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The Review and Herald Articles
for the Year 1903
(Vol. 80, #1)
The Lord will work with humble men who reveal that they are ever learning, ever under the control of the Holy Spirit. Such men are not of the class represented as "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." True learners of Christ Jesus learn to a purpose, becoming more and more Christlike in word and action.
The great enemy of the church is determined to introduce among God's people things that will create disunion and variance. The prayer for unity that Christ offered to his Father just before his suffering and death is given to impress every heart. Jesus will work with those who by earnest watchfulness and prayer are daily converted. God will surely hear the prayers of his people. He will not permit one of his praying children to be overcome by the enemy.
"Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for naught; and ye shall be redeemed without money. For thus saith the Lord God, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. Now therefore, what have I here, saith the Lord, that my people is taken away for naught? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the Lord; and my name continually every day is blasphemed. Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion." These words portray the happiness and overcoming grace revealed in families where unity and peace and love abide. The Lord is honored by these peaceful homes--symbols of the purity of our heavenly home.
When professing Christians are united as one,--one with Christ in God,--they are representatives of the church of the Firstborn. Unity should ever be the element of preservation in the Christian church. Men and women are united in church capacity by a most solemn covenant with God to obey his Word, and to unite in an effort to strengthen the faith of one another.
God deals with man in accordance with his faith. Those who, having united with the church, still feel at liberty to find fault with their brethren by passing on to others some evil injury. Every time they work in this way, they place themselves on Satan's side of the controversy, becoming channels through which he communicates darkness, creating doubt and suspicion among God's children. Satan has many, many men and women of opportunity. If they are members of God's church, the enemy is better served than if they made no profession of Christianity. They may go through the outward form of worship, but in word and deed they reveal the spirit of Satan, and, unless converted, will by his devices be led on and on to final ruin.
Unconverted church members may do the same things that Christians do, with altogether a different spirit and different motives. The words and acts of a Christian are a savor of life unto life; the words and acts of a hypocritical church member are a savor of death unto death.
Contention in the church is always attended with a dearth of spirituality. The Lord cannot be glorified by a contentious church. "All ye are brethren." Cultivate the grace of God. Lift up your hearts in prayer to him for his keeping power. Avoid all contention among yourselves. Use every means within your reach to restrain the unsanctified words that are ever upon the tongue,--words that would cast a reflection upon others. Be true to one another. We are bought with a price; therefore in word and act we should glorify God.
When the members of God's church see eye to eye, they will constantly guard the tongue, in order that they may not misuse the talent of speech. This talent is a precious gift. Let us study our words with care, and be a blessing to mankind by refusing to bring reproach upon one of our brethren by passing on to others some evil report that we may hear. If we speak evil of another, reproach will lie at our door. When we all love our neighbor as ourselves, idle, mischievous whisperings will cease. May the Lord by his converting power sanctify our talent of speech, that we may use it to his glory, and in no wise to the injury of souls.
Every watchman on the walls of Zion is under sacred obligation to watch for souls as one who must give an account. Through God's grace he can do a work that heaven shall approve, in laboring to keep the church in unity and peace. The work of a gospel teacher is to proclaim the truth. Let him remember that he is to publish peace, "endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
The church should respect the gospel ministry; for it is God's appointed means of communicating his messages to the people. Let the church members sustain the ministers in their work as ambassadors for Christ. God's ministers open to men and women the living oracles of truth. Let no one venture to make a tirade on any minister; for it would be a tirade against Christ in the person of his messenger.
When Jesus sent forth the twelve, he "commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Christ instructed the disciples plainly not to go "into the way of the Gentiles" until they had first borne their testimony to the Jews. If the Jews refused to hear them, they were to go into new territory. The work before them was an important one. The time had come for the light of truth to be carried to the Jewish nation and to the whole world. But if those sent forth had at first worked among the Samaritans and the Gentiles, the doors of entrance to the Jews would have been closed. Afterward, the disciples were commissioned to go into all the world, and teach all nations.
Christ himself, in all his ministry, gave the Jewish nation the first opportunity to receive him as the Saviour. Upon the Jews was bestowed the honor of first hearing from the lips of Christ his message of salvation. The Lord Jesus gave a special and very wonderful gospel to the Jews. He regarded them as lost sheep, which he, as their Shepherd, came to seek and to save, gathering them out from the bypaths and the highways of sin and error, and bringing them back to his fold.
The work that the apostles were to do was clearly defined: "As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #2)
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Rom. 8:32.
As this wonderful, priceless Gift was bestowed, the whole heavenly universe was mightily stirred in an effort to understand God's unfathomable love, stirred to awaken in human hearts a gratitude proportionate to the value of the Gift. Shall we, for whom Christ has given his life, halt between two opinions? Shall we return to God only a mite of the capabilities and powers lent us by him? How can we do this while we know that he who was Commander of all heaven laid aside his royal robe and kingly crown, and realizing the helplessness of the fallen race, came to this earth in human nature to make it possible for us to unite our humanity to his divinity? He became poor that we might come into possession of the heavenly treasure, "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 2 Cor. 4: 17. To rescue us, he descended from one humiliation to another, until he, the divine-human, suffering Christ, was uplifted on the cross, to draw all men to himself. The Son of God could not have shown greater condescension than he did; he could not have stooped lower.
This is the mystery of godliness, the mystery that has inspired heavenly agencies so to minister through fallen humanity that in the world an intense interest will be aroused in the plan of salvation. This is the mystery that has stirred all heaven to unite with man in carrying out God's great plan.
To human agencies is committed the work of extending the triumphs of the cross from point to point. As the Head of the church, Christ is authoritatively calling upon every one who claims to believe on him to follow his example of self-denial and self-sacrifice in working for the conversion of those whom Satan and his vast army are exerting every power to destroy. God's people are called upon to rally without delay under the bloodstained banner of Christ Jesus. Unceasingly they are to continue their warfare against the enemy, pressing the battle even to the gates. And every one who is added to the ranks by conversion is to be assigned his post of duty. Every one should be willing to be or to do anything in this warfare. When church members put forth earnest efforts to advance the message, they will live in the joy of the Lord, and will meet with success. Triumph always follows decided effort.
Christ, in his mediatorial capacity, gives to his servants the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is the efficiency of the Spirit that enables human agencies to be representatives of the Redeemer in the work of soul-saving. That we may unite with Christ in this work, we should place ourselves under the molding influence of his Spirit. Through the power thus imparted, we may cooperate with the Lord in the bonds of unity as laborers together with him in the salvation of souls. To every one who offers himself to the Lord for service, withholding nothing, is given power for the attainment of measureless results.
The Lord God is bound by an eternal pledge to supply power and grace to every one who is sanctified through obedience to the truth. Christ, to whom is given all power in heaven and on earth, cooperates in sympathy with his instrumentalities,--the earnest souls who day by day partake of the living bread, "which cometh down from heaven." John 6:50. The church on earth, united with the church in heaven, can accomplish all things.
On the day of Pentecost the Infinite One revealed himself in power to the church. By his Holy Spirit he descended from the heights of heaven as a rushing, mighty wind, to the room in which the disciples were assembled. It was as if for ages this influence had been held in restraint, and now heaven rejoiced in being able to pour upon the church the riches of the Spirit's power. And, under the influence of the Spirit, words of penitence and confession were mingled with songs of praise for sins forgiven. Words of thanksgiving and of prophecy were heard. All heaven bent low to behold and to adore the wisdom of matchless, incomprehensible Love. Lost in wonder, the apostles and disciples exclaimed, "Herein is love." 1 John 4:10. They grasped the imparted gift. And what followed?--Thousands were converted in a day. The sword of the Spirit, newly edged with power, and bathed in the lightnings of heaven, cut its way through unbelief.
The hearts of the disciples were surcharged with a benevolence so full, so deep, so far-reaching, that it impelled them to go to the ends of the earth, testifying, God forbid that we should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. They were filled with an intense longing to add to the church such as should be saved. They called on the believers to arouse and do their part, that all nations might hear the truth, and the earth be filled with the glory of the Lord.
By the grace of Christ the apostles were made what they were. It was sincere devotion and humble, earnest prayer that brought them into close communion with him. They sat together with him in heavenly places. They realized the greatness of their debt to him. By earnest, persevering prayer they obtained the endowment of the Holy Spirit, and then they went forth, weighted with the burden of saving souls, filled with zeal to extend the triumphs of the cross. And under their labors many souls were brought from darkness to light, and many churches were raised up.
Shall we be less earnest than were the apostles? Shall we not by living faith claim the promises that moved them to the depths of their being to call upon the Lord Jesus for the fulfillment of his word, "Ask, and ye shall receive"? John 16:24. Is not the Spirit of God to come today in answer to earnest, persevering prayer, and fill men with power? Is not God saying today to his praying, trusting, believing workers, who are opening the Scriptures to those ignorant of the precious truth they contain, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world"? Matt. 28:20. Why, then, is the church so weak and spiritless?
As the disciples, filled with the power of the Spirit, went forth to proclaim the gospel, so God's servants are to go forth today. Filled with an unselfish desire to give the message of mercy to those who are in the darkness of error and unbelief, we are to take up the Lord's work. He gives us our part to do in cooperation with him, and he will also move on the hearts of unbelievers to carry forward his work in the regions beyond. Already many are receiving the Holy Spirit, and no longer will the way be blocked by listless indifference.
Why has the history of the work of the disciples, as they labored with holy zeal, animated and vitalized by the Holy Spirit, been recorded, if it is not that from this record the Lord's people today are to gain an inspiration to work earnestly for him? What the Lord did for his people in that time, it is just as essential, and more so, that he do for his people today. All that the apostles did, every church member today is to do. And we are to work with as much more fervor, to be accompanied by the Holy Spirit in as much greater measure, as the increase of wickedness demands a more decided call to repentance.
Every one on whom is shining the light of present truth is to be stirred with compassion for those who are in darkness. From all believers light is to be reflected in clear, distinct rays. A work similar to that which the Lord did through his delegated messengers after the day of Pentecost he is waiting to do today. At this time, when the end of all things is at hand, should not the zeal of the church exceed even that of the early church? Zeal for the glory of God moved the disciples to bear witness to the truth with mighty power. Should not this zeal fire our hearts with a longing to tell the story of redeeming love, of Christ and him crucified? Should not the power of God be even more mightily revealed today than in the time of the apostles? By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #3)
It is an eternal law of Jehovah that he who accepts the truth that the world needs is to make it his first work to proclaim this truth. But who is there that makes the burden of perishing sinners his 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 souls to Christ. 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.
Among God's people today there is a fearful lack of the sympathy that should be felt for souls unsaved. We talk of Christian missions. The sound of our voices is heard; but we do not feel Christ's tender heart-longing for those outside the fold. And 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 account." Heb. 13:17.
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 signal of 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 church 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 tread 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 to the warfare, willing to do and dare for God, knowing that his omnipotence will supply their need.
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" 1 Tim. 2: 3, 4, 1. 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." James 5:20. Every believer is pledged to unite with his brethren in giving the invitation, "Come; for all things are now ready." Luke 14:17. Each is to encourage the others in doing wholehearted 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 gospel 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 are to labor today, selecting and training worthy young men as co-laborers. God help us to sanctify ourselves, that by our example others may be sanctified, enabled to do successful work in winning souls to Christ.
We are nearing the close of this earth's history; soon we shall stand before the great white throne. Soon your time for work will be forever past. Watch for opportunities to speak a word in season to those with whom you come in contact. Do not wait to become acquainted before you offer them the priceless treasures of truth. Go to work, and ways will open before you.
At the day of judgment there comes to the lost a full realization of the meaning of the sacrifice made on Calvary. They see what they have lost by refusing to be loyal. They 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." Jer. 8:20.
Upon us rests the weighty responsibility of warning the world of its coming doom. From every direction, from far and near, are coming calls for help. God calls upon his church to arise, and clothe herself with power. Immortal crowns are to be won; the kingdom of heaven is to be gained; the world, perishing in ignorance, is to be enlightened.
The world will be convinced, not by what the pulpit teaches, but by what the church lives. The minister in the desk announces the theory of the gospel; the practical piety of the church demonstrates its power.
Enfeebled and defective, needing constantly to be warned and counseled, the church is nevertheless the object of Christ's supreme regard. He is making experiments of grace on human hearts, and is effecting such transformations of character that angels are amazed, and express their joy in songs of praise. They rejoice to think that sinful, erring human beings can be so transformed.
As the third angel's message swells into a loud cry, great power and glory will attend its proclamation. The faces of God's people will shine with the light of heaven.
The Lord will fit men and women--yes, and children, as he did Samuel--for his work, making them his messengers. He who never slumbers nor sleeps watches over each worker, choosing his sphere of labor. All heaven is watching the warfare which, under apparently discouraging circumstances, God's servants are carrying on. New conquests are being achieved, new honors won, as the Lord's servants, rallying round the banner of their Redeemer, go forth to fight the good fight of faith. All the heavenly angels are at the service of the humble, believing people of God, and as the Lord's army of workers here below sing their songs of praise, the choir above join with them in thanksgiving, ascribing praise to God and to his Son.
Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness, and relies wholly on the merits of the Saviour. God would send every angel in heaven to the aid of such a one, rather than allow him to be overcome.
The battle cry is sounding along the line. Let every soldier of the cross push to the front, not in self-sufficiency, but in meekness and lowliness, and with firm faith in God. Your work, my work, will not cease with this life. For a little while we may rest in the grave, but, when the call comes, we shall, in the kingdom of God, take up our work once more.--"Testimonies for the Church," Vol. VII. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #3)
From Mrs. E. G. White to all who love the Blessed Hope.--"Elmshaven," St. Helena, Cal., Dec. 6, 1902.--Dear Brethren and Sisters: The new year is just before us, and plans should be laid for earnest, persevering effort in the Master's service. There is much to be done to advance the work of God. I have been instructed that the canvassing work is to be revived, and that it is to be carried forward with increasing success. It is the Lord's work, and a blessing will attend those who engage in it with earnestness and diligence.
I thank my Heavenly Father for the interest that my brethren and sisters have taken in the circulation of "Christ's Object Lessons." By the sale of this book great good has been accomplished, and the work should be continued. But the efforts of our people should not be confined to this one book. The work of the Lord includes more than one line of service. "Christ's Object Lessons" is to live and do its appointed work, but not all the thought and effort of God's people are to be given to its circulation.. The larger books, "Patriarchs and Prophets," "Great Controversy," and "Desire of Ages," should be sold everywhere. These books contain truth for this time,--truth that is to be proclaimed in all parts of the world. Nothing is to hinder their sale.
The effort to circulate "Christ's Object Lessons" has demonstrated what can be done in the canvassing field. This effort is a never-to-be-forgotten lesson on how to canvass in the prayerful, trustful way that brings success.
Many more of our larger books might have been sold if church members had been awake to the importance of the truths these books contain, and had realized their responsibility to circulate them. My brethren and sisters, will you not now make an effort to circulate these books? and will you not bring into this effort the enthusiasm that you brought into the effort to sell "Christ's Object Lessons"? In selling this book many have learned how to handle the larger books. They have obtained an experience that has prepared them to enter the canvassing field.
Sister White is not the originator of these books. They contain the instruction that during her lifework God has been giving her. They contain the precious, comforting light that God has graciously given his servant to be given to the world. From their pages this light is to shine into the hearts of men and women, leading them to the Saviour. The Lord has declared that these books are to be scattered throughout the world. There is in them truth which to the receiver is a savor of life unto life. They are silent witnesses for God. In the past they have been the means in his hands of convicting and converting many souls. Many have read them with eager expectation, and, by reading them, have been led to see the efficacy of Christ's atonement, and to trust in its power. They have been led to commit the keeping of their souls to their Creator, waiting and hoping for the coming of the Saviour to take his loved ones to their eternal home. In the future, these books are to make the gospel plain to many others, revealing to them the way of salvation.
The Lord has sent his people much instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light. O, how much good would be accomplished if the books containing this light were read with a determination to carry out the principles they contain! There would be a thousandfold greater vigilance, a thousandfold more self-denial and resolute effort. And many more would now be rejoicing in the light of present truth.
My brethren and sisters, work earnestly to circulate these books. Put your hearts into this work, and the blessing of God will be with you. Go forth in faith, praying that God will prepare hearts to receive the light. Be pleasant and courteous. Show by a consistent course that you are true Christians. Walk and work in the light of heaven, and your path will be as the path of the just, shining more and more unto the perfect day.
Take the books to business men, to teachers of the gospel, whose minds have not been called to the special truths for this time. The message is to be given "in the highways,"--to men who take an active part in the world's work, to the teachers and leaders of the people. Thousands can be reached in the most simple, humble way. The most intellectual, those who are looked upon as the world's most gifted men and women, are often refreshed by the simple words of one who loves God, and who can speak of that love as naturally as the worldling speaks of the things that interest him most deeply. Often the words well prepared and studied have but little influence. But the true, honest expression of a son or daughter of God, spoken in natural simplicity, has power to open the door to hearts that have long been closed against Christ and his love.
Let no one think that he is at liberty to fold his hands and do nothing. That any one can be saved in indolence and inactivity is an utter impossibility. Think of what Christ accomplished during his earthly ministry. How earnest, how untiring, were his efforts! He allowed nothing to turn him aside from the work given him. Are we following in his footsteps? He gave up all to carry out God's plan of mercy for the fallen race. In the fulfillment of the purpose of heaven, he became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. He had had no communion with sin, had known nothing of it; but he came to this world, and took upon his sinless soul the guilt of sinful man, that sinners might stand justified before God. He grappled with temptation, overcoming in our behalf. The Son of God, pure and unsullied, bore the penalty of transgression, and received the stroke of death that brought deliverance to the race. (To be concluded) By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #4)
We have been made very sad by the news of the terrible loss that has come to the cause in the burning of the Review and Herald Office. In one year two of our largest institutions have been destroyed by fire. The news of this recent calamity has made us feel very sad, but it was suffered by the Lord to come upon us, and we feel that we should make no complaints, but learn if possible the lesson that the Lord would teach us. The destruction of this institution should not be passed by as something in which there is no meaning. Every one connected with the Review and Herald Office should ask himself, "Wherein do I deserve this lesson? Wherein have I walked contrary to a 'Thus saith the Lord,' that he should send this lesson to me? Have I heeded the warnings and reproofs that he has sent, or have I walked in my own way?"
Let the heart-searching God reprove the erring, and let each one bow before him in humility and contrition, casting aside all self-righteousness and self-importance, confessing and forsaking every sin, and asking God, in the name of the Redeemer, for pardon and forgiveness. God declares, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out," and those who thus present themselves before him will be pardoned and justified, and will receive power to become the sons of God.
I pray that those who have resisted light and evidence, refusing to listen to God's warnings, will see in the destruction of the Review and Herald Office an appeal to them from God to turn to him with full purpose of heart. Will they not see that God is in earnest with them? He is not seeking to destroy life, but to save life. In the recent destruction, the lives of the workers were graciously preserved, that all might have opportunity to see that God was correcting them by a message coming not from a human source, but from heaven. God's people have departed from him; they have not followed his instruction, and he has come near to them in correction, but he has not brought extinction of life. Not one soul has been taken by death. All have been left alive to recognize the Power that no man can gainsay.
Let us praise the Lord that the lives of his children have been so precious in his sight. He might have cut off all the workers in their heedlessness and self-sufficiency. But no! He says, "They shall have another chance. I will let the fire speak to them, and will see if they will counterwork the action of my providence. I will try them as by fire, to see if they will learn the lesson that I desire to teach them."
When the Battle Creek Sanitarium was destroyed, Christ gave himself to defend the lives of men and women. In this destruction God was appealing to his people to return to him. And in the destruction of the Review and Herald Office, and the saving of life, he makes a second appeal to them. He desires them to see that the miracle-working power of the Infinite has been exercised to save life, that every worker may have opportunity to repent and be converted. God says, "If they turn to me, I will restore to them the joy of my salvation. But if they continue to walk in their own way, I will come still closer; and affliction shall come upon the families who claim to believe the truth, but who do not practice the truth, who do not make the Lord God of Israel their fear and their dread."
Let every one examine himself, to see whether he be in the faith. Let the people of God repent and be converted, that their sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Let them ascertain wherein they have failed to walk in the way that God has marked out, wherein they have failed to purify their souls by taking heed to his counsels.
There must be entire conformity to the will of God. There must be less self measurement, and more, very much more, Christlike practice. There must be more earnest, persevering prayer. Prayer is acceptable only when offered in faith and in the name of the Redeemer. Our faith must grasp the glorious fact that God hears and answers the prayers of every sincere seeker. As the believer bows in supplication before God, and in humility and contrition offers his petition from unfeigned lips, keeping his eyes fixed steadily on the Mediator of the new covenant, he loses all thought of self. His mind is filled with the thought of what he must have in order to build up a Christlike character. He prays, "Lord, if I am to be a channel through which thy love is to flow day by day and hour by hour, I claim by faith the grace and power that thou hast promised. "He fastens his hold firmly on the promise, "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."
How this dependence pleases the Master! How he delights to hear the steady, earnest pleading! How quickly the sincere, fervent prayer is recognized and honored! How intensely interested the heavenly angels are! "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" With wonderful and ennobling grace the Lord sanctifies the humble petitioner, giving him power to perform the most difficult duties. All that is undertaken is done unto the Lord, and this elevates and sanctifies the lowliest calling. It invests with new dignity every word, every act, and links the humblest worker, the poorest of God's servants, with the highest of the angels in the heavenly courts.
The salvation of human beings is a vast enterprise, that calls into action every attribute of the divine nature. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have pledged themselves to make God's children more than conquerors through him that has loved them. The Lord is gracious and longsuffering, not willing that any should perish. He has provided power to enable us to be overcomers. How full of comfort and love are the words of Christ to his disciples just before his trial and crucifixion. He was about to leave them, but he did not want them to think that they were to be left helpless orphans. "I go my way to him that sent me," he said, "and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you."
Then comes the wonderful prayer recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John,--a prayer that means much more to us than we realize. Let us receive it into the treasure house of the soul, and make it the daily lesson of our lives:--
"As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me; be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."
Satan understands this prayer better than do the members of churches and the heads of families. He does not want the people of God to understand it, lest they should see the advantage God has bestowed on them, and know the day of their visitation. He would keep them in discord and strife over little misunderstandings and little differences, which, dwelt upon, grow into variance and hatred. He knows that if he can keep them thus, they will present before the world a showing exactly the opposite of that which God desires them to present.
I urge our people to cease their criticism and evil speaking, and go to God in earnest prayer, asking him to help them to help the erring. Let them link up with one another and with Christ. Let them study the seventeenth of John, and learn how to pray and how to live the prayer of Christ. He is the Comforter. He will abide in their hearts, making their joy full. His words will be to them as the bread of life, and in the strength thus gained they will be enabled to develop characters that will be an honor to God. Perfect Christian fellowship will exist among them. There will be seen in their lives the fruit that always appears as the result of obedience to the truth.
Let us make Christ's prayer the rule of our life, that we may form characters that will reveal to the world the power of the grace of God. Let there be less talk about petty differences, and a more diligent study of what the prayer of Christ means to those who believe on his name. We are to pray for union, and then live in such a way that God can answer our prayers.
Perfect oneness,--a union as close as the union existing between the Father and the Son,--this is what will give success to the efforts of God's workers. "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me," to bring about this union, this sanctified harmony. "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." It is this union that convinces the world that God has indeed sent his Son to save sinners. Christ gives to his true disciples the glory of his character, that his prayer may be answered. Through the impartation of his Spirit, he appears in their lives.
Let us during the year 1903 cast all selfishness out of our lives. Let us live for the Master, striving to help one another. "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is in the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." Let us in our lifework strive constantly to answer the prayer of Christ, that we may be united with one another and with him. Let us always before undertaking anything, ask ourselves the question, Will this please my Saviour? Is it in harmony with the will of God? The consciousness that we are bringing the Christlife into the daily experience will give a sacred dignity to the everyday duties. All that we do will be done with faithfulness, that the Master may be honored. Thus shall we show to the world what Christianity can accomplish for sinful human beings, giving them constantly increasing efficiency for service in this life, preparing them for the higher life in the world to come.
(Vol. 80, #4)
From Mrs. E. G. White, to All Who Love the Blessed Hope.--It was Christ's joy to help those in need of help, to seek the lost, to rescue the perishing, to lift up the bowed down, to heal the sick, to speak words of sympathy and consolation to the sorrowing and the distressed. The more fully we are imbued with his Spirit, the more earnestly we shall work for those around us; and the more we do for others, the greater will be our love for the work, and the greater our delight in following the Master. Our hearts will be filled with the love of God; and with earnestness and convincing power we shall speak of the crucified Saviour.
I ask those to whom the light of truth has come: What are you going to do during the year that is just opening? Will you stop to quarrel with one another, to weaken and destroy the faith of humanity in humanity? or will you devote your time to strengthening the things that remain, that are ready to die? As our people engage in earnest work for the Master, complaints will cease to be heard. Many will be roused from the despondency that is ruining them body and soul. As they work for others, they will have much that is helpful to speak of when they assemble to worship God. The testimonies they bear will not be dark and gloomy, but full of joy and courage. Instead of thinking and talking about the faults of their brethren and sisters, and about their own trials, they will think and talk of the love of Christ, and will strive earnestly to become more efficient workers for him.
Many are sad and discouraged, weak in faith and trust. Let them do something to help some one more needy than themselves, and they will grow strong in God's strength. Let them engage in the good work of selling our books. Thus they will help others, and the experience gained will give them the assurance that they are God's helping hand. As they plead with the Lord to help them, he will guide them to those who are seeking for the light. Christ will be close beside them, teaching them what to say and do. By comforting others, they themselves will be comforted.
I ask you, dear Christian workers, to do what you can to circulate the books that the Lord has said should be sown broadcast throughout the world. Do your best to place them in the homes of as many people as possible. Think of how great a work can be done if a large number of believers will unite in an effort to place before the people, by the circulation of these books, the light that the Lord has said should be given them. Under divine guidance, go forward in the work, and look to the Lord for aid. The Holy Spirit will attend you. Angels of heaven will accompany you, preparing the way.
If you have neglected the sowing time, if you have allowed God-given opportunities to pass unimproved, if you have given yourselves up to self-pleasing, will you not now repent, before it is forever too late, and strive to redeem the time? The obligation to use your talents in the Master's service rests heavily upon you. Come to the Lord, and make an entire surrender of all to him. You cannot afford to lose one day. Take up your neglected work. Put away your querulous unbelief, your envy and evil thinking, and go to work, in humble faith, and with earnest prayer to the Lord to pardon you for your years of unconsecration. Ask the Lord for help. If you seek him earnestly, with the whole heart, you will find him, and he will strengthen and bless you.
In your work you will meet with those who are fighting against appetite. Speak words that will strengthen and encourage them. Do not let Satan quench the last spark of hope in their hearts. Of the erring, trembling one, struggling with evil, Christ says, "Let him come to me;" and he places his hands underneath him, and lifts him up. The work that Christ did, you, as his evangelists, can do as you go from place to place. Labor in faith, expecting that souls will be won to him who gave his life that men and women might stand on God's side. Draw with God to win the drunkard and the tobacco devotee from the habits which debase them till they are below the level of the beasts that perish.
The Lord calls for many more to engage in the canvassing work in the year 1903. For Christ's sake, my brethren and sisters, make the most of the hours of the new year to place the precious light of present truth before the people. The Angel of the covenant is empowering his servants to carry the truth to all parts of the world. He has sent forth his angels with the message of mercy; but, as if they did not speed on their way fast enough to satisfy his heart of yearning love, he lays on every member of his church the responsibility of proclaiming this message. "Let him that heareth say, Come." Every member of the church is to show his loyalty by inviting the thirsty to drink of the water of life. A chain of living witnesses is to carry the invitation to the world. Will you act your part in this great work?
Jesus is calling for many missionaries, for men and women who will consecrate themselves to God, willing to spend and be spent in his service. O, can we not remember that there is a world to labor for? Shall we not move forward step by step, letting God use us as his helping hand? Shall we not place ourselves on the altar of service? Then the love of Christ will touch and transform us, making us willing for his sake to do and dare. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #5)
"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. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. . . . Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not."
We are here warned not to defraud our souls of the privileges that the Lord has provided in order that we may be rich in faith, and heirs according to the promise. We are to watch vigilantly for the coming of the Lord. The first symptoms of spiritual slumber are to be sternly overcome. The first inclinations to spiritual indolence are to be firmly resisted. "Be sober, be vigilant," is the apostle's exhortation. Every moment is to be faithfully employed. "He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." We are told to work out our own salvation, and the way in which we are to do this is plainly stated: "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Those who would be ready to meet their Lord must keep their lamps filled with the oil of grace. It was a neglect to do this that distinguished the foolish virgins from the wise. They had lamps, but no oil; their characters could not stand the test. The wise virgins had not only an intelligent knowledge of the truth, but through the grace of Christ their faith and patience and love constantly increased. Their lamps were replenished by their vital connection with the Light of the world. And while the foolish virgins awoke to find their lamps burning dimly or going out in the darkness, the wise virgins, their lamps burning brightly, entered the festal hall, and the doors were shut.
The oil with which the wise virgins filled their lamps represents the Holy Spirit. "The angel that talked with me," writes Zechariah, "came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, and said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: and two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. . . . Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick, and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches, which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my Lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth."
By the holy beings surrounding his throne, the Lord keeps up a constant communication with the inhabitants of the earth. The golden oil represents the grace with which God keeps the lamps of believers supplied. Were it not that this holy oil is poured from heaven in the messages of God's Spirit, the agencies of evil would have entire control over men.
God is dishonored when we do not receive the communications that he sends us. Thus we refuse the golden oil which he would pour into our souls to be communicated to those in darkness. When the call shall come, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him," those who have not received the holy oil, who have not cherished the grace of Christ in their hearts, will find, like the foolish virgins, that they are not ready to meet their Lord. They have not in themselves the power to obtain the oil, and their lives are wrecked. But if God's Spirit is asked for, if we plead, as did Moses, "Show me thy glory," the love of God will be shed abroad in our hearts. The golden oil will be given to us.
Only by knowing God here can we prepare to meet him at his coming. "This is life eternal," said Christ, "that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." But many of those who profess to believe in Christ do not know God. They have only a surface religion. They do not love God; they do not study his character; therefore they do not know how to trust, how to look and live. They do not know what restful love is, or what it means to walk by faith. Opportunities to hear and receive the messages of God's love are unappreciated and unimproved. They fail of understanding that it is their duty to receive, in order that they may enrich others.
The world by wisdom knows not God. Many have talked eloquently about him, but their reasoning brings men no nearer to him, because they themselves are not in vital connection with him. Professing themselves to be wise, they become fools. Their knowledge of God is imperfect. They are not conformed to him.
Christ is a perfect revelation of God. "No man hath seen God at any time," he says; "the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." Only by knowing Christ can we know God. And as we behold him, we shall be changed into his image, prepared to meet him at his coming.
So fully did Christ reveal the Father, that the messengers sent by the Pharisees to take him were charmed by his presence. As they heard the gracious words that fell from his lips, they forgot their commission. And when, returning without him, they were asked by the Pharisees, "Why have ye not brought him?" they answered, "Never man spake like this man."
Now is the time to prepare for the coming of our Lord. Readiness to meet him cannot be attained in a moment's time. Preparatory to that solemn scene there must be vigilant waiting and watching, combined with earnest work. So God's children glorify him. Amid the busy scenes of life their voices will be heard speaking words of encouragement, hope, and faith. All they have and are is consecrated to the Master's service. Thus they prepare to meet their Lord; and when he comes, they will say, with joy, "This is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us. . . . We will be glad and rejoice in his salvation."
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #6)
The will of man is aggressive, and is constantly striving to bend all things to its purposes. If it is enlisted on the side of God and right, the fruits of the Spirit will appear in the life; and God has appointed "glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good."
When Satan is permitted to mold the will, he uses it to accomplish his ends. He often works under cover as an angel of light. He has synagogues for worship, and a multitude of followers. But with all his high professions, he is at enmity with God. He instigates theories of unbelief, and stirs up the human heart to war against the word of God. With persistent, persevering effort, he seeks to inspire men with his own energies of hate and antagonism to God, and to array them in opposition to the institutions and requirements of heaven and the operations of the Holy Spirit. He enlists under his standard all evil agencies, and brings them into the battlefield under his generalship to oppose evil against good.
It is Satan's work to dethrone God from the heart, and to mold human nature into his own image of deformity. He stirs up all evil propensities, awakening unholy passions and ambitions. He declares, All this power, these honors, and riches, and sinful pleasures will I give thee; but his conditions are that integrity shall be yielded, conscience blunted. Thus he degrades the human faculties, and brings them into captivity to sin.
God calls upon men to oppose the powers of evil. He says, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."
The Christian life is a warfare. But "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." In this conflict of righteousness against unrighteousness we can be successful only by divine aid. Our finite will must be brought into submission to the will of the Infinite; the human will must be blended with the divine. This will bring the Holy Spirit to our aid; and every conquest will tend to the recovery of God's purchased possession, to the restoration of his image in the soul.
The Lord Jesus acts through the Holy Spirit; for it is his representative. Through it he infuses spiritual life into the soul, quickening its energies for good, cleansing it from moral defilement, and giving it a fitness for his kingdom. Jesus has large blessings to bestow, rich gifts to distribute among men. He is the wonderful Counselor, infinite in wisdom and strength; and if we will acknowledge the power of his Spirit, and submit to be molded by it, we shall stand complete in him. What a thought is this! In Christ "dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him." Never will the human heart know happiness until it is submitted to be molded by the Spirit of God. The Spirit conforms the renewed soul to the model, Jesus Christ. Through the influence of the Spirit, enmity against God is changed into faith and love, and pride into humility. The soul perceives the beauty of truth, and Christ is honored in excellence and perfection of character. As these changes are effected, angels break out in rapturous song, and God and Christ rejoice over souls fashioned after the divine similitude.
It is by contemplating Christ, by exercising faith in him, by experiencing for ourselves his saving grace, that we are qualified to present him to the world. When the soul is renewed through the truth, and brought into harmony with God, the Lord will accept us as workers together with himself for the salvation of others. Jesus will be our theme; his love, burning upon the altar of our hearts will reach the hearts of the people. The truth will be presented, not as a cold, lifeless theory, but as a living force to change the life. But the power is of God through his Spirit, which works effectually on heart and mind. When Jesus left to his disciples the work that he had begun, he charged them: "Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." And he promised, "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 parts of the earth." And the disciples "all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication," waiting for the fulfillment of the promise.
We should pray as earnestly for the descent of the Holy Spirit as the disciples prayed on the day of Pentecost. If they needed the Spirit's power at that time, we need it more today. All manner of false doctrines, heresies, and deceptions are misleading the minds of men; and without the Spirit's aid, our efforts to present divine truth will be in vain.
The warfare between good and evil has not grown less fierce than it was in the days of the Saviour. The path to heaven is no smoother now than it was then. All our sins must be put away. Every darling indulgence that hinders our spiritual progress must be cut off. The right eye or the right hand must be sacrificed, if it causes us to offend. Are we willing to renounce our own wisdom, and to receive the kingdom of heaven as a little child? Are we willing to part with our self-righteousness? Are we willing to sacrifice the approbation of men? The prize of eternal life is of infinite value. Are we willing to welcome the Holy Spirit's aid, and cooperate with it, putting forth efforts and making sacrifices proportionate to the value of the object to be obtained?
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 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." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #7)
We are living in times that try men's souls. Those in high positions of trust, whom we may call--as God called some in the days of Noah--mighty men, men of renown, know little of the causes that underlie the present state of society. Many do not care to know; others do not study from cause to effect. Those who hold the reins of government are not able to solve the problem of moral corruption, poverty, pauperism, and increasing crime of every type, manifest in all classes, from the highest to the lowest.. Many are struggling vainly to place business operations on a more secure basis. The great extremes of wealth and want produce unnumbered evils.
In our large cities there exists an appalling condition of poverty; multitudes are destitute of food, clothing, or shelter. In the same cities are men of wealth, who have more than heart could wish; who live luxuriously, spending their money upon richly furnished houses, upon personal adornment, or worse, upon the gratification of the sensual appetites, upon tobacco, liquor, and other things that destroy the power of the brain, unbalance the mind, and debase the soul. While they are thus selfishly indulging themselves, all heaven is looking down upon these unfaithful stewards. God and angels mark how the means given to men with which to honor the Creator by blessing the world, are turned to the gratification of self, to the dishonor of God, and the neglect of his heritage.
The prince of darkness has set in operation every device to destroy man. He has legions of evil workers uniting with him to obliterate the image of God in the youth. I ask those who are acquainted with truth, who know righteousness, What are you doing? Are you uniting your influence to bring into the ranks of the Lord's army all whom you can possibly reach? Have you yourself enlisted to fight the battles of the Lord? As Christians it is our work to represent Christ. We are to set an example that shall be in striking contrast with the practices of this evil age.
While distrust and alienation are pervading all classes of society, Christ's disciples are to reveal the spirit that reigns in heaven. Because the world was ruined through sin, God gave his Son to draw men back to him. He "so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." He gave all that heaven could give for the saving of the lost. In every soul that receives this love, it will manifest itself in like manner. God so loved that he gave. If we love with his love, we too shall give all. We shall be co-workers with him whose mission it is to "preach the gospel to the poor; . . . 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, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." We shall do the work he has set before us,--"to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke; . . . 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."
Again the Lord says, "Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed." All about us are souls who have gone out of the way,--souls who have been wounded and bruised by the enemy, and who feel a craving for help, for sympathy. These souls, when brought in contact with us, should find a strong hand stretched out to clasp their hand, a strong, living faith that will help them to put their trust in Jesus.
All who pray in simplicity, "Be thou my pattern," will walk in Christ's footsteps; they will reveal that they themselves are striving to follow Christ, and as the natural result they will lead others to seek the higher life. The power of speech is a precious gift of God, and if used in speaking words of hope and courage to the oppressed, it is a savor of life unto life. But it may be a savor of death unto death. Harsh or even thoughtless words may be great hindrances to the struggling, fainting soul. They may sting and bruise until the soul shall be driven upon Satan's ground, never again to listen to the voice of Christ.
The Saviour marks all our work as if done unto himself; for he identifies his interests with those of suffering humanity. Every one who names the name of Christ is called, so far as lies in his power, to help every other soul in the heavenward way. But let none feel that Christ has placed him on the judgment seat, to pass judgment on a brother or a sister who is unfortunate, or who falls into error. Many hearts are sorely stricken, to whom words fitly spoken might bring peace and rest. These souls are a test to their brethren and sisters, revealing what is in the heart. All heaven is looking to see how we treat those that need our help. It is this that reveals whether the glowing fire of the first love is still burning upon the altar of the heart.
What a power the church would have in it if all its members were so imbued with the Spirit of Christ that they would speak to one another only words of comfort and peace and hope; if none felt it their prerogative to judge, to oppress, to cast a dark shadow on another's soul.
When the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" the Saviour "called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."
My brethren and sisters, be not deceived in regard to your own souls. They that are hearers and doers of the words of Christ are the only ones who have built upon the eternal rock, and whose house will stand secure when the storms beat upon it. What foundation have you been building upon,--sliding sand or solid rock? If you are not doers of the words of Christ, your house is sure to fall. Do you seek to save souls that are perishing, or do you fold your arms, and leave those unhelped whom you could help? You will gain no strength or encouragement by neglecting to work the works of Christ.
"Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him," said Christ, "shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life." "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." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #8)
There are many who desire to command before they have learned to obey. The first lesson they need to learn is the lesson of submission,--submission to Christ. God bids me say to ministers, teachers, and leaders in every department of his work: You must be Christians in word and act, or you will fail of gaining entrance into the city of God. It is because of a neglect to heed the instruction given in the first six verses of the eighteenth chapter of Matthew that many of those who ought to conduct themselves as in the presence of Christ are making themselves obnoxious to him. To the members of our churches, from the oldest to the youngest, Christ says:--
"Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
"Whoso shall offend one of these little ones,"--not only those young in years, but those young in experience and weak in faith. To him who fails to help and bless these "little ones," who does not treat them tenderly and courteously, but harshly and unkindly, discouraging and disheartening them, God says, "It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
Workers who do not heed the instruction so plainly given in the Word of God, who do not adorn the doctrines of Christ by a well-ordered life and a godly conversation, be they teachers in our schools, directors in our publishing houses, or physicians in our sanitariums, should not be retained in their position of trust, unless they repent, and change their attitude. Those who teach others must themselves learn daily in the school of Christ, that they may know how to reveal the love and tenderness of the great Teacher.
Christ's life of holiness is our textbook. The question that ministers and people must answer is, Am I eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God? Am I making his words a part of my daily experience. Were God's people molded and fashioned by the Spirit of Christ, they would constantly act out his words in their service for him. And so plainly would the Saviour be revealed, that many souls would be won to him.
Are we Christians,--Christlike in spirit, in word, in disposition,--or are we falling continually under the temptations of the enemy, with no power to escape from his snare? Every life is a sermon, telling either for good or for evil. A true, noble life tells more for Christ than do the most powerful discourses.
One of the chief reasons that so few sinners are won to Christ is that so much of self mingles with the words and acts of his professed followers. Their daily life witnesses against him; therefore sinners are not converted. Actions speak louder than words, and the actions of many of Christ's followers reveal self, self, self. Every day the Saviour is grieved by their misrepresentation of him. In spirit and word and manner they say of him, "I know not the Man." The sermons preached against him by their lives counteract the influence of the sermons preached for him in the pulpit.
The Saviour is grieved by the dissension, the lack of love, seen among his people. He says to them, You have left your first love, and unless you repent, unless you humble yourselves as a little child, and seek my guidance, I will come unto you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of its place.
"Thou hast left thy first love." This is the secret of the lack of power in our churches. If those who have received such great truth would live this truth, they would have no time to quarrel, no time to do that which bears the testimony, "I know not the Man."
My brethren, be wholehearted Christians, or else make no profession of Christianity. To many the words are spoken, "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." Their conduct is not in harmony with God's holy law. They present before the world a life of selfishness, corrupted by sin. They do not love Christ; if they did, they would love their brethren. They do not bear witness by unity and unselfish love for one another that God sent his Son to save sinners, to put the impress of divinity on all who believe on him. Ignorant of their true spiritual condition, they place a high estimate on themselves and their efforts. Boastingly, they say, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." But God says to them, "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."
These words describe the condition of many among the people of God. How much longer will they venture to delay, to remain in ignorance regarding their failure to reach God's standard of holiness? Will they not receive the message of warning? Will they not repent and be converted? Christ declares, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."
"I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. . . . Repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place." Return to your first experience, when your soul was filled with love for Christ. Gather to your heart the obedience of a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Obedience to the law of the Lord makes men pure, holy, undefiled. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." And this law is contained in two great principles,--love to God, and love to man. "A new commandment I give unto you," Christ said to his disciples, "That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
O that there might be seen among our people a deep and thorough work of repentance and reformation! O that they would fall on the Rock, and be broken! Let us crucify self, that in our hearts may grow up a strong love for Christ and for one another. Let us bring into the daily experience the instruction contained in the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. Self must be surrendered to God before there can take possession of the life that strong, steady belief in the truth that is broad and comprehensive; that casts out from the heart all enmity, all petty differences, and transforms coldness into Christlike affection.
Why should not believers love one another? It is impossible to love Christ, and at the same time act discourteously toward one another. It is impossible to have the Christ-love in the heart, and at the same time draw apart from one another, showing no love or sympathy. The deeper our love for Christ, the deeper will be our love for one another.
"God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." "If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #9)
God's people are neglecting a work that is close beside them. They do not realize the responsibility resting on them to proclaim the truth in the unwarned cities of America. There are many cities in which no effort has been made to give to the people the message for this time. I entreat those who know the truth to take up their neglected work, and no longer let the Master look on fields whose barrenness rebukes their neglect. Every one who believes the truth is responsible to give to those in darkness the light he has received.
God says to his people, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Why, then, do they feel so little burden to plant the standard of truth in new places? Why do they not obey the word, "Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not"? Why do they not return to the Lord his own, to be invested in heavenly merchandise? Why is there not a more earnest call for volunteers to enter the whitening harvest field? Unless more is done than has been done for the cities of America, ministers and people will have a heavy account to settle with the One who has appointed to every man his work.
We repeat the prayer, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Are we doing our part to answer this prayer? We claim to believe that the commission which Christ gave to his disciples just before his ascension is given also to us. Are we fulfilling it? May God forgive our terrible neglect in not doing the work that as yet we have scarcely touched with the tips of our fingers. When will this work be done? It makes my heart sick and sore to see such blindness on the part of the people of God. There are thousands in America perishing in ignorance and sin. And looking afar off to some distant field, those who know the truth are indifferently passing by the most needy fields close by them. Christ says, "Go work today in my vineyard." "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. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor: other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors."
Wake up, wake up, my brethren and sisters, and enter the fields in America that have never been worked. After you have given something for foreign fields, do not think your duty done. There is work to be done in America. In New York City a few faithful laborers have been toiling for God. Have you shown a practical, unselfish interest in their efforts? Have you helped them by your sympathy and your gifts? I do not want any one to withhold help from foreign fields, but I do urge our people no longer to dishonor God by neglecting such fields as New York City. There is a work to be done in foreign fields, but there is a work to be done in America which is just as important. In the cities of America there are people of almost every language. These need the light that God has given to his church.
In the Power of the Spirit.--The Lord lives and reigns. Soon he will arise in majesty to shake terribly the earth. A special message is now to be borne,--a message that will pierce the spiritual darkness, and convict and convert souls. "Haste thee, flee for thy life," is the call to be given to those dwelling in sin. We must now be terribly in earnest. We have not a moment to spend in criticism and accusation. Let those who have done this in the past fall on their knees in prayer; and let them beware how they place their words and their plans in the place of God's words and his plans. Hundreds are waiting for the warning to escape for their life, and lay hold on the hope set before them in the gospel. Far less labor is to be given to those who know the truth, and far more to those who are without God and without hope in the world.
In every part of the world a straightforward message is to be proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit. God says to his workers everywhere, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." We need to feel the importance of proclaiming the gospel message with earnestness and power. Not with tame, lifeless utterance is it to be given, but with clear, decided, stirring tones. The messengers themselves must know the power of salvation.
We have no time for dwelling on matters that are of no importance. Our time should be given to proclaiming the last message of mercy to a guilty world. Men are needed who move under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. The sermons preached by some of our ministers will have to be much more powerful than they are now, or many backsliders will carry a tame, pointless message, which lulls people to sleep. Every discourse should be given under a sense of the awful judgments soon to fall on our world. The message of truth is to be proclaimed by lips touched with a live coal from the divine altar. Christ refers to the lifeless, purposeless messages given in our churches, when he says, "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."
Night after night I get up at twelve or one o'clock, and walk the floor in intense anguish, because of the tame messages borne by some of our ministers, when they have a message of life and death to bear to the people. The ministers are asleep; the lay members are asleep; and a world is perishing in sin. May God help them to arouse, and walk and work as men on the borders of the eternal world! Soon an awful surprise is coming upon the inhabitants of the earth. Suddenly, with power and great glory, Christ will come. There will then be no time to prepare to meet him. Now is the time for us to give the warning message.
We are stewards, intrusted by our absent Lord with the care of his household and his interests, which he came to the world to serve. He has returned to heaven, leaving us in charge, and he expects us to watch and wait for his second coming. Let us be faithful to our trust, lest coming suddenly, he finds us sleeping. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #10)
God's people have a mighty work before them, and it must continually rise to greater prominence. At the beginning, this work was small. Only a few were engaged in carrying it forward. But gradually the work has enlarged; God has brought it from a small beginning to great importance. His truth was to be defended; for men were placing contempt upon the Sabbath of creation. God wrought with power; as often as the opposers sought to destroy his work, they were defeated. And the progress of the work in the future is to be much greater than it has been in the past.
A great crisis is just before us. In their blindness men boast of wonderful progress and enlightenment, but to the eye of Omniscience is revealed the inward guilt and depravity. The heavenly Watcher sees the earth filled with robbery and crime. Wealth is obtained by every species of robbery, not robbery of men only, but of God. Men are using his means to gratify their selfishness. Everything that they can grasp is made to minister to their greed. Avarice and sensuality prevail. Men revenge themselves on those who, they suppose, have hindered the success of their ambitious projects. They cherish the attributes of the great deceiver. They have accepted him as God, and have become imbued with his spirit.
God is now restraining the forces of evil, that the last warning may be given to the world. Now is the time to work. Many more workers ought to be in the field. There should be one hundred workers where there is now but one. Many who have not been ordained or licensed may work in their own neighborhoods and in the regions about them.
There are lessons for us to learn at this time from the experience of those who labored for God in past generations. How little we know of the conflicts and trials and labors of these men, as they fitted themselves to meet the armies of Satan. Putting on the whole armor of God, they were able to stand against the wiles of Satan. Their word was: "My brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
These men who in the past gave themselves to God and to the uplifting of his cause were as true as steel to principle. They were men who would not fail nor be discouraged; men who, like Daniel, were full of reverence and zeal for God, full of noble purposes and aspirations. They were as weak and helpless as any of those who are now engaged in the work, but they put their whole trust in God. They had wealth, but it consisted of mind and soul culture. This every one may have who will make God first and last and best in everything. Although destitute of wisdom, knowledge, virtue, and power, we may receive all these if we will learn from Christ the lessons that it is our privilege to learn.
In this time we have opportunities and advantages that it was not easy to obtain in generations past. We have increased light, and this has come through the work of those faithful sentinels who made God their dependence, and received power from him to let light shine in clear, bright rays to the world. In our day we have increased light to improve, as in times past men and women of noble worth improved the light that God gave them. They toiled long to learn the lessons given them in the school of Christ, and they did not toil in vain. Their persevering efforts were rewarded. They bound themselves up with the mightiest of all powers, and yet they were ever longing for a deeper, higher, and broader comprehension of eternal realities, that they might successfully present the treasures of truth to a needy world.
Workers of this character are needed now. Those who are men in the sight of God, and who are thus recorded in the books of heaven, are those who, like Daniel, cultivate every faculty in such a way as best to represent the kingdom of God in a world lying in wickedness. Progress in knowledge is essential; for when employed in the cause of God, knowledge is a power for good. The world needs men of thought, men of principle, men who are constantly growing in understanding and discernment. The press is in need of men to use it to the best advantage, that the truth may be given wings to speed it to every nation, and tongue, and people.
We need to make use of the youth who will cultivate honest industry, who are not afraid to put their powers to task. Such youth will find a position anywhere, because they falter not by the way; in mind and soul they bear the divine similitude. Their eye is single, and constantly they press onward and upward, crying, Victory. But there is no call for the indolent, the fearful and unbelieving, who by their lack of faith and their unwillingness to deny self for Christ's sake, keep the work from advancing..
There are men who possess excellent faculties, but who have come to a standstill. They do not go forward to victory. And the ability with which God has endowed them is of no value to his cause, because it is unused. Many of these men are found among the grumblers. They grumble because, they say, they are not appreciated. But they do not appreciate themselves sufficiently to cooperate with the greatest Teacher the world has ever known.
Of what use is it for those who do nothing to long to rise higher than they are? Let them work. Let them rise and advance. Keep step with the great Leader. If you have gone as high as your capabilities will permit, why do you cherish dissatisfaction? Why complain that others do not appreciate you? If you think that you can stand in a higher position, prove yourselves worthy of that position, and still advance.
Those who have sown the seeds of indolence and ignorance will reap that which they have sown. It is hard study, hard toil, persevering diligence, that obtain victories. Waste no hours, no moments. The results of work, earnest, faithful work, will be seen and appreciated. Those who wish for stronger minds can gain them by diligence. The mind increases in power and efficiency by use. It becomes strong by hard thinking. He who uses most diligently his mental and physical powers will achieve the greatest results. Every power of the being strengthens by action.
We need as workers men and women who are imbued with the Spirit of Christ, who realize that they are united in church capacity that they may use their influence and power to save those who are without God and without hope in the world. In the name of Christ we call upon every church member to deny self, take up the cross, and follow Jesus.
God calls for those who will be workers together with him. Connected with Christ, human nature becomes pure and true. Christ supplies the efficiency, and man becomes a power for good. Truthfulness and integrity are attributes of God, and he who possesses these attributes possesses a power that is invincible. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #10)
"Elmshaven," Sanitarium, Cal., Feb. 22, 1903.--Dear Brethren and Sisters: I have been pleased to learn, through reading the Review, and from letters from Elder J. S. Washburn, that a church building in Washington, D. C., formerly known as the Central Methodist Protestant church, has been purchased by the Second Seventh-day Adventist church of that city. A house of worship was greatly needed by our people in the section of the city where this property is situated. The purchase of this church will provide a suitable place in which witness can be borne to the truths we advocate. The building will stand as a memorial for God.
This property must now be paid for. Some payments have already been made, but a large sum must yet be raised to complete the payments. We therefore ask those who have means, to act as the Lord's helping hand by doing something to help to free this church from debt. Every penny given will help. If all will give what they can, the indebtedness will soon be liquidated. We pray that those who can help in this enterprise may be constrained to do so by their love for Christ. We regard the purchase of this church property as a wise step, and your cooperation in assisting the brethren there to pay for it will bring you into harmony with the beneficent purposes of the gospel.
Let those who have means use it wisely. It is a talent lent them by the Lord to be used when called for to advance his cause. In the place of spending money for selfish pleasure, let every one deny self and lift the cross. God's blessing will follow.
Do not all our people desire to share in the privilege of paying for the house of worship in Washington, D. C.? If every one of the believers in this country would give something, the necessary sum would be raised, and the amount given by each would scarcely be missed. Let us help our brethren in the national capital; for they are too poor and too few in number to bear the burden alone. Those who share in this missionary enterprise by making gifts, large or small, according to their ability, will ever after feel a deeper interest in the progress of the Lord's cause in Washington. Those who respond to this call, making gifts to the Lord for the purchase of this church property, will receive rich blessing for so doing. By Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 80, #11)
God's servants need a realization of the value of souls. Christ died for human beings. His sacrifice on the cross is the measure of their value in God's sight.
Of the high priest of Israel we read, "Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually." What a beautiful and expressive figure this is of the unchanging love of Christ for his church! Our great High Priest, of whom Aaron was a type, bears his people upon his heart. And should not his earthly ministers share his love and sympathy and solicitude? As ministers labor in connection with one another, they are to follow the example of Christ, manifesting his tenderness, his kindness, his courtesy, his love.
Christ as the great high priest, making a perfect atonement for sin, stands alone in divine majesty and glory. Other high priests were only types, and when he appeared, the need of their services vanished. "But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself."
"After he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever," he "sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. . . . Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. . . . And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works."
Let human beings, subject to temptation, remember that in the heavenly courts they have a high priest who is touched with the feeling of their infirmities, because he himself was tempted, even as they are. And let those in positions of responsibility, especially, remember that they are subject to temptation, and wholly dependent on the merits of the Saviour. However sacred the work to which they may be called, they are still sinners, who can be saved only through the grace of Christ. One day they must stand before the throne of God, saved by the blood of the Lamb, or condemned to the punishment of the wicked.
Human beings are Christ's property, and they are not to be treated with disrespect because they do not follow the lines of action that men have marked out. Men err. Often they mark out false lines and set up false standards. But O how thankful I am that the Lord never makes a mistake! Those who follow his leading will never be disappointed. They will never be led astray.
How grieved Christ is by the lack of love and tenderness manifested by his people in their dealings with one another! He notes the words, the tones of the voice. He hears the harsh, severe judgment passed on those whom he, in infinite love, is presenting to the Father. He hears every sigh of pain and sorrow caused by human harshness, and his Spirit is grieved.
Apart from Christ we can do no good thing. How inconsistent, then, it is for human beings to exalt themselves! How strange that any should forget that they must repent, in common with their fellow men, and that those whom they condemn with severity may stand justified before God, receiving the sympathy of Christ and the angels.
Let God's messengers act as wise men. Let them not lift up their souls unto vanity, but cherish humility. "Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
Let no one be sharp and dictatorial in his dealing with God's workers. Let those who are inclined to censure remember that they have made mistakes as grievous as the mistakes which they condemn in others. Let them bow in contrition before God, asking his pardon for the sharp speeches that they have made, and the unchristlike spirit they have revealed. Let them remember that God hears every word they speak, and that as they judge, so they will be judged.
Christ is pleading the case of every tempted soul, but while he is doing this, many of his people are grieving him by taking their stand with Satan to accuse their brethren, pointing to their polluted garments.
Let not the criticised ones become discouraged; for while their brethren are condemning them, Christ is saying of them, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands. By creation and by redemption thou art mine.
God's word is, "Honor all men. Love the brotherhood." Show all men respect, even though they do not reach the standard you have set for them. They may have made mistakes, but is your life faultless? Have you censured your own errors as severely as you have censured the errors of others?
Christ Our King.--Before God's servants take up any work, they are to pray to him in all humility, and with a sense of their dependence on him, realizing that they must be worked by the Holy Spirit. They are to guard against setting themselves up as kings, because if they attempt to do this, they will dishonor the Lord, and make a failure of their work.
Man's ingenuity, his judgment, his power to execute, all come from God. To God's service they should be devoted. The principles of the Bible are to control the Lord's servants. His workers are ever to do justice and judgment, steadfastly keeping the way of the Lord. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness." Make this the point round which your life centers, and then all things needful will be given you. Put the Redeemer's interests before your own or those of any other human being. He has bought you, and all your powers of mind and body belong to him.
Christ is our King--he who is called, "Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." And he is not only our King, but our Saviour. To him you may go with your burdens. However great your sin, you need not fear repulse. If you have injured your brother, go to him, and confess the wrong that you have done him. Clear away the difficulty that exists between you and him. When you have done this, come to your King, asking him for pardon. He will never take advantage of your confessions. He will never disappoint you. He has pledged his word to forgive your transgressions and to cleanse you from all defilement. The names of his people are written in his book of life.
Remember that Christ is our only hope, our only refuge. He "bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness." "If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." By Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 80, #12)
The minister who learns daily in the school of Christ will ever be conscious that he is a messenger of God, commissioned by him to do a work in its results as lasting as eternity. He will have no desire to call attention to himself, to his learning or his ability. His one aim will be to lead sinners to the Saviour. Self will be lost sight of in Christ. The realization of his weakness and unworthiness and of the feebleness of his efforts in contrast with those of his Redeemer, will keep him humble, self-distrustful, and will lead him to rely on Christ for strength and efficiency.
Such a man will speak with power, with authority from on high. His heart is filled with the sympathy and love of Jesus, and his earnest appeals melt hearts long hardened against God, and draw sinners to the cross.
Ministers should be instant in prayer. Among the ministers of Christ there is too little prayer, and too much self-exaltation. There is too little weeping between the porch and the altar, crying, "Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thy heritage to reproach." Too little is said about the love and compassion of Jesus. Christ is constantly interceding for sinners. Those who cooperate with him must do a work which corresponds to that which he is doing in heaven. Jesus has opened the door of heaven for us, and we may make intercession at the throne of grace, lifting up holy hands without wrath or doubting, presenting before God those for whom we are laboring. And by faith we may see heaven opened, and the glorified Son of God, the High Priest of our salvation, pleading for sinners.
It is not enough to preach to men. We must pray with them and for them. We can not help them while we hold ourselves coldly aloof from them. We must come close to them in Christlike sympathy and love.
As Enoch of old, ministers should walk with God. The Redeemer's boundless love should be the theme of their conversation. The earnestness and unselfishness that marked the work of Christ should characterize their efforts. If they would remove prejudice from the minds of those who listen to their words, their hearts must be filled with the Saviour's love. Converts to the truth seldom rise in spirituality above the level of their teachers. How important, then, that those who teach the word of God should be spiritual-minded men, who are in constant communion with heaven.
Divine power alone will melt the sinner's heart, and bring him, a penitent, to Christ. Neither Luther, Melanchthon, Wesley, Whitefield, nor any other great reformer and teacher could of himself have gained such access to hearts as to accomplish the great results that these men accomplished. But God spoke through them. Men felt the influence of a superior power, and involuntarily yielded to it. Today those who forget self, and rely on God for their success in the work of soul-saving will have the divine approval, and their efforts will tell gloriously in the salvation of souls.
I feel constrained to say that the labors of many of our ministers are lacking in power. God is waiting to bestow his grace upon them, but they pass on from day to day, possessing only a cold, nominal faith, presenting the theory of the truth, but presenting it without that vital force which comes from a connection with heaven, and which sends the words spoken home to the hearts of men. O that our ministers might be aroused from their spiritual slumber, and that their lips might be touched with a live coal from the divine altar! They are half asleep, and all around them souls are perishing in darkness and error.
Ministers of Christ, with your hearts aglow with love for God and your fellow creatures, seek to arouse those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Let your earnest entreaties and warnings pierce their ears. Let your fervent prayers melt their hearts, and lead them in penitence to the Saviour. You are ambassadors for Christ, proclaiming his message of salvation to a perishing world, and upon you there rests a fearful responsibility. You are not your own. To redeem you, the Saviour paid a price of agony and blood. He has a just claim to your service. He expects your willing cooperation in the work of saving souls. He asks for all your powers of mind and body. He would employ them for the salvation of souls. You dishonor him when you are not continually growing in grace and in a knowledge of the truth.
Whatever suffering you may be called upon to bear, do not allow one murmur to escape your lips. Christ endured far more for you than it is possible for you to endure for him. He redeemed you by the sacrifice of his life. When he says to you, "Go work today in my vineyard," let no selfish desire, no worldly ambition, keep you from cheerful, unqualified obedience.
God calls upon those who in his name are bearing the most solemn message ever given to the world, to reveal the truth in the daily life. Were this done, many who have entrenched themselves behind the breastworks of infidelity would be brought to a belief of the truth. The influence of a true Christian is like the cheering rays of sunshine, which pierce the darkness wherever they are allowed to enter. Arguments may be resisted, persuasion and entreaty may be scorned, the most eloquent appeals may be disregarded; but a daily piety in all the walks of life, an unselfish love for others, beaming from the countenance and breathing in the word, make an appeal that it is well-nigh impossible to resist.
Ministers who would labor effectively for the salvation of souls must be both Bible students and men of prayer. It is a sin for those who attempt to teach the Word to others to be themselves neglectful of its study. Those who realize the worth of souls will flee to the stronghold of truth, where they may obtain wisdom, knowledge, and divine power. They will not rest until they have received an unction from on high. Too much is at stake for them to be careless in regard to their spiritual advancement.
My brethren, remember that a lack of prayer and of wisdom on your part may turn the balance for a soul, and send it to perdition. You can not afford to be careless and indifferent. I entreat you to be instant in season and out of season. You need power, and this power God is willing to give you without stint, if you will go to him, and take him at his word. The Lord asks only a humble, contrite heart, willing to believe and receive his promises. You have only to use the means God has placed within your reach, and you will obtain the divine blessing. By Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 80, #13)
No one can attain Christian perfection while neglecting the Word of God. "Search the Scriptures," Christ said; "for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." This search enables the student to observe closely the divine model. And as he studies the life of the Redeemer, he discovers in himself many faults and weaknesses. He sees that he can not be a follower of Christ without surrendering all to him. Diligently he studies, with a desire to be like the great Exemplar; and he catches the spirit of his beloved Master. By beholding, he becomes changed. It is by thinking of Jesus, by talking of him, by studying his character, that we become changed.
After Christ's death, two disciples, on their way to Emmaus from Jerusalem, were talking over the scenes of the crucifixion. Christ himself drew near, unrecognized by the sorrowing travelers. Their faith had died with their Lord, and their eyes, blinded by unbelief, did not recognize their risen Saviour. Jesus, walking by their side, longed to reveal himself to them, but he accosted them merely as fellow travelers, saying, "What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?" Astonished at the question, they asked if he were a stranger in Jerusalem, and had not heard that a prophet, mighty in word and deed, had been crucified. "We trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel," they said, sadly.
"O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken," Christ said; "ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." He reproved them for not being more familiar with these scriptures. Had they known them better, their faith would have been sustained, their hopes unshaken; for prophecy plainly stated the treatment that Christ would receive from those he came to save.
The disciples had lost sight of the precious promises linked with the prophecies of Christ's death; but when these were brought to their remembrance, faith revived; and after Christ had revealed himself to them, they exclaimed, "Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?"
The word of God, spoken to the heart, has an animating power. Those who fail of becoming acquainted with this word can not fulfill God's requirements. Deformity of character is the result of their neglect. Their words and acts are a reproach to their Saviour.
The apostle tells us that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." If we would search the Scriptures, our hearts would burn within us as the truths revealed therein are opened to our understanding. Our hopes would brighten as we claim the precious promises strewn like pearls through the Sacred Writings. As we study the history of patriarchs and prophets, men who loved and feared God, walking with him, our souls would glow with the spirit that animated them.
Our youth should be far more desirous to become intelligent in the knowledge of the Scriptures than to excel in the study of the sciences. They should allow nothing to keep them from learning thoroughly the Sabbath school lesson. Teachers in the Sabbath school have before them a wide missionary field in the opportunity given them to instruct in the things of God the children and youth under their care. The teachers must themselves be filled with a love for God's Word, else how can they teach it to those in their charge in such a way that they will desire to learn more of it? And parents should cooperate with the teachers in the Sabbath school, teaching their children the lesson during the week. But this many parents fail to do. They plead trifling excuses for not interesting themselves in their children's Sabbath school lesson. Forgetfulness of God and his Word is the example they set before their children. Some parents while away hours in their own amusement, in unprofitable conversation, putting God and heaven out of their hearts. How much better it would be for them and for their children if they would search the Scriptures, becoming intelligent in regard to the truths given to guide us to the heavenly home.
Mothers are heard to regret that they have no time to teach their children, no time to instruct them in the things of God. But these same mothers find time to spend in needless stitching. They place the outward adorning above the inward adorning, which is in the sight of God of great price. In order to follow fashion, they starve their own minds and the minds of their children.
Fathers and mothers, I entreat you to take up your long-neglected work. Search the Scriptures for yourselves, and show your children how to study the Sacred Word. Do not send them away to study the Bible by themselves. Read and study it with them. Take them with you into the school of Christ.
The question is asked, What is the cause of the dearth of spiritual power in the churches? The answer is, We allow our minds to be drawn away from the Word. If the Word of God were eaten as food for the soul, if it were treated with respect and deference, there would be no necessity for the many repeated testimonies that are borne. The simple declarations of Scripture would be received and acted upon. The word of the living God is not merely written, but spoken. It is God's voice speaking to us just as surely as if we could hear it with our ears. If we realized this, with what awe we would open God's Word, and with what earnestness we would search its pages. The reading of the Scriptures would be regarded as an audience with the Most High. By Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 80, #14)
"And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, . . . and there was no water for the people to drink. . . . And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?"
It was by the express command of God that the children of Israel encamped at Rephidim. He knew of its lack of water, and he brought his people hither to test their faith. But how poorly they proved themselves to be a people whom he could trust! Again and again he had manifested himself to them. With a high hand he had brought them out of the land of their captivity, slaying the firstborn of all the families of Egypt to accomplish the deliverance of his people. He had fed them with angels' food, and had covenanted to bring them into the promised land. Now, when brought into difficulty, they broke into rebellion, distrusted God, and complained that Moses had brought them and their children out of Egypt only that they might die of thirst in the wilderness.
The lesson is for us. Many think that in the Christian life they will find freedom from all difficulty. But every one who takes up the cross to follow Jesus comes to a Rephidim in his experience. Life is not all made up of pleasant pastures and cooling streams. Trial and disappointment overtake us; privation comes; we are brought into trying places. Conscience-stricken, we reason that we must have walked far away from God, that if we had walked with him, we should not have suffered so. Doubt and despondency crowd into our hearts, and we say, The Lord has failed us, and we are ill-used. Why does he permit us to suffer thus? He can not love us; if he did, he would remove the difficulties from our path. Is the Lord with us, or not?
But of old the Lord led his people to Rephidim, and he may choose to lead us there also, to test our loyalty. He does not always bring us to pleasant places. If he did, in our self-sufficiency we should forget that he is our helper. He longs to manifest himself to us, and to reveal the abundant supplies at our disposal, and he permits trial and disappointment to come to us that we may realize our helplessness, and learn to call upon him for aid. He can cause cooling streams to flow from the flinty rock.. We shall never know, until we are face to face with God, when we shall see as we are seen, and know as we are known, how many burdens he has borne for us, and how many burdens he would have been glad to bear, if, with childlike faith, we had brought them to him.
The experience of the children of Israel is to help us in our work. The Word of God declares, "These things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." The Lord brought the children of Israel into trying places to test their faith. He had promised to lead them into the promised land, and if they had waited patiently for him, reviving their faith by recounting his great goodness and wonderful works in their behalf, he would have shortened their test. But they forgot their Leader. Murmuring and complaining, they vented their wrath upon Moses, forgetting that their emergency was God's opportunity.
Today God says to his people, Do not imitate the conduct of the children of Israel at Rephidim by showing unbelief when brought into difficulties. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
God is declared in all his dealings with his people; and with clear, unclouded eyes, in adversity, in sickness, in disappointment, and in trial, we are to behold the light of his glory in the face of Christ, and trust to his guiding hand. But too often we grieve his heart by our unbelief. Our faith is shortsighted, and we allow trial to strengthen our natural tendency to distrust. Brought into strait places, we dishonor God by murmuring and complaining. Instead, we should help those in need of assistance, those who are seeking for light, but know not how to find it. Such have a special claim on our sympathy, but how often, instead of trying to help them, we pass by on the other side, intent on our own troubles.
God loves his children, and he longs to see them overcoming the discouragement with which Satan would overpower them. Do not give way to unbelief. Do not magnify your difficulties. Remember the love and power that God has shown in times past. He "so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
"O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" Christ has proved himself to be an all-powerful helper. He knows all about our trials, and in the hour of need can we not believe that he is as willing to help as in times past? No amount of tribulation can separate us from him. If he leads us to Rephidim, it is because he sees that it is for our good. If we look to him in trusting faith, he will turn the bitterness of Marah into sweetness. His word to us is, "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
The way may be rough, but we have no time to spend in thinking about our difficulties. When we bemoan the hardness of the way, we turn from the path of faith. God is leading us, and he can make us fully able to go up and possess the promised land. He declares, "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."
Our path will not always be plain or easy, but let us look to God in faith, saying, The Lord has separated us from the world, and has chosen us as his peculiar people, and he will work for us. Let us go forward in the strength of the Lord God Almighty. So shall we be witnesses for him. "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, . . . I have declared, and have saved, and I have showed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses," "that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me." By Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 80, #15)
[Talk by Mrs. E. G. White at the General Conference, Oakland, Cal., Sunday morning, April 5, 1903.] I have been carrying a very heavy burden. For the last three nights I have slept very little. Many scenes are presented to me. I feel an intense interest in the advancement of the work of God, and I say to our leading brethren, As you consider the questions that shall come before you, you are to look beneath the surface. You are to give careful consideration to every question discussed.
There is need of means in foreign missionary work and in missionary work in America. It is a painful fact that although we have had a special message for the world for so many years, there are many, many cities in which we have done nothing to proclaim this message. In the calamities that have befallen our institutions in Battle Creek, we have had an admonition from God. Let us not pass this admonition carelessly by, without trying to understand its meaning. There are those who will say, "Of course the Review and Herald must be rebuilt in Battle Creek." Why did the Lord permit Jerusalem to be destroyed by fire the first time? Why did he permit his people to be overcome by their enemies, and carried into heathen lands?--It was because they had failed to be his missionaries, and had built walls of division between themselves and the people round them. The Lord scattered them, that the knowledge of his truth might be carried to the world. If they were loyal and true and submissive, God would bring them again into their own land.
We have a great work before us. The needs of the field demand that there shall be liberality on the part of the people of God. I point you to the city of New York. One hundred workers might be laboring there where now there is but one. How many of you have taken a practical interest in the work in this city? We have scarcely touched this field with the tips of our fingers. A few faithful workers have been trying to do something in this great, wicked city. But their work has been difficult, because they have had so few facilities. Elder Haskell and his wife have labored faithfully. But who has felt the burden of sustaining them in their labors? Who among our leading men have visited them, to learn the needs of the work, and have then gone forth to raise means for its advancement?
Who has visited the Southern field to do something to build up the work there? Who has gone there to study its needs? Some have allowed their minds to be leavened by prejudice and distrust. Some have tried to put blocks before the wheels of progress, though again and again our brethren have been warned against doing this.
A proposition has been made that our people purchase sanitarium bonds. But light has been given me that means is not to be thus drawn from our people. Last night, place after place that is still unworked was presented before me. These places are all ripe for the harvest. They are calling for workers, and the means of our people is not to be tied up so that it can not be used in this work.
If all our people paid a faithful tithe, there would be more means in the treasury to support the laborers already in the field, and to send forth still more laborers into the fields that are ripe for the harvest. One of authority, who pointed out these fields to me, asked the question, "Who will go forth to proclaim the message in these places?" Christ's commission is, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
There is a great and solemn work to be done for Seventh-day Adventists, if they will only be converted. The great trouble is the lack of unity among them. This is a sin in the sight of God,--a sin which, unless God's people repent, will withhold from them his blessing. There are those who are ready to die, those who are without God and without hope in the world. Those need to be sought out and labored for. We may endeavor to be faithful in our own little compass, but this is not sufficient. We are to have a faithfulness that goes outside of our little compass to the needy fields beyond.
God is not pleased with the present showing. Our means is not to be bound up for years where it is not available for missionary work. This God forbids. He sees the great work to be done in various places throughout the world. He sees the cities in which memorials for him are to be established to proclaim the truth for this time.
Regarding investment in bonds, I am instructed to say further, that if no voice were raised against this arrangement, if our people should tie up their money in such investment, when it became necessary to call for means for aggressive missionary work, it would be found that there was a greater dearth of means among us than there is now. Plans may be started that at the beginning seem very promising, but often the foresight would be much more pleasant than the aftersight, were these plans carried out. I have been commissioned to instruct our people to be economical, and always ready to give of their means to the Lord's work. If you have a thousand dollars to spare, God wants it; it belongs to him. If you have twenty dollars to spare, God wants it. His vineyard is waiting to be worked.
The light God has given me is that there are proper ways that the conference shall devise to help the Sanitarium in Battle Creek. I wish that a portion of the work of this institution had been taken elsewhere. But the Sanitarium has been erected in Battle Creek, and it must be helped. God will institute ways and means by which it can be helped. But he does not wish his people to invest their money in bonds.
There is a great field to be worked. God wants us to labor intelligently. We are not to grasp every advantage that we can for the part of the field in which we are laboring. We are to do for those working in hard, needy fields just what we would wish our brethren to do for us were we placed in similar circumstances. There are small sanitariums to be established in various places. Medical missionary work is the helping hand of God. This work must be done. It is needed in new fields, and in fields where the work was started years ago. Since this work is the helping hand of God and the entering wedge of the gospel, we want you to understand that you are to have a part in it. It is not to be divorced from the gospel. Every soul before me this morning should be filled with the true medical missionary spirit.
I present this matter before you that you may understand that our people are not to be encouraged to tie up their money for years by the purchase of bonds. I have nothing to say in regard to the sale of these bonds to the people of the world. It is in regard to our people tying up their money that I speak particularly. It is said that only a few of our people would take the bonds. But how long would it be before the few would increase to many? No; God wants his people to look upon the world as their great harvest field, and to use their resources in working this field.
More must be done to sustain the work in the Southern field. There are ministers there who are not properly paid, who are suffering for the comforts of life. I know this to be so. The Lord has kept the needs of this field before me all these years. He has shown me what should be done, and I dare not hold my peace. Do not all who have heard the truth belong to God? Did he not purchase all with the blood of his only begotten Son? Did not Christ die for all? Would you wish to come into judgment having done no more than you have for the colored people? Ever since their release from slavery, God has been appealing to you to help them. Yet how little has been done for them!
Earnest efforts must be put forth to raise means to sustain our workers. God does not approve of sending men to the most difficult fields, and then not giving them enough to sustain them. God calls for equality. The workers in our institutions have no right to grasp for high wages, while there are those laboring in the field who are suffering because there is not sufficient money in the treasury to sustain them.
The question has been asked, "Would it not be well to pay men of ability wages that are in accordance with their experience and ability, so as to secure the very best talent?" The most valuable workers that can be secured for service in the cause of God are those who understand and obey the word, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Justice, mercy, and the love of God are to be brought more decidedly into our work.
God bids me say to this people, "You have left your first love. You have left many fields unworked, and yet you appear to feel perfectly at ease." Will you heed the instruction that God is sending you? and will you work upon it? God desires his work to be carried forward on solid lines. He does not want one part of his vineyard to be left destitute of facilities, while to another part many facilities are gathered.
All that is done is to be carefully done. The standing of the Sanitarium is to be carefully examined. God's people are to understand just how it is to be conducted. It is to be managed by men whose feet are firmly planted on the platform of eternal truth, so that the helpers connected with the Sanitarium shall be taught how to present the gospel to people in their words and deportment. If the workers believe the truth, and are in living connection with the God of heaven, Christ will appear in their lives, and souls will be won to him.
We need to understand what our conferences are held for, whether to talk over a few preliminaries, or to set our souls in order before God, that when we return to the work, we may carry right principles into our churches and institutions. When we remember constantly that God has taken us into covenant relation with himself, our work in connection with his churches and institutions will be of such a character that he can say to us, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." Do we not all wish to hear these words?
We are not to tie up our means so that it can not be used in missionary enterprises. We are to help the fields in which the people know nothing of the truth. Those who go to these fields are to be missionaries in every sense of the word. No one man is to carry the work by himself. The different workers with their varied gifts, are to be linked together. Let none say, We can not do anything, because a certain brother is determined to do a special work. We are not all to take hold of the same lever. There are many different levers to be worked.
God wants us to receive the holy oil from the two anointed ones, "which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves." And as we receive the holy oil, we are to go forth for the saving of those who are ready to die. But let us not forget that different methods are to be employed to save different ones. "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."
When the work is done that should be done in our cities, we shall not have to present the needs of this work before every conference that assembles. You will have a wonderful testimony to bear regarding the way the Lord has blessed you as you have tried to follow his instructions.
These things are before me day and night. I pray that our conference presidents shall be very careful how they sanction this move or that move, until they are sure that it is according to the will of the Lord. If you are not sure whether by sanctioning these moves, you are helping or hindering the work of God, I beg of you to fall on your knees before God in prayer, and seek him until you find out.
Do not cut off any man's hands. I once read of a drowning man who was making desperate efforts to get into a boat close beside him. But the boat was full, and as he grasped the side, those in the boat cut off his hand. Then he grasped the boat with the other hand, and that hand was cut off. Then he grasped it with his teeth, and those inside had mercy on him, and lifted him in. But how much better it would have been if they had taken him in before they had cut off his hands.
My brethren, do not cut a man to pieces before you do anything to help him. God wants us to have hearts of pity. He wants us to have reason and judgment and the sanctification of his Spirit. He is in earnest with us. We are but his little children, and we should ever be learning of him. Do not stand in the way of others. Do not lose your first love. You may have much knowledge and much intelligence, but if the love of God is lacking, you are not prepared to enter heaven.
I have given you the instruction that has been presented to me. I felt constrained to speak these words this morning. I beg of you, for Christ's sake, to remember the words, Ye are laborers together with God. Alone, you can do no good thing. Let the Spirit of God guide and control you, and you will be rich in thoughts and suggestions. You will know how to plan and work intelligently. "Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." Then act as if you were.
These are the words that last night I was speaking to the people. May God give us a fresh baptism of his Holy Spirit. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #15)
Talk by Mrs. E. G. White, Friday Morning, April 3.--It will be impossible for me to do justice to the question before us unless I take some time. The question is one that should be clearly and distinctly understood by us all. Few of our people have any idea of how many times light has been given that it was not in the order of God for us much to be centered in Battle Creek. Much was gathered there; many meetings were called there. A school, and a sanitarium, and a publishing house were there. These institutions had an influence upon one another. If this influence had always been good, more of a missionary spirit would have been developed. There would have been a clearer understanding of what must be done in the various cities of America. It would have been seen that in every city the standard must be planted and a memorial for God established.
It is God's design that our people should locate outside the cities, and from these outposts warn the cities, and raise in them memorials for God. There must be a force of influence in the cities, that the message of warning shall be heard.
For years the warning has been given to our people, Get out of Battle Creek. But because of the many interests established there, it was convenient to remain, and men could not see why they should move. At last Brother Magan and Brother Sutherland began to think of the advisability of moving from Battle Creek. They came to me, asking what they should do. I said: "Take the school out of Battle Creek, if you can possibly do so. Go out into a place where there are no people who believe as we do, and there establish the school on a location with plenty of land, that the students who come may be educated in right lines." They obeyed the instruction given. This was the first move made. It has been a success. God has been pleased with it. He indorsed the effort made to get away from the congestion of Battle Creek.
For the last fifteen or twenty years, light has been given that our people, by crowding into Battle Creek, have been leaving their home churches in a weak state. Some seemed to think that when they reached Battle Creek, they would be near heaven, that in Battle Creek they would not have many temptations. They did not understand the situation; they did not know that it was in Battle Creek that the enemy was working the hardest.
Again and again testimonies were given in regard to the principles that were coming in to leaven the publishing house. And yet, though the messages kept coming that men were working on principles which God could not accept, no decided change was made. The apprentices in the Office were not given the advantages that they should have had. They were not being prepared to go out as missionaries into various places as they might be called. They were not being prepared to stand as God's representatives. The influence of the Office was not what it should have been. God declared that this institution should be a sacred place, that angels of God were walking up and down through it. The words of contradiction spoken in the Office, and the general irritation shown, were condemned. He designed that it should be a school where workers should be trained to uphold the principles that God had ordained should ever be maintained by his people.
Before the fire came which swept away the Review and Herald factory, I was in distress for many days. I was in distress while the council was in session, laboring to get the right matter before the meeting, hoping, if it were a possible thing, to call our brethren to repentance, and avert calamity. It seemed to me that it was almost a life and death question. It was then that I saw the representation of danger,--a sword of fire turning this way and that way. I was in an agony of distress. The next news was that the Review and Herald building had been burned by fire, but that not one life had been lost. In this the Lord spoke mercy with judgment. The mercy of God was mingled with judgment to spare the lives of the workers, that they might do the work which they had neglected to do, and which it seemed impossible to make them see and understand.
Notwithstanding the condition of things at the publishing house, a suggestion had been made to bring still more of our work to the Review Office, still more power into Battle Creek. This greatly alarmed me, and when the fire came, I breathed easier than I had for a long time. We were thankful that no lives were lost. There was a large loss of property. Again and again the Lord had shown me that for every dollar that was accumulated by unjust means, there would be ten times as much lost.
God desired that every movement should be in accordance with Bible principles. There was to be no sharp dealing. But there has been sharp dealing, and God has been displeased. For the last twenty years God has been sending reproofs and warnings regarding this. The very worst thing that could now be done would be for the Review and Herald Office to be once more built up in Battle Creek. The way has been opened for it to break up its association there,--association with worldly men, which ought to be broken. Unjustifiable commercial business has been carried on, because the money that it brought in was needed. I saw One of undisputed authority go into the Office, and look over the accounts with the leading men, noting how much had been taken in for the publication of matter that should never have seen the light of day. He asked, "How much do you gain on this work?" When the answer was given, he said, "The outlay necessary to do this work is larger than you estimate; but were your estimate correct, the loss in spirituality far outweighs the estimated gain." Pernicious matter has been published right in our Office, and if some part of the work had to be delayed, it was the work on the books containing the light of truth. This was greatly displeasing to the Lord. The apprentices were being educated in the false doctrines contained in the matter brought in. And the Review and Herald presses were sending these false doctrines out to the world.
When the printing office was first established, in a little wooden building, the Lord showed me that its presses were to be used to send forth to the world the bright rays of truth. They were consecrated to the Lord. Light was to shine all through the Office, which was to be a school of training for workers. But as the result of association with the world, many in the Office grew worldly, and worked more and more on plans of worldly policy, and neither the discipline nor training of the youth employed in the Office was as it should be.
I must say to our people that the Lord would have that institution established in an entirely new place. He would have the present influences of association broken up. Will those who have collected in Battle Creek hear the voice speaking to them, and understand that they are to scatter out into different places, where they can spread abroad a knowledge of the truth, and where they can gain an experience different from the experience that they have been gaining?
In reply to the question that has been asked in regard to settling somewhere else, I answer, Yes. Let the General Conference offices and the publishing work be moved from Battle Creek. I know not where the place will be, whether on the Atlantic Coast or elsewhere. But this I will say, Never lay a stone or a brick in Battle Creek to rebuild the Review Office there. God has a better place for it. He wants you to work with a different influence, and be connected with altogether different associations from what you have had of late in Battle Creek.
There has been an anxiety to adopt a worldly policy. Warnings and reproofs and entreaties--you would be astonished to know how many--have been sent in regard to this. But they have not been heeded. Many have come to the place where they do not care to follow the directions that the Lord sends. They have walked in their own counsel, until the Lord has come near by judgment, and swept away the printing plant. Will you build up again in the same place that you were before? I ask you, brethren, shall we, because our books and papers have long borne the imprint of Battle Creek, again lay the foundation in the very place where our work has been destroyed by fire? Will it make a confusion to move? Better to have a little confusion. Let us have another imprint. Let us see if we can not make a reformation.
The Sanitarium.--I need not speak any more on this point. I wish to speak now in reference to the Sanitarium in Battle Creek. Our brethren say: "Sister White has confused us. She said that we must not let this Sanitarium go into the hands of worldlings. And she said also that we must try to place the Sanitarium upon a right foundation." Yes, this I did say. Now I repeat it. For years light has been coming to me that we should not center so much in one place. I have stated distinctly that an effort should not be made to make Battle Creek the sign and symbol of so much. The Lord is not very well pleased with Battle Creek. Not all that has been done in Battle Creek is well pleasing to him. And when the Sanitarium there was burned, our people should have studied the messages of reproof and warning sent them in former years, and taken heed. That the lives of patients and helpers were spared was a providence for which every one of us should praise God with heart and soul and voice. He gave them an opportunity to live, and to study what these things mean. I had many things written out, but I thought, I will not say a word to condemn any one. I will keep quiet. When the planning for the new building was taken up, I think there were no questions or propositions sent to me about it, from those in charge.
It has been stated that, when the Sanitarium was first established in Battle Creek, my husband and I indorsed it. Certainly we did. I can speak for my husband as well as for myself. We prayed about the matter a great deal. So it was with the printing office, which was first established in a little wooden building. As the work grew, we had to add to it, and later, when ambitious men came in to take part in the management, more additions were made than should have been made, because these men thought that the buildings would give character to the work. That was a mistake. It is not buildings that give character to the work of God, but the faithfulness and integrity of the workers.
The Sanitarium grew, and, in 1887, Dr. Kellogg talked with me in regard to the necessity of having a hospital. I said, "Some months ago I was shown that we must have a hospital." Our brethren did not know what had been presented to me about this, and the opposition came hard and strong. They sat right down upon Dr. Kellogg. I took my position close by his side, and told them that the light God had given me was that we should have a hospital in Battle Creek. The hospital was erected, and it was soon full of patients.
Understand, brethren, that at that time we had not numerous sanitariums, as in later years we came to have. The Battle Creek Sanitarium was almost our only place for the care of the sick.
After a time the question came, "Shall we build a small, neat chapel in which the patients and helpers can assemble to worship God?" As soon as I possibly could, I sent off a letter, saying, Yes. Wherever there is a sanitarium, there should be a church, to which the patients can go to hear the word of life, and God will soften their hearts, leading many to accept Christ as the healer of the soul. I was in perfect union with this move.
But of late some things have been brought in that I could not indorse, and one of these is the attaching of many enterprises and lines of medical work to the medical association in Battle Creek. The Lord showed me that this should not be done. Many here know what I said to them,--that we must not center so much in Battle Creek; that if we did not take heed, God's judgments would visit Battle Creek. When I saw such an earnestness on the part of the leaders to connect all branches of the medical work with the association at Battle Creek. I told the brethren that the instruction given me was that they should not make the scratch of a pen to bind themselves to the restrictions of the rules and regulations that were arranged for them to come under. God wants his institutions to stand in fellowship with one another, just as brethren in the church should stand in fellowship. But they are never to be bound by written contracts to any one man or any group of men. They are to stand in their own individuality, accountable to God. The Lord of heaven is to be the leader and guide and counselor of his people. His institutions are to be managed under his theocracy. His people are to act as a chosen people, a people who are to do a sacred and an unselfish work.
When one institution gathers a large amount of responsibility and a large number of guests, the religious part of the work is in danger of being neglected. The managers of the Battle Creek Sanitarium have done nobly in the past in regard to trying to maintain a right religious influence in the Sanitarium. For a long time there were men connected with the institution whose work it was to hold Bible readings with the patients, as the way opened. Dr. Kellogg fully accorded with this. After the meeting at Minneapolis, Dr. Kellogg was a converted man, and we all knew it. We could see the converting power of God working in his heart and life. But as the institution has grown in popularity, there has been danger that the reason for which it was established would be lost sight of. Repeatedly I have given the instruction that was given to me,--that this institution should not be conducted after the manner in which worldly medical institutions are conducted; that pleasure loving, card playing, and theatrical performances should find no place in it. True piety was to be revealed in the lives of physicians and helpers. Everything connected with the institution was to speak in favor of the truth, and the truth in regard to the Sabbath would come to the patients.
It was the piety of the workers, not the largeness of the buildings, that was to bring conviction to hearts. Many souls have been converted; many wonderful cures have been wrought. The Lord stood by the side of Dr. Kellogg as he performed difficult operations. When the doctor was overwrought by taxing labor, God understood the situation, and he put his hand on Dr. Kellogg's hand as he operated, and through his power the operations were successful.
I wish this to be understood. Over and over again I have encouraged Dr. Kellogg, telling him that the Lord God of Israel was at his right hand, to help him, and to give him success as he performed the difficult operations that meant life or death to the ones operated upon. I told the doctor that before he took up his instruments to operate upon patients, he must pray for them. The patients saw that Dr. Kellogg was under the jurisdiction of God, that he understood the Lord's power to carry on the work successfully, and they had more confidence in him than in worldly physicians.
God has given Dr. Kellogg the success that he has had. I have tried constantly to keep this before him, telling him that it was God who was working with him, and that the truth of God was to be magnified by his physician. God will bless every other physician who will yield himself wholly to God, and will be with his hand when he works.
This was the light given. God worked that the medical missionary work might stand on the highest vantage ground; that it might be known that Seventh-day Adventists have a God working with them, a God who has a constant oversight of his work.
God does not indorse the efforts put forth by different ones to make the work of Dr. Kellogg as hard as possible, in order to build themselves up. God gave the light on health reform, and those who rejected it rejected God. One and another who knew better said that it all came from Dr. Kellogg, and they made war upon him. This had a bad influence on the doctor. He put on the coat of irritation and retaliation. God did not want him to stand in the position of warfare, and he does not want you to stand there.
Those who have turned away from the Battle Creek Sanitarium to get worldly physicians to care for them did not realize what they were doing. God established the Battle Creek Sanitarium. God worked through Dr. Kellogg; but men did not realize this. When they were sick, they sent for worldly physicians to come, because of something that the doctor had said or done that did not please them. This God did not approve. We have the authority of the Bible for our instruction in temperance.
But God has nothing to do with making every institution amenable in some way to the work and workers in Battle Creek. His servants should not be called upon to submit to rules and regulations made there. God's hand must hold every worker, and must guide and control every worker. Men are not to make rules and regulations for their fellow men. The Bible has given the rules and regulations that we are to follow. We are to study the Bible, and learn from it the duty of man to his fellow man. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul."
You were surprised to hear me say that we are not to let the Battle Creek Sanitarium go into the hands of the world; that we are to make another effort to place our institutions on solid ground. If you will trust in the Lord, this institution can be placed on vantage ground. When the Sanitarium is placed on its proper foundation; when our people can see it as it was when it was first established; when they can understand that the institution belongs to the work of the Lord, and can see that no one man is to have the control of everything in it, then God will help them all to take hold with courage to build it up. Today you do not know just where it is. God wants us to know every timber of the foundation, where it is, and what it is; then he wants us all to put shoulder to shoulder, and labor understandingly. The Lord wants us to do our duty. He wants us to understand that Dr. Kellogg shall not be pushed out of his place, but that he shall stand acknowledged and supported in his God-given work. This he will be if his feet are planted on the truth of the living God. If they are not planted on this truth, specious temptations will come in, through scientific problems and scientific theories regarding God and his Word. Spurious scientific theories are coming in as a thief in the night, stealing away the landmarks and undermining the pillars of our faith. God has shown me that the medical students are not to be educated in such theories, because God will not indorse these theories. The most specious temptations of the enemy are coming in, and they are coming in on the highest, most elevated plane. These spiritualize the doctrines of present truth until there is no distinction between the substance and the shadow.
You know that Satan will come in to deceive if possible the very elect. He claims to be Christ, and he is coming in, pretending to be the great medical missionary. He will cause fire to come down from heaven in the sight of men, to prove that he is God. We must stand barricaded by the truths of the Bible. The canopy of truth is the only canopy under which we can stand safely.
Our leading brethren, the men in official positions, are to examine the standing of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, to see whether the God of heaven can take control of it. When, by faithful guardians, it is placed in a position where he can control it, let me tell you that God will see that it is sustained.
God wants his people to place their feet on the eternal Rock. The money that we have is the Lord's money; and the buildings that we erect with this money, for his work, are to stand as his property. He calls upon those who have the truth not to quarrel with their brethren, but to stand shoulder to shoulder, to build up, not to destroy.
God would not have let the fire go through our institutions in Battle Creek without a reason. Are you going to pass by the providence of God, without finding out what it means? God wants us to study into this matter, and to build upon a foundation in which all can have the utmost confidence. He wants the interests started to be conducted in such a way that his people can invest their means in them with the assurance that they are part of his work. Let us labor intelligently and understandingly. There is altogether too little humiliation of soul.
The crisis is coming soon in Battle Creek. The trades unions and confederacies of the world are a snare. Keep out of them and away from them, brethren. Have nothing to do with them. Because of these unions and confederacies, it will soon be very difficult for our institutions to carry on their work in the cities. My warning is: Keep out of the cities. Build no sanitariums in the cities. Educate our people to get out of the cities into the country, where they can obtain a small piece of land, and make a home for themselves and their children. When the question arose in regard to the establishment of a sanitarium in the city of Los Angeles, I felt that I must oppose this move. I carried a very heavy burden in regard to the matter, and I could not keep silent. It is time, brethren, that we heeded the testimonies sent us in mercy and love from the Lord of heaven.
Our restaurants must be in the cities; for otherwise the workers in these restaurants could not reach the people and teach them the principles of right living. And for the present we shall have to occupy meetinghouses in the cities. But erelong there will be such strife and confusion in the cities that those who wish to leave them will not be able. We must be preparing for these issues. This is the light that is given me.
May God help you to receive the words that I have spoken. Let those who stand as God's watchmen on the walls of Zion be men who can see the dangers before the people,--men who can distinguish between truth and error, righteousness and unrighteousness.
The warning has come: Nothing is to be allowed to come in that will disturb the foundation of the faith upon which we have been building ever since the message came in 1842, 1843, and 1844. I was in this message, and ever since I have been standing before the world, true to the light that God has given us. We do not propose to take our feet off the platform on which they were placed as day by day we sought the Lord with earnest prayer, seeking for light. Do you think that I could give up the light that God has given me? It is to be as the Rock of Ages. It has been guiding me ever since it was given. Brethren and sisters, God lives and reigns and works today. His hand is on the wheel, and in his providence he is turning the wheel in accordance with his own will. Let not men fasten themselves to documents, saying what they will do, and what they will not do. Let them fasten themselves to the Lord God of heaven. Then the light of heaven will shine into the soul temple, and we shall see the salvation of God. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #16)
It is by bearing much fruit that God's workers testify to the power of his word. The tame, spiritless efforts that produce no fruit are an evidence that there is no living connection with God. "Herein is my Father glorified," Christ declared, "that ye bear much fruit."
In order to labor successfully for God, there must be in the heart an all-absorbing love for him. Heart-religion must rule in the life. Until the heart is humble and contrite before God, until the sins which his word denounces are put away, his blessing can not be given. Those who win sinners to Christ must cherish the principles of Christianity. Those who do not love God with heart and soul and strength and mind might better go apart and rest awhile. They might better take up some other work, until they breathe a higher, purer atmosphere; for God can not work with them until their hearts are purified through obedience to his word.
True workers will put away all self-exaltation and self-sufficiency. It is those who have the least evidence of the power of the Spirit of God in their labors who feel the greatest self-exaltation. These will try to repress those to whom God has given the precious truths for which his flock is starving,--the bread of life, which will satisfy the hunger of the soul.
The Lord calls for workers, not sermonizers, for men who will do real work. The time is coming when we shall take a retrospective view of the work that we have done in this life. Then every man's work will appear at its true value. Those who have souls to show as the result of their labor will receive recognition from God. And I have been instructed that not a few, but many souls will be saved through the labors of men who have looked to Jesus for their ordination and orders. Such men have taken up work in the hardest parts of the field, and have labored successfully for the Master.
There are thousands upon thousands dead in trespasses and sins. Thousands are passing into the grave unwarned and unconverted. Who will render an account for these souls? God calls for workers who will labor for those who know not the truth, who will go forth to rescue those who are out of the fold. Many today are rejoicing in the truth, full of thankfulness and hope, who would never have been reached if the Lord had not put into the hearts of human instrumentalities a desire to save souls.
When our ministers and teachers breathe the breath of God, a high and holy consecration will be manifest. The Holy Spirit must come to every gospel worker, to every church member, if those who are perishing in sin are saved to Christ. The crown of life is gained by those who run with patience the race set before them. Brethren, God forbid that you should lose this prize. But there are among our workers those who are doing little to gain a high, noble spirituality. The torpor of spiritual death has been long upon them.
It is not orthodox theories, not membership in the church, not the diligent performance of a certain round of duties, that gives evidence of life. In an ancient tower in Switzerland I saw the image of a man that moved as if it possessed life. It looked like a living man, and I whispered when I came near, as if it could hear me. But though the image looked like life, it had no real life. It was moved by machinery.
Motion is not necessarily life. We may go through all the forms and ceremonies of religion; but unless we are alive in Christ, our work is worthless. The Lord calls for living, working, believing Christians. There are hundreds who, though professedly following the Lord, have no light from heaven to reflect to the dark places of the earth. O, if we realized how sadly the Lord looks upon the attitude in which some have stood for years, we would change at once, and earnestly seek the Lord! In the name of the Lord I call upon those who are offering God nothing but profession, to repent. They are in need of power from on high.
There are in the ministry many who are consumers and not producers. They have been bought with a price, and they should use in God's service the strength and energy that he has entrusted to them. God calls for sincere, earnest, persevering laborers. His delegated servants should look upon no work that he gives them as too taxing. Those who would be successful laborers in his cause must put to the tax brain and bone and muscle.
Improvement is needed in many departments of God's work. New lines of work must be organized. New workers must go into the field to labor for souls. These workers are to dig in God's Word for the precious ore of truth. As they search the Word, the truth will appear to them in a new aspect.
"Search the Scriptures," said the divine Teacher; "for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
The members of the church of God need to be instructed and educated, line upon line, as a Bible class. Nine tenths of our people, including many of our ministers and teachers, are content with surface truths.
The Bible is compared to treasure hid in a field, "the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field." He desires the privilege of searching every part of the field, that he may make himself the possessor of all its treasures. I call upon my brethren to allow nothing to hinder them from a daily study of God's Word.
To us today comes the message to the church in Sardis: "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. 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." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #17)
I have a message for those who are bearing responsibilities in God's institutions. The Lord calls upon them to bring his grace into their thoughts, their words, their deportment. They are not to leave their religion at home when they go to business for the day. Let them not, after praying to the Heavenly Father for grace and strength, go to their work with a surly, dictatorial, overbearing spirit, and a sour, disagreeable countenance. They are Christ's representatives, and they are to exert an influence that is a savor of life unto life.
God holds the managers of his institutions responsible to treat the youth in the employ of these institutions with courtesy, respect, and kindness. They are to deal with them as they themselves wish to be dealt with by Christ. Their first work is to be so kind to the youth, so thoughtful of their interests, that they will feel at home in their presence.
The Lord expects his people to bring religion into their business life as verily as into the assembly for his worship. How does he regard the testimonies borne on the Sabbath by those who during the week left Christ out of their work, and spoke harsh, unfeeling words? What impression do these testimonies make on those who have been hurt and wounded by the harsh words spoken?
Those who control others should first learn to control themselves. Unless they learn this lesson, they can not be Christlike in their work. They are to abide in Christ, speaking as he would speak, acting as he would act,--with unfailing tenderness and compassion. They are not to think, because they are in a position of responsibility, that they are at liberty to deal harshly with those connected with them. To the one who manages, God has given a measure of power, but this power he is ever to exercise in a pleasing and agreeable manner. He is not to feel at liberty to speak and act in an unchristlike way because an error has been made. Thus he aggravates the wrong. He arouses in the workers a spirit of retaliation, causing them to lose confidence in him as a Christian.
The Lord hears the petitions of his people when they mean what they say, and when they reveal a determined purpose to live in harmony with their prayers. But he can not honor those who rise from their knees to speak harsh, angry words, words which are entirely out of place, even though the one to whom they are spoken is in the wrong.
O what a power a converted man, transformed daily, can exert to bring blessing and gladness to those around him! Those who bear responsibilities in God's institutions are to grow in grace and in a knowledge of divine things. Ever they are to remember that the talent of speech is entrusted to them by God for the help and blessing of others. It is left with them to decide whether they will speak words that will honor Christ, or words that will be a hindrance to those who hear. O what a blessing are pleasant, sympathetic words,--words that uplift and strengthen! When asked a question, one should not answer abruptly, but kindly. The heart of the one that is asking may be sorely grieved by a hidden sorrow, that may not be told. This he may not know; therefore his words should always be kind and sympathetic. By a few well-chosen, helpful words, he may remove a heavy load from a fellow worker's mind.
To those bearing responsibilities in our institutions this word is given: "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock."
In this charge there is a threefold duty. "Feed the flock of God,"--by preaching to them his Word, by giving them earnest, personal labor, by setting them a right example. "Feed the flock of God," "taking the oversight thereof," having a personal care for the blood-bought heritage committed to your charge, "being ensamples to the flock," following Christ in self-denial and sacrifice, in the life revealing holiness to the Lord. All this is to be done of a ready, cheerful mind, "neither as being lords over God's heritage," tyrannizing over them.
Let those who have been exalted to the high position of managers in the Lord's institutions, who are set as guardians of their fellow workers, pray most earnestly for divine grace. Before they take up the work of the day, let them make a solemn covenant with God, promising him that they will keep watchful guard over their lips, not speaking harshly, but kindly, to those who come to them for direction. Let them remember that they themselves are ever to be under the control of the Spirit of God, rendering prompt and cheerful obedience to his commands. Let them remember that they are living epistles, known and read of all men, and that because they are Christ's representatives, they are to be one with him, ever looking to him, and from him receiving strength for every conflict.
"Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord." In our institutions let self-seeking give place to unselfish love and labor. Then the golden oil will be emptied from the two olive branches into the golden pipes, which will empty themselves into the vessels prepared to receive it. Then the lives of Christ's workers will indeed be an exposition of the sacred truths of his Word.
The fear of God, the sense of his goodness, his holiness, will circulate through every institution. An atmosphere of love and peace will pervade every department. Every word spoken, every work performed, will have an influence that corresponds to the influence of heaven. Christ will abide in humanity, and humanity will abide in Christ. In all the work will appear not the character of finite men, but the character of the infinite God. The divine influence imparted by holy angels will impress the minds brought in contact with the workers; and from these workers a fragrant influence will go forth to those who choose to inhale it. The goodly fabric of character wrought through divine power will receive light and glory from heaven, and will stand before the world as a witness, pointing to the throne of the living God.
Then the work will move forward with solidity and double strength. A new efficiency will be imparted to the workers. Men will learn of the reconciliation from iniquity which the Messiah has brought in through his sacrifice. The last message of warning and salvation will be given with mighty power. The earth will be lightened with the glory of God, and it will be ours to witness the soon coming, in power and glory, of our Lord and Saviour. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #17)
With every age God's plan deepens and broadens. His people are to adjust their movements to his progressive plan. They are to move forward with the force of Omnipotence, because they move in harmony with the divine purpose. They are to seize every opportunity to bless the world lying in darkness.
Our church members should show greater devotion. They should labor with greater zeal for the promulgation of the last message of mercy. Now is the time for all to work. Now is the time to separate from every species of self-indulgence. Those who are engaged in the Lord's service are to labor unselfishly, pressing together in Christian unity. They are to love as brethren; they are to be kind and courteous; their influence is to be a savor of life unto life.
Many young men and women now engaged in secular labor will feel impressed to give themselves to the service of God. Some will feel a desire to enter the canvassing field, and will become able evangelists. Let these be given opportunity to obtain an education for the work of God.
Those who are impressed to enter the work, whether in the home field or in the regions beyond, are to go forward in the name of the Lord. If they depend on God for grace and strength, they will succeed. At the beginning their work may be small, but if they follow the Lord's plans, it will enlarge. God lives. He will work for the unselfish, self-sacrificing laborer, whoever or wherever he may be.
God does not ask his servants to show their devotion to him by burying themselves in monasteries or by going on long pilgrimages. It is not necessary to do this in order to show a willingness to deny self. It is by working for those for whom Christ died that we show true love for him. By humiliation, suffering, and death Christ purchased the salvation of human beings. Those who love him will think how he laid aside his glory, and came to this earth to live the life of the poorest, suffering often from hunger. "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests," he said: "but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."
To each human being God has assigned a work. Abraham was called to go forth from his home, a lightbearer to the heathen, And without questioning, he obeyed. "He went out, not knowing whither he went." So today Christ's servants are to go where he calls, trusting him to guide them and give them success.
God's people are to feel a noble, generous sympathy for every line of work carried on in the great harvest field. By their baptismal vows they are pledged to make earnest, self-denying efforts to promote, in the hardest parts of the field, the work of soul-saving. God has placed on every believer the responsibility of striving to rescue the helpless.
To those who profess to believe in him, God says, "Go forth to all parts of the world, and diffuse the light of my truth, that men and women may be led to Christ." Let us awake to our duty. Let us do all that we can to help forward the Lord's work. Let superficial excuses be blown to the winds of heaven. No longer grieve the Spirit of God by delaying, Forget not the words, "We are laborers together with God." Cooperate with the angels sent down from the heavenly courts to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation.
Time is passing; the end is near. While you are unconsecrated, golden opportunities for helping souls to see Jesus as he is--full of grace and truth--are passing by, never to return. That which you have not done as a devoted Christian in the past, you can not now do. But through the grace of Christ you may redeem the time by redoubling your efforts. Let your interest in the souls for whom Christ has died deepen and broaden, Inquire not, "What shall this man do?" for then Christ would say to you, as he said to Peter, "What is that to thee?" Keep your own soul in the love of the truth, and work with untiring endeavor to win souls to the Saviour.
Earnest, self-sacrificing workers are needed, workers who will go to God, and with strong crying and tears plead for the precious souls who are going to ruin. There can be no harvest without seedsowing, no result without effort.
The work is fast closing up, and on every side wickedness is increasing. We have but a short time in which to work. Let us awake from spiritual slumber, and consecrate all that we have and are to the Lord. His Spirit will abide with true missionaries, furnishing them with power for service. God is an overflowing fountain of strength. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes. When this power is utilized, it will be found to be more than sufficient to meet the power of the enemy.-- Mrs. E. G. White, in Southern Watchman.
(Vol. 80, #18)
"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 Christ has promised to guide, comfort, and sustain his people. He declares, "I will be with you in your work of persuading men and woman to be my disciples." The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have pledged themselves to aid you in your unselfish efforts to turn men from unrighteousness to righteousness, from darkness to the light of truth.
The commission given to the disciples is given to us. The power promised to them is promised also to us. But have we fulfilled the commission? Have we placed ourselves where God can give us the power that he gave the disciples,--power which enabled them to preach the gospel so mightily that thousands were converted in a day? How can we expect the approval of heaven while we leave our fellow beings unwarned? Our people in the home field have not felt as they should the responsibility of working for their neighbors. They have not prayerfully taken up the work lying before them. Earnest, sanctified efforts have not been put forth for those in America who are unenlightened. In this field there are many unworked cities, many places that should be made centers of truth.
The Need of the Hour.--God's people should no longer fail to comprehend the needs of the present time. Every hour has its importance. They should see the need of standing in their lot and place, and of putting their powers to the stretch in doing their appointed work. Why are there so many idlers among those professedly engaged in the Lord's service? Every soul may catch the divine fervor. How can these idlers afford to hoard their wealth of knowledge and experience, while precious souls are out of the fold?
My brother, my sister, all your physical and mental and spiritual powers are God's gifts. Use them wisely. Develop the capabilities that the Lord has given you. Let every power of body and mind be used in earnest, willing service for God.
We need the deep moving of the Holy Spirit. All along the way we see souls dropping out of the ranks. Why?--Because they are not yoked up with Christ. United with him, we are safe in any peril. Faith cleaves to him, twining about him. The promise is fulfilled. "Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me."
Divine wisdom is at our command. "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." The Lord Jesus is waiting for his people to feel their need of his grace. When they draw near to him, he will draw near to them, by his power supplying all their needs. As they become one with him, they receive the riches of his grace. They follow in his footsteps, helping those who need help, lifting up the hands that hang down, strengthening the feeble knees, and directing the gaze to him who gave his life for the life of the world.
Perils in the Closing Work.--The coming of the Lord is nearer than when we first believed. What a wonderful thought it is that the great controversy is nearing its end! In the closing work we shall meet with perils that we know not how to deal with; but let us not forget that the three great powers of heaven are working, that a divine hand is on the wheel, and that God will bring his purposes to pass. He will gather from the world a people who will serve him in righteousness.
Fearful perils are before those who bear responsibilities in the Lord's work,--perils the thought of which makes me tremble. But the Word comes, "My hand is on the wheel, and in my providence I will carry out the divine plan."
Whom He Chooses.--The Lord will call young men from the humble walks of life into his service, just as he did when living in person on this earth. He passed by the learned rabbis, to choose as his first disciples humble, unlearned fishermen. He has workers whom he will call forth from poverty and obscurity. Engaged in the common duties of life, and clothed with coarse raiment, they are looked upon by men as of little worth. But they will become precious jewels, to shine brightly for the Lord. "They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels."
Christ's perfect knowledge of human nature fits him to deal with minds. He knows just how to treat each soul. He judges not as man judges. He knows the real value of the material upon which he is working. He will give wisdom and knowledge to those who are willing to be controlled by the Holy Spirit, willing to be doers of the word, and not hearers only, willing to uplift Christ before the world.
On the Saviour's coronation day he will not acknowledge as his any who bear spot or wrinkle. But to his faithful ones he will give crowns of immortal glory. Those who would not that he should reign over them will see him surrounded by the army of the redeemed, each bearing the sign, The Lord Our Righteousness. They will see the head once crowned with thorns crowned with a diadem of glory.
In that day the redeemed will shine forth in the glory of the Father and the Son. The angels of heaven, touching their golden harps, will welcome the King and his trophies of victory--those who have been washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. A song of triumph will peal forth, filling all heaven. Christ has conquered. He enters the heavenly courts accompanied by his redeemed ones,--the witnesses that his mission of suffering and sacrifice has not been in vain.
Will You Accept His Offer?--You may be weak, erring, sinful, but the Lord holds out to you the offer of partnership with himself. He wants you to come under divine instruction. Uniting with Christ, you can work the works of God. It is his righteousness that goes before us, and the glory of the Lord that is our rearward. Ye churches of the living God, study this promise, and think how your lack of faith, of spirituality, of divine power, is hindering the coming of the kingdom of God. If you should go forth to do Christ's work, angels of heaven would go before you, preparing hearts to receive the gospel. Were every one of you a living missionary, the message for this time would speedily be proclaimed in all countries, to every people and nation and tongue. This is the work that must be done before Christ shall come in power and great glory. Are you individually workers together with God? If not, why not? When do you mean to do your heaven-appointed work? By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #19)
Every watchman on the walls of Zion is under sacred obligation to watch for souls as he that must give an account. Through God's grace he can do a work that heaven shall approve, in laboring to keep the church in unity and peace. Let him remember that he is to publish peace, "endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
The church should respect the gospel ministry; for it is God's appointed means of communicating his messages to his people. The work of his ministers is to open to men and women the living oracles of truth. Let church members sustain the ministers by their prayers and their cooperation. Let no one venture to make a tirade on a minister; for in so doing he would be making a tirade on Christ in the person of one of his saints.
Christ is represented by those whom he sends forth to work for him; therefore those who oppose his ministers are opposing him. This is just as verily the case when those who claim to have an experience in the things of God pursue a course that hinders and afflicts one of God's servants, by misstatements and false charges, setting themselves up as judges of his course of action, which they claim to understand, but which has been misrepresented to them, and which, therefore, they do not understand.
Let our people remember that the way in which they treat the Lord's workers means much to them. Let every one attend to his own work, and not regard himself as appointed by the Lord to watch for something to criticize in the work that his brother does. If a worker sees that a fellow laborer is in danger of doing wrong, let him go to him, and point out his danger, listening kindly and patiently to any explanation that may be offered. He dishonors the Saviour when, instead of doing this, he tells others of the mistakes that he thinks his fellow worker is making.
My brother, my sister, you are forbidden to make the mistakes of a fellow worker the subject of conversation. By speaking evil of another, you sow the seeds of criticism and denunciation. You can not afford to do this. Go to the one who you think is in the wrong, and tell him his fault "between thee and him alone." If he will hear you, and can explain the matter to you, how glad you will be that you did not take up a reproach against him, but followed instead the Saviour's directions.
Let us refuse to bear evil reports concerning our fellow laborers. The reputation of men and women is held of high value by him who gave his life to save souls. He has told us how those in fault should be dealt with. No one is sufficiently wise to improve on God's plan.
Parents should teach their children to speak ill of no man. Insinuations, words that hurt the reputation of one who is doing the Lord's work, grieve and dishonor the Saviour. And God's Word declares, "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." To those who have educated themselves to speak unadvisedly, I am instructed to say, Unless you cease encouraging evil speaking, unless you guard as Christians should the reputation of your fellow workers, you will endanger your own soul and the souls of many others. No longer talk about the wrong that someone is doing. Never, never repeat a scandal. Go to the one assailed, and ask him in regard to the matter. God has not appointed any man to be the judge of another man's motives and work. He who feels at liberty to dissect the character of another, he who intentionally detracts from the influence of a fellow worker, is as verily breaking God's law as if he openly disregarded the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.
Unity of Action Essential.--The great enemy of the church is determined to introduce among God's people that which will result in disunion and variance. Schism and division are not the fruit of righteousness; they are of the evil one. The great hindrance to our advancement is the selfishness that prevents believers from having true fellowship with one another.
The last prayer that Christ offered for his disciples before his trial was that they might be one in him. Satan is determined that this oneness shall not be; for it is the strongest witness that can be borne that God gave his Son to reconcile the world to heaven. But the union for which Christ prayed must exist among God's people before he can bestow on the church the enlargement and power that he longs to bestow on it.
Unity should be recognized as the element of preservation in the church. Those who are united in church capacity have entered into a solemn covenant with God to obey his word, and to unite in an effort to strengthen the faith of one another. They are to be one in him, even though they are scattered the world over. This is God's purpose concerning them, and the heart of the Saviour is set upon his followers fulfilling this purpose. But God can not make them one with Christ and with one another unless they are willing to give up their way for his way.
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion." Thus is portrayed the happiness and grace that will be revealed when unity and love abide in the church.
Christ's Attitude Toward Judas.--Among the chosen disciples of Christ there was a representative of Satan. At heart Judas was not a disciple. Often he led the other disciples to form opinions contrary to the teachings of the Master. He criticised Christ's words, and asked questions that led the minds of the disciples away from the subjects that the Saviour brought before them. It was because of the influence that Judas exerted to deceive the disciples that Christ had to repeat so many of his lessons. Judas did not come out boldly in opposition to Christ; and therefore he was the better able to deceive the eleven.
Christ knew, when he permitted Judas to connect with him as one of the twelve, that Judas was possessed of the demon of selfishness. He knew that this professed disciple would betray him, and yet he did not separate him from the other disciples, and send him away. He was preparing the minds of these men for his death and ascension, and he foresaw that should he dismiss Judas, Satan would use him to spread reports that would be difficult to meet and explain. The leaders of the Jewish nation were watching and searching for something that they could use to make of no effect the words of Christ. The Saviour knew that Judas, if dismissed, could so misconstrue and mystify his statements that the Jews would accept a false version of his words, using this version to bring terrible harm to the disciples, and to leave on the minds of Christ's enemies the impression that the Jews were justified in taking the attitude that they did toward Jesus and his disciples.
Christ did not, therefore, send Judas from his presence, but kept him by his side, where he could counteract the influence that he might exert against his work.
All the way along in the history of the third angel's message there have been found among the believers men who have done much harm to God's cause. These men are spots in our feasts of charity; tares among the wheat; wolves among the sheep, ready to bite and devour. Delighting to bear false witness, they cruelly injure the reputation of others. Every such one will be rewarded "according to his works." God "hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world." Then will be made the separation between the wheat and the tares. In that day it will be clearly revealed that those who seek to destroy the reputation of God's servants are hypocrites. By their own lips will be borne the testimony that will clear from suspicion those against whom they have reported evil.
Had not Christ borne with Judas as he did, his followers would have been in great peril after his resurrection and ascension. But when men thought of the fate of the betrayer of innocent blood, they were afraid to lay hands on the disciples. They could not but remember the final confession of the traitor, and his terrible death. "I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood," he exclaimed, when he had cast at the feet of the high priest the pieces of silver that had been the price of his Lord's betrayal. Then in despair he went and hanged himself. That same day, as the wicked throng who were leading Jesus to the place of crucifixion passed a retired spot, they saw at the foot of a lifeless tree the body of Judas. His weight had broken the cord by which he had hanged himself, and in falling, his body had been horribly mangled. His remains were immediately buried out of sight; but there was less mockery among the throng; and many a pale face revealed the thoughts within.
The death of Judas, and the resurrection and ascension of Christ, placed the disciples on vantage ground, and gave them courage. But if Christ had not borne with Judas until the end, the results of the betrayer's course would not have been sufficiently impressive to stay the hands of the persecutors, and after Christ's ascension the most terrible scenes would have been witnessed. But God worked by his Spirit, and five thousand were converted in a day. Let God be true, and every man a liar. Christ Jesus is at the helm. "Lo" he declares, "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #20)
"Sanitarium, Cal., May 1, 1903.--"To My Brethren in Battle Creek: I am bowed down and greatly troubled. I am in sore distress. My whole being is full of pain. At times it seems to me that I can not live. The thought of the terrible spiritual destitution among our people presses heavily upon me. God's judgments have fallen upon our institutions in Battle Creek; but how little has this done to move hearts to repentance! Must the rebuke of God still continue to be felt? and will it still continue to be without effect? I am amazed at the apparent indifference of many who should see and understand. I know not what to say or do. Seeing that the judgments of God have made so light an impression on the minds of those occupying important positions, fear and trembling take hold of me as to what will be the next revelation of God's displeasure.
"Men have dishonored God by choosing their own way. They have brought into his institutions principles that he has condemned. They would not change the ways and works that displeased him and belittled the testing truth for these last days.
"Those who have disregarded the messages of warning have lost their bearings. Some, in their self-confidence, have dared to turn from what which they knew to be truth, with the words, 'Who has told Sister White?' These words show the measure of their faith and confidence in the work that the Lord has given me to do. They have before them the result of the work that the Lord has laid upon me, and if this does not convince them, no arguments, no future revelations, would affect them. The result will be that God will speak again in judgment as he has spoken heretofore. When for years his messages of warnings have come to institutions and individuals, and no special heed is taken, what power will convince them?--Only the power of God revealed in judgment. Yet his hand is stretched out still to save, if thorough repentance is shown.
"We need to watch and pray, lest we enter into temptation. On one occasion, as Christ was returning to Jerusalem from a missionary tour, he was speaking to those with him about the personal salvation that all must have who enter the kingdom of heaven. His words were becoming decidedly personal and very pointed, and one present, wishing to change the subject, said, 'Lord, are there few that be saved?' Then he said, 'Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us: and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence you are: then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say; I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.'
"In the great day of God, to many who make the entreaty, 'Lord, Lord, open unto us,' the answer will come, 'I know you not whence you are; depart from me.'
"There is a right way and a wrong way, and in one or the other each human being is following. Those who truly believe in Christ live a life of holy obedience. They are sanctified through the truth. Their piety is not a pretense, but a reality. They have a sanctified Christian experience in holy living.
"Let us make sure that we are perfecting Christian characters through belief of the truth. We can not be too particular in regard to this. If we fail here, our lifework will bring us no reward. Those who believe in Christ, and give up their will and their plans for God's will and God's plans enter upon a life of Christlikeness. This is the only way to gain salvation. Ellen G. White."
(Vol. 80, #21)
"Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast labored, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."
The words fall from the lips of One who can not lie. The picture reveals eternal vigilance. Christ is in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, walking from church to church, from congregation to congregation, from heart to heart. He that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. If the candlesticks were left to the care of human beings, how often the light would flicker and go out! But God has not given his church into the hands of men. Christ, the One who gave his life for the world, that all who believe in him may not perish but have everlasting life, is the Watchman of the house. He is the Warder, faithful and true, of the temple courts of the Lord.
"These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand." The words are spoken to the teachers in the church,--those entrusted by God with weighty responsibilities. The sweet influences that are to be abundant in the church are bound up with God's ministers, who are to reveal the precious love of Christ. The stars of heaven are under his control. He fills them with light. He guides and directs their movements. If he did not do this, they would become fallen stars. So with his ministers. They are but instruments in his hands, and all the good they accomplish is done through his power. Through them his light is to shine forth. The Saviour is to be their efficiency. If they will look to him as he looked to his Father, they will do his work. As they make God their dependence, he will give them his brightness to reflect to the world.
Christ walks in the midst of his churches through the length and breadth of the earth. He looks with intense interest to see whether his people are in such a condition spiritually that they can advance his kingdom. He is present in every assembly of the church. He knows those whose hearts he can fill with the holy oil, that they may impart it to others. Those who faithfully carry forward the work of Christ, representing in word and deed the character of God, fulfill the Lord's purpose for them, and Christ takes pleasure in them.
"I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience." Christ is acquainted with the history and experience of every one who has accepted him. To his people he says, "I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands." He cherishes carefully every act of love and endurance performed by them.
"And how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars." While we should not find fault and accuse, we should never give encouragement to evil. There are those who are vain talkers. Their influence is misleading. Unless they repent, they will be weighed in the balances, and found wanting. Faithful reproof may save them.
"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." At the first, the experience of the church at Ephesus was marked by childlike fervor and simplicity. An ardent, heartfelt love for Christ controlled the believers. They rejoiced in the love of God because Christ was an abiding presence in their hearts. In sentiment and action they were united. Love for Christ was the golden chain that bound them together. They followed on to know the Lord more and still more perfectly, and brightness and comfort and peace came into their lives. They trusted in the Lord. They did not think of hoarding the precious treasures of the grace of Christ. Their highest aim was to win souls to the Saviour. They felt the importance of their calling; and weighted with the precious message of the gospel,--peace on earth and good will toward men,--they called upon all to come to Christ.
Visiting the fatherless and the widow was part of their daily experience. They kept themselves unspotted from the world. They knew that a failure to do this would be a denial of the Redeemer.
In every city the work was carried forward. Warm, inspired appeals were made, and sinners were brought to the cross. In their turn they felt that they must tell of the inexhaustible treasure they had found. They could not rest until the beams of light which had illumined their minds were shining into the minds of others. Multitudes of believers were made acquainted with the reason of the hope held by the Christians. Precious light was flashed into minds darkened by error.
After a time coldness crept into the church. Differences unworthy of notice sprang up, and the eyes of the believers were taken from beholding Jesus as the author and finisher of their faith. Their love for one another began to wane. The multitudes that might have been convicted and converted by a faithful practice of the truth were left unwarned.
How is it with the church of today, which has received such great light? God sees that its members have lost the love for souls which Christ revealed to them when first they saw his unspeakable mercy for the fallen race. Then they could not keep silent. They were filled with desire to give to others the blessings they had received. Thus it is with all who are truly converted. Those who love sinners with the love of God will work the works of God.
Let the church arise and shine; for their light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon them. Let them understand that Christ expects them to do the work that he did while on this earth.
The leaven of truth needs to be introduced into society. The means of God's people should be used to carry forward his work in new fields. But many have selfishly grasped for themselves all the means they dared, and have coveted more. Grave evils have sapped the life and zeal and virtue of the church. Let us change quickly, or he who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, will say to us, as he said to the church of Ephesus, "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." The work that God desires to see done by Seventh-day Adventists is not done. Unless there is a decided change, the people will accept as truth that which is not truth.
A Call to Activity and Zeal.--Nigh and afar off the laws of God's kingdom are to be proclaimed. Let the churches arouse. Let the ministers clothe themselves with zeal as with a garment. God says to them, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." Anything less than active, earnest service for the Master gives the lie to our profession of Christianity. Only the Christianity that results in practical work will make an impression upon those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Praying, humble, believing Christians, who show by their actions that their greatest desire is to make known the saving truth that is to test all people, will gather a rich harvest of souls for the Master.
We need to break up the monotony of our religious labor. We are doing a work in the world, but we are not showing enough activity and zeal. If we were more in earnest, men would be convinced of the truth of our message. The tameness and monotony of our service for God repels many who are looking to see in us a deep, earnest, sanctified zeal. Legal religion will not answer for this age. We may perform all the outward acts of service, and yet be as destitute of the quickening influence of the Holy Spirit as the hills of Gilboa were destitute of dew and rain. We need spiritual moisture; and we need also the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness to soften and subdue our hearts.
In times past there were those who fastened their minds upon one soul after another, saying, "Lord, help me to save this soul." But now such instances are very rare. How many act as if they realized the peril of sinners? How many take to God in prayer those they know to be in danger, pleading with him to save them?
Remember that there are those who will perish unless we as God's instrumentalities work with a determination which will not fail or become discouraged. The Lord will provide ways and means for those who will seek him with all the heart. He has in readiness the most precious revelations of his grace to strengthen and encourage the sincere, humble worker. There is no excuse for the faith of our churches being so feeble. "Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope." There is strength for us in Christ. He is our Advocate. He dispatches his messengers to every part of his dominion to communicate his will to his creatures. He walks in the midst of his churches. He desires to sanctify, elevate, and ennoble his followers. The influence of those who truly believe in him will be a savor of life in the world. Christ holds the stars in his right hand, and it is his purpose to let his light shine forth through them to the world. Thus he desires to prepare his people for higher service in the church above. He has given us a great work to do. Let us do it faithfully. Let us show forth in our lives what divine grace can do for humanity. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #22)
Men and women are not to be spiritually dwarfed by a connection with the church, but strengthened, elevated, ennobled, prepared for the most sacred work ever committed to mortals. It is the Lord's purpose to have a well-trained army, ready to be called into action at a moment's notice. This army will be made up of well-disciplined men and women who have placed themselves under influences that have prepared them for service.
God's workers are to watch for souls as they that must give an account, and they need the abiding presence of Christ in their hearts, in order that they may win sinners to him. They must themselves have surrendered all to God, that they may tell those for whom they labor the need and meaning of unreserved surrender. They must remember that they are laborers together with God, and must guard against dilatory uncertain movements. Satan watches untiringly for opportunities to gain control of those whom they are seeking to win to Christ. Only through ceaseless vigilance can the worker for Jesus beat back the enemy. Only in the strength of the Redeemer can he lead the tempted one to the cross. It is not learning nor eloquence that will accomplish this, but the presentation of the truth of God, spoken in simplicity and with the power of the Spirit.
There is only one power that can turn the sinner from sin to holiness,--the power of Christ. Our Redeemer is the only one who can take away sin. He alone can forgive sin. He alone can make men steadfast, and keep them so.
The truth is not merely to be spoken by those who work for Christ; it is to be lived. People are watching and weighing those who claim to believe the special truths for this time. They are watching to see wherein their life represents Christ. By humbly and earnestly engaging in the work of doing good to all, God's people will exert an influence that will tell on all with whom they are brought in contact. If those who know the truth will take hold of this work as opportunities are presented, day by day doing deeds of love and kindness in the neighborhood where they live, Christ will be revealed in their lives. Those with whom they associate will see that they have been with Jesus, and have learned of him. The gospel will be proclaimed with living power. It will be seen to be a reality, not the result of imagination or enthusiasm. The lives of such Christians will have more power to convict and convert sinners than sermons, professions, or creeds.
Those who put their hand to the work of God must depend on the blessing and wisdom that come from above. It is the Holy Spirit that makes powerful the presentation of the truth, and changes the temper and habits of man. He who submits to its working is changed from a sinner into a child of God. "The Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more"
He who calls men to repentance must commune with God in prayer. He must cling to the Mighty One, saying, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." Give me power to win souls to Christ. There is not one tithe of the pleading with God that there will be when Christ breathes on us, and says, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." Be assured, my brethren and sisters, that God's Spirit will plead for the conversion of souls, with groanings that can not be uttered. Be instant in season and out of season, warning the young, pleading with sinners, your heart filled with the love that led Christ to give his life for the life of the world.
When there comes from the lips of the sinner the cry, "I fear that my sins are too grievous to be forgiven," point to Jesus, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Lead him to look away from himself to the Saviour, and the victory is won. He sees for himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Sun of Righteousness sheds his bright beams into his heart. The strong tide of redeeming love pours into the parched and thirsty soul, and the sinner is saved to Christ.
Christ crucified--talk it, pray it, sing it, and it will break and win hearts. Set, formal phrases, the presentation of merely argumentative subjects, is productive of little good. The melting love of God in the hearts of the workers will be recognized by those for whom they labor. Souls are thirsting for the water of life. Do not allow them to go from you empty. Reveal the love of Christ to them. Lead them to Jesus, and he will give them the bread of life and the water of salvation.
In our work we have an ever-present Helper. If we feel our great need, and draw near to God, he will draw near to us, and will use us as channels through which to communicate the vital energy that will rouse souls from careless indifference, and lead them to seek God before it is too late. It is because of a lack of faith that God's people have no more of his power. Earnest, living faith is needed,--faith that will take firm hold of the promises made to the followers of Christ.
How important it is that God's messengers walk worthy of the truth they present! When they do this, when they are men of prayer and faith, obedient to the Lord's commands, the Holy Spirit will work through them, and the people will be willing in the day of his power.
Christ has opened a fountain for the sinful, suffering world, and the voice of divine mercy is heard, Come, all ye thirsting souls; come and drink. You may take the water of life freely. "Let him that heareth say, Come. . . . And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Let every soul, men as well as women, sound the message. Then the truth for this time will be carried to the waste places of the earth. The word will be fulfilled. "I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys;" and "with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #22)
The canvassing work should no longer be neglected. Many times I have been shown that there should be a more general interest in our canvassing work. The circulation of our literature is one very important means of placing before men and women the light that the Lord has committed to his church to be given to the world. The books sold by our canvassers open to many minds the unsearchable riches of Christ.
In the service of God there is work of many kinds to be performed. In the service of the temple there were hewers of wood, as well as priests of various orders bearing different degrees of responsibility. Our church members are to arise and shine because their light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon them. Let those who know the truth arouse out of sleep, and make every effort to reach the people where they are. The work of the Lord must no longer be neglected by us, and made secondary to worldly interests. We have no time to be idle or discouraged. The gospel is to be proclaimed to all the world. The publications containing the light of present truth are to go forth to all places. Canvassing campaigns are to be organized for the sale of our literature, that the world may be enlightened as to what is just before us.
Why are we not more wide awake? Each worker may now understand his special work, and receive strength to take hold of it anew. Distinct and peculiar developments of the boundless glory of God will bring tributary offerings of varied kinds to the feet of Jesus. Every new disclosure of the Saviour's love turns the balance for some soul in one direction or the other. The end of all things is at hand. The men of the world are rushing on to their ruin. Their schemes, their confederacies, are many. New devices will continually be brought in to make of no effect the counsel of God. Men are heaping up treasures of gold and silver to be consumed by the fires of the last days.
Canvasser-evangelists are needed, to hunt and fish for souls. The canvassing work should now be earnestly and decidedly taken up. The canvasser whose heart is meek and lowly can accomplish much good. Going out two and two, canvassers can reach a class that can not be reached by our campmeetings. From family to family they carry the message of truth. Thus they come into close touch with the people, and find many opportunities to speak of the Saviour. Let them sing and pray with those who become interested in the truths they have to give. Let them speak to families the words of Christ. They may expect success; for theirs is the promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Canvassers who go forth in the spirit of the Master have the companionship of heavenly beings.
I beg those bearing responsibilities in God's cause to let no commercial enterprises interpose between them and the work of soul-saving. Let no business be allowed to absorb the time and talents of workers who ought to be engaged in preparing a people for the coming of the Lord. The truth is to go forth as a lamp that burneth. Time is short; the enemy will make every effort to magnify in our minds matters of lesser consequence, and to lead us to regard lightly the very work that most needs to be done.
The things of this world are soon to perish. This is not discerned by those who have not been divinely enlightened, who have not kept pace with the work of God. Consecrated men and women must go forth to sound the warning in the highways and the byways. I urge my brethren and sisters not to engage in work that will hinder them from proclaiming the gospel of Christ. You are God's spokesmen. You are to speak the truth in love to perishing souls. "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." Christ says. Do not these words plainly outline the work of the canvasser? With Christ in his heart he is to go forth into the highways and byways of life, giving the invitation to the marriage supper. Men of wealth and influence will come, if they are invited. Some will refuse, but thank God, not all.
O that thousands more of our people had a realization of the time in which we are living, and of the work to be done in field service, in house-to-house labor. There are many, many who know not the truth. They need to hear the call to come to Jesus. The sorrowing are to be cheered, the weak strengthened, the mourners comforted. The poor are to have the gospel preached to them.
The Master knows and watches over his workers, in whatever part of his vineyard they are working. He calls upon his church to arouse and become acquainted with the situation. He calls upon those in our institutions to awake and set in operation influences that will advance his kingdom. Let them send forth laborers into the field, and then see that the interest of these laborers does not flag for lack of sympathy and of opportunities for development.
My brethren and sisters, remember that one day you will stand before the Lord of all the earth, to give an account of the deeds done in the body. Then your work will appear as it really is. The vineyard is large, and the Lord is calling for laborers. Do not allow anything to keep you from the work of soul-saving. The canvassing work is a most successful way of saving souls. Will you not try it?
Those in the darkness of error are the purchase of the blood of Christ. They are the fruit of his suffering, and they are to be labored for. Let our canvassers know that it is for the advancement of Christ's kingdom that they are laboring. He will teach them as they go forth to their God-appointed work, to warn the world of a soon-coming judgment. Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer, the power of the love of God, the evangelist's work will not, can not, be without fruit. Think of the interest that the Father and the Son have in this work. As the Father loves the Son, so the Son loves those that are his,--those who work as he worked to saved perishing souls. None need feel that they are powerless: for Christ declares, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." He has promised that he will give this power to his workers. His power is to become their power. They are to link their souls with God. Christ desires all to enjoy the wealth of his grace, which is beyond all computation. It is limitless, exhaustless. It is ours by eternal covenant, if we will be workers together with God. It is ours if we will unite with him to bring many sons and daughters to God.
Christ's interests are the first and the highest of all interests. He has a property in this world that he wishes secured, saved for his everlasting kingdom. It is for his Father's glory and for his own glory that his messengers shall go forth in his name; for they and he are one. They are to reveal him to the world. His interests are their interests. If they will be co-laborers with him, they will be made heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ to an immortal inheritance. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 80, #22)
How this Book should be Handled in the Future.--The use which should be made of the book, "Christ's Object Lessons," in the future, has been made clear to me, and I must write to my brethren in regard to it. Letters have been received from our canvassing agents, in which they say that they think it would be a good plan for "Christ's Object Lessons" to be handled as a regular subscription book, as soon as the Relief of the Schools campaign is finished. They believe that this book would have as ready a sale in the hands of the regular canvassers as any that could be produced.
As my son read me one of these letters, the thought came to me, "Here is an opportunity for me to get out of debt. Is not this the right thing to do?" I told my son that I thought that perhaps it would be best to do as the letter had suggested. Then I sent to heaven the prayer, "Lord, teach me to speak right words." Quickly the answer came. In an instant the light given me at the first regarding "Christ's Object Lessons" flashed into my mind, and the instruction then given was repeated. I seemed to hear the words, "God signified that this book should be given to our schools, to be to them a continual blessing. Would you exchange his plan for one of human devising? This book is to be treated as a sacred offering made to God; and as his plan regarding it is unselfishly carried out, the result will be wholly satisfactory."
I immediately told my son that I would not make any change regarding the handling of "Christ's Object Lessons" unless God gave me plain instruction that this should be done. As I told him this, I felt the blessing of God resting upon me.
The plan for the circulation of "Christ's Object Lessons" is not of human devising, but is God's plan. He signified that this book should be a gift to the schools. Thus far it has done its work, and God has set his approval on the self-sacrificing efforts of his people. Shall we mar his plan?--No, no! Until the Lord shall come, and our present system of school work is ended by our entering the higher school, "Christ's Object Lessons" is to stand as a gift to our educational institutions.
The Result of Unselfish Service.--In the work for the relief of our schools, the Lord has bestowed on us a gift of great value, and has marked out for us the pathway of blessing. He called upon me to give our schools the manuscript of the book. "Christ's Object Lessons." He called upon our publishing houses to make liberal gifts of labor in preparing the book for sale. In response to this call, they acted their part nobly. Our people gave generously of their means to raise a material fund, and then went forth willingly to sell the book for the help of the schools.
As a result of this effort far more has been accomplished than at first we dared to expect. Angels of God cooperated with those who went out to circulate the book. Men, women, and children took part in the effort, and labored earnestly and unselfishly. The Lord gave them his approval, and with it his grace and joy and peace. Read in our papers the results of their work. Testimony after testimony has been borne witnessing to the blessing found in selling this book. How good these testimonies are! As we read them, refreshing streams of salvation seem to flow from the very throne of God into our hearts.
I have been shown many praying to God for help as they have gone forth to sell "Christ's Object Lessons." They have asked the Lord to give them success. Then, as they have succeeded, they have felt that they have received evidence that the Lord has answered their prayers. Thus they have obtained a deeper experience in heavenly things; for they have felt that they were following in the footsteps of Christ.
With many, to go out and sell "Christ's Object Lessons" meant to take up a heavy cross, but they have been rewarded by God's approval. The thought, "We are doing something for the Master," has filled their hearts with peace and gladness. Church members who never before had courage to sell books, took hold of this work. Very timidly they began. But they did not turn back; and as they labored on, courage came, and success attended their efforts. Many gained an experience more valuable than gold or silver..
The hearts of God's people have been made light and joyful in him as they have offered him the sweet incense of unselfish service. Many of our churches have been quickened and refreshed as some of their number have engaged in this work.
Our brethren and sisters were just as surely in the service of the Lord when selling this book as they are when bearing testimony for him in a campmeeting. They received the refreshing grace of God; for they were carrying out his purposes, and he has bestowed on them his commendation. Their minds have been freed from the malaria of selfishness and complaint and discouragement.
By the effort to sell "Christ's Object Lessons" much has been accomplished to bring the precious light of present truth to those in darkness. Thus many have been saved from sin. For every spring of influence touched, for every train of thought set in motion with a sincere desire to glorify God, the Holy Spirit has worked on hearts, bringing wisdom, courage, and strength. Those who have bought the book bear testimony to the blessing they have received in reading it. Many will shine in the kingdom of God whose conversion was the result of the efforts of our brethren and sisters to sell "Christ's Object Lessons."
The men who have taken a leading part in this enterprise have done a good work. Their labors have brought about most excellent results. They are not to become discouraged, but are to look to God in faith, and go forward, walking humbly before him. Our brethren connected with the school at Berrien Springs should be encouraged to advance as the way may open before them. We are to help them all we can. Christ stands at the helm, and to him is to be ascribed the praise and glory for the work accomplished by "Christ's Object Lessons." This work bears the stamp of unselfishness, and it will produce good fruit. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 80, #23)
It is not God's plan that reports regarding the work of his servants shall be passed from one to another. My brethren, when some one comes to you with an accusation against a fellow worker, say to him, Have you gone to the one you are accusing, in the way in which Christ told you to go? If you have not done this, I am not at liberty to listen to what you have to say about him.
Hear what Christ has said regarding this matter: "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." And he said again, "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."
O, how much time is worse than wasted by evil speaking! Because of this sin, not half is accomplished that might be accomplished. Men and women become mischief-makers for Satan, and going to this one and that one, place in their minds the leaven of evil, prejudicing them against a brother or a sister, who, they say, has done wrong. The thoughts of those thus influenced are misdirected, their peace is disturbed, and their confidence in their brethren is weakened. Those who do this evil work are departing from Christ, to follow one who is teaching them to love and make a lie. Whatever their position in the service of God, they are dishonoring him. All their qualifications and capabilities, however commendable they may apparently be, will not supply the deficiency resulting from the lack of Christlike love.
Those who think and speak evil of their fellow laborers, opening the mind to false reports, and taking up a reproach against their neighbor, grieve the Spirit of God, and put Christ to open shame. I feel so saddened, so discouraged, by the thought that God's servants are willing to listen to and circulate hearsay. I know that the Holy Spirit will not cooperate with those who, by their criticisms, their evil surmisings, and their hardheartedness, are helping Satan. God says to them, "Thou hast left thy first love. . . . Repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly." I will not bear long with your perverse spirit, which leads you to cherish envy and evil surmising. "I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." Do not these words, so plain and decided, call for serious thought and earnest study on the part of every one who claims to believe the Word of God? "Thou hast left thy first love." And the dryness and coldness of heart are revealed by a lack of that Christian courtesy, that kindness and tenderness, which is seen in the life of the true Christian.
On one occasion, on his way from Bethany to Jerusalem, Christ passed a fig orchard. He was hungry, "and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find anything thereon." The tree presented an appearance of fruitfulness, but upon searching its branches, from the lowest bough to the topmost twig, Jesus found "nothing but leaves." It was a mass of pretentious foliage, nothing more. Today Christ comes to his people, hungering to find in them the fruits of righteousness. But many, many, have nothing but leaves to offer him. They have left their first love, and upon them has fallen spiritual blindness, hardness of heart, stubbornness of mind. They pray to God, and present Bible truth to the people; for they are in the habit of doing so; but they have lost that which would make their service acceptable. How blind they are! how defective their service! Boastingly they say, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." But God says to them, "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."
Will God's people accept this reproof? Let them beware of remaining in their present condition; for time is fast passing, and the work that ought to be done is not done. How unlike Christ we are in word and spirit, and in our attitude toward one another! His gentleness should make us "kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another." As a people who have had great light we stand before God under condemnation unless we fulfill the Saviour's purpose for us, holding fast to him, and allowing him to send through our religious experience a warm current of unselfish love. When we do this, our spiritual strength will show that we are living in close connection with the Lifegiver. We shall impart grace for the grace that we receive.
A thoroughgoing Christian draws his motives of action from his deep heart-love for his Master. Up through the roots of his affection for Christ come faith, and an unselfish interest in those around him. The selfish desire to be first is quenched. There is no hatred in his thoughts, because there is no hatred in his heart. He has the faith that works by love, and purifies the soul. The refining influence of the Saviour's life refreshes and invigorates his spiritual life. By his loyalty to his brethren he shows that he realizes the value of souls. He can pray with the spirit and with the understanding also. His zeal, his stanch adherence to principle, his devotion to all that is pure, honest, just, and of good report, make him companionable, and helpful to those with whom he associates.
Such men are of value with God. If they continue to put their trust in him, they will grow more and more like him. One day they will see God, who declares, "I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir." Mrs. E. G. White
(Vol. 80, #24)
Paul writes of Christ: "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat."
Paul could not speak to the Jewish converts as plainly as he desired regarding the mystery of godliness. Because of their spiritual weakness, their lack of perception, he could not utter the truth, which, could they have heard aright, with intelligent comprehension, would have been to them a savor of life unto life.
The fault was not with their instructors, but with themselves. They were dull of understanding. Abundant advantages had been given them. They could have increased in understanding regarding Christ, his work, his power to save to the uttermost all who come to him. But they had not pressed onward and upward, improving their opportunity to learn more and still more of the Saviour. Because they had not received in faith the truths imparted to them, their memory was weak. They could not retain in their minds the truths essential to success in character-building.
The apostle calls their attention to their fault in this respect, which had become their spiritual infirmity. Their misconceptions gave them an indistinct view of Christ's power to make his people a praise in the earth.
How exactly their condition represents the condition of many of the people of God today, who have had every advantage, every privilege, and who, feeling the burden of God's work, ought to be saying with the whole heart, Here I am, Lord; send me. But in the place of being teachers, as they might be, they themselves can not bear the plain application of the Word of God. They do not discern the value of Bible truth. They are not a strength to the church. Had they thoroughly consecrated themselves to the Lord from their first reception of the truth, surrendering themselves unreservedly to him, and obeying the call, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me," they would have walked in the companionship of Christ, learning his lessons, receiving his divine impress. They would have recognized the claims of Christ, and would not have been half Christians and half worldlings, but wholehearted Christians, believing and practicing the word, enlightened continually, not dwelling on vague generalities, but proclaiming Christ as the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.
Many who should be far advanced in Christian experience give evidence that they have forgotten the first principles of Christlike service. They are but children in the things of God. Their greatest desire is to carry out their own plans, while plans that the Lord lays before them they declare can not be followed.
In the most definite terms the Lord through Moses set before his chosen people his purpose for them, and the conditions upon which they would be prospered. "Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God; the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people; but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations: and repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them."
God calls for men whose hearts are warmed by the love of Christ. He will choose workers from among those who are willing to hear his voice and obey his words. Their capabilities may be limited, but they are loyal; and loyalty is of far more value in God's sight than mere knowledge.
God calls for earnest, high-principled men. He will use such men in his service. But he will separate from his work the lukewarm, worldly minded, self-exalted ones. Those who have buried their talents will be replaced by men who will put into wise circulation the means God has placed in their hands. Learning lessons of Christ, these workers will combine patience with diligence. Christ's work will be done. His servants will erect plants in every place in which they can find an opening. On the missionary ground next to our doors,--in the cities around us,--monuments to the truth will be established. By unselfish effort the work of God will be bound off. Humble, devoted laborers will find ways of reaching those who have not had an opportunity to hear the truth.
God's Word outlines the work that we are to do. In all parts of the world the gospel is to be preached. God calls for volunteers to engage in his work. The canvassing field is in need of recruits. Those who engage in this work in the spirit of the Master will find entrance to the homes of those who need the truth. To these they can tell the simple story of the cross, and God will strengthen and bless them as they lead others to the light. The righteousness of Christ goes before them, and the glory of God is their rearward.
My brother, my sister, it is not enough to fold your hands, and say "I am in the light." Are you walking in the light? Is the genuineness of your profession demonstrated by practical, earnest endeavor? He who works for Christ makes steady advancement. It is the doers of the Word who will be justified before God. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
To walk in the light is to walk uprightly, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord. The path of obedience is the path to heaven. Following it, we follow on to know the Lord. He who walks uprightly walks surely. The law of God is in his heart, and his steps do not slide. He stands firm in Christ.
There should be constant growth in spirituality, in righteousness, in sanctification. Every faculty of the being is to increase in usefulness. The mind is to be closely united with the mind of the Redeemer, that when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we may appear with him in glory.
The Christian pilgrim does not yield to the desire to rest. He moves steadily forward, saying, The day is far spent; the night is at hand. This is his motto: "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after. . . . I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Mrs. E. G. White..
(Vol. 80, #24)
We are living in a time when a great work is to be done. There is a famine in the land for the pure gospel, and the bread of life is to be given to hungry souls. There is no better opportunity to do this work than that offered to the consecrated canvasser. Thousands of books containing the precious light of present truth should be placed in the homes of the people in our large cities.
Canvassers are needed to take up the work of carrying these silent messengers of truth to the people,--canvassers who feel a burden for souls, and who can speak words in season to those who are seeking for light. Some may say, "I am not a minister; I can not preach to the people." You may not be able to preach, but you can be an evangelist, ministering to the needs of those with whom you come in contact; you can be God's helping hand, working as the disciples worked; you can ask those you meet if they love the Lord Jesus.
The Canvasser an Evangelist.--The canvassing work is a work of great responsibility, and it means much not only to those who are engaged in it, but to the people for whom they labor. Let the canvasser remember that his work is evangelistic in its nature, and that God wants those whom he meets to be saved. Let him keep his heart under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Let him keep the Bible near him for reference, and when an opportunity presents itself to speak words of truth, let him pray for grace to speak wisely, that to those to whom he speaks his words may be a savor of life unto life.
The canvasser should make every effort in his power to let the light of truth shine forth in good works. In his discharge of duty he should shed about him the fragrance of Christian courtesy, improving every opportunity to perform acts of helpful service. He should educate himself to speak distinctly and impressively. He should learn daily in the school of the great Teacher. Christ will surely help those who hide in him, depending on him for strength. Mrs. E. G. White..
(Vol. 80, #25)
On us is shining the accumulated light of God's dealings with his people. For our admonition a record has been kept of his reproofs of wrongdoing. We have a knowledge not only of that which he condemns, but of the faithful, commendable work of those who have put their trust in him. The light we may gain from these experiences of God's people in past ages, places upon us in the present crisis a great and solemn responsibility.
In the providence of God, a voice has proclaimed his truth in every age. And in this age faithful workers are unitedly to proclaim with no uncertain voice to the world the special message of truth for this time. They are to proclaim this message in accordance with God's plans, not in accordance with human suggestions.
God's people are to be of a ready mind, quick to see and to avail themselves of every opportunity to advance the Lord's cause. They have a message to bear. By pen and voice they are to sound the note of warning. Only a few will listen; only a few will have ears to hear. Satan has artfully devised many ways of keeping men and women under his influence. He leads them to weaken their organs by the gratification of perverted appetite and by indulgence in worldly pleasure. Intoxicating liquor, tobacco, the theater and the racecourse,--these and many other evils are benumbing man's sensibilities, and causing multitudes to turn a deaf ear to God's merciful entreaties.
The human family have become careless and presumptuous. In the place of serving God, they are serving idols. They do not profit by the warning, "Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting [intemperance in eating or in seeking for pleasure], and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares." God's sentinels are to stand constantly on the watchtower, faithfully warning the church against the evils that, if allowed to enter, would weaken and injure the flock.
Every one whose name is on the church books should clearly understand what union with the church means. It means that you have pledged yourself to serve God. It means that you have fully surrendered self to him, in order that Christ may reign where self once reigned. It means that you have given up the selfish ideas and plans that you cherished for so long, and have yielded your mind to the mind of Christ. It means that your fixed purpose is to be one with God, one with his people; that you will exercise self-denial and self-sacrifice to advance the interests of his kingdom; that you will strive to overcome everything that hinders growth in grace.
The Lord leaves in darkness no one who has an ear to hear and a heart to understand. Let every one keep the eye single to God's glory. Be not led astray by the snares of the wicked one. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." Let the warnings that God has given in his Word be voiced by the watchmen on the walls of Zion, and heeded by every one in the Master's service. Every case will be tried, every soul proved. Let each one ask, "Am I an evil servant? Do I by precept and example lead other souls in false paths?" Remember that your influence is affecting others for good or for evil.
I beseech the members of every church to seek now for the greatest blessing heaven can bestow--the Holy Spirit. If in faith you seek for a greater measure of God's Spirit, you will be constantly taking it in and breathing it out. Daily you will receive a fresh supply, daily your experience will be enriched by the rich current of God's love. Before you there lie vast fields of truth, vast resources of power. Let your daily prayer be, "Take away, O Lord, what thou dost choose to take, but withhold not from us thy Holy Spirit."
Preparation for Service.--Every true child of God prepares himself for service. Jesus said, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." "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. . . . This do, and thou shalt live." These words mean much. Service to God includes all there is of man. The affections must be centered on him alone.
As were God's people anciently, so we should be prepared to advance when the cloud rises and moves forward, and to halt when the cloud stops. We must adjust our movements to the guidance of God's Spirit. In the place of following ways of our own devising, we are to cooperate with divinity. Thus we shall be enabled to keep pace with our Leader.
In order to be a Christian, it is not necessary for a man to have great talents. The human agent may have no voice in legislative councils; he may not be permitted to deliberate in senates or vote in parliaments; yet he has access to God. The King of kings bends low to listen to the prayer coming from one who desires to do the Master's will. An earnest prayer offered from a sincere, contrite heart is of more value in God's sight than is eloquence of speech. God hears every prayer offered with the incense of faith. His weakest child may exert an influence in harmony with the councils of heaven. It is in answer to prayer that God revives his work.
O that the workers at home and abroad could be aroused to stand in their allotted place in the crisis that has come! If all would realize that it is their privilege to be laborers together with God, with what earnestness and devotion they would labor to enlighten the world! They would seize every opportunity to bear the truth into new territory!
God says, "Them that honor me I will honor." Let us honor him by joining the ranks of his workers. The Leader of the host of heaven is waiting for human agencies to enlist in his service. He will lead us forth, an exceeding great army, to the conquest of the world. With such a Leader we may gain victory in every conflict.
We have no breath to waste in controversy. We are to watch, pray, work, believe, and wait. Let us proclaim the truth in its simplicity, uplifting the Man of Calvary higher and still higher.
"The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men [not merely enjoining them by the force of command, but communicating divine knowledge], teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Mrs. E. G. White..
(Vol. 80, #25)
Fathers and mothers, ask in faith for wisdom to deal with your children in the fear of God. They are a part of your flesh and blood, and have inherited your temperament. When you see them acting as you would act were you not under the control of the Spirit of God, how patiently you should deal with them. Notwithstanding your mistakes and failures, Christ has dealt kindly and patiently with you.
If you desire to learn what course to take with your children, make their peculiar temperaments your constant study. All children can not be managed alike. You may need to manage one child differently from the way in which you manage another. Go to God, telling him your perplexity. He will teach you how to deal with human minds. When you learn lessons from the Source of wisdom, when you manifest an earnest desire to save the souls of those who are of your own flesh and blood, when you show a determination not to let them go but to hold on to them, you will be able to bring them up in the fear of God.
We have much to learn in regard to child training. When teaching the little ones to do things, we must not scold them. Never should we say, "Why did you not do this?" Say, "Children, help mother do this;" or, "Come, children, let us do this." Be their companion in doing these things. When they finish their work, praise them.
Years ago the children in my home were learning how to knit. One of them asked me, "Mother, I should like to know whether I am helping you by trying to do this knitting work?" I knew that I should have to take out every stitch, but I replied, "Yes, my child, you are helping me." Why could I say that they were helping me?--Because they were learning. When they did not make the stitches as they should have made them, I took out every stitch afterward, but never did I condemn them for their failure. Patiently I taught them until they knew how to knit properly.
The mother is the queen of the home. She must not allow her children to treat her as a slave. Many a mother has gone down into the grave with a broken heart, because she made a slave of herself, doing things that she should have taught her children to do. Let every mother teach her children that they are members of the family firm, and must bear their share of the responsibilities of this firm. Every member of the family should bear these responsibilities as faithfully as church members bear the responsibilities of church relationship.
Let the children know that they are helping father and mother by doing little errands. Give them some work to do for you, and tell them that afterward they can have a time to play.
Dress your children neatly in simple clothing, and allow them to spend much time out of doors. You can furnish them with cartloads of sand in which to play. By playing in the sunshine and the fresh air, children will gain health and strength of mind and body. They will be benefited both spiritually and physically. The Lord recognizes every such effort.
The spiritual education of the child begins in the home. The mother, as the first teacher, should teach her children how to pray, by having them repeat a simple prayer after her. The Saviour dwells in the homes of those who teach their children to pray for his blessing to rest upon them. The saving power of the grace of God will be given to such fathers and mothers.
After the children have learned to write, encourage them to keep a record of the occurrences of the day, noting the points on which they have overcome through the grace of Christ, and also the points on which they have failed. During the evening hour of prayer have a blessed season of confession, and of praise and rejoicing. I am sorry that we do not have more praise services in our homes, sorry that we are so slow to learn to praise him from whom all blessings flow. Mrs. E. G. White..
(Vol. 80, #25)
The temperance question is to receive decided support from God's people. Intemperance is striving for the mastery; self-indulgence is increasing, and the publications treating on health reform are greatly needed. Literature bearing on this point is the helping hand of the gospel, leading souls to search the Bible for a better understanding of the truth. The note of warning against the great evil of intemperance should be sounded; and that this may be done, every Sabbath-keeper should study and practice the instruction contained in our health periodicals and our health books. And they should do more than this: they should make earnest efforts to circulate these publications among their neighbors.
Selling Health Literature.--The sale of our health literature will in no way hinder the sale of publications dealing with other phases of the third angel's message. All are to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.
Canvassers should call the attention of those they visit to our health publications, telling them of the valuable instruction these periodicals contain regarding the care of the sick and treatment of diseases. Tell them this instruction, studied and practiced, will bring health to the family. Explain how important it is for every family to understand the science of life. Direct their minds to him who formed and who keeps in motion the wonderful machinery of the body. Tell them that it is our part to cooperate with God, caring wisely for all our faculties and organs. The proper care of the body is a great responsibility, and requires an intelligent knowledge of its parts. Tell them that God is dishonored when, for the gratification of appetite and passion, man misuses the machinery of the body, so that it does its work feebly and with difficulty. Tell them that the books you have for sale give much valuable instruction regarding health, and that by practicing this instruction, much suffering, and also much of the money spent in paying doctors' bills, will be saved. Tell them that in these books there is advice which they can not possibly obtain from their physician during the short visits he makes.
Teaching Health Principles by Example.--In his association with those whom he meets, the canvasser can do much to show the value of healthful living. Instead of staying at a hotel, he should, if possible, obtain lodging with a private family. As he sits at the table with the family, let him practice the instruction given in the health works he is selling, holding up the banner of strict temperance. As opportunity is offered, let him speak of the value of a healthful diet. He should never be ashamed to say, "No, thank you; I do not eat meat." If tea is offered, let him refuse it, explaining that it is harmful, that though for a time stimulating, the stimulating effect passes off, and a corresponding depression is left. Let him explain the injurious effect of intoxicating drinks, and of tobacco, tea, and coffee, on the digestive organs and the brain.
Ministering to the Sick.--As the canvasser goes from place to place, he will find many who are sick. He should have a practical knowledge of the causes of disease, and should understand how to give simple treatments, that he may relieve the suffering ones. More than this, he should pray in faith and simplicity for the sick, pointing them to the great Physician. As he thus walks and works with God, ministering angels are beside him, giving him access to hearts. What a wide field for missionary effort lies before the faithful, consecrated canvasser; what a blessing will be his in the diligent performance of his work.
A Sacred and Important Work.--Young men, young women, you are called by the Master to take up his work. His requirements are too sacred to be tampered with. In the name of the Lord I ask you to conquer every unlawful appetite and passion, and to purify your souls by a belief in the truth. Overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony. Discharge faithfully your obligations, looking to God for strength.
Church members, awake to the importance of the circulation of our literature, and devote more time to this work. Place in the homes of the people papers, tracts, and books that will preach the gospel in its several lines. There is no time to be lost. Let many give themselves willingly and unselfishly to the canvassing work, and thus help to sound a warning that is greatly needed. When the church takes up her appointed work, she will go forth "fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." Mrs. E. G. White..
(Vol. 80, #26)
There is a much greater work devolving upon the individual members of the church than they realize. They are not awake to the claims of God. The time has come when there should be devised every means that can aid in preparing a people to stand in the day of God. We must be wide awake, refusing to let precious opportunities pass unimproved. We must do all that we possibly can to win souls to love God and keep his commandments. Jesus requires this of those who know the truth. Is his demand unreasonable? Do we not have the life of Christ as our example? Do we not owe the Saviour a debt of love, of earnest, unselfish labor for the salvation of those for whom he gave his own life?
Many of the members of our large churches are doing comparatively nothing. They might accomplish a good work, if, instead of crowding together, they would scatter into places that have not yet been entered by the truth. Trees that are planted too thickly do not flourish. They are transplanted by the gardener, that they may have room to grow, and not become dwarfed and sickly. The same rule would work well for our large churches. Many of the members are dying spiritually for want of this very work. They are becoming sickly and inefficient. Transplanted, they would have room to grow strong and vigorous.
It is not the purpose of God that his people should colonize, or settle together in large communities. The disciples of Christ are his representatives upon the earth, and God designs that they shall be scattered all over the country, in the towns, cities, and villages, as lights amid the darkness of the world. They are to be missionaries for God, by their faith and works testifying to the near approach of the coming Saviour.
The lay members of our churches can accomplish a work which as yet they have scarcely begun. None should move into new places merely for the sake of worldly advantage; but where there is an opening to obtain a livelihood, let families that are well-grounded in the truth enter, one or two families in a place, to work as missionaries. They should feel a love for souls, a burden of labor for them, and should study how to bring them into the truth. They can distribute our publications, hold meetings in their homes, become acquainted with their neighbors, and invite them to come to these meetings and Bible readings. Thus they can let their light shine in good works.
Let the workers stand alone in God, weeping, praying, laboring for the salvation of their fellow men. Remember that you are running a race, striving for a crown of immortality. While so many love the praise of men more than the favor of God, let it be yours to labor in humility. Learn to exercise faith in presenting your neighbors before the throne of grace, and pleading with God to touch their hearts. In this way effectual missionary work may be done. Some may be reached who would not listen to a minister or a colporteur. And those who thus labor in new places will learn the best ways and means of approaching the people, and can prepare the way for other laborers.
A precious experience may be gained by one who engages in this work. He has upon his heart the burden of the souls of his neighbors. He must have the help of Jesus. How careful he will be to walk circumspectly, that his prayers may not be hindered, that no cherished sin may separate him from God. While helping others, such a worker is himself obtaining spiritual strength and understanding, and in this humble school he may become qualified to enter a wider field.
Christ declares, "Herein is my father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." God has endowed us with faculties, and has entrusted us with talents, in order that we may use them for him. To every man is given his work,--not merely work in his fields of corn and wheat, but earnest, persevering work for the salvation of souls. Every stone in God's temple must be a living stone, a stone that shines, reflecting light to the world. Let the laymen do all that they can; and as they use the talents they already have, God will give them more grace and increased ability. Many of our missionary enterprises are crippled because there are so many who refuse to enter the doors of usefulness that are plainly opened before them. Let all who believe the truth begin to work. Do the work that lies nearest you; do anything, however humble, rather than be, like the men of Meroz, do-nothings.
We shall not be stinted for means if we will only go forward, trusting in God. The Lord is willing to do a great work for all who truly believe in him. If the lay members of the church will arouse to do the work that they can do, going a warfare at their own charges, each seeing how much he can accomplish in winning souls to Jesus, we shall see many leaving the ranks of Satan to stand under the banner of Christ. If our people will act upon the light that is given in these few words of instruction, showing that they sincerely believe the truth which they profess, we shall surely see of the salvation of God. Wonderful revivals will follow. Sinners will be converted, and many souls will be added to the church. When we bring our hearts into unity with Christ, and our lives into harmony with his work, the Spirit that fell on the disciples on the day of Pentecost will fall on us.
(Vol. 80, #27)
Once a race of slaves amid a nation of idolaters, the Israelites were delivered from bondage, and became a light in the desert. If God's people who lived in the Old Testament dispensation were to shine out brightly upon a world of idolaters, his people who live in this age, having so many more privileges and so much greater light, should shine forth still more brightly, diffusing light everywhere.
Wherever you find a Christian, you find a shining light. In word and act he reveals the Light of life. His perceptions are not crusted with selfishness. Not having followed inclination, he does not stubbornly cling to his convictions. He perceives the truth, and is blessed by its sacred influence; he sees the verity of God's Word, and its infinite superiority to everything selfish; he sees the foolishness of following plans of human devising in the place of God's plans. His ability to see these things is from God, and qualifies him to be God's representative, to bear with authority the word of truth to others. He has been converted; he loves God supremely, and his neighbor as himself.
Shedding Abroad the Light of Truth.--A truly converted man is one whose pen and purse and voice and influence are consecrated to Christ,--one whose affections are rich with tenderness and unselfishness,--one who desires to see the light of truth shed abroad, enlightening the whole world.
My brethren and sisters, the precious light of Bible truth, like a lamp that burneth, is to beam forth from you in word and work. Strive to gain a knowledge of God's Word. Stand ready to improve every possible opportunity to do good in behalf of the souls still in the darkness of error. Act your part heartily as unto the Lord in leading the sinful to see the sin-pardoning Saviour, and to lay their burden of sin at the foot of the cross. When you see them happy in the possession of a heart cleansed from sin and renewed by the Holy Spirit, your joy in the Lord will increase, and you will know that you have not lived in vain.
Try it, brethren, try it. Put your whole heart into the Lord's work. As members of Christ's church on earth, consecrate yourselves to him, planning unselfishly to help those that are nigh, and especially those that are afar off. Place yourselves in the channel of light, in order that through you light may shine to souls in darkness. Of all who do this work Christ says, "Ye are the light of the world. . . . Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
A Broadening Work.--The light of truth is to shine to the ends of the world. Greater and still greater light is beaming with celestial brightness from our Redeemer's face upon his representatives, to be diffused throughout the darkness of a benighted world. As laborers together with him, we should pray for the sanctification of his Spirit, in order that we may shine more and more unto the perfect day.
God has qualified his people to enlighten the world. He has entrusted men with faculties that adapt them to extend and accomplish a work that will encircle the whole world. Sanitariums, schools, printing offices, and kindred facilities are to be established in all parts of the earth. Our work has not been finished, neither at home nor abroad. In foreign countries many enterprises that require means must yet be begun and carried forward. The establishment of sanitariums for the care of the sick and suffering, is just as necessary in the "regions beyond" as in America. Let all do their best, making their boast in the Lord, and blessing others by their good works.
The Result of Unselfish Service.--Christ cooperates with those who engage in medical missionary work. Men and women who unselfishly do what they can to establish sanitariums and treatment rooms in many lands will be richly rewarded. Those who visit these institutions will be benefited physically, mentally, and spiritually. The weary will be refreshed, the sick will be restored to health, and the sin-burdened will be relieved. In far-off countries thanksgiving will be heard from the lips of those whose hearts have been turned from sin to righteousness. By their songs of grateful praise a testimony will be borne that will win other souls to the truth.
A Great Work.--The conversion of souls to God is the greatest work, the highest work, in which human beings can take part. In this work, God's forbearance, his unbounded love, his holiness, his power, are revealed. Every true conversion glorifies him, and causes the angels to break forth into singing. Mercy and Truth have met together; Righteousness and Peace have kissed each other.
Upon every truly converted soul--every one who believes in Christ as the world's Redeemer--God has laid the obligation of cooperating with him who gave his life for a perishing world. To every one who is in ease in Zion, he says, Arise, and put your shoulder to the wheel. Bear spiritual burdens. Clear the atmosphere of your soul, in order that the Sun of Righteousness may shine forth through you to the people of other tongues, revealing to them a living, testing truth. Let your light so shine that those who are perishing in their sins may learn of God's goodness, mercy, and love.
The light of the truth for this time is now shining upon the cabinets of kings. The attention of statesmen is being called to the Bible,--the statute-book of the nations,--and they are comparing their national laws with its statutes. As representatives of Christ, we have no time to lose. Our efforts are not to be confined to a few places where the light has become so abundant that it is not appreciated. With unmistakable clearness the light of truth is to be revealed to many people and nations and tongues. The publications containing present truth are to be translated into many languages.
Christ's Witnesses.--We are a spectacle to worlds unfallen, to angels, and to men. "Ye are my witnesses," Christ says. We should know individually and be able to tell others that every promise of God is true. It is by bearing a straightforward testimony in word and work, that we are counted as true, faithful witnesses for Christ.
My brethren and sisters, God now calls upon you to consecrate yourselves to him in willing obedience. He calls upon you to proclaim his law with fearlessness, with the intelligence with which those whose hearts are sanctified by the truth ever reveal this truth to others. The third angel's message is now to be proclaimed in every land. It is to be borne to English-speaking people, and to those of every other language. Let believers, as active recipients of God's blessing, diffuse the light of his truth to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, in obedience to 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." We are not half awake to the importance of this commission. May God place the burden of the proclamation of the message upon his people now, just now, is my prayer. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #28)
By invitation I attended the meeting held at Healdsburg in connection with the closing of the school year, May 29, 1903. I was glad to learn that teachers and students had united in dispensing with the wearisome and profitless exercises that usually attend the closing of a school, and that the energies of all, to the very close, were devoted to profitable study.
On Friday morning the certificates were quietly handed to those who were entitled to them, and then students and teachers united in an experience meeting, in which many recounted the blessings that they had freely received from God during the year.
On Sabbath morning I spoke to a large audience in the commodious meetinghouse of the Healdsburg church. The students and teachers were seated in front, and I was blessed in presenting to them their responsibility as laborers together with God. The Saviour calls upon our teachers and students to render efficient service as fishers of men.
In the evening a large audience assembled in the church to listen to a musical program rendered by Brother Beardslee and his pupils. Good singing is an important part of the worship of God. I am glad that Brother Beardslee is training the students, so that they can be singing evangelists.
I was much pleased with what I saw of the school. During the past year it has made marked progress. Both teachers and students are reaching higher and still higher in the spiritual life. During the past year there have been remarkable conversions. Lost sheep have been found and brought back to the fold.
For some months we have been planning to hold grove meetings near St. Helena, Calistoga, and other places in the Napa Valley. The first one was held on Sunday, June 7, in the Hot Springs Park, at Calistoga. The conference lent us some folding chairs. The members of the Calistoga church are anxious to carry the truth to those who have not heard it, and they made thoughtful preparation for the meeting. We were confident that open-air meetings would be the means of reaching some who would not attend a service held in a church. And thus they have proved.
Although the day was oppressively warm, a goodly number were present at the meeting. The Lord gave me much freedom in speaking. The people seemed to enjoy the meeting very much, and an appointment was given out that meetings would be held in the same place the following Sabbath and Sunday. Our people gathered early Sunday morning, and spent the day together in the grove. A larger number were present on the second Sunday than on the first.
We expect to continue these open-air meetings. I believe that by them much good will be accomplished. The next one is to be held near St. Helena, if a suitable place can be found.
We desire to do all we can to warn those around us of the soon coming of the Saviour. My heart is drawn out to those who know not the truth for this time.
I hope soon to speak in the Soldiers' Home at Yountville, a place about eleven miles from here. In this Home there are more than eight hundred veterans, who are cared for by the State. For several months a company of workers from the Sanitarium church has been going there every other Sabbath to hold a song service. At first only a few of the soldiers attended the service, but now there are from seventy-five to one hundred in attendance.
Sometimes a thirty-minute talk on a Bible subject is given. At a meeting a few weeks ago the soldiers were asked if they would like to have a short Bible study after the song service. About a dozen said that they would; but when the time came to hold the study, more than fifty remained.
Last Sabbath an intelligent-looking man in the Home said to one of the workers, "Before you came here to sing for us, I spent nearly all my time in drinking and carousing with my companions. But since you have been coming, I have found a better way of spending my time. I have given up liquor drinking, and am reading 'The Desire of Ages.'"
A few weeks ago about twenty of the children from our church school here went to the Home to sing for the soldiers. They had been carefully trained by their teacher, and they sang well. The soldiers were greatly pleased, and asked that the children come again.
Reading matter is freely distributed to the soldiers. Many are interested, and those in charge of the Home recognize the good work that is being done. This work must be carried forward. The Lord looks with loving pity upon the aged men in such institutions. I fully believe that many who are now indifferent will be won to Christ.
Opportunities for Service.--God expects those who claim to be his children to bring others to him. I wish that all our people could see the many doors that are opening before them. Beside all waters the seeds of truth are to be sown. To all the world--to every nation and kindred and tongue and people--the message is to be proclaimed. If those who have received the light of present truth would have a living faith in Christ, if they would realize that they are to be his workers, wholly consecrated to his service, what a work might be done! When God's people surrender themselves unreservedly to him, they will use every power of mind and body to his glory; and his work will make rapid advancement.
The things that concern our eternal welfare are now to absorb our attention. We can not afford to give heavenly things the second place. Christ says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
A Closing Work.--As I hear of the terrible calamities that from week to week are taking place in the world, I ask myself, What do these things mean? Are they permitted to come to arouse those who are transgressing the law of God? The most awful disasters, by fire and flood, are following one another in quick succession. The judgments of God are in the land. They speak in solemn warning, saying, "Be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."
There are many, many in our churches who know little of the real meaning of the truth for this time. I appeal to them not to disregard the fulfilling of the signs of the times, which say so plainly that the end is near. O how many who have not sought their soul's salvation will soon make the bitter lamentation, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved"!
We are living in the closing scenes of this earth's history. Prophecy is rapidly fulfilling. The hours of probation are fast passing. We have no time--not a moment--to lose. Let us not be found sleeping on guard. Let no one say in his heart or by his works, "My Lord delayeth his coming." Let the message of Christ's soon return sound forth in earnest words of warning. Let us persuade men and women everywhere to repent, and flee from the wrath to come. Let us arouse them to immediate preparation; for we little know what is before us. Let ministers and lay members go forth into the ripening fields. They will find their harvest wherever they proclaim the forgotten truths of the Bible. They will find those who will accept the truth, and who will devote their lives to winning souls to Christ.
Homeward Bound.--The Lord is soon to come, and we must be prepared to meet him in peace. Let us be determined to do all in our power to impart light to those around us. We are not to be sad, but cheerful, and we are to keep the Lord Jesus ever before us. He is coming soon, and we must be ready and waiting for his appearing. O how glorious it will be to see him, and be welcomed as his redeemed ones! Long have we waited, but our faith is not to become weak. If we can but see the King in his beauty, we shall be forever and forever blessed. I feel as if I must cry aloud, "Homeward bound." We are nearing the time when Christ will come with power and great glory, to take his ransomed ones to their eternal home. Mrs. E. G. White..
(Vol. 80, #29)
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
"As I have loved you." The crowning act in the sacrifice of love was yet to come. Soon, in the scenes of the Saviour's betrayal, trial, and crucifixion the disciples were to see the measure of his love. They were to see him hanging on the cross in dying agony, bearing the sins of the world. In this, and in his resurrection and ascension, they were to see a love so broad and deep that all doubt as to the meaning of the new commandment would be swept away. The knowledge of the Saviour's matchless love for them was to bind them heart to heart, preparing the way for the Lord to anoint them with his Spirit. United by this love, they were to go forth to witness with convincing power to the divinity of their Leader. And their Christlike love for one another was to be the sign of their discipleship.
How much of this love have we shown for one another? Might we not better begin without delay to love one another as Christ has loved us? Would we not then be a power for good in the world? "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."
Weakening the Influence of Truth.--I wish to speak of some things that have been represented to me as taking place in assemblies of God's people. Some have taken offense at things entirely unworthy of notice, and have dishonored God by giving way to the feelings of the unsubdued heart. They have misinterpreted the truth, and weakened its influence. They have strengthened Satan's kingdom; for church members who speak words that stir up strife are doing Satan's work much more effectively than his own subjects.
O my brethren, why are you so easily irritated? Why do you so readily separate from one another? Do you realize that your hasty words are written in the books of heaven, to receive the same punishment as the words of the profane man? The same spirit that led him to swear led you to speak words that stirred up strife in the assembly of God's people. Remember that by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.
O that those who are proclaiming the most solemn message ever given to the world would realize how greatly their influence is weakened when they are suspicious of their brethren, when they allow angry words to pass their lips! The displeasure of God rests upon every one who speaks harsh, unkind words. Nothing so dishonors the Lord Jesus as a readiness on the part of church members to take offense when something occurs to displease them. The conversion of unbelievers depends on the distinctness with which Christ is revealed in the lives of believers. When our hearts are filled with love and compassion, when our conduct toward one another is marked by Christlike tenderness and courtesy, then our words will have power to convict souls.
"That They All May Be One".--The Holy Spirit is to rest upon God's children. This is the Lord's will and plan. But this can never be until they seek for unity, forgetting self in the desire to extend his kingdom. The Saviour's prayer for his followers is, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
"And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
It is the unity of Christ's followers that convinces the world that God has indeed sent his Son to die for sinners, to make them partakers of his perfection, changing the sinful heart, and forming the character after the divine likeness. Christ declares, "There shall be one fold, and one shepherd." He came to our world to live the life that was to be the pattern for all his children. He came to reveal the love that was to bind them heart to heart. And he made unity the badge of their discipleship.
Our Trust.--God's people are to be united in the accomplishment of one great work. They are to make a combined effort of consecration. By a tender, respectful regard for one another, they are to cherish the influence that works for the recovery of sinners. As good soldiers of the cross they are to strive to win sinners to loyalty. Righteous principles gain more and more power over the life as their influence is allowed to soften and subdue the natural, untamed disposition. This is the mystery of godliness.
We are living in the testing time. God is proving his people, to see who are worthy of admittance into his family. He desires his followers to carry out the instruction contained in the seventeenth chapter of John. The practice of this instruction is to begin in the home. God measures church members by what they are in the home. When Christ's words are obeyed in the home, the influence extends to the church. Grieve not the Spirit of God from your home by an unchristlike course of action. Work the works of Christ in the home. Then your lamp, burning brightly and clearly, will give light to those in darkness. Have you accepted your trust? Does your light so shine before men that they, seeing your good works, glorify your Heavenly Father?
Parents should make the Word of God their study. Their first work should be to interest their children in the holy, uplifting truths of this Word. Then in turn the children will become instruments in the Lord's hands for interesting and instructing others. Thus the truth works with power to win souls to Christ.
Enlarging God's Kingdom.--Those who accept the truth are pledged by their baptismal vows to live the truth before the world. As soon as men and women come to a knowledge of the truth, they are to use their powers in shedding abroad the light of the glorious gospel of Christ. God wants his people to be lightbearers. As Christians multiply their talents by use, the church becomes the light of the world.
A living church is a working church. It is the do-nothing position of those who profess to be converted that robs the church of its vitality. Souls are to be saved, and those who claim to know the truth, yet who do not make any effort to win sinners to Christ, will sooner or later be revealed as spiritual dwarfs. God calls for workers who will unite their varied gifts in laboring for him. His people must show missionary courtesy, missionary hospitality, missionary zeal. He has grace for every worker.
God's servants are to make use of every resource for enlarging his kingdom. The apostle Paul, a faithful steward of the grace of God, 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 member of the church 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 a whole-souled work. Earnest invitations will come from a living church. Thirsty souls will be led to the water of life. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #30)
"Elmshaven," Sanitarium, Cal., July 5, 1903.--My Dear Brethren and Sisters in America: For some time I have been strongly impressed that decided efforts should be put forth to proclaim the testing truths of the third angel's message in the city of Washington, the capital of the American nation. It is a sad thing that our record stands as it does, showing so little accomplished in this city. If there is any place in the world that should have the full rays of present truth, it is Washington, the city that is the very heart of this nation. Those who act a prominent part in framing laws for the nation should understand what is written in the law of God, which lies at the foundation of all right laws.
There has been on the part of our people a great neglect of stewardship. God has looked with displeasure on the neglect that has been shown to this city. He has given us 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 word."
O, how much we lose by failing to do as Christ has instructed us to do! In the first chapter of Acts are recorded special directions that Christ gave to his disciples in regard to proclaiming the gospel. "When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But 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.
"And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
After this the disciples were filled with holy boldness; for had they not the assurance that Jesus would be with them always? They knew they had a Friend at court.
"Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath-day's journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren."
"When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
"And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven . . . Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians."
In the days of the apostles, Jerusalem was a great center of influence, and in this place light from heaven was to shine in its most powerful rays upon the Lord's witnesses who were to bear the gospel message.
Read the whole of the second chapter of Acts, and see if you are not convinced that there has been a decided failure to understand that one of our first duties is to make at the nation's capital a special representation of the truth for this time. Why did we so long pass by Washington, neglecting to establish one signal memorial in this city? Let us determine that we will no longer be unfaithful stewards of this part of the Lord's vineyard.
Our brethren in Washington have been favored in finding properties suitable to use in carrying on various lines of our work. This is a fulfillment of the light given me, that in different sections of the country we should be able to secure, at low prices, properties that could be utilized for our institutional work. In Washington a few months ago a meetinghouse, in good condition, and admirably adapted to the needs of our work, was offered for sale at a price much below its first cost, and was purchased by our people there. I am glad that this church is so nearly paid for.
Since medical missionary work, when carried on as God has appointed, is indeed the helping hand of the third angel's message, we should without delay take advantage of the favorable openings for beginning this work in the vicinity of Washington. If there is one place above another where a sanitarium should be established, and where gospel work should be done, it is in this city. We can not estimate how great an influence would have gone forth from Washington in favor of the truth had a sanitarium been established there twenty years ago.
Our printing plant in Battle Creek is to be moved. In searching for a favorable place for this institution, let our brethren investigate the advantages that might be gained by a removal to Washington. Our publishing house should be situated where its influence will accomplish the most in the promulgation of truth. The Lord will guide us in the selection of a place for this institution. We will let him work out his purposes.
Above all other places, the capital of our nation should now have an opportunity to hear the message for this time. Satan is working there against Jehovah with all his might. I present this to you as a matter that is stirring me mightily. One thing is certain, we shall not be clear unless we at once do something in Washington to represent our work. I shall not be able to rest until I see the truth going forth from this place as a lamp that burneth. We are many years behind in giving the message of warning in this city. Again and again the Lord has presented Washington to me as a place that has been strangely neglected. In looking through my diaries, I have found some things that I wrote more than twelve years ago in regard to the work in Washington, and the necessity of establishing there some memorial for God. The following was written March 12, 1891:--
"Nearly the entire day I have been entertaining visitors who desired counsel. Brother Robinson, superintendent of the New York and Washington district, came in company with Brother Wright to consult with me in regard to the advisability of building a church in Washington, D. C., combining a church, a mission home, and a reading room in one building, to cost probably twenty-five thousand dollars. They proposed to invite our brethren all over the field to give one hundred dollars each toward this enterprise.
"When we were in Washington during the week of prayer, I had made a similar suggestion to Elder Washburn, saying that as the situation appeared to me, important interests should be established in this city. I could see no better way of letting the light shine forth from the very seat of government, the capital of the nation. It seems strange that some memorial of present truth has not been established there before. I advised that a meeting house be built.
"The brethren of the Washington City church are poor, and while they will do all that they can, they are not able to carry the whole burden. The church must be located in a desirable part of the city. The purchase of a suitable lot and the erection of a plain but large, well-ventilated, and skillfully constructed building--something that will stand as an object lesson of neatness and thoroughness--will require a considerable sum.
"Other visitors came in, and I closed this interview in regard to the work in Washington."
In my diary of 1889--fourteen years ago--I find precious matter in regard to entering new fields. I will quote a few paragraphs:--
"True missionary workers will not colonize. God's people are to be pilgrims and strangers on the earth. The investment of large sums of money in one place is not in the order of God. Plants are to be made in many places. Schools and sanitariums are to be established in places where there is now nothing to represent the truth. These interests are not to be established for the purpose of making money, but for the purpose of spreading the truth. . . .
"The principles of present truth are to become more widespread. There are those who are reasoning from a wrong point of view. Because it is more convenient to have the work centered in one place, they are in favor of crowding everything together in one locality. Great evil is the result. Places that should be helped are left destitute.
"What can I say to our people that will lead them to follow the course that will be for their present and future good? Will not those in Battle Creek heed the light given them by God? Will they not deny self, lift the cross, and follow Jesus? Will they not obey the call of their Leader to leave Battle Creek, and build up interests in other places? . . .
"It is not God's plan for our people to crowd into Battle Creek. God says: `Go work today in my vineyard. Get away from the places where you are not needed. Plant the standard of truth in towns and cities that have not heard the message. Prepare the way for my coming. Those in the highways and hedges are to hear the call.'
"God will make the wilderness a sacred place, as his people, filled with the missionary spirit, go forth to make centers for his work, to establish sanitariums, where the sick and afflicted can be cared for, and schools, where the youth can be educated in right lines. . . .
"There is a great work to be done. All around us are souls perishing in sin. Are we doing what we can to save them? The commission given to the disciples is given to us, and to us also is promised the power promised to them,--the power that they received on the day of Pentecost, when, like a rushing, mighty wind, the Holy Spirit came down and filled the room in which they were sitting. Under the influence of this power, they went everywhere, preaching the word, and thousands were converted."
What a work might have been accomplished, if we had done our duty years ago! Can we stand clear in the sight of God, if we now fail of understanding our duty? The Lord calls on us to awake to a realization of the opportunities presented before us to let our light shine in the city of Washington, by establishing there memorials that will hasten forward the proclamation of the third angel's message to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.
Let us take hold of the arm of infinite power. Let us walk humbly before God, but let us be giants in meeting discouragement and difficulty. We must have increased faith. Let us praise God. He is our strength, our shield, and our defense, our front-guard and our rearward. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 80, #31)
I have a proposition to make to my brethren and sisters in regard to the stock that we have in the Review and Herald Publishing Company. The money that we invested in this institution was given to the work of the Lord. It was intelligently and wisely consecrated to a sacred work. Were it possible for me now to withdraw the offering that I made in former years to the Lord's instrumentality for the publication of the truth, would I do it?--Never, never, never! Instead, I will make additional investments as soon as the work is reorganized, so that its original purposes may be more perfectly fulfilled.
Let the publishing work be moved from Battle Creek. The lawyers will make no trouble unless our own people stir them up to create difficulties. I appeal to our brethren who love the advent message and the institutions established to promulgate this message, to use their influence and means to sustain and help forward every movement being made to place the first and largest publishing house that we have, in such a position that it will be as a city set on a hill.
Let us take our position firmly and loyally on the side of the men who are laboring to follow the light given from the Lord, and to work out the matter as proposed by the General Conference. Let us give no place to the selfish plans or selfish motives that may suggest themselves in connection with this work.
Why should any one try to hinder the moving of our publishing work to one of the world's great centers of influence? Why should men demand the return of their investment in stock if this is done? If God had not first given us the money, we could not have purchased the stock. The money invested in the Review and Herald is God's money, and those who have placed it there should allow it to remain. Should any one plead necessity as a reason for withdrawing his stock, I could plead necessity also--and I might say that my necessity is real. But should I withdraw my gift from the altar, I could not expect the blessing of God to rest upon me. If it were possible to do so, I would not remove one dollar of the money that I invested in the office of publication. I placed the money there when the office needed it, and now, in view of the great loss that the institution has sustained, God forbid that I should, for selfish advantage, do anything that would cripple the work, or that would open the way for lawyers to make their power felt.
When the publishing house is established away from Battle Creek, I shall do all in my power to build it up, and to encourage those connected with it to carry forward the work of the Lord, exalting the principles of right higher and still higher.
The office will not be able to pay high wages to the workers; for to start the work in a new place will mean great expense. Let the workers maintain the simplicity of Christ. Let them practice self-denial, bearing the cross after Jesus. I call upon them to think of the loss that the publishing house has sustained, and to share in its affliction. If they do this, they will gain a precious experience. Let them do what they can to help.
Let no one connect himself with the publishing house to gain advantage for himself. If those who enter the employ of this institution from this time forward do so with a determination to help rather than to be helped, the books of heaven will bear witness to their unselfish action.
Let us do what we can to set the publishing house on its feet again. Let our people everywhere show a liberal spirit. In past years our brethren throughout the field have done a noble work by lending their means to our publishing institutions. Let this good work continue. The time to help in the work is when earnest efforts are being made to put the work on a right basis.
For years the Review Office held my note for several thousand dollars invested in the issue of books. Since the fire I have made special efforts to pay the last of this, and I shall endeavor to place money on deposit in the institution. Brethren, this is a time to show who are the true friends of the publishing work. Let no one endeavor to withdraw his stock from the Review and Herald. It would not be right to do this. The money that we invested in stock was the Lord's gift to us, and our gift to the institution. Shall we not now do a work that bears the approval of God? Let us bring the principles of the gospel into practice. Let your religion speak, saying, The money in the office of publication is a gift that I made to the institution, and I do not feel at liberty, now that disaster has come to the institution, to withdraw my gift. Wrongs have been done in the institution, but it is not my place to mete out punishment. The Lord has taken this matter in his own hands. I must do all that I can to place the institution on vantage ground.
God's love will be bestowed on his people if they will do as Jesus did, if they will deny self and lift the cross. Christ took our infirmities, and we are to bear one another's burdens. We read of Christ, "When he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them." These words are the key to his lifework. We are to reveal in our lives the compassion that he revealed. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #32)
Sanitarium, Cal., July 5, 1903.--My Dear Brethren: Our people far and near need to ask themselves how the Lord regards their neglect of important centers in America. There are many places in this country in which the truth has never been proclaimed. Many years ago there should have been a sanitarium in Washington,. D. C. But men have chosen their way in many things, and the places to which the truth should have found entrance, by the establishment of medical missionary work, have been neglected.
The Lord has opened this matter to me decidedly. The publishing work that has been carried on in Battle Creek should for the present be carried on near Washington. If after a time the Lord says, Move away from Washington, we are to move. We are pilgrims and strangers in this earth, seeking a better country, even a heavenly. When the Lord tells us to move, we are to obey, however inconvenient and inconsistent such a command may seem to us to be.
How shall we answer to God, I ask, for failing to proclaim the truth for this time in the capital of our nation? A representation should have been made there of our truth that would favorably have impressed those who have so much to do with framing the nation's laws.
Why have not those who have taken a leading part in medical missionary work been burdened to carry to Washington the message of temperance in eating, drinking, and dressing? There would have been less difficulty in giving the message in this place than in some other places.
There are many places that need gospel medical missionary work. Plants should be made in these places. God designs that our sanitariums shall be a means of reaching high and low, rich and poor. They are to be so conducted that by their work attention will be called to the message that God has sent to the world. Many will not heed the call of mercy; nevertheless it is to be given to all, that whosoever will may come to the water of life and drink.
"I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
The truth for this time is to be proclaimed in all parts of the world. If men and women fail to act their part, God will give voices to the stones, and they will proclaim the warning.
May God help us to give the stirring message for this time. We have no time now to amuse ourselves with the enemy's sophistry, or to apologize for his work. My brethren, keep off Satan's ground. Do not tamper with what you ought to denounce firmly and boldly in words the meaning of which can not be mistaken. If you tempt Satan to tempt you, you will most assuredly be deceived by his reasoning. If you tamper with that which you ought to denounce, you will fall victims to your own ignorance and folly.
God's Word portrays the fate of those who receive not his warnings. They receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved. "For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie." Retribution for past sins comes upon them. Their feet are so entangled in inconsistencies that they can not discern at what they stumble.
The gospel of Christ Jesus is of heavenly force. The message for this time is a most decided one. I call upon those to whom God has entrusted his work not to link their arms in the arm of Satan. Do not allow him to make a confidant of you. Keep away from his specious devices. We have great and solemn truths to give to the world, and they are to be proclaimed in no hesitating, limping style. The trumpet is to give a certain sound. Some will come to hear the strange message out of curiosity; others, with a longing to receive true knowledge, asking the question, "What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"
Thus men came to Christ. And mingling with his hearers were angels in the form of men, making their suggestions, criticizing, misapplying, and misinterpreting the Saviour's words. Christ presented the truth in the form of parables. This was the only way in which he could rebuke sin without causing personal offense.
In this time evil angels in the form of men will talk with those who know the truth. They will misinterpret and misconstrue the statements of the messengers of God.
The question is asked, Why is it that hearts are not moved by the proclamation of the gospel of Christ?--It is because Satan is linked up with the religionists of today. Good seed is sown in the hearts of the hearers, but the soil was not prepared, and the seed does not spring up to bear fruit. The enemy comes with his suggestions and insinuations, and the words of life that were spoken lose their force.
Many will hear the message, but will refuse to heed; nevertheless the warning is to be given to all in clear, plain tones. Not only is the truth to be presented in public assemblies; house-to-house work is to be done. Let this work go forward in the name of the Lord. Those who engage in it have the heavenly angels as their companions. They will resist the attacks made by the enemy on those who are cooperating with God.
Christ has a message to give to the world through his messengers, which, if received, would change the character of society entirely. The wilderness of thorns and thistles would be changed into a garden of beautiful flowers and fruit bearing trees.
Christ has laid down the conditions of acceptable service. "He that loveth his life shall lose it," he says; "and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor."
It is Christ's method of serving that is of value in God's sight. The service of those who serve in the world's way is worthless; for it is all for self. The selfishness of human nature takes control. They do not serve as Christ has given them example.
Let us study the life and death of Christ. Let us do all in our power to work out the plan of God. What tongue can tell, what pen unfold, the mighty results of looking to Jesus and living his life! How few of those claiming to be Christians have any real right to that sacred name!
Satan watches eagerly to find Christians off their guard. O that the followers of Christ would remember that eternal vigilance is the price of eternal life! Many have a slumbering faith. Unless they are invigorated, revived, quickened into action, their souls will be lost.
Self must die, and Christ must be enthroned in the heart as all and in all. The thoughts must be stayed on him. Then the life will be an honor to his name. The soul will receive power from on high to resist Satan's specious devisings.
Have Seventh-day Adventists forgotten the warning given in the sixth chapter of Ephesians? We are engaged in a warfare against the hosts of darkness. Unless we follow our Leader closely, Satan will obtain the victory over us.
"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." Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 80, #32)
Healdsburg, Cal., July 6, 1903.--My Dear Brethren and Sisters: "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
"But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?"
Will not the brethren and sisters of the Battle Creek church, and of the churches in every other place, remember that they are working as for eternity? Will not they obey the injunctions of God's Word, the teachings of which are to be brought into the life practice as spiritual food?
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 80, #33)
God has a controversy with those of His people who have means bound up in homes and in land or in speculation. He calls upon them to put this means into circulation in His cause, that it may do its work of preparing the way for the coming of Christ. How heavy the weight of guilt resting on those who fail to do all in their power to extend the kingdom of God in our world!
We are living in the last days of this earth's history, and to all who claim to believe the truth comes the call, "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."
Believers are not to colonize in any place. It is a sin in the sight of God for those who know the truth to settle down as has been done in Battle Creek, and then refuse to see that the time has come to change the base of operations, because there are other parts of the vineyard in need of help.
As the Lord has presented these things before me, I have presented them to those for whom they were given. The stand that has been taken against God's plain warning may make it very hard to move away from Battle Creek. But I give the warning that just as surely as men stand in the way of God's providence, so surely will the rod of His providence fall again in Battle Creek.
Money is tied up in Battle Creek that is greatly needed in the Southern field and in other needy places. Many years have passed since the word of the Lord came to us, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations." Why is there such a determined refusal to obey this word? Clearly and distinctly are the directions given. "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."
The principles of truth were given by Christ, not to bless a few places only, as those who have lost their first love seem to think, but to bless every place. The world is to hear the message, and every year's delay makes the work more intricate and dangerous.
The Lord will put new, vital force into His work as human agencies obey the command to go forth and proclaim the truth. A class will be reached whose senses are not blinded, and they will discern the signs of the times. They will be alarmed at the failure to obey the word of the Lord, and will establish the truth in many places. A work now left undone will be carried forward. He who declared that His truth would shine forever will proclaim this truth through faithful messengers, who will give the trumpet a certain sound. The truth will be criticized, and scorned, and derided; but the closer it is examined and tested, the brighter it will shine.
A Revival of the Old Truths.--The old truths, given us at the beginning, are to be heralded far and near. The lapse of time has not lessened their value. It is the constant effort of the enemy to remove these truths from their setting, and to put in their place spurious theories. But the Lord will raise up men of keen perception, who with clear vision will discern the intrigues of Satan, and will give these truths their proper place in the plan of God.
Christ came to implant in the minds of men the great truths of which few knew the value. The Jewish nation had discarded truth for tradition. Christ declared to them, "Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoreth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
He spoke as one having authority, and not as the scribes, in a hesitating, uncertain manner. With calmness and power He proclaimed the living principles of truth, making them more forcible by His manner of presenting them. He could read and understand the policy of Satan,--his desire to cover truth with the rubbish of superstition and tradition. He rescued truth, and gave it to the world, clothed with more than its original glory and luster.
At this time there is need of men of sharp spiritual eyesight, who can discern truth from error. The first, second, and third angels' messages are to be proclaimed with no faltering hesitancy, but with power from on high. We know in whom we have believed. We know that as we obey His word to us, He will give to our words power that will convict and convert souls.
To Every Man His Work.--Each one has been given his work. Let no one be anxious to investigate the work of another. To such ones Christ says, as He said to Peter, "What is that to thee? follow thou Me."
"Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore He said, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. . . . And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."
God's servants are to labor in perfect harmony. Contention brings alienation and strife and discord. I am instructed that our churches have no need to spend their time in strife. When a spirit of contention struggles for the supremacy, call a halt, and make things right, else Christ will come quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of its place. Let an earnest work of repentance be done. Let the Spirit of God search through mind and heart, and cleanse away all that hinders the needed reformation. Until this is done, God can not bestow on us His power and grace. And while we are without His power and grace, men will stumble and fall, and will not know at what they stumble.
The love of Christ is the bond that is to unite believers heart to heart and mind to mind.
What Choice Shall We Make?--The blood of Christ has been shed for the whole human family. None need be lost. Those who are lost will perish because they chose to forfeit an eternity of bliss for the satisfaction of having their own way. This was Satan's choice, and today his work and his kingdom testify to the character of his choice. The crime and misery that fill our world, the horrible murders that are of daily occurrence, are the fruit of man's submission to Satan's principles.
My brethren, read the book of Revelation from beginning to end, and ask yourselves whether you might not better spend less time in strife and contention, and begin to think of how fast we are approaching the last great crisis. Those who seek to make it appear that there is no special meaning attached to the judgments that the Lord is now sending upon the earth will soon be forced to understand that which now they do not choose to understand.
The time before Christ's coming is short. We know not the exact measure of it, but God knows the hour of Christ's coming. Soon the consequences of transgression will become to wrongdoers a living reality; for God's judgments will fall upon a disobedient world. Before the minds of sinners will be brought vividly the realization that sin is the transgression of the law of God.
The powers from beneath are working with intensity of effort. Soon will come the time when God will discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not. Soon will come the time of which John writes: "I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
Day by day we are deciding whether the future will bring to us eternal life or eternal death. Only by a union with Christ, whose property we are by creation and by redemption, can we win eternal life. He gave His life as a propitiation for man's sin, but His sacrifice avails only for those who accept Him as their Saviour. Only to those who become one with Him can the words be applied, "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."
In the message to the church at Sardis two parties are presented--those who have a name to live, but are dead; and those who are striving to overcome. Study this message, found in the third chapter of Revelation. "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." Who are meant by those that are ready to die? and what has made them thus? The explanation is given, "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. 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."
To the church of the present day this message is sent. I call upon our church members to read the whole of the third chapter of Revelation, and to make an application of it. The message to the church of the Laodiceans applies especially to the people of God today. It is a message to professing Christians who have become so much like the world that no difference can be seen.
"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 are 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."
Christ came to this world as the great medical missionary. When His example is followed, medical missionary work will be carried forward on a much higher plane than it is at the present time. God calls for a reconversion among gospel teachers, and especially among physicians and other medical missionary workers, that Christ may not be misrepresented and put to shame. The cleansing must begin in the heart and mind, and flow forth in the actions. The characters of our medical missionary workers need to be refined and ennobled. This result can be brought about only as these workers are made partakers of the divine image, escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust.
My brethren and sisters, study your Bibles. Eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God. Receive into your hearts the words of life, that they may refine and purify and ennoble the whole being. Do not stop with halfway measures. It is too late in the day for this. You can not serve God and mammon. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #34)
"And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
"Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord."
Prostrating himself, and clinging to the Saviour's knees, Peter begged Jesus to depart from him. He acknowledged that he was a sinful man. With great force there came to his mind the conviction that he was in the presence of the long-looked-for Messiah; and although he said to Christ, "Depart from me," he did not really desire him to go away; he still clung to the Saviour's knees, as if he could not be parted from him. "And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men."
When they had brought their ships to land, Peter and his companions forsook all, and followed Jesus. Thus were these humble fishermen called by the God of heaven to their lifework.
The Secret of Successful Ministry -- Every one who in living faith follows Jesus, with an eye single to his glory, will see of the salvation of God just as surely as these discouraged fishermen saw their boats filled by the miraculous draught. It was because Christ was in the ship that they were successful in their efforts to catch fish. The indwelling presence of the Saviour is equally necessary in the work of winning souls.
In order to save the fallen race, Christ, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, laid aside his royal robe and kingly crown, clothed his divinity with humanity, and came to this earth as our Redeemer. Here he lived as a man among men, meeting the temptations that we must meet, and overcoming through strength from above. By his sinless life he demonstrated that through the power of God it is possible for man to withstand Satan's temptations.
We may endeavor to resist temptation in our own strength, doing our best to overcome; but we shall meet with disappointment after disappointment. And thus it is in our efforts to win men and women to the Saviour. Dependence on our own wisdom will result in repeated failure, causing us much anxiety and sorrow. This was the condition of mind in which Christ found the fishermen on the shore of the sea of Galilee, after their night of unrewarded labor.
Long had the fishermen toiled that night; often had they been disappointed, as time and again the net was drawn up empty. But now, at the bidding of the divine One, they launched out into the deep, and once more cast their net into the sea. And what an abundance of fish they gathered! The sight of the miraculous draught swept away their unbelief, and they were ready to respond to Christ's invitation to follow him, and learn to be fishers of men.
The breaking net, the sinking ship, the surprise and gratitude of Peter and his companions, their willingness to follow the Saviour and to do his bidding--all these are object lessons for us in the work of soul saving. However long and faithfully we may toil in our human strength, we can hope for no results for good; but as soon as we welcome Christ into the heart, he works with and through us, for the salvation of souls.
God has promised to cooperate with those who choose to labor in harmony with his purpose. We are to do our utmost to act our part faithfully, in order that he may demonstrate to the world what he can do through us. By baptism, we declared that, being dead to the world, we would henceforth remember that our life is "hid with Christ in God," and that we have taken our position on the exalted platform of truth, there to work in unison with the hand that never fails.
"We are laborers together with God." It is God that gives success to human endeavor. Without his presence with us, our efforts would amount to nothing. We are simply channels through which his blessings flow to our fellow beings. From every one in whose heart Christ is an abiding presence, will go forth a power that will influence others to accept the Saviour as their Redeemer.
The Training of Missionaries.--Parents, train your children to become workers with you in the church. Educate them to take delight in the thought of being workers together with God. Impress upon their minds the fact that as they grow older, their opportunities for service will enlarge, and their power and ability will proportionately increase. Let them understand that those who give themselves to God will become channels of blessing to others who know him not. Teach them how to have power to prevail with God. If this were done faithfully by every parent, we should see consecrated workers everywhere.
I hope that many of those who are receiving an education in our schools, will go forth as missionaries accepted of God. I have faith to believe that he will work upon the hearts of teachers and students, and that they will be clothed with the robe of Christ's righteousness.
Opportunities for Service.--To us is given the commission, "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." Are we preparing ourselves to engage in evangelistic house-to-house, work?
When school closes, there will be opportunity for many to go out into the field as evangelistic canvassers. The faithful colporteur finds his way into many homes, where he leaves precious reading matter containing the truth for this time.
The Distribution of Literature.--We should treat as a sacred treasure every line of printed matter containing present truth. Even the fragments of a pamphlet or of a periodical should be regarded as of value. Who can estimate the influence that a torn page containing the truths of the third angel's message may have upon the heart of some seeker after truth? Let us remember that somebody would be glad to read all the books and papers we can spare. Every page is a ray of light from heaven, to shine into the highways and the hedges, shedding light upon the pathway of truth.
In the miracle of feeding the multitude with a few loaves and fishes, the food was increased as it passed from Christ to those who accepted it. Thus it will be in the distribution of our publications. God's truth, as it is passed out, will multiply greatly. And as the disciples by Christ's direction gathered up the fragments which remained, that nothing should be lost, so we should treasure every fragment of literature containing the truth for this time.
The Ministry of Song.--I am glad that a musical element has been brought into the Healdsburg school. In every school, instruction in singing is greatly needed. There should be much more interest in voice culture than is now generally manifested. Students who have learned to sing sweet gospel songs with melody and distinctness, can do much good as singing evangelists. They will find many opportunities to use the talent that God has given them, carrying melody and sunshine into many lonely places darkened by sin and sorrow and affliction, singing to those who seldom have church privileges.
Students, go out into the highways and the hedges. Endeavor to reach the higher as well as the lower classes. Enter the homes of the rich and the poor, and as you have opportunity, ask, "Would you be pleased to have us sing? We should be glad to hold a song service with you." Then as hearts are softened, the way may open for you to offer a few words of prayer for the blessing of God. Not many will refuse.
Such ministry is genuine missionary work. God desires every one of us to be converted, and to learn to engage in missionary effort in earnest. He will bless us in this service for others, and we shall see of his salvation.
Our High Calling.--Students, educate yourselves to speak in the language of Canaan, the language spoken in the heavenly school by the members of the royal family. Sternly determine to put away all foolish talking and jesting, all selfish amusements. By faith grasp God's promises, and determine that you will be Christians here below, while preparing for translation.
If you strip yourselves of every hindrance to progress in the Christian life, your minds will be worked by the Holy Spirit, and you will become indeed "fishers of men." The salvation of God will go forth from you as a lamp that burneth. If your own hearts are filled with light from above, you have the privilege, wherever you may be, of shedding light upon those who are in darkness. Continuing steadfast in God's service unto the end, you will be granted an abundant entrance through the pearly gates into the heavenly city, where you will be greeted with the words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #35)
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
In this scripture are portrayed Christian privileges that are comprehended by but comparatively few. Every one should become familiar with the blessings that God has offered us in his Word. He has given us many assurances as to what he will do for us. And all that he has promised is made possible by Christ's sacrifice in our behalf.
John the Baptist bore witness of the One through whom we may become sons and daughters of God. "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
Divine sonship is not something that we may gain of ourselves. Only to those who receive Christ as their Saviour is given the power to become sons and daughters of God. The sinner can not, by any power of his own, rid himself of sin. For the accomplishment of this result, he must look to a higher Power. John exclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Christ alone has power to cleanse the heart. He who is seeking for forgiveness and acceptance can say only,--"Nothing in my hand I bring; Simply to thy cross I cling."
But the promise of sonship is made to all who "believe on his name." Every one who comes to Jesus in faith will receive pardon. As soon as the penitent one looks to the Saviour for help to turn from sin, the Holy Spirit begins his transforming work upon the heart. "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God." What an incentive to greater effort this should be to all who are trying to set the hope of the gospel before those who are still in the darkness of error.
Our Hope in the Gospel.--How thankful we should be for the blessings offered us; for the hope we have in the gospel; for the sacrifice which Christ made in order that we might have these blessings! He, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, laid aside his royal robe and kingly crown, clothed his divinity with humanity, and came to this earth to stand at the head of humanity. After his crucifixion and resurrection, he ascended to heaven, but he went as our elder brother, to intercede in our behalf. By a life of self-sacrifice and a death of shame, he redeemed us, and he now stands before the Father as our Advocate, the propitiation for the sins of every repentant one who receives him and believes on his name. With his human arm he encircles the fallen race, while with his divine arm he grasps the throne of the Infinite. No matter how weak the sinner may be; no matter how many or how great may have been his transgressions, the Saviour will accept him. Christ loves every member of the human race; for he has bought them all with a price;--and what a price!
Christ would have given his life, even if he had known that only the little company before whom I am standing today would be saved at last. Yes; if there had been but one member of our little company that could have been saved, he would have given his life as a ransom for that one. How incomprehensible is his infinite love!
Tempted in all Points Like as we Are.--Our Saviour passed over the same ground on which Adam fell. He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. He never yielded to temptation; and yet, in withstanding the assaults of the enemy, he exercised no power that is not granted us. He might have come to this earth accompanied by a vast retinue of angels; but he came unattended, to dwell with the poor and the lowly. Throughout his life he was sorely tried. On every hand he was beset with temptation. He endured every affliction that we are called to endure. "In all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted."
Dear friends, did Christ come to this earth in order that you might receive and enjoy the riches of the world?--No, no. He came that you might have life eternal in the kingdom of God. He came that you might live the life that measures with the life of God; that in the courts of heaven, where there is neither sorrow nor death, you might dwell forever with Christ and the angels.
With these thoughts in mind, can we not appreciate a little more fully the words: "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
Partakers of the Divine Nature.--God's purpose for us is that we shall be partakers of the divine nature. Only thus can we overcome the evils that beset us. It is by beholding Christ that we are made partakers of his nature. Keeping him ever in view, we are changed into his likeness. Thus we gain strength to overcome as he overcame. God does not ask us to fight the battle against sin in our own strength. He has given Christ to be our helper in every time of need. The Saviour knows all about our trials and difficulties. Let us lay them at his feet, and trust him to lead us aright.
Let every professed Christian search his heart diligently, and put away from him everything that is unlike Christ. Let him remember that he has been bought with a price, even the blood of the Son of God, and that in thought, word, and deed he is to honor his Redeemer. Remembering this, he will guard against pride and self-indulgence. Constantly he will endeavor so to live that he can meet the Saviour in peace. He will resist every suggestion of the enemy to do that which would grieve the heart of Christ. If he is faithful in this life, he will be ready to welcome the Saviour when he comes in the clouds of heaven. With joy he will say, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us."
The Promise of Christ's Return.--"Let not your heart be troubled," Christ said to his disciples just before his crucifixion; "ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
Long have we waited for our Saviour's return. But none the less sure is the promise. Soon we shall be in our promised home. There Jesus will lead us beside the living stream flowing from the throne of God, and will explain to us the dark providences through which he led us in order to perfect our characters. There we shall see on every hand the beautiful trees of Paradise, in the midst of them the tree of life. There we shall behold with undimmed vision the beauties of Eden restored. There we shall cast at the feet of our Redeemer the crowns that he has placed on our heads, and, touching our golden harps, we shall offer praise and thanksgiving to him that sitteth on the throne.
Dear friends, I have talked to you this afternoon in regard to some of the simple truths of the gospel. If you will receive these truths into your hearts, I shall feel that my words have not been in vain. May the blessing of God rest upon you and your children. May you all be among those who shall enter through the gates of pearl into the city of our God. May you, as unbroken families, dwell forever in that haven of rest. To this end may God help you now to strive for the crown of life. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #36)
The people of God are now to pray, and humble their hearts before him. Then they will see all things clearly. It is a heart humiliation that is needed by the people who have in trust so great and important a truth,--a truth that if received and believed, will cleanse the life from all defilement. God's people need to draw near to him, and love as brethren. If Satan can keep at variance those whose hearts should ever be full of kindness and love, on whose lips there should ever be the law of kindness, how pleased he is!
O that God's people had a sense of the impending destruction of thousands of cities, now almost given to idolatry! But many of those who should be proclaiming the truth are accusing and condemning their brethren. When the converting power of God comes upon minds, there will be a decided change. Men will have no inclination to criticize and tear down. They will not stand in a position that hinders the light from shining to the world. Their criticism, their accusing, will cease.
The powers of the enemy are mustering for battle. Stern conflicts are before us. Press together, my brethren and sisters, press together. Bind up with Christ. "Say ye not, A confederacy, . . . neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken."
The world is a theater. The actors, its inhabitants, are preparing to act their part in the last great drama. God is lost sight of. With the great masses of mankind there is no unity, except as men confederate to accomplish their selfish purposes. God is looking on. His purposes in regard to his rebellious subjects will be fulfilled. The world has not been given into the hands of men, though God is permitting the elements of confusion and disorder to bear sway for a season. A power from beneath is working to bring about the last great scenes in the drama,--Satan coming as Christ, and working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in those who are binding themselves together in secret societies. Those who are yielding to the passion for confederation are working out the plans of the enemy. The cause will be followed by the effect.
Transgression has almost reached its limit. Confusion fills the world, and a great terror is soon to come upon human beings. The end is very near. We who know the truth should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise.
John writes: "I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."
Are we as a people asleep? O if the young men and young women in our institutions who are now unready for the Lord's appearing, unfitted to become members of the Lord's family, could only discern the signs of the times, what a change would be seen in them! The Lord Jesus is calling for self-denying, self-sacrificing workers to follow in his footsteps, to walk and work for him, to lift the cross, and follow where he leads the way.
Many are readily satisfied with offering the Lord trifling acts of service. Their Christianity is feeble. Christ gave himself for sinners. With what anxiety for the salvation of souls we should be filled as we see human beings perishing in sin! These souls have been bought at an infinite price. The death of the Son of God on Calvary's cross is the measure of their value. Day by day they are deciding a question of life and death, deciding whether they will have eternal life or eternal death. And yet men and women professing to serve the Lord are content to occupy their time and attention with matters of little importance. They are content to be at variance with one another. If they were consecrated to the work of the Master, they would not be striving and contending like a family of unruly children. Every hand would be engaged in service. Every one would be standing at his post of duty, working with heart and soul as a missionary of the cross of Christ. The Spirit of the Redeemer would abide in the hearts of the laborers, and works of righteousness would be wrought. The workers would carry with them into their service the prayers and sympathies of an awakened church. They would receive their directions from Christ, and would find no time for contention or strife.
Messages would come from lips touched by a live coal from the divine altar. Earnest, purified words would be spoken. Humble, heartbroken intercessions would ascend to heaven. With one hand the workers would take hold of Christ, while with the other they would grasp sinners and draw them to the Saviour.
Work is what the churches need. They need an unreserved consecration to service. Jesus wept over the obduracy of Jerusalem. Whose hearts break today because of the peril of those in darkness? Who among those that have received such great light and such rich gifts mingle their tears with the tears of their Redeemer?
Never can the church reach the position that God desires it to reach until it is bound up in sympathy with its missionary workers. Never can the unity for which Christ prayed exist until spirituality is brought into missionary service, and until the church becomes an agency for the support of missions. The efforts of the missionaries will not accomplish what they should until the church members in the home field show, not only in word, but in deed, that they realize the obligation resting on them to give these missionaries their hearty support.
God calls for workers. Personal activity is needed. But conversion comes first; seeking for the salvation of others, next.
Spiritual despotism is to lose its hold on souls. Each one is to awake to the necessity of having personal holiness and a personal, living faith. Then will God's work be done. Then will reformations take place. Souls will be rescued from the grasp of selfishness, and in love, patience, and Christian forbearance, will help one another to work for those perishing out of Christ. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #37)
As we see the strife and confusion that fill the world, we ask, What will be the end of all these things? We are given courage to press on in the work of the Lord by the waving of the banner of victory, on which are inscribed the words, "The commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." The kingdom of Christ is to be enlarged. The workers are to grow in power and efficiency. This they will do if they will believe as the disciples believed. The Lord will act his part. But when human beings refuse to be the Lord's helping hand, they break the link that connects them with heaven.
To us as a people God has given great light, and he calls upon us to let it shine forth to those in darkness. By us the light, the power, of a living truth is to be given to the world. From us there is to shine forth to those in darkness a clear, steady light, kept alive by the power of God. We are charged to use the light given us to create other lights, that our fellow men may rejoice in the truth. Let us not disregard the charge. Suppose that the sun should refuse to shine, what terrible darkness and confusion would result! For us to refuse to let our light shine to those in darkness is to contract guilt, the magnitude of which can not be computed.
Christ's commission to us is, "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."
We have before us a great work. False teachers will preach false theories. They do not desire the truth. They are afraid to have the truth presented to the people. They do not want the facts to appear as they are given in the Word of God. Let all who believe the third angel's message take up the work that God has committed to them. Let them seek to realize its greatness and importance. Let believers do all in their power to arouse an interest in present truth in the neighborhood in which they live. Let all act an earnest, disinterested part. Some will labor in one way, and some in another; but all should do something. The books containing the reasons of our faith must be translated into all languages. This work must make more rapid progress than it has made.
When we act our part with faithfulness, Christ will work with power upon minds. We are to be God's helping hand. We have no time to devote to self-pleasing. With freshness and power the truth for this time is to be presented to the people of the world. Christian workers are greatly needed.
God's Plan for Proclaiming the Gospel Message.--"The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
These words outline God's plan for the promulgation of the gospel. His instrumentalities, divine and human, are to unite in an effort to save the lost. These souls are to be rescued from the bondage of sin. God calls upon those who have taken his name to obey his orders. All are called to take some part in his work.
"I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. I have united divinity and humanity, and my office invests me with all power in heaven and in earth. I have ordained that angels and men shall be employed in my work. Divine and human instrumentalities are to unite. I have given the churches instruction regarding what they are to do. My work is to be carried forward until I shall arise and proclaim with a loud voice, It is finished. I have opened a fountain of living waters for a perishing world. Agencies from the heavenly courts unite in urging the members of the church on earth to give the invitation to come to the water of life. Each one, feeble though he may deem himself, is to repeat my words and perform some part of my work. Let all take up the work entrusted to them. Do your best. Proclaim the gospel invitation. Unite with those who are already at work. I testify that if any one shall alter the words of the prophecy of this book, causing unbelief, and turning aside my words from the practical application which I thus fully and authoritatively give them, I will visit him with signal marks of my displeasure."
The Power of the Truth to Convict and Convert Souls.--It is through the transforming influence of divine grace on human hearts that the power of the word of truth is revealed. The message, proclaimed in regions where it has not yet been heard, makes an impression on hearts. It seems to have greater power in transforming character than when presented to those who are familiar with its office work. Truth has little power on the hearts of those who walk contrary to it for advantage to themselves--those who follow a course opposed to its principles. Such ones profess to believe the Word of God, but they give no evidence that they are sanctified by it.
The truth is to take possession of the will of those who have never before heard it. They will see the sinfulness of sin, and their repentance will be thorough and sincere. The Lord will work upon hearts that in the past have not been appealed to, hearts that heretofore have not seen the enormity of sin.
Christ is the only successful antagonist that sin has ever encountered. Let the full light of his life stream into the souls of those who are in darkness. Under the direct power of the gospel thousands have been converted in a day.
When a sinner becomes sensible of the fact that only through Christ can he gain eternal life; when he realizes that obedience to God's Word is the condition of entrance into the kingdom of God; when he sees Christ as the propitiation for sin, he comes to the Saviour in humility and contrition, confessing his sins and seeking forgiveness. His soul is impressed with a sense of the majesty and glory of God. The blessedness of an eternal life of peace and joy and purity is felt so deeply that an entire surrender is made.
I am instructed to say that some who outwardly appear the most fully given to sin will, when light flashes into the soul, make most successful workers in places where there are just such sinners as they themselves once were.
I write this because those engaged in canvassing work and in house-to-house labor often meet men and women who are coarse and forbidding in outward appearance, but who, if won to the truth, will be among its most loyal and stanch adherents. The spirit of truth is indeed of value in any church. Those whom the Lord uses may not always have outward polish, but if they have integrity of character, the Lord accounts them precious.
Power from Above.--As the end draws near, the work of God is to increase in full strength and purity and holiness. The workers are to be filled with love for God and for one another. They are to cherish principles of the strictest integrity. When the true keynote is struck, God will reveal himself as a God of mercy and love. Angels of heaven will draw near to the members of the church on earth to aid them in their necessity. Let us ever remember that we are laborers together with God. In this heavenly union we shall carry forward his work with completeness, with singing and rejoicing. In every soul will be kindled the fire of holy zeal. Company after company will leave the dark standard of the foe to come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.
God's workers must gain a far deeper experience. If they will surrender all to him, he will work mightily for them. They will plant the standard of truth upon fortresses till then held by Satan, and with shouts of victory take possession of them. They bear the scars of battle, but there comes to them the comforting message that the Lord will lead them on, conquering and to conquer.
When God's servants with consecrated zeal cooperate with divine instrumentalities, the state of things that exists in this world will be changed, and soon the earth will with joy receive her King. Then "they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #38)
The Lord estimates as of supreme importance the holiness of his people; and he permits reverses to come upon individuals, upon families, and upon churches, that his people may see their danger, and humble their hearts before him in repentance. He chastens his children in the hope of saving their souls. Those who return to him, he receives with tenderness and love. He speaks pardon to them, and clothes them with the garments of Christ's righteousness.
In this, the great day of atonement, it is our duty to confess our sins, and acknowledge God's mercy and love in pardoning our transgressions. Let us thank him for the warnings he has given to save us from our perverse ways. Let us bear witness to his goodness by revealing a change in our lives. If those to whom the Lord has sent reproof, warning them that they are not walking in his way, will repent, and with humility and contrition make confession, the Lord will surely receive them once more into favor. If they will honor God by obeying his commandments, they will be exalted by him. He will give them strength and victory.
The defections among God's people are keenly felt by him who died to ransom them from Satan's power. The church is burdened and saddened. A cloud hangs over her. Let every soul seek God, inquiring, Lord, is it I who have brought this discouragement upon thy people? Is it because of my perversity that Zion is burdened? Have I given occasion for our enemies to triumph? If so, Lord, have mercy upon thy sinful child, and save me for thy mercy's sake.
Let there be a close examination of self. Do not seek to hide yourselves under your citizen's dress, saying that you are doing as others do, and therefore you can not be far out of the way. Yes; you may do as others have done. But is the experience of those who have left the Lord something that you wish to gain? And if, with their experience before you, you walk contrary to the way of the Lord, and are punished, whom have you to blame but yourselves?
O that deep realization of the importance of these things may come to the people of God! O that all departure from the narrow path of obedience and holiness may be seen as it is! O that men and women may seek the Lord as they have never done before!
There are those professing to be children of God whose course of action the Lord does not justify. Faithful work is to be done in giving reproof, as well as in giving encouragement. The cross is not to be shunned. No unchristianlike course of action is to be justified.
Will the people of God now humble their hearts before him, confessing and forsaking their sins, that they may receive the forgiveness and favor of God, and be brought into complete harmony with him? It is not because of a lack of evidence that human beings perish, but because of their unwillingness to use the means whereby God designs they shall learn his will.
A season of great trial is before us. It becomes us now to use all our capabilities in advancing the work of God. The powers that the Lord has given us are to be used to build up, not to tear down.
Those who are ignorantly deceived are not to remain in this condition. The Lord says to his messengers, Go to them, and declare unto them what I have said, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear. "O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand."
Let us never relax our efforts to save those ready to perish, for whose ransom the Prince of heaven offered his precious life. When one means fails, try another way. So long as life is spared, let us work for God. The time is right upon us when persecution will come to those who proclaim the truth. In all ages, God's appointed messengers have exposed themselves to reproach and persecution for the truth's sake. But whatever trial or reproach may come upon us, we may know that Christ will be with us, to strengthen and bless us, filling our hearts with peace and joy.
Soon there is to be trouble all over the world. It becomes every one to seek to know God. We have no time to delay. With earnestness and fervor the message must be given: "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, . . . buy wine and milk without money and without price." "Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice; for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people; neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off."
God's love for his church is infinite. His care over his heritage is unceasing. He suffers no affliction to come upon the church but such as is essential for her purification, her present and eternal good. He will purify the church even as he purified the temple at the beginning and the close of his ministry on earth. All that he brings upon the church in trial comes that his people may gain deeper piety and more strength to carry the triumphs of the cross to all parts of the world. He has a work for all to do. There must be constant enlargement and progress. The work must extend from city to city, from country to country, and from nation to nation, moving constantly onward and upward, established, strengthened, and settled.
"By their fruits ye shall know them." The inward adorning of a meek and quiet spirit is priceless. In the righteousness of the members shall the church be established. God's people are to show a faith steadfast and immovable. The Bible is their standard. In all its power the truth is to be proclaimed. Those who faithfully do this work, keeping the commandments of God in deed and in truth, will be acknowledged as laborers together with God.
"The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever." From the beginning to the end of the history of the church, Christ will be to his people all that these words express, if they will heed the invitation to come to him. He is to his people life and strength, efficiency and power, wisdom and holiness. When we realize this as we should, we shall be strong in his strength. "The Lord is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation. . . . The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and seeketh uprightly, he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks; bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #39)
Elmshaven, Sanitarium, Cal., Sept. 8, 1903.-- To My Brethren in Positions of Responsibility in the Cause of God:-- What is our work?--The same as that given to John the Baptist, of whom we read, "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. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."
All who are truly engaged in the work of the Lord for these last days will have a decided message to bear. Read the first few verses of the fortieth chapter of Isaiah:--
"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. And the voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever."
This chapter is filled with instruction appropriate for us at this time. The word of the Lord to us is, "Repent ye; prepare the way for a revival of my work."
The removal to Washington of work hitherto carried on in Battle Creek is a step in the right direction. We are to continue to press into the regions beyond, where the people are in spiritual darkness. "Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain." Every obstacle to the redemption of God's people is to be removed by the opening of his Word, and the presentation of a plain "Thus saith the Lord." The true light is to shine forth; for darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people. The truth of the living God is to appear in contrast with error. Proclaim the glad tidings: We have a Saviour who has given his life that those who believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Obstacles to the advancement of the work of God will appear; but fear not. To the omnipotence of the King of kings, our covenant-keeping God unites the gentleness and care of a tender shepherd. Nothing can stand in his way. His power is absolute, and it is the pledge of the sure fulfilment of his promises to his people. He can remove all obstructions to the advancement of his work. He has means for the removal of every difficulty, that those who serve him and respect the means he employs, shall be delivered. His goodness and love are infinite, and his covenant is unalterable.
The plans of the enemies of his work may seem to be firm and well established, but he can overthrow the strongest of these plans, and in his own time and way he will do this, when he sees that our faith has been sufficiently tested, and that we are drawing near to him and making him our counselor.
In the darkest days, when appearances seem so forbidding, fear not. Have faith in God. He is working out his will, doing all things well in behalf of his people. The strength of those who love and serve him will be renewed day by day. His understanding will be placed at their service, that they may not err in the carrying out of his purposes.
There is to be no despondency in God's service. Our faith is to endure the pressure brought to bear upon it. God is able and willing to bestow upon his servants all the strength they need. He will more than fulfil the highest expectations of those who put their trust in him. He will give them the wisdom which their varied necessities demand.
Said the tried apostle Paul: "He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
O my brethren, hold the beginning of your confidence firm unto the end. The light of God's truth is not to be dimmed. It is to shine amid the darkness of error that enshrouds our world. The Word of God is to be opened to those in the high places of the earth, as well as to the more lowly.
The church of Christ is God's agency for the proclamation of truth; she is empowered by him to do a special work; and if she is loyal to God, obedient to all his commandments, there will dwell within her the excellence of divine power. If she will honor the Lord God of Israel, there is no power that can stand against her. If she will be true to her allegiance, the forces of the enemy will be no more able to overpower her than is the chaff to resist the whirlwind.
There is before the church the dawn of a bright, glorious day, if she will put on the robe of Christ's righteousness, withdrawing from all alliance with the world.
The members of the church need now to confess their backslidings, and press together. My brethren, allow nothing to come in that will separate you from one another or from God. Talk not of differences of opinion, but unite in the love of the truth as it is in Jesus. Come before God, and plead the shed blood of the Saviour as a reason why you should receive help in the warfare against evil. You will not plead in vain. As you draw near to God, with heartfelt contrition, and in full assurance of faith, the enemy who seeks to destroy you will be overcome.
Turn to the Lord, ye prisoners of hope. Seek strength from God, the living God. Show an unwavering, humble faith in his power and his willingness to save. From Christ is flowing the living stream of salvation. He is the fountain of life and the source of all power. When in faith we take hold of his strength, he will change, wonderfully change, the most hopeless, discouraging outlook. He will do this for the glory of his own name.
God calls upon his faithful ones, who believe in him, to talk courage to those who are unbelieving and hopeless. May the Lord help us to help one another, and to prove him by living faith.
"Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery."
"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High: to show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands."
"O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker."
"O sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; show forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods."
"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #40)
There is a lesson of the greatest importance for us in the experience of the children of Israel as they left Egypt.
More than a million people had been led, out of the right course many of them thought, into a valley hemmed in by mountains. Before them lay the Red Sea, and behind them, following fast after in pursuit, was Pharaoh's army.
As the people were encamped beside the Red Sea, they saw in the distance the flashing armor and moving chariots of Pharaoh's host. Terror filled their hearts. Some cried to the Lord, but by far the greater part hastened to Moses with their complaints. "Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness."
Moses was greatly troubled that his people should manifest so little faith in God, notwithstanding they had repeatedly witnessed the manifestation of his power in their behalf. How could they charge upon him the dangers and difficulties of their situation, when he had followed the express command of God? True, there was no possibility of deliverance unless God himself should interpose for their release; but having been brought into this position in obedience to the divine direction, Moses felt no fear of the consequences. His calm and assuring reply to the people was, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace."
It was not an easy thing to hold the hosts of Israel in waiting before the Lord. Lacking discipline and self-control, they became violent and unreasonable. They expected speedily to fall into the hands of their oppressors, and their wailings and lamentations were loud and deep. The wonderful pillar of cloud had been followed as the signal of God to go forward; but now they questioned if it might not foreshadow some great calamity; for had it not led them on the wrong side of the mountain, into an impassable way? Thus the angel of the Lord appeared to their deluded minds as the harbinger of disaster.
But now, as the Egyptian host approached them, expecting to make them an easy prey, the cloudy column rose majestically, passed over the Israelites, and descended between them and the armies of Pharaoh. A wall of darkness interposed between the pursued and their pursuers. The Egyptians could no longer discern the camp of the Hebrews, and were forced to halt. But as the darkness of night deepened, the wall of cloud became a great light to the Hebrews, flooding the entire encampment with the radiance of day.
Hope returned to the hearts of Israel. And Moses lifted up his voice unto the Lord. "And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward. But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the waters."
Obedience to the Command.--As Moses stretched out his rod, the waters parted, and Israel went down into the midst of the sea upon dry ground, while the waters stood like a wall on each side. "Go forward" was the word given by Moses, and it was echoed by the captains of the different divisions. In obedience, the host of Israel stepped into the path so strangely and so wonderfully prepared for them. The light from the pillar of fire shone upon the foam-capped billows, and lighted up the road that was cut like a mighty furrow through the waters of the sea.
As the cloud moved slowly on, the Egyptian sentinels discovered that the Israelites had moved their encampment, and at once the mighty army was set in readiness for motion. They heard the sound of the marching of the Hebrews, but they could see nothing; for the cloud that gave light to Israel was to the Egyptians a wall of darkness. Guided by the sound, they followed on, but they moved slowly; for their chariots drove heavily. Yet still they moved on, expecting soon to break through the cloud, and overtake the fugitives.
At last the shadows of night passed away, the morning dawned, and the pursuing army was almost within reach of the fleeing Hebrews.
A Manifestation of God's Power.--"And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked upon the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians." Before their astonished eyes the mysterious cloud changed to a pillar of fire reaching from earth to heaven. The thunders pealed, and the lightnings flashed. "The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook."
The Egyptians were seized with confusion and dismay. Amid the wrath of the elements, in which they heard the voice of an angry God, they endeavored to retrace their steps, and to flee to the shore they had quitted. But Moses stretched out his rod, and the piled-up waters, hissing, roaring, eager for their prey, rushed together, and swallowed the Egyptians in their black depths.
As morning broke, it revealed to the multitudes of Israel all that remained of their mighty foes,--the mail-clad bodies cast upon the shore. From the most terrible peril one night had brought complete deliverance. That vast, helpless throng--bondmen unused to battle, women, children, and cattle, with the sea before them, and the mighty armies of Egypt pressing behind--had seen their path opened through the waters, and their enemies overwhelmed in the moment of expected triumph. Jehovah alone had brought them deliverance, and to him their hearts were turned in gratitude and faith. Their emotion found utterance in songs of praise. The Spirit of God rested upon Moses, and he led the people in a triumphant anthem of thanksgiving:--"I will sing unto Jehovah; for he hath triumphed gloriously; The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, And he is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; My father's God, and I will exalt him. . . . Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders? . . Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed; Thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation."
God in his providence brought the Hebrews into the mountain fastnesses before the sea, that he might manifest his power in their deliverance, and signally humble the pride of their oppressors. He might have saved them in any other way, but he chose this method in order to test their faith and strengthen their trust in him. The people were weary and terrified, yet if they had held back when Moses bade them advance, God would never have opened the path for them. It was "by faith" that "they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land." In marching down to the very water, they showed that they believed the word of God as spoken by Moses. They did all that was in their power to do, and then the Mighty One of Israel divided the sea to make a path for their feet.
God's Word to Us.--"Go forward" is the word of the Lord to us. You may not see the end from the beginning; nevertheless, pray, believe, and move forward, not in self-sufficiency and self-exaltation, yet filled with hope and courage, assured that the Lord is your helper and protector. Angels of heaven are guarding his faithful ones. If his people will keep the way of the Lord, they will receive all needed help. Let God be praised and magnified. Let men walk in humility before him.
Until the end of time; the church will have to strive with difficulties, that God's work may stand out pure and clean, untainted by fraud or intrigue. Let his people believe in him, and walk in his counsel. They may be permitted to struggle with difficulty, but in answer to humble prayer, the Lord will reveal himself as a God who can deliver in every emergency. The great work to be carried forward in these last days seems to move slowly, but the Lord is preparing the way before those who are seeking wisdom from above, those who are willing to walk in his way.
An Unchangeable Promise.--God's promise to his church will stand fast forever. He will make her an eternal excellence, a joy of many generations. There is no limit to his power. Our covenant-keeping Saviour unites with the omnipotence of the King of kings the tender care of a faithful shepherd. He who has chosen Christ has joined himself to a power that no array of human wisdom or strength can overthrow. "Fear thou not; for I am with thee," he declares; "be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #41)
The work of our colleges and training schools should be strengthened year by year.
No Time for Delay.--Time is short. Workers for Christ are needed everywhere. There should be one hundred earnest, faithful laborers in home and foreign mission fields where now there is one. The highways and the byways are yet unworked. Urgent inducements should be held out to those who ought now to be engaged in missionary work for the Master.
The signs which show that Christ's coming is near are fast fulfilling. The Lord calls upon our youth to labor as canvassers and evangelists, to do house-to-house work in places that have not yet heard the truth. He speaks to our young men, saying, "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." Those who will go forth to the work under God's direction will be wonderfully blessed. Those who in this life do their best will obtain a fitness for the future, immortal life.
The Lord calls for volunteers who will take their stand firmly on his side, and will pledge themselves to unite with Jesus of Nazareth in doing the very work that needs to be done now, just now.
There are among us many young men and women who, if inducements are held out, would naturally be inclined to take several years' course of study at Battle Creek. But will it pay? The talents of God's people are to be employed in giving the last message of mercy to the world. The Lord calls upon those connected with our sanitariums, publishing houses, and other institutions to teach the youth to do evangelistic work. Our time and money must not be so largely employed in establishing sanitariums, food factories, food stores, and restaurants, that other lines of work shall be neglected. Young men and young women who should be engaged in the ministry, in Bible work, and in the canvassing work, should not be bound down to mechanical employment.
The youth are to be encouraged to attend our schools, which should become more and more like the schools of the prophets. Our schools have been established by the Lord; and if they are conducted in harmony with his purpose, the youth sent to them will quickly be prepared to engage in various branches of missionary work. Some will be trained to enter the field as missionary nurses, some as canvassers, some as evangelists, some as teachers, and some as gospel ministers.
The Lord has plainly instructed me that our young people should not be encouraged to devote so much of their time and strength to medical missionary work as it has been carried forward of late. The instruction they receive regarding Bible doctrines is not such as to fit them to perform properly the work that God has entrusted to his people.
Satan is earnestly striving to lead souls away from right principles. Multitudes who profess to belong to God's true church are falling under the enemy's deceptions. They are being led to swerve from their allegiance to the blessed and only Potentate.
A Present Duty.--All our denominational colleges and training schools should make provision to give their students the education essential for evangelists and for Christian business men. The youth and those more advanced in years who feel it their duty to fit themselves for work requiring the passing of certain legal tests should be able to secure at our union conference training schools all that is essential, without having to go to Battle Creek for their preparatory education.
Prayer will accomplish wonders for those who give themselves to prayer, watching thereunto. God desires us all to be in a waiting, hopeful position. What he has promised, he will do; and if there are legal requirements making it necessary that medical students shall take a certain preparatory course of study, let our colleges teach the required additional studies in a manner consistent with Christian education. The Lord has signified his displeasure that so many of our people are drifting into Battle Creek; and since he does not want so many to go there, we should understand that he wants our schools in other places to have efficient teachers, and to do well the work that must be done. They should arrange to carry their students to the point of literary and scientific training that is necessary. Many of these requirements have been made because so much of the preparatory work done in ordinary schools is superficial. Let all our work be thorough, faithful, and true.
In our training schools, the Bible is to be made the basis of all education. And in the required studies, it is not necessary for our teachers to bring in the objectionable books that the Lord has instructed us not to use in our schools. From the light that the Lord has given me, I know that our training schools in various parts of the field should be placed in the most favorable position possible for qualifying our youth to meet the tests specified by State laws regarding medical students. To this end the very best teaching talent should be secured, that our schools may be brought up to the required standard.
But let not the young men and young women in our churches be advised to go to Battle Creek in order to obtain a preparatory education. There is a congested state of things at Battle Creek that makes it an unfavorable place for the proper education of Christian workers. Because the warnings in regard to the work in that congested center have not been heeded, the Lord permitted two of our institutions to be consumed by fire. Even after this revealing of his signal displeasure, his warnings were not heeded. The Sanitarium is still there. If it had been divided into several plants, and its work and influence given to several different places, how much more God would have been glorified! But now that the Sanitarium has been rebuilt, we must do our very best to help those who are there struggling with many difficulties.
Let me repeat: It is not necessary for so many of our youth to study medicine. But for those who should take medical studies our union conference training schools should make ample provision in facilities for preparatory education. Thus the youth of each union conference can be trained nearer home, and be spared the special temptations that attend the work in Battle Creek. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #42)
I have some things to say to our teachers in reference to the new book, "The Living Temple." Be careful how you sustain the sentiments of this book regarding the personality of God. As the Lord represents matters to me, these sentiments do not bear the indorsement of God. They are a snare that the enemy has prepared for these last days. I thought that this would surely be discerned, and that it would not be necessary for me to say anything about it. But since the claim has been made that the teachings of this book can be sustained by statements from my writings, I am compelled to speak in denial of this claim. There may be in this book expressions and sentiments that are in harmony with my writings. And there may be in my writings many statements which, when taken from their connection, and interpreted according to the mind of the writer of "The Living Temple," would seem to be in harmony with the teachings of this book. This may give apparent support to the assertion that the sentiments in "The Living Temple" are in harmony with my writings. But God forbid that this opinion should prevail.
We need not the mysticism that is in this book. Those who entertain these sophistries will soon find themselves in a position where the enemy can talk with them, and lead them away from God. It is represented to me that the writer of this book is on a false track. He has lost sight of the distinguishing truths for this time. He knows not whither his steps are tending. The track of truth lies close beside the track of error, and both tracks may seem to be one to minds which are not worked by the Holy Spirit, and which, therefore, are not quick to discern the difference between truth and error.
In regard to the faith to be cherished and preserved in these last days, very little light is given in "The Living Temple," and this light is so uncertain that it would not help God's people at this stage of their work.
In the visions of the night this matter was clearly presented to me, before a large number. One of authority was speaking, and he said, "If the suppositions and statements found in this book were essential, if these statements were pure provender, thoroughly winnowed from the chaff, there would be some decided mention of them in the revelation given by Christ to John to give to the churches. To John the Lord Jesus opened the subjects that he saw would be needed by his people in the last days. The instruction that he gave is found in the book of Revelation. Those who would be co-workers with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will show a deep interest in the truths found in the book of Revelation. With pen and voice they will strive to make plain the wonderful things that Christ came from heaven to reveal."
The first chapter of the book of Revelation was then read, with great solemnity.
"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand."
Our Instructor presented the solemn messages that have been given in their order in Revelation, and that are to occupy the first place in the minds of God's people.
All through the book, "The Living Temple," passages of Scripture are used, but in many instances these passages are used in such a way that the right interpretation is not given to them. The message for this time is not, "The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we." Whom does the Lord receive as vessels unto honor?--Those who cooperate with Christ; those who believe the truth, who live the truth, who proclaim the truth in all its bearings.
There are those whose minds will be taken up with smooth words and fair speeches that they can not understand or interpret. Precious time is rapidly passing, and many will be robbed of the time that should be given to the proclamation of the messages that God has sent to a fallen world. Satan is pleased to see the diversion of minds that should be engaged in the study of the truths that have to do with eternal realities.
The testimony of Christ, a testimony of the most solemn character, is to be borne to the world. All through the book of Revelation there are the most precious, elevating promises, and there are also warnings of most fearfully solemn import. Will not those who profess to have a knowledge of the truth read the testimony given to John by Christ? Here is no guesswork, no scientific deception. Here are the truths that concern our present and future welfare. What is the chaff to the wheat?
Our Instructor passed on to the third chapter of Revelation, and read the following:--
"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."
These words were spoken with such strength and force that those present seemed to be afraid, and hid their faces in their hands, as if they were arraigned before the Judge of all the earth. Some seemed about to faint.
Then the subject changed. The Speaker read:--
"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.
"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works; behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
In these words there is no soothsaying.
The Speaker held up "The Living Temple," saying, "In this book there are statements that the writer himself does not comprehend. Many things are stated in a vague, undefined way. Statements are made in such a way that nothing is sure. And this is not the only production of the kind that will be urged upon the people. Fanciful views will be presented by many minds. What we need to know at this time is, 'What is the truth that will enable us to win the salvation of our souls?'"
The sophistries regarding God and nature that are flooding the world with skepticism are the inspiration of the fallen foe, who is himself a Bible student, who knows the truths that it is essential for the people to receive, and whose study it is to divert minds from the great truths relating to what is soon coming upon the world. Let our teachers beware lest they echo the soothsaying of the enemy of God and man.
Pointing to some present, our Instructor said, "You are making a mistake. The word, the word revealed by God,--this is to be the foundation of your faith. Study the commandments of God, and the testimony that Jesus has borne to the truth. He is the faithful and true Witness."
Then was repeated the message to the Laodicean church. The whole of the third chapter of Revelation, from first to last, was read.
"Unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; 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, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
The Lord is soon coming. The watchmen on the walls of Zion are called upon to awake to their God-given responsibility. Many of them are in the stupor of insensibility. God calls for watchmen who in the power of the Spirit will give to the world a warning message,--watchmen who will proclaim the time of night. He calls for watchmen who will arouse men and women from their lethargy, lest they sleep the sleep of death. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #43)
Let men who are truly converted offer themselves to the service of the Lord; for verily, he has need of them. Emptied of selfishness, they will be vessels unto honor. Partakers of the divine nature, they will be lightbearers in a world of darkness. Their influence will be a savor of life unto life.
God has appointed us to be laborers together with him, and we are to work zealously for the Redeemer's glory by bringing sheaves to the Master. Every soul saved will swell the triumphant anthem of praise that the redeemed will sing. Christ came to the world to "bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." The world is full of men and women who carry a heavy burden of sorrow and suffering and sin. God sends his children to reveal to them him who will take away the burden, and give them rest. It is the mission of Christ's servants to help, to bless, to heal.
My brethren and sisters, do we realize the importance of this subject? Why are we so listless and indifferent? why satisfied to remain so poorly fitted to work for the uplifting of humanity? The heavenly universe looks with amazement upon our Christless work. Neglect is seen in our borders. Slipshod work is tolerated and passed by. How long shall this continue? Shall we not arouse, and with determined effort redeem our neglect? Much is expected of us.
What are our young men doing? God calls for you, young men. He calls for armies of young men who are large-hearted and large-minded, and who have a deep love for Christ, and for those for whom he died. If you will place yourselves under the influence of the truth, if you will receive the truth into the heart, you will have confidence and power to present it to others. Christ will be made unto you wisdom and righteousness and sanctification. You will be laborers together with God, following Christ's guidance. Such laborers are as sharp sickles in the harvest field. They do not use their God-given powers in arguing and debating. Pointing to Calvary, they cry, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Like Moses, they endure the seeing of him who is invisible. Through their efforts, souls are won to Christ; for God is with them.
Young men, Jesus is saying to you, "Follow me." Bear burdens in the Master's service. Our older ministering brethren must drop many of their burdens, or they will be crushed beneath them. The aged standardbearers may act as counselors, but their younger, stronger brethren should bear the heavy burdens. John says, "I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, . . . and ye have overcome the wicked one." You whose eyes are not dimmed, who are not worn by long and constant taxation, should plan and execute, treating the aged workers with tenderness, and looking up to them as counselors.
Looking to Christ.--I call upon the young men who are entering the ministry to search the Scriptures for themselves. Know for yourselves what is truth. Do not accept any man's theories as authority. This has been done by ministers to the injury of their experience, and it has left them ignorant and strengthless, when they should be wise in the Scriptures and strong in the strength of God. Take your Bibles, and weep and pray and fast before the Lord.
Do not fix your attention on some favorite minister, speaking his words and imitating his gestures, in short, becoming his shadow. Allow no man to put his mold upon you. Let the hand of God mold and fashion you after the divine similitude.
Do not seek wisdom from men. Those to whom you go may be bewildered by the temptations of Satan, and may plant in your minds the seeds of doubt. Go to Jesus, who "giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not." He is unchangeable, the same yesterday, today, and forever; and he can not err. Has not his invitation reached your ears, and touched your heart? He says, "Come unto me, . . . 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." Go to the Lord with the simplicity and confidence of a little child. Tell him your needs and your troubles, withholding nothing. Ask him to teach you how to use your entrusted talents for him.
Long Sermons.--I beg of you not to think that the preaching of long sermons is an unmistakable evidence of ministerial ability. Let your discourses be short. Long sermons will wear out both you and those who hear. Often if sermons were only half as long, it would be well. And remember that to be a true minister for God means much more than merely to preach. A minister is one who ministers. Put forth personal effort for the people. Visit them in their homes, pray with them, search the Scriptures with them, and you will bring them the blessing of heaven.
Carefulness in Speech.--As you go forth to labor for Christ, keep strict watch over yourselves. Be careful of your words. Do not waste precious moments in foolish conversation. Live so near to Christ that you will always be ready to speak a word in season to him that is weary. Put away all pride, all selfishness, all lightness and trifling. Jesting and joking are an offense to God, and a denial of your faith. They unfit the mind for solid thought and earnest labor, making men superficial and inefficient. Be circumspect, and at the same time cheerful and happy, showing forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
How to Gain Success.--In order to be successful in your work, you must feel the need of learning every day in the school of Christ. Learn of the great Teacher, and then go forth in the strength of him who has said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Put your whole soul into your efforts, and never leave a work half done. Bind off your work thoroughly. Leave no dropped stitches for some one else to pick up.
Do not disappoint Christ. Resolve that you will succeed. Ask for divine grace and efficiency. You will not be left to labor alone. Christ will be with you, and you will receive precious souls for your hire.
Christ died that we might enter into possession of the eternal riches. With hearts filled with gratitude, let us improve the opportunities for service placed within our reach, that we may be prepared for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those who love him. Heaven is a holy place; into it there can enter nothing that defiles. But those who have washed their robes of character, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, will receive an abundant entrance into the heavenly courts.
At the last great day, Christ will say to those who have been true and faithful, "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." They will understand the meaning of his words; for they will have done the work that Christ gave them to do. They have cooperated with him in the saving of those for whom he died, and they are prepared to share in his joy. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #43)
Eleven days after leaving Mount Horeb, the Hebrew host encamped at Kadesh, in the wilderness of Paran, which was not far from the borders of the promised land. Here it was proposed by the people that spies be sent up to survey the country. The matter was presented before the Lord by Moses, and permission was granted, with the direction that one of the rulers of each tribe should be selected for this purpose. The men were chosen as had been directed, and Moses bade them go and see the country, what it was, its situation and natural advantages; and the people that dwelt therein, whether they were strong or weak, few or many; also to observe the nature of the soil and its productiveness, and to bring of the fruit of the land.
They went, and surveyed the whole land, entering at the southern border, and proceeding to the northern extremity. They returned after an absence of forty days. The people of Israel were cherishing high hopes, and were waiting in eager expectancy. The news of the spies' return was carried from tribe to tribe, and was hailed with rejoicing. The people rushed out to meet the messengers, who had safely escaped the dangers of their perilous undertaking. The spies brought specimens of the fruit, showing the fertility of the soil. It was in the time of ripe grapes, and they brought a cluster of grapes so large that it was carried between two men. They also brought of the figs and pomegranates which grew there in abundance.
The people rejoiced that they were to come into possession of so goodly a land, and they listened intently as the report was brought to Moses, that not a word should escape them. "We came unto the land whither thou sentest us," the spies began, "and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it." The people were enthusiastic; they would eagerly obey the voice of the Lord, and go up at once to possess the land. But after describing the beauty and fertility of the land, all but two of the spies enlarged upon the difficulties and dangers that lay before the Israelites should they undertake the conquest of Canaan. They enumerated the powerful nations located in various parts of the country, and said that the cities were walled and very great, and the people who dwelt therein were strong, and it would be impossible to conquer them. They also stated that they had seen giants, the sons of Anak, there, and it was useless to think of possessing the land.
Now the scene changed. Hope and courage gave place to cowardly despair, as the spies uttered the sentiments of their unbelieving hearts, which were filled with discouragement prompted by Satan; their unbelief cast a gloomy shadow over the congregation, and the mighty power of God, so often manifested in behalf of the chosen nation, 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; 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 though they must depend solely on the power of arms.
In their unbelief they limited the power of God, and distrusted the hand that had hitherto safely guided them. And they repeated their former error of murmuring against Moses and Aaron. "This, then, is the end of all our high hopes," they said. "This is the land we have traveled all the way from Egypt to possess." They accused their leaders of deceiving the people and bringing trouble upon Israel.
The people were desperate in their disappointment and despair. A wail of agony arose, and mingled with the confused murmurs 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, and the Canaanites strong. But God had promised the land to Israel. "Let us go up at once, and possess it," urged Caleb; "for we are well able to overcome it."
But the ten, interrupting him, pictured the obstacles in darker colors than at first. "We be not able to go up against the people," they declared; "for they are stronger than we. . . . 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."
These men, having entered upon a wrong course, stubbornly set themselves against Caleb and Joshua, against Moses, and against God. Every advance step rendered them the more determined. They were resolved to discourage all effort to gain possession of Canaan. They distorted the truth in order to sustain their baleful influence. "It is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof," they said. This was not only an evil report, but it was also a lying one. It was inconsistent with itself. The spies had declared the country to be fruitful and prosperous, and the people of giant stature, all of which would be impossible if the climate were so unhealthful that the land could be said to "eat up the inhabitants." But when men yield their hearts to unbelief, they place themselves under the control of Satan, and none can tell to what lengths he will lead them.
"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 cloudy pillar, the Angel of his presence was witnessing their terrible outburst of wrath. In bitterness they cried out, "Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!" Then their feelings rose against God: "Wherefore hath the Lord brought us into 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 one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt." Thus they accused not only Moses, but God himself, of deception, in promising them a land which they were not able to possess. And they went so far as to appoint a captain to lead them back to the land of their suffering and bondage, from which they had been delivered by the strong arm of Omnipotence.
In humiliation and distress, "Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel," not knowing what to do to turn them from their rash and passionate purpose. Caleb and Joshua attempted to quiet the tumult. With their garments rent in token of grief and indignation, they rushed in among the people, and their ringing voices were heard above the tempest of lamentation and rebellious grief: "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."
The Canaanites had filled up the measure of their iniquity, and the Lord would no longer bear with them. His protection being removed, they would be an easy prey. By the covenant of God, the land was insured to Israel. But the false report of the unfaithful spies was accepted, and through it the whole congregation were deluded. The traitors had done their work. If only the two men had brought the evil report, and all the ten had encouraged them to possess the land in the name of the Lord, they would still have taken the advice of the two in preference to the ten, because of their wicked unbelief. But there were only two advocating the right, while ten were on the side of rebellion.
The unfaithful spies were loud in denunciation 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 forward 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 design. 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 none dared continue their 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. The Lord declared to him, "I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation." But again Moses pleaded for his people. He could not consent to have them destroyed, and himself made a mightier nation. Appealing to the mercy of God, he said: "I beseech thee, 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."
The Lord promised to spare Israel from immediate destruction; but because of their unbelief and cowardice he could not manifest his power to subdue their enemies. Therefore in his mercy he bade them, as the only safe course, to turn back toward the Red Sea.-- "Patriarchs and Prophets," pages 387-391. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #44)
God chooses as his workmen men of different gifts and varied abilities. It is his purpose that these workers shall unite with one another in their labor. All selfishness is to be cast out of their hearts. If it is allowed to developed, it will spring up in a root of bitterness, whereby many shall be defiled.
When a crisis comes, there is need of men of deep experience in the things of God, men who can carry the work forward with tact and forethought and skill. Those who allow themselves to be leavened by influences that endanger their spirituality are unfitting themselves to be used by God as men of opportunity. God calls for men who are prepared to meet emergencies, men who in a crisis will not be found standing on the wrong side, warring against God, full of wrath and bitterness. Great weakness is brought to his cause by men who, at the very time when they should be quick to discern the specious devising of Satan, are helping him to carry on his work by giving up to the power of his delusions, closing their eyes to light and truth.
We are not to conceal the truth for this time. It is to stand forth in its power and purity. The trumpet is to give a certain sound; for there are those who, though they have long known the truth, need to be awakened. They have closed their eyes to the result of walking contrary to the light that God has given.
We are living in the last days of this earth's history, and God calls upon those who have an understanding of the truth for this time to pray, to believe, to stand fast in the faith, proclaiming the message of mercy to be given to the world. My brethren, I pray most earnestly "that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness."
There are those who today are standing in perilous places, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. From this time on, Satan will bring in deceptive influences of every kind. True, stanch, wholehearted believers are needed; men who are not fashioned after a worldly mold, but who see and realize that it is at this time that Satan's power will be exercised through believers who have not kept the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end.
Workers are needed who understand that the warnings given in the Word of God are appropriate for this time. Shall we not pray and watch unto prayer, and see that we need to be re-converted? God's purpose for us is that we shall be constantly "increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness."
At this time we need men who are as true as steel to principle. We need the help of every one who has had an experience in the giving of the first and second angels' messages.
There are those who have so linked themselves with the world that they have lost the knowledge of God, and are departing from the faith. How glad we should be to say to all such ones," And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard."
Paul wrote these words to the Colossians, and he continues:--
"Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily."
There is now need of unity; and there will be unity. Those who have greatly hindered the cause of God, and have caused heavy burdens to rest upon their fellow laborers, because they have lost their bearings, will either humble their proud hearts, and be converted, or they will be moved out of the way! The warning comes:--
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power."
Amid the temptations that abound in these last days, some will depart from the faith. Those who have been trying to quench their thirst at broken cisterns, which can hold no water, will have a misleading message to proclaim. They will speak smooth things. It is now, just now, that genuine gospel medical missionary work is to be done by men who acknowledge Christ as their Master; who realize, as did Elijah and Jeremiah, that they hold their commission from God, and that they are accountable to God for the use made of the talents entrusted to them. God's workers are to acknowledge no earthly master. One higher than men, even he who is the way, the truth, and the life, is their Master.
Men are needed who can speak intelligently of the sacredness and the importance of the truth; men who can point their fellow men to the needs of the present hour; men who have an inspiring message to bear against perverted principle; who watch for souls as they that must give an account, pointing souls to God's standard of righteousness.
Many who have known the truth, but who have not cherished its principles in their hearts, will become leavened with evil. This evil they do not discern. In word and act they say, "Speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits." We are now to call things by their right names. No longer are we to look upon unrighteousness as righteousness. Let every one now be prepared to lift up the standard of truth. We are to have no fellowship with the worldly practises that have perverted the faith of some who have enjoyed great privileges, and who should now be standing on vantage ground.
We are to respond to God's call to take a decided stand for truth and righteousness. No longer are we to bind up with worldly elements. The leaders in God's work are not to be men who do not know God, who have no experimental knowledge of God. They are to be men who love and fear God and Christ; otherwise, they must be relieved of their responsibilities. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #44)
In their rebellion the people had exclaimed, "Would God we had died in this wilderness!" Now this prayer was to be granted. The Lord declared: "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. . . . 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." And of Caleb he said, "My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it." As the spies had spent forty days in their journey, so the hosts of Israel were to wander in the wilderness forty years.
When Moses made known to the people the divine decision, their rage was changed to mourning. They knew that their punishment was just. The ten unfaithful spies, divinely smitten by the plague, perished before the eyes of all Israel; and in their fate the people read their own doom.
Now they seemed sincerely to repent of their sinful conduct; but they sorrowed because of the result of their evil course, rather than from a sense of their ingratitude and disobedience. When they found that the Lord did not relent in his decree, their self-will again arose, and they declared that they would not return into the wilderness. In commanding them to retire from the land of their enemies, God tested their apparent submission, and proved that it was not real. They knew that they had deeply sinned in allowing their rash feelings to control them, and in seeking to slay the spies who had urged them to obey God; but they were only terrified to find that they had made a fearful mistake, the consequences of which would prove disastrous to themselves. Their hearts were unchanged, and they only needed an excuse to occasion a similar outbreak. This presented itself when Moses, by the authority of God, commanded them to go back into the wilderness.
The decree that Israel was not to enter Canaan for forty years was a bitter disappointment to Moses and Aaron, Caleb and Joshua; yet without a murmur they accepted the divine decision. But those who had been complaining of God's dealings with them, and declaring that they would return to Egypt, wept and mourned greatly when the blessings which they had despised were taken from them. They had complained at nothing, and now God gave them cause to weep. Had they mourned for their sin when it was faithfully laid before them, this sentence would not have been pronounced; but they mourned for the judgment; their sorrow was not repentance, and could not secure a reversing of their sentence.
The night was spent in lamentation; but with the morning came a hope. They resolved to redeem their cowardice. When God had bidden them go up and take the land, they had refused; and now when he directed them to retreat, they were equally rebellious. They determined to seize upon the land and possess it; it might be that God would accept their work and change his purpose toward them.
God had made it their privilege and their duty to enter the land at the time of his appointment; but through their willful neglect that permission had been withdrawn. Satan had gained his object in preventing them from entering Canaan; and now he urged them on to do the very thing, in the face of the divine prohibition, which they had refused to do when God required it. Thus the great deceiver gained the victory by leading them to rebellion the second time. They had distrusted the power of God to work with their efforts in gaining possession of Canaan: yet now they presumed upon their own strength to accomplish the work independent of divine aid. "We have sinned against the Lord," they cried; "we will go up and fight, according to all that the Lord our God commanded us." So terribly blinded had they become by transgression. The Lord had never commanded them to "go up and fight." It was not his purpose that they should gain the land by warfare, but by strict obedience to his commands.
Though their hearts were unchanged, the people had been brought to confess the sinfulness and folly of their rebellion at the report of the spies. They now saw the value of the blessing which they had so rashly cast away. They confessed that it was their own unbelief which had shut them out from Canaan. "We have sinned," they said, acknowledging that the fault was in themselves, and not in God, whom they had so wickedly charged with failing to fulfill his promises to them. Though their confession did not spring from true repentance, it served to vindicate the justice of God in his dealings with them.
The Lord still works in a similar manner to glorify his name by bringing men to acknowledge his justice. When those who profess to love him complain of his providence, despise his promises, and, yielding to temptation, unite with evil angels to defeat the purposes of God, the Lord often so overrules circumstances as to bring these persons where, though they may have no real repentance, they will be convinced of their sin, and will be constrained to acknowledge the wickedness of their course, and the justice and goodness of God in his dealings with them. It is thus that God sets counter-agencies at work to make manifest the works of darkness. And though the spirit which prompted to the evil course is not radically changed, confessions are made that vindicate the honor of God, and justify his faithful reprovers, who have been opposed and misrepresented. Thus it will be when the wrath of God shall be finally poured out. When "the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints to execute judgment upon all," he will also "convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds." Every sinner will be brought to see and acknowledge the justice of his condemnation.
Regardless of the divine sentence, the Israelites prepared to undertake the conquest of Canaan. Equipped with armor and weapons of war, they were, in their own estimation, fully prepared for conflict; but they were sadly deficient in the sight of God and his sorrowful servants. When, nearly forty years later, the Lord directed Israel to go up and take Jericho, he promised to go with them. The ark containing his law was borne before their armies. His appointed leaders were to direct their movements, under the divine supervision. With such guidance, no harm could come to them. But now, contrary to the command of God and the solemn prohibition of their leaders, without the ark, and without Moses, they went out to meet the armies of the enemy.
The trumpet sounded an alarm, and Moses hastened after them with the warning, "Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the Lord? But it shall not prosper. Go not up, for the Lord is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword."
The Canaanites had heard of the mysterious power that seemed to be guarding this people, and of the wonders wrought in their behalf; and they now summoned a strong force to repel the invaders. The attacking army had no leader. No prayer was offered that God would give them the victory. They set forth with the desperate purpose to reverse their fate or to die in battle. Though untrained in war, they were a vast multitude of armed men, and they hoped by a sudden and fierce assault to bear down all opposition. They presumptuously challenged the foe that had not dared to attack them.
The Canaanites had stationed themselves upon a rocky tableland reached only by difficult passes and a steep and dangerous ascent. The immense numbers of the Hebrews could only render their defeat more terrible. They slowly threaded the mountain paths, exposed to the deadly missiles of their enemies above. Massive rocks came thundering down, marking their path with the blood of the slain. Those who reached the summit, exhausted with their ascent, were fiercely repulsed, and driven back with great loss. The field of carnage was strewn with the bodies of the dead. The army of Israel was utterly defeated. Destruction and death was the result of that rebellious experiment.
Forced to submission at last, the survivors "returned, and wept before the Lord;" but "the Lord would not hearken to their voice." By their signal victory, the enemies of Israel, who had before awaited with trembling the approach of that mighty host, were inspired with confidence to resist them. All the reports they had heard concerning the marvelous things that God had wrought for his people, they now regarded as false, and they felt that there was no cause for fear. That first defeat of Israel, by inspiring the Canaanites with courage and resolution, had greatly increased the difficulties of the conquest. Nothing remained for Israel but to fall back from the face of their victorious foes, into the wilderness, knowing that here must be the grave of a whole generation.--" Patriarchs and Prophets," pages 391-394. Mrs. E. G. White.
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There are times when a distinct view is presented before me of the condition of the remnant church,--a condition of appalling indifference to the needs of a world perishing for lack of knowledge of the truth for this time. Then I have hours, and sometimes days, of intense anguish. Many to whom have been committed the saving truths of the third angel's message fail of realizing that the salvation of souls is dependent upon the consecration and activity of God's church. As grateful recipients of Heaven's blessings, believers are to diffuse the light of truth to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. But many are using these blessings in the service of self. Their influence is no better than the influence of worldlings. O how my heart aches because Christ is put to shame by their unchristlike behavior! But after the agony is past, I feel like working harder than ever to arouse them to put forth unselfish effort for the saving of their fellow men.
God has made his people stewards of his grace and truth, and how does he regard their neglect to impart these blessings to their fellow men? Let us suppose that a distant colony belonging to Great Britain is in great distress because of famine and threatened war. Multitudes are dying of starvation, and a powerful enemy is gathering on the frontier, threatening to hasten the work of death. The government at home opens its stores; public charity pours forth; relief flows through many channels. A fleet is freighted with the precious means of life, and is sent to the scene of suffering, accompanied by the prayers of those whose hearts are stirred to help. And for a time the fleet sails directly for its destination. But having lost sight of land, the ardor of those entrusted with the work of carrying food to the starving sufferers, abates. Though engaged in a work that makes them co-laborers with the angels, they lose the good impressions with which they started forth. Through evil counselors temptation enters.
A group of islands lies in their course, and though far short of their destination, they decide to call. The temptation that has already entered grows stronger. The selfish spirit of gain takes possession of their minds. Mercantile advantages present themselves. Those in charge of the fleet are prevailed on to remain on the islands. Their original purpose of mercy fades from their sight. They forget the starving people to whom they were sent. The stores entrusted to them are used for their own benefit. The means of benevolence is diverted into channels of selfishness. They barter the means of life for selfish gain, and leave their fellow beings to die. The cries of the perishing ascend to heaven, and the Lord writes in his record the tale of robbery.
Think of the horror of human beings dying because those placed in charge of the means of relief proved unfaithful to their trust! It is difficult for us to realize that man could be guilty of so terrible a sin. Yet I am instructed to say to you, my brother, my sister, that Christians are daily repeating this sin.
In Eden, man fell from his high estate, and through transgression became subject to death. It was seen in heaven that human beings were perishing, and the compassion of God was stirred. At infinite cost he devised a means of relief. He "so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." There was no hope for the transgressor except through Christ. God saw that "there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him."
The Lord chose a people, and made them the depositaries of his truth. It was his purpose that by the revelation of his character through Israel men should be drawn unto him. To all the world the gospel invitation was to be given. Through the teaching of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before the nations, and all who would look unto him should live.
But Israel did not fulfil God's purpose. They forgot God, and lost sight of their high privilege as his representatives. The blessings they had received brought no blessing to the world. All their advantages were appropriated for their own glorification. They robbed God of the service he required of them, and they robbed their fellow men of religious guidance and a holy example.
God finally sent his Son to reveal to men the character of the Unseen. Christ came and lived on this earth a life of obedience to God's law. He gave his precious life to save the world, and made his servants his stewards in trust. With the gift of Christ all the treasures of heaven were given to man. The church was freighted with the food of heaven for starving souls. This was the treasure that the people of God were commissioned to carry to the world. They were faithfully to perform their duty, continuing their work until the message of mercy had encircled the world.
Christ ascended to heaven, and sent his Holy Spirit to give power to the work of his disciples. Thousands were converted in a day. In a single generation the gospel was carried to every nation under heaven. But little by little a change came. The church lost her first love. She became selfish and ease-loving. The spirit of worldliness was cherished. The enemy cast his spell upon those to whom God had given light for a world in darkness,--light which should have shone forth in good works. The world was robbed of the blessings that God desired men to receive.
Is not the same thing repeated in this generation? Many in our day are keeping back that which the Lord has entrusted to them for the salvation of a world unwarned, unsaved. In the Word of God an angel is represented as flying in the midst of heaven, "having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of water."
The message of Revelation 14 is the message that we are to bear to the world. It is the bread of life for these last days. Millions of human beings are perishing in ignorance and iniquity. But many of those to whom God has committed the stores of life look upon these souls with indifference. Many forget that to them has been entrusted the bread of life for those starving for salvation.
O for consecrated Christians, for Christlike consistency, for the faith that works by love and purifies the soul! May God help us to repent, and change our sluggish movements into consecrated activity. May he help us to show by our words and works that we make the burden of perishing souls our own.
Let us be thankful every moment for God's forbearance with our tardy, unbelieving movements. Instead of flattering ourselves with the thought of what we have done, after doing just a little, we are to labor still more earnestly. We are not to cease our efforts or relax our vigilance. Never is our zeal to grow less. Our spiritual life must be daily revived by the stream that makes glad the city of our God. We must be always on the watch for opportunities to use for God the talents that he has given us.
I appeal to our church members to use for God the powers that he has given them. Wherever there is true conversion, there is a reformation, a consecration to God. Every one who with genuine faith believes in Christ enters into his service. Our faith must now be a faith that is constantly increasing. God's people are no longer to sit at their ease, waiting for an opening, when it is their duty to make an opening and then, go to work.
Let every believer ask himself, "What can I do to proclaim the third angel's message?" Christ came to this world to give this message to his servant to give to the churches. It is to be proclaimed to every nation and kindred and tongue and people. How are we to give it? The distribution of our literature is one means by which the message is to be proclaimed. Let every believer scatter broadcast tracts and leaflets and books containing the message for this time. We need colporteurs, who will go forth to circulate our publications everywhere.
Those who labor for souls need to remember that they are pledged to cooperate with Christ, to obey his directions, to follow his guidance. Every hour they are to ask for and receive power from on high. They are to cherish a constant sense of the Saviour's love, of his efficiency, his watchfulness, his tenderness. They are to look to him as the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. Then they will have the sympathy and support of the heavenly angels. Christ will be their joy and crown of rejoicing. Their hearts will be controlled by the Holy Spirit, and they will go forth clothed with holy zeal. Their efforts will be accompanied with a power proportionate to the importance of the message they proclaim. Mrs. E. G. White.
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The Judgments visited upon the Israelites served for a time to restrain their murmuring and insubordination, but the spirit of rebellion was still in the heart, and eventually brought forth the bitterest fruits. The former rebellions had been mere popular tumults, arising from the sudden impulse of the excited multitude; but now a deep-laid conspiracy was formed, the result of a determined purpose to overthrow the authority of the leaders appointed by God himself.
Korah, the leading spirit in this movement, was a Levite, of the family of Kohath, and a cousin of Moses; he was a man of ability and influence. Though appointed to the service of the tabernacle, he had become dissatisfied with his position, and aspired to the dignity of the priesthood. The bestowal upon Aaron and his house of the priestly office, which had formerly devolved upon the firstborn son of every family, had given rise to jealousy and dissatisfaction, and for some time Korah had been secretly opposing the authority of Moses and Aaron, though he had not ventured upon any open act of rebellion. He finally conceived the bold design of overthrowing both the civil and the religious authority. He did not fail to find sympathizers. Close to the tents of Korah and the Kohathites, on the south side of the tabernacle, was the encampment of the tribe of Reuben, the tents of Dathan and Abiram, two princes of this tribe, being near that of Korah. These princes readily joined in his ambitious schemes. Being descendants from the eldest son of Jacob, they claimed that the civil authority belonged to them, and they determined to divide with Korah the honors of the priesthood.
The state of feeling among the people favored the designs of Korah. In the bitterness of their disappointment, their former doubts, jealousy, and hatred had returned, and again their complaints were directed against their patient leader. The Israelites were continually losing sight of the fact that they were under divine guidance. They forgot that the Angel of the covenant was their invisible leader, that, veiled by the cloudy pillar, the presence of Christ went before them, and that from him Moses received all his directions.
They were unwilling to submit to the terrible sentence that they must all die in the wilderness, and hence they were ready to seize upon every pretext for believing that it was not God but Moses who was leading them, and who had pronounced their doom. The best efforts of the meekest man upon the earth could not quell the insubordination of this people; and although the marks of God's displeasure at their former perverseness were still before them in their broken ranks and missing numbers, they did not take the lesson to heart. Again they were overcome by temptation.
The humble shepherd's life of Moses had been far more peaceful and happy that his present position as leader of that vast assembly of turbulent spirits. Yet Moses dared not choose. In place of a shepherd's crook a rod of power had been given him, which he could not lay down until God should release him.
He who reads the secrets of all hearts had marked the purposes of Korah and his companions, and had given his people such warning and instruction as might have enabled them to escape the deception of these designing men. They had seen the judgment of God fall upon Miriam because of her jealousy and complaints against Moses. The Lord had declared that Moses was greater than a prophet. "With him will I speak mouth to mouth." "Wherefore, then," he added, "were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" These instructions were not intended for Aaron and Miriam alone, but for all Israel.
Korah and his fellow conspirators were men who had been favored with special manifestations of God's power and greatness. They were of the number who went up with Moses into the mount and beheld the divine glory. But since that time a change had come. A temptation, slight at first, had been harbored, and had strengthened as it was encouraged, until their minds were controlled by Satan, and they ventured upon their work of disaffection. Professing great interest in the prosperity of the people, they first whispered their discontent to one another, and then to leading men of Israel. Their insinuations were so readily received that they ventured still further, and at last they really believed themselves to be actuated by zeal for God.
They were successful in alienating two hundred and fifty princes, men of renown in the congregation. With these strong and influential supporters they felt confident of making a radical change in the government, and greatly improving upon the administration of Moses and Aaron.
Jealousy had given rise to envy, and envy to rebellion. They had discussed the question of the right of Moses to so great authority and honor, until they had come to regard him as occupying a very enviable position, which any of them could fill as well as he. And they deceived themselves and one another into thinking that Moses and Aaron had themselves assumed the positions they held. The discontented ones said that these leaders had exalted themselves above the congregation of the Lord, in taking upon them the priesthood and government, but their house was not entitled to distinction above others in Israel; they were no more holy than the people, and it should be enough for them to be on a level with their brethren, who were equally favored with God's special presence and protection.
The next work of the conspirators was with the people. To those who are in the wrong, and deserving of reproof, there is nothing more pleasing than to receive sympathy and praise. And thus Korah and his associates gained the attention and enlisted the support of the congregation. The charge that the murmurings of the people had brought upon them the wrath of God, was declared to be a mistake. They said that the congregation were not at fault, since they desired nothing more than their rights; but that Moses was an overbearing ruler; that he had reproved the people as sinners, when they were a holy people, and the Lord was among them.
Korah reviewed the history of their travels through the wilderness, where they have been brought into strait places, and many had perished because of their murmuring and disobedience. His hearers thought they saw clearly that their troubles might have been prevented if Moses had pursued a different course. They decided that all their disasters were chargeable to him, and that their exclusion from Canaan was in consequence of the mismanagement of Moses and Aaron; that if Korah would be their leader, and would encourage them by dwelling upon their good deeds instead of reproving their sins, they would have a very peaceful, prosperous journey; instead of wandering to and fro in the wilderness, they would proceed directly to the promised land.
In this work of disaffection there was greater union and harmony among the discordant elements of the congregation than had ever before existed. Korah's success with the people increased his confidence, and confirmed him in his belief that the usurpation of authority by Moses, if unchecked, would be fatal to the liberties of Israel; he also claimed that God had opened the matter to him, and had authorized him to make a change in the government before it should be too late. But many were not ready to accept Korah's accusations against Moses. The memory of his patient, self-sacrificing labors came up before them, and conscience was disturbed. It was therefore necessary to assign some selfish motive for his deep interest for Israel; and the old charge was reiterated, that he had led them out to perish in the wilderness, that he might seize upon their possessions.
For a time this work was carried on secretly. As soon, however, as the movement had gained sufficient strength to warrant an open rupture, Korah appeared at the head of the faction, and publicly accused Moses and Aaron of usurping authority which Korah and his associates were equally entitled to share. It was charged, further, that the people had been deprived of their liberty and independence. "Ye take too much upon you," said the conspirators, "seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them; wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?"
Moses had not suspected this deep-laid plot, and when its terrible significance burst upon him, he fell upon his face in silent appeal to God. He arose sorrowful indeed, but calm and strong. Divine guidance had been granted him. "Even tomorrow," he said, "the Lord will show who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him." The test was to be deferred until the morrow, that all might have time for reflection. Then those who aspired to the priesthood were to come each with a censer, and offer incense at the tabernacle in the presence of the congregation. The law was very explicit that only those who had been ordained to the sacred office should minister in the sanctuary. And even the priests, Nadab and Abihu, had been destroyed for venturing to offer "strange fire," in disregard of a divine command. Yet Moses challenged his accusers, if they dared enter upon so perilous an appeal, to refer the matter to God.
Singling out Korah and his fellow Levites, Moses said, "Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also? for which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the Lord. And what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?"
Dathan and Abiram had not taken so bold a stand as had Korah; and Moses, hoping that they might have been drawn into the conspiracy without having become wholly corrupted, summoned them to appear before him, that he might hear their charges against him. But they would not come, and they insolently refused to acknowledge his authority. Their reply, uttered in the hearing of the congregation, was, "Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us? Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards; wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? We will not come up."
Thus they applied to the scene of their bondage the very language in which the Lord had described the promised inheritance. They accused Moses of pretending to act under divine guidance, as a means of establishing his authority; and they declared that they would no longer submit to be led about like blind men, now toward Canaan, and now toward the wilderness, as best suited his ambitious designs. Thus he who had been as a tender father, a patient shepherd, was represented in the blackest character of a tyrant and usurper. The exclusion from Canaan, in punishment of their own sins, was charged upon him.
It was evident that the sympathies of the people were with the disaffected party; but Moses made no effort at self-vindication. He solemnly appealed to God, in the presence of the congregation, as a witness to the purity of his motives and the uprightness of his conduct, and implored him to be his judge.
On the morrow, the two hundred and fifty princes, with Korah at their head, presented themselves, with their censers. They were brought into the court of the tabernacle, while the people gathered without, to await the result. It was not Moses who assembled the congregation to behold the defeat of Korah and his company, but the rebels, in their blind presumption, had called them together to witness their victory. A large part of the congregation openly sided with Korah, whose hopes were high of carrying his point against Aaron.
As they were thus assembled before God, "the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the congregation." The divine warning was communicated to Moses and Aaron, "Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment." But they fell upon their faces, with the prayer, "O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?"
Korah had withdrawn from the assembly, to join Dathan and Abiram, when Moses, accompanied by the seventy elders, went down with a last warning to the men who had refused to come to him. The multitudes followed, and before delivering his message, Moses, by divine direction, bade the people, "Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins." The warning was obeyed, for an apprehension of impending judgment rested upon all. The chief rebels saw themselves abandoned by those whom they had deceived, but their hardihood was unshaken. They stood with their families in the door of their tents, as if in defiance of the divine warning.
In the name of the God of Israel, Moses now declared, in the hearing of the congregation: "Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men, then the Lord hath not sent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertaineth unto them, and they go down quick into the pit, then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord."
The eyes of all Israel were fixed upon Moses, as they stood, in terror and expectation, awaiting the event. As he ceased speaking, the solid earth parted, and the rebels went down alive into the pit, with all that pertained to them, and "they perished from among the congregation." The people fled, self-condemned as partakers in the sin.
But the judgments were not ended. Fire flashing from the cloud consumed the two hundred and fifty princes who had offered incense. These men, not being the first in rebellion, were not destroyed with the chief conspirators. They were permitted to see their end, and to have an opportunity for repentance; but their sympathies were with the rebels, and they shared their fate.
When Moses was entreating Israel to flee from the coming destruction, the divine judgment might even then have been stayed, if Korah and his company had repented and sought forgiveness. But their stubborn persistence sealed their doom. The entire congregation were sharers in their guilt, for all had, to a greater or less degree, sympathized with them. Yet God in his great mercy made a distinction between the leaders in rebellion and those whom they had led. The people who had permitted themselves to be deceived were still granted space for repentance. Overwhelming evidence had been given that they were wrong, and that Moses was right. The signal manifestation of God's power had removed all uncertainty.
Jesus, the Angel who went before the Hebrews, sought to save them from destruction. Forgiveness was lingering for them. The judgment of God had come very near, and appealed to them to repent. A special, irresistible interference from heaven had arrested their rebellion. Now, if they would respond to the interposition of God's providence, they might be saved. But while they fled from the judgments, through fear of destruction, their rebellion was not cured. They returned to their tents that night terrified, but not repentant.
They had been flattered by Korah and his company until they really believed themselves to be a very good people, and that they had been wronged and abused by Moses. Should they admit that Korah and his company were wrong, and Moses right, then they would be compelled to receive as the word of God the sentence that they must die in the wilderness. They were not willing to submit to this, and they tried to believe that Moses had deceived them. They had fondly cherished the hope that a new order of things was about to be established, in which praise would be substituted for reproof, and ease for anxiety and conflict. The men who had perished had spoken flattering words, and had professed great interest and love for them, and the people concluded that Korah and his companions must have been good men, and that Moses had by some means been the cause of their destruction.
It is hardly possible for men to offer greater insult to God than to despise and reject the instrumentalities he would use for their salvation. The Israelites had not only done this, but had purposed to put both Moses and Aaron to death. Yet they did not realize the necessity of seeking pardon of God for their grievous sin. The night of probation was not passed in repentance and confession, but in devising some way to resist the evidences which showed them to be the greatest of sinners. They still cherished hatred of the men of God's appointment, and braced themselves to resist their authority. Satan was at hand to pervert their judgment, and lead them blindfold to destruction.
All Israel had fled in alarm at the cry of the doomed sinners who went down into the pit, for they said, "Lest the earth swallow us up also." "But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord." And they were about to proceed to violence against their faithful, self-sacrificing leaders.
A manifestation of the divine glory was seen in the cloud above the tabernacle, and a voice from the cloud spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment."
The guilt of sin did not rest upon Moses, and hence he did not fear, and did not hasten away and leave the congregation to perish. Moses lingered, in this fearful crisis manifesting the true shepherd's interest for the flock of his care, He pleaded that the wrath of God might not utterly destroy the people of his choice. By his intercession he stayed the arm of vengeance, that a full end might not be made of disobedient, rebellious Israel.
But the minister of wrath had gone forth; the plague was doing its work of death. By his brother's direction, Aaron took a censer, and hastened into the midst of the congregation to "make an atonement for them." "And he stood between the dead and the living." As the smoke of the incense ascended, the prayers of Moses in the tabernacle went up to God; and the plague was stayed; but not until fourteen thousand of Israel lay dead, an evidence of the guilt of murmuring and rebellion.
But further evidence was given that the priesthood had been established in the family of Aaron. By divine direction each tribe prepared a rod, and wrote upon it the name of the tribe. The name of Aaron was upon that of Levi. The rods were laid up in the tabernacle, "before the testimony." The blossoming of any rod was to be a token that the Lord had chosen that tribe for the priesthood. On the morrow, "behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms and yielded almonds." It was shown to the people, and afterward laid up in the tabernacle as a witness to succeeding generations. This miracle effectually settled the question of the priesthood.
It was now fully established that Moses and Aaron had spoken by divine authority; and the people were compelled to believe the unwelcome truth that they were to die in the wilderness. "Behold," they exclaimed, "we die, we perish, we all perish." They confessed that they had sinned in rebelling against their leaders, and that Korah and his company had suffered from the just judgment of God.
In the rebellion of Korah is seen the working out, upon a narrower stage, of the same spirit that led to the rebellion of Satan in heaven. It was pride and ambition that prompted Lucifer to complain of the government of God, and to seek the overthrow of the order which had been established in heaven. Since his fall it has been his object to infuse the same spirit of envy and discontent, the same ambition for position and honor, into the minds of men. He thus worked upon the minds of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, to arouse the desire for self-exaltation, and excite envy, distrust, and rebellion. Satan caused them to reject God as their leader, by rejecting the men of God's appointment. Yet while in their murmuring against Moses and Aaron they blasphemed God, they were so deluded as to think themselves righteous, and to regard those who had faithfully reproved their sins as actuated by Satan.
Do not the same evils still exist that lay at the foundation of Korah's ruin? Pride and ambition are widespread; and when these are cherished, they open the door to envy, and a striving for supremacy; the soul is alienated from God, and unconsciously drawn into the ranks of Satan. Like Korah and his companions, many, even of the professed followers of Christ, are thinking, planning, and working so eagerly for self-exaltation, that in order to gain the sympathy and support of the people, they are ready to pervert the truth, falsifying and misrepresenting the Lord's servants, and even charging them with the base and selfish motives that inspire their own hearts. By persistently reiterating falsehood, and that against all evidence, they at last come to believe it to be truth. While endeavoring to destroy the confidence of the people in the men of God's appointment, they really believe that they are engaged in a good work, verily doing God service.
The Hebrews were not willing to submit to the directions and restrictions of the Lord. They were restless under restraint, and unwilling to receive reproof. This was the secret of their murmuring against Moses. Had they been left free to do as they pleased, there would have been fewer complaints against their leader. All through the history of the church, God's servants have had the same spirit to meet.
It is by sinful indulgence that men give Satan access to their minds, and they go from one stage of wickedness to another. The rejection of light darkens the mind and hardens the heart, so that it is easier for them to take the next step in sin, and to reject still clearer light, until at last their habits of wrongdoing become fixed. Sin ceases to appear sinful to them. He who faithfully preaches God's word, thereby condemning their sins, too often incurs their hatred. Unwilling to endure the pain and sacrifice necessary to reform, they turn upon the Lord's servant, and denounce his reproofs as uncalled for and severe. Like Korah, they declare that the people are not at fault; it is the reprover that causes all the trouble. And soothing their consciences with this deception, the jealous and disaffected combine to sow discord in the church, and weaken the hands of those who would build it up.
Every advance made by those whom God has called to lead in his work, has excited suspicion; every act has been misrepresented by the jealous and faultfinding. Thus it was in the time of Luther, of the Wesleys and other reformers. Thus it is today.
Korah would not have taken the course he did had he known that all the directions and reproofs communicated to Israel were from God. But he might have known this. God had given overwhelming evidence that he was leading Israel. But Korah and his companions rejected light until they became so blinded that the most striking manifestations of his power were not sufficient to convince them; they attributed them all to human or satanic agency. The same thing was done by the people, who the day after the destruction of Korah and his company came to Moses and Aaron, saying, "Ye have killed the people of the Lord." Notwithstanding they had had the most convincing evidence of God's displeasure at their course, in the destruction of the men who had deceived them, they dared to attribute his judgments to Satan, declaring that through the power of the evil one, Moses and Aaron had caused the death of good and holy men. It was this act that sealed their doom. They had committed the sin against the Holy Spirit, a sin by which man's heart is effectually hardened against the influence of divine grace. "Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man," said Christ, "it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him." These words were spoken by our Saviour when the gracious works which he had performed through the power of God were attributed by the Jews to Beelzebub. It is through the agency of the Holy Spirit that God communicated with man; and those who deliberately reject this agency as satanic, have cut off the channel of communication between the soul and Heaven.
God works by the manifestation of his Spirit to reprove and convict the sinner; and if the Spirit's work is finally rejected, there is no more that God can do for the soul. The last resource of divine mercy has been employed. The transgressor has cut himself off from God; and sin has no remedy to cure itself. There is no reserved power by which God can work to convict and convert the sinner. "Let him alone," is the divine command. Then "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries."-- "Patriarchs and Prophets," pages 395-405. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #46)
God never leaves the world without men who can discern between good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness. God has men whom he has appointed to stand in the forefront of the battle in times of emergency. In a crisis, he will raise up men as he did in ancient times. Young men will be bidden to link up with the aged standardbearers, that they may be strengthened and taught by the experience of these faithful ones, who have passed through so many conflicts, and to whom, through the testimonies of his Spirit, God has so often spoken, pointing out the right way and condemning the wrong way. When perils arise, which try the faith of God's people, these pioneer workers are to recount the experiences of the past, when just such crises came, when the truth was questioned, when strange sentiments, proceeding not from God, were brought in.
The experience of those aged workers is needed now; for Satan is watching every opportunity to make of no account the old waymarks,--the monuments that have been raised up along the way. We need the experience of the men who through evil report as well as through good report have been steadfast to the truth; men who have not built their house upon the sand, but upon the solid rock.
In the gospel medical missionary work there are noble men who bear aloft the banner upon which is inscribed, "The Commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Consideration should be given to these faithful missionaries. They are not to be left to the caprice of men who are neither cold nor hot, and who because of their lukewarm condition are an offense to God.
The Lord has self-denying men in the ministry who have been abundant in labor and in self-sacrifice. Let justice be done to those who have borne the burden in the heart of the day. They have grown old in the service of God. They are his men of opportunity, men who will deal justly, love mercy, and who will help where help is needed.
These men are to be appreciated. They led out in the first of the conflict, when the truth was yet to be established. They carried burdens when there were few to share the burdens. Under all circumstances they were faithful to principle. For the sake of the truth they practised constant self-denial, and their brethren should deal with them considerately, kindly, generously. The truth for which they have sacrificed everything will bear away the victory. They have labored earnestly for the advancement of the kingdom which is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; and they are now to be encouraged and sustained.
Plans for Medical Missionary Work.--Young men who have a practical knowledge of how to treat the sick, are now to be sent out to do gospel medical missionary work, in connection with more experienced gospel workers. If these young men will give themselves to the study of the Word, they will become successful evangelists. The ministers with whom these young men labor are to give them the same opportunity to learn that Elijah gave Elisha. They are to show them how to teach the truth to others. Where it is possible, these young men should visit the hospitals, and in some cases they may connect with them for a while, laboring disinterestedly.
The purest example of unselfishness is now to be shown by our medical missionary workers. With the knowledge and experience gained by practical work, they are to go out to give treatment to the sick. As they go from house to house, they will find access to many hearts. Many will be reached who otherwise would never have heard the gospel message.
Much good can be done by those who do not hold diplomas as fully accredited physicians. Some are to be prepared to work as competent physicians. Many, working under the direction of such ones, can do acceptable work without spending so long a time in study as it has been thought necessary to spend in the past.
Many will go out to labor for the Master who have not been able to take a regular course of study in school. God will help these workers. They will obtain knowledge from the higher school, and will be fitted to take their position in the rank and file of workers as nurses. The great Medical Missionary sees every effort that is made to find access to souls by presenting the principles of health reform.
Decided changes are taking place in our world. The Lord has declared that he will turn and overturn. Humble men, who hitherto have been in obscurity, must now be given opportunity to become workers.
To those who go out to do medical missionary work, I would say, Serve the Lord Jesus Christ with sanctified understanding, in connection with the ministers of the gospel and the Great Teacher. He who has given you your commission will give you skill and understanding as you consecrate yourselves to his service, engaging diligently in labor and study, doing your best to bring relief to the sick and suffering.
To those who are tired of a life of sinfulness, but who know not where to turn to obtain relief, present the compassionate Saviour, full of love and tenderness, longing to receive those who come to him with broken hearts and contrite spirits. Take them by the hand, lift them up, speak to them words of hope and courage. Help them to grasp the hand of him who has said, "Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me."
"Behold," Christ declares, "I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." God calls upon us to voice the words, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." God will do much more for his people if they will have faith in him. Infidelity is stalking abroad through the land. Satan has laid his plans to undermine our faith in the history of the cause and work of God. I am deeply in earnest as I write this. Satan is working with men in prominent positions to sweep away the foundations of our faith. Shall we allow this to be done, brethren?
My soul is stirred within me. I shall trust in God with heart and soul. I shall proclaim the messages that he has given us to proclaim. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #47)
In vision I saw two armies in terrible conflict. One army was led by banners bearing the world's insignia; the other was led by the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel. Standard after standard was left to trail in the dust as company after company from the Lord's army joined the foe; and tribe after tribe from the ranks of the enemy united with the commandment-keeping people of God. An angel flying in the midst of heaven put the standards of Emmanuel into many hands, while a mighty general cried with a loud voice, "Come into line. Let those who are loyal to the commandments of God and the testimony of Christ, now take their position. 'Come out from among them, and be ye separate, . . . and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters.' Let all who will, come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty."
The battle raged. Victory alternated from side to side. Now the soldiers of the cross gave way, "as when a standardbearer fainteth." But their apparent retreat was but an effort to gain a more advantageous position. Shouts of joy were heard. A song of praise to God went up, and angel voices united in the song, as Christ's soldiers planted his banner on the walls of fortresses till then held by the enemy. The Captain of our salvation was ordering the battle, and sending support to his soldiers. His power was mightily displayed, encouraging them to press the battle to the gates. He taught them terrible things in righteousness as he led them on step by step, conquering and to conquer.
At last the victory was gained. The army following the banner with the inscription, "The commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus," were gloriously triumphant. The soldiers of Christ were close beside the gates of the city of God, and with joy the city received her King. The kingdom of peace and joy and everlasting righteousness was established. God's will was done on earth, as it is done in heaven.
Now the church is militant. Now we are confronted with a world in midnight darkness, almost wholly given over to idolatry. But the day is coming when the battle will have been fought, the victory won. The will of God is to be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Then the nations will own no other law than the law of heaven. All will be a happy, united family, clothed with the garments of praise and thanksgiving,--the robe of Christ's righteousness. All nature, in its surpassing loveliness, will offer to God a constant tribute of praise and adoration. The world will be bathed in the light of heaven. The years will move on in gladness. The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold greater than it is now. Over the scene the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy, while God and Christ will unite in proclaiming, "There shall be no more sin, neither shall there be any more death."
This is the scene that is presented to me. But the church must still fight against seen and unseen foes. Satanic agencies in human form are on the ground. Men have confederated to oppose the Lord of hosts. These confederacies will continue until Christ shall leave his place of intercession before the mercy seat, and shall put on the garments of vengeance. Satanic agencies are in every city, busily organizing into parties those opposed to the law of God. Professed saints and avowed unbelievers take their stand with these parties. This is no time for the people of God to be the weaklings. We can not afford to be off our guard for one moment.
"Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 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 enemy. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God."
"This I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."
Let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: . . . stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake."
There are revealed in these last days visions of future glory, scenes pictured by the hand of God, and these should be dear to his church. What sustained the Son of God in his betrayal and trial? He saw of the travail of his soul, and was satisfied. He caught a view of the expanse of eternity, and saw the happiness of those who through his humiliation should receive pardon and everlasting life. He was wounded for their transgressions, bruised for their iniquities. The chastisement of their peace was upon him, and with his stripes they were healed. His ear caught the shout of the redeemed. He heard the ransomed ones singing the song of Moses and the Lamb.
We must have a vision of the future on the blessedness of heaven. Stand on the threshold of eternity, and hear the gracious welcome given to those who in this life have cooperated with Christ, regarding it as a privilege and an honor to suffer for his sake. As they unite with the angels, they cast their crowns at the feet of the Redeemer, exclaiming, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. . . . Honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever."
There the redeemed ones greet those who directed them to the uplifted Saviour. They unite in praising him who died that human beings might have the life that measures with the life of God. The conflict is over. All tribulation and strife are at an end. Songs of victory fill all heaven as the redeemed stand around the throne of God. All take up the joyful strain, "Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and lives again, a triumphant conqueror."
"I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb."
"These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them White in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." "And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
Will you catch the inspiration of the vision? Will you let your mind dwell upon the picture? Will you not be truly converted, and then go forth to labor in a spirit entirely different from the spirit in which you have labored in the past, displacing the enemy, breaking down every barrier to the advancement of the gospel, filling hearts with the light and peace and joy of the Lord? Shall not this miserable spirit of faultfinding and murmuring be buried, never to have a resurrection? Shall not the incense of praise and thanksgiving ascend from hearts purified and sanctified and glorified by the presence of Christ? Shall we not in faith lay hold of sinners, and bring them to the cross?
Who will this day consecrate themselves to the service of the Lord? Who will now pledge themselves not to affiliate with the world, but to come out from the world, and be separate, refusing to pollute the soul with the worldly schemes and worldly practises under the enemy's influence?
We are in this world to lift the cross of Calvary. As we lift this cross, we shall find that it lifts us. Let every Christian stand in his lot and place, catching the inspiration of the work that Christ did for souls while in this world. We need the ardor of the Christian hero, who can endure the seeing of him that is invisible. Our faith is to have a resurrection. The soldiers of the cross are to exert a positive influence for good. Christ says, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." Indifference in the Christian life is a manifest denial of Christ.
Should we not see in the world today medical missionaries who in all the features of their work are worthy of the name they bear, who aspire to the doing of deeds worthy of valiant soldiers of Christ? We are living near the close of the great conflict, when many souls are to be rescued from the slavery of sin. We are living in a time when to Christ's followers the promise specially belongs, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." He who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, he who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light, bids us let our light shine brightly before men, that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father who is in heaven. In such rich measure has light been given to God's people that Christ is justified in telling them that they are to be the light of the world.
To our physicians and ministers I send the message, Lay hold of the Lord's work as if you believed the truth for this time. Medical missionary workers and workers in the gospel ministry are to be bound together by indissoluble ties. Their work is to be done with freshness and power. Throughout our churches there is to be a reconversion, and a reconsecration to service. Shall we not, in our work in the future, and in the gatherings that we hold, be of one accord? Shall we not wrestle with God in prayer, asking for the Holy Spirit to come into every heart? The presence of Christ, manifest among us, would cure the leprosy of unbelief that has made our service so weak and inefficient. We need the breath of the divine life breathed into us. We are to be channels through which the Lord can send light and grace to the world. Backsliders are to be reclaimed. We are to put away our sins, by confession and repentance, humbling our proud hearts before God. Floods of spiritual power are now to poured forth upon those prepared to receive it.
Let us now consecrate ourselves to the proclamation of the message, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." Divine and human instrumentalities are to unite for the accomplishment of one great object. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
"They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 80, #48)
When human agencies, as stewards of God, will unitedly take of the Lord's own substance, and use it to lift the burdens resting on his institutions, the Lord will cooperate with them.
The Missionary Acre plan of raising means for the payment of the Battle Creek College debt, is a wise and good one. Let us be thankful for this plan, and make it a success. Let all who can, heartily enter into it, thus lifting their part of the burden. Let the labor rest upon many, instead of upon a few. By cultivating land and devoting the profits to the Missionary Acre Fund, we may not only help a worthy cause, but receive a blessing ourselves because of our prayerful, hopeful effort.
Brethren Magan and Sutherland and their associates have wrestled with many difficulties in connection with the educational work at Battle Creek and Berrien Springs. But few have understood how heavy have been the financial burdens, and how great have been the perplexities connected with the removal of the school from Battle Creek to Berrien Springs. Much was involved in the transfer, and in the constant effort to build up an educational institution in accordance with the exalted principles underlying Christian education.
In harmony with the instruction given by the Lord, our brethren devoted themselves energetically to the task of rebuilding the work in a new place, and of introducing only those books and methods that would help the students to form symmetrical characters, and to become useful workers in the cause. They desired that their school should be approved of by God for the excellence of its work, and for the exalted standard that it maintained. Many of their efforts are largely experimental. They sought to make their work an answer to the question, How shall our training schools for Christian workers be established in the country, and in all features of essential education made acceptable and worthy of approval?
In this pioneer effort our brethren advanced, not inch by inch, but in sweeping strides, in the right direction. Some advised delay in the work; some criticised and condemned; many gave a hearty support, and God blessed the efforts of the united band of workers.
One of the most perplexing and discouraging matters connected with the effort to establish the work at Berrien Springs, was the question of finances. A heavy debt rested on the old Battle Creek College property. Those in charge of the institution at the time the school work was removed to Berrien Springs, were not responsible for incurring this debt. The buildings and grounds were worth considerable more than the debts, and if the property could have been sold for its full value, there would have remained, after the payment of all debts, a good sum to be used in providing the necessary facilities at Berrien Springs.
Those who had conducted the affairs of the College in past years, and who were to some extent responsible for the debts on the institution, should at this time have come forward, and said, We are largely responsible for these debts; and we will take upon ourselves a part of the burden of raising means with which to pay them. We will use our influence to encourage others to take hold of this matter. We will not leave this burden resting altogether upon those who are struggling amid difficulties to establish the school in a place where the surroundings will be more favorable for training our young people.
By an effort to share the burden of these heavy obligations, those who were largely responsible in creating them will be acting in harmony with the first four as well as the last six commandments.
When the book, "Christ's Object Lessons," was given for the relief of the schools, those who were connected with Battle Creek College worked very earnestly to carry out the plan for reducing the indebtedness on our educational institutions. They hoped that they might be able so to lessen the debt on their own school that they could feel free to leave Battle Creek, and to reopen the College in some place where they could more fully follow out the Lord's instruction in regard to Christian education.
About the time of the General Conference in 1901, the way opened for the sale of the Battle Creek College property; and the understanding was that the buildings and grounds would be used for the American Medical Missionary College, and that our people everywhere should be asked to contribute for the clearing of the debt. In the councils of our brethren, it was arranged that this be raised from the proceeds of the Missionary Acre Fund. It was thought that our people throughout America who had land, could set apart a small portion of it for the Lord, and send the proceeds to the general treasury, to be applied in the payment of the College debts, and the clearing of the property for the use of the American Medical Missionary College. It was suggested that those who had no land to use, might give of their earnings, and that in various other ways persons disposed to help could contribute of their substance. Our brethren felt sure that if our people everywhere would give liberally of the fruit of their toil, a large sum could soon be raised, and the debt quickly canceled.
Recently some have questioned the propriety of sending in means for the Missionary Acre Fund, and consequently scarcely anything is now being received for the payment of the College debt. This is not as it should be. Let all our brethren and sisters understand that the purchase of the Battle Creek College property, for the use of the Medical Missionary College, was approved of by the conference, and that the Missionary Acre Fund plan of raising means for this purchase, is a good enterprise.
The Lord will bless those who will now do their utmost to wipe out this long-standing debt, which has been such a burden. We call upon the members of our churches to do something, and do it now. Do not allow the burden of this debt to rest upon those in charge of the Berrien Springs school; for it does not belong to them. It was not incurred by them.
These brethren need our sympathy and assistance, that the school may be placed where it should be. They should not be left where each one must do the work of three, and where even then they are unable to see the work advancing as they desire it to advance.
My brethren and sisters, will you not enter heartily into the carrying out of the plan that has been laid to raise means for the payment of the College debt? The Lord will greatly bless you as you do this. When this debt is paid, those in charge of the Berrien Springs school will be free to carry forward their work as the Lord designs it to be carried forward. Buildings are needed there that ought to have been erected a year ago. These buildings should go up at once, in order that the students may be made comfortable for the winter. Those at this school have been and are working at great disadvantage, because of a lack of facilities.
I have been instructed that it is not just for those in charge of the Berrien Springs school to be left to stagger under the load that they have been carrying. They have devoted themselves unsparingly to the double task of raising funds for the new school, and also of clearing the old College property from debt. How pleasing to God it would be for all our people--led and encouraged by the General Conference Committee--to share in lifting this obligation of the old Battle Creek College.
The creditors of Battle Creek College must all be paid. The officers of the General Conference should lend a hand in this work. It was by the sanction of the General Conference that many of these debts were incurred, in the erection of large additions to the College,--additions that we could have done without.
My brethren and sisters, let us all take part in sharing the burden of this College debt. The Review and Herald needs the portion that is due to it. I entreat you not to find fault. Many sacrifices have been made by those who have striven to lessen this debt. I ask you to show a decided and practical interest in this matter. If all enter heartily into the plan of raising money to cancel this debt by means of the Missionary Acre Fund, it will soon be swept away, and relief will be brought to many who are carrying heavy burdens.
Workers for Christ are never to think, much less to speak, of failure in their work. The Lord Jesus is our efficiency in all things; his Spirit is to be our inspiration; and as we place ourselves in his hands, to be channels of blessing, our means of doing good will never be exhausted.
Who will unite with us in pressing this matter through manfully? Men, women, and children can act a part. Let all labor disinterestedly to earn means with which to help lessen the Battle Creek College debt. Every faithful effort will be an object lesson, and many others will be led to engage in a similar work. Let our brethren and sisters unitedly take up the Missionary Acre plan anew, and work earnestly to make it a great blessing. Mrs. E. G. White
(Vol. 80, #49)
As Noah's descendants increased in number, apostasy soon manifested itself. Those who desired to forget their Creator, and to cast off the restraint of his law, decided to separate from the worshipers of Jehovah. Accordingly they journeyed to the plain of Shinar, on the banks of the river Euphrates. Here they decided to build a city, and in it a tower which should be the wonder of the world. This tower was to be so high that no flood could sweep it away. Thus they hoped to secure their own safety, and make themselves independent of God.
God had directed men to disperse throughout the earth, to replenish and subdue it; but these tower-builders determined to keep their community united in one body, and to found a monarchy which should eventually embrace the whole earth.
Among the men of Babel, there were living some who feared God, although they had been deceived by the pretensions of the ungodly, and drawn into their schemes. These men would not join this confederacy to thwart the purposes of God. They refused to be deceived by the wonderful representations and the grand outlook. For the sake of these loyal ones, the Lord delayed his judgments, and gave the ungodly time to reveal their true character. But the great majority were fully united in their heaven-daring undertaking. They heeded not the counsel of the Lord, but strove to carry out their own purposes.
This confederacy was born of rebellion against God. The dwellers on the plain of Shinar established their kingdom for self-exaltation, not for the glory of God. Had they succeeded, a mighty power would have borne sway, banishing righteousness, and inaugurating a new religion. The world would have been demoralized. The mixture of religious ideas with erroneous theories would have resulted in closing the door to peace, happiness, and security. These suppositions, erroneous theories, carried out and perfected, would have directed minds from allegiance to the divine statutes, and the law of Jehovah would have been ignored and forgotten. Determined men, inspired and urged on by the first great rebel, would have resisted any interference with their plans or their evil course. In the place of the divine precepts they would have substituted laws framed in accordance with the desires of their selfish hearts in order that they might carry out their purposes.
But God never leaves the world without witnesses for him. At the time of the first great apostasy after the flood, there were men who humbled themselves before God, and cried unto him. "O God," they pleaded, "interpose between thy cause and the plans and methods of men."
"And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower [the great idol-building], which the children of men builded." Angels were sent to bring to naught the purposes of the builders.
The tower had reached a lofty height, and it was impossible for the workmen at the top to communicate directly with those at the base; therefore men were stationed at different points, each to receive and report to the one next below him the orders for needed material, or other directions regarding the work. As messages were thus passing from one to another, the language was confounded, so that material was called for which was not needed, and the directions received were often the reverse of those that had been given. Confusion and dismay followed. All work came to a standstill. There could be no further harmony or cooperation. The builders were wholly unable to account for the strange misunderstandings among them, and in their rage and disappointment they reproached one another. Their confederacy ended in strife and bloodshed. Lightnings from heaven broke off the upper portion of the tower, and cast it to the ground. Men were made to feel that there is a God who ruleth in the heavens, and that he is able to confuse and to multiply confusions in order to teach men that they are only men.
God bears long with the perversity of men, giving them ample opportunity for repentance; but he marks all their devices to resist the authority of his just and holy law.
Up to this time men had spoken the same language; now those that could understand one another's speech united in companies; some went one way, and some another. "The Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth." In our day the Lord desires that his people shall be dispersed throughout the earth. They are not to colonize. Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." When the disciples followed their inclination to remain in large numbers in Jerusalem, persecution was permitted to come upon them, and they were scattered to all parts of the inhabited world.
For years messages of warning and entreaty have been coming to our people, urging them to go forth into the Master's great harvest fields, and labor unselfishly or souls.
From Testimonies written in 1895 and in 1899 I copy the following paragraphs: --
"True missionary workers will not colonize. God's people are to be pilgrims and strangers on the earth. The investments of large sums of money in the building up of the work in one place is not in the order of God. Plants are to be made in many places. Schools and sanitariums are to be established in places where there is now nothing to represent the truth. These interests are not to be established for the purpose of making money, but for the purpose of spreading the truth. Land should be secured at a distance from the cities, where schools can be built up in which the youth can be given an education in agricultural and mechanical lines.
"The principles of present truth are to become more widespread. There are those who are reasoning from a wrong point of view. Because it is more convenient to have the work centered in one place, they are in favor of crowding everything together in one locality. Great evil is the result. Places that should be helped are left destitute.
"What can I say to our people that will lead them to follow the course that will be for their present and future good? Will not those in Battle Creek heed the light given them by God? Will they not deny self, lift the cross, and follow Jesus? Will they not obey the call of their Leader to leave Battle Creek, and build up interests in other places? Will they not go to the dark places of the earth to tell the story of the love of Christ, trusting in God to give them success?
"It is not God's plan for our people to crowd into Battle Creek. God says: 'Go work today in my vineyard. Get away from the places where you are not needed. Plant the standard of truth in towns and cities that have not heard the message. Prepare the way for my coming. Those in the highways and hedges are to hear the call.'
"God will make the wilderness a sacred place as his people, filled with the missionary spirit, go forth to make centers for his work, to establish sanitariums, where the sick and afflicted can be cared for, and schools, where the youth can be educated in right lines."
"It has been urged that there were great advantages in having so many institutions in close connection; that they would be a strength to one another, and could afford help to those seeking education and employment. This is according to human reasoning; it will be admitted that, from a human point of view, many advantages are gained by crowding so many responsibilities in Battle Creek; but the vision needs to be extended."
Notwithstanding frequent counsels to the contrary, men continued to plan for centralization of power, for the binding of many interests under one control. This work was first started in the Review and Herald Office. Things were swayed first in one way, and then in another. It was the enemy of our work who prompted the call for the consolidation of the publishing work under one controlling power in Battle Creek.
Then the idea gained favor that the medical missionary work would be greatly advanced if all our medical institutions and other medical missionary interests were bound up under the control of the medical missionary association at Battle Creek.
I was told that I must lift my voice in warning against this. We were not to be under the control of men who could not control themselves, and who were not willing to be amenable to God. We were not to be guided by men who want their word to be the controlling power. The development of the desire to control has been very marked, and God sent warning after warning, forbidding confederacies and consolidation. He warned us against binding ourselves to fulfil certain agreements that would be presented by men laboring to control the movements of their brethren.
An Educational Center.--The Lord is not pleased with some of the arrangements that have been made in Battle Creek. He has declared that other places are being robbed of the light and advantages that have been centered and multiplied in Battle Creek. It is not pleasing to God that our youth from all parts of the country should be called to Battle Creek to work in the Sanitarium, and to receive their education. When we permit this, we are often guilty of robbing needy fields of their most precious treasure.
Through the light given in the Testimonies, the Lord has indicated that he does not desire students to leave their home schools and sanitariums to be educated in Battle Creek. He instructed us to remove the College from this place. This was done, but the institutions that remained failed of doing what they should have done to share with other places the advantages still centered in Battle Creek. The Lord signified his displeasure by permitting the principal buildings of these institutions to be destroyed by fire.
Notwithstanding the plain evidences of the Lord's providence in these destructive fires, men have not hesitated to stand before their brethren in council meetings, and make light of the statement that these buildings were burned because men had been swaying things in directions which the Lord could not approve.
Principles have been perverted. Men have been departing from right principles, for the promulgation of which these institutions were established. They have failed of doing the very work that God ordained should be done to prepare a people to "build up the old waste places" and to stand in the breach, as represented in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. In this scripture the work we are to do is clearly defined as being medical missionary work. This work is to be done in all places. God has a vineyard; and he desires that this vineyard shall be worked unselfishly. No parts are to be neglected. The most neglected portion needs the most wide-awake missionaries to do the work portrayed in the following scripture: --
"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 satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in."
For his own name's sake God will not permit the froward and the independent to carry out their unsanctified plans. He will visit them for their perversity of action. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." But I am instructed to say that in his judgments the Lord will remember mercy. He declares:--
"I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him."
"The spirit of my people should fail before me," saith the Lord, "if I were to deal with them in accordance with their perversity. They could not endure my displeasure and my wrath. I have seen the perverse ways of every sinner. He who repents and does the works of righteousness, I will convert and heal, and restore unto him my favor."
Concerning those who have been deceived and led astray by unconsecrated men, the Lord says: "Their course of action has not been in accordance with my will; yet for the righteousness of my own cause, for the truth's sake, for the sake of those who have preserved their fear and love of God, I, who create the fruit of the lips, will put my message into the lips of those who will not be perverted. Although some may be deceived and blinded in their ideas of men and the purposes of men, I will heal every one who honors my name. All the penitent of Israel shall see of my salvation. I, the Lord, do rule, and I will fill with praise and thanksgiving the hearts of all who are nigh and far off, even all the penitent of Israel who have kept my ways."
"Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." Mrs. E. G. White
(Vol. 80, #50)
John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, received his early training from his parents. The greater portion of his life was spent in the wilderness, that he might not be influenced by beholding the lax piety of the priests and rabbis, or by learning their maxims and traditions, through which right principles were perverted and belittled. The religious teachers of the day had become so blind spiritually that they could scarcely recognize the virtues of heavenly origin. So long had they cherished feelings of pride, envy, and jealousy, that they interpreted the Old Testament Scriptures in such a manner as to destroy their true meaning.
It was John's choice to forego the enjoyments and luxuries of city life for the stern discipline of the wilderness. Here his surroundings were favorable to habits of simplicity and self-denial. Uninterrupted by the clamor of the world, he could here study the lessons of nature, of revelation, and of providence. The words of the angel to Zacharias had been often repeated to John by his God-fearing parents. From his childhood his mission had been kept before him, and he accepted the holy trust. To him the solitude of the desert was a welcome escape from society in which suspicion, unbelief, and impurity had become well-nigh all-pervading. He distrusted his own power to withstand temptation, and shrank from constant contact with sin, lest he should lose the sense of its exceeding sinfulness.
But the life of John was not spent in idleness, in ascetic gloom, or in selfish isolation. From time to time he went forth to mingle with men; and he was ever an interested observer of what was passing in the world. From his quiet retreat he watched the unfolding of events. With vision illuminated by the divine Spirit, he studied the characters of men, that he might understand how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven.
Christ lived the life of a genuine medical missionary. He desires us to study his life diligently, that we may learn to labor as he labored.
His mother was his first teacher. From her lips, and from the scrolls of the prophets, he learned of heavenly things. He lived in a peasant's home, and faithfully and cheerfully he acted his part in bearing the burdens of the household. He had been the Commander of heaven, and angels had delighted to fulfil his word; now he was a willing servant, a loving, obedient son. He learned a trade, and with his own hands worked in a carpenter's shop with Joseph. In the simple garb of a common laborer he walked the streets of the little town, going to and returning from his humble work.
With the people of that age, the value of things was determined by outward show. As religion had declined in power, it had increased in pomp. The educators of the time sought to command respect by display and ostentation. To all this the life of Jesus presented a marked contrast. His life demonstrated the worthlessness of those things that men regarded as life's greatest essentials. The schools of his time, with their magnifying of things small and their belittling of things great, he did not seek. His education was gained directly from heaven-appointed sources; from useful work, from the study of the Scriptures and of nature, and from the experiences of life,--God's lesson books, full of instruction to all who bring to them the willing hand, the seeing eye, and the understanding heart.
"The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him."
Thus prepared, he went forth to his mission, in every moment of his contact with men exerting upon them an influence to bless, a power to transform, such as the world had never witnessed.
Satan works in every possible way to ensnare souls. As I consider the state of things in Battle Creek, I tremble for our youth who go there. The light given me by the Lord--that our youth should not collect in Battle Creek to receive their education--has in no particular been changed. The fact that the Sanitarium has been rebuilt does not change the light. That which in the past has made Battle Creek a place unsuitable for our youth, makes it unsuitable today, as far as influence is concerned.
When the call came to move out of Battle Creek, the plea was, "We are here, and all settled. It would be an impossibility to move without enormous expense."
The Lord permitted fire to consume the principal buildings of the Review and Herald and the Sanitarium, and thus removed the greatest objection raised to moving out of Battle Creek. It was his design, not that one large sanitarium should be rebuilt, but that plants should be made in several places. These smaller sanitariums should have been established where they could have the benefit and advantage of land for agricultural purposes. It is God's plan that agriculture shall be carried on in connection with our sanitariums and schools. Our youth need the education to be gained from this kind of work. It is well, and more than well,--it is essential,--that efforts be made to carry out the Lord's plan in this respect.
But a larger sanitarium building, different in design, yet capable of accommodating as many patients, was erected on the same site as the old building. Since the opening of this institution a very large number of people have come to it. Some of these are patients, but some are not really sick, but, like tourists, are seeking for rest and pleasure. The large number at the Sanitarium is no evidence that it is the will of God that such a condition of things should be. Our sanitariums were not designed to be boarding places for the rich people of the world.
The care of the large number of guests at the Sanitarium requires a large number of helpers, and those in charge of our churches have been asked to send in the names of the most promising young men and young women in the church, that these youth may be communicated with by the managers of the Sanitarium, and the most efficient invited to come to the Sanitarium to take the nurses' course.
But shall we encourage our most promising young men and young women to go to Battle Creek, to obtain their training for service where attendance at entertainments, indulgence in worldly dress, and many other evils will tempt them to go astray? The Lord has revealed to me some of the dangers that our youth will meet by evil associations. Many of the wealthy, worldly men and women who patronize the Sanitarium will be a source of temptation to the helpers in this institution. Some of these helpers will become the favorites of wealthy worldlings, and will be offered alluring inducements to enter their employ. Through the silent influence of the worldly display of some of the patrons who for a time have stayed at the Sanitarium, the enemy has already been able to sow tares in the hearts of many of our young men and young women. This is the way that Satan is working.
To fathers and mothers I would say, Be careful what moves you make. Place not your children under the seductive influences and the subtle temptations that they would have to meet were they to go to Battle Creek. It is not God's design that our youth shall be called to this place, to associate with worldly people of all grades, high and low.
Because the Sanitarium is where it should not be, shall the word of the Lord regarding the education of our youth be of no account? Shall we allow the most intelligent of our youth in the churches throughout our conferences to be called to Battle Creek, to become servants to worldlings, some of them to be robbed of their simplicity by being brought in contact with men and women who have not the fear of God in their hearts? Shall those in charge of our conferences allow our youth who in the schools for Bible workers could be fitted for the Lord's service, to be drawn to a place from which for years the Lord has been calling upon his people to move?
We desire that our youth shall be so trained that they shall exert a saving influence in our churches, by working for greater unity and deeper piety. Human minds may not see the necessity for the call to families to leave Battle Creek, and settle in places where they can do medical missionary evangelistic work. But the Lord has spoken. Shall we question his word?
The Family Firm.--The truth, in all its important bearings, needs to have a much deeper hold upon all who have to do with the training of our youth. Parents are to work skilfully for their own children, helping them while they are still in the home to gain a fitness to work as missionaries for Christ when they leave the home. The children are to be taught to be faithful in labor. They are to learn to relieve the weary mother, sharing her burdens. The older children may greatly assist her by helping to care for the little ones; and the younger ones may learn to perform many of the simple duties of the home.
Young men and young women should regard a training in home duties as a most important part of their education. The family firm is a sacred, social society, in which each member is to act a part, each helping the other. The work of the household is to move smoothly, like the different parts of well-regulated machinery. The mother should be relieved of the burdens that the sons and daughters can take upon themselves.
How important that fathers and mothers should give their children, from their very babyhood, the right instruction. They are to teach them to obey the command, "Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." And the children, as they grow in years, are to appreciate the care that their parents have given them. They are to find their greatest pleasure in helping father and mother.
Fathers and mothers should do all in their power to carry forward the work of the home in the right way. The law of God, with its holy principles and solemn injunctions, is ever to bear rule. The principles of the Bible are to be taught and practised. The parents are to teach their children lessons from this Holy Book, making these lessons so simple that they will readily be understood.
The more closely the members of the family are united in their work in the home, the more uplifting and helpful will be the influence that father and mother and sons and daughters will exert outside the home.
It is a serious matter to send children away from home, thus depriving them of the care of their parents. It is of the greatest importance that church schools shall be established, to which the children may be sent, and still be under the watchcare of their mothers, and have opportunity to practise the lessons of helpfulness that it is God's design they shall learn in the home.
In our larger schools provision should also be made for the education of younger children. This work is to be managed wisely, in connection with the training of more advanced students. The older students should be encouraged to take part in teaching these lower classes.
Much more can be done to save and educate the children of those who at present can not get away from the cities. This is a matter worthy of our best efforts. Church schools are to be established for the children in the cities, and in connection with these schools provision is to be made for the teaching of higher studies, where these are called for. These schools can be managed in such a way, part joining to part, that they will be a complete whole.
Let us study the way of the Lord diligently, that we may discern his methods and plans. His wisdom is far reaching. Mrs. E. G. White
(Vol. 80, #51)
The last years of probation are passing into eternity. The great day of the Lord is right upon us. Every energy we possess should now be used to arouse those dead in trespasses and sins.
Let the words of the Lord spoken by the prophet Malachi, be brought home to every soul:--
"Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed; for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts."
It is time that we gave heed to the teaching of the Word of God. All his injunctions are given to do us good. He calls upon those who stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel to give evidence that they realize their dependence on God and their accountability to him, by returning to him a certain portion of that which he entrusts to them. This money is to be used in advancing the work that must be done to fulfill the commission given by Christ to his disciples.
"All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations." "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," "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."
God's people are called to a work that requires money and consecration. The obligations resting upon us hold us responsible to work for God to the utmost of our ability. He calls for undivided service, for the entire devotion of heart, soul, mind, and strength.
There are only two places in the universe where we can place our treasures,--in God's storehouse or in Satan's; and all that is not devoted to God's service is counted on Satan's side, and goes to strengthen his cause. The Lord designs that the means entrusted to us shall be used in building up his kingdom. His goods are entrusted to his stewards that they may be carefully traded upon, and bring back a revenue to him in the saving of souls. These souls in their turn will become stewards of trust, cooperating with Christ to further the interests of God's cause.
Wherever there is life in a church, there is increase and growth. There is also a constant interchange, taking and giving out, receiving and returning to the Lord his own. To every true believer God imparts light and blessing, and this the believer imparts to others in the work that he does for the Lord. As he gives of that which he receives, his capacity for receiving is increased. Room is made for fresh supplies of grace and truth. Clearer light, increased knowledge, are his. On this giving and receiving depend the life and growth of the church. He who receives, but never gives, soon ceases to receive. If the truth does not flow from him to others, he loses his capacity to receive. We must impart the goods of heaven, if we would receive fresh blessing.
The Lord does not propose to come to this world, and lay down gold and silver for the advancement of his work. He supplies men with resources, that by their gifts and offerings they may keep his work advancing. The one purpose above all others for which God's gifts should be used is the sustaining of workers in the harvest field. And if men will become channels through which heaven's blessing can flow to others, the Lord will keep the channel supplied. It is not returning to the Lord his own that makes men poor; withholding tends to poverty.
The Saviour said, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." For the joy of seeing souls rescued from the hands of the destroyer, Christ endured the cross. He became the living sacrifice for a fallen world. Through his sacrifice was given to the world the mighty influence of the Holy Spirit. It is through sacrifice that the work which Christ came to do must be carried forward. Self-sacrifice is required of every child of God.
God calls upon his people to awake to their responsibilities. A flood of light is shining from his Word, and there must be a meeting of neglected obligations. When these are met, by giving to the Lord his own in tithes and offerings, the way will be opened for the world to hear the message that the Lord designs it to hear. If our people had the love of God in the heart, if every church member were imbued with the spirit of self-sacrifice, there would be no lack of funds for home and foreign missions; our resources would be multiplied; a thousand doors of usefulness would be opened; and we should be invited to enter. Had the purpose of God been carried out in giving the message of mercy to the world, Christ would have come, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God.
If ever there was a time when sacrifices should be made, it is now. My brethren and sisters, practise economy in your homes. Put away the idols that you have placed before God. Give up your selfish pleasures. Do not, I beg of you, spend means in embellishing your houses; for your money belongs to God, and to him you must give an account for its use. Do not use the Lord's money to gratify the fancies of your children. Teach them that God has a claim on all they possess, and that nothing can ever cancel this claim.
Money is a needed treasure. Do not lavish it upon those who need it not. Some one needs your willing gifts. There are those in the world who are hungry, starving. You may say, I can not feed them all. But by practising Christ's lessons of economy, you can feed one. "Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost." These words were spoken by him whose power wrought a miracle to supply the needs of a hungry multitude.
If you have extravagant habits, cut them away from your life at once. Unless you do this, you will be bankrupt for eternity. Habits of economy, industry, and sobriety, are a better portion for your children than a rich dowry.
We are pilgrims and strangers on the earth. Let us not spend our means in gratifying desires that God would have us repress. Let us fitly represent our faith by restricting our wants. Let our church members arise as one man, and work earnestly, as those who are walking in the full light of truth for these last days.
If in the providence of God you have been given riches, do not settle down with the thought that there is no need for you to exert yourself, that you have enough to draw upon, and that you can eat, drink, and be merry. Invest your means in the Lord's cause. If you are doing less than you can do to help the souls perishing around you, be sure that you are incurring guilt by your indolence.
It is God who gives men power to get wealth, and he has ordained that this ability shall be regarded, not as a means of gratifying self, but as a means of returning to God his own. With this as an object, it is no sin to use our capabilities in acquiring means. Money is to be earned by labor. Every youth should be educated in habits of industry. The Bible condemns no man for being rich, if he has acquired his riches honestly. It is the love of money that is the root of all evil. Wealth will prove a great blessing to its possessor, if he realizes that it is not his own, but the Lord's, to be received with thankfulness, and with thankfulness returned to the Giver.
But of what value is untold wealth, if it is hoarded in expensive mansions, or in bank-stock? What do these weigh in the scale in comparison with the salvation of the souls for whom Christ, the Son of the infinite God, has died?
The Lord bids us, "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. 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 sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, That if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not." Mrs. E. G. White
(Vol. 80, #52)
The book of Deuteronomy should be carefully studied by those living on the earth today. It contains a record of the instruction given to Moses to give to the children of Israel. In it the law is repeated. At the time when the instruction which it contains was given, the people of Israel were encamped beside the Jordan. All but two of the adults who had left Egypt had died in the wilderness. Now the generation that had arisen during the forty years of journeying were about to pass over the Jordan to receive their inheritance in the promised land. But they must first hear from the lips of Moses the instruction given him by the Lord for them. The words of the law must be repeated to them, and they must hear again the conditions upon which they were to enter into and take possession of the promised land.
The law of God was often to be repeated to Israel. That its precepts might not be forgotten, it was to be kept before the people, and was ever to be exalted and honored. Parents were to read the law to their children, teaching it to them line upon line, precept upon precept. And on public occasions the law was to be read in the hearing of all the people.
Upon obedience to this law depended the prosperity of Israel. If they were obedient, it would bring them life; if disobedient, death.
"These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red Sea. . . . The Lord our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount: turn you, and take your journey, and go into the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the seaside, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the River Euphrates. Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.
"And I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone: the Lord your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude. . . . How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife? Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you. And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do. So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes. And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it. And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do."
Moses had given the people to understand that he did not desire to monopolize the honor of government. Of all the men of Israel, he was the best qualified to be the leader of the people. But he realized that he must have counselors with whom to share the responsibilities of the work. I can not bear these burdens alone, he declared. Wise, God-fearing men were to be chosen to work with him, and they were to remain in their position of trust as long as they gave evidence that they were loyal and faithful. These men were to show favor to no one, and they were not to do one wrong action in order to gain favor. They were never to accept bribes nor to allow themselves to be overawed by evil men. In all their decisions equity was to govern. They were to be "able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness."
The men thus chosen were appointed rulers over the people,--rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, and rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. Speaking of their appointment, Moses declared: "I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it. And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do."
And the people had agreed to the plans outlined by Moses, and had promised to follow the Lord's directions. Why then had they worked contrary to the Lord's agreement, arousing mutiny and discontent? Why had they murmured and complained, as if they were hardly dealt with? They had complained of Moses, as if he were treating them harshly, when he was seeking in every way to make their journeyings in the wilderness a preparation and training for the promised land. Obedience to God's commands, cooperation with him in carrying out his plans, was essential for their present and future good, yea, for their eternal welfare. But they had been rebellious and disobedient.
Speaking of their conduct in the wilderness, Moses said: "And when we departed from Horeb, we went through all that great and terrible wilderness, which ye saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites, as the Lord our God commanded us; and we came to Kadesh-barnea. And I said unto you, Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the Lord our God doth give unto us. Behold, the Lord thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.
"And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come. And the saying pleased me well: and I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe: and they turned and went up into the mountain, and came unto the valley of Eshcol, and searched it out. And they took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought it down unto us, and brought us word again, and said, It is a good land which the Lord our God doth give us. Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the Lord your God: and ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the Lord hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us. Whither shall we go up? Our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there."
It was upon the very borders of the promised land that the people had broken into rebellion. The spies had returned from Canaan with their hearts filled with unbelief, and their wicked murmurings had set the hearts of all the people in rebellion. Dissatisfaction is quickly awakened in hearts that are unsanctified.
"Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them. The Lord your God, which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes; and in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the Lord thy God bare thee, as a man doth bare his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place. Yet in this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God, who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to show you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day. And the Lord heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and sware, saying, Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the Lord. Also the Lord was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither."
The time to which Moses refers when the Lord was angry with him was when the stream that for so many years had supplied the people with water ceased to flow. It was the Lord's purpose to test his people. He would prove whether they would trust his providence or imitate the unbelief of their fathers. Before God permitted them to enter Canaan, they must show that they believed his promise.
But no sooner was the cry for water heard in the encampment, than the people forgot the One who for so many years had supplied their wants, and instead of turning to God for help, they murmured against him, in their desperation exclaiming, "Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord."
Their cries were directed against Moses and Aaron: "Why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? It is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink."
The leaders went to the door of the tabernacle, and fell upon their faces. Again the glory of the Lord appeared, and Moses was directed, "Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock."
The two brothers went on before the multitude, Moses with the rod of God in his hand. They were now aged men. Long had they borne with the rebellion and obstinacy of Israel; but now, at last, even the patience of Moses gave way. "Hear now, ye rebels," he cried, "must we fetch you water out of this rock?" and instead of speaking to the rock, as God had commanded him, he smote it twice with the rod.
Moses had spoken from irritated feeling; his words were an expression of human passion rather than of holy indignation because God had been dishonored. "Hear now, ye rebels," he said. This accusation was true, but even truth is not to be spoken in passion or impatience. Moses, in taking it upon himself to accuse the people, grieved the Spirit of God, and wrought the people only harm.
Bitter and deeply humiliating was the judgment immediately pronounced. "The Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them." With rebellious Israel, they must die before crossing the Jordan. Had Moses and Aaron been cherishing self-esteem, or indulging a passionate spirit, their guilt would have been far greater. But they were not chargeable with wilful or deliberate sin; they had been overcome by a sudden temptation, and their contrition was immediate and heartfelt. The Lord accepted their repentance, though because of the harm their sin did among the people, he could not remit the punishment. God forgave Moses, but he could not grant him that which he so greatly longed for,--a home in the promised land. Mrs. E. G. White