perverse ways. They will not heed the words of the Saviour. They take themselves into their own hands, rejecting reproofs and warnings, until the candlestick is moved out of its place, and spiritual discernment is confused by human ideas. Though deficient in service, they justify themselves, saying, "The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord are we." They set the law of God aside to follow the light of their own imagination.
"Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand: ye shall lie down in sorrow."
God is true to his covenant with his people. His word is infallible. His people bring suffering on themselves by forsaking his counsel for their own human wisdom. It is impossible for their prayers to reach his throne, because the rebellion of disobedience is the substance of their petitions. Christ came from heaven to teach the word which his Father committed to him for the fallen members of his family. Those who hear and obey walk in safe paths, under the protection of the Lord of heaven. Through the power of Christ they are victorious over every foe. Those who do faithful, unselfish service for God will be blessed in their unity, as they work in obedience to Jehovah.
When the church allows within her borders those who are working on lines of worldly ambition, when church members cherish feelings of animosity toward one another, God is greatly dishonored. He cannot bless them with grace and power while they continue in sin, and therefore, unwatered by his grace, they become dry and spiritless. God has given all power to his Son to give to his people as largely as they prepare themselves for its reception. This power is in every way adapted to the necessities of perishing sinners, and God will use the members of his church as his helping hand, if they will place themselves where they can be used. But he does not communicate through impure channels; for this would dishonor his holy name.
All who love Jesus will search the Scriptures, that they may know and obey his will. Christ will be to them a very present help in time of need; for God's power is pledged to faithfulness. He will fulfill his word to all who are true. Christ triumphs in the triumph of his people; therefore prepare his way, that he may bestow his richest gifts on his church.
Tell in every church what the individual members must be and do if they work successfully. In God alone is our strength. In quietness and forbearance we shall conquer. Those who reveal the patience of Christ will obtain deliverance. But those who forsake the way of the Lord, marking out new methods and following human surmisings, will surely lie down in sorrow. Perversity, carried into the religious experience, will place them outside the city of God.
"And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. . . . 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." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #15)
"Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?"
These words were written by the apostle Paul to the Corinthian church. Some had charged Paul with self-commendation in writing his former epistle. Paul refers to this by asking the members of the church if they thus judge his motives. Did he or his fellow laborers need any recommendation or testimony as to their Christian character? There were those who had come to Corinth with letters of commendation from other churches; but the leading workers, the founders of these churches, the apostles of Christ, had no need of such commendation. The Corinthians, who had been led from the worship of idols to the faith of the gospel, were themselves all the recommendation Paul needed. Their reception of the truth, and the reformation seen in their lives in response to the labors of the apostle, was a testimony that spoke to all nations, tongues, and peoples.
Paul regarded the Corinthian brethren as his testimonial. He loved them; for they were the fruit of his labor. The reformation wrought in them was sufficient evidence of his authority to counsel, reprove, exhort, and command as a minister of Christ. "Ye are our epistle," he says, "written in our hearts, known and read of all men. Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart."
The conversion of sinners and their sanctification through the truth, is the very best proof a minister can have that God has called him to the ministry. If these evidences attend his labors, he needs no other recommendation. The evidence of his apostleship is written upon the hearts of the ones converted, and is witnessed to by their reformed lives. Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. They are zealous for the truth they have received. They realize that their lives must harmonize with this truth.
True Measure of Usefulness.--The usefulness of a minister of Christ is measured by the results of his labors. When men and women receive the truth, and in their lives adorn it, following the example of their Lord, they recommend the truth and the minister who presented it. The minister is greatly strengthened by these seals of his ministry.
In this age there are many preachers, but there is a great scarcity of able, holy ministers, men filled with the love that dwelt in the heart of Christ. Today the ministers of Christ should have the same witness as that which the Corinthian church bore to Paul's ministry. But pride, self-confidence, love of the world, faultfinding, bitterness, envy, are the fruit borne by many who profess the religion of Christ. Their deportment is in sharp contrast to the character of Christ. Such an epistle, known and read of all men, is, alas, a sad testimony to the character of the ministerial labor under which these souls received their spiritual mold. With such conversions Christ had no connection. In some instances, it is true, men may dishonor God by their claim to be his followers, while the minister under whose labor they professed to receive the truth was faithful, sincere, and thorough in his work. But this is seldom the case.
There is no greater honor than to be accepted by God as an able minister of the gospel. But those whom the Lord blesses with power and success do not boast. They acknowledge their entire dependence on God, realizing that of themselves they have no power. With Paul they say, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament."
There are many ministers who lose their efficiency because they do not make God their trust. They do not depend on his strength.
Many church members act unwisely toward the minister. Often when a teacher of truth has a measure of success in his labor, he is spoiled by those for whom he has worked. Petted and praised, he begins to cherish self-admiration. Thinking that he has superior qualifications, he grows careless in regard to asking God for help. He does not watch unto prayer; and Satan obtains an easy victory over him.
The true minister does the work of the Master. He feels the importance of his work as one who has charge of the flock of God, realizing that in a degree he sustains to the church and to the world the same relation that Christ sustained. He is interested in everything that concerns the salvation of souls. He works to lead sinners from a life of sin to a nobler, higher life, that they may obtain the reward of the overcomer.
The Minister Is God's Watchman.--Weighty is the responsibility resting on ministers of the gospel. The Lord calls them his watchmen. The watchmen anciently placed on the walls of the cities occupied a most important position. Upon their faithfulness depended the safety of all within the walls. When danger was apprehended, they were not to sleep day or night. Every few minutes they were required to call to one another, to see that all were awake, and that no harm had come to any. From one to another the cry of warning or good cheer was to be sounded, till it went the entire rounds of the city.
These watchmen represent the ministers of Christ, upon whose fidelity depends the salvation of souls. These ministers are to stand as watchmen on the walls of Zion, and if they see the sword coming, they are to sound the warning.
"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." The watchmen are to live very near to God, where they can hear his word and be impressed by his Spirit, that the people may not look to them in vain. "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."
If the man who feels that he is called of God to be a minister will humble himself and learn of Christ, he will become a true preacher. If his lips are touched with a live coal from the altar, he will lift up Jesus as the sinner's only hope. When the heart of the speaker is sanctified through the truth, his words will be living realities to himself and to others. Those who hear him will know that he has been with God, and has drawn near to him in fervent, effectual prayer. The Holy Spirit has fallen upon him, his soul has felt the vital, heavenly fire, and he is able to compare spiritual things with spiritual. Power will be given him to tear down the strongholds of Satan. Hearts will be broken by his presentation of the love of God, and many will inquire. "What must I do to be saved?" By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #15)
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 his people 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. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #16)
The greatest difficulty Paul had to met arose from the influence of Judaizing teachers. These made him much trouble by causing dissension in the church at Corinth. They were continually presenting the virtues of the ceremonies of the law, exalting these ceremonies above the gospel of Christ, and condemning Paul because he did not urge them upon the new converts.
Paul met them on their own ground. "If the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious," he said, "so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory."
The law of God, spoken in awful grandeur from Sinai, is the utterance of condemnation to the sinner. It is the province of the law to condemn, but there is in it no power to pardon or to redeem. It is ordained to life; those who walk in harmony with its precepts will receive the reward of obedience. But it brings bondage and death to those who remain under its condemnation.
So sacred and so glorious is the law, that when Moses returned from the holy mount, where he had been with God, receiving from his hand the tables of stone, his face reflected a glory upon which the people could not look without pain, and Moses was obliged to cover his face with a veil.
The glory that shone on the face of Moses was a reflection of the righteousness of Christ in the law. The law itself would have no glory, only that in it Christ is embodied. It has no power to save. It is lusterless only as in it Christ is represented as full of righteousness and truth.
The types and shadows of the sacrificial service, with the prophecies, gave the Israelites a veiled, indistinct view of the mercy and grace to be brought to the world by the revelation of Christ. To Moses was unfolded the significance of the types and shadows pointing to Christ. He saw to the end of that which was to be done away when, at the death of Christ, type met antitype. He saw that only though Christ can man keep the moral law. By transgression of this law man brought sin into the world, and with sin came death. Christ became the propitiation for man's sin. He proffered his perfection of character in the place of man's sinfulness. He took upon himself the curse of disobedience . The sacrifices and offerings pointed forward to the sacrifice he was to make. The slain lamb typified the Lamb that was to take away the sin of the world.
It was seeing the object of that which was to be done away, seeing Christ as revealed in the law, that illumined the face of Moses. The ministration of the law, written and engraved in stone, was a ministration of death. Without Christ, the transgressor was left under its curse, with no hope of pardon. The ministration had of itself no glory, but the promised Saviour, revealed in the types and shadows of the ceremonial law, made the moral law glorious.
The Jewish Economy Revealed Christ.--Paul desires his brethren to see that the great glory of a sin-pardoning Saviour gave significance to the entire Jewish economy. He desired them to see also that when Christ came to the world, and died as man's sacrifice, type met antitype.
After Christ died on the cross as a sin offering, the ceremonial law could have no force. Yet it was connected with the moral law, and was glorious. The whole bore the stamp of divinity, and expressed the holiness, justice, and righteousness of God. And if the ministration of the dispensation to be done away was glorious, how much more must the reality be glorious, when Christ was revealed, giving his lifegiving, sanctifying Spirit to all who believe?
The proclamation of the law of ten commandments was a wonderful exhibition of the glory and majesty of God. How did this manifestation of power affect the people?--They were afraid. As they saw "the thunderings, and the lightnings and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking," they "removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die." They desired Moses to be their mediator. They did not understand that Christ was their appointed mediator, and that, deprived of his mediation, they would certainly have been consumed.
"Moses said unto the people, Fear not; for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was."
The pardon of sin, justification by faith in Jesus Christ, access to God only through a mediator because of their lost condition their guilt and sin,--of these truths the people had little conception. In a great measure they had lost a knowledge of God and of the only way to approach him. They had lost nearly all sense of what constitutes sin and of what constitutes righteousness. The pardon of sin through Christ, the promised Messiah, whom their offerings typified, was but dimly understood.
Paul declared, "Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: and not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: but their minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away."
The Jews refused to accept Christ as the Messiah, and they cannot see that their ceremonies are meaningless, that the sacrifices and offerings have lost their significance. The veil drawn by themselves in stubborn unbelief is still before their minds. It would be removed if they would accept Christ, the righteousness of the law.
Many in the Christian world also have a veil before their eyes and heart. They do not see to the end of that which was done away. They do not see that it was only the ceremonial law which was abrogated at the death of Christ. They claim that the moral law was nailed to the cross. Heavy is the veil that darkens their understanding. The hearts of many are at war with God. They are not subject to his law. Only as they shall come into harmony with the rule of his government, can Christ be of any avail to them. They may talk of Christ as their Saviour; but he will finally say to them, I know you not. You have not exercised genuine repentance toward God for the transgression of his holy law, and you cannot have genuine faith in me, for it was my mission to exalt God's law.
The Moral Law a Transcript of Christ's Character.--Paul did not represent either the moral or the ceremonial law as ministers in our day venture to do. Some cherish such antipathy to the law of God that they will go out of the way to denounce and stigmatize it. Thus they despise and pour contempt on the majesty and glory of God.
The moral law was never a type or a shadow. It existed before man's creation, and will endure as long as God's throne remains. God could not change nor alter one precept of his law in order to save man; for the law is the foundation of his government. It is unchangeable, unalterable, infinite, and eternal. In order for man to be saved, and for the honor of the law to be maintained, it was necessary for the Son of God to offer himself as a sacrifice for sin. He who knew no sin became sin for us. He died for us on Calvary. His death shows the wonderful love of God for man, and the immutability of his law.
In the sermon on the mount, Christ declared, "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."
Christ bore the curse of the law, suffering its penalty, carrying to completion the plan whereby man was to be placed where he could keep God's law, and be accepted through the merits of the Redeemer; and by his sacrifice glory was shed upon the law. Then the glory of that which is not to be done away--God's law of ten commandments, his standard of righteousness--was plainly seen by all who saw to the end of that which was done away.
"We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord." Christ is the sinner's advocate. Those who accept his gospel behold him with open face. They see the relation of his mission to the law, and they acknowledge God's wisdom and glory as revealed by the Saviour. The glory of Christ is revealed in the law, which is a transcript of his character, and his transforming efficacy is felt upon the soul until men become changed to his likeness. They are made partakers of the divine nature, and grow more and more like their Saviour, advancing step by step in conformity to the will of God, till they reach perfection.
The law and the gospel are in perfect harmony. Each upholds the other. In all its majesty the law confronts the conscience, causing the sinner to feel his need of Christ as the propitiation for sin. The gospel recognizes the power and immutability of the law. "I had not known sin, but by the law," Paul declares. The sense of sin, urged home by the law, drives the sinner to the Saviour. In his need man may present the mighty arguments furnished by the cross of Calvary. He may claim the righteousness of Christ; for it is imparted to every repentant sinner. God declares, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all righteousness." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #16)
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 in behalf of our schools in the publication and sale of "Christ's Object Lessons." We rejoice that so large a number of our people have given themselves to this work, and that their efforts are proving so successful. We rejoice that our conference and tract society officers have given their influence and energy to this grand enterprise, and that ministers, Bible workers, colporteurs, and church members have engaged so heartily in the special effort for the speedy 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 is well pleasing to the Lord. It is in accordance with his plan. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #17)
"Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not."
The apostle magnifies the grace and mercy of God, shown in his miraculous conversion and in the sacred trust committed to him as a minister of Christ. By God's abundant mercy he and his brethren have been sustained in affliction, difficulty, and danger. He declares that they have not walked in craftiness, nor handled the word of God deceitfully. They have been unselfish, showing no avarice. They have not modeled their faith and teaching to suit the desires of their hearers, nor kept back truths profitable for them in order to make their teaching less offensive. They have not clouded the truths of God's word, so that their meaning should not be understood. On the contrary, feeling the importance of their calling, they have presented the truth with simplicity and clearness, praying for the conviction and conversion of souls. They have endeavored to bring their conduct into harmony with the truth presented, that this truth might commend itself to every man's conscience.
Paul knew that, by many, conviction would be thrown off, that hearts would rise up against the truth, be it presented ever so wisely. The hearts of many were blinded by prejudice and lust. They could not see the beauty of the truth. But the apostle would not permit this to discourage him in his labor. If after he had plainly presented the truth, the hearts of the people were still covered by a veil, neither the truth nor the minister presenting it were at fault.
Man's Mind Blinded by Worldliness.--In this age we find men and women professing godliness who refuse to walk in the light which shows that they have greater truths to accept,--truths which involve a cross,--truths which, if accepted, would separate them from the world. They refuse to recognize the sacred claims of God's law. In an effort to justify their theories and their course, they misinterpret the plainest statements of Scripture. Filled with the love of the world, they say, "I cannot see; I cannot see."
To such are applicable the words of Paul: "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." Men are crying, "Christ, Christ; give us Christ; but the law we will not acknowledge." Turning from the law, they turn from the Giver of the law, and they turn also from Christ; for he declares, "I and my Father are one."
In every mind the solemn inquiry should be, "What must I do to be saved?" I must know for myself what is truth, that I may be sanctified by the truth, and thus obtain a fitness for the higher life. But Satan is untiring in his efforts to keep the transforming light of the gospel from the hearts of men. Those who do not willfully oppose, those who, like Paul, war against the truth ignorantly, may be converted. Yet it remains a stern, lamentable fact that among professed believers, as well as among unbelievers, the enemy blinds many to their ruin. They allow him to rob them of all desire to investigate the inspired word for themselves.
"We preach not ourselves," Paul continued, "but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." The object of the apostles' ministry was not self-exaltation. They did not covet authority or pre-eminence. They preached Christ. This was their theme. They hid self in the Saviour. The great plan of salvation, and the life of Christ, the author and finisher of this plan, were exalted before their hearers. Christ, yesterday, today, and forever, was the burden of their teaching.
If those who today are preaching the word of God, would cease to glory in self, and would exalt the cross of Christ, their ministry would be far more successful. If sinners can be led to give one earnest look at the cross, to obtain a full view of the crucified Saviour, all is gained. But very few ministers point sinners as they should to the Lamb of God. Few have a just estimate of the worth of souls or of the power of Christ to save.
Satan's work is to make the truth of God of none effect. Cast out of heaven because of his transgression, his aim has ever been to defeat God's purpose for man. He seeks to make it appear that the law is imperfect, unjust, tyrannical. He declares that it is impossible for man to keep the law. And in his own power man cannot keep the law. Without a Saviour, he is without hope.
Christ saw the helpless condition of the race, and he came to redeem them by living the life of obedience the law requires, and by paying in his death the penalty of disobedience. He came to bring us the message and means of deliverance, an assurance of salvation, not through the abrogation of the law, but through obedience made possible by his merits.
To make it possible for human beings to be kings and priests to God, the Commander of the angels took the position of a servant. He set us a perfect example. He asks us to learn of him; for his life was an exemplification of the law. No act of sin marred his conduct. In word and deed he was without blemish.
Christ's death shows God's great love for man. It is the pledge of our salvation. To remove the cross from the Christian would be like blotting out the sun. The cross brings us near to God, reconciling us to him. Jehovah looks upon it with the relenting compassion of a Father's love. He looks upon the suffering his Son endured in order to save the race from eternal death, and he accepts us in the Beloved.
Without the cross, man could have no connection with the Father. On it hangs our every hope. In view of it the Christian may advance with the steps of a conqueror; for from it streams the light of the Saviour's love. When the sinner reaches the cross, and looks up to the One who died to save him, he may rejoice with fullness of joy; for his sins are pardoned. Kneeling at the cross, he has reached the highest place to which man can attain. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God is revealed in the face of Jesus Christ; and the words of pardon are spoken: Live, O ye guilty sinners live. Your repentance is accepted; for I have found a ransom.
Through the cross we learn that our Heavenly Father loves us with an infinite and everlasting love, and draws us to him with more than a mother's yearning sympathy for a wayward child. Can we wonder that Paul exclaimed, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ"? It is our privilege also to glory in the cross of Calvary, our privilege to give ourselves wholly to him who gave himself for us. Then with the light of love that shines from his face on ours, we shall go forth to reflect it to those in darkness. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #17)
I have never seen so good an opportunity for all who will work, to give spiritual help to their neighbors and to strangers, as is presented in the work of selling "Christ's Object Lessons." Let all who know the truth engage in this work, in the meekness of Christ and in the love of God, striving to communicate the light of truth. When you are called upon to defend a point of faith, do this in the meekness of wisdom, speaking the truth in love. "The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #18)
"We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
To men has been given the great work of preaching Christ. The priceless treasure has been placed in earthen vessels. God could have proclaimed his truth by sinless angels, but this was not his plan. He could have intrusted his work to men of wealth, position, learning, and eloquence; but neither was this his plan. He chose men acquainted with poverty, hardship, and suffering, men who could reach the poor and lowly.
The power of the truth must not be accredited to men. Men must not be given the honor due to God. It must be seen that to God belongs all the glory. Therefore human beings, men compassed with infirmity, are chosen as instruments for God's work. Through them his blessings were to be conveyed to the world. Through them his glory is to shine forth into the darkness of sin. In loving ministry they are to meet the sinful and the needy. And in all their work they are to ascribe glory, honor, and praise to him who is above all and over all.
Paul speaks to his experience in connection with the service of Christ, showing that in choosing the Christian pathway he had not been prompted by selfish motives: for it is beset with trials and temptations, Of his own experience he says, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." The apostles were sometimes cast down in the conflict with evil men and evil angels, yet by the grace of God they were enabled to rise and press once more to the front. Their preservation under manifold dangers testified that Jesus lived. Deliverance, support, consolation, and fortitude came to them as they endured suffering for the Redeemer's sake.
Paul reminds his brethren that as Christ's messengers he and his fellow laborers were continually in peril. The hardships they endured were telling on their strength. "We which live," he says, "are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you." Wearing physically through privation and toil, these ministers of Christ were conforming to his death. But that which was working death in them was bringing spiritual life and health to the Corinthians, who by a belief in the truth were being made partakers of life eternal. In view of this they were to be careful not to increase the burdens and trials of the laborers by neglect and disaffection.
The Hope that Sustained Paul.--Paul continues. "We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak." Firmly believing the reality of the truth intrusted to him, nothing could induce Paul to handle the word of God deceitfully, or to conceal the conviction of his soul. He would not purchase wealth, honor, or pleasure by a life of conformity to the opinions of the world. He was in daily expectation of martyrdom for the same faith that he had preached to the Corinthians, but he was not intimidated, knowing that he who died and rose again would raise him from the grave, and present him, with all the faithful who had accepted the truth through his labor, to the Father.
"For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many rebound to the glory of God." Not for self-aggrandizement did the apostles preach the gospel. It was the hope of saving souls that led them to devote their lives to this work. And it was the hope of saving souls that kept them from fainting or from ceasing their efforts because of threatened danger or actual suffering.
"For which cause," Paul declares, "we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." Paul felt the power of the enemy; but though his physical strength was declining, yet he faithfully and unflinchingly declared the gospel of Christ. Clad in the whole armor of God, this hero of the cross pressed forward in the conflict. His voice of cheer proclaimed him triumphant in the combat. Fixing his gaze on high, he beholds the reward of the faithful, and in tones of victory he exclaims, "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
If Paul, troubled on every side, perplexed, persecuted, could call his trials light afflictions, of what has the Christian of today to complain? How trifling are our trials in comparison with Paul's many afflictions! They are not worthy to be compared with the eternal weight of glory awaiting the overcomer. They are God's workmen, ordained for the perfection of character. However great the deprivation and suffering of the Christian, however dark and inscrutable may seem the way of providence, he is to rejoice in the Lord, knowing that all is working for his good.
How Sorrows and Trials are Made Light.--How many there are who grieve the Spirit of God by continual repining! This is because they have lost sight of Christ. If we behold him who bore our sorrows and died as our sacrifice, that we might have an exceeding weight of glory, we shall regard our heaviest sorrows and trials as light afflictions. Think of the Saviour upon the cross, bruised, smitten, mocked, yet uncomplaining and unresisting, suffering without a murmur. This is the Lord of heaven, whose throne is from everlasting. All this suffering and shame he endured for the joy that was set before him,--the joy of bringing to men the gift of eternal life.
When the attention is fastened on the cross of Christ, the whole being is ennobled. The knowledge of the Saviour's love subdues the soul, and lifts the mind above the things of time and sense. Let us learn to estimate all temporal things in the light that shines from the cross. Let us strive to fathom the depths of humiliation to which our Saviour descended in order to make man the possessor of eternal riches. As we study the plan of redemption, the heart will feel the throb of the Saviour's love, and will be ravished by the charms of his character.
It is the love of Christ that makes our heaven. But when we seek to tell of this love, language fails us. We think of his life on earth, of his sacrifice for us; we think of his work in heaven as our advocate, of the mansions he is preparing for those who love him; and we can but exclaim. "O the heights and depths of the love of Christ!" As we linger beneath the cross, we gain a faint conception of the love of God, and we say, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." But in our contemplation of Christ, we are only lingering round the edge of a love that is measureless. His love is like a vast ocean, without bottom or shore.
In all true disciples this love, like sacred fire, burns on the altar of the heart. It was on the earth that the love of God was revealed through Jesus. It is on the earth that his children are to let this love shine out through blameless lives. Thus sinners will be led to the cross, to behold the Lamb of God. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #18)
Those who engage in this work should first give themselves unreservedly to God. They should place themselves where they can learn of Christ and follow his example. He has invited them: "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." Matt. 11:28-30. Angels are commissioned to go forth with those who take up this work in true humility.
We are to pray without ceasing, and we are to live our prayers. Faith will greatly increase by exercise. Let those who are canvassing for "Christ's Object Lessons" learn the lessons taught in the book for which they are working. Learn of Christ. Have faith in his power to help and save you. Faith is the very life blood of the soul. Its presence gives warmth, health, consistency, and sound judgment. Its vitality and vigor exert a powerful though unconscious influence. The life of Christ in the soul is as a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. It leads to a constant cultivation of the heavenly graces and to a kindly submission in all things to the Lord.
I speak to the workers, young and old, who are handling our books, and especially to those who are canvassing for the book that is now doing its errand of mercy: Exemplify in the life the lessons given by Christ in his sermon on the mount. This will make a deeper impression, and have a more lasting influence upon minds, than will the sermons given from the pulpit. You may not be able to speak eloquently to those you desire to help; but if you speak modestly, hiding self in Christ, your words will be dictated by the Holy Spirit; and Christ, with whom you are cooperating, will impress the heart.
Exercise that faith which works by love and sanctifies the soul. Let none now make the Lord ashamed of them because of their unbelief. Sloth and despondency accomplish nothing. Entanglements in secular business are sometimes permitted by God in order to stir the sluggish faculties to more earnest action that he may honor faith by the bestowal of rich blessings. This is a means of advancing his work. Looking unto Jesus, not only as our example, but as the author and finisher of our faith, let us go forward, having confidence that he will supply strength for every duty.
Much painstaking effort will be required of those who have the burden of this work; for right instruction must be given, that a sense of the importance of the work may be kept before the workers, and that all may cherish the spirit of self-denial and sacrifice exemplified in the life of our Redeemer. Christ made sacrifices at every step, sacrifices that none of his followers can ever make. In all the self-denial required of us in this work; amid all the unpleasant things that occur, we are to consider that we are yoked up with Christ, partakers of his spirit of kindness, forbearance, and self-abnegation. This spirit will open the way before us, and give us success, because Christ is our recommendation to the people. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #19)
God's people are called to aggressive warfare, not against one another, but against the armies of the enemy. Never are they to relax their vigilance. Never are those who claim to be Christ's disciples to feel at ease in their church capacity, content to do nothing to rescue fallen human beings, and win them back to their loyalty. Heavenly angels are constantly ascending and descending between heaven and earth, engaged in unselfish service for humanity. Where are the men and women who will unite with these heavenly messengers? Think of what God has done for you! When you were perishing out of Christ, did not the warning message come to you, convincing you of sin, and arousing you to repentance? Did not Christ reveal himself to you as a sin-pardoning Saviour? And in the light and warmth of your first love, were you not filled with a longing to impart to others the grace that gave you newness of life?
Do not allow your zeal for soul saving to decrease. You have become Christ's helping hand, and you are to work earnestly for those whom before your conversion you looked upon with indifference. Remember that they are in as favorable a condition as you were to be brought to repentance, and that their salvation may be of higher value to the church than was yours. Grudge not earnest, tender words and kindly deeds. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Open the windows of the soul heavenward, that the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness may shine into your hearts. Fresh grace to impart will be given to those who keep their souls in the love of God. Duty and sacrifice are precious to them, because of their love for Christ's purchased possession.
Those who are truly converted are eager to communicate the knowledge of God. Thy feel the strength of the cords that bind men and women to Christ in loving, faithful service. Once they had no interest in sinners; now they are united with Christ, and they are bound up in love with his heritage. The heart once frozen by selfishness is melted by the influence of the Spirit. They rejoice that sinners are accepted in the Beloved.
Let the soldiers in Christ's army remember that while they are under his banner, they can never be conquered; for angels from heaven are fighting beside them. And let them remember also that "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." What are our orders?--"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. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."
The Lord Has Work for You.--This is the work to which you are called. It is not for you to sit and listen to discourse after discourse, feeling content to do nothing, making no use of the word you hear, and often criticising the ministers. Go to work, helping on the right hand and on the left. Visit your neighbors and in a friendly way, and become acquainted with them. Use every favorable opportunity, in cooperation with the heavenly agencies, to draw them under Christ's banner.
Those who do not take up this work, those who act with the indifference that some have manifested, will soon lose their first love, and will begin to censure, criticise, and condemn their own brethren.
The Lord has a work for every one to do. As God's people act their part with faithfulness, the light will shine forth, extending farther and farther, from neighborhood to neighborhood. In places nigh and afar off there will be revivals and conversions. The light and power of the message will be seen and felt.
Let there be no indifference; for we are living amid the perils of the last days. Each one must act his part in extending and enlarging the kingdom of God. Every effort made by the human agent to cooperate with the Holy Spirit prepares him to accomplish the work God has been fitting him through his grace to do. God desires his people to use all their talents in his service. He wants them to labor for those outside the fold. He wants them to improve their capabilities, that they may become wise unto salvation, and by contemplating their duty to him and to their fellow men, learn to help others. Workers are to be trained who will train and educate others. Thus the good work will go forward, and whole communities will be blessed. Men and women will be brought into the fold at the eleventh hour, and if they are earnest and faithful, the Lord will accept them and work through them. As they put on Christ, their minds are filled with the treasures of heavenly truth, which they give to others, to be given by them to still others.
We are living in the time of the end, a time crowded with events in process of fulfillment, all working to bring about that great day when Christ shall be revealed in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. The last years of probation are fast closing. The signs of the times--the wars and rumors of wars, the strikes, murders, robberies, and accidents--tell us that the end of all things is at hand. Who can doubt the truth of the prophet's words. "The wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand"? Many of the inhabitants of the world have given themselves into Satan's control. They cooperate with him, helping him to carry out his plans against the government of God. Under his guidance, men have lost their horror of bloodshed and murder.
Satan himself stands at the head of his army, striving with all his power to perfect the force over which he rules, that he may wreak his vengeance on God's people. Knowing that his time is short, he has come down with great power, to work against all that is good. In the Scriptures, he is represented as walking up and down as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He fills the minds of his instrumentalities with hatred against God and with an intense desire for revenge.
The Last Conflict.--Determined to efface the image of God in man. Satan works with an intensity of effort to hide God from view. Not openly does he work, but secretly, mingling error with truth, so seeking to bring confusion and distress. But in proportionate power God works to counteract Satan's plans and to bring to light his hidden purposes. When the enemy has seemed to be gaining a signal victory over righteousness, God has been working with mighty power in behalf of his people.
The stress of great temptation is already upon us. We are now to unite with one another in doing the work that Christ did when he was upon this earth. We are to be one in Christ. Thus we are to show our faithfulness to God, to our Redeemer, and to all who are born into his kingdom. Among the people of God there is to be no dissension, no controversy, no warfare against one another. Satan's strong efforts against good, that terrible hatred of his agencies against God's agencies, emphasize the need of union and harmony among the forces of righteousness. We have no time to wrestle and contend among ourselves, no time to work on suppositions, or cherish prejudices. It is too late for this, brethren; for Christ is at the door.
A terrible conflict is before us. We are nearing the battle of the great day of God Almighty. That which has been held in control is to be let loose. The angel of mercy is folding her wings, preparing to step down from the throne, and leave the world to the control of Satan. The principalities and powers of earth are in bitter revolt against the God of heaven. They are filled with hatred against those who serve him, and soon, very soon, will be fought the last great battle between good and evil. The earth is to be the battlefield--the scene of the final contest and the final victory. Here, where for so long Satan has led men against God, rebellion is to be forever suppressed.
God's people are to bear a hold, decided testimony for the truth, unfolding the purposes of God by the witness of pen and voice. In place after place, they are to proclaim the message of God's word. By converted, sanctified, holy men and women the message of warning is to be proclaimed, that the prayer may be answered, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."
All heaven is in activity, and the angels of God are waiting to cooperate with those who will devise plans by which the souls for whom Christ died may hear the glad tidings of salvation. Angels who minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation, are saying to every true saint, "There is work for you to do. Go, stand and speak to the people all the words of this life." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #19)
A good beginning has been made in the sale of "Christ's Object Lessons." What is needed now is 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.
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.
The present is an opportunity which we cannot afford to lose. We call upon all our people to help to the utmost of their ability just now. We call upon them to do a work that 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 a part of their earnings for the help of our schools.
A general movement is needed, and this must begin with individual movements. In every church let every member of every family make determined efforts to deny self, and to help forward the work. Let the children act a part. Let all cooperate. 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 a knowledge of God and of the best methods for reaching the people.
The Lord calls for young men and 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 constantly learning of the Great Teacher. The Lord will open ways before those who will respond to his call.
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. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #19)
The work for the relief of our schools should be taken up by our people in all countries. Let it be entered upon by our churches in Australasia. Our school there is in need of help, and if our people will take hold of the work unitedly, they can do much toward lifting the burden of debt; they can encourage the hearts of those who are laboring to build up this, the Lord's instrumentality; and they can aid in extending its influence of blessing to far heathen lands and to the islands of the sea.
We trust that our publishing house in Australia will make liberal terms in the publication of "Christ's Object Lessons." The Lord has greatly blessed this institution, and it should present to him a thank offering by making no stinted donation toward freeing the school from debt. We feel sure that it will take up the work and act its part nobly. And this cooperation with God will prove to the Australian publishing house as great a blessing as it has proved to our institutions in America.
Move out in this work, my brethren in Australasia. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Heb. 11:1. Have we not proved this in the past? As we have moved out, trusting God's promise, things unseen, except by the eye of faith, have become things seen. As we have walked and worked by faith, God has fulfilled to us every word he has spoken. The evidence we have of the faithfulness of his promises should check every thought of unbelief. It is a sin to doubt, and we do not believe that our brethren in Australasia will be guilty of this.
The Lord has done much for you all through your borders. Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, already white for the harvest. Praise God that his word has been verified beyond all our conception.
I call upon our people to enter earnestly and disinterestedly upon the work of freeing the school from debt. Let the publishing house do its part in the publication of the book. Let our people throughout Australasia take hold of the sale of "Christ's Object Lessons." God will bless them in this work.
The workers in England should make every possible effort in the sale of this book, that a school may be established in that country. My brethren in England, Germany, and all other European countries where the light of truth is shining, take hold of this work. Let this book be translated into the different languages, and circulated in the different countries of Europe. Let our canvassers in all parts of Europe be encouraged to help in its sale. The sale of this book will do much more than to aid in freeing our institutions from debt. It will open the way for our larger books to find a ready market. Thus the truth will reach many who otherwise would not receive it.
I appeal especially to our brethren in Scandinavia. Will you not take hold of the work which God has given you? Will you not labor to the utmost of your ability to relieve the embarrassed institutions in your field? Do not look on in despair, saying, "We can do nothing." Cease to talk discouragement. Take hold of the arm of Infinite Power. Remember that your brethren in other lands are uniting to give you help. Do not fail nor be discouraged. The Lord will uphold his workers in Scandinavia if they will act their parts in faith, in prayer, in hopefulness, doing all they can to advance his cause and hasten his coming.
Let a most earnest effort be made by our people in England to inspire their brethren in Scandinavia with faith and courage. Brethren, we must come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.
Remember that the nearer we approach the time of Christ's coming, the more earnestly and firmly we are to work; for we are opposed by the whole synagogue of Satan. We do not need feverish excitement, but that courage which is born of genuine faith. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #20)
As the children of Israel neared the borders of the promised land, Moses selected a man from each tribe, and sent them to view the land of Canaan, saying to them, "Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain: and see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many; and what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strongholds; and what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land."
After forty days the spies returned, bringing specimens of the fruit of the land. But all save two returned with a faithless report. "We came unto the land whither thou sentest us," they began, "and surely it floweth with milk and honey. . . . Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. And the Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan."
The unbelief of the spies cast a gloomy shadow over the congregation; and the mighty power of God, so often manifested in behalf of his chosen people, was forgotten. The people did not wait to reflect. They did not reason that he who had brought them thus far would certainly give them the land of promise; they did not call to mind how wonderfully God had delivered them from their oppressors, cutting a path through the sea, and destroying the pursuing hosts of Pharaoh. They left God out of the question, and acted as if they must depend solely on the power of arms.
They were desperate in their disappointment and despair. A wail of agony arose and mingled with the confused murmur of voices. Caleb comprehended the situation, and, bold to stand in defense of the word of God, he did all in his power to counteract the evil influence of his unfaithful associates. For an instant the people were stilled to listen to his words of hope and courage respecting the goodly land. He did not contradict what had already been said: the walls were high, the Canaanites strong. But God had promised the land to Israel. "Let us go up at once, and possess it," Caleb urged: "for we are well able to overcome it."
Caleb's words excited the anger of the ten spies, and they cried vehemently, "We be not able to go up against the people: for they are stronger than we. . . . The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight."
Israel's Sin and Moses' Prayer.--"And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night." Revolt and open mutiny quickly followed; for Satan had full sway, and the people seemed bereft of reason. They cursed Moses and Aaron, forgetting that God hearkened to their wicked speeches, and that, enshrouded in the pillar of cloud, the Angel of God's presence was witnessing their terrible outburst of wrath. In bitterness they cried. "Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!" With the utterance of their discontent, their bitterness grew, until they began to reproach God, saying, "And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said to one another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt."
Cut to the heart by the rebellion of the people, feeling the enormity of their sin. "Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel." And again Caleb and Joshua tried to reassure the people. Above the tempest of lamentation and rebellious grief their clear, ringing voices were heard, saying: "The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not."
But the congregation would not listen to the earnest entreaty. The unfaithful spies were loud in their denunciations of Caleb and Joshua, and the cry was raised to stone them. The insane mob seized missiles with which to slay these faithful men. They rushed forth with yells of madness, when suddenly the stones dropped from their hands, a hush fell upon them, and they shook with fear. God had interposed to check their murderous designs. The glory of his presence, like a flaming light, illuminated the tabernacle. All the people beheld the signal of the Lord. A mightier One than they had revealed himself, and no one dared continue his resistance. The spies who brought the evil report crouched, terror stricken, and with bated breath sought their tents.
Moses now arose, and entered the tabernacle. And God said to him, "How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have showed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they."
Unable to endure the thought of Israel's destruction, Moses pleaded: "If thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness. . . . Let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy. . . . Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now."
And God said, "I have pardoned according to thy word: but as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened unto my voice; surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers. . . . Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, doubtless ye shall not come unto the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised."
Israel's History Our Admonition.--For our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come, was this history recorded. How often the people of God today live over the experience of the children of Israel! How often they murmur and complain! How often they draw back when the Lord bids them go forward! The cause of God is suffering for want of men like Caleb and Joshua, men of fidelity and unshaken trust. God calls for men who will give themselves to him to be imbued with his Spirit. The cause of Christ and humanity demand sanctified, self-sacrificing men, men who will go forth without the camp, bearing the reproach. Let them be strong, valiant men, fit for worthy enterprises, and let them make a covenant with God by sacrifice.
Brethren, we must come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Remember that the nearer we approach the time of Christ's coming, the more earnestly we are to work; for we are opposed by the whole synagogue of Satan. We do not need feverish excitement, but that courage which is born of genuine faith.
We need greater faith in the progress of the cause of God. When the Lord gives us a work to do, let us not stop to inquire into the reasonableness of the command or the probable result of our effort to obey. Workers for Christ are never to think, much less to speak, of failure in their work. Though the outward appearance may be unpromising, energy and trust in God will develop resources.
If we restrain the expression of unbelief, and by hopeful words and prompt movements strengthen our own faith and the faith of others, our vision will grow clearer.
Be strong, and talk hope. Press your way through obstacles. God's word is your assurance. Approach your Saviour with the full confidence of living faith, joining your hands with his. Go where he leads the way. Whatsoever he says to you, do. He will teach you just as willingly as he will teach some one else.
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Have we not proved this in the past? As we moved out, trusting God's promises, things unseen, except by the eye of faith, have become things seen. As we have walked and worked by faith, God has fulfilled to us every word he has spoken. The evidence we have of the faithfulness of his promise should check every thought of unbelief.
Often the Christian life is beset with dangers, and duty seems hard to perform. The imagination pictures impending ruin before, and bondage or death behind. Yet the voice of God speaks clearly, "Go forward." Let us obey the command, even though our sight cannot penetrate the darkness. The obstacles that hinder our progress will never disappear before a halting, doubting spirit. Those who defer obedience till every shadow of uncertainty disappears, and there remains no risk of failure or defeat, will never obey. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #21)
If Seventh-day Adventists practiced what they profess to believe, if they were sincere health reformers, they would indeed be a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. And they would show a far greater zeal for the salvation of those who are ignorant of the truth.
Greater reforms should be seen among the people who claim to be looking for the soon appearing of Christ. Health reform is to do among our people a work which it has not yet done. There are those who ought to be awake to the danger of meat eating, who are still eating the flesh of animals, thus endangering the physical, mental, and spiritual health. Many who are now only half converted on the question of meat eating will go from God's people, to walk no more with them.
In all our work we must obey the laws which God has given, that the physical and spiritual energies may work in harmony. Men may have a form of godliness, they may even preach the gospel, and yet be unpurified and unsanctified. Ministers should be strictly temperate in their eating and drinking, lest they make crooked paths for their feet, turning the lame--those weak in the faith--out of the way. If while proclaiming the most solemn and important message God has ever given, men war against the truth by indulging wrong habits of eating and drinking, they take all the force from the message they bear.
Those who indulge in meat eating, tea drinking, and gluttony are sowing seeds for a harvest of pain and death. The unhealthful food placed in the stomach strengthens the appetites that war against the soul, developing the lower propensities. A diet of flesh meat tends to develop animalism. A development of animalism lessens spirituality, rendering the mind incapable of understanding truth.
The Word of God plainly warns us that unless we abstain from fleshly lusts, the physical nature will be brought into conflict with the spiritual nature. Lustful eating wars against health and peace. Thus a warfare is instituted between the higher and the lower attributes of the man. The lower propensities, strong and active, oppress the soul. The highest interests of the being are imperiled by the indulgence of appetites unsanctioned by Heaven.
Great care should be taken to form right habits of eating and drinking. The food eaten should be that which will make the best blood. The delicate organs of digestion should be respected. God requires us, by being temperate in all things, to act our part, toward keeping ourselves in health. He cannot enlighten the mind of a man who makes a cesspool of his stomach. He does not hear the prayers of those who are walking in the light of the sparks of their own kindling.
Common Errors in Diet.--Intemperance is seen in the quantity as well as in the quality of food eaten. The Lord has instructed me that as a general rule we place too much food in the stomach. Many make themselves uncomfortable by overeating, and sickness is often the result. The Lord did not bring this punishment on them. They brought it on themselves, and God desires them to realize that pain is the result of transgression.
Daily abused, the digestive organs cannot do their work well. A poor quality of blood is made, and thus, through improper eating, the whole machinery is crippled. Give the stomach less to do. It will recover if proper care is shown in regard to the quality and quantity of food eaten.
Many eaten too rapidly. Others eat at one meal varieties of food that do not agree. If men and women would only remember how greatly they afflict the soul when they afflict the stomach, and how deeply Christ is dishonored when the stomach is abused, they would deny the appetite, and thus give the stomach opportunity to recover its healthy action. While sitting at the table, we may do medical missionary work by eating and drinking to the glory of God.
To eat on the Sabbath the same amount of food eaten on a working day, is entirely out of place. The Sabbath is the day set apart for the worship of God, and on it we are to be specially careful in regard to our diet. A clogged stomach means a clogged brain. Too often so large an amount of food is eaten on the Sabbath that the mind is rendered dull and stupid, incapable of appreciating spiritual things. The habits of eating have much to do with the many dull religious exercises of the Sabbath. The diet for the Sabbath should be selected with reference to the duties of the day on which the purest, holiest service is to be offered to God.
Eating has much to do with religion. The spiritual experience is greatly affected by the way in which the stomach is treated. Eating and drinking in accordance with the laws of health promote virtuous actions. But if the stomach is abused by habits that have no foundation in nature, Satan takes advantage of the wrong that has been done, and uses the stomach as an enemy of righteousness, creating a disturbance which affects the entire being. Sacred things are not appreciated. Spiritual zeal diminishes. Peace of mind is lost. There is dissension, strife, and discord. Impatient words are spoken, and unkind deeds are done; dishonest practices are followed, and anger is manifested,--and all because the nerves of the brain are disturbed by the abuse heaped on the stomach.
What a pity it is that often, when the greatest self-denial should be exercised, the stomach is crowded with a mass of unhealthful food, which lies there to decompose. The affliction of the stomach afflicts the brain. The imprudent eater does not realize that he is disqualifying himself for giving wise counsel, disqualifying himself for laying plans for the best advancement of the work of God. But this is so. He cannot discern spiritual things, and in council meetings when he should say Yea, he says Nay. He makes propositions that are wide of the mark, because the food he has eaten has benumbed his brain power.
Relation of Health Principles to Spirituality.--The failure to follow sound principles has marred the history of God's people. There has been a continual backsliding in health reform, and as a result God is dishonored by a great lack of spirituality. Barriers have been erected which would never have been seen had God's people walked in the light.
Shall we who have had such great opportunities allow the people of the world to go in advance of us in health reform? Shall we cheapen our minds and abuse our talents by wrong eating? Shall we transgress God's holy law by following selfish practices? Shall our inconsistency become a byword? Shall we live such unchristianlike lives that the Saviour will be ashamed to call us brethren?
Shall we not rather do that medical missionary work which is the gospel in practice, living in such a way that the peace of God can rule in our hearts? Shall we not remove every stumblingblock from the feet of unbelievers, ever remembering what is due to a profession of Christianity? Far better give up the name of Christian than make a profession and at the same time indulge appetites which strengthen unholy passions.
God calls upon every church member to dedicate his life unreservedly to the Lord's service. He calls for decided reformation. All creation is groaning under the curse. God's people should place themselves where they will grow in grace, being sanctified, body, soul, and spirit, by the truth. When they break away from all health-destroying indulgences, they will have a clearer perception of what constitutes true godliness. A wonderful change will be seen in the religious experience.
The apostle plainly states that those who reach a high standard of righteousness must be temperate in all things. The Lord sends this message to his people: "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly: so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
"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." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #21)
To Our Churches in America:--There is a heavy burden on my soul in regard to the Southern work. Something has already been done in the South; but the work must advance much more rapidly than it has been advancing. A publishing house has recently been established in Nashville to print reading matter suitable for the different classes of people in that field. The needs of this new institution have been presented before our Northern churches, and, in response to the calls of our brethren, many gifts, large and small, have been made. We thank the Lord that he has aroused some of the brethren to establish and sustain the publishing house in Nashville. The establishment of this institution is an advance movement, and will accomplish much good. This institution will still need to be sustained by gifts and offerings, just as the publishing houses in Battle Creek and Oakland were sustained when they were first established.
Sanitarium work has also been begun in Nashville. This must be given support. Medical missionary work is indeed the helping hand of the gospel ministry. It opens the way for the entrance of truth.
These newly established interests should receive help from our people. Those living in places where the truth has been long established should remember the needs of the preparatory work to be done in Nashville. This place has been selected as a center because of the large educational institutions situated in and near it. In these institutions there are those who are doing a noble work for the people of the South. They must be given opportunity to hear the message that is to prepare a people to stand in the day of the Lord.
Words have come to me from the One highest in authority. My Instructor asked, "In establishing the work in the Southern field, will you do less than you have done in more favorable places,--less than you have done in Michigan and on the Pacific Coast?" I responded, "No, Lord." Then the word came: "You have no time to lose in establishing the work in the Southern field. Many are saying in their hearts, 'My Lord delayeth his coming.' But the Word of the Lord declares:--
"'There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.
"'And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.'"
It is high time that we awake out of sleep. In the Lord's vineyard there should be one hundred workers where now there is but one. If we move forward in faith, the Lord will care for us. He declares:--
"Seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
"But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
The time has come for those who have a large amount of means invested in houses and lands, to begin to dispose of their possessions. "Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
My brethren and sisters in the faith of Christ's soon coming, I ask you how it will be with you when you stand before the great white throne, to answer to God for the talents he has intrusted to you? If you hoard your money, if you invest it in houses and costly furniture, how can you meet your Lord in peace? Your heart will be where your treasure is.
If in the providence of God you have been given means, do not settle down with the thought that you need not engage in useful labor, that you have enough, and can eat, and drink, and be merry. Do not stand idle while others are struggling to obtain means for the cause. If you do less than your duty in giving help to the perishing, remember that your indolence is incurring guilt. Before it is forever too late, begin to reform. Invest less in worldly enterprises, and use your means in creating increased facilities for giving the third angel's message to the world. The time will soon come when no man can buy or sell, save he who has the mark of the beast. We have no time to lose. The end is near. But opportunity is still offered for your talent of means now buried in worldly possessions, to be transferred to the Lord's work.
God desires his people to do far more for the establishment of his church, far more for the maintenance of the cause of truth. Keeping the glory of God in view will enable us to make a wise use of his goods. If God gives us much of this world's goods, it is not that we may selfishly hoard them, or that we may crave for more, but that we may freely impart to those not so richly blessed. Nothing so refreshes the spirit as giving gladly and willingly of the blessings God has so freely given us. The life of the soul is revived by the sight of the good thus accomplished, and by a sense that a conscientious use has been made of the Lord's goods.
All are being tested and tried. By the way in which we do the work Christ has given us to do in his absence, we decide our future destiny. Many neglect their God-given work. They refuse to be his helping hand. Let us fear to fall short of God's plan for us. His servants are to be ever on duty, working always for the uplifting of those for whom he gave his life.
Christ, the Master of the household, has gone to prepare for us mansions in the heavenly city. We are waiting for his return. Let us honor him in his absence by doing with faithfulness the work he has placed in our hands. Waiting, watching, working, we are to prepare for his return. If we are faithful, if we serve him with full purpose of heart, he will receive us with the gracious words, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." He will receive us with honor. To us will be given a crown of glory that fadeth not away, and a new name, "which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." Those who follow Christ here will one day "follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth."
I am instructed to say that slowly, but surely, the wheel of Providence is turning. We know not how soon our Lord will say, "It is done." His coming is drawing nigh. "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. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them."
Great and solemn events are soon to take place; and the Lord says, "I will scatter; and I will also gather together a people to serve me." God's judgments are in the land. To the whole world the warning message is to be given.
I inquire of those upon whom for so long the light of truth has been shining, In this time of such solemn importance, what are you going to do to advance the work necessary to be done in saving perishing souls? There is much to be done for the Master. He calls upon all to watch, that when he comes, they may open to him immediately. He asks you to do his commandments, to bring forth much fruit because you are branches of the true Vine. As you bear much fruit, his joy will remain in you.
My brethren, what are you going to do in regard to the Southern field? With earnest effort, you are to strive to establish memorials for God throughout the Southern States. A great work is before us in the South. The brethren there need means to erect inexpensive buildings that are necessary for the carrying forward of work that must be done speedily. Churches should be raised up; houses of worship should be built; small schools and sanitariums should be established; and the publishing interests should be strengthened.
I am instructed to call upon my brethren in the different conferences of America to take a greater interest in the Southern work than you have taken. From the light that the Lord has been pleased to give me, there is resting upon you a duty to look upon this destitute field, and to do more for it than you have yet done. The Lord has blessed you with means to help carry forward his work, and he now calls upon you to be faithful to your stewardship by helping advance the work in this long-neglected portion of his vineyard. Let the churches arise as one, and work earnestly, as those who are walking in the full light of truth for these last days.
In the name of the Lord, I call upon my brethren to do something to strengthen the publishing interests and to help establish other lines of work in the South, and to do it now. Soon it will be too late to do anything. Soon our opportunities to work will have passed by forever. The plagues of God are already beginning to be poured out upon the earth. The evidences before us indicate that God's Spirit is being withdrawn from the earth. Only a little while longer shall we be permitted to labor, and then in heaven it will be said, "It is done." "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still."
Brethren and sisters, now is the time to make haste to do something. Will you now give of your means to advance the work in the South? If you have in your possession houses and lands that you do not need, will you sell them, and invest the means thus obtained in more firmly establishing the various lines of work that have been begun in the Southern field?
To rescue the fallen race from the thraldom of sin, Christ came to the world, and died on Calvary. He gave his all to us. What are we willing to give to him?
Those who at such a time as this defraud God, will suffer eternal loss. "Sell that ye have, and give alms." Put your money in the bank of heaven. Thus invested, it will yield an infinitely higher rate of interest than if placed in the banks of this world.
Divine grace accompanies those who deny self for the sake of the work of the Redeemer. This grace is woven into all they do. The blessing of good works will follow them into the eternal world. They are wise stewards. By their right use of the Lord's goods, they are laying up treasure that will endure through the ceaseless ages of eternity. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #22)
The Lord reveals the power of his word today as he did to ancient Israel; but how difficult it is for the truth that is not in harmony with men's ideas to make a favorable impression on the mind. If the workers who have seen God's dealing with his people during the rise and progress of the cause will strengthen the faith of the people of God by reviewing past blessings and mercies, they themselves will be blessed, and their work will prove a blessing to those who have not had the experience they have had. As they recount the sacrifices made by those who led out in the work, and tell of the power God manifested to keep his work free from error and extravagance, they will have a molding influence for good.
Those who enter the work at the present time know comparatively little of the self-denial and self-sacrifice of those upon whom the Lord laid the burden of his work at its beginning. The experience of the past should be told them again and again; for they are to carry forward the work with the same humility and self-sacrifice that characterized the true workers in the past. A stern conflict is going on between the Prince of Life and the prince of darkness--a conflict that calls for constant vigilance on the part of Christ's soldiers. There must be no sleepy watchmen on the walls of Zion.
God's workers must allow him to choose his own instruments for the work he is doing. If for any cause men refuse to accept the ways of the Lord, if they resist the light sent from heaven, they will at last be found among the workers of iniquity. And when men, after serving on the side of Christ, take a position against him, they exert an influence as much more dangerous than those who have never professed to serve Christ as their light has been greater. The only hope for such ones is to seek the Lord with humility of heart, that they may see the error they have made. Then let them honestly and frankly confess their sin. They have the sure word of God that if they do this, they will find pardon. But if they refuse to acknowledge their mistake, if they refuse to seek pardon, their sin will witness against them in the day of judgment.
Those who have laid stumblingblocks before the feet of the inexperienced, clouding with doubt the minds of those who have not a personal knowledge of the Lord's dealing with his people in the past, can undo their work only by making their confession as broad as their influence for wrong has been, reaching all to whom, by their resistance of the Holy Spirit, they have brought uncertainty and confusion.
The Only Safe Way.--Our God is a jealous God. He will not be trifled with. Those who make straight paths for their feet must confess their sins. Then God's wisdom will overrule their mistakes for their own good and for the good of his people. He will give them the heavenly anointing, and they will see that his hand is leading his people in the right way. They will see how dangerous was the path upon which they entered when they allowed Satan to control them.
It was very humiliating for Saul to learn that all the time he had thought he was doing God service, he had been persecuting Christ, using his power against the truth. The Saviour revealed himself to Saul, and the Pharisee was filled with abhorrence of himself and his work. He was made physically blind by the glory of him whom in the past he had blasphemed, but it was that he might have spiritual sight. During the days and nights of his blindness, he had time for reflection, and he no longer saw himself righteous but sinful, his thoughts, words, and actions, condemned by the law. The thought of his zeal in persecuting God's people filled him with bitter remorse. Hopeless and helpless, he cast himself on Jesus as the only one who could pardon him, and clothe him with righteousness.
My brethren, some of you have been doing as Saul did,--despising the messages God has sent for the salvation of his people. You have used your capabilities to make God's work of none effect. You need to repent and be forgiven. Unless you have this experience, you cannot be saved.
It was a hard struggle for Paul--heretofore able to say of himself, as far as outward acts were concerned, as "touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless"--to see himself a transgressor, all his supposed goodness swept away. It was a hard struggle for him to give up his supposed righteousness, and cast himself for salvation on the One he had despised. But he yielded to the convictions of the Spirit. The far-reaching claims of the law of God took hold of his life, reaching to the thoughts and emotions of his sin-corrupted heart. With eyes anointed by the grace of God, he saw the mistakes of his life. From a proud Pharisee, who thought himself justified by his good works, he was changed to a humble suppliant for mercy. The tongue, once so ready to blaspheme the name of Christ, became eloquent in sounding the praises of him who had called him out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Writing later of this, Paul says, "I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." O that the same power that converted Paul might go forth today to soften and subdue hearts! Then wrongs would not be varnished over, but open-hearted confessions would be heard.
No way has been provided by which men can pass lightly over their errors. The only safe way is to send sins beforehand to judgment by coming to Christ with the humility and simplicity of a little child. Men must confess their sins, else they will be left in hardness of heart. Light rejected becomes to the rejecter darkness blacker than the darkness of midnight.
Beware of Prejudice and Unbelief.--In the past some have followed a course of action that has been displeasing to God. They have viewed matters in a distorted light. That which might be to them joy and peace in the Holy Ghost appears inconsistent, and they put on the armor of Satan to war against the work of God. The testimony of the Spirit of God is no more to them than the word of men, because in their blindness they cannot distinguish between truth and error.
The messengers God has seen fit to send have not been infallible. They have been weak, erring human beings; but the Lord wrought through them as they gave themselves up to his service. The word spoken was adapted to the necessities of God's people; the evidence of truth was clearly and distinctly presented. The reason the word did not have the desired effect on the hearers was not that there was a lack of evidence; for link after link was produced until the chain was complete; but the minds of the hearers were filled with prejudice. They were not willing to accept evidence, and tried to make the Bible sustain their ideas, instead of changing their ideas to meet the Bible.
The Jews watched Christ, hoping to catch from his lips some word at which they might take offense. Is not this done today? Men refuse to give up their own ideas. They are not humble enough to acknowledge the divine origin of that which is not in harmony with their opinions.
The Lord knows the honest in heart. He hears their prayers, and sends them divine light. The Holy Spirit sends the truth home with power to the hearts of all who are not hardened by unbelief. Christ rejoiced when the evidence rejected by the men who thought themselves wise, was accepted by those who in comparison might be called babes in knowledge. He who feels secure in his own wisdom must become as a little child, else he will never wear the crown of eternal life. He must be willing to learn the lessons Christ has for him to learn, willing to say with John the Baptist, "He must increase, but I must decrease."
What words can I trace to arouse my ministering brethren to a sense of the responsibility resting on them? How fearful their position if, while professing to be watchmen on the walls of Zion, they lay stumblingblocks in the way of their less experienced brethren, leading them to question the precious messages God sends! Christ promised success to his disciples if they would place themselves under the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. They were not authorized to preach a single discourse except under the influence of the Holy Spirit. They had strict orders to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. Do the workers today regard the possession of the Holy Spirit essential to the success of their work? We have had sermonizing and theorizing until the churches are ready to die. The Holy Spirit must come upon God's people. Then the truth will go forth with mighty power. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #22)
Through the work for the relief of our schools a fourfold blessing will be realized,--a blessing to the schools, to the world, to the church, and to the workers.
While funds are gathered for the relief of the schools, the best reading matter is being placed in the hands of a large number of people, who, if this effort had not been made, would never have seen "Christ's Object Lessons." There are souls in desolate places who will be reached by this effort. The lessons drawn from the parables of our Saviour will be to very many as the leaves of the tree of life.
It is the Lord's design that "Christ's Object Lessons," with its precious instruction, shall unify the believers. The self-sacrificing efforts put forth by the members of our churches will prove a means of uniting them, that they may be sanctified, body, soul, and spirit, as vessels unto honor, prepared to receive the Holy Spirit. Those who seek to do God's will, investing every talent to the best advantage, will become wise in working for his kingdom. They will learn lessons of the greatest value, and they will feel the highest satisfaction of a rational mind. Peace and grace and power of intellect will be given them.
As they carry this book to those who need the instruction it contains, the workers will gain a precious experience. This work is a means of education. Those who will do their best as the Lord's helping hand to circulate "Christ's Object Lessons," will obtain an experience that will enable them to be successful laborers for God. Very many, through the training received in this work, will learn how to canvass for our larger books, which the people need so much.
All who engage in the work aright, cheerfully and hopefully, will find it a very great blessing. The Lord does not force any to engage in his work, but to those who place themselves decidedly on his side he will give a willing mind. He will bless all who work out the spirit which he works in. To such workers he will give favor and success. As field after field is entered, new methods and new plans will spring from new circumstances. New thoughts will come with the new workers who give themselves to the work. As they seek the Lord for help, he will communicate with them. They will receive plans devised by the Lord himself. Souls will be converted, and money will come in. The workers will find waste places of the Lord's vineyard lying close beside fields that have been worked. Every field shows new places to win. All that is done brings to light how much more still remains to be done.
As we work in connection with the Great Teacher, the mental faculties are developed. The conscience is under divine guidance. Christ takes the entire being under his control.
No one can be truly united with Christ, practicing his lessons, submitting to his yoke of restraint, without realizing that which he can never express in words. New, rich thoughts come to him. Light is given to the intellect, determination to the will, sensitiveness to the conscience, purity to the imagination. The heart becomes more tender, the thoughts more spiritual, the service more Christlike. In the life there is seen that which no words can express,--true, faithful, loving devotion of heart, mind, soul, and strength to the work of the Master.
After we have, by sanctified energy and prayer, done all that we can do in the work for our schools, we shall see the glory of God. When the trial has been fully made, there will be a blessed result.
If it is made in a free, willing spirit, God will make the movement for the help of our schools a success. He will enable us to roll back the reproach that has come upon our educational institutions. If all will take hold of the work in the spirit of self-sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the truth, it will not be long before the jubilee song of freedom can be sung throughout our borders. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #23)
Just before leaving the disciples, Christ gave them the promise, "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not; neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
Had men been consulted in regard to their choice of the blessing to be bestowed, they would have asked for some inferior good. But the Lord took the matter into his own hands, and promised his Spirit,--a blessing which, when received, satisfies every need.
Christ had an infinite variety of subjects from which to choose in his teaching, but the one upon which he dwelt most largely was the endowment of his Holy Spirit. What great things he predicted for the church because of this endowment! Yet what subject is less dwelt upon today? what promise less fulfilled? Prophecies are dwelt upon, doctrines are expounded, but the promise of the Spirit, the fulfillment of which is necessary for the success of God's work, is incidentally touched upon, and that is all. Other blessings and privileges have been set before the church but the thought entertained regarding the promise of the Spirit is that it is not for the church now, that at some time in the future the church will receive this gift. But this promise belongs to us now as surely as it belonged to the disciples.
God's people seem to be incapable of comprehending and appropriating this promise. They seem to think that only the scantiest showers of grace are to fall on the thirsty soul. They act as if they must rely on their own efforts for salvation, and as a result they have little strength for the work of overcoming. They have little light to give to the souls dying in the darkness of error. Church members have long been content with little of the blessing of God. They have not felt the need of reaching for the exalted privileges provided for them at infinite cost. Their spirituality is feeble, their experience dwarfed and crippled; and therefore they are disqualified for the work of the Lord. They are unable to present in the power of the Spirit the great and glorious truths of God's Word.
It is not because of any restriction on God's part that the riches of his grace do not flow to men. His gift is godlike. He gave with a liberality that men do not appreciate because they do not love to receive. If all were willing to receive, all would be filled with the Spirit. By resting content with small blessings, we disqualify ourselves for receiving the Spirit in its unlimited fullness. We are too easily satisfied with a ripple on the surface, when it is our privilege to expect the deep moving of the Spirit of God. Expecting little, we receive little.
How Do You Treat Christ's Representatives?--The necessity of the Holy Spirit's working should be realized by all. Unless this Spirit is accepted and cherished as the representative of Christ, whose work it is to renew and sanctify the entire being, the momentous truths that have been intrusted to human beings will lose their power on the mind. It is not enough for us to have a knowledge of the truth. We are to walk and work in love, conforming our will to the will of God. Of those who do this the Lord declares, "I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts." God is the mighty, all-powerful agency in this work of transformation. By his Holy Spirit he writes his law in the heart.
Thus divine relationship is renewed between God and man. "'I will be to them a God,'" he says, "'and they shall be to me a people.' There is no attribute of my nature that I will not freely give in order that man may reveal my image." When we allow God to work his will in us, we shall harbor no sin. In the refining furnace all dross will be consumed.
When the Holy Spirit came down on the day of Pentecost, it was like a rushing, mighty wind. It was given in no stinted measure; for it filled all the place where the disciples were sitting. So will it be given to us when our hearts are prepared to receive it.
Let every church member kneel before God, and pray earnestly for the impartation of the Spirit. Cry, "Lord, increase my faith. Make me to understand thy word; for the entrance of thy word giveth light. Refresh me by thy presence. Fill my heart with thy Spirit that I may love my brethren as Christ loves me."
God will bless those who thus prepare themselves for his service. They will understand what it means to have the assurance of the Spirit, because they have received Christ by faith. The religion of Christ means more than the forgiveness of sin; it means that sin is taken away, and that the vacuum is filled with the Spirit. It means that the mind is divinely illumined, that the heart is emptied of self, and filled with the presence of Christ. When this work is done for church members, the church will be a living, working church.
We are to seek most earnestly to be of one mind, of one purpose. The baptism of the Holy Spirit, and nothing less can bring us to this place. Let us by self-renunciation prepare our hearts to receive the Holy Spirit that a great work may be done for us, so that we can say, not, "See what I am doing," but, "Behold the goodness and love of God!"
A Spirit-Filled Church.--After Christ's ascension, the disciples were gathered together in one place to make humble supplication to God. And after ten days of heart searching and self-examination, the way was prepared for the Holy Spirit to enter the cleansed, consecrated soul temples. Every heart was filled with the Spirit, as though God desired to show his people that it was his prerogative to bless them with the choicest of heaven's blessings. What was the result?--Thousands were converted in a day. The sword of the Spirit flashed right and left. Newly edged with power, it pierced even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow. The idolatry that had been mingled with the worship of the people was overthrown. New territory was added to the kingdom of God. Places that had been barren and desolate sounded forth his praises. Believers, reconverted, born again, were a living power for God. A new song was put in their mouths, even praise to the Most High. Controlled by the Spirit, they saw Christ in their brethren. One interest prevailed. One subject of emulation swallowed up all others,--to be like Christ, to do the works of Christ. The earnest zeal felt was expressed by loving helpfulness, by kindly words and unselfish deeds. All strove to see who could do the most for the enlargement of Christ's kingdom. "The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul."
In the twelve disciples the leaven of truth was hidden by the Great Teacher. These disciples were to be the instruments in God's hands for revealing truth to the world. Divine power was given them; for a risen Saviour breathed on them, saying, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." Imbued with this Spirit, they went forth to witness for the truth. And so God desires his servants to go forth today with the message he has given them. But till they receive the Holy Spirit, they cannot bear this message with power. Till they receive the Spirit, they cannot realize what God can do through them.
The mighty power of the Holy Spirit works an entire transformation in the character of the human agent, making him a new creature in Christ Jesus. When a man is filled with the Spirit, the more severely he is tested and tried, the more clearly he proves that he is a representative of Christ. The peace that dwells in the soul is seen on the countenance. The words and actions express the love of the Saviour. There is no striving for the highest place. Self is renounced. The name of Jesus is written on all that is said and done.
We may talk of the blessings of the Holy Spirit, but unless we prepare ourselves for its reception, of what avail are our works? Are we striving with all our power to attain to the stature of men and women in Christ? Are we seeking for his fullness, ever pressing toward the mark set before us,--the perfection of his character? When the Lord's people reach this mark, they will be sealed in their foreheads. Filled with the Spirit, they will be complete in Christ, and the recording angel will declare, "It is finished." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #23)
Order is heaven's first law, and the Lord desires his people to give in their homes a representation of the order and harmony that pervade the heavenly courts. Truth never places her delicate feet in a path of uncleanness or impurity. Truth does not make men and women coarse or rough or untidy. It raises all who accept it to a high level. Under Christ's influence, a work of constant refinement goes on.
Special direction was given to the armies of Israel that everything in and around their tents should be clean and orderly, lest the angel of the Lord, passing through the encampment, should see their uncleanness. Would the Lord be particular to notice these things?--He would; for the fact is stated, lest in seeing their uncleanness, he could not go forward with their armies to battle.
He who was so particular that the children of Israel should cherish habits of cleanliness, will not sanction any impurity in the homes of his people today. God looks with disfavor on uncleanness of any kind. How can we invite him into our homes unless all is neat and clean and pure?
Believers should be taught that even though they may be poor, they need not be uncleanly or untidy in their persons or in their homes. Help must be given in this line to those who seem to have no sense of the meaning and importance of cleanliness. They are to be taught that those who are to represent the high and holy God must keep their souls pure and clean, and that this purity must extend to their dress, and to everything in the home, so that the ministering angels will have evidence that the truth has wrought a change in the life, purifying the soul and refining the tastes. Those who, after receiving the truth, make no change in word or deportment, in dress or surroundings, are living to themselves, not to Christ. They have not been created anew in Christ Jesus, unto purification and holiness.
Some are very untidy in person. They need to be guided by the Holy Spirit to prepare for a pure and holy heaven. God declared that when the children of Israel came to the mount, to hear the proclamation of the law, they were to come with clean bodies and clean clothes. Today his people are to honor him by habits of scrupulous neatness and purity.
Christians will be judged by the fruit they bear. The true child of God will be neat and clean. While we are to guard against needless adornment and display, we are in no case to be careless and indifferent in regard to outward appearance. All about our persons and our homes is to be neat and attractive. The youth are to be taught the importance of presenting an appearance above criticism, an appearance that honors God and the truth.
The mother's dress should be simple, but neat and tasty. The mother who wears torn, untidy clothes, who thinks any dress good enough for home wear, no matter how soiled or dilapidated it may be, gives her children an example that encourages them in untidiness. And more than this, she loses her influence over them. They cannot help seeing the difference between her appearance and the appearance of those who dress neatly; and their respect for her is weakened. Mothers, make yourselves attractive, not by wearing elaborately trimmed garments, but by wearing those that are neat and well fitting. Let your appearance teach a lesson of neatness. You cannot afford to lose the respect of your children.
From their infancy, children should be taught lessons of purity. Mothers cannot too early begin to fill the minds of their children with pure, holy thoughts. And one way of doing this is to keep everything about them clean and pure. Mothers, if you desire your children's thoughts to be pure, let their surroundings be pure. Let their sleeping rooms be scrupulously neat and clean. Teach them to care for their clothing. Each child should have a place of his own for his clothes. Few parents are so poor that they cannot afford to provide for this purpose a large box, which may be fitted with shelves and tastefully covered.
To teach children habits of order will take some time each day; but this time is not lost. In the future, the mother will be more than repaid for her efforts in this direction.
See that the children have a daily bath, followed by friction till their bodies are aglow. Tell them that God does not like to see his children with unclean bodies and ragged garments. Then go further, and speak of inward purity. Let it be your constant effort to uplift and ennoble your children.
We are living in the last days. Soon Christ is coming for his people, to take them to the mansions he is preparing for them. But nothing that defiles can enter those mansions. Heaven is pure and holy, and those who pass through the gates of the city of God must here be clothed with inward and outward purity. They must be without "spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." The charge to us is, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, . . . and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, . . . and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #23)
The work being done with "Christ's Object Lessons" is a good beginning to the work the Lord desires to see carried forward by his people, because it calls for sacrifices and gifts, and old and young can engage. The Lord's plan has opened the way for all to do something. This is a work that is to be a blessing to all who engage in it. The more you do of this work, the less weary and the less perplexed you will be. As you go forth to sell the book the Lord has declared should be sold, you will realize that to you is spoken the benediction, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #24)
My heart is made glad in the Lord as I hear of the result of the effort to sell "Christ's Object Lessons." The sale of this book is the Lord's own plan, and his blessing is attending the effort being made to carry this plan to completion.
About two years ago, when I was asked what could be done to relieve our schools from debt, I laid the matter before the Lord, and there came to me the thought that I could give the book, "Christ's Object Lessons," to the schools. Then came another thought, "I have depended on this book to pay my workers, and I must be just before I am generous." In the night season I was considering the problem of my finances. I desired to save money to pay my debts, that I might be free from the burden of interest. But I could see no other way for the schools to be relieved than for me to give "Christ's Object Lessons" for this purpose, and I said, "It must be done." Then the conflict ended. Light filled my mind. I began at once to write to our publishing houses, asking them if they would not share the gift with me by giving the work that must be done in the publication of the book.
The plan was presented to me by the Lord as one that would be an all-around blessing. It was a plan by which leaders and people would be enabled to act a part and receive a blessing. Scene after scene was presented to me in which ministers were being aroused to act their part. Church members became interested, and whole families took part in the work. Angels of God united with the workers, opening doors for the canvassers to enter and tell the people of the work they were trying to do in selling "Christ's Object Lessons."
I saw that the book found ready sale. It was bought by thousands not of our faith; and some, after seeing the value of the matter it contained, bought several copies for distribution among their friends.
The workers gave their time, receiving nothing as far as money is concerned, but receiving a reward of infinitely greater value.
Individual action brought a consciousness of well doing. Those who engaged in the work improved in health of body and health of mind. They gained an experience that made their hearts glad in the Lord. They had no time to speak needless words. Their one thought was, "The book must be sold; for the debt must be lifted from the schools." It seemed as if in every place prayer could be heard; and faith in the work constantly increased. A happy enthusiasm filled the hearts of the workers.
I was made very happy by the result of the plan. And those who engaged in selling the book were happy. They helped one another to make the work a success.
I saw that in selling "Christ's Object Lessons," our people were learning how to handle larger books. They were being prepared to enter the canvassing field. The earnestness with which they took hold of the work showed that they appreciated the opportunity of learning how to canvass. Prejudice was removed. In becoming acquainted with the people, the workers gained a valuable experience. And as they were thus sinking fresh shafts, their example helped the church to see that all around them was work to do. There were those in the church who needed the experience to be gained by telling others of the truth; and as they went forth to this work, their talents were greatly increased. The Saviour went before them, and the blessing of the Lord became his people's strength. The pulpit became a place of power.
I saw that the sale of "Christ's Object Lessons" opened the way for the establishment of missions. In the church there was a revival of the missionary spirit. An earnest desire to learn how to work for the Lord was shown. Small companies gathered for prayer and Bible study. All moved forward with harmonious action. Believers went to places where the people have no opportunity to hear the Word of God, and gathered the children for Sabbath school. Efforts were made to help isolated families. Plans were laid for these families to meet with other families for Bible study. Thus the way was opened for light to shine forth from the Word of God.
The foregoing is a brief description of what can be done by those who know the truth. With this representation of the results of selling "Christ's Object Lessons" before my mind, I have looked for the success now attending the faithful workers. I believe that this effort will arouse our people to see what can and should be done.
A Work in Which All May Help.--Many of the servants of Christ, although constantly reminded, seem to forget that they are stewards of their Lord's goods. I have been shown that many of them have become rusty from inaction. The Lord in his providence has now given them something to do, and has thus opened the way for them to help others to become acquainted with the special truths for this time. He has given them a work to do that will bring a great and grand result. In getting out of the easy-chair of self-satisfaction, and going forth to give the light of truth to their fellow men, they will learn an excellent lesson. By selling "Christ's Object Lessons," they are doing a twofold work,--helping to lift the debt from our schools, and at the same time giving the precious light of truth to those who need it.
I hope that no one who can engage in this work will excuse himself, and so lose the blessing that there is in it. This work is the means that the Lord has ordained for uniting the hearts of his people to one another by the same link that unites them to himself. "We are laborers together with God." These words seem so appropriate to the work now being done.
There are many, many souls that the Lord Jesus desires to save. And he asks for our cooperation in this work. These souls cost him an infinite price. Let the questions come home to us, "Are we willing to be workers together with God? Are we willing to go to those outside the faith, and plant in their hearts the seeds of truth?"
The work now being done with "Christ's Object Lessons" is a good beginning of the work the Lord desires to see carried forward by his people, because it calls for sacrifices and gifts, and because it enables all to act a part. It is a work in which old and young can engage. The Lord's plan has provided a way for all to do something. The more you do of this work, the less weary and the less perplexed you will be. As you go forth to sell the book the Lord has declared should be sold, you will realize that to you is spoken the benediction, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you."
The work of selling "Christ's Object Lessons" is to accomplish double and triple good in different lines. Those who purchase the book feel that they are doing something to advance a worthy cause. The work is done with an earnestness that appeals to their hearts. It is a lesson to them, and although they are not of our faith, they appreciate the effort that is being made. They are impressed with the earnestness of the workers. They realize that what they are doing is commended by the Lord, who blesses every good work. Light shines into their hearts. To many the conviction of the Spirit will come through the seed sown by this unselfish work for the Master. The saving of precious souls will be the result of the work done in canvassing for "Christ's Object Lessons."
In Company with Jesus.--The Lord comes very near the workers, and angels go before them. My brethren and sisters, never forget whose company you are in. See by faith an angelic host around you. Believe that the Lord Jesus is by your side, that his glory enfolds you, that he is pouring upon you the refreshing showers of his grace. Speak and act to the glory of God. Say, "In thought, word, and deed I will be a blessing to those I meet. I will let light shine forth." Enter into conversation with the people. Become familiar with their experience, and from the book you are selling read passages that will help them. Take with you into their homes the sunshine of heaven. Outside of the truth, there is little enough of this sunshine now in the world.
As you seek to become acquainted with those who have no knowledge of the truth, as you strive to speak words in season, remember that you are God's helping hand, and that he will teach you to speak words which will cause light to shine into darkened minds. Doors will open for the work of soul saving. Many who enter Christ's service at the eleventh hour will labor with great earnestness for him. They will appreciate the wonderful truths of the Word of God, and will bring these truths into the daily life..
Let the workers remember that their spirit and their actions have a great influence on the minds of those they meet. Let them feel their dependence on God. It is only when we place ourselves in his hands, to be worked by his Spirit, that he can use us in breaking the power of the enemy over souls. Let them remember, too, that to those with whom they become acquainted in this work, they are to speak of the love of the Saviour, who, though he was rich, yet for our sake became poor, that we might be rich. He gave himself to a life of lowliness, privation, and poverty, that he might know how to reach every suffering child of his. In all our afflictions he is afflicted. "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 us follow where he leads the way, denying self, and taking up the cross. As we share his humiliation in this life, partaking with him in his suffering, we are preparing to share his glory in the future life.
I have never seen so good an opportunity for those who are willing to work, to give spiritual help to their neighbors and to strangers, as is presented in the work of selling "Christ's Object Lessons." Let all engage in this work, striving, in the meekness of Christ and the love of God, to communicate the light of truth. Go forward, brethren and sisters, and in forgetfulness of self and unselfish effort for others you will receive a rich reward. Trust in the Lord for aid. Remember that when with thankful hearts you do the very best you can, you are closely allied with the angels of heaven. There is sympathy and cooperation between divine and human agencies. The Lord will open ways for you. He does not limit his grace to any special time or special effort. Only have a heart to obey his word, and your example will make an impression in favor of the truth. Only be wide awake to see your opportunities, and God will help you to improve them. Only do what you can, in humility and sincerity, and you will not lose the blessing the Lord has for you. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #24)
I am glad that there has been such harmonious effort to carry out the purpose of God and to make the most of his providence. This effort to circulate "Christ's Object Lessons" is demonstrating what can be done in the canvassing field. To ministers, students, fathers, mothers, young men, and young women who have engaged in this work I would say: Let not your interest flag. Let this good work go forward steadily, perseveringly, grandly, till the last debt is removed from all our schools, and a fund is created for the establishment of schools in important fields where there is great need of educational work.
As the ministers and Bible workers are called to other labors, let the members of our churches say to them, "Go forward with your appointed work, and we will continue to labor for the circulation of 'Object Lessons,' and for the freedom of our schools." Let no one feel that this work should stop with the special effort of 1900 and 1901. The field is never exhausted, and this book should be sold for the help of our schools for years to come.
Let us have faith in God. In his name let us carry forward his work without flinching. The work he has called us to do he will make a blessing to us. And when his plan for the relief of our schools has been vindicated, when the work pointed out has been fully accomplished, he will indicate to us what to do next.
As long as the message of mercy is to be given to the world, there will be a call for effort in behalf of other institutions and enterprises similar to that for the relief of our schools. And as long as probation continues, there will be opportunity for the canvasser to work. When the religious denominations unite with the papacy to oppress God's people, places where there is religious freedom will be opened by evangelistic canvassing. If in one place the persecution becomes severe, let the workers do as Christ has directed: "When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another." Matt. 10:23. If persecution comes there, go to still another place. God will lead his people, making them a blessing in many places. Were it not for persecution, they would not be so widely scattered abroad to proclaim the truth. And Christ declares, "Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come." Until in heaven is spoken the word, "It is finished," there will always be places for labor and hearts to receive the message.
Wherefore "let us not be weary in welldoing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Gal. 6:9. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #25)
God has given men talents, not to be used for selfish purposes, for the gratification of human pride, but for the glory of his name, for the promotion and advancement of his work, for the benefit of suffering humanity.
Different gifts are imparted to different men, that they may see their need of one another, and connect with one another in the work. God's servants are to be a help and an encouragement to one another. The lines of work that are to represent in our world the truth of heavenly origin are to be carried forward in the name of the Lord. Not one thread of selfishness is to be drawn into the web. No worker is to tear down the work of another man in order to please himself. Those who are working for the Lord are to consult him at every step, that they may work together in unity. By faith they are to lay hold upon the unseen, that they may accomplish the work of preparing a people to stand before God at his coming.
God can communicate with his people today, and give them wisdom to do his will, just as he communicated with his people of old, and gave them wisdom in building the sanctuary. "The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise-hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee; the tabernacle of the congregation, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the tabernacle, and the table and his furniture, and the pure candlestick with all his furniture, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering with all his furniture, and the laver and his foot, and the cloths of service, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office, and the anointing oil, and sweet incense for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do."
This is an object lesson for us. The tabernacle was to be sacred to the service of God. It was to stand continually in the sight of more than a million people as an illustration of the perfection of Christ's work; and all that was done in its building was to represent this perfection.
The Best for God.--So with God's work today. Everything connected with his service is to be without a flaw. Those who are seeking to advance his work should give the very best they have, that the work may illustrate the perfection God requires.
God must be honored by the work that is done for him at this time. His work must move forward with stability. Faithfulness and fitness must appear in its every line. The buildings that are erected must correspond with the providences of God and with their relation to the work to be done in other places.
We are to follow God's design exactly in the formation and establishment of the work, small though it may be in some places. Outward show and a large outlay of means are not necessary in order to gain the blessing of God. Human taste, human devising, human inclination to ornament, are not to be encouraged. An unnecessary expenditure of money means that there will be less to invest in the work in other places.
He who is the author of every temporal and spiritual advantage is also the finisher of our faith. Into all the work we do for him we should bring purity of heart and sanctification of spirit. All our work should be an illustration, not of display and extravagance, but of sanctified judgment. And every move that is made should be made with reference to the work in other places.
Lines of work which will absorb means are not to be set in operation without reference to the work in other parts of the Lord's vineyard where there are few facilities. It is the Lord's plan that his workers shall consult together; for the work in one place has an influence on the work in another place. One institution is not to be regarded as a complete whole. The workers in one part of the field are not to feel that they need show no interest in the work in another part of the field. No one is to labor only for the special line under his supervision, feeling no care for other lines of work. All are to labor for the good of the whole cause. Day by day we should feel the greatest anxiety for the constant intercession of Christ, that the work started and the institutions established in different parts of the world may not be in vain.
Those who work for God are to be self-sacrificing. Christ gave his life for us, withholding nothing. Let those who work for him show a spirit of self-sacrifice and an earnest desire to carry the work forward with expedition, realizing that it is a work which must be done as speedily as possible. Let consecrated, zealous efforts be made. Let those who believe the truth represent Christ by working for him with willingness and love.
Fruits of the Spirit to be Revealed in Every Act.--God's people are to mingle with all they do the incense of Christ's merits. In all their actions the fruits of the Spirit are to be revealed. Every day by faithful actions sermons are to be preached.
It is God's desire that those who are connected with him shall do their very best. When Christ was upon this earth, he was a diligent worker. Learn lessons from him as you work. And when you rest from your labor, tell one another what your experience has been in gaining a knowledge of God. Remember the words, "Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building."
We should return to God in freewill offerings the very best of what he has given us, gratefully acknowledging him as the giver of all our blessings. We should regard nothing as too good to be devoted to God's service. We should give freely for the establishment of memorials of his goodness. The largeness of his blessings speaks to us of our obligations to return to him his own.
All spiritual illumination and perfection come from Christ. He is able and willing to communicate in accordance with the needs of all in every line of his work. He desires all to feel their need of him, and to ask him for the help of his Holy Spirit in the work they have been given to perform. Holiness to the Lord was the great characteristic of the Redeemer's life on earth, and it is his will that this shall characterize the lives of his followers. His workers are to labor with unselfishness and faithfulness, and with reference to the usefulness and influence of every other worker. Intelligence and purity are to mark all their work, all their business transactions. He is the light of the world. In his work there are to be no dark corners where dishonest deeds are done. Injustice is in the highest degree displeasing to God. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #26)
At various times the condition of our people has been laid open before me. They are in need of the converting power of God. The Lord is looking upon them with disapproval; for many have lost their first love.
We are now reorganizing, and we need much of the help of the Lord. Those in responsible places must stand where God can use them. On this earth we are to do God's work, and into this work we are to bring the order of heaven. All that is done is to be after the divine similitude. Self is to be put out of sight. We have been bought with a price, even the precious blood of the Son of God. All that we have belongs to God, and is to be used in the Master's service. All that we have and are is to be consecrated to him. Then will Christ be glorified. Then will his prayers for his followers be answered. They will be one with him and with one another, and the world will see that God did indeed send his Son into the world.
Human instrumentalities are the Lord's helping hand. God expects men and women to work for him to the limit of their ability. Each is to strive to accomplish his God-given work. None are at liberty to turn from conformity to the will of God in order to follow their own desires. Even the thoughts are to be brought into captivity to the will of Christ. Not that man can, in his own strength, conform to the mind of God. But he can place himself where the Spirit can guide and control him.
"We are laborers together with God." In his service divine and human agencies are to cooperate. By the partnership of God and man, the work of warning the world is to be carried to completion. Without the Lord's cooperation, we can gain no success. Without his aid, the efforts of human labor, human science, are worthless. All true knowledge comes from him. When man accomplishes anything good, it is because he cooperates with his Maker.
God's Work is a Unit.--God is to be brought into every pursuit of life. With every enterprise he is concerned. But he is especially interested in the various branches of his work, and in the institutions consecrated to their advancement. The offices of publication, by means of which the truth is to be given to the world, are sacred to his service. The sanitariums are his helping hand. Their work--the restoration of the sick to health, and the relief of suffering--is the work for this time. Our schools, where children and youth are to be trained for God, are an important part of his great plan.
There are to be no walls of partition between the different lines of work. This work is to be carried forward without division. In God's cause there are to be no territorial lines. Our schools are to be regarded as a part of his great plan. Our sanitariums also are to be thus regarded. Medical work is to be sacredly cherished and carefully conducted. It is as the right hand of the body, and is to open doors for the entrance of truth.
No line of work is to be pushed forward to the hindrance of another line. In some ways our sanitariums have more advantages than our schools. This is to be considered in the plans laid for the work. Every effort is to be made to place the schools where they will be self-supporting. Their interests are to be carefully guarded. They are to be placed on a high spiritual plane. Nothing is to be done to rob them of the advantages they should have. This would be selfishness, and will never bear the Lord's indorsement.
Our publishing houses should make more of an effort to help our schools than they have done in the past. The Lord will not excuse any effort to cripple the educational work. This work is second to none in importance. God's desire is that it shall be given the advantage of every facility that can be used for its advancement.
God is no respecter of persons. Those that honor him he will honor. Of those who obey his commandments it is written, "Ye are complete in him." They cooperate with him in the work of soul saving. God says to them. "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh."
Every Act is to Bear Heaven's Impress.--In order to be successful in the service of God, man must be guided by the Holy Spirit. Christ declares, "Without me ye can do nothing." And the one who refuses to unite with Christ, the one who exchanges the pure principles of heaven for the corrupting principles of the world, thus searing his conscience, might better be separated from the work that is to represent in this world God's justice, mercy, truth, and holiness.
All that God's servants do is to advance the work of soul saving. All that is done in our institutions is to bear the impress of heaven. The policy followed by the Lord's workers is to be in marked contrast with the policy followed by worldlings. Those who are brought in contact with our institutions are to see distinctly the difference between the righteousness of Bible principles and the ungodliness of worldly principles.
Divine agencies are constantly working to counteract the human purposes and plans that are not in harmony with the purposes and plans of Jehovah. No worldly policy is to be brought into God's work. It is his design that his work shall be done by men who realize the broadness of his law and the greatness of his love, men who jealously guard their words and actions, lest they shall fail of doing his work exactly in his way. When men grow careless, the history of their past failures is repeated, greatly to the hindrance of the work the Lord desires to accomplish. If those handling sacred things in connection with God's cause are not more spiritual minded, more sensitive to his claims, more determined to carry out his plans in harmony with his high standard, regardless of human policy, he will overturn and overturn. After test and trial, he will remove those who are not spiritualized, whose words and works do not harmonize with his will. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #26)
Many of the servants of Christ, although constantly reminded, seem to forget that they are stewards of their Lord's goods. I have been shown that many of those who claim to be the children of God have become rusty from inaction; and the Lord in his providence has given them something to do, and in thus doing, has opened the way for them to help others to become acquainted with the truth.
He has given them a work to do that will bring about a good and grand result. In getting up out of the easy chair of self-satisfaction, and going forth to give the light of truth to their fellow men, God's people will learn an excellent lesson. By selling "Christ's Object Lessons," they are doing a twofold work--helping to lift the debt from our schools, and at the same time giving most precious light to those who really need it. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #27)
My attention has been especially called to a work that has been strangely neglected,--the training of children. Parents have set aside the work that lies at the very foundation of soul saving. Child training is the grandest work ever committed to mortals. The child belongs to the Lord, and from the time it is an infant in its mother's arms, it is to be trained for him, trained to enter his service. For the first years of a child's life, the home is to be its school. In the home, parents and children are together to learn the way of the Lord. Carefully and untiringly parents are to watch the opening minds of their children, giving them the lessons they need in order to develop into Christian men and women. Parents should make all else subordinate to the work God has given them to do for their children.
It is the mother's privilege to bless the world by her influence, and in doing this, she will bring joy to her own heart. She may make straight paths for the feet of her children, through sunshine and shadow, to the glorious heights above. But it is only when she seeks in her own life to follow the teachings of Christ, that the mother can hope to form the character of her children after the divine example. The world teems with corrupting influences. Fashion and custom exert a strong power over the youth. If the mother fails in her duty to instruct, guide, and restrain, her children will naturally accept the evil, and turn from the good. Let every mother go often to God with the prayer, "How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?" Let her heed the instruction that God has given in his Word, and wisdom will be given her as she shall have need.
Few parents realize as they should that child training is God's appointed agency for the salvation of their children. They do not make it their first work to train their children for the Lord. They allow exhibitions of temper, pride, selfishness, to pass unnoticed; and the children grow up unlovely in character, an injury to their companions, a sorrow to their parents, and an offense to God.
Obedience and How it may be Taught.--The first lesson that children are to be taught is the lesson of obedience. When they have learned to obey their parents, it will not be hard for them to obey God. Obedience becomes a part of their nature.
But before parents can teach their children obedience, they must learn the lesson themselves by obedience to God. How can they discipline their children aright till they learn the meaning and the value of self-discipline? How can they lead their children up the difficult heights of self-control, self-denial, patience, and truthfulness, unless they first climb these heights themselves?
A parent gives way to temper before the child, and then wonders why the child is so difficult to control. But what could he expect? Children are quick to imitate; and the child is but putting into practice the lessons taught him by his parents in their outbursts of anger.
Too often parents follow a course that develops evil in the child. Harsh and severe, they drive him to rebellion. Then they wonder why he has traits of character that are so unlovely, when they try so hard to break his stubborn will. It is in trying to break his will that they make their mistake. The child's will is to be trained, bent, not broken.
Disobedience and rebellion must be punished; but remember that the punishment is to be given in the spirit of Christ. Require obedience, never with a storm of angry words, but firmly and kindly. And when called upon to discipline your child, remember your own relation to your Heavenly Father. Have you walked perfectly before him? Are you not wayward and disobedient? Do you not grieve him continually? But does he deal with you in anger? Remember, too, that it is from you that your children have received their tendencies to wrong. Remember how often you act like grown-up children. In spite of your years of Christian experience, in spite of your many opportunities for self-discipline, how easily you are provoked to anger. Deal gently, then, with your children, remembering that they have not had the opportunities you have had to gain self-control.
You may have to punish your child with the rod. This is sometimes essential. But never, never strike him in anger. To correct him thus is to make two wrongs in trying to cure one. Defer the punishment till you have talked with yourself and with God. Ask yourself, Have I submitted my will to God's will? Am I standing where he can control me? Ask God to forgive you for transmitting to your child a disposition so difficult to manage. Ask him to give you wisdom, that you may deal with your wayward child in a way that will draw him nearer to you and to his Heavenly Father.
Be Christlike in the Home.--Love breaks down all barriers. Let there be no scolding, no loud-voiced, angry commands. Obey the injunction, "Be still, and know that I am God." The Lord will give rich blessings to those parents who make diligent efforts to rule the spirit. The grace of Christ softens harsh traits of character and smooths out the rugged disposition.
Those who govern by force have far less influence than those who govern by love. Harshness hardens the heart and braces the will to resistance. Gentleness softens the heart and subdues the most stubborn will.
To every parent God says, "Take heed unto thyself,"-- thyself, father; thyself, mother. Before you can do your children justice, you must surrender yourselves to God's training. You must be filled with high motives and noble aspirations. Each day you must endeavor to make yourself more worthy of your trust. Then God will cooperate with you.
The family firm should be well organized. Together the father and mother should consider their responsibilities. Together they should work for the highest good of their children. There is to be no variance between them. Never should they in the presence of their children criticise each other's plans or question each other's judgment. If the wife is inexperienced, she should try to find out where her work makes the work of her husband more difficult, as he labors for the salvation of the children. And the husband should hold up the hands of his wife, giving her wise counsel and loving encouragement.
A Christian father is the house-band of his family, binding them close to the throne of God. Never is his interest in his children to flag. The father who has a family of boys should not leave these restless boys wholly to the care of the mother. This is too heavy a burden for her. He should make himself their companion and friend. He should exert himself to keep them from evil associates. It may be hard for the mother to exercise self-control. If the husband sees that his wife's weakness is endangering the safety of the children, he should take more of the burden upon himself, doing all in his power to lead his boys to God.
Parents are not left to carry forward alone the work on which so much depends. Christ says, Come unto me. I will bear your burdens and your perplexities. All power in heaven and in earth has been given to me. I will give you strength. Go to him, fathers and mothers. Many of you cannot properly fulfill your trust until you are more closely connected with Christ. Some ask, "Why does not the Lord work miracles today, as he did when he was upon the earth?" Let parents live in the home the life of Christ, and the transformation in the lives of their children will testify to God's miracle-working power. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #27)
The Lord knew just the best way to help us out of our difficulty in regard to the debt on the schools. The school work is to me a part of myself, and I am greatly encouraged by the success of the plan to relieve our schools from debt. My heart is made glad in the Lord as I hear of the money brought in by the sale of "Christ's Object Lessons." The sale of this book is the Lord's own plan, and his blessing is attending the efforts made to carry out this plan. I have already seen much more accomplished than I expected to see.
I hope that no one who can engage in this work will excuse himself, and so lose the blessing there is in it. This is the means the Lord has ordained for uniting the hearts of his people to one another by the same link that unites them to himself as his co-workers. "We are laborers together with God." These words seem so appropriate to the work now being done. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #28)
God's great lesson book, his holy Word, gives parents instruction regarding the preparation they and their children must receive before they can be admitted into the heavenly family. Parents, hear the word of the Lord to you:--
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes."
"What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?"
Upon obedience depends the life and happiness, the health and joy, of men, women, and children. Obedience is for our well-being in this life and in the life to come. "The Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us."
If the law of God were taught in the home, if obedience were enjoined upon children from their earliest years, how different the world would be today! Temperance, industry, and economy would be seen. Evil would be avoided. Virtue would be cherished.
The Scriptures given above are for our admonition and instruction. But they are not studied as they should be. The failure to follow God's plan is causing him to withdraw his blessing from parents and children. Many fathers and mothers will have a heavy charge brought against them when they stand before the Judge of all the earth. They do not obey the voice of the Lord. They permit their children to do wickedly. Their unruly, disobedient children testify to their neglect of duty.
God is watching the families who claim to be Christians, to see how they are conducting themselves. If ever evangelical work was needed, it is needed now in our families, our schools, our sanitariums, and our publishing houses. Let us consider the work to be done. Fathers and mothers need to feel the converting power of God. Their lives need to be cleansed. There are many professed Christians who have never been transformed in character. This is why the Holy Spirit cannot accomplish its work upon hearts.
"I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye."
"Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God."
A Reformation Called For.--God calls for a thorough purification of households and institutions. There is need, not merely of a revival, but of a reformation. Every church needs to be stirred as never before. When the great light that God has given shines forth through human agencies, a great work will be done. In demonstration of the Spirit, and with power, the truth will be revealed in clear, distinct lines. But this work must begin in the home.
As the right work is done in the home, parents will find their hearts subdued and melted. Strange prejudices that have been cherished by brethren and sisters in the church, prejudices that have borne evil fruit, will be overcome, and will disappear. A spirit of candor will come in, a spirit after Christ's likeness. God's people will give up the tenacious desire to have their own way and to urge their own ideas; for they will realize that they are in the presence of God's Son.
I beseech the parents in our churches to make a solemn covenant with God by repentance and confession. Confess your past neglect, and in the fear of God take up the work of educating your children in righteousness. Do you not think that it is time to seek the Lord with the whole heart, that you may find him, and cooperate with him in working for the salvation of your children? The Lord will not pass over a neglect to feed his lambs. Teach your children that they are the younger members of the Lord's family. Guide their feet in the way of holiness. Lead them to God. Guard well your words and actions, that by example as well as by precept you may give the lessons God has instructed you to give. Respond to the striving of the Holy Spirit. Thus you prepare the way for your children to respond to this striving.
O parents, for the sake of yourselves, and your children, I make this appeal to you. My heart is greatly burdened. I cannot sleep as I think of parental neglect and its fatal results. I pray that you may be impressed with the importance of the work on which so much depends. There is set before you "a blessing and a curse; a blessing if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, . . . and a curse, if ye will not obey." This is your day of trust. Soon will come your day of reckoning. Take up your work with earnest prayer and faithful endeavor. Let Christ find you his helping hand in carrying out his purposes. Prepare for the coming of the Lord. This is the preparation day. Set your own hearts in order, and work earnestly for your children. An unreserved surrender to God will sweep away the barriers that have so long defied the approaches of heavenly grace. When you take up the cross and follow Christ, when you bring your lives into conformity to the will of God, your children will be converted. The world will take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus and have learned of him. In word and deed they will bear witness to the power of Christ's grace.
(Vol. 79, #29)
The church is the channel through which the Lord works to save the perishing. By the members of the church are to be made known his mercy, goodness, and power. What a wonderful work has been committed to us! All heaven is waiting for human channels through which to communicate the grace of God. But selfishness is hindering us in fulfilling God's purpose for us. Selfishness is hiding the Saviour from his people. Thorough conversion is what the church needs. God calls for men imbued with the love of Christ to do his work. He needs men of sound minds, clear heads, and tender hearts.
I am instructed to say: Unless our ministers and the leading men in our institutions believe and practice the word of God, they will never see the King in his beauty. God's law is his standard of character. And the foundation principles of this law are, "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." Obedience to this law is the condition of gaining salvation. Upon our obedience depends our present and future happiness.
Will men and women claim to be Christians, and yet lose out of their lives the tenderness and love of Christ? Shall those who have a knowledge of the truth for this time allow themselves to speak and act harshly? Will they treat those connected with them in labor as if they were unworthy of notice?
When you see a fellow being striving to climb the hill, will you, standing securely at the top, reproach him because he is not there also? or will you descend the hill, and linking his arm in yours, guide his trembling feet in the upward path, soothing and encouraging him, till he stands at the summit, filled with hope and courage?
Have you not seen a fellow worker, pale and worn, bearing on his face the premonitions of death? How did you treat him? Was your heart touched, your sympathy aroused? Did you reach out to him the hand of fellowship? Did you do all in your power to help him? or did you selfishly seek gain for yourself at his expense,--you on vantage ground, he in sickness, sorrow, and want? Did you think it would please God for you to destroy your fellow worker's faith, his hope, his confidence in human brotherhood? And after you had acted thus, did you congratulate yourself upon your financial gain?
How did the pitying Redeemer look upon such a course? Think you that he placed on it the seal of his approval?
We are to Work the Works of Christ.--Our work is to restore, not to destroy; to lift up, not to cast down; "to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised." We are commanded to remember those that are bound, as bound with them. God asks, "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?"
Study your Bibles, my brethren. In the name of Christ I call upon you to work the works of Christ. Godliness is profitable for all things. It is the fruit of a repentance that needeth not to be repented of. The evidence of its worth is in itself, and is revealed by good works. True reform bears the fruit of the Spirit. He who loves God is a friend to those for whom the Son of God died.
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. . . . Put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness."
Neglected duties confront us. Too often, instead of doing the work the Lord has given us, we have watched for defects in those whom, instead of criticising, we ought to have helped. We have not worked faithfully. There are in our institutions untrained men and women. Jesus needs their service. With yearning tenderness he is inviting them to come to him, that he may use them as channels for the communication of his grace. But those whom he has appointed to cooperate with him in fitting these souls for service, have failed to manifest that loving tenderness which as Christians they should manifest for the young and the inexperienced. Not only do they themselves fail of following Jesus; they keep others from his side. How can the Lord bless them? Let us break the crust of selfishness that surrounds us. Let us not descend to bickering and strife, criticising and condemning one another. Christ is ashamed to call those who do this his brethren.
Christ's Work for Us an Incentive to Labor.--A great work is to be done, and in doing this work, we are to labor on a much higher plane than we have labored on in the past. Brethren and sisters, this matter has been so forcibly presented to me that I cannot hold my peace. Into the church there has come a hardhearted spirit, and with it principles of selfishness, which have excluded the light of Christ from our hearts.
Christ is constantly working for us. Our advocate in the heavenly courts, he is ever making intercession for us. The cry of the one ready to perish finds swift entrance to his ear. "He shall deliver the needy when he crieth: the poor also, and him that hath no helper." Shall we not work for him in the way he has marked out? Shall we not help those in need of help?
Christ suffered, being tempted; therefore he always sympathizes with those whom Satan is seeking to destroy. That he might be a merciful and faithful high priest, he was in all things made like those he came to help. He has compassion on the ignorant, and on those that are out of the way; for when he was on this earth, he was compassed with infirmities. He is ever willing and ready to help us in our perplexities. As he worked for us, let us work for others.
Many more than we suppose need a helping hand held out to them. There are many to whom words of sympathy would be as a cup of cold water to a thirsty soul. Are you doing Christ service by ministering to weary, discouraged fellow beings? By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #30)
"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."
We have come to a time when every member of the church should take hold of medical missionary work. The world is a lazar house filled with the victims of both physical and spiritual disease. Everywhere people are perishing for lack of a knowledge of the truths that have been committed to us. The members of the church are in need of an awakening, that they may realize their responsibility to impart these truths. Those who have been enlightened by the truth are to be lightbearers to the world. To hide our light at this time is to make a terrible mistake. The message to God's people today is, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."
On every hand we see those who have had much light and knowledge deliberately choosing evil in the place of good. Making no attempt to reform they are growing worse and worse. But the people of God are not to walk in darkness. They are to walk in the light, for they are reformers.
Before the true reformer, the medical missionary work will open many doors. No one need wait until called to some distant field before beginning to help others. Wherever you are, you can begin at once. Opportunities are within the reach of every one. Take up the work for which you are held responsible,--the work that should be done in your home and in your neighborhood. Wait not for others to urge you to action. In the fear of God, go forward without delay, bearing in mind your individual responsibility to him who gave his life for you. Act as if you heard Christ calling upon you personally to do your utmost in his service. Look not to see who else is ready. If you are truly consecrated, God will, through your instrumentality, bring into the truth others whom he can use as channels to convey light to many who are groping in darkness.
All can do something. In an effort to excuse themselves, some say, "My home duties, my children, claim my time and my means." Parents, your children should be your helping hand, increasing your power and ability to work for the Master. Children are the younger members of the Lord's family. They should be led to consecrate themselves to God, whose they are by creation and by redemption. They should be taught that all their powers of body, mind, and soul are his. They should be trained to help in various kinds of unselfish service. Do not allow your children to be hindrances. With you the children should share spiritual as well as physical burdens. By helping others they increase their own happiness and usefulness.
The Home Reading Circle.--Let our people show that they have a living interest in medical missionary work. Let them prepare themselves for usefulness by studying the books that have been written for our instruction in these subjects. These books deserve much more attention and appreciation than they have received. Much that is for the benefit of all to understand has been written for the special purpose of instruction in the principles of health. Those who study and practice these principles will be greatly blessed, both physically and spiritually. An understanding of the philosophy of health will be a safeguard against many of the evils that are continually increasing.
Many who desire to obtain knowledge of medical missionary work have home duties that will sometimes prevent them from meeting with others for study. These may learn much in their own homes in regard to the expressed will of God concerning missionary work, thus increasing their ability to help others. Fathers and mothers, obtain all the help you can from the study of our books and publications. Read the Good Health, for it is full of valuable information. Take time to read to your children from the health books, as well as from the books treating more particularly on religious subjects. Teach them the importance of caring for the body,--the house they live in. Form a home reading circle, in which every member of the family shall lay aside the busy cares of the day, and unite in study. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, take up this work heartily, and see if the home church will not be greatly improved.
Especially will the youth who have been accustomed to reading novels and cheap storybooks, receive benefit by joining in the evening family study. Young men and young women, read the literature that will give you true knowledge, and that will be a help to the entire family. Say firmly, I will not spend precious moments in reading that which will be of no profit to me, and which only unfits me to be of service to others. I will devote my time and my thoughts to acquiring a fitness for God's service. I will close my eyes to frivolous and sinful things. My ears are the Lord's, and I will not listen to the subtle reasoning of the enemy. My voice shall not in any way be subject to a will that is not under the influence of the Spirit of God. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and every power of my being shall be consecrated to worthy pursuits.
The Lord has appointed the youth to be his helping hand. If in every church they would consecrate themselves to him, if they would practice self-denial in the home, relieving their careworn mother, the mother could find time to make neighborly visits; and when opportunity offered, they could themselves give assistance by doing little errands of mercy and love. Books and papers treating on the subject of health and temperance could be placed in many homes. The circulation of this literature is an important matter; for thus precious knowledge can be imparted in regard to the treatment of disease,--knowledge that would be a great blessing to those who cannot afford to pay for a physician's visits, or for drugs which, even if obtained, are only an injury.
Duty of Parents to Instruct and Train their Children.--Parents should seek to interest their children in the study of physiology. But few among the youth have any definite knowledge of the mysteries of life. The study of the wonderful human organism, the relation and dependence of its complicated parts, is one in which many, even parents, take little interest. They do not understand the influence of the body upon the mind or of the mind upon the body. Needless trifles occupy their attention, and then they plead a lack of time as an excuse for not obtaining the information necessary to enable them properly to instruct their children.
If all would obtain a knowledge of this subject, and would feel the importance of putting it to practical use, we should see a better condition of things. Parents, teach your children to reason from cause to effect. Show them that if they violate the laws of health, they must pay the penalty by suffering. Show them that recklessness in regard to bodily health tends to recklessness in morals. Your children require patient, faithful care. It is not enough for you to feed and clothe them; you should seek also to develop their mental powers, and to imbue their hearts with right principles. But how often are beauty of character and loveliness of temper lost sight of in the eager desire for outward appearance! Parents, be not governed by the world's opinion; labor not to reach its standard. Decide for yourselves what is the great aim of life, and then bend every effort to reach that aim. You cannot with impunity neglect the proper training of your children. Their defective characters will publish your unfaithfulness. The evils that you permit to pass uncorrected--the coarse, rough manners, the disrespect and disobedience, the habits of indolence and inattention--will bring dishonor to your names and bitterness into your lives. The destiny of your children rests to a great extent in your hands. If you fail in duty, you may place them in the ranks of the enemy, and make them his agents in ruining others; on the other hand, if you faithfully instruct them, if in your own lives you set before them a godly example, you may lead them to Christ, and they in turn will influence others, and thus many may be saved through your instrumentality.
Fathers and mothers, do you realize the importance of the responsibility resting upon you? Do you realize the necessity of guarding your children from careless, demoralizing habits? Allow your children to form only such associations as will have a right influence upon their characters. Do not allow them to be out in the evening unless you know where they are, and what they are doing. Instruct them in the principles of moral purity. If you have neglected to teach them line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, begin at once to do your duty. Take up your responsibilities, and work for time and for eternity. Let not another day pass without confessing your neglect to your children. Tell them that you mean now to do your God-appointed work. Ask them to take hold with you in the reform. Make diligent efforts to redeem the past. No longer remain in the condition of the Laodicean church. In the name of the Lord I call upon every family to show its true colors. Reform the church in your own home.
As you faithfully do your duty in the home, the father as a priest of the household, the mother as a home missionary, you are multiplying agencies for doing good outside of the home. As you improve your own powers, you are becoming better fitted to labor in the church and in the neighborhood. By binding your children to yourselves and to God, fathers and mothers and children become laborers together with God. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #31)
"Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together."
True, indeed, are these words. Everywhere there are hearts crying out for the living God. The Lord has his representatives in all the churches. These persons have not had the special, testing truths for the last days presented to them under circumstances that brought conviction to heart and mind; therefore they have not, by rejecting light, severed their connection with God. There are those who have faithfully walked in all the light that has shone upon their pathway. They hunger to know more of the ways and works of God. All over the world, men and women are looking wistfully to heaven. Prayers and tears and inquiries go up from souls longing for light, for grace, for the Holy Spirit. Many are on the very verge of the kingdom, waiting to be gathered in. These demand the service of those to whom God has intrusted his truth.
And those also who are dead in trespasses and sins demand our service. The man who is wholly absorbed in his countingroom, the man who finds pleasure at the gaming table, the man who loves to indulge perverted appetite, the frequenter of the theater and the ballroom, put eternity out of their reckoning. The whole burden of their life is, What shall we eat? what shall we drink? and wherewithal shall we be clothed? They are not in the procession that is moving heavenward. They are led by the great apostate, and if they continue in this path, they will with him be destroyed. All around us are souls perishing in their sins. Every year thousands upon thousands are dying without God and without hope of eternal life. The plagues and judgments of God are in the earth, and souls are going to ruin because the light of truth has not been flashed upon their pathway.
The heart of God is moved. Souls are very precious in his sight. It was for this world that Christ wept in agony; for this world that he was crucified. God gave his only begotten Son to save sinners, and he desires us to love others as he has loved us. He desires those who have a knowledge of the truth to impart this knowledge to their fellow men.
Now is the time for the last warning to be given. There is a special power in the presentation of truth at the present time; but how long will it continue?--Only a little while. If ever there was a crisis, it is now.
The proclamation of the third angel's message is our work. We are to present the truth in regard to the Sabbath of the Lord. God's memorial of creation has been torn down, and in its place there stands a false sabbath. Satan has led men to declare that this is the true Sabbath, and in the belief of this delusion millions are passing into eternity. And the people to whom God has given his truth are hiding their light under a bushel, allowing the cares of this world to engross the time and attention that should be given to the Lord's work.
The Christian's Privilege and Responsibility.--It is an eternal law of Jehovah that he who accepts truth which the world needs is to make it his first work to proclaim this truth. But where are those who make the burden of perishing sinners their own? As I look upon the professed people of God, and see their unwillingness to serve him, my heart is filled with a pain that I cannot express. How few are heart to heart with God in his solemn, closing work. There are thousands to be warned, yet how few consecrate themselves wholly to the work, willing to be or to do anything if only they may win sinners to righteousness. Jesus died to save the world. In humility, in lowliness, in unselfishness, he worked and is working for sinners. But many of those who ought to cooperate with him are self-sufficient and indifferent.
Who can sympathize with Christ in his distress and anguish, as with quivering lips he exclaimed, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not"? Who can say with Jeremiah, "Oh that mine head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people"?
Among God's people today there is a fearful lack of the sympathy that should be felt for souls unsaved. Unless our hearts beat in union with the heart of Christ, how can we understand the sacredness and importance of the work to which we are called by the words, "Watch for souls as they that must give an account"? We talk of Christian missions. The sound of our voices is heard; but do we feel Christ's tender heart-longing for souls?
Church members are trifling with their responsibilities, unfitting themselves for service. What shall we say, what can we say, to arouse those who know the truth, both ministers and lay members, to a sense of their responsibility? How can they be led to feel the need of imparting to others the truth that God has given them? O that they were awake to the purposes of God and to their individual accountability! Then would they use every gift, every talent, in the work of giving to the world the truth for this time. The number of laborers would greatly increase, and the work would grow in influence and extent. God's people would be lights, shining amid the darkness of this degenerate age.
The work has extended so that it now covers a large territory, and the number of believers has increased. But there is still a great deficiency. A much larger work might have been done had the missionary spirit been shown that was shown in the earlier days. Our present numbers, the present extent of our work, are not to be compared with what they were in the beginning. We should think of what the work might have been had every worker consecrated himself, body, soul, and spirit, to God as he should have done.
A Forward Movement Called For.--God has given all something to do. Those who are willing to work in self-denial and self-sacrifice will find their place. But those who seek only a safe and easy place need to be converted. Until their hearts are renewed, their purposes changed, God has no use for them in his work. By an unreserved consecration we are to prepare ourselves for service.
Our General, who never makes a mistake, says to us, Advance. Enter new territory. Lift up the standard, establish memorials in every place. Let it be known that God has a people on the earth who have not forgotten that he has a law, binding upon all human beings. In all the churches there are those who know not that the seventh day, and not the first day, is the Sabbath. These are to hear the message of present truth.
We need now to train men, and set them to work, giving them every facility for the impartation of truth. There is at this time a sad dearth of laborers. Scores of men and women might be set to work. This need should have been foreseen. Our faith is not proportionate to the light God has given us. When our hearts are emptied of selfishness, and cleansed by the Spirit of Christ, we shall be vessels meet for the Master's use.
God is waiting for men and women to awake to their responsibilities. He is waiting for them to link themselves with him. Let them mark the signals for advance, and no longer be laggards in working out the will of the Lord.
Do we realize how large a number in the world are watching our movements? From quarters where we least expect will come voices urging us forward in the work of giving to the world the last message of mercy. Ministers and people, wake up! Be quick to recognize and seize every opportunity and advantage offered in the turning of the wheel of providence. God and Christ and the heavenly angels are working with intense activity to hold in check the fierceness of Satan's wrath, that God's plans may not be thwarted. God lives and reigns. He is conducting the affairs of the universe. Let his soldiers move forward to victory. Let there be perfect unity in their ranks. Let them press the battle to the gates. As a mighty Conqueror, the Lord will work for them.
Let the gospel message ring through our churches, summoning them to universal action. Let the members of the churches have increased faith, gaining zeal from their unseen, heavenly allies, from a knowledge of their exhaustless resources, from the greatness of the enterprise in which they are engaged, and from the power of their Leader. Those who place themselves under God's control, to be led and guided by him, will catch the steady trend of the events ordained by him to take place. Inspired with the spirit of him who gave his life for the life of the world, they will no longer stand still in impotency, pointing to what they cannot do. Putting on the armor of heaven, they will go forth into the warfare, willing to do and dare for God, knowing that his omnipotence will supply their need. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #32)
We are living in solemn times. The end is near; and I have a message for our people. They must awake, spread their tents, and enlarge their borders. The present state of things must be changed. The world is to be warned. The truth is to be taken to men of the world, that they may see the duty that the Lord has placed on them. Those belonging to the higher classes are to hear the message of present truth. God says to his people, "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled."
The one work more precious than any other is the work of soul saving. God's servants are to move forward in this work, weighted with the importance of the message they are bearing.
To secure your present and future good, Christ gave himself as a sacrifice. Will you draw back from making a covenant with God by sacrifice? Christ died on the cross to save the world from perishing in sin. He asks your cooperation in the work of soul saving. You are to be his helping hand, to do in the world the work that needs to be done to place the truth before as many as possible. "Ye are not your own; for ye are brought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
Refuse to admit the worldly interests that strive for the supremacy in your life. Regard yourself as pledged to Christ's service for time and for eternity. Enter into no business that will make you indifferent to his claims. Say, to those who seek to draw you from his work, I am not my own; Jesus has bought me. I belong to him. Every particle of my influence is to be used to magnify the principles of his law. God is mine, and I am his, united to him by a perpetual covenant of service. I must devote myself wholly to the service of the Lord God of hosts. He has put it out of my power to give him anything that is not already his. Every part of my being, every talent, every faculty, belongs to him. If I had more than one life, I would give it to him; for it would be his.
Have you so deep an appreciation of the sacrifice made on Calvary that you are willing to make every other interest subordinate to the work of saving souls? The same intensity of desire to save sinners that marked the life of the Saviour marks the life of his true follower. The Christian has no desire to live for self. He delights to consecrate all that he has and is to the Master's service. He is moved with an inexpressible desire to win souls to Christ. Those who have nothing of this desire might better be concerned for their own salvation. Let them pray for the spirit of service.
The Christian's Work Begins in His Own Family.--The transforming power of Christ's grace molds the one who yields himself to the Saviour. Imbued with the spirit of the Redeemer, he is ready to deny self, ready to take up the cross, ready to make any sacrifice in the service of the Master. No longer can he be indifferent to the souls perishing around him. He is lifted above self-serving. He has been created anew in Christ Jesus, and self-serving has no place in his life. He realizes that every part of his being belongs to Christ, who has redeemed him from the slavery of sin; that every moment of his future has been bought with the precious life blood of God's only begotten Son.
God opens ways whereby such ones may work for him. Let them look ever to him, that they may know what he wants them to do. Let them do what they can; even though it be but little, it may result in great good.
How can I best glorify him whose I am by creation and by redemption?--this is to be the question we are to ask ourselves. With anxious solicitude the one who is truly converted seeks to rescue those who are still in Satan's power. He refuses to do anything that would hinder him in his work. If he has children, he realizes that his work must begin in his own family. His children are exceedingly precious to him. Remembering that they are the younger members of the Lord's family, he strives with all his power to place them where they will stand on the Lord's side. He has pledged himself to serve, honor, and obey Christ; and he puts forth patient, untiring effort so to train his children that they will never be hostile to the Saviour.
On fathers and mothers God has placed the responsibility of saving their children from the power of the enemy. This is their work,--a work that they should on no account neglect. Those parents who have a living connection with Christ will not rest until they see their children safe in the fold. They will make this the burden of their life.
Parents, do not neglect the work waiting for you in the little church in your own home. This is your first field of missionary effort. The most important work you can do is to place your children on the Lord's side. When they err, deal with them tenderly yet firmly. Let them unite with you in opposing the evil by which Satan seeks to destroy the souls and bodies of human beings. As you take them with you into the service of the Lord, what a victory you gain! Share with them the secret of the cross, the secret that to you means sanctification, redemption, and eternal victory.
If the families around you are opposed to the truth, strive to lead them to yield to the claims of Christ. Work patiently, wisely, considerately, winning your way by the tender ministry of love. Present the truth in such a way that it will be seen in all its beauty, exerting an influence that cannot be resisted. Thus the walls of prejudice will be broken down.
If this work were faithfully done, if fathers and mothers would work for the members of their own families, and then for those around them, uplifting Christ by a godly life, thousands of souls would be saved. When God's people are truly converted, when they realize the obligations resting on them to labor for those within their reach, when they leave no means untried to rescue sinners from the power of the enemy, the reproach will be removed from our churches.
The Formation of Small Bands for Soul-Saving Efforts.--The Lord has presented before me the work that must be done in our cities. The believers in these cities can work for God in the neighborhood of their homes. They are to work quietly and in humility, carrying with them wherever they go the atmosphere of heaven. If they keep self out of sight, pointing always to Christ, the power of their influence will be felt on the side of truth.
As the human agent gives himself unreservedly to the work of the Lord, he gains an experience that enables him to work more and more successfully for the Master. The influence that drew him to Christ helps him to draw others to Christ. He may never have laid upon him the work of a public speaker, but he is none the less a minister for God; and his work testifies that he is born of God.
Why do not believers feel a deeper, more earnest concern for those who are out of Christ? Why do not two or three meet together and plead with God for the salvation of some special one, and then for still another? In our churches let companies be formed for service. In the Lord's work there are to be no idlers. Let different ones unite in labor as fishers of men. Let them seek to gather souls from the corruption of the world into the saving purity of Christ's love.
The formation of small companies as a basis of Christian effort has been presented to me by One who cannot err. If there are a large number in the church, let the members be formed into small companies, to work not only for the church members, but for unbelievers. If in one place there are only two or three who know the truth, let them form themselves into a band of workers. Let them keep their bond of union unbroken, pressing together in love and unity, encouraging one another to advance, each gaining courage and strength from the assistance of the others. Let them reveal Christlike forbearance and patience, speaking no hasty words, using the talent of speech to build up one another in the most holy faith. Let them labor in Christlike love for those outside the fold, forgetting self in their endeavor to help others. As they work and pray in Christ's name, their numbers will increase; for the Saviour says, "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #33)
In all departments of ministerial work there is need of greater earnestness. Time is passing, and the work that should be far advanced is almost at a standstill. God's servants are to be "not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." The lamp of the soul is to be kept trimmed and burning. People need the truth, and by earnest faithful effort it is to be communicated to them. Everything that can be done to save sinners should be done without delay. Souls are to be sought for, prayed for, labored for. Earnest appeals are to be made. Fervent prayers are to be offered. Our tame, spiritless petitions are to be changed into petitions of intense earnestness. God's Word declares, "The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
Wake up, my brethren, into spiritual activity. Daily reveal a determined purpose to be good and to do good. It is not enough to live merely a quiet, prayerful life. Meditation alone will not answer the need of the world. Vigilant waiting is to be combined with vigilant working. We are to be living, wide-awake, energetic Christians filled with zeal to give to others the blessings of the truth.
Young ministers should not be encouraged to preach to the churches. This is not their work. They are to go forth without the camp, taking up the work in places where the truth has not yet been proclaimed. Let them go in the humility and meekness of Christ, obtaining strength from the source of all strength.
To every young man in the ministry, Paul's words to Timothy are spoken, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine." Thyself needs the first attention. First give yourself to the Lord for sanctification to his service. A godly example will tell more for the truth than the greatest eloquence unaccompanied by a well-ordered life. Trim the lamp of the soul, and replenish it with the oil of the Spirit. Seek from Christ that grace, that clearness of comprehension, which will enable you to do successful work. Learn from him what it means to labor for those for whom he gave his life. The most talented worker can do little unless Christ is formed within, the hope and strength of the life.
Let the young men who are preparing for service read and study the third chapter of Colossians, and the first chapter of Second Peter, and also the following scriptures:--
"The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need." "In all things it behoved 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 Preparation for True Service.--The heart must be brought into conformity to the will of God. As is the health of the heart, so is the religious experience and the fruit seen in the life. Unless the heart is cleansed from all defilement, evil will appear in the life. No one can in truth fulfill the requirements of God's law unless this law is written on his heart. He only who makes righteousness a part of his life is prepared rightly to estimate the truth. The truth is no truth to the one who merely makes a profession, who is not sanctified by its power, upon whose heart its image is not stamped. Such a one keeps the truth in the outer court. His love for Christ is superficial, exercising little controlling power over his reason.
Young men, deal faithfully with your own souls. Seek the Lord most earnestly for grace and strength. Study the words of the Saviour, "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." Worldly ambition, worldly plans, worldly principles, are not to be brought into the life of the Christian.
Christ said, "For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
Will you not remember that this prayer includes you? Will you not strive to answer it? Will you not give yourselves to the Lord? Willingness of heart and earnestness of purpose to carry out the principles of holiness will place you in such relation to God that you will give full proof of your ministry. You will see the fruit of your labor.
Give careful, prayerful thought to the preparation required in order to do true service for God. Then a decided reformation will be seen. In the place of drinking in iniquity, the heart will be filled to overflowing with the love of Christ. The whole being will be enlisted in God's service. The affections will be set on things above. A hearty response will be made to the words, "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."
The Minister is to be an Educator.--O what a work there is before us! Ministers are not to spend their time laboring for those who have already accepted the truth. With Christ's love burning in their hearts, they are to go forth to win sinners to the Saviour. Beside all waters, God's messengers are to sow the seeds of truth. Place after place is to be visited; church after church is to be raised up. Those who take their stand for the truth are to be organized into churches, and then the minister is to pass on to other equally important fields.
Just as soon as a church is organized, let the minister set the members to work. They will need to be taught how to work. Let the minister devote more of his time to educating them to preaching. Let him teach the people how to extend the knowledge of the truth. While the new converts should be taught to ask counsel of those more experienced in the work, they should also be taught not to put ministers in the place of God. Ministers are not gods, but human beings, men compassed with infirmities. Christ is the One to whom all are to look for guidance. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,. . . full of grace and truth. . . . And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace." "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
The power of the gospel is to come upon the companies raised up, fitting them for service. Some of the new converts will be so filled with the power of God that they will at once enter the work, imparting that which they have received. They will labor so diligently that they will have neither time nor disposition to weaken the hands of their brethren by unkind criticism. Their one desire will be to carry the message of truth to the regions beyond.
God's servants are to make use of every resource for enlarging his kingdom. The apostle Paul declares that it is "good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth," that "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men." And James says, "Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." Every minister is pledged to unite with his brethren in giving the invitation, "Come; for all things are now ready." Each is to encourage the other in doing whole hearted work. Earnest invitations will be given by a living church. Thirsty souls will be led to the water of life.
The apostles carried a weight of responsibility to enlarge their sphere of labor, to proclaim the truth in the regions beyond. From their example we learn that there are to be no idlers in the Lord's vineyard. His servants are constantly to enlarge the circle of their efforts. Constantly they are to do more, never less. The Lord's work is to widen and broaden until it encircles the world.
After making a missionary tour, Paul and Barnabas retraced their steps, visiting the churches they had raised up, and selecting men to unite with them in the work. Thus God's servants today are to labor, selecting and training, worthy young men as co-laborers. God help us to sanctify ourselves, that others may be sanctified, enabled to do successful work in winning souls to Christ. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #34)
Our ministers are to go forth to proclaim the message of present truth to those who have not heard it. And our churches should not feel jealous and neglected if they do not receive ministerial labor. They should themselves take up the burden, and labor most earnestly for souls. Believers are to have root in themselves, striking firm root in Christ, that they may bear much fruit to his glory. As one man, they are to strive to attain one object,--the salvation of souls.
Let not church members wait for a verbal command to enter God's service. They know their duty. Let them do it in humility and quietness. There are hundreds who should be at work, who need to be encouraged to make a beginning.
Let church members begin to work where they are. Everywhere there are souls who know not the truth. Humble men, willing to make sacrifices, to work as Christ worked, are needed. The Lord calls for self-sacrificing workers, who will labor quietly and unobtrusively, living so near to the Lord that they continually receive grace to impart. As they take up their work in earnestness and sincerity, asking the Lord to give them tact and skill, hearts will be reached by their efforts.
It is not God's purpose that ministers should be left to do the greatest part of the work of sowing the seeds of truth. Men who are not called to the gospel ministry are to be encouraged to labor for the Master according to their several ability. Hundreds of men and women now idle could do acceptable service. By carrying the truth into the homes of their neighbors and friends, they could do a great work for the Master. God is no respecter of persons. He will use humble, devoted Christians who have the love of the truth in their hearts. Let such ones engage in service for him by doing house-to-house work. Sitting by the fireside, such men--if humble, discreet, and godly--can do more to meet the real needs of families than could a minister.
The Lord has a work for women, as well as for men. They may take their places in his work at this crisis, and he will work through them. If they are imbued with a sense of their duty, and labor under the influence of the Holy Spirit, they will have just the self-possession required for this time. The Saviour will reflect upon these self-sacrificing women the light of his countenance, and will give them a power that exceeds that of men. They can do in families a work that men cannot do, a work that reaches the inner life. They can come close to the hearts of those whom men cannot reach. Their labor is needed.
It is not meet for us, my sisters, to wait for greater opportunities or holier dispositions. We are inexcusable if we allow God-given talents to rust from inaction. Christ asks, "Why stand ye here all the day idle?" Let us consecrate all that we have and are to him, believing in his power to save, and having confidence that he will use us as instrumentalities to do his will and to glorify his name.
My brethren and sisters, do not pass by the little things to look for larger work. You might do successfully the small work, but fail utterly in attempting a larger work, and fall into discouragement. Take hold wherever you see that there is a work to be done. It is by doing with your might what your hands find to do, that you will develop talent and aptitude for large work. It is by slighting the daily opportunities, neglecting the little things, that so many become fruitless and withered.
There are many ways in which all may do personal service for God. Some can write a letter to a far-off friend, or send a paper to one who is inquiring for truth. Others can give counsel to those who are in difficulty. Those who know how to treat the sick can help in this way. Others who have the necessary qualifications can give Bible readings or conduct Bible classes.
The very simplest modes of work should be devised, and set in operation among the churches. If the members will unitedly accept such plans, and perseveringly carry them out, they will reap a rich reward; for their experience will grow brighter, their ability will increase and through their efforts souls will be saved.
The Waste Places of the Earth.--The waste places of the earth are to be cultivated. In humble dependence upon God, families are to go forth and settle in the unworked places of his vineyard. As the reward of their self-sacrifice in order to sow the seeds of truth, they will reap a rich harvest. As they visit family after family, giving Bible studies, opening the Scriptures to those in spiritual darkness, many hearts will be touched.
Consecrated men and women are needed to stand as fruit bearing trees of righteousness in the desert places of the earth. In fields where the conditions are so objectionable and disheartening that many workers refuse to go to them, most remarkable changes for the better may be brought about by the efforts of self-sacrificing lay members. These humble workers will accomplish much, because they put forth patient, persevering effort, relying upon no human power, but upon God, who gives them his favor. The amount of good that these workers accomplish will never be known in this world.
Self-Supporting Missionaries.--Self supporting missionaries are often very successful. Beginning in a small, humble way, their work enlarges under the guidance of the Spirit of God. Let two or more persons start out together in evangelistic work. They may not receive any particular encouragement from those at the head of the work that they will get financial support; nevertheless, let them go forward, praying, singing, teaching, and living the truth. They may take up the work of canvassing, and in this way introduce the truth into many families. As they move forward in their work, they gain a blessed experience. They are humbled by a sense of their poverty and helplessness, but the Lord manifestly goes before them. Among the wealthy and the poor they find favor and help. They come close in friendship to those for whom they work, the one imparting the treasures of the word, the other imparting temporal sustenance. And both are blessed. Even the poverty of the people is a means of finding access to them. As these devoted missionaries pass on their way, they are helped in many ways by those to whom they bring spiritual food. Providence opens the way for them to go to isolated places, and if they bear the message God gives them, their efforts are crowned with success. Many will be brought to a knowledge of the truth, who, but for these humble teachers, would never have been won to Christ.
What more can I say than I have said to impress upon our churches the realization of the eternal loss they are suffering in not putting to use in God's service the ability that he has given them? If the members of our churches would but put their powers to use in well-directed efforts, following well-matured plans, they would do a hundredfold more for Christ than they are now doing. If they went forth with earnest prayer, with meekness and lowliness of heart, seeking personally to impart to others the knowledge of salvation, the message might reach the inhabitants of the earth.
God calls for workers to enter the whitening harvest field. Shall we wait because the treasury is exhausted, because there is scarcely enough to sustain the workers now in the field? Go forth in faith, and God will be with you. The promise is, "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
Nothing is so successful as success. Let this be secured, and the work will move forward. New fields will be opened. Many souls will be won to the truth. What is needed is increased faith in God.
As humble, God-fearing men and women consecrate themselves to the Lord, he will accept them and work through them. As they place themselves in right relation to him, light from the throne above will shine upon them, making them channels of blessing to others. All that they accomplish may not now be seen, but they are sowing seed that will yield fruit unto eternal life. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #35)
Elmshaven, Sanitarium, Cal., April 5, 1902.--To Those Connected with Our Work at Nashville.--My Dear Brethren: You are engaged in an important work, and the Lord calls upon you to take heed to watch unto prayer, to make straight paths for your feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. Work with an eye single to the glory of God, and with a sense of your individual responsibility. Remember that the Lord alone can make your efforts successful. He is the author and finisher of your faith. In the past you have had the wrestling part of your work to do. You have met with many trials. For your encouragement I am instructed to tell you that the Lord has a deep interest in the work at Nashville, and he will help every one of you if you will cooperate with him.
The Lord desires you to move onward and upward. He bids you to be careful to take the right path. "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
"The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." "They shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance."
Do you understand the question that the lawyer put to Christ, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Christ laid upon the lawyer the burden of answering his own question. "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" he asked. "And he answering 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. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?"
Jesus then related an incident that had lately taken place. A certain man, going from Jerusalem to Jericho, was robbed, and left by the roadside, wounded and dying. "And by chance there came down a certain priest that way." Did he help the one so sorely in need of help?--No; "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. 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."
"Which now of these three," Christ asked, "thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise."
This scripture certainly outlines our work.
"Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." When the Lord created trees, he commanded them to bear fruit. And to us Christ says, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." Those who receive the truth into good and honest hearts will bear fruit to the glory of God. They will reveal the faith that works by love and purifies the soul.
When Jesus would prove to John the Baptist that he was the Messiah, he said to John's messengers, "Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them." The fruit that he bore in his life was his answer to John's question.
"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." These words are to be engraved on the tablets of the heart. In the estimation of the world, it is going to extremes to love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves; but this is what God requires. He says to us, "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. . . . Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. . . . For so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men."
The plans and methods of God's workers are to be thoroughly sifted from worldly policy. Their work is to be carried forward with Christlike simplicity. Remember that he who takes the position of a criticiser greatly weakens his own hands. God has not made it the duty of men or of women to find fault with their fellow workers.
The world is filled with the same baleful influences that led the Jews to reject Christ, the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. Transgression is developing in a most marked manner. My brethren, avoid selfishness and covetousness; for it is idolatry. This sin is eating into the hearts of those who are determined to be rich. In their pursuit of gain, they place themselves in the most terrible danger.
Not a vestige of avarice nor a sign of greed will be seen in the life of a Christian. He will not be guilty of one dishonest act.
As Seventh-day Adventists, let us be sure that we bear the sign of God. Is this something that is seen?--No; it is unseen. It is the consecrated mind, placed wholly on the Lord's side.
Those who work in the Southern field, a field so difficult and so poverty-stricken, need constantly to receive grace from on high. They need a power outside of and above themselves. Only by the help of God can they gain true success. Again and again has this been evidenced. The workers who have not lived to themselves, who have put self out of sight, following where Jesus leads the way, practicing self-denial in order to open up the work in new fields, God has made to sit in heavenly places with Christ.. Our help is from him.
I have not written to you for some time because I have not been able to do so. I have been under a heavy strain. My mind would not let me rest, and at last my strength gave way. I suffered great pain in my head and eyeballs. I have not yet fully recovered, and cannot endure much taxation. I am now sleeping better than I have been, but I cannot find the rest that I need, because I have so much writing to do.
I was sitting in my room on Sabbath morning, thinking about the perplexities of the work, and wondering, "What shall I do?" when a little bird hopped on to the window sill, and poured forth such a flood of song that it set my heart free for a time. I believe that the bird was God's messenger to me. I am determined to put my trust in God. I thank him that I have been so wonderfully sustained. I want to do much more work for him before I lay off my armor. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #36)
Elmshaven, Sanitarium, July 6, 1902.--To Our Teachers at Berrien Springs.--My Dear Brethren and Sisters: I have an earnest desire that you shall every day be learning of the great Teacher. If you will draw near to God, and then to your students, you can do a very precious work. If you are diligent and humble, God will daily give you knowledge and an aptitude to teach. Do your very best to impart to others the blessings he has given you. With a deep, earnest interest to help your students, carry them over the ground of knowledge. Come close to them. Unless teachers have the love and gentleness of Christ abounding in their hearts, they will manifest too much of the spirit of a harsh, domineering master.
The Lord wishes you to learn how to use the gospel net. In order for you to be successful in your work, the meshes of your net must be close. The application of the Scriptures must be such that the meaning shall be easily discerned. Then make the most of drawing in the net. Come right to the point. However great a man's knowledge, it is of no avail unless he is able to communicate it to others. Let the pathos of your voice, its deep feeling, make an impression on hearts. Urge your students to surrender themselves to God. "Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh."
Teachers, remember that the Lord is your strength. Strive to give the students ideas that will be to them a savor of life unto life. Teach by illustrations. Make your illustrations self-evident. Ask God to give you words that all can understand.
A little girl once asked me, "Are you going to speak this afternoon?" "No, not this afternoon," I replied. "I am very sorry," she said. "I thought you were going to speak, and I asked several of my companions to come. Will you please ask the minister to speak easy words, that we can understand. Please tell him that we do not understand big words, like 'justification' and 'sanctification.' We do not know what they mean."
The little girl's complaint contains a lesson worthy of consideration by teachers and ministers. Are there not many who would do well to heed the request, "Speak easy words, that we may know what you mean"?
Make your explanations clear. I know that there are many who do not understand much of what is said to them. Let the light flowing from the great Teacher flood your mind. Let his Spirit mold and fashion your speech, cleansing it from all dross. Speak as to little children, remembering that there are many well advanced in years who are but little children in understanding.
By earnest prayer and diligent effort we are to obtain a fitness for speaking. This fitness includes the ability to articulate every syllable distinctly, placing the force and emphasis where they belong. Speak slowly. Many speak rapidly, hurrying one word after another so fast that the effect of what they say is lost.
Into what you say put the spirit and life of Christ. On a certain occasion, when Betterton, the celebrated actor, was dining with Dr. Sheldon, archbishop of Canterbury the archbishop said to him, "Pray, Mr. Betterton, tell me why it is that you actors can affect your audiences so powerfully by speaking of things imaginary." "My lord," replied Betterton, "with due submission to your grace, the reason is very plain: it lies in the power of enthusiasm. We actors on the stage speak of things imaginary as if they were real, and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary."
"Feed my sheep;" "feed my lambs," was the commission given to Peter. "And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." To those who hear, the gospel is to be made the power of God unto salvation. Present the truth in its simplicity. Follow Christ's example, and you will have the precious reward of seeing your students won to him.
Suggestions.--We need now not merely resolutions but decided action. Our youth are in the highest sense to be learners, seeing God behind the teacher, and the teacher cooperating with him. Wherever students are trained, a work is to be done that will establish them in the principles of our faith. The religious phase of their work is of the greatest importance; for, like Daniel and his fellows, they are to bear witness of God. By diligent, persevering effort, they are to acquire knowledge. By self-denial, by obedience to the principles of strict temperance, they are to prepare themselves to endure trial.
The students should have abundant opportunity to gain an education in physical labor; for thus they will be better prepared to acquire the knowledge they need for their work.
In the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah the Lord tells us plainly what the work is that he requires of us. In order that our young people may be fully prepared to do this work, small sanitariums are to be connected with our schools. The students are to be taught how to use nature's simple remedies in the treatment of disease. And as they learn to care for the sick, they are to be taught to act under the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Words to the Students.--Students, prepare yourselves to cooperate with your teachers. As you cooperate with them, you give them hope and courage. You are helping them, and at the same time you are helping yourselves to advance. Remember that it rests largely with you whether your teachers stand on vantage ground, their work an acknowledged success.
Our time for work is short. We have no time to spend in self-pleasing. You will gain true satisfaction and happiness only when you have a determined purpose to succeed. Make your student-life as perfect as possible. You will pass over the way but once. Precious are the opportunities granted you. You are not only to learn, but to practice the lessons of Christ. It rests with you yourself whether your work is a success or a failure. As you succeed in gaining a knowledge of the Bible, you are storing up treasures to impart.
It is your privilege to make the advancement spoken of in the first chapter of second Peter. Working on the plan of addition, you will add daily to your store of the knowledge of God and of Christ; and God will work for you on the plan of multiplication.
Be assured that as you advance, you will gain increased capabilities. If you see a fellow student who is backward, try to help him. Explain to him the lesson that he does not understand. This will be an aid to your own understanding. Use simple words. State your ideas in clear, comprehensive language. Thus you are helping your teachers. Often minds apparently stolid will catch ideas more quickly from a fellow student than from a teacher. This is the cooperation that Christ commends as a good work. The great Teacher stands beside you, helping you to help the one who is backward. The Lord Jesus meets every one, old or young, just where he is.
While obtaining your education, you may have opportunity to tell the poor and ignorant of the wonderful truths of God's Word. Improve every such opportunity. The grace of God will bless every minute spent in this way.
My brethren and sisters at Berrien Springs, you are doing a good work. The Lord is leading you. Just as long as you follow Christ, you will be guided aright. Maintain your simplicity and your love for souls, and the Lord will lead you in safe paths. The rich experience you will gain will be of more value to you than gold or silver or precious stones. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #37)
Elmshaven, Sanitarium, Cal., July 8, 1902.--My Dear Brother: I have no special light that you should remain in New York City. You must look to the Lord to teach you your duty. If that field, in its pitiful and sinful condition, does not speak for itself, what place can you find that expresses its need?
I understand why you feel discouraged. It is because the work is hindered by a lack of united and harmonious action on the part of those who were already in the field when you came.
If you go to the Lord in faith, believing his promises and taking special care of yourself, he will give you strength and blessing. Take periods of rest. Husband the strength that God has given you. If during the summer the heat is very severe, you must not endanger your life by remaining in the city.
O, who will rid himself of all hindrances, and take up the work in New York City? Will you, my brother, take hold of this work where you are, helping as best you can?
Let us remember Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Let us remember that he lived not to please himself. He left heaven to take his place in the ranks of fallen beings, to endure humiliation and abuse. Without humbling himself to the death of the cross, he could not have borne the penalty of transgression.
It must have been a very severe ordeal for our Saviour to lay aside his royal robe and kingly crown, and clothe his divinity with humanity, coming to this world as a little child, to live a life of obedience in behalf of the sinful race. Lest we should make a mistake in regard to what the redeemed must be, he came to give in his life a revelation of the character God requires of his children. He came that we might have an example of what human nature may become by receiving him as a perfect Saviour. He came to show us that we may be Christlike. "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
Before the foundation of the world was laid, the plan of redemption was devised. In heaven a mysterious voice was heard saying, "Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. . . . Lo, I come to do thy will, O God;" "yea, thy law is within my heart."
Think you not that Christ suffered loneliness of spirit, as, unrecognized and unhonored, he lived in the world that he himself had made? Who is he? Ask Isaiah. He will tell you.
"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."
Ask him who was sent to announce his coming.
"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. . . . I indeed baptize you with water. . . but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire; whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
Ask John, the beloved disciple.
"In the beginning was the Word," he declares, "and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . 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."
We turn to Peter, and he declares of his Master,--
"Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God."
We ask Christ himself who he is, and he replies,--
"Before Abraham was, I am." "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father."
We ask Paul, "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?"
With strength and assurance comes the answer, "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." "Being in the form of God, he 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: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." In him "we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist."
My brother, do not become discouraged. The light given me is that in our large gatherings, our campmeetings, we need all the ministerial talent that can possibly be spared from other work. Our ministers must not think that God has appointed them to hover over believers, or to tie themselves down to a business office. Let business men attend to the business, and let ministers be left free to labor in the campmeetings. At these meetings a special work is to be done.
Let each one offer the prayer, Lord, "give therefore thy servant an understanding heart."
Solomon called himself the Lord's servant, pleased that he could sustain this relation to the King of kings.
"In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said; Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said, Thou hast showed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of the people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?"
God gave this prayer to Solomon as a sample prayer, appropriate for all, high and low, rich and poor.
God said to Solomon, "Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honor: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days."
The Lord told Solomon that if he would walk in his way, his blessing would go with him, and wisdom would be given him. But Solomon failed to keep his contract with God. He followed the promptings of his own heart, and the Lord left him to his own impulses.
Today each one has a part to act--duties to perform and responsibilities to bear. No one can act his part acceptably without wisdom from on high. May God help us all to understand the prayer that he gave to Solomon as a prayer appropriate for him to offer. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #38)
My brethren and sisters, you have been bought with a price, and all that you have and are is to be used to the glory of God, and for the good of your fellow men. With earnest, unwearying effort you are to seek to save the lost. Christ's sacrifice on Calvary has made it possible for you to live a new, transformed life. You are to hold every new-found power as a precious trust, for use in God's service. Remember that it was your sins that made the cross necessary. When you accepted Christ as your Saviour, you pledged yourselves to unite with him in bearing the cross. For life and for death you are bound up with him, a part of the great plan of redemption. Before the inhabitants of the unfallen worlds and before fallen human beings you are to live the life of Christ, that unbelievers may be constrained to acknowledge, "They have been with Christ, and have learned of him." As you seek to draw others within the circle of his love, the purity of your language and the unselfishness of your actions will bear witness to the power of his grace.
"We are laborers together with God." Lay hold of his work with clean hands, a pure heart, and holy, consecrated endeavor. Press forward to win the triumphs of the cross. Are you not striving for a crown of immortality, for a life that measures with the life of God? O put your whole heart into the work! Let nothing cause your zeal to flag.
Do not depend on human aid. Look beyond human beings to the One appointed by God to bear our griefs and carry our sorrows and supply our necessities. Taking God at his word, move forward unitedly, with steadfast, unfaltering faith. Christ's presence and his word, "Lo, I am with you alway,"--these are our wisdom and righteousness. It is the living Presence that makes the living Word. The kingdom comes to us, not in word only, but in power. It is unwavering faith in Christ's presence that gives power.
"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." At an immense cost, probation has been granted to human beings. At the day of judgment there will come to the lost a full realization of the meaning of the sacrifice made on Calvary. They will see what they have lost by refusing to be loyal. They will think of the high, pure association it was their privilege to gain. But it is too late! The last call has been made.. The wail is heard, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved."
The world is to see God in his followers. Life and immortality are brought to light through those who are one with Christ. It is our privilege to have the Spirit that is the wisdom of heaven. Those who have the Spirit, in whatever position they may be, the highest or the lowest place of service, will reveal in their lives the power of Christ's grace.
Truth alone is to be our watchword. Self is to be hidden. Christ alone is to appear, full of grace and truth.
We have only a little longer time in which to prepare for eternity. May the Lord open the closed eyes of his people, and quicken their dulled senses, that they may realize that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to them that believe. I desire if possible to impress our people with the importance of giving so pure and righteous a representation of God that the world shall see him in his beauty. I desire them to be so filled with the Spirit that dwells in him that the world shall have no power to divert them from the work of presenting to men the wonderful possibilities before every soul who receives Christ. My heart is so full of this matter that sleep departs from my eyes and slumber from my eyelids.
The Reward of Earnest Endeavor.--Each worker, while preserving his individuality, should seek to labor in harmony with every other worker. Each is to be united with his fellow workers in bonds of Christian fellowship, and all are to be united with the Lord. The aim of every one is to be the advancement of the cause of truth. Each is to seek earnestly for the impartation of the Holy Spirit. Each is to look to Jesus, believing that he will receive the blessings he must have in order to be a strength to the work. Each may receive light from the Source of light. "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord."
All are to do their best. All are to keep looking to their Leader, studying the lessons he has given in his guidance of his people from the beginning. The experiences of Abraham, of Moses, of Daniel, contain lessons of great value to us at this time.
Those whom God chooses as his workers are not always talented, in the estimation of the world. Sometimes he selects unlearned men. These have a special work. They reach a class to whom others could not obtain access. Opening the heart to the truth, they are made wise in and through Christ. Their lives inhale and exhale the fragrance of godliness. Their words are thoughtfully considered before they are spoken. They strive to promote the well-being of their fellow men. They take relief and happiness to the needy and distressed. They realize the necessity of ever remaining under Christ's training, that they may work in harmony with God's will. They study how best to follow the Saviour's example of cross-bearing and self-denial. They are God's witnesses, revealing his compassion and love, and ascribing all the glory to him whom they love and serve.
Constantly they are learning of the great Teacher, and constantly they reach higher degrees of excellence, yet all the time feeling a sense of their weakness and inefficiency. They are drawn upward by their strong, loving admiration for Christ. They practice his virtues; for their life is assimilated to his. Ever they move onward and upward, a blessing to the world and an honor to their Redeemer. Christ says of them, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
Such workers are to be encouraged. Their work is done, not to be seen of men, but to glorify God. And it will bear his inspection. The Lord brings these workers into connection with those of more marked ability, to fill up the gaps they leave. He is well pleased when they are appreciated; for they are links in his chain of service. And it is his desire that every human instrumentality engaged in work for him shall be recognized, however small may be the work he does.
Men who are self-important, who are filled with the thought of their own superior abilities, overlook these humble, contrite workers; but not for one moment does God lose sight of them. He marks all that they do to help those in need of help. In the heavenly courts, when the redeemed are gathered home, they will stand nearest the Son of God. They will shine brightly in the courts of the Lord, honored by him because they have felt it an honor to minister to those for whom he gave his life. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #39)
Time is passing, and the Lord calls upon the laborers in all departments of his work to lift up their eyes and behold the fields all ripe for the harvest.
Our workers are not branching out as they should in their efforts. Our leading men are not awake to the work that must be accomplished. When I think of the cities in which so little work has been done, in which there are so many thousands to be warned of the soon coming of the Saviour, I feel an intensity of desire to see men and women going forth to the work in the power of the Spirit, filled with Christ's love for perishing souls.
Those in our cities--living within the shadow of our doors--have been strangely neglected. Organized efforts should now be put forth to give them the message of present truth. A new song is to be put into their mouths. They are to go forth to impart to others now in darkness the light of the third angel's message.
We all need to be wide-awake, that, as the way opens, we may advance the work in the large cities. We are far behind in following the instruction to enter these cities and erect memorials for God. Step by step we are to lead souls into the full light of truth. We are to continue working until a church is organized, and a humble house of worship built. I am greatly encouraged to believe that many persons not of our faith will help considerably by their means. The light given me is that in many places, especially in the great cities of America, help will be given by such persons.
The workers laboring in cities should read carefully the tenth and eleventh chapters of Hebrews, and appropriate to themselves the instruction that this scripture contains. The eleventh chapter is a record of the experience of the faithful. Those who work for God in the cities must go forward in faith, doing their very best. As they watch and work and pray, God will hear and answer their petitions. They will obtain an experience that will be invaluable to them in their after work. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
My mind is deeply stirred. In every city there is work to be done. Laborers are to go into our large cities and hold campmeetings. In these meetings, the very best talent is to be employed, that the truth may be proclaimed with power. Men of varied gifts are to be brought in. One man has not all the gifts required for the work. To make a campmeeting successful, several workers are needed. No one man should feel that it is his prerogative to do all the important work.
If in the campmeetings held in the cities the speakers proclaim the truth in the power of the Spirit, hearts will be reached. The love of Christ received into the heart will banish the love of error.
There is need of campmeetings like those held in the early stages of the work,--campmeetings separate from the business work of the conference. At a campmeeting the workers should be free to give the knowledge of the truth to those who attend from outside.
At our campmeetings arrangements should be made so that the poor may obtain wholesome, well-prepared food as cheaply as possible. There should also be a restaurant in which healthful dishes shall be prepared and served in an inviting manner, especially for the education of outsiders.
This work is not to be looked upon us separate from other departments of campmeeting work. Each department of God's work is closely united with every other department, and all are to advance in perfect harmony.
"Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty." Let the indifferent ones arouse, and act their part in the work of the Lord, lest this curse be spoken against them. Let all who can, give themselves to the long-neglected work in our cities,--a work that has been looked at, and then passed by on the other side, as the wounded man was passed by the priest and the Levite. Take up the work in the cities wholeheartedly, intelligently, unselfishly.
There are men of talent and influence who are longing for something they have not yet received. Let the truth in its simplicity be presented to them.
God selects his messengers, and gives them his message; and he says, "Forbid them not." New methods must be introduced. God's people must awake to the necessities of the time in which they are living. God has men whom he will call into his service,--men who will not carry forward the work in the lifeless way in which it has been carried forward in the past. Many who have not yet heard the message to be given to the world, have learned the meaning of self-denial and self-sacrifice. Men will accept the truth who will work with earnestness and zeal, tact and understanding. Let none discourage these zealous workers. In some things they will make mistakes, and will need to be corrected and instructed. But have not men who have been long in the truth made mistakes, and needed correction and instruction? When they made mistakes, the Lord did not cast them off, but healed them and strengthened them, presenting them with his banner to hold aloft.
Our large cities are fast reaching the condition represented by the condition of the world before the flood, when "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." God-dishonoring sins are practiced by people living in lordly homes; but some of these very people, under the preaching of the last testing message, will be convicted and converted. From his inexhaustible store of grace, God can endow all who come to him. Looking upon humanity, fallen and degraded, he declares that the Holy Spirit shall be poured out upon all flesh. Many who have never heard the special truths for this time will feel the conviction of the Spirit as they listen to the message of startling importance.
In our large cities the message is to go forth as a lamp that burneth. God will raise up laborers for this work, and his angels will go before them. Let no one hinder these men of God's appointment. Forbid them not. God has given them their work. Let the message be given with so much power that the hearers shall be convinced. God will raise up workers who will occupy peculiar spheres of influence, workers who will carry the truth to the most unpromising places. Men will say, "Yea," where once they said, "Nay." Some who were once enemies will become valuable helpers, advancing the work with their means and their influence.
With intense interest God is looking on this world. He has noted the capacity of human beings for service. Looking down the ages, he has counted his workers, both men and women, and has prepared the way before them, saying, "I will send my messengers to them, and they shall see great light shining amid the darkness. Won to the service of Christ, they will use their talents to the glory of my name. They will go forth to work for me with zeal and devotion. Through their efforts the truth will speak to thousands in a most forcible manner, and men spiritually blind will receive sight, and will see my salvation. Truth will be made so prominent that he who runs may read. Means will be devised to reach hearts. Some of the methods used in this work will be different from the methods used in the work in the past; but let no one, because of this, block the way by criticism."
God will set in operation many plans for the accomplishment of his work. The means that he has intrusted to wealthy men will be used to sustain his cause. His people will concentrate their efforts more and more on the great consummation, believing and obeying the commission:--
"All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #40)
The Lord is soon to come. The angels are holding the four winds, in order that God's people may do their long-neglected work. We are not half awake to what might be done in our world. The work moves slowly because the truth has not yet taken full possession of the men engaged in the ministry. Our ministers need to arouse and set in operation lines of work that will give the warning message to those who have never heard the truth. Let them plan and study as to the best way of removing prejudice and reaching the hearts of the people. Present truth has almost lost its power because of the way in which it has been handled.
House-to-house work is one very successful way of reaching souls. But it is not the only way that God has provided for the advancement of his work. Decided proclamations of truth are to be made. But in regard to this work, I am instructed to say to our people, Be guarded. In bearing the message, make no personal thrusts at other churches. Speak the truth in tones and words of love. Let Christ be exalted. Keep to the affirmative of truth. Never leave the straight path God has marked out, for the purpose of giving some one a thrust. That thrust may do much harm, and no good. It may quench conviction in many minds. Let the truth tell the story of the inconsistency of error.
People cannot be expected to see at once the advantage of the truth over the error they have cherished. The best way to expose the fallacy of error is to present truth. This is the greatest rebuke that can be given to error. Dispel the cloud of darkness resting on minds by reflecting the bright light of the Sun of righteousness.
You may have opportunity to speak in other churches. In improving these opportunities, remember the words of the Saviour, "Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." Make no denunciatory speeches. Clear-cut messages are to be borne; but restrain all harsh expressions. There are many souls to be saved. In word and deed be wise unto salvation, representing Christ to all with whom you come in contact. Let all see that your feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace and goodwill to men. Wonderful are the results we shall see if we enter the work imbued with the Spirit of Christ. If we carry forward the work in righteousness, mercy, and love, help will come in our necessity. Truth will bear away the victory.
The truth is to be presented with divine tact, tenderness, and gentleness. It is to come from a heart that has been softened and made sympathetic. We need to have close communion with God, lest self rise up, as it did in Jehu, and we pour forth a torrent of words that are unbefitting, that are not as dew, nor as the still showers, which revive the withering plants. Let our words be gentle as we seek to win souls. God will be wisdom to him who seeks for wisdom from a divine source. We are to seek opportunities on every hand. We are to watch unto prayer, and be ready always to give an answer to every one who asks a reason for the hope that is in us. Lest we shall impress unfavorably one soul for whom Christ has died, we should keep our hearts uplifted to God, so that when the opportunity presents itself, we may have the right word to speak at the right time. If you thus undertake to work for God, the Spirit of God will be your helper. The Holy Spirit will apply the truth spoken in love for the soul. The truth will have quickening power when spoken under the influence of the grace of Christ.
Evangelistic Canvassers.--Canvassing for our publications is an important and most profitable line of evangelistic work. Our publications can go to places where meetings cannot be held. In such places the faithful evangelistic canvasser takes the place of the living preacher. By the canvassing work the truth is presented to thousands who otherwise would never hear it.
I feel very sorry to know that so many of the books which should be finding ready sale are lying on the office shelves. These books contain the light that people need. May the Lord move upon many of our young people to enter his service as evangelistic canvassers. Our time for work is short. Many, very many, need the promptitude of the "quickly" in them, to lead them to arouse and go to work. The Lord calls for workers just now.
We need to feel the vivifying influence of the Holy Spirit as the disciples felt it on the day of Pentecost. Of their experience at that time we read: "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own." Selfishness was expelled from the heart. "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all."
Why is there not now a more diligent seeking of the Lord, that hundreds may be filled with the Holy Spirit, and may go forth quickly to proclaim the truth, "the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following"? Our commission is to let the light shine forth everywhere from the press. By the printed page the light reaches the isolated ones, who have no opportunity to hear the living preacher. This is most blessed missionary work. Canvassers can be the Lord's helping hand, opening doors for the entrance of truth.
Let Christian youth be selected to circulate the books containing present truth. Youth who have no religious experience should not be accepted as canvassers for our books, because they cannot properly represent the precious truth to be presented. To send such youth into the canvassing field is unjust to them and to the Lord's work. This is a sacred work, and those who enter it should be able to bear witness for Christ.
In this work the youth should be connected with those older in experience, who, if they are devoted to God, can be a great blessing to them, teaching them in the things of God, and showing them how best to work for him. If the youth will work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, they will know by experience that God is working with them, to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Not only men, but women, can enter the canvassing field. And canvassers are to go out two by two. This is the Lord's plan.
As long as probation continues, there will be opportunity for the canvasser to work. When the religious denominations unite with the papacy to oppress God's people, places where there is religious freedom will be opened by evangelistic canvassing. If in one place the persecution becomes severe, let the workers do as Christ directed: "When they persecute you in one city, flee ye into another." If persecution comes there, go to still another place. God will lead his people, making them a blessing in many places. Were it not for persecution, they would not be so widely scattered abroad to proclaim the truth. And Christ declares, "Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come." Until in heaven is spoken the word, "It is finished," there will be places for labor, and hearts to receive the message.
Young men, your help is called for. Make a covenant with God by sacrifice. Take hold of his work. He is your efficiency. "Be strong, yea, be strong." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #41)
Christ said to his disciples, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."
Satan's efforts against the advocates of the truth will wax more bitter and determined to the very close of time. As in Christ's day the chief priests and rulers stirred up the people against him, so today the religious leaders will excite bitterness and prejudice against the truth for this time. The people will be led to acts of violence and opposition which they would never have thought of had they not been imbued with the animosity of professed Christians against the truth.
And what course shall the advocates of truth pursue? They have the unchangeable, eternal Word of God, and they should reveal the fact that they have the truth as it is in Jesus. Their words must not be rugged and sharp. In their presentation of truth they must manifest the love and meekness and gentleness of Christ. Let the truth do the cutting; the Word of God is as a sharp, two-edged sword, and will cut its way to the heart. Those who know that they have the truth should not, by the use of harsh and severe expressions, give Satan one chance to misinterpret their spirit. As a people we must stand as did the world's Redeemer. When in controversy with Satan in regard to the body of Moses, Christ durst not bring against him a railing accusation. He had every provocation to do this, and Satan was disappointed because he could not arouse in Christ a spirit of retaliation. Satan was ready to misrepresent everything that was done by Jesus; and the Saviour would give him no occasion, not the semblance of an excuse. He would not turn from his straightforward course of truth in order to follow the wanderings, and twistings, and turnings, and prevarications of Satan.
We read in the prophecy of Zechariah that when Satan with all his synagogue stood up to resist the prayers of Joshua the high priest, and to resist Christ, who was about to show decided favor to Joshua, "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?"
The course of Christ in dealing even with the adversary of souls, should be an example to us in all our intercourse with others, never to bring a railing accusation against any; much less should we employ harshness or severity toward those who may be as anxious to know the right way as we are ourselves.
The Truth as it is in Jesus.--Those who have been educated in the truth by precept and example should make great allowance for others who have had no knowledge of the Scriptures except through the interpretations given by ministers and church members, and who have received traditions and fables as Bible truth. They are surprised by the presentation of truth; it is as a new revelation to them, and they cannot bear to have all the truth, in its most striking character, presented to them at the outset. All is new and strange, and wholly unlike that which they have heard from their ministers, and they are inclined to believe what the ministers have told them, that Seventh-day Adventists are infidels, and do not believe the Bible. Let the truth be presented as it is in Jesus, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Speak of the love of God in words easy to be understood. Bible truth, presented in the meekness and love of Jesus, will have a telling influence upon many minds.
Many souls are hungering for the bread of life. Their cry is, Give me bread; do not give me a stone. It is bread that I want. Feed these perishing, starving, souls. Let our ministers bear in mind that the strongest meat is not to be given to babes who know not the first principles of the truth as we believe it. In every age the Lord has had a special message for the people of that time; so we have a message for the people in this age. But while we have many things to say, we may be compelled to withhold some of them for a time, because the people are not prepared to receive them now.
When a discourse is given, the people may listen with interest, but it is all strange and new to them, and Satan is ready to suggest to their minds many things that are not true. He will seek to pervert and misrepresent the speaker's words. What shall we do? The discourses presenting the reasons of our faith should be published in little leaflets, and circulated as widely as possible. Thus the falsehoods and misrepresentations which the enemy of truth constantly tries to keep in circulation would be revealed in their true character, and the people would have an opportunity of knowing just what the minister said. Those who introduce the leaven of truth amid the mass of false theories and doctrines may expect opposition. Satan's batteries will be opened upon those who advocate the truth, and the standard bearers must expect to meet many sneers, and much reviling that is hard to bear.
The message of warning is to be given in all the highways and byways. The cities are to be worked, not merely preached to; there must be house-to-house labor. After the warning has been given, after the truth has been presented from the Scriptures, many souls will be convicted. Then great carefulness is needed. The human agent cannot do the work of the Holy Spirit, we are only the channels through which the Lord works. Too often a spirit of self-sufficiency comes in, if a measure of success attends the efforts of the worker. But there must be no exaltation of self, nothing should be attributed to self; the work is the Lord's, and his precious name is to receive all the glory. Let self be hid in Jesus.
There is danger of indulging a controversial spirit. But those who really love the truth, who have received it into the heart as a living principle, will have the greatest desire to reveal in words and actions the sanctifying power of truth upon the life. They will be representatives of the truth, showing its transforming power upon their own character. When opposed, they will not retaliate. Children and youth cannot, unless they are under the direct influence of the Spirit of God, correctly represent the sanctifying power of truth upon mind and character. And there are many grown-up persons who need to enter the school of Christ and learn his meekness and lowliness of heart, else they will venture to do that which Michael the Archangel dared not do. The railing accusations will be at their tongue's end. There are many fathers and mothers who would today engage in the work of God if encouraged, but who, in their own home life, prove themselves unfit to handle sacred responsibilities. They are only grown-up children. There are very few parents who represent the character of Jesus in the home.
The Believer is Complete in Christ.--Christ represented his Father; he knew how the Father would do under any and every circumstance, and he did just as the Father would do. He made manifest in his work the ways of God. The living God was working through his Son. Jesus, when he was found in fashion as a man, had a realizing sense of the world's needs, and he employed his human, God-given powers for the benefit of men, while in every act of mercy and healing he drew upon the divine power, even the power that made the worlds. The Lord Jesus is all ready to impart the very same aid to all who will consecrate their powers to his service, who feel the need of the impartation of his grace. To all who desire to be recipients of his Spirit, the virtue flows out from Christ. And it is in this way that the character of God, the perfection of Christ and the Father, is brought before the world. The human agent is complete in Christ. Learning in the school of Christ, daily studying his life, we become one with him, and reflect the virtues of his character.
He who is daily a learner in the school of Christ can say, "As the Father gave me commandment, even so I do." Thus did the Son of God in his human life, leaving us an example of perfect obedience, prefacing every deed with such words as these: That which the Son seeth the Father do, he doeth also. "This commandment have I received of my Father." The history of Christ's human life in our world is the record of his purpose toward us for the manifestation of his divine perfection. He was the light shining in darkness; and what is the record? "And the darkness comprehended it not." The standard is high, for Christ is our standard, and he could justly claim perfection in all his works. But how few, in their practice, will follow the Lamb of God whithersoever he goeth. Following Jesus, imbued with his Spirit moment by moment, the human agent would represent Christ, as Christ represented the Father. (To be concluded.)--By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #42)
Jesus has revealed to men that while the hatred of God against sin is as strong as death, his love to the sinner is stronger than death. Christ, in his life and his death, has forever settled the deep and comprehensive question whether there is self-denial with God, and whether God is light and love. This was the question agitated in the heavens above, which was the beginning of Satan's alienation from God. The change or abolition of the laws of his government in the heavenly courts was demanded as the evidence of the love of God. We see that the controversy has been kept up, Satan creating enmity against God because of his holy law. The satanic agencies are constantly at work, sowing and watering the seeds of rebellion against the law of God, and Satan is gathering souls under his black banner of revolt. He forms a confederacy with human beings to contend against purity and holiness. He has worked diligently, perseveringly, increasing the number who will confederate with him. By his representations he seeks to widen the distance between heaven and earth, and he grows into the conviction that he can wear out the patience of God, extinguish his love for man, and bring condemnation upon the whole human family.
God has given all heaven in the gift of Christ to our world; but the great gift is so interpreted as to work in behalf of Satan's schemes to annul the law of God, the very work that Satan began in heaven. God has given Christ to take the penalty of transgression, and die to ransom the world. This, his heaven-sent reconciliation, is to be proclaimed, and the condition of eternal life, that men obey the laws of the divine government. But when this message of mercy is proclaimed, Satan inspires men to scowl back in defiance, and exclaim, "Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways, O God." Nevertheless God sends his delegated messengers to entreat attention. But too often their message is not respected. Hatred against the law of God has continued to increase in intensity. Men have beaten one of the messengers of God, and killed another, and stoned another. New methods are continually devised to turn men away from the truth. The materials for the last great warfare are collecting; already the conflict has reached large proportions. And as iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold. As the occasion requires, the Lord giveth more grace to his chosen, tempted, tried ones. Jesus knows the strength of Satan's temptations, and with every temptation he makes a way of escape.
Just prior to the crucifixion of Christ, the whole universe of heaven was with intense interest watching every move of Satan and his evil confederacy. They were watching to see what move would next be made against Jesus, and what would be his action under the circumstances. He had carried the human nature triumphantly through every period of test and trial, assailed by the whole confederacy of fallen angels leagued with evil men. He finished his mission by committing his work to the human agents who were to carry it forward in his name. The message of repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, was to be given to a fallen world. Beginning at Jerusalem, it was to go to all nations, tongues, and peoples.
Christ has demonstrated that through his grace humanity can keep the law of God. He has demonstrated to the universe of heaven and to the fallen world, that, by the invitation of our gracious Sovereign, all who will believe on him may receive pardon, and be restored to the favor of God. He would take those whose course had been the most offensive to God, impart to them his divine power, place them in the highest positions of trust, and send them forth into the camp of the disloyal to proclaim his grace, and offer a full pardon to all who will turn from sin unto God. "Ye have not chosen me," he says; "but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain." Some of the very ones that were brought into closest connection with the work of Christ had not only felt, but said, "Come, let us kill him," and had thought that in this act they were doing God service. Our Saviour redeemed them, loaded them with divine favor, and sent them forth as lambs in the midst of wolves. He made them one with himself, and declared that those who refused to accept them and to hear the heaven-sent message, rejected the Lord Jesus himself. "If the world hate you," he said, "ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me."
Presenting the Truth in New Places.--But let every one bear in mind that we are in no case to invite persecution. We are not to use words that are harsh and cutting. Keep them out of every article written, drop them out of every address given. Let the Word of God do the cutting, the rebuking; let finite men hide and abide in Jesus Christ. Let the Spirit of Christ appear. Let all be guarded in their words, lest they place those not of our faith in deadly opposition against us, and give Satan an opportunity to use the unadvised words to hedge up our way. Do nothing before the time. When God gives a close, cutting message, it will be his work, not prompted by the impulse of finite beings. Man's cutting and slashing with the two-edged sword will hedge up our way, so that we shall find doors closed and locked against us.
We all need more of the deep love of Jesus in the soul, and far less of the natural impetuosity. We are in danger of closing up our own path by arousing the determined spirit of opposition in men in authority, before the people are really enlightened in regard to the message God would have us bear. God is not pleased when by our own course of action we bar the way so that the truth is prevented from coming to the people. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #43)
"And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day." "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work."
"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, 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."
God gave the Sabbath to his people to be a continual sign of his love and mercy and of their obedience. As he rested on this day and was refreshed, so he desired his people to rest and be refreshed. It was to be a constant reminder to them that they were included in his covenant of grace. Throughout your generations, he said, the Sabbath is to be my sign, my pledge, to you that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you, that I have chosen you and set you apart as my peculiar people. And as you keep the Sabbath holy, you will bear testimony to the nations of the earth that you are my chosen people.
During their bondage in Egypt, the children of Israel lost their knowledge of the true Sabbath, and with it their knowledge of the Creator. God called his people out of Egypt, and in the wilderness gave them his law, the expression of his character and authority. From Mount Sinai he spoke the commandments in an audible voice, and then wrote them with his own finger on tables of stone, thus denoting their enduring character. In this law God declared, "The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work; . . . for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it."
Before the law was given from Sinai, God wrought a miracle each week to impress the people with the sanctify of the Sabbath. He rained manna from heaven for their food, and each day they gathered this manna, but on the sixth day they gathered twice as much as usual, according to the directions of Moses: "This is that which the Lord hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. . . . The Lord hath given you the Sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day."
"And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan." Thus for forty years God worked each week a miracle before his people, to show them that his Sabbath was a sacred day.
Sacredness of the Sabbath.--God directed that a tabernacle should be built, where the Israelites, during their wilderness-journeying, could worship him. Orders from heaven were given that this tabernacle should be built without delay. Because of the sacredness of the work and the need for haste, some argued that the work on the tabernacle should be carried forward on the Sabbath, as well as on the other days of the week. Christ heard these suggestions, and saw that the people were in great danger of being ensnared by concluding that they would be justified in working on the Sabbath that the tabernacle might be completed as quickly as possible. The word came to them, "Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep." Though the work on the tabernacle must be carried forward with expedition, the Sabbath must not be employed as a working day. Even the work on the Lord's house must give way to the sacred observance of the Lord's rest day. Thus jealous is God for the honor of his memorial of creation.
The Sabbath is a token between God and his people. It is a holy day, given by the Creator to man as a day upon which to rest, and reflect upon sacred things. God designed it to be observed through every age as a perpetual covenant. It was to be regarded as a peculiar treasure, a trust to be carefully cherished.
As we observe the Sabbath, let us remember that it is the sign which heaven has given to man that he is accepted in the Beloved; that if he is obedient, he may enter the city of God, and partake of the fruit of the tree of life. As we refrain from labor on the seventh day, we testify to the world that we are on God's side, and are striving to live in perfect conformity to his commandments. Thus we recognize as our sovereign the God who made the world in six days and rested on the seventh.
The Sabbath is the clasp which unites God and his people. But the Sabbath command has been broken. God's holy day has been desecrated. The Sabbath has been torn from its place by the man of sin, and a common working day has been exalted in its stead. In the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah is outlined the work God's people are to do. A breach has been made in the law, and this breach is to be repaired. The true Sabbath is to be restored to its rightful position as God's rest day. The law is to be magnified and made honorable. To those who do this work the Lord says: "Thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. 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: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #44)
Christ's last great struggle with the power of darkness should ever be kept fresh in the minds of all who believe in him as the propitiation for the sins of the world. God would have us study the lesson taught by the experience of the children of Israel, when they were bitten by serpents. Those bitten were directed to look at the brazen serpent which had been uplifted in the camp, and those who looked in faith lived. Today we are standing in a position similar to that of the children of Israel. As we look upon the world in its moral defilement, we see the poisonous serpents abroad, ready to sting us to death. To the cross of Calvary, bearing a dying Saviour, we must look. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." Only the Lamb of God can take away our sins. We should think more of this than we do. Our eternal interests demand that we show faith in Christ.
In the words spoken by Christ when he gave a representation of true humility by washing the feet of his disciples, I would appeal to all who name the name of Christ: "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." Do you see the uplifted Saviour? Do you know that it was for your sins that he suffered and died? Do you do his will? Knowing is only a part of our duty. Our eternal interests demand that we do also. But to many who have had great light the words of Paul are sorrowfully appropriate: "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?" Though Christ had been set forth among the Gentiles, they had not had a personal sight of the divine Sufferer, enduring the weight of the sins of the world.
Christ crucified is to be presented by those who preach the word. The last scenes of his life, in which he achieved a victory for the world, are not to be set forth in a tame, listless manner, but earnestly, and by those who feel constrained to keep the memory of these mighty deeds from growing old. The past should be made a living reality, as if being transacted before us. But this cannot be done by human ability. Those who preach Christ must have the help of God's Spirit. Christ is our advocate in the heavenly courts, and he presents in our behalf the sacrifice he offered on Calvary. This we are to present to others. In this way we are to perpetuate the memory of the crucifixion. When this is done, heavenly instrumentalities work at the same time upon the hearts of the hearers. A power independent of human effort is felt. The speaker does not labor in his own unaided strength. He is endued with a power that is wholly from above. As the words flow from his lips, the Holy Spirit cooperates with him; and the hearers are impressed, as though Jesus were in reality before them.
Through the preaching of the word and the administration of the sacramental service, Christ has been set forth among us. The Lord's supper was ordained by Christ shortly before his death, and the ceremony of feet washing was instituted just prior to the Lord's supper. As we celebrate these ordinances, we are to remember that Christ is present, making the occasion one of great interest. Thus it will be to all who have a true sense of the situation. We should search our hearts, and confess the sins that we have cherished. If we are guided by the Holy Spirit, our thoughts will not be thoughts of self-exaltation, but of severe self-censure and humiliation. Selfishness, evil speaking, and evil thinking will be put away. We shall remember Christ's action, as he girded himself with a towel. While the dispute as to who should be greatest was still fresh in the minds of the disciples, Christ humbled himself, and washed their feet, wiping them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
After Christ had washed their feet, he said unto them, "Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."
During this ceremony, the Holy Spirit was impressing the hearts of the disciples, sweeping away the selfishness that they had shown in their dealings with one another. Not long before, some of them had been offended because their brethren sought the highest place. All this now appeared so insignificant, the mountain was reduced to such a molehill, that shame took the place of disputing. "He that is greatest among you shall be your servant," declared Christ. He that doeth service will humble himself, and in so doing, he will be placed where the Lord can safely honor him, because he has the Spirit of Christ.
The Object of the Passover and of the Lord's Supper.--The Jews had been strictly enjoined to celebrate the Passover. This had been instituted at the time of their deliverance from Egypt. Then the children of Israel ate the Passover supper in haste, with their loins girded, and with their staves in their hands, ready for their journey. The manner in which they celebrated this ordinance harmonized with their condition; for they had been thrust out of the land of Egypt, and were about to begin a painful and difficult journey through the wilderness. But in Christ's time this position had been changed. In harmony with the rest that had been given them, the people partook of the Passover supper in a reclining position. By God's direction, wine was drunk; but this was not fermented wine; it was the pure juice of the grape.
The Passover was ordained as a commemoration of the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. God had directed that when their children asked the meaning of this ordinance, the history was to be repeated, that the wonderful deliverance from bondage might be kept fresh in the minds of all. The ordinance of the Lord's supper was given to the disciples to be celebrated till Christ should come the second time, with power and great glory. It is the means by which he designs that the great deliverance wrought out for us as the result of his sacrifice shall be kept fresh in our minds.
When the ordinances are celebrated as the Lord has commanded, messengers from the throne of God are present, listening to the words of confession and forgiveness. The Holy Spirit quickens the sensibilities of those who thus obey Christ, and turns their thoughts into spiritual channels. As the disciples of Christ, they seem to be passing through the garden consecrated by the agony of him who bore the sins of the world. They witness the struggle by which our reconciliation with God was obtained.
Reconciliation one with another is the work for which the ordinance of feet washing was instituted. By the example of our Lord and Master, this humiliating ceremony has been made a sacred ordinance. Whenever it is celebrated, Christ is present by his Holy Spirit. It is this Spirit that brings conviction to hearts. As Christ celebrated this ordinance with his disciples, conviction came to the hearts of all save Judas. So we shall be convicted as Christ speaks to our hearts. The fountains of the soul will be broken up. The mind will be energized, and, springing into activity and life, will break down every barrier that has caused disunion and alienation. Sins that have been committed will appear with more distinctness than ever before; for the Holy Spirit will bring them to our remembrance. The words of Christ, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them," will be clothed with new power.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you," Christ said to his disciples, "He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. . . . He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. . . . He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night."
After Judas went out to do the mission of Satan in the streets of Jerusalem, he was no longer favored by God, but abandoned. He found the council of Christ's enemies, and completed the work he had begun. After he had gone, Christ's countenance assumed a more cheerful aspect. The presence of the traitor had placed him under a painful restraint. His last interview with his disciples was sacred; but while Judas was there, he could not express his feelings. His utterances revealed this restraint. "Ye are not all clean," he said. "I speak not of you all." Now the restraint was removed. "Now is the Son of man glorified," Jesus said, "and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him." Christ's face seemed radiant, so clearly was divinity seen. He spoke to his disciples with the tenderest affection. He wasted no words over the traitor's departure; he did not speak of the dreadful ordeal through which he must pass. He must endure his suffering alone. He seemed like an irrepressible, living spring of water.
The disciples looked upon Christ with admiration and love. Divinity was seen in humanity. He was transfigured, and exalted above everything earthly. He was about to be separated from his disciples in a way that they did not expect. But they caught the bright beams reflected from him, and lost all thought of contention or desire to be first. Every word Christ uttered impressed them with a sense of their co-partnership with him.
It was at this time that Christ gave his disciples the precious instruction found in the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth chapters of John. He knew that they must have special instruction; for unless divine power were combined with human effort, their future work would prove a failure. He was about to be separated from them. They would no longer have him as their visible counselor, to take the responsibility in all matters. They must be instructed; for were they to leave the divine agency out of their efforts, they would not accomplish the work he had appointed them to do. In all their ministry, upon which they should enter to bless humanity, they must build upon a divine Christ.
Today a great work is to be done. The Holy Spirit is to work through human agencies. A partnership between God and the workers must be maintained. Man works because God works in him; all the efficiency and power is of God. Yet God has so arranged that all the responsibility rests with the human instrument. These are the appointed conditions of partnership. Men are required to move among men, doing a divine work. God designs that they shall have power from on high, but if they fail to seek for this power, if they neglect to improve the facilities which God has provided whereby they may reach the highest standard, they fail to uplift fallen humanity. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #45)
[Sabbath sermon at the Fresno, Cal., Campmeeting after the thirteen conference laborers had been chosen to go to foreign fields, under pay of the California Conference. Afterward nearly as many more gave themselves to foreign work.] Before his ascension, Jesus told his disciples not to depart from Jerusalem till they had received the promise of the Father. "Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence," he declared. "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
The day of Pentecost came, Great additions were made to the church. In one day five thousand were converted. The disciples began to think that they had a work to do in Jerusalem, in shielding the members of the church from the snares of the enemy. They did not realize that strength to resist temptation is best gained by active service. They did not educate the new church members to become workers together with God in carrying the gospel to those who had not heard it. Instead, they were in danger of being satisfied with what had been accomplished. To scatter his representatives abroad, where they could work for others, the Lord permitted persecution to come upon his church. Stephen and several others died for their faith; then the members of the church were scattered; and the gospel was proclaimed with power "in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
In every age since the first advent of Christ, the gospel commission has impelled men and women to go to the ends of the earth as missionaries for God. We thank the Lord that during this campmeeting several of our workers have given themselves to go as missionaries to different countries outside our land. My brethren, we bid you Godspeed. Our prayers shall follow you wherever you go. How glad we are to send men and means to other countries!
Years ago I little realized that I should spend many years of service as a pioneer missionary in distant lands. But when the call came to go to Europe, I responded. Afterward, when asked to go to Australia, I went, notwithstanding I was over sixty years of age. Nine years I worked in that field. My heart is filled with the missionary spirit, and although nearly seventy-five years old, I feel such a desire to see souls saved that should the Lord call me to the work, I would go to the ends of the earth to bring to men and women a knowledge of the truth for this time.
To these our friends who expect soon to go from us to other lands, I wish to say: Remember that you can break down the severest opposition by taking a personal interest in the people whom you meet. Christ took a personal interest in men and women while he lived on this earth. Wherever he went, he was a medical missionary. We are to go about doing good, even as he did. We are instructed to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the sorrowing.
The sisters can do much to reach the heart and make it tender. Wherever you are, my sisters, work in simplicity. If you are in a home where there are children, show an interest in them. Let them see that you love them. If one is sick, offer to give him treatment; help the careworn, anxious mother to relieve her suffering child.
Some of you expect to go abroad as canvassers. Sometimes you may wish to canvass a man whose time is fully occupied. You may have to put off your canvass, and it may be possible that you can join him in his work, and talk with him then. The sermon which you thus preach by your helpfulness will be in harmony with the sermon which you preach with your tongue; and the two, together, will have a power that words alone could never have.
When staying at the homes of the people, share the burdens of the household. Be thoughtful enough to keep the water bucket filled. Help the tired father do the chores. Take an interest in the children. Be considerate. Work in humility, and the Lord will work with you.
My brethren and sisters who are under appointment as missionaries, I greatly desire that your hearts shall be filled with Christlike pity, love, compassion. As I bid you farewell and return to my home, do not think that I shall soon forget you. We will offer our petitions to God in your behalf, pleading with him to open the way before you. He will hear our prayers; he has promised to hear us. And he is just as ready to answer your prayers for strength and wisdom to do your work. He has said that he is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him than parents are to give good gifts to their children. Wherever you go, pray to him in the morning, at noon, and at night. Pray in faith, without wavering.
Church Members Called to Work.--Some of the members of our churches may feel that we are sending away too many conference laborers, and that the work in the home field cannot be done by the few who remain. But this is not the proper view to take of this matter. Those in the employ of the conference are not the only ones who should work for souls. Let the church members go to work. Let them communicate to others the knowledge they have received. In many churches in California the members have heard discourse after discourse, and yet they do not seem to have a large measure of the Holy Spirit. While I was in Australia, many of them sent letters to me across the broad Pacific, inquiring why they did not receive more power from above, and requesting me to pray for them. They did not seem to comprehend the reality of the Saviour's promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." They did not seem to realize that they could gain spiritual strength by imparting to their neighbors and friends the light they had received. They had not learned of the blessing that comes to us from telling our fellow beings enslaved by appetite, of that divine power which will enable them to overcome the desire for every harmful indulgence.
Let those who teach the truth, teach in simplicity. Let them not try to drive the truth home with a vim that will arouse antagonism. Let the voice express sympathy and tenderness. Christ's voice was full of pathos. By persevering effort we can cultivate the voice, ridding it of all harshness. Let us ask in faith for a converted voice, a converted tongue, and for Christlike sympathy and tenderness, that we may win souls to the truth we teach.
None of our churches need be barren and unfruitful. But some of our brethren and sisters are in danger of starving to death spiritually even when they are constantly hearing the truth presented by our ministers; for they neglect to impart that which they receive. God requires every one of his stewards to use the talent intrusted to him. He bestows rich gifts upon us in order that we may bestow them freely upon others. He keeps the heart flooded with the light of his presence, in order that we may reveal Christ to our fellow men. How can those who fold their hands in ease, content to do nothing, expect God to continue to supply their necessities? The members of all our churches should labor as those who must give an account.
Brethren and sisters, when these workers go to their fields of labor across the seas, will you close up the ranks in the home conference? Will you put on the Christian armor? "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." Will you stand firm for the truth, even though your church may not often be visited by a minister? I ask you, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, to put on "the whole armor of God;" and be sure to wear the gospel shoes. Do not neglect to put them on. They will enable you to tread tremblingly, softly, in approaching the souls that you desire to lead to the Saviour.
"Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace," you will be prepared to walk from house to house, carrying the truth to the people. Sometimes you will find it very trying to do work of this kind; but if you go forth in faith, the Lord will go before you, and his light will shine upon your pathway. As you enter the homes of your neighbors to sell or to give away our literature, and in humility to teach them the truth, you will be accompanied by the light of heaven. Learn to sing the simplest of songs. These will help you in house-to-house labor, and hearts will be touched by the influence of the Holy Spirit. Christ was often heard singing hymns of praise; and yet I have heard persons say, "Christ never smiled." How mistaken their ideas in regard to the Saviour! There was joy in his heart. We learn from the Word that there is joy among the heavenly angels over one repentant sinner, and that the Lord himself rejoices over his church with singing.
The Blessedness of Laboring for Others.--What a privilege it is to labor for the conversion of souls! Our calling is high. We may enjoy the companionship of the heavenly angels. We may not discern their forms, but by faith we may know that they are with us. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" Brethren, sisters, God invites us to unite with the angels in their ministry. Thus every one of us may become his helping hand. To fit us to do this work, he will strengthen our minds as verily as he strengthened the mind of Daniel. As we give to those in darkness the truths that have enlightened us, God will enable us to understand these truths still better. He will give us apt words to speak, communicating to us through the angel standing by our side. Let us pray for the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Let us seek for living power from above, that we may indeed be laborers together with God.
May the blessing of God rest upon every one in this congregation. The presence of God is here. His angels are in the midst of us. And the evil angels also are here. Let us close the windows of the soul earthward, and open them heavenward. Let us not allow earthly things to take possession of the mind, but let us keep it open to receive the communications that the heavenly angels are ready to give to us.
May the Lord bless and strengthen you who are under appointment to go to other lands. We may never meet again in this life, but I pray that we may meet in that glad day when the gates of the city of God shall swing back on their glittering hinges, and the nations that have kept the truth shall enter in, there to hear Christ saying, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Then with all the redeemed we shall cast our crowns at his feet, crying, Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain!
As we recognize among the ransomed ones some whom we were instrumental in saving, gladness unspeakable will fill our hearts. Touching our harps, we shall fill all heaven with rich music. O what songs of praise for redeeming love will resound through the heavenly courts!
While living this probationary life, shall we not encourage one another to be steadfast? Shall we not impart a knowledge of the truth for this time to those in our very neighborhoods who have not heard it? Shall we not, by our prayers and by our means, support those who are sent to other lands to proclaim this truth? Shall we not practice self-denial on every point, that we may have more to give for missionary work abroad? Shall we not keep before us and in our homes a contribution box in which to place offerings for missions?
Let us teach our children to deny self in order to help sustain the Lord's work. Let us tell them that God, in giving his Son, gave all heaven to save not only us, but those who as yet have not so much as heard of him. Let us tell them how, in order to redeem mankind, Christ laid aside his kingly crown and royal robe, left his high command in the heavenly courts, and came to this world to live a life of poverty and hardship, a life of toil and suffering, and to die a death of shame. Shall he have died in vain for us? Shall he have died in vain for those whom by self-sacrifice we could save?
Brethren and sisters, will you today pledge yourselves before God to pray for these workers who have been chosen to go to other lands? Will you pledge yourselves not only to pray for them, but to sustain them with your tithes and offerings? Will you pledge yourselves to practice strict self-denial in order that you may have more to give for the advancement of the work in the "regions beyond"? We feel moved by the Spirit of God to ask you to pledge yourselves before him to lay by something weekly for the support of our missionaries. God will help and bless you in doing this. Give those who are under appointment to go abroad evidence that you will sustain them by your prayers and by your means. Let those who willingly, freely, gladly make these pledges before God today, signify it by rising to their feet. [Nearly the whole congregation-- about one thousand--arose.]
Thank the Lord! As these missionaries go to their new fields, they will have an assurance that their brethren and sisters in this conference will be faithful in doing their part at home. The time may come when some of those who remain will go to distant fields. We expect to see the Lord taking men from the plow, and sending them out to proclaim the truth. We expect to see children bearing a message that their parents cannot bear. Let us all stand ready to respond to God's call to duty, whatever the sacrifice. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #46)
Last night I had a wonderful experience. I was in an assembly where questions were being asked and answered. At one o'clock I awoke, and arose. For a time I walked the room, praying earnestly for clearness of mind, and for strength to write the words that must be written. I entreated the Lord to help me to bear a testimony that would arouse his people before it should be forever too late.
My soul was drawn out in the consideration of matters relating to the carrying forward of God's work. This work is to be carried forward without outward display. In establishing institutions we are never to compete with institutions of the world in size or splendor. We are to enter into no confederacy with those who do not love or fear God. Those who are unable to endure the seeing of him who is invisible, are surrounded with spiritual darkness that is as the darkness of midnight. Within, all is dreariness. They know not the meaning of joy in the Lord. They take no interest in eternal realities. Their attention is engrossed with the trifling things of earth. Having forsaken God, the fountain of living water, they hew out for themselves broken cisterns, that can hold no water. Let it not be thus with those who have tasted the power of the world to come.
In establishing the work in new places, we are to economize in every way possible. The work of soul saving must be carried forward in the way that Christ marked out. He declares, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Only by obeying this word can we be his disciples. We are striving for a kingdom and a crown. We shall obtain both by following Christ's example.
We are nearing the end of this earth's history, and the different departments of God's work are to be carried forward with much more self-sacrifice than has yet been practiced. The work for these last days is a missionary work. Present truth, from the first to the last letter of its alphabet, means missionary effort. The work to be done calls for sacrifice at every step of advance. The workers are to come forth from trial, purified and refined, as gold tried in the fire.
Wearing Christ's Yoke.--The Lord calls upon men and women to unite with Christ by wearing his yoke. But he tells them that they are to refuse the yoke which human hands would place on them; for this yoke would be galling and oppressive. There are those who refuse to wear the yoke of Christ, and yet would place upon others a yoke of human manufacture. What a terrible deception! It is as night amid the full blaze of gospel light. Such ones are not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can they be, until they pass through the death struggle, and are born again. All through their experience are woven the threads of worldly wisdom. They look upon their work as meritorious, but in the day of judgment they will learn--unless they learn it before--that they are corrupted with selfishness. They have barred their hearts against Christ's entrance, and unless they repent and open to him, they must one day hear the words. "Depart from me."
God's Purpose for His Church.--Filled with the knowledge of the will of God in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, walking worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, fruitful in every good work, increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might by his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness,--such were the early disciples. They sought above all things to know the will of God. But do these words describe the church in its present condition? Many who claim to believe the truth are far from practicing its principles. The church is weak and inefficient because many of its members follow their own impulses, refusing to do the will of God. Not by the Spirit of God, but by another spirit, are they led. They know not the meaning of the written Word. When they bring into the daily life the principles of God's law, they will be able to say from experience. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul."
In the hearts of many, God has a work to do, if they will allow him. They need a complete transformation of character. This is their only hope. Some now in the work will have to pass through the furnace of affliction before they will see the need of having all dross burned away from the religious experience.
The church must and will shine forth "fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." God's servants must, by laboring together with Christ, roll away the curse that has made the church so lukewarm. "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints," writes the great apostle to the Gentiles, "is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
When these words are believed and lived, the church will have a heaven below to go to heaven in.
These words were spoken by our Instructor: "Some are reckless, insensible of the results of sin, heedless of warning. Soon the handwriting on the wall, now unintelligible to them, will be read. But it will then be too late for them to repent. Like Belshazzar, they seem unable to see their peril. A straight testimony must be borne to our churches and institutions, to arouse the sleeping ones."
When the word of the Lord is believed and obeyed, steady advancement will be made. Let us now see our great need. The Lord cannot use us until he breathes life into the dry bones. I heard the words spoken: "Without the deep moving of the Spirit of God upon the heart, without its life-giving influence, truth becomes a dead letter."
Let us from this time use our powers for God. Let us work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that he works in us, to will and to do of his good pleasure. Let us humble ourselves before God. He is waiting for us to draw near to him, that our purposes may be more Christlike, that more of the purity and meekness and grace of the Redeemer may be brought into our work. We have walked in our own ways and followed our own counsel, as if we could counterwork the divine purposes. Let us now turn to the Lord. Let us seek him while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Yes, this is God's plan. Let us come to him just as we are, and he will fulfill his purposes for us.
The experience that I had last night has impressed me very deeply. I seemed to have Christ close beside me. I was filled with hope and courage and faith. I pleaded with God to sustain me, and he lifted me up, and made me to triumph in him. I know that the Lord will work for his people when they sanctify their souls by obeying the truth. Then the whole being, body, mind, and soul, will be in harmony with him. We shall possess a freedom crowned with glory. Aug. 14, 1902. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #47)
In dealing with those who are in error, we are to treat them as Christ would, seeking, by a loving, unselfish interest in them, to win them to repentance. O, we need so much men who are wise in dealing with tempted souls! There are many prodigals, needing the welcome of the loving Father, not the cold repulse of the elder brother. Let us be afraid to be harsh and condemnatory. Before we speak, let us ask ourselves whether what we are about to say would be pleasing to Christ. There are angels hovering round these poor erring ones, seeking to lead them into safe paths. Let human beings keep their hands off, and give the tempted ones opportunity to recover themselves from the snare of the enemy.
Among those who accuse, there are many who, by their manner of dealing, have set an example that has led others away from right doing. Their course is more offensive to God than is the course of those whom they condemn, because, while professing to be upright in their dealings, they have done a strange work, dishonoring to God.
On one occasion the scribes and Pharisees brought to Christ a woman whom they accused of having violated the seventh commandment. "Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned," they said; "but what sayest thou?" Jesus read their thoughts. He knew for what purpose this case had been brought to him. He knew that these would-be guardians of justice had themselves led their victim into sin, that they might lay a snare for Jesus. Giving no sign that he had heard their question, he stooped, and fixing his eyes upon the ground, began to write in the dust. Impatient at his delay, the accusers drew nearer, urging the matter upon his attention. But as their eyes, following his, fell upon the ground at his feet, their countenances changed. There, traced before them, were the guilty secrets of their own lives.
The law specified that in punishment by stoning, the witnesses in the case should be the first to cast a stone. Rising, and fixing his eyes upon the plotting elders, Jesus said, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her," and stooping down, he continued writing on the ground.
The accusers had been defeated. With their robe of pretended holiness torn from them, they stood, guilty and condemned, in the presence of infinite purity. They trembled lest the hidden iniquity of their lives should be laid open to the multitude; and one by one, with bowed heads and downcast eyes, they went away, leaving their victim with the pitying Saviour.
Jesus arose, and looking at the woman, said, "Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."
Were Christ on earth today, would he not hear many words of condemnation and harsh judgment? Would he not see men professing to be his followers crowding those who have erred into hard places, giving them no opportunity to recover themselves? Were he to say to them, as he said to the accusing Pharisees, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone," would they not, even as did the Pharisees, go away, filled with shame?
If one errs, and is brought to repentance, let all receive his confession with a sense of what it cost him, and welcome him back with heartfelt joy and gratitude that he has been enabled to obtain the victory. Let every tempted soul who has been weaving strange threads into the web of life, who has been doing that of which he would be ashamed could he see the result, remember that Christ is ready to pardon every one who comes to him. But the sin must be repented of, and restitution must be made.
"Seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
Conduct Toward the Young and Inexperienced.--There are those who, though young men and young women in years, are but children in the knowledge of God. Weak in faith, inexperienced, they need the help of those whose opportunities for gaining knowledge have been greater than theirs. There are such youth as these connected with our institutions. Let those who have charge over them remember that they are to be patiently and kindly instructed. Show Christian forbearance in dealing with them. Let your hearts be filled with desire to place their feet in right paths. Do not speak to them as if they were slaves. Remember that they are inexperienced and ignorant, just as verily in need of wise guidance as is the little child just learning to walk. Remember that you yourselves are not faultless, that many times you are in need of help.
Those in authority have many lessons to learn. Many of them have brought into their manhood and womanhood the faults of their childhood. Let them be guarded in their speech. Let them curb their hasty temper. Let them overcome the inclination to scold and criticise. Let them learn the value of self-control and sweetness of temper. Before they can expect to control others aright, they must learn to control themselves. Let them beware of prejudicing and hardening the youth with whom they are dealing, making it impossible for them to be won to Christ. Let the one who, grown to manhood, has brought into his life a loveless dignity, learn how to be kind and courteous. Only thus can he hope to win souls to Christ.
The Word of God is our guide. By studying it carefully, we shall learn how to deal with the souls for whom Christ has died. By helping those who are in need of help, by speaking to them cheering, encouraging words, by revealing a Christlike spirit, we are to perfect our education.
Let those who have any part to act in the training of the youth remember their own faults and mistakes, and strive earnestly to be what they wish the youth to become. In their treatment of them let them be wise, pitiful, and noble. Let them not forget that the youth in their care are in this life to be prepared for admittance into the royal family. They are in need of wholesome, encouraging words and unselfish deeds. Treat them as Christ's children, whom he wants you to help in every time of need. They are very precious to him. He gave his life for them. Make friends of them. Bring Christlikeness into your dealing with them. Give them practical evidence of your unselfish interest. Help them over the hard places. Patiently, tenderly, strive to win them to Jesus. Let your words be loving and sympathetic, and the tones of your voice pleasant. Let the grace of Christ soften and subdue all that is harsh in your nature. Eternity alone will reveal the results of your earnest, unselfish efforts. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #48)
Christ's lament over Jerusalem was for those also who today have had great light, and who have seen wonderful manifestations of his power and goodness, but who have not fulfilled God's purpose for them. Those who hear the voice of God and cooperate with him, using their capabilities in his service, will receive his blessing. But those who forget his instruction, and follow their own way, are a dishonor to him. A time will come when their wrong course of action, with its results and consequences, must be met.
"Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine," Christ declared, "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."
Christ uttered a fearful denunciation against those who, though privileged to have him among them, did not profit by his ministry. "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee."
The calamity that was soon to come upon the Jewish people was no greater than they deserved. They had been given the best of opportunities, but they did not accept the truth that would have made them wise unto salvation. They heard the message of John the Baptist, but it did not lead them to repentance. They trifled with the things of eternal interest. Christ made every effort to bring them to a realization of their true position, that they might repent and be saved. But, filled with proud conceit, they rejected his warnings and despised his entreaties.
The Jews misrepresented Christ, and John his forerunner, saying of John, "He hath a devil." They imputed his severe denunciation of their sins to satanic inspiration, saying that he was not in his right mind, that he was a poor hypochondriac, full of fancies, led by a crazed imagination. And of Christ they said, "Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners."
Salvation Offered to All.--In sorrow Christ wept over those who, having the plainest evidence of his divinity, turned from him. His heart was filled with sadness as he thought of the result of their rejection of the message he came from heaven to bring to them. But he rose above his painful thoughts, and offered God thanksgiving, saying, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight."
Christ looked up to heaven with gratitude for the security of the covenant of redemption. Looking round on the people, beyond the priests and Pharisees, he made an offer of salvation to all the children of men, high and low, rich and poor, learned and unlearned. To all he offered a balm for the sorrow and pain that are brought by sin. All are invited to unite with God in the covenant of grace.
In our work today we shall meet with the same spirit that Christ met in his day. The world is filled with the same baleful influence that led the Jews to reject Christ. Transgression is developing in a most marked manner. We shall meet with those who have received light and evidence, but who in their perversity reject all that does not harmonize with their own plans, persisting in the determination to follow their own way. They refuse to receive truth themselves, and do all in their power to lead others to regard with indifference the word of the Lord.
The greatest scholars, the greatest statesmen, will in these last days turn from the light, because the world by wisdom knows not God. "The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. . . . God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are."
Men who are learned in the wisdom of the world may think that they can explain the mysteries of the world; but in the explanation of the mysteries of the gospel, babes and children in Christ are far in advance of them. Those whom the world account unlearned and ignorant men may be chosen by the Lord as teachers, because he sees that they are willing to learn as well as to teach. "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." The power that brings success is of God.
The truth is to be placed before the great men of the world, that they may choose between it and the world. God is not the author of their ignorance. He sets everlasting truth before them,--truth that will make them wise unto salvation,--but he does not force them to accept it. If they turn from it, he leaves them to themselves, to reap the fruit of their own doings. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #49)
If our ministers realized how soon the inhabitants of the world are to be arraigned before the judgment seat of God, to answer for the deeds done in the body, how earnestly they would work, together with God, to lead men and women to accept the truth. How untiringly they would labor to advance God's cause in the world.
"Prepare to meet thy God," is the message we are everywhere to proclaim. The trumpet is to give a certain sound. Clearly and distinctly the warning is to ring out, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen. . . . Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."
John writes, "And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities."
The words of this scripture are to be fulfilled. Soon the last test is to come to all the inhabitants of the earth. At that time prompt decisions will be made. Those who have been convicted under the presentation of the word, will range themselves under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel. They will see and understand as never before that they have missed many, many opportunities for serving God. They will realize that they have not worked as zealously as they should to seek and save the lost, to snatch them, as it were, out of the fire.
Our work has been marked out by our Heavenly Father. Taking our Bibles, we are to go forth to warn the world. We are to be God's helping hand in saving souls. We are to be channels through which his love can flow to the perishing. A realization of the greatness of the work in which we have the privilege of taking part, ennobles and sanctifies the true worker. He is filled with the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Nothing is drudgery to the one who submits to the will of God. "Doing it unto the Lord" is the thought that throws a charm over the work that God gives him to do.
The Lord's servants are to be "not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." Listlessness and inefficiency are not piety. When we realize that we are working for God, we shall have a higher sense of the sacredness of spiritual service than we have ever had. This realization will put persevering energy into the discharge of every duty. True religion is intensely practical. In the saving of souls nothing but earnest, wholehearted labor will avail. We are to make our everyday duties acts of devotion, constantly increasing in usefulness because we look at our work in the light of eternity.
Only a little longer will the voice of mercy be heard; only a little longer will the gracious invitation be given, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." God sends his warning message to people everywhere. Let the messengers he sends work so harmoniously, so earnestly, that all will take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus. Let them speak the words of "truth and soberness," words of reason and good sense.
My brethren, do you realize your responsibility? Are you doing the work that God has given you to do? Is the love of Christ abiding in your hearts, softening and subduing your words? Do you seek for the Holy Spirit's power, humbling yourselves before God? Have you surrendered yourselves to him for purification and sanctification? Do you pray earnestly for the heavenly power that alone can quell the quick-rising anger and check the hasty words? Have you put away all self-seeking? Are you doing your work faithfully? Are you drawing with all your might for Christ? Do you give such evidence that you are working with Christ that no one can justly question the worth of your labor?
Draw your power from the highest Authority, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will aid you in your efforts to save those who are out of the fold. Remember that you are working for God, not for man. Plead earnestly for the power of God. Show a constantly increasing devotion to his service, and leave with him the measurement of your work.
God will carry on his work through wholly consecrated workmen. If his ministers fail of representing Christ, he will turn to others, many of whom have not been prepared for the work by a regular course of study, and will put a message into their lips, even the last message of warning. He will call men from their various employments, and at his bidding they will go forth to proclaim present truth. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #50)
Just before Peter's fall, Christ said to him, "Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not."
How true was the Saviour's friendship for Peter! how compassionate his warning! But the warning was resented. In self-sufficiency Peter declared confidently that he would never do what Christ had warned him against. "Lord," he said, "I am ready to go with thee, both into prison and to death." His self-confidence proved his ruin. He tempted Satan to tempt him, and he fell under the arts of the wily foe. When Christ needed him most, he stood on the side of the enemy, and openly denied his Lord.
But even when Peter was denying him, Christ showed his love for his erring disciple. In the judgment hall, surrounded by those who were clamoring for his life, Jesus thought of Peter, and turning, he looked upon him. In that look, Peter read the Saviour's love and compassion, and a tide of memories rushed over him. Christ's mercy, his kindness and longsuffering, his gentleness and patience toward his disciples--all was remembered. He recalled the caution, "Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." He saw that he was doing the very thing that he had declared he would never do. The realization of his terrible fall came over him with overwhelming force. He thought of his ingratitude, his falsehood, his perjury. Once more he looked upon his Master, and saw a sacrilegious hand raised to smite him in the face. Unable longer to endure the scene, he rushed, heartbroken, from the hall.
He pressed on in solitude and darkness, he knew not and cared not whither. At last he found himself in Gethsemane. The scene of a few hours before came vividly to his mind. He thought of how the Saviour, during his agony in the garden, had come for sympathy and comfort to those who had been so closely connected with him in labor. He remembered how he had said, "Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?" On the very spot where Jesus poured out his soul in agony, Peter fell upon his face, and wished that he might die.
Help came to him. Wonderful are God's ways of helping those who need help. Happy are those who will be helped in God's way.
Had Peter been left to himself, he would have been overcome. But One who could say, "Father, . . . I knew that thou hearest me always," One who is mighty to save, had interceded for him. Christ saves to the uttermost all who come to him.
Many today stand where Peter stood when in self-confidence he declared that he would not deny his Lord. And because of their self-sufficiency, they fall an easy prey to Satan's devices. Those who realize their weakness trust in a power higher than self. And while they look to God, Satan has no power over them. But those who trust in self are easily defeated. Let us remember that if we do not heed the cautions that God gives us, a fall is before us. Christ does not save from wounds the one who places himself unbidden on the enemy's ground. He does not impart power to those who reject his guidance. The self-sufficient one, who acts as if he knew more than his Lord, is allowed to go on in his supposed strength. Then come suffering and a crippled life, or perhaps defeat and death.
In the warfare, the enemy takes advantage of the weakest points in the defense of those whom he is attacking. At these points he makes his fiercest assaults. The Christian should have no weak points in his defense. He should be barricaded by the assurance that the Scriptures give to those who are doing God's will. The tempted soul will bear away the victory if he follows the example of him who met the tempter with the words, "It is written." He can stand securely in the protection of a "Thus saith the Lord."
There are some lessons that are never learned only through failure. Peter was a better man after his fall. The Lord permits his children to fall; and then, if they repent of their wrongdoing, he helps them to stand on vantage ground. As fire purifies gold, so Christ purifies his people by temptation and trial. If the heart has not been hardened by a disregard of great light, the temptation and fall will bring repentance. Humble, fervent prayer will save the soul from death, and confession and restitution will hide a multitude of sins.
(Vol. 79, #51)
Another year has almost passed into eternity. A few more days, and we shall enter a new year. My brethren and sisters, employ wisely the remaining hours of the old year. If you have in any wise neglected your duty, repent before God, and return to the path from which you have wandered. Remember how brief the period of life allotted you. You know not how soon your probation may close. Say not presumptuously, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain." God may have different plans for you. Life is but a vapor, "that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth." You know not how soon your hand may lose its cunning, your step its firmness. There is peril in a moment's delay. "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
What is your stewardship? Have you during the past year robbed God in tithes and offerings? Look at your well-filled barns, at your cellars stored with the good things the Lord has given you, and ask yourselves whether you have returned to the Giver that which belongs to him. If you have robbed the Lord, make restitution. As far as possible, make the past right, and then ask the Saviour to pardon you. Will you not return to the Lord his own, before this year, with its burden of record, has passed into eternity?
We ask your prayers for the advancement of the work. We need them. But we ask that prayer and giving may be united. Let your prayers and your alms rise as a memorial before God. Remember that faith without works is dead. We are to pray, and we are to give all that we can, both of our labor and of our means, for the fulfillment of our prayers.
From age to age Jesus has been delivering his goods to men and women. Soon will come the day when he will call each to account for the use made of these goods. It is God who gives men power to get wealth. He waters the earth with the dews of heaven and with the showers of refreshing rain. He gives the sunlight, which warms the earth, awakening to life the things of nature, and causing them to flourish and bear fruit. And he asks for a return of his own.
Hoarded wealth is not merely useless; it is a curse. In this life it is a snare to the soul, drawing the affections away from the heavenly treasure. In the great day of God its witness to unused talents and neglected opportunities will condemn it possessor.
There are many who in their hearts charge God with being a hard master because he claims their possessions and their service. But we can bring to God nothing that is not already his. "All things come of thee," said King David, "and of thine own have we given thee." All things are God's, not only by creation, but by redemption. All the blessings of this life and of the life to come are delivered to us stamped with the cross of Calvary.
The Home a Training School.--Fathers and mothers, how stands your record? Have you been faithful to your trust? As you have seen your children inclined to follow a course that you knew would result in impurity of thought and word and act, have you, first asking God for help, tried to show them their danger? Have you pointed out to them the peril of following a path of their own choosing? Mothers, have you neglected your God-given work,--the greatest work ever committed to mortals? Have you refused to bear your God-given responsibilities? In the time of trouble just before us, when the judgments of God fall upon the impure and unholy, will your children curse you because of your indulgence?
Your home is a little world of itself. In it, order, prompt obedience, submission, should prevail. It is a duty that parents owe their children to make wise rules for the guidance of the household, and then to see that these rules are obeyed.
The home is a training school. The mother is the teacher. She is to choose for her children. She is to mold and fashion their characters. She is to teach them to bring God into their lives. She should be so closely connected with God that through her he can work out his will.
Mothers, have you neglected your work? Then I beseech you to take it up now in the fear of God. Be converted. Before the year closes, confess your neglect to your wayward children, and ask them to help you to begin the new year aright, and during its hours, to live for God.
Parents, you are the ones who must decide whether your children shall choose the service of God or the service of mammon, eternal life or eternal death. Watch them carefully and tenderly. Give them wise instructions, line upon line, precept upon precept. Study their dispositions, that you may know what traits of character to repress and what traits to encourage. Teach them to guard constantly against selfishness, fraud, cruelty, dishonesty, and to cherish all that goes to make human beings Christlike. Remember that what your children learn in the home, they will carry with them when they go out into the world, and that it will affect all their future experience.
If you have neglected your work, repent before it is too late, and strive to atone for your neglect. Think of the time you have lost, and be doubly earnest in your efforts to undo the wrong you have done. The result of your neglect you may see in the wayward course of your children, and in their lack of power to resist the corrupting influence of the age. And very plainly you will see it when they go forth to fight the battle of life for themselves. I entreat you to arouse before it is too late, and take up your work, lest you be found unfaithful. To the parent who neglects his lifework, God cannot say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Prayer and the Home.--In many homes, prayer is neglected. Parents feel that they have no time for morning and evening worship. They cannot spare a few moments to be spent in thanksgiving to God for his abundant mercies,--for the blessed sunshine and the showers of rain, and for the guardianship of holy angels. They have no time to offer prayer for divine help and guidance, and for the abiding presence of Jesus in the household. They go forth to labor as the horse or the ox goes, without one thought of God or heaven. They have souls so precious that rather than permit them to be lost, the Son of God gave his life to ransom them; but they have little more appreciation of his goodness than have beasts that perish.
Like the patriarchs of old, those who profess to love God should erect an altar to him wherever they pitch their tent. If ever there was a time when every house should be a house of prayer, it is now. Fathers and mothers should lift up their hearts in humble supplication for themselves and for their children. Let the father, as priest of the household, lay upon the altar of God the morning and evening sacrifice, while the wife and children unite in prayer and praise. In such a household Jesus will love to abide.
From every Christian home a holy light should shine forth. Love should be revealed in every act. It should flow out in all home intercourse, showing itself in thoughtful kindness, in gentle, unselfish courtesy. There are homes where this principle is carried out,--homes where God is worshiped, and truest love reigns. From these homes, morning and evening prayer ascends to God as sweet incense, and his mercies and blessings descend upon the suppliants like morning dew.
A well-ordered Christian household is a powerful argument in favor of the reality of the Christian religion,--an argument that the infidel cannot gainsay. All can see that an influence is at work in the family that affects the children, and that God is with them. If the homes of professed Christians had a right religious mold, they would exert a mighty influence for good. They would indeed be "the light of the world." The God of heaven speaks to every faithful parent in the words addressed to Abraham: "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; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 79, #52)
I ask those who have charge of our work: Why are so many places passed by? Look upon the towns and cities yet unworked. There are many large cities in America, not only in the South, but in the North, yet to be worked. In every city in America there should be some memorial for God. But I could mention many places where the light of truth has not yet shone. The angels of heaven are waiting for human instrumentalities to enter the places where witness has not yet been borne to present truth. The Lord's name is reproached. Please read your Bibles, and see if it is not true that our work has scarcely begun. We need to realize that to every man God has given his work. Shall those who know the truth feel no responsibility? Shall not the knowledge that the signs of the times are fulfilling rouse us from our lethargy?
Catch the spirit of the great Master Workman. Learn from the Friend of sinners now to minister to sin-sick souls. His heart was ever touched with human woe. Why are we so cold and indifferent? Why are our hearts so unimpressible? Christ placed himself on the altar of service, a living sacrifice. Why are we so unwilling to give ourselves to the work to which he consecrated his life? Something must be done to cure the terrible indifference that has taken hold upon us. Let us bow our heads in humiliation as we see how much less we have done than we might have done to sow the seeds of truth.
When we are converted, our desire for ease and elegance will be changed. Christ brought his desires and wishes into strict abeyance to his mission,--the mission that bore the insignia of heaven. He made everything subordinate to the great work that he came to this world to accomplish in behalf of the fallen race. When in his youth his mother found him in the school of the rabbis, and said to him, "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing," he answered,--and his answer is the keynote of his lifework,--"How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"
My dear brethren and sisters, I speak to you in words of love and tenderness. Every earthly interest must be made subordinate to the great work of redemption. Remember that in the lives of the followers of Christ must be seen the same devotion, the same subjection to God's work of every social claim and every earthly affection, that was seen in his life. God's claims must ever be made paramount. "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me." Christ's life is our lesson book. His example is to inspire us to put forth untiring, self-sacrificing effort for the good of others.
Union with Christ and with one another is our only safety in these last days. Let us not make it possible for Satan to point to our churches, saying, Behold how these people standing under the banner of Christ hate one another. We have nothing to fear from them while they spend more strength in fighting one another than in warfare with my forces.
The Call from Every Land.--The world is looking on with gratification at the disunion among Christians. Infidelity is well pleased. God calls for a change among his people. Agents of mercy are needed, not merely in a few places, but throughout the world. Men and women in this field should be preparing for service in distant lands. From every country is heard the cry, "Come over and help us." Rich and poor are calling for light. Money and workers are needed.
We need to humble ourselves before God because so few of the members of his church are putting forth efforts that in any wise compare with the efforts that the Lord desires them to put forth. The privileges that he has given them, the promises that he has made, the advantages that he has bestowed, should inspire them with far greater zeal and devotion.
We need the vitalizing power of the Spirit,--the strong cry of a church travailing to bring forth souls. There is need of more earnest wrestling with God for the impartation of the Holy Spirit. Eager, earnest, importunate prayer is needed. There is efficiency in prayer. In answer to fervent prayer, God can turn the thoughts and hearts of men as he turns the waters of the sea.
God forbid that our churches and institutions shall be content to leave untouched the fields that are still unworked. The Saviour is saying to us, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." "Teaching them,"--not merely preaching a discourse now and then, but teaching them how to find the way to heaven.
In every age, but never so much as now, this has been the work of the church. Dare any one of us to withhold a jot of the influence that should be exerted for the recovery of the souls that are out of Christ? Dare we work out our ambitious projects and satisfy our selfish desires, and then bring to God's altar the fraction that remains of our time and our means? Think you that God will accept such an offering?
Entire Consecration Demanded.--The members of the church of God in every place are to consecrate themselves to his service, body, soul, and spirit. Every addition to the church should be one more agency for the carrying on of the great plan of redemption. The church is to be a living, active, missionary agency, moved and controlled by the Holy Spirit. The members are to act as one, blending in perfect union. This miracle the cross of Christ is fully able to accomplish for the good of an unbelieving world.
Every power of God's servants is to be kept in continual exercise to bring many sons and daughters to God. In his service there is to be no indifference, no selfishness. Any departure from self-denial to self-indulgence, any relaxation of earnest supplication for the Holy Spirit's working, means so much power given to the enemy. Christ is reviewing his church. How many there are whose religious life is their own condemnation!
God demands that which we do not give,--unreserved consecration. If every Christian had been true to the pledge made on accepting Christ, so many in the world would not have been left to perish in sin. Who will answer for the souls who have gone to the grave unprepared to meet their Lord? Christ offered himself as a complete sacrifice in our behalf. How earnestly he worked to save sinners! How untiring were his efforts to prepare his disciples for service! But how little we have done! And the influence of the little that we have done has been terribly weakened by the neutralizing effect of what we have left undone, or undertaken and never brought to completion, and by our habits of listless indifference. How much we have lost by failing to press forward to accomplish our God-given work! As professed Christians, we ought to be appalled by the outlook.
Wake up, my brethren and sisters. There is a great work to be done. Unceasing activity is called for. Darkness has covered the earth, and gross darkness the people. Many are far from Christ, wandering in the wilderness of sin. They are strangers from the covenant of promise. God calls upon his people to wake up, to shake off their careless indifference, and to take up the work waiting for them in their families. Then let them reach beyond their families to others who need help. God calls upon them to take up their long-neglected work. Let them commune with him, that they may be imbued with his Spirit. Then let them go forth to bestow on those in need the grace they have received from him.
"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. . . . I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. . . .
"Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken." By Mrs. E. G. White.