1849 | 1850 | 1851 | 1852 | 1853 | 1854 | 1855 | 1856 | 1857 | 1858 | 1859 | 1860 | 1861 | 1862 | 1863 | 1864 | 1866 | 1867 | 1868 | 1869 | 1870 | 1871 | 1872 | 1873 | 1874 | 1875 | 1876 | 1877 | 1878 | 1879 | 1880 | 1881 | 1882 | 1883 | 1884 | 1885 | 1886 | 1887 | 1888 | 1889 | 1890 | 1891 | 1892 | 1893 | 1894 | 1895 | 1896 | 1897 | 1898 | 1899 | 1900 | 1901 | 1902 | 1903 | 1904 | 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1908 | 1909 | 1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913 | 1914 | 1915 | 1939 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1959 | Passing Away | Index to Titles
The Review and Herald Articles
for the Year 1904
(Vol. 81, #1)
"Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
The people of God, and especially the men who occupy positions of trust, need to study the history of Moses' failure to enter Canaan. Let them stop and think what it means to become angry, to show a spirit unworthy of a leader of God's people. There are those in God's service who have given way to anger, and who have not felt the repentance that Moses felt. These men have braced themselves to follow an unchristian course, and have gone on from one wrong to another.
And there are murmurers in the church, who easily lose their self-control. If everything does not move to please them, they become irritated, and provoke one another to evil. They have not the light and love of God in their souls; if their way is crossed, they give loose rein to an unsanctified, irritable spirit.
I have been instructed to present this before our people, and to urge them to make diligent work for repentance.
The instruction given to the children of Israel is for us also. Happy will be the church when its members study the directions given to the Israelites during their journeyings in the wilderness. In this instruction are specified the virtues that the church in the wilderness must have in order to be approved of God. The church of today has far greater light than had the church in the wilderness. She should stand on vantage ground, cherishing the pure, holy principles that God declares men must cherish in their dealing with their fellow men, if they would grow in grace and wisdom, and be honored as obedient subjects. Only by following these principles can we adorn the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The importance of the law of God, and Christ's relation to it, are to be presented before those who have placed themselves under Satan's banner, full of self-importance and self-sufficiency. In a wicked world God's servants are to obey the principles of his government, by their righteousness testifying that fallen man can be loyal to God.
Christ is our Leader. Clothing his divinity with humanity, he humbled himself, that he might stand in person at the head of the human race. He laid aside his kingly crown, and yielded up his high position as commander of the angels, who loved to do his bidding. For our sake he became poor, that through his humiliation and poverty, human beings might be made rich, heirs to an eternal weight of glory. The Saviour came to the world in lowliness, and lived as a man among men. On all points except sin, divinity was to touch humanity. Living on this earth as a man among men, Christ answered in the affirmative the question, "Can man keep the law of God?" He was tempted in all points as man is tempted, "yet without sin." He was tempted that he might know how to succor those that should afterward be tempted. He became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." He gave himself to the world as a spiritual teacher, a genuine medical missionary.
O that our workers realized what privileges are theirs! They would know by experience what it means to hear and obey the invitation, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Christ came to our world to teach men what is meant by genuine religion,--the religion that will make men and women lights in the world. To all he offers power to form a true, noble character. The converted man rejoices that he has a Saviour who is so mighty. He is a partaker of the divine nature. His repentance is not a farce, but a reality, and the fruits of it appear in Christlike words and deeds. Every day, every hour, he reveals faith in the Sin Bearer. Love, hope, longsuffering, patience, kindness, are revealed in his life. In self-denial he lifts the cross and follows Jesus. He is a representative of the Saviour.
"Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart to unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."
Mark the words "deceitfulness of sin." Often Satan presents his temptations under the guise of goodness. Beware that you yield not to them. One violation of straight-forward truthfulness prepares the way for the second violation, and wrongs are repeated until the heart of unbelief becomes hardened, and the conscience loses its sensitiveness.
Let us humble our hearts before God, and ask him to forgive us for speaking words of unbelief, words that cast a reflection on him who is too wise to err, and too good to do us harm.
"We are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; while it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. . . . Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which can not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #1)
Communication from Sister White, dated Aug. 27, 1903:--
At this time, Jude's testimony is of great force to all who desire to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Jude bears this message to guard believers against the seductive influences of false teachers, men who have a form of godliness, but who are not safe leaders. In these last days, false teachers will arise and become actively zealous. All kinds of theories will be presented to divert the minds of men and women from the very truth that defines the position we can occupy with safety in this time when Satan is working with power upon religionists, leading them to make a pretense of being righteous, but to fail of placing themselves under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
False theories will be mingled with every phase of experience, and advocated with satanic earnestness in order to captivate the mind of every soul who is not rooted and grounded in a full knowledge of the sacred principles of the Word. In the very midst of us will arise false teachers, giving heed to seducing spirits whose doctrines are of satanic origin. These teachers will draw away disciples after themselves. Creeping in unawares, they will use flattering words, and make skilful misrepresentations with seductive tact.
The Lord is guarding his people against a repetition of the errors and mistakes of the past. There have always abounded false teachers who, advocating erroneous doctrines and unholy practises, and working upon false principles in a most specious, covered, deceptive manner, have endeavored to deceive, if possible, the very elect. They bind themselves up in their own fallacies. If they do not succeed, because their way becomes hedged by warnings from God, they will change somewhat the features of their work, and the representations they have made, and bring out their plans again under a false showing. They refuse to confess, repent, and believe. Confessions may be made, but no real reformation takes place, and erroneous theories bring ruin upon unsuspecting souls because these souls believe and rely upon the men advocating these theories. E.G.W.
(Vol. 81, #2)
Men and women are God's agencies for the salvation of souls. Of his true followers the Lord says, "This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise." They are my witnesses, my chosen representatives, in an apostate world. Filled with a desire to win sinners to Christ, they have the sympathy and cooperation of the heavenly universe.
The church on earth is to become the court of holy love. Those who by the Lord's appointment occupy in it positions of trust are to bring into it the pity and self-sacrifice of the great Head of the church. Christian fellowship is one means by which character is formed. Thus selfishness is purged from the life, and men and women are drawn to Christ, the great center. Thus is answered his prayer that his followers may be one, as he is one with the Father.
Can you marvel, my brethren and sisters, that I am bowed down with inexpressible agony, as again and again I am made to realize that few among our people understand their weakness? The characters of many of those who have received such wonderful truth are a jumble of opposites. Christ has promised to make them harmonious on every point, not pleasant and agreeable and kind today, and tomorrow harsh and disagreeable and unkind, falsifying their profession of faith. But they refuse to place themselves where he can help them. They are breaking the commandments of God; for they have left their first love. Some have joined the enemy, to become accusers of the brethren. How could they do this wicked thing? In thought, word, and deed they are transgressors. They have spoken words that God condemns as unjust and cruel.
Pray that your lips may be touched with a live coal from the divine altar, that you may speak only pure, Christlike words, and that you may see that it is a sin to speak harshly and unadvisedly. There are many now teaching others who need themselves to learn what it means to be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. They need to feel the power of saving grace. Self and Satan are spoiling many souls, making them so unchristlike in spirit, in word, and in action, and so harmful in influence, that God will separate them from his work.
There are in human nature elements of destruction, which, under certain conditions, break forth to consume. The moral powers are prostrated. The excited passions tyrannize over the higher, nobler faculties; and Christlikeness is not revealed. The Infinite One--he who alone was able to bring order and beauty out of the chaos and confusion of nature's darkness--is able to subdue the rebellious heart of man, and bring his life into conformity to the divine will. His Spirit can quell man's rebellious temper. But unless men possess the love of Christ, the qualifications that otherwise would be of value in God's work will be controlled by the selfishness of the human heart. In order to be true Christians we must surrender ourselves unreservedly to Christ.
Day by day we are building characters, and we are building for eternity. God desires us in our lives to give the people of the world an example of what they should be, and of what they can be through obedience to the gospel of Christ. Let us place ourselves in God's hands, to be dealt with as he sees best. "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." "Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." If we build in cooperation with him, the structure that we rear will day by day grow more beautiful and more symmetrical under the hand of the Master Builder, and through all eternity it will endure.
Sanctification is a progressive work. It is a continuous work, leading human beings higher, and still higher. It does not leave love behind, but brings it into the life as the very essence of Christianity.
Christ says to us, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." He is our example. During his life on earth, he was ever kind and gentle. His influence was ever fragrant; for in him dwelt perfect love. He was never sour and unapproachable, and he never compromised with wrong to obtain favor. If we have his righteousness, we shall be like him in gentleness, in forbearance, in unselfish love. Shall we not, by dwelling in the sunshine of his presence, become mellowed by his grace?
Let us honor our profession of faith. Let us adorn our lives with beautiful traits of character. Harshness of speech and action is not of Christ, but of Satan. Shall we, by clinging to our imperfections and deformities, make Christ ashamed of us? His grace is promised to us. If we will receive it, it will beautify our lives. Then in the place of disparaging our fellow workers, we shall help them to climb the ladder of progress. Deformity will be exchanged for goodness, perfection. Our lives will be adorned with the graces that made Christ's life so beautiful.
God calls for our cooperation. His requirements are just and reasonable. Shall we not strive to be Christians in life as well as in profession? Shall we not ennoble our lives with the dignity of a steadfast purpose? When we take the name of Christ, we pledge ourselves to represent him. In order for us to be true to our pledge, Christ must be formed within, the hope of glory. The daily life must become more and more like the Christlife. We must be Christians in deed and in truth. Christ will have nothing to do with pretense. He will welcome to the heavenly courts those only whose Christianity is genuine. The lives of professed Christians who do not live the life of Christ are a mockery to religion.
A true, lovable Christian is the most powerful argument that can be advanced in favor of Bible truth. Such a man is Christ's representative. His life is the most convincing evidence that can be borne to the power of divine grace. When God's people bring the righteousness of Christ into the daily life, sinners will be converted, and victories over the enemy will be gained.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #3)
I have been instructed to say that it is not new and fanciful doctrines which the people of God need. They do not need suppositions, which can not be sustained by the Word of God. They need the testimony of men who know the truth, men who understand and obey the charge given to Timothy: "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." 2 Tim. 4:2-5.
In some instances men have been turned away from the truth to listen to fables. Efforts were made to set right those thus deceived, but some had drunk so deeply from the polluted fountain, and had become so impregnated with false impressions, that it was impossible to undeceive them. They had come to believe that it was more profitable to eat of the food offered in the strange doctrines presented, than to eat of the food contained in the Word of God.
Brethren, look well to the character of your religion. Do not forget that Christ is to be your pattern in all things. You may be sure that his religion is not a sensational religion. A religion of this kind I learned to dread in my very earliest experience in the cause of present truth. I was at that time, before I was seventeen years old, bidden to warn those who were cherishing fanciful ideas, and who declared that their strange movements were inspired of God.
In New Hampshire there were those who were active in disseminating false ideas in regard to God. Light was given me that these men were making the truth of no effect by their ideas, some of which led to free-lovism. I was shown that these men were seducing souls by presenting speculative theories regarding God.
I went to the place where they were working, and opened before them what they were doing. The Lord gave me strength to lay plainly before them the danger of their course. Among other views, they held that those once sanctified could not sin, and this they were presenting as gospel food. Their false theories, with their burden of deceptive influence, were working great harm to themselves and to others. They were gaining a spiritualistic power over those who could not see the evil of these beautifully clothed theories. Great evils had already resulted. The doctrine that all were holy had led to the belief that the affections of the sanctified were never in danger of leading astray. The result of this belief was the fulfilment of the evil desires of hearts which, though professedly sanctified, were far from purity of thought and practise.
This is only one of the instances in which I was called upon to rebuke those who were presenting the doctrine of an impersonal god diffused through nature, and the doctrine of holy flesh.
In the future, truth will be counterfeited by the precepts of men. Deceptive theories will be presented as safe doctrines. False science is one of the agencies that Satan used in the heavenly courts, and it is used by him today. The false assertions that he made to the angels, his subtle scientific theories, led many of them from loyalty. And, having lost their place in heaven, they prepared temptations for our first parents. Adam and Eve yielded to the enemy, and by their disobedience, humanity was estranged from God, and the earth was separated from heaven.
Christ pledged himself to bridge the gulf that sin had made. Thus he became the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He shows us the path that leads to heaven, and promises to impart his efficiency to every one who believes on him. He came to our world to reveal, not a mixture of truth and error, but the pure truth of God. All error is misleading, even though clothed with garments of heavenly beauty.
The character and power of God are revealed by the work of his hands. In the natural world are to be seen evidences of the love and goodness of God. These tokens are given to call attention from nature to nature's God, that his "eternal power and Godhead" may be understood.
Pantheistic theories are not sustained by the Word of God. The light of his truth shows that these theories are soul-destroying agencies. Darkness is their element, sensuality their sphere. They gratify the natural heart, and give leeway to inclination. Separation from God is the result of accepting them.
Christ calls upon his people to believe and practise his Word. Those who receive and assimilate this Word, making it a part of every action, of every attribute of character, will grow strong in the strength of God. It will be seen that their faith is of heavenly origin. Before angels and before men, they will stand as those who have strong, consistent Christian characters. They will not wander into strange paths. Their minds will not turn to a religion of sentimentalism and excitement.
I beseech those who are laboring for God not to accept the spurious for the genuine. We have a whole Bible full of the most precious truth. We have no need for supposition or false excitement. In the golden censer of truth, as presented in Christ's teachings, we have that which will convict and convert souls. Present in the simplicity of Christ the truths that he came to this world to proclaim, and the power of your message will make itself felt. Do not present theories or tests that have no foundation in the Bible. We have grand solemn tests to present. "It is written" is the test that must be brought home to every one.
Walk firmly, decidedly, your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. God has not laid upon any one the burden of encouraging an appetite for strange, odd doctrines and theories. My brethren, keep these things out of your teaching. Do not allow them to enter into your experience. Do not let your lifework be marred by them.
The minds of the Jewish teachers were filled with maxims and suppositions. They interpreted the Word to mean that which God never designed it to mean, enforcing their oddities on the common people.
A warning against such teaching is found in Paul's letter to the Colossians. The apostle declares that the hearts of the believers were to be "knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say," he continues, "least any man should beguile you with enticing words. . . . As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him, rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 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." Col. 2:2-10.
I am instructed to say to our people, Let us follow Christ. We may safely discard all ideas that are not included in his teaching. I appeal to our ministers to be sure that their feet are placed on the platform of eternal truth. Beware how you follow impulse, calling it the Holy Spirit. Some are in danger in this respect. I call upon them to be sound in the faith, able to give every one who asks a reason of the hope that is in them.
Into the hearts of many who have been long in the truth there has entered a hard, judicial spirit. They are sharp, critical, faultfinding. They have climbed into the judgment seat to pronounce sentence on those who do not meet their ideas. God calls upon them to come down, and bow before him in repentance, confessing their sins. He says to them, "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." Rev. 2:4, 5. They are striving for the first place, and by their words and acts they make many hearts sore.
Against this spirit, and against the false religion of sentimentalism, which is equally dangerous, I bear my warning. Take heed, brethren and sisters. Who is your leader--Christ, or the angel who fell from heaven? Are you sound in the faith? My prayer for you all is that God would grant you "according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." Eph. 3:16-19. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #4)
I have been impressed with the subject of the influence of the church--what this influence should be. By earnest prayer the members are to obtain power that will make their influence a savor of life unto life. What is needed today is practical Christianity, not merely for a day or a year, but for a lifetime. The man who professes to be a Christian, and yet reveals in his life no practical godliness, is denying Christ. Opposite his name in the books of heaven are written the words, Unfaithful steward.
How is the world to be enlightened, save by the lives of Christ's followers? You profess to believe in Christ, to be a follower of his. Do you do his works? Can the world see plainly that you have been with Jesus, and learned of him? How are unbelievers to know that you belong to Christ if you show no zeal in his service, but instead cherish worldly ambition and follow worldly plans? Christ declares, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."
God can not prepare for the day of trial before us those who are careless and indifferent. With those who are neither cold nor hot he has nothing to do. "I would thou wert cold or hot," he says. "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth." The halfhearted Christian exerts an influence more harmful than the influence of the avowed infidel.
There are many whose lives are but a pretense of godliness. They are a law unto themselves, and they always will be, unless the grace of Christ subdues their hearts. They lift up their souls unto vanity, and God has no use for them in his service.
The Will of God Concerning You.--Our sanctification is God's object in all his dealing with us. He has chosen us from eternity that we might be holy. Christ gave himself for our redemption, that through faith in his power to save from sin, we might be made complete in him. In giving us his Word, he has given us bread from heaven. He declares that if we eat his flesh and drink his blood, we shall receive eternal life.
As Christians we have pledged ourselves to fulfil the responsibilities resting on us, and to show to the world that we have a close connection with God. Thus, through the good words and works of his disciples, Christ is to be represented and honored.
God expects of us perfect obedience to his law. This law is the echo of his voice, saying to us, Holier, yea, holier still. Desire after the fulness of the grace of Christ, yea, long--hunger and thirst--after righteousness. The promise is, "Ye shall be filled." Let your heart be filled with a longing for this righteousness, the work of which God's Word declares to be peace, and its effect quietness and assurance forever.
God has plainly stated that he expects us to be perfect, and because he expects this, he has made provision for us to be partakers of the divine nature. Only thus can we gain success in striving for eternal life. The power is given by Christ. "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
God's people are to reflect to the world the bright rays of his glory. But in order for them to do this, they must stand where these rays can fall on them. They must cooperate with God. The heart must be cleansed of all that leads to wrong. The Word of God must be read and studied with an earnest desire to gain from it spiritual power. The bread of heaven must be eaten and assimilated, becoming part of the life. Thus we gain eternal life. Thus is answered the prayer of Christ, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
"This is the will of God, even your sanctification." Is it your will that your desires and inclinations shall be brought into harmony with the divine mind?
Godliness in the Everyday Life.--Christ declares, "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."
The talent of speech was given to be used for the benefit of all. Pleasant, cheery words cost no more than unpleasant, moody words. Sharp words wound and bruise the soul. In this life every one has difficulties with which to wrestle. Every one meets with grievances and disappointments. Shall we not bring sunshine instead of gloom into the lives of those with whom we come in contact? Shall we not speak words that will help and bless? Such words will be just as verily a blessing to us as to those to whom they are spoken.
Parents, allow no faultfinding in your home. Teach your children to speak pleasant words, words that will bring sunshine and joy. Angels are not attracted to a home where discord reigns. Bring practical godliness into the home. Prepare yourselves and your children for entrance into the city of God. Angels will be your helpers. Satan will tempt you, but do not yield. Do not speak one word of which the enemy can take advantage.
Let the determination of each member of the family be, I will be a Christian: for in the school here below I must form a character that will give me entrance into the higher grade, even the school above. I must do unto others as I desire them to do to me.
Make the home life as nearly as possible like heaven. Let the members of the family forget not, as they gather round the family altar, to pray for the men in positions of responsibility in God's work. The physicians in our sanitariums, the ministers of the gospel, those in charge of our publishing houses and schools, need your prayers. They are tempted and tried. As you plead with God to bless them, your own hearts will be subdued and softened by his grace.
From Grace to Grace.--We are living amid the perils of the last days, and we are to cleanse ourselves from all defilement, and put on the robe of Christ's righteousness. The work of God is to be steadily carried forward. We are to bring ourselves, body, soul, and spirit, into subjection to Christ. Unless we do this, the health of both body and soul will be endangered.
God desires his workers to gain daily a better understanding of how to reason logically from cause to effect, arriving at wise, safe conclusions. He desires them to add to the strength of the memory. We can not afford to make mistakes. As little children we are to sit at the feet of Christ, learning of him how to work successfully. We are to ask God for sound judgment, and for light to impart to others. There is need of knowledge that is the fruit of experience. We should not allow a day to pass without gaining an increase of knowledge in temporal and spiritual things. We are to plant no stakes that we are not willing to take up and plant further on, nearer the heights we hope to ascend. The highest education is to be found in training the mind to advance day by day. The close of each day should find us a day's march nearer the overcomer's reward. Day by day our understanding is to ripen. Day by day we are to work out conclusions that will bring a rich reward in this life and in the life to come. Looking daily to Jesus, instead of to what we ourselves have done, we shall make decided advancement in temporal as well as spiritual knowledge.
The end of all things is at hand. What we have done must not be allowed to place the period to our work. The Captain of our salvation says, "Advance. The night cometh, in which no man can work." Constantly we are to increase in usefulness. Our lives are always to be under the power of Christ. Our lamps are to be kept burning brightly.
Prayer is a heaven-ordained means of success. Appeals, petitions, entreaties, between man and man, move men, and act a part in controlling the affairs of nations. But prayer moves heaven. That power alone that comes in answer to prayer will make men wise in the wisdom of heaven, and enable them to work in the unity of the Spirit, joined together by the bonds of peace. Prayer, faith, confidence in God, bring a divine power that sets human calculations at their real worth,--nothingness.
In all ages God has given human beings divine revelations, that thus he may fulfil his purpose of unfolding gradually to the mind the doctrines of grace. His manner of imparting the truth is illustrated by the words, "His going forth is prepared as the morning." He who places himself where God can enlighten him, advances, as it were, from the partial obscurity of dawn to the full radiance of noonday. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #5)
He who is converted to the truth, through faith made a partaker of the divine nature, is set apart to do the work of him who gave his life for the life of the world. The converted man is not a sluggard, but an earnest, faithful worker. He is one of Christ's chosen instrumentalities for the saving of others. He is filled with the same spirit of service that inspired the Saviour. He is a laborer together with God. He has the same earnestness, the same fervor, that led Christ to work so untiringly for the perishing. He is made a partaker of Christ's sufferings and of his great love, and he becomes a part of his working force for the saving of sinners.
Those in whose hearts the love of Christ abides will use every power they have in doing the work that Christ did. Every one who has received the message of Christ's love has a work to do. Upon every Christian rests the responsibility of reflecting the light of heaven to those in darkness. Each follower of the Saviour is to proclaim the glad tidings of salvation through grace. No one is to fail of living the truth that he has received.
The words of the Christian are to be carefully chosen. His deportment is to be above reproach. It is the revealing of the goodness of Christ's character that has so decided an influence on all with whom he is brought in contact.
The Lord is our Captain, our Leader. We are to bear his banner, and wear the armor that he provides. We are to strive to win his enemies to be his friends. Not till he lays his armor at the feet of the Redeemer is the Christian to relax his watchful, prayerful efforts.
"We are laborers together with God." Ever remember that all your capabilities, all your possessions, are the Lord's, to be used and improved in his service. Remember that all the means you have is given you by God. Use it to glorify his name. Use it wisely and economically, because it is a sacred trust. I ask those who have been entrusted with the Lord's money to labor unselfishly for the Master. Do not tie up your money in estates and banks, when there is such need that it be put into circulation to advance the Lord's work. Remember that your money is yours only in trust. Give the light to others by giving of your means to send workers into new fields. Thus you will hasten the coming of Christ. He who is truly converted will feel it a privilege to give of his means to send the truth into the dark places of the earth.
God asks, Why are not memorials for me established in the cities? What answer can we return? The neglected work in our cities testifies to the lack of Christlike energy among believers. Let all awake to the need of establishing Christian missions in the cities. Let God's workers enter the doors that he has opened for them. Believers need to arouse and do much more than they are now doing in lines of Christian effort.
Christ's commission is, "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." Let God's people show that they believe these words. Fulfilling the Saviour's commission, they are to be a working power through all time.
Have we light? Let it shine forth to those in darkness. Tell the Saviour that you are doing his bidding, and then believe that he will fulfil the word, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end."
Of the disciples we read, "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following."
Our work is plainly outlined by the work of Christ and the work of his disciples after his resurrection and ascension. We are not at liberty to sit with folded hands, waiting for some one to lead us to fields of labor and set us at work. Those who have a knowledge of the truth are to go forth in the name of the Lord, believing every word that Christ has spoken, and looking to him for grace and strength.
As, like the disciples, you go from place to place, telling the story of the Saviour's love, you will make friends, and will see the fruit of your labor. All true, humble, loving, faithful workers will be sustained and strengthened by power from on high. They will win their way to the hearts of the people as they follow Christ's example. The sick will be ministered to, the afflicted prayed for. There will be heard the voice of singing and the voice of prayer. The Scriptures will be opened to testify of truth. And with signs following, the Lord will confirm the word spoken.
This class of work has gone out of fashion. Let it be once more brought into practise. The fields are white all ready to harvest. The Lord desires many more to go out into the harvest field. He will be with those who study his Word and obey his commands. He will impart to them his grace. Go forth in the name of Christ, remembering that he is your companion, that every prayer, every word, every song, is heard by him. The message of the soon coming of the Lord with power and great glory will bring conviction to many hearts.
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name that is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #6)
We are far behind in our missionary work, both at home and in foreign countries. We have in our keeping the most sacred truth ever committed to mortals, and our work should correspond to our profession of faith. The world is becoming more and more lawless. Soon great trouble will arise among the nations,--trouble that will not cease until Jesus comes.
What are we as a people doing at this important time? Are we purifying our souls by obedience to Christ's words? Are we humbling our hearts before God, and confessing our sins? Are we seeking with earnestness and sincerity for help from him who is the source of strength? Are we claiming the promises, believing that Jesus pardons our transgressions? Are we educating ourselves to overcome all temptation to murmur and complain?
My brethren and sisters, as never before we need to press together, unitedly following him who has prepared his throne in the heavens, and whose kingdom ruleth over all. God has not forsaken his people, and our strength lies in not forsaking him.
Christ died to redeem us. By the infinite price with which he ransomed us he has shown his love for us. He is not willing that any should perish. He desires all to believe on him, that they may have eternal life.
With pity and compassion, with tender yearning, the Lord is looking upon his tried, tempted people. For a time the oppressors will be permitted to triumph over those who obey God's commandments. All are given the same opportunity that was granted to the first great rebel, the opportunity to show what spirit is prompting them to action. It is God's purpose that every one shall be tested, to see whether he will be loyal or disloyal to the laws that govern the kingdom of heaven. To the last God gives Satan opportunity to reveal his character. Thus the final triumph of his people will be made more marked, more glorious, more complete. The words of the prophet will be fulfilled: "The day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come." "The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble; he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved. The Lord is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people."
Now and onward till the close of time the people of God should be more earnest, more wide-awake, not trusting in their own wisdom, but in the wisdom of their Leader. They should set aside days for fasting and prayer. Entire abstinence from food may not be required, but they should eat sparingly of the most simple food. No one should lift up his soul unto vanity, walking in pride and self-indulgence. We are living in a time that demands genuine humiliation and most earnest prayer. We are nearing the most important crisis that has ever come upon the world. If we are not wide-awake and watching, it will find us unprepared.
There is in our churches a decided lack of love for Christ and for one another. Christlike simplicity is looked upon as weakness. There is a lack of clear spiritual discernment. Wrongs remain unconfessed. The transgression condemned in the law of God is on the increase in our borders. Sin is cherished, and the result is hardness of heart. When those who are handling sacred things do not walk in the light, the light becomes darkness to them, and how great is that darkness! Men are making strange mistakes in reading character. Those who do not possess moral worth are exalted, while those who are endeavoring to seek the Lord and walk in his steps are not appreciated. This danger will become more and more apparent. We must awake to the perils that are thickening around us. All pharisaism, all self-righteousness, must be separated from the soul. Then we shall realize that we need Christ's righteousness, and we shall accept it by faith.
There is among us a manifest lack of searching the Scriptures. We must know the reasons of our faith. The importance and solemnity of the scenes opening before us demand this. And on no account must the spirit of complaint be encouraged. Do you cherish malice, bitterness, and wrath if plans are introduced that do not harmonize with your ideas? Is not this indulging a spirit of war, rather than a spirit of meekness and humility? If ever we needed to manifest kindness and true courtesy, it is now. We may have to plead most earnestly before legislative councils for the right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience. Thus in his providence God has designed that the claims of his law shall be brought before men in positions of highest authority. But as we stand before these men, we are to show no bitterness of feeling.
Constantly we are to pray for divine aid. It is God alone who can hold the four winds until his servants shall be sealed in their foreheads.
The Lord will do a great work in the earth. Satan makes a determined effort to divide and scatter God's people. He brings up side issues to divert minds from the important subjects that should engage our attention. Individually we are to feel the importance of uniting in the bonds of Christian fellowship. With one heart and one mind we are to prepare for the conflict, by faith laying our petitions before the mercy seat. The throne of God is arched by the bow of promise, and the prayers offered in faith and simplicity are heard. It is God's glory to answer the supplications of his people.
I have been especially instructed in regard to the danger of drawing apart. Let us leave to Satan the cruel work of accusing and faultfinding. Let us bow before God in repentance because of our want of love for one another and for him who died for us. The gold of love and faith is wanting in our ranks. Christ declares, "I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." Many are holding on to the truth with only the tips of their fingers. They have had great light and many privileges.. Like Capernaum, they have in this respect been exalted to heaven. But unless they put away their pride and self-confidence, in the time of trial that is approaching they will become apostates. Unless they have an entire transformation of character, they will never enter heaven.
You strike too low, my brethren. Set your mark higher. Let your work be in harmony with the work of Christ. It is the privilege of all to grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ. "This is the will of God, even your sanctification." Is it your will also? My brethren, with intensity of desire long after God; yea, pant after him, as the hart panteth after the water brooks. Press toward the mark of the prize of your high calling in Christ.
Why do not those who name the name of Christ reveal the earnestness and the self-denial that he revealed? Why do they not arouse from their indifferent, self-satisfied condition? God's people must have a fixed purpose to honor him. They will never be holy until they put all their energies into his work. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #7)
Christ declared himself to be the light of the world. To his disciples he gave a part in the work of shedding light on a sin-darkened world. "Ye are the light of the world," he declared. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
The church has been made the depositary of the truth of the gospel, the agency through which God's light is to shine forth to the world, in clear, distinct rays. How is this light to shine? Let God's Word tell us:--
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world."
"And 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."
"Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light."
"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising."
God has made every provision for our justification and sanctification. He has given Christ to us, that through him we may be made complete. Christ gave his life for sinners. By his death he opened a fountain in which all may wash their robes of character, and make them white. He died on the cross, but he rose from the tomb, proclaiming, "I am the resurrection, and the life." He made his followers joint heirs with him in his glory. In his name they were to go forth to carry out his purpose of bringing many souls to a knowledge of the truth.
Heaven's resources are limitless, and they are all at our command. Why, then, I ask, is the progress of the Lord's work in our world so slow? Why are not the Lord's followers increasing in knowledge and purity, holiness and power?
Are there not presented before Christ's followers the highest virtues to be cultivated, the greatest honors to be gained? God calls upon them to enter a race in which every one may win. He calls upon them to enlist in a warfare in which every one may be a conqueror. A robe of righteousness and a crown of everlasting life,--this is the reward held out before the overcomer.
The inhabitants of the heavenly universe expect the followers of Christ to shine as lights in the world. They are to show forth the power of the grace that Christ died to give to men. God expects those who profess to be Christians to reveal in their lives the highest development of Christianity. They are the recognized representatives of Christ. Their work is to show that Christianity is a reality. They are to be men of faith, men of constant growth, men of courage, whole-souled men, who without questioning trust in God and his promises.
God calls for men of undaunted courage, men full of hope and faith and trust, who rejoice in the thought of the final triumph, refusing to be hindered by obstacles. He who steadfastly adheres to the principles of truth has the assurance that his weakest points of character may become his strongest points. Heavenly angels are close by him who strives to bring his life into harmony with God and his holy law. God is with him as he declares, "I must overcome the temptations that surround me, else they will drive Christ from my heart." He combats all temptation and braves all opposition. By the strength obtained from on high, he holds in control the passions and tendencies which, uncontrolled, would lead him to defeat.
The presence of the man who loves and fears God is as a sweet fragrance in his family. His example speaks eloquently in favor of the truth. All with whom he comes in contact are constrained to say, "He has been with Jesus, and has learned of him."
When the Christian takes his baptismal vow, divine help is pledged to him. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit stand ready to work in his behalf. God places at his command the resources of heaven, that he may be an overcomer. His own power is small; but God is omnipotent, and God is his helper. Daily he is to make known his wants at the throne of grace. By faith and trust, by availing himself of the resources provided, he can be more than a conqueror.
Why, then, should not those who are fighting against the powers of darkness move forward with faith and courage? God and Christ and the Holy Spirit are on their side.
The Lord expects those who believe in Christ to cooperate with divine instrumentalities, and thus reveal a strength that the worldling can not reveal. God is dishonored, and his cause is reproached, when the Christian shows less zeal, less self-denial, in his strife for the mastery over evil, than do those who are striving for the mastery over the things of the world.
We know not how soon our probation may close. How dare those who know the truth live in unpreparedness, not ready to meet their Lord? How dare they remain sinful and defiled? Why are they not afraid? Why do they not realize their peril? The weakness of the church is due to its unbelieving, unconverted, unsanctified members. The Lord would work mightily for his people if they would put off the works of darkness, and be clothed with his righteousness. He calls upon every one who names the name of Christ to depart from all iniquity, to be "not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord."
God calls upon those who profess to believe the truth to show by unquestioning obedience that they are faithful soldiers of the cross. Let not those who stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel do anything that will dishonor the cause for which they are fighting. Christ expects his soldiers to be brave and loyal and true.
The work that Christ did on this earth his followers are to do. With the power and efficacy brought by the Holy Spirit they are to carry forward his plan for the restoration of the divine image in humanity. The Lord will do great things for them when they work under the Holy Spirit's guidance. But they must place their entire dependence on God.
For the last twenty years a subtle, unconsecrated influence has been leading men to look to men, to bind up with men, to neglect their heavenly Companion. Many have turned away from Christ. They have failed to appreciate the One who declares, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
Let us do all in our power to redeem the past. Making God our trust, let us go out into the waste places of the earth to work for the salvation of perishing souls. We shall meet with close and trying times. Temptation and trial will come. But the Lord is an all-powerful helper. He desires those who work for him to move forward with singing, because he cooperates with every unselfish effort.
"Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. . . . For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #8)
Just prior to the crucifixion, Christ, in his last lessons to the disciples, dwelt upon the love that they should cherish for one another. "By this," he said, "shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
After the descent of the Holy Spirit, the disciples went forth to proclaim a risen Saviour, their one desire the salvation of souls. They rejoiced in the sweetness of communion with saints. They were tender, thoughtful, self-denying, willing to make any sacrifice for the truth's sake. In their daily association with one another they revealed the love that Christ had commanded them to reveal. By unselfish words and deeds they strove to kindle this love in other hearts.
The believers were ever to cherish the love that filled the hearts of the apostles after the descent of the Holy Spirit. They were to go forward in willing obedience to the new commandment, "As I have loved you, that ye also love one another." So closely were they to be united to Christ, that they would be enabled to fulfil his requirements. The power of a Saviour who could justify them by his righteousness was to be magnified.
A Spiritual Loss.--But the early Christians began to look for defects in one another. Dwelling upon mistakes, encouraging suspicion and doubt, giving way to unkind criticism, they lost sight of the Saviour, and of the great love he had revealed for sinners. They became more strict in regard to outward ceremonies, more particular about the theory of the faith, more severe in their criticisms. In their zeal to condemn others, they themselves erred. They forgot the lessons of brotherly love that Christ had taught. And, saddest of all, they were unconscious of their loss. They did not realize that happiness and joy were going out of their lives, and that soon they would walk in darkness, having shut the love of God out of their hearts.
A Message of Reproof.--Because the early church lost their first love, there came to them a message of reproof. "I have somewhat against thee," the Lord declared, "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."
Those mentioned in this scripture as losing their first love were not ranked with open sinners. They had the truth; they were established in the doctrine; they were firm to condemn and resist evil. Yet God declared, "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee." They were losing their realization of the greatness of the love that God has shown for fallen humanity by making an infinite sacrifice to redeem them.
The apostle John realized that brotherly love was waning in the church, and he dwelt particularly upon this point. Up to the day of his death he urged upon believers the constant exercise of love for one another. His letters to the churches are interwoven with this thought. In one of his epistles we read: "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. . . . God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. . . . Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."
In the church of God today brotherly love is greatly lacking. Many of those who profess to love the Saviour neglect to love those who are united with them in Christian fellowship. We are of the same faith, members of one family, all children of the same Heavenly Father, with the same blessed hope of immortality. How close and tender should be the tie that binds us together! How careful we should be to have our words and actions in harmony with the sacred truths that God has committed to us. The people of the world are looking to us, to see if our faith is exerting a sanctifying influence on our hearts, making us Christlike. They are ready to discover every defect in our lives, every inconsistency in our actions. Let us give them no occasion to reproach our faith.
Our Greatest Danger.--It is not the opposition of the world that will endanger us the most; the evil cherished in the hearts of professed Christians works out most grievous disaster, and retards most the progress of God's cause. There is no surer way of weakening ourselves in spiritual things than by being envious, suspicious of one another, full of faultfinding and evil surmising. "This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."
How We May Reveal Christ.--When you are associated with one another, be guarded in your words. Let your conversation be of such a nature that you will have no need to repent of it. "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things." If the love of the truth is in your hearts, you will talk of the truth,--of the blessed hope that you have in Jesus. If your hearts are filled with brotherly love, you will seek to establish and build up your brother in the most holy faith.
If a word is dropped that is detrimental to the character of a friend or brother, never encourage this evil speaking; for it is the work of the enemy. Remind the speaker that God's Word forbids this kind of conversation. We are to empty the heart of everything that defiles the soul temple, that Christ may dwell within. The Redeemer has told us how we may reveal him to the world. If we cherish his Spirit, if we manifest his love toward others, if we guard one another's interests, if we are kind, patient, forbearing, the fruits we bear will give evidence to the world that we are God's children. It is unity in the church that enables Christians to exert a strong influence upon unbelievers.
To build up one another in the most holy faith is a blessed work; to tear down is a work full of bitterness and sorrow Christ identifies himself with his suffering children; for he says, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." If all would carry out the instruction given by Christ, love and unity would prevail in the church.
Every heart has its own sorrows and disappointments, and we should seek to lighten one another's burdens by manifesting the love of Jesus to those around us. If our conversation were upon heaven and heavenly things, evil speaking would soon cease to have any attraction for us. We would not then be placing our feet upon dangerous ground; nor would we enter into temptation, falling under the power of the evil one.
Instead of finding fault with others, let us be critical with ourselves. Every one should inquire, Is my heart right before God? Am I glorifying my Heavenly Father? If you have cherished a wrong spirit, banish it from the soul. Eradicate from your heart everything that is of a defiling nature. Pluck up every root of bitterness, lest others be contaminated by the baleful influence. Do not allow one poisonous plant to remain in the soil of your heart. Root it out this very hour and cultivate in its stead the plant of love. Let Jesus be enshrined in the soul temple.
My brethren and sisters, prayerfully consider the exhortation given to those who have left their first love. "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works." God is now calling for heartfelt repentance, and for a return to the love that we once manifested toward one another. "Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."
"If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #9)
The experience of the past will be repeated. In the future, Satan's superstitions will assume new forms. Errors will be presented in a pleasing and flattering manner. False theories, clothed with garments of light, will be presented to God's people. Thus Satan will try to deceive if possible, the very elect. Most seducing influences will be exerted; minds will be hypnotized.
Corruptions of every type, similar to those existing among the antediluvians, will be brought in to take minds captive. The exaltation of nature as God, the unrestrained license of the human will, the counsel of the ungodly,--these Satan uses as agencies to bring about certain ends. He will employ the power of mind on mind to carry out his designs. The most sorrowful thought of all is that under his deceptive influence men will have a form of godliness, without having a real connection with God. Like Adam and Eve, who ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, many are even now feeding upon the deceptive morsels of error.
Satanic agencies are clothing false theories in an attractive garb, even as Satan in the garden of Eden concealed his identity from our first parents by speaking through the serpent. These agencies are instilling into human minds that which in reality is deadly error. The hypnotic influence of Satan will rest upon those who turn from the plain Word of God to pleasing fables.
It is those who have had the most light that Satan most assiduously seeks to ensnare. He knows that if he can deceive them, they will, under his control, clothe sin with garments of righteousness, and lead many astray.
I say to all, Be on your guard; for as an angel of light Satan is walking in every assembly of Christian workers, and in every church, trying to win the members to his side. I am bidden to give the people of God the warning, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked."
Beware of a Sensational Religion.--At this time we need in the cause of God spiritual-minded men,--men who are firm in principle, and who have a clear understanding of the truth.
I have been instructed that it is not new and fanciful doctrines which the people need. They do not need human suppositions. They need the testimony of men who know and practise the truth, men who understand and obey the charge given to Timothy: "Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."
Walk firmly, decidedly, your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. You may be sure that pure and undefiled religion is not a sensational religion . God has not laid upon any one the burden of encouraging an appetite for speculative doctrines and theories. My brethren, keep these things out of your teaching. Do not allow them to enter into your experience. Let not your lifework be marred by them.
A Warning Against False Teaching.--A warning against such teaching is found in Paul's letter to the Colossians. The apostle declares that the hearts of the believers are to be "knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." "And this I say," he continues, "lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. . . . As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 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."
I am instructed to say to our people, Let us follow Christ. Do not forget that he is to be our pattern in all things. We may safely discard those ideas that are not found in his teaching. I appeal to our ministers to be sure that their feet are placed on the platform of eternal truth. Beware how you follow impulse, calling it the Holy Spirit. Some are in danger in this respect. I call upon them to be sound in the faith, able to give every one who asks a reason of the hope that is in them.
Diverting Minds from Present Duty.--The enemy is seeking to divert the minds of our brethren and sisters from the work of preparing a people to stand in these last days. His sophistries are designed to lead minds away from the perils and duties of the hour. They estimate as nothing the light that Christ came from heaven to give John for his people. They teach that the scenes just before us are not of sufficient importance to receive special attention. They make of no effect the truth of heavenly origin, and rob the people of God of their past experience, giving them instead a false science.
"Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein."
Let none seek to tear away the foundations of our faith,--the foundations that were laid at the beginning of our work, by prayerful study of the Word and by revelation. Upon these foundations we have been building for the last fifty years. Men may suppose that they have found a new way, and that they can lay a stronger foundation than that which has been laid. But this is a great deception. Other foundation can no man lay than that which has been laid.
In the past many have undertaken the building of a new faith, the establishment of new principles. But how long did their building stand?--It soon fell; for it was not founded upon the Rock.
Did not the first disciples have to meet the sayings of men? Did they not have to listen to false theories, and then, having done all, to stand firm, saying, "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid"?
So we are to hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. Words of power have been sent by God and by Christ to this people, bringing them out from the world, point by point, into the clear light of present truth. With lips touched with holy fire, God's servants have proclaimed the message. The divine utterance has set its seal to the genuineness of the truth proclaimed. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #10)
To My Ministering Brethren: I entreat you to rise to your high calling in Christ. The prayer of Moses, "I beseech thee, show me thy glory," is recorded for our benefit. We need to present ourselves before the Lord every day, praying with earnest soul-hunger, "I beseech thee, show me thy glory."
What was God's answer to Moses?--"I will make all my goodness pass before thee. . . . And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation."
It is the glory of God to be merciful, full of forbearance, kindness, goodness, and truth. But the justice shown in punishing the sinner is as verily the glory of the Lord as is the manifestation of his mercy.
"Thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." The Lord God of Israel is jealous for his honor. How, then, I inquire, does he regard the inhabitants of this world, who live in his house, and from his liberal treasury are provided with food and clothing, but who never so much as say "Thank you" to him? They are unmindful of his goodness. They are like the inhabitants of the antediluvian world, who were destroyed because they worked continually in opposition to their Creator.
Of the antediluvians we read: "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. . . . And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth."
Christ said, "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all."
God warned the inhabitants of the old world of what he purposed to do in cleansing the earth of its impurity. But they laughed to scorn what they regarded as a superstitious prediction. They mocked at Noah's warning of a coming flood.
When Christ was upon the earth, he gave warning of what was coming upon Jerusalem because the people had rejected truth, despising the messages that God had sent. But his warning was unheeded.
The Lord has sent us by his ambassadors messages of warning, declaring that the end of all things is at hand. Some will listen to these warnings, but by the vast majority they will be disregarded.
When Lot warned the members of his family of the destruction of Sodom, they would not heed his words, but looked upon him as a fanatical enthusiast. The destruction that came found them unprepared.
Thus will it be when Christ comes. Farmers, merchants, lawyers, tradesmen, will be wholly engrossed in business, and upon them the day of the Lord will come as a snare.
"Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the Master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch."
To Every Man His Work.--To every man there is given a work. This point I wish to impress on all. Each child of God has a work to do for him. But while some are engaged in giving the last message of mercy to our world, others are living in careless indifference to God's requirements.
It is our duty to watch and pray and work. Our lives are not to be spent in idle expectation. Vigilant waiting and earnest watching are to be combined with faithful work, in expectation of the solemn events so soon to take place. The end is near. The commission given by Christ to his disciples is to be fulfilled. To all people the gospel is to be preached.
Upon every one who knows the truth for this time rests the responsibility of making it known to others. The servants of Christ are in a large measure responsible for the well-being and the salvation of the world. They are to be co-laborers with God in the work of winning souls to Christ.
"We Preach not Ourselves, but Christ".--The fourth chapter of Second Corinthians contains a lesson that should be carefully studied by all. "We preach not ourselves," Paul says, "but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."
Those who minister in word and deed are to exalt Christ. If their hearts are filled with the love of the Saviour, their lives will reveal that love. Through them it will speak in its tenderness. But self too often interposes between the soul and God. It is made so prominent that perishing souls can not see Jesus.
When the lips of a speaker move under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the words of God find utterance in warnings, in reproofs, in appeals. This power is not of the speaker. It is a power given him by God, that he may reach those who are dead in trespasses and sins, and arouse them to see the need of receiving power from above. God works through his faithful servants, who do not shun to declare the whole truth in the power of the Spirit. Their work bears his indorsement.
God's messengers are to hold aloft the standard of truth until the hand is palsied in death. When they sleep in death, the places that once knew them know them no more. The churches in which they preached, the places they visited to hold forth the word of life, still remain. The mountains, the hills, the things seen by mortal vision, are still there. All these things must at last pass away. The time is coming when the earth shall reel to and fro, and shall be removed like a cottage. But the thoughts, the purposes, the acts of God's workers, although now unseen, will appear at the great day of final retribution and reward. Things now forgotten will then appear as witnesses, either to approve or to condemn.
Love, courtesy, self-sacrifice,--these are never lost. When God's chosen ones are changed from mortality to immortality, their words and deeds of goodness will be made manifest, and will be preserved through the eternal ages. No act of unselfish service, however small or simple, is ever lost. Through the merits of Christ's imputed righteousness, the fragrance of such words and deeds is forever preserved.
Trusting in Christ.--In order to fight successfully the battle against sin, you must keep close to Jesus. Do not talk unbelief; you have no excuse for doing this. Christ has made a complete sacrifice for you, that you might stand before God complete in him. God is not pleased with our lack of faith. Unbelief always separates the soul from Christ.
It is not praiseworthy to talk of our weakness and discouragement. Let each one say, "I am grieved that I yield to temptation, that my prayers are so feeble, my faith so weak. I have no excuse to plead for being dwarfed in my religious life. But I am seeking to obtain completeness of character in Christ. I have sinned, and yet I love Jesus. I have fallen many times, and yet he has reached out his hand to save me. I have told him all about my mistakes. I have confessed with shame and sorrow that I have dishonored him. I have looked to the cross, and have said, All this he suffered for me. The Holy Spirit has shown me my ingratitude, my sin, in putting Christ to open shame. He who knows no sin has forgiven me. He calls me to a higher, nobler life, and I press on to the things that are before."
Christ Our Efficiency.--"God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
Man is here cautioned against boasting. Christ is his efficiency. God uses human beings as his instrumentalities, to do his work. Our capabilities and talents are all to be held in trust. They do not originate with us. They come from God, and are to be consecrated to his service. To the one who does this the Lord will give higher abilities.
The humility that bears fruit, filling the soul with a sense of the love of God, will speak for the one who has cherished it, in the great day when men will be rewarded according as their works have been. Happy will be the one of whom it can then be said, "The Spirit never stirred this man's soul in vain. He went forward and upward from strength to strength. Self was not woven into his life. Each message of correction and counsel he received as a blessing from God. Thus the way was prepared for him to receive still greater blessings, because God did not speak to him in vain. Each step upward on the ladder of progress prepared him to climb still higher. From the top of the ladder the bright beams of God's glory shone upon him. He did not think of resting, but sought constantly to attain to the wisdom and righteousness of Christ. Ever he pressed toward the mark of the prize of his high calling in Christ."
This experience every one who is saved must have. In the day of judgment the course of the man who has retained the frailty and imperfection of humanity will not be vindicated. For him there will be no place in heaven; he could not enjoy the perfection of the saints in light. He who has not sufficient faith in Christ to believe that he can keep him from sinning, has not the faith that will give him an entrance into the kingdom of God.
Called to Service.--Now, just now, is our time of probation, wherein we are to prepare for heaven. Christ gave his life that we might have this probation. But so long as time shall last, Satan will strive for the mastery over us. He works with power to lead men to become absorbed in money-getting. He invents many kinds of amusement, so that their minds may be engrossed with worldly pleasure. He would have them forget all about the inward adorning,--the adorning of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price. He is determined that every moment shall be filled with efforts to carry out ambitious projects or to amuse and gratify self. He is determined that men shall find no time to study the Word of God, no time to realize that they have been bought with a price, even the blood of the Son of God.
Satan uses his influence to drown the voice of God speaking to the soul; and the world acts as if under his control. Men have chosen him as their leader. They stand under his banner. They will not come to Christ that they might have life. Infatuated with schemes for pleasure and amusement, they are striving for that which will perish with the using.
At this time the message of mercy and warning is to go forth to awaken the world from its sleep of death. A work is to be done today that will live through the eternal ages. As watchmen entrusted with a special message, we are to keep before the people the nearness of the end. "Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
The fast-fulfilling signs of the time declare that the great day of the Lord is right upon us. In that day shall it be said of any of us, "This man was called by God, but he would not hear, he would not give heed. Again and again the Spirit moved upon his heart, but he said, 'Go thy way for this time; and when I have a more convenient season, I will call for thee.' This man saw the Saviour's sacrifice in a beautiful light; but some matter of minor importance came in, and his heart was captivated. When the Spirit spoke again, the call was not respected. Every gracious, heavenly influence was dismissed"? Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #11)
"God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
Before the fall, not a cloud rested upon the minds of our first parents to obscure their clear perception of the character of God. They were perfectly conformed to the will of God. For a covering, a beautiful light, the light of God, surrounded them. The Lord visited the holy pair, and instructed them through the works of his hands. Nature was their lesson book. In the garden of Eden the existence of God was demonstrated in the objects of nature that surrounded them. Every tree of the garden spoke to them. The invisible things of God were clearly seen, being understood by the things which were made, even his eternal power and Godhead.
But while it is true that God could thus be discerned in nature, this does not favor the assertion that after the fall a perfect knowledge of God was revealed in the natural world to Adam and his posterity. Nature could convey her lessons to man in his innocence; but transgression brought a blight upon nature, and intervened between nature and nature's God. Had Adam and Eve never disobeyed their Creator, had they remained in the path of perfect rectitude, they could have known and understood God. But when they listened to the voice of the tempter, and sinned against God, the light of the garments of heavenly innocence departed from them; and in parting with the garments of innocence, they drew about them the dark robes of ignorance of God. The clear and perfect light that had hitherto surrounded them had lightened everything they approached; but deprived of that heavenly light, the posterity of Adam could no longer trace the character of God in his created works.
The things of nature upon which we look today give us but a faint conception of Eden's beauty and glory; yet the natural world, with unmistakable voice, proclaims the glory of God. In the things of nature, marred as they are by the blight of sin, much that is beautiful remains. One omnipotent in power, great in goodness, in mercy, and love, has created the earth, and even in its blighted state it inculcates truths in regard to the skilful Master Artist. In this book of nature opened to us,--in the beautiful, scented flowers, with their varied and delicate coloring,--God gives to us an unmistakable expression of his love. After the transgression of Adam, God might have destroyed every opening bud and blooming flower, or he might have taken away their fragrance, so grateful to the senses. In the earth, seared and marred by the curse, in the briers, the thistles, the thorns, the tares, we may read the law of condemnation; but in the delicate color and perfume of the flowers, we may learn that God still loves us, that his mercy is not wholly withdrawn from the earth.
Nature is filled with spiritual lessons for mankind. The flowers die only to spring forth into new life; and in this we are taught the lesson of the resurrection. All who love God will bloom again in the Eden above. But nature can not teach the lesson of the great and marvelous love of God. Therefore, after the fall, nature was not the only teacher of man. In order that the world might not remain in darkness, in eternal spiritual night, the God of nature met us in Jesus Christ. The Son of God came to the world as the revelation of the Father. He was that "true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." We are to behold "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
In the person of his only begotten Son, the God of heaven has condescended to stoop to our human nature. To the question of Thomas, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake."
The most difficult and humiliating lesson that man has to learn is his own inefficiency in depending upon human wisdom, and the sure failure of his own efforts to read nature correctly. Sin has obscured his vision, and of himself he can not interpret nature without placing it above God. He can not discern in it God, or Jesus Christ, whom he has sent. He is in the same position as were the Athenians, who erected their altars for the worship of nature. Standing in the midst of Mars Hill, Paul presented before the people of Athens the majesty of the living God in contrast with their idolatrous worship.
"Ye men of Athens," he said. "I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To the Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshiped with men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device."
Those who have a true knowledge of God will not become so infatuated with the laws of matter or the operations of nature as to overlook, or refuse to acknowledge, the continual working of God in nature. Nature is not God, nor was it ever God. The voice of nature testifies of God, but nature is not God. As his created work, it simply bears a testimony to God's power. Deity is the author of nature. The natural world has, in itself, no power but that which God supplies. There is a personal God, the Father: there is a personal Christ, the Son. And "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high."
The psalmist says: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard." Some may suppose that these grand things in the natural world are God. They are not God. All these wonders in the heavens are only doing the work appointed them. They are the Lord's agencies. God is the superintendent, as well as the creator, of all things. The divine Being is engaged in upholding the things that he has created. The same hand that holds the mountains and balances them in position, guides the worlds in their mysterious march around the sun.
There is scarcely an operation of nature to which we may not find reference in the Word of God. The Word declares that "he maketh his sun to rise," and "the rain to descend." He "maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. . . . He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: . . . he sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow." "He maketh lightnings for the rain; and bringeth the wind out of his treasuries."
These words of Holy Writ say nothing of the independent laws of nature. God furnishes the matter and the properties with which to carry out his plans. He employs his agencies that vegetation may flourish. He sends the dew and the rain and the sunshine, that verdure may spring forth, and spread its carpet over the earth; that the shrubs and fruit trees may bud and blossom and bring forth. It is not to be supposed that a law is set in motion for the seed to work itself, that the leaf appears because it must do so of itself. God has laws that he has instituted, but they are only the servants through which he effects results. It is through the immediate agency of God that every tiny seed breaks through the earth, and springs into life. Every leaf grows, every flower blooms, by the power of God.
The physical organism of man is under the supervision of God; but it is not like a clock, which is set in operation, and must go of itself. The heart beats, pulse succeeds pulse, breath succeeds breath, but the entire being is under the supervision of God. "Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." In God we live and move and have our being. Each heartbeat, each breath, is the inspiration of him who breathed into the nostrils of Adam the breath of life,--the inspiration of the ever-present God; the great I AM.
The ancient philosophers prided themselves on their superior knowledge. Let us read the inspired apostle's understanding of the matter. "Professing themselves to be wise," he says, "they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. . . . Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator." In its human wisdom the world can not know God. Its wise men gather an imperfect knowledge of God from his created works, and then in their foolishness they exalt nature and the laws of nature above nature's God. Those who have not a knowledge of God through an acceptance of the revelation he has made of himself in Christ, will obtain only an imperfect knowledge of him in nature; and this knowledge, so far from giving elevated conceptions of God, and bringing the whole being into conformity to his will, will make men idolaters. Professing themselves to be wise, they will become fools.
Those who think they can obtain a knowledge of God aside from his Representative, whom the Word declares is "the express image of his person," will need to become fools in their own estimation before they can be wise. It is impossible to gain a perfect knowledge of God from nature alone; for nature itself is imperfect. In its imperfection it can not represent God, it can not reveal the character of God in its moral perfection. But Christ came as a personal Saviour to the world. He represented a personal God. As a personal Saviour, he ascended on high; and he will come again as he ascended to heaven,--a personal Saviour. He is the express image of the Father's person. "In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #12)
Christ intended that a greater work should be done in soul-winning than we have yet seen. He did not intend that such large numbers should take their stand under the banner of Satan, enrolled as rebels against God. He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He did not design that human beings should live and die in sin. Why, then, are so few reached and saved?--It is because so many of those who profess to be Christians are working on the same lines as the great apostate. They let Satan plan and devise for them.
Very much more might be done for Christ if all who have the light of present truth would practise the truth. There are whole families who might be missionaries, engaging in personal labor, toiling for the Master with busy hands and active brains, devising new methods for the success of his work. There are earnest, prudent, warm-hearted men and women who could do much for Christ if they would give themselves to God, drawing near to him, and seeking him with the whole heart.
My dear brethren and sisters, take an active part in the work of soul-saving. This work will give life and vigor to the mental and spiritual powers. Light from Christ will shine into the mind. The Saviour will abide in your hearts, and in his light you will see light.
Consecrate yourselves wholly to the work of God. He is your strength, and he will be at your right hand, helping you to carry out his merciful designs. By personal labor reach those around you. Become acquainted with them. Preaching will not do the work that needs to be done. Angels of God attend you to the dwellings of those you visit. This work can not be done by proxy. Money lent or given will not accomplish it. Sermons can not do it. By visiting people, talking, praying, sympathizing with them, you will win hearts. This is the highest missionary work that you can do. To do it, you will need resolute, persevering faith, unwearying patience, and a deep love for souls.
Find access to the people in whose neighborhood you live. As you tell them of the truth, use words of Christlike sympathy. Remember that the Lord Jesus is the Master Worker. He waters the seed sown. He puts into your minds words that will reach hearts. Expect that God will sustain the consecrated, unselfish worker. Obedience, childlike faith, trust in God,--these will bring peace and joy. Cultivate thankfulness of heart. "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, . . . and be ye thankful." Work disinterestedly, lovingly, patiently, for all with whom you are brought into contact. Show no impatience. Utter not one unkind word. Let the love of Christ be in your hearts, the law of kindness on your lips.
It is a mystery that there are not hundreds at work for God where now there is but one. The heavenly universe is astonished at the apathy, the coldness, the listlessness, of those who profess to be sons and daughters of God. In the truth there is a living power. Go forth in faith, and proclaim the truth as if you believed it. Let those for whom you labor see that to you it is indeed a living reality.
The gospel standard is to be planted in every place where now it is not. With our eyes fixed on the cross of Calvary, believing that the Saviour will be with us until the end, as our shield, our strength, our efficiency, we are to work for God.
Why is it that we do not receive more from him who is the source of light and power? We expect too little. Has God lost his love for man? Is not this love still flowing earthward? Has he lost his desire to show himself strong in behalf of his people? Christ will give us victory in the conflict. Who can doubt this when we know that he laid aside his royal robe and kingly crown, and came to this world in the garb of humanity, that he might stand as man's substitute and surety?
We do not value as we should the power and efficacy of prayer. "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 can not be uttered." God desires us to come to him in prayer, that he may enlighten our minds. He alone can give clear conceptions of truth. He alone can soften and subdue the heart. He can quicken the understanding to discern truth from error. He can establish the wavering mind, and give it a knowledge and a faith that will endure the test. Pray then; pray without ceasing. The Lord who heard Daniel's prayer, will hear yours if you will approach him as Daniel did.
Let us live in close communion with God. The joy of the Christian arises from a sense of God's love and care for his children, and the assurance that he will not leave them alone in their weakness. The Lord never withholds his wisdom from those who are truly consecrated. Those who fear him and seek him daily, walk in security. It is the men who humble themselves even as a little child who are taught by God. The man who does not exalt himself can fill a place in God's plan that no self-sufficient man, however learned and well-prepared he may think himself, can fill. It makes every difference whether a man walks with God, or whether he is satisfied to walk with himself, trusting in his own abilities.
It is the fragrance of our love for our fellow men that reveals our love for God. It is patience in service that brings rest. It is through humble, diligent, faithful toilers that the welfare of Israel is promoted. God upholds and strengthens the one who is willing to learn in the school of Christ the lessons that he teaches.
The power of the Holy Spirit would come to our workers if they would ask for it aright. There will be no change made in the divine economy in order to bring about marked changes in the religious world. Men and women must rise to the emergency. They must receive the holy oil, the divine communication. This will enable them to arise and shine because their light has come.
Those who believe present truth are to live this truth. They are to bring the word of God into the daily life. This word is the bread of heaven, and those who read and study it, making its truths a part of the life, will be given power from above. O, can we not understand this? "This is the will of him that sent me," Christ said, "that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." If this, the life of Christ, be in us, what may we not accomplish in his service?
We are in great need of large-hearted, levelheaded men,--men whose daily life shows plainly that they have been with Jesus, and have learned of him,--men who, when called to bear burdens, do not complain, but move cheerfully forward, singing, yes, making melody in their hearts to the Lord.
To those who are presenting from the pulpit the truth for this time, I would say: Remember that you are engaged in a solemn, sacred work. Souls for whom Christ died, and who may have the life that measures with the life of God, are in the valley of decision. Before you present any subject to the people, talk with God in prayer. Hide self in Jesus. Receive the Holy Spirit, and then, in the power of this Spirit, speak to the people. Be sure that you are standing where you can be worked by the Spirit, "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power."
To our youth, I would say, As you use for God the talents that he has entrusted to you, you will obtain a knowledge that will make you dissatisfied with yourselves. You will see the great work that is to be done. You will see the need of separating from every hurtful habit or practise, lest you harm some other soul.
There are conscientious young men who are preparing to move into line, to strengthen the outposts. If they will walk with God, he will talk with them and teach them. Let them work where they are, doing what they can to pass along the truth that is so precious to them. Then, when there are vacancies to be filled, they will hear the words, Friend, come up higher. They may be reluctant to advance, but let them move forward, trusting in God, and bringing into his work a fresh, honest experience, and a heart filled with unswerving love.
Open the door of the heart to the knock of Christ. Welcome the heavenly Guest. Then if you are placed in a position of responsibility, you will not lift yourself up unto vanity. There are truths in the Word of God the meaning of which you do not comprehend, but these will open to you in their beauty and loveliness; for Christ is your teacher. If you have improved the past, it is still yours, because you have garnered the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. You have a treasure of knowledge to which you are constantly adding, and thus you are being raised to a higher plane of service. Impart that which you receive, and keep imparting, that you may continue to receive.
(Vol. 81, #13)
God has promised to draw near to all who will draw near to him. All may delight their souls in the Lord. All may grow in grace, in wisdom, and in love; through faithful continuance in well-doing all may become partakers of the divine nature.
Those who strive for the Spirit of God will be rewarded in accordance with the promise, "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." My brethren and sisters, will you not awake out of sleep? Will you not pray, and watch unto prayer? Through the power that Jesus gives, we can be "more than conquerors." But we can not manufacture this power. Only through the Spirit of God can we receive it. We need a deep insight into the nature of Christ and into the mystery of his love, "which passeth knowledge." We are to live in the warm, genial rays of the Sun of Righteousness. Nothing but Christ's loving compassion, his divine grace, his almighty power, can enable us to baffle the relentless foe, and subdue the opposition of our own hearts. What is our strength?--The joy of the Lord. Let the love of Christ fill our hearts, and then we shall be prepared to receive the power that he has for us.
Let us thank God every day for the blessings that are ours. If the human agent will humble himself before God, realizing how inappropriate it is for him to cherish self-sufficiency, realizing his utter inability to do the work that needs to be done in order that his soul may be purified; if he will cast away his own righteousness. Christ will abide in his heart. He will put his hand to the work of creating him anew, and will continue the work till he is complete in him.
Christ will never neglect the work that has been placed in his hands. He will inspire the resolute disciple with a sense of the perversity, the sin-stained condition, the depravity, of the heart upon which he is working. The true penitent learns the uselessness of self-importance. Looking to Jesus, comparing his own defective character with the Saviour's perfect character, he says only,--"In my hand no price I bring; Simply to thy cross I cling."
With Isaiah he declares, "Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. O Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name."
"Dead in Trespasses and Sins."--"You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."
Spiritual death is here spoken of. How many there are who are unwarned, and in consequence unconvicted. They are passing on, in harmony with the world and with the desires of their own undisciplined, unsubdued hearts. They live in pleasure and worldliness, and should sickness come, and death overtake them, they would be found unready. They are not interested in the race for eternal life. They do not look upon the conflict against sin, the warfare with principalities and powers, as essential. They are in need of light. Satan holds them in his power, and they see not their danger. They know nothing of the crucifixion that cuts away from the life all that separates the soul from Christ. They are subject to the power of the spirit that works in the children of disobedience.
This spirit is Satan, the fallen angel, the ruler of the power of darkness. He has control of the spirits of evil, and through them he seeks to gain control of human beings. He is the head of the fallen angels. He supplies them with vital force.
How many there are who are left in darkness because the lives of those who have had light, and who profess to believe the truth, are a falsehood, a fatal deception. These professed Christians have kept the truth in the outer court. It has not been brought into the daily life. They may belong to the church, but this will not save them. Those who do the works of a sinner will receive the punishment of a sinner. Profession is but a snare to those who have no experience in the reality of true Christianity, who know not the principles that lead the Christian to inquire at every step, "Is this the way of the Lord?"
Raised to Spiritual Life.--"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, . . . and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
As God raised Christ from the dead, that he might bring life and immortality to light through the gospel, and thus save his people from their sins, so Christ has raised fallen human beings to spiritual life, quickening them with his life, filling their hearts with hope and joy.
"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."
Power That Gains the Victory.--Beholding Christ for the purpose of becoming like him, the seeker after truth sees the perfection of the principles of God's law, and he becomes dissatisfied with everything but perfection. Hiding his life in the life of Christ, he sees the holiness of the divine law as revealed in the character of Christ, and more and more earnestly he strives to be like him. A warfare may be expected at any time; for the tempter sees that he is losing one of his subjects. A battle must be fought with the attributes that Satan has been strengthening for his own use.
The human agent sees what he has to contend with,--a strange power opposed to the idea of attaining the perfection that Christ holds out. But he knows that with the Redeemer there is saving power that will gain for him the victory in the conflict. The Saviour will strengthen and help him as he comes pleading for grace and efficiency.
Paul's Experience.--Paul had a wonderful experience. He says: "If any man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more; circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is of the law, blameless." That is, he was trying to keep the letter of the law perfectly.
But a change came in his life. On his way to Damascus to persecute the followers of Christ, he was suddenly stopped. Christ revealed himself to him. Henceforth his testimony was:--
"Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith."
The righteousness that heretofore he had thought of so much worth was now worthless in his sight. The longing of his soul was, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death."
In his estimation no treasure could equal the gift of the knowledge of Christ. He trusted in the Saviour's power to save even him, who had persecuted his followers.
If God's people today would see how far short they fall of being what they ought to be; if they would strive with the powers of the whole being to reach the standard that God has declared they must reach; if they would put into their efforts an energy and a perseverance proportionate to the greatness of the reward offered, how wonderfully they would be blessed, and how much God would accomplish through them!
The adversary stands ready to lead churchmembers into strange paths. Let them keep the soul fully guarded, and filled with the light and grace and life that heaven is always ready to supply.
"Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." We are children of one family,--a family acknowledged to be of heavenly extraction. We are to live lives that declare us to be children of God. We are not to follow the customs and the policy of the world, but the law of heaven. We are Christ's purchased possession, and we are to put away envy and evil surmising, and love one another as Christ has loved us, helping one another to press onward and upward. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #14)
To My Sisters Tempted by Discouragement,--To each one of us has been given the inestimable privilege of being a child of God. Why, then, should we be unhappy? We are all sinful, but we have a Saviour who can take away our sins; for in him is no sin. We all have many difficulties to meet, many perplexing problems to solve. But we have an all-powerful Helper, who will listen to our requests as willingly and gladly as he listened to the requests of those who, when he was on this earth in person, came to him for help. I ask you not to take the ordering of your life out of his hands.
When discouragement presses heavily upon you, read the following scriptures: --
"My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?. . . Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance."
"Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
"Why art thou cast down, O my soul; and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof."
"For this God is our God forever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death."
Do you make mistakes? Do not let this discourage you. The Lord may permit you to make small mistakes in order to save you from making larger mistakes. Go to Jesus, and ask him to forgive you, and then believe that he does. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
When unkind, discouraging words are spoken to you, do not retaliate. Do not reply unless you can return a pleasant answer. Say to yourself, "I will not disappoint my Saviour. The Christian woman is a gentlewoman. On her lips is ever the law of kindness. She utters no hasty words. To speak gentle words when you are irritated will bring sunshine into your hearts, and make your path more smooth. A schoolgirl, when asked for a definition of meekness, said. "Meek people are those who give soft answers to rough questions." Christ says, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." They will be fit subjects for the kingdom of heaven; for they are willing to be taught.
Do not treat life as a romance, but as a reality. Perform your smallest duty in the fear and love of God, with faithfulness and cheerfulness. God declares, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much."
Study the life that Christ lived while on this earth. He did not neglect the smallest, simplest duty. Perfection marked all that he did. Look to him for help, and you will be enabled to perform your daily duties with the grace and dignity of one who is seeking for the crown of immortal life.
We dwell much on the grandeur of Christ's life. We speak of the great things that he accomplished, of the miracles he wrought, of how he spoke peace to the tempestuous waters, restored sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, and raised the dead to life. But his attention to small things is even higher proof of his greatness. Listen to him speaking to Martha, as she comes to him with the request that he bid her sister help her with the serving. He tells her not to allow the cares of the household to disturb the peace of her soul. "Martha, Martha," he says, "thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
Listen to the words that he spoke as the weary mothers brought their children to him to be blessed. The disciples, unwilling that their Master should be disturbed, were sending the women away. But Christ said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." And taking them in his arms, he blessed them. Could the future of these children be opened before us, we could see the mothers recalling to the minds of the children the scene of that day, and repeating the loving words of the Saviour. We should see, too, how often, in after years, the memory of those words kept the children from straying from the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord.
Think of the words that Christ spoke to the one woman in Samaria. He was sitting by Jacob's well, and the woman came to draw water. Christ asked a favor of her. "Give me to drink," he said. He wanted a cool draft, and he wished, also, to open the way whereby he might give her the water of life.
"How is it," said the woman, "that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria?" Jesus answered, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water....Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."
How much interest Christ manifested in this one woman! How earnest and eloquent were his words! When the woman heard them, she left her waterpot, and went into the city, saying to those she met, "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" We read that many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him. And who can estimate the influence that these words have exerted for the saving of souls in the years that have passed since then!
My dear sisters, this same Jesus is your Saviour. Have faith in him. Do not distrust him. He is a present help in every time of need. Do not take your troubles to human beings. Take them to the Lord. You may think that others ought to sympathize with you in your trials; but you will sometimes be disappointed. Jesus never disappoints the one who comes to him for help. He is saying to you today, "Come unto me, ... and I will give you rest." He will give you rest in him. No one who comes to him goes away unhelped. Take your burdens to the divine burden bearer, and leave them with him, knowing that he will carry them for you. He is the Christ, the One who bears the sins of the world. He will take you under his watchcare; for he loves you. He will accept you, and set you apart for his service. By the indwelling of his Spirit, he will make you more than conquerors.
Act your part in helping yourselves, as all must do who would be blessed. Do not dwell upon the hardship of the Christian life. Do not talk of your trials. If you do, you will become more and more inclined to complain. God asks you to speak no unkind words of the Saviour. Instead of bemoaning your weakness, and feeling that you are hardly used, talk of the goodness and mercy of the Lord.
Do not utter one despondent word: for such words please Satan. Talk of Christ's goodness and tell of his power. Words of hope and trust and courage are as easily spoken as words of complaint. "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice."
When the enemy tells you that the Lord has forsaken you, tell him that you know he has not; for he declares, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Dismiss the enemy. Tell him you will not dishonor the Lord by doubting his love.
Christ asks us to believe in him as one who is able to keep us from falling. There is no limit to the help that the Saviour is willing to bestow on us. He asks us to bring into our lives the grace that will keep us from sin. From the cross of Calvary there comes to us liberty, hope, and strength. Do not dishonor your Redeemer by doubting his power. Trust him all the time. Take hold of the riches of his grace, saying, "I will believe, I do believe that Jesus died for me." The way before you may seem dark, but Jesus can make it light.
Be joyful in God. Christ is light, and in him is no darkness at all. Look toward the light. Accustom yourselves to speak the praise of God. Make others happy. This is your first work. It will strengthen the best traits of character. Throw the windows of the soul wide open heavenward, and let the sunshine of Christ's righteousness in. Morning, noon, and night your hearts may be filled with the bright rays of heaven's light. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #15)
"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
"Partakers of the divine nature." Is this possible? Of ourselves we can do no good thing. How, then, can we be partakers of the divine nature?--By coming to Christ just as we are, needy, helpless, dependent. He died to make it possible for us to be partakers of the divine nature. He took humanity upon himself that he might reach humanity. With the golden chain of his matchless love he has bound us to the throne of God. We are to have power to overcome as he overcame.
To all he gives the invitation: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
We have a part to act in this work. Let none think that men and women are going to be taken to heaven without engaging in the struggle here below. We have a battle to fight, a victory to gain. God says to us, "Work out your own salvation." How?--"With fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." God works, and man works. We are to cooperate with God. Thus only can we be partakers of the divine nature.
Here is the consistency of true religion. We are to be "laborers together with God," working in harmony with him. "Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." This figure represents human character, which is to be wrought upon point by point. Each day God works on his building to perfect the structure, that it may become a holy temple for him. Man is to cooperate with God, striving in his strength to make himself what God designs him to be, building his life with pure, noble deeds.
Those who are partakers of the divine nature will not give way to temptation. The enemy is working with all his might to overcome those who are striving to live the Christian life. He comes to them with temptations, in the hope that they will yield. Thus he hopes to discourage them. But those who have planted their feet firmly on the Rock of Ages will not yield to his devices. They will remember that God is their Father and Christ their Helper. The Saviour came to our world to bring to every tried, tempted soul strength to overcome even as he overcame. I know the power of temptation; I know the dangers that are in the way; but I know, too, that strength sufficient for every time of need is provided for those who are struggling against temptation.
"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." And we also have a part to act. We are not to place ourselves needlessly in the way of temptation. God says, "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." If by associating with worldlings for pleasure, by conforming to worldly practises, by uniting our interests with unbelievers, we place our feet in the path of temptation and sin, how can we expect God to keep us from falling.
Keep yourselves away from the corrupting influences of the world. Do not go unbidden to places where the forces of the enemy are strongly entrenched. Do not go where you will be tempted and led astray. But if you have a message for unbelievers, and if you live so near to God that you can speak to them a word in season, you can do a work that will help them and will honor God. "I pray not," Christ said, "that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil."
The Plan of Addition.--"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience."
Notice that patience comes after temperance. In order to be patient, we must be temperate. Those who give loose reign to appetite will be dyspeptics; and we all know how hard it is to live peaceably with a dyspeptic. When the digestive organs are abused and irritated, nervous, hasty, impatient words follow.
God has a work for each one of us to do, and into this work we are to put all the power of brain, bone, and muscle. We are to keep ourselves in the best condition for the accomplishment of this work. We are not our own; we have been bought with a price; and in all that we do or say, we are to glorify God.
"And to patience godliness." In thought, word, and deed. God's people are to be Christlike.
"And to godliness brotherly kindness." Those who are controlled by the Spirit of the Holy One will be kind in the family. They will conduct the affairs of the home without irritation, knowing that irritation on the part of father or mother arouses irritation in the child. Kind, gentle words, which show tenderness and unselfish interest, exert a powerful influence for the right.
We are to live on the plan of addition, and as we do this, God will work for us on the plan of multiplication. Grace and peace will be multiplied unto us.
An Eternal Life Insurance Policy.--"If these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and can not see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
This is your life insurance policy. Act well your part, and you will be given entrance into the kingdom of glory. God has chosen you to have eternal life if you will do his will.
One Day at a Time.--We shall pass through this world only once. Let us, then, be careful how we speak and act. Let us be careful where we place our feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. Let us so live that God can make us partakers of the divine nature, enabling us to obtain victories, and to overcome as Christ overcame.
God asks us to live only one day at a time. You need not look a week or a month ahead. Today do your best. Today speak and act in a way that will honor God. The promise is, "As thy days, so shall thy strength be."
Courage in the Lord.--Troublous times are before us. The judgments of God are abroad in the land. Calamities follow one another in rapid succession. Soon God is to rise out of his place to shake terribly the earth, and to punish the inhabitants for their iniquity. Then he will stand up in behalf of his people, and will give them his protecting care. He will throw his everlasting arms around them to shield them from all harm.
After the passing of the time in 1844, a number of the brethren and sisters were assembled in a meeting. All were very sad; for the disappointment had been sore. Presently a man came in, crying, "Courage in the Lord, brethren, courage in the Lord." This he repeated again and again, till every face was aglow, and every voice was lifted in praise to God. And this morning I say to you, "Courage in the Lord." Ever since 1844 I have been proclaiming present truth, and today this truth is dearer to me than ever before.
God loves his believing people. Go through the Psalms, and find all the places where God has promised you his love and his help. Praise him for these promises, and make them your own. Do your best every day, and trust God for the future. We are his little children, and he desires us to trust him as a child trusts its earthly parents. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #16)
The work of the teachers in our schools is a part of the work of the Lord for this time. Church school teachers must not lightly regard the responsibilities of their work. The influence is an important factor in the formation of the characters of the children and youth under their care. If they will strive diligently to keep the way of the Lord, they will be a blessing and a help to their pupils, aiding them to form characters that will stand in the day of judgment.
The character of the work done in our church schools should be of the very highest order. Great care should be shown in selecting teachers. Wise men, who can discern character, should make the selection; for the very best talent is needed to educate and mold the minds of the children and youth, and to carry on successfully the many kinds of work that will need to be done by the teachers in our church schools. No one of an inferior or narrow cast of mind should ever be placed in charge of one of these schools. Do not place over the children young and inexperienced teachers, who have no managing ability; for their efforts will tend to disorganization, and every school should in this respect be a model of heaven.
The teachers chosen should have the true missionary spirit; for the children placed in their charge are to be trained to become missionaries. The teachers are to learn constantly in the school of Christ. Unless they have learned to obey God's requirements, how can they teach their pupils to obey? Unless they have learned to be patient, they are not prepared to meet the many trials and annoyances of the schoolroom.
In their work our church school teachers will find many perplexities. They will have to contend against the prejudices of parents who have incorrect ideas of the characters which their children should form; for there are many parents who, though professing to believe the Bible, fail of bringing its principles into the home life. But if the teachers are constant learners in the school of Christ, these circumstances will never conquer them.
Unjust Criticism.--The teachers should not be left to carry alone the burden of their work. They need the sympathy, the kindness, the cooperation, and the love of every church member. But there are church members who have been quick to catch up unkind suppositions, and to speak disparagingly of the teacher before other church members, and even in the presence of the children. Some have talked freely and bitterly concerning a teacher, though not clearly understanding the difficulty of which they were speaking.
This should not be. Let the one who thinks that a teacher has done wrong, follow the directions that Christ has given. He says, "If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone." Until you have done this, you are not justified in telling others of your brother's mistakes.
Let the church members in places where schools are established, keep their own souls in the love of God, lest they become channels through which Satan will communicate evil surmisings and false accusations. Let all rally to the support of the teacher. A spirit of disunion, cherished by a few, will communicate itself to others, and will undo the influence for good that might otherwise be exerted by the school. Let church members close the windows of the heart against the poisonous malaria of complaint and faultfinding, and open them heavenward to the healing rays of Christ's righteousness.
The Parents' Responsibility.--We are not to concern ourselves so much about the course that others are following, as about the course that we ourselves are following. If the children attending a church school do not improve in manners, the parents should not unduly blame the teacher. They should, rather, closely examine themselves, to see if in the home they are such teachers as God can approve. In many cases the children are greatly neglected in the home, and are more disorderly there than they are in the school. If children who for years have been neglected in the home are not led by the teacher to live Christian lives, shall the parents, because of this, set in circulation unkind criticisms regarding the teacher? Let them rather blame themselves for their own neglect.
Parents have a very important part to act in making the school a success. When they faithfully act their part in the home, the work of the teacher will be greatly lightened. His courage and hope will be increased. But by a failure to govern their households, parents make the work of the teacher hard and discouraging. Parents whose hearts are filled with the love of Christ will refrain from finding fault, and will do all in their power to encourage and help the one whom they have chosen as a teacher for their children. They will be willing to believe that he is just as conscientious in his work as they are in theirs. They will encourage him by showing him that they appreciate his efforts. They will not say nor do anything that will foster insubordination in their children.
I am instructed to say to parents. Raise the standard of behavior in your own homes. Teach your children to obey. Rule them by the combined influence of affection and Christlike authority. Let your lives be such that of you may be spoken the words of commendation spoken of Cornelius, of whom it is said that he "feared God with all his house."
A Reformation Needed.--A reformation is needed among our children. Let there be cooperation between parents and teachers. Let a righteous influence be exerted in the home and in the school. Parents need to take an advance step. Let them remember that everything which brings discord is the work of the enemy of souls. Let them carefully refrain from criticizing the teacher, and begin to do practical missionary work in their own homes.
Parents, shall your children be lost because of your lack of faithfulness? Neither you nor they will prosper in any other path than the path of obedience. If you have failed in your duty to your family, confess your sins before God. Gather your children about you, and acknowledge your neglect. Tell them that you desire to bring about a reformation in the home, and ask them to help you to make the home what it ought to be. Read to them the directions found in the Word of God. Pray with them; and ask God to spare their lives, and to help them to prepare for a home in his kingdom. Thus you may begin and continue a work of true reform.
Be pleasant in the home. Restrain every word that would arouse unholy temper. "Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath," is a divine injunction. Remember that your children are young in years and experience. In controlling and disciplining them, be firm, but kind. Encourage them to do their duty as members of the family firm. Express your appreciation of the efforts they put forth to conquer their inclinations to wrong. Let the Word of God be your rule, and ever keep in mind the responsibilities for which in the great day of judgment you must give account.
Of the patriarch Abraham, the Omniscient One said, "I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment."
Abraham's household comprised more than a thousand souls. Those who were led by his teachings to worship the true God found a home in his encampment; and here, as in a school, they received such instruction as would prepare them to be representatives of the truth.
Abraham's affection for his children and his household led him to guard their religious faith, to impart to them a knowledge of the divine statutes, as the most precious legacy he could transmit to them, and through them to the world. All were taught that they were under the rule of the God of heaven. There was to be no oppression on the part of parents, and no disobedience on the part of children. God's law had appointed to each his duties, and only in obedience could any secure happiness and prosperity.
His own example, the silent influence of his daily life, was a constant lesson. The unswerving integrity, the benevolence, and unselfish courtesy which had won the admiration of kings, were displayed in the home. There was a fragrance about the life, a nobility and loveliness of character, which revealed to all that he was connected with heaven. He did not neglect the soul of the humblest servant. In his household there was not one law for the master, and one for the servant; a royal way for the rich, and another for the poor. All were treated with justice and compassion, as inheritors with him of the grace of life.
He "will command his household." There would be no sinful neglect to restrain the evil propensities of his children, no weak, unwise, indulgent favoritism, no yielding of his conviction of duty to the claims of mistaken affection. Abraham would not only give right instruction, but he would maintain the authority of just and righteous laws.
How few there are in our day who follow this example. On the part of too many parents there is a blind and selfish sentimentalism, which is manifested in leaving children, with their unformed judgment and undisciplined passions, to the control of their own will. This is the worst cruelty to the youth, and a great wrong to the world. Parental indulgence causes disorder in families and in society. It confirms in the young a desire to follow inclination, instead of submitting to the divine requirements. Thus they grow up with hearts averse to doing God's will, and they transmit their irreligious, insubordinate spirit to their children, and their children's children. Like Abraham, parents should command their households after them. Let obedience to parental authority be taught and enforced as the first step in obedience to the authority of God.
The Lord is our Creator, and we are his children, subject to his rule. God's method of government is an example of how parents are to train their children. There is no oppression in the Lord's service, and there is to be no oppression in the home. Parents and guardians are to treat those under their care even as God treats his earthly children, with kindness and love.
In the home and in the school there is to be strict and faithful discipline. Neither parents nor teacher are to allow disregard of their authority to go unnoticed. They are to make immediate efforts to lead the offender into right paths. Should they neglect to correct the children when they do wrong, God would hold them accountable for the results of their neglect. But let them be sparing of censure. Let kindness be the law of the home and of the school. Let children be taught to keep the law of the Lord, and let a firm, loving influence restrain them from evil.
Parents, humble your own hearts before God. Begin a thorough work with your children. Plead with the Lord to forgive your disregard of his work in neglecting to train your children in the way they should go. Ask for light and guidance, for a tender conscience, and for clear discernment, that you may see your mistakes and failures. God will hear such prayers.
The world is watching, and it will take notice of every defect in the lives of Christ's followers. Let our words and acts be such that our lives shall not dishonor the Master. May God help fathers and mothers to purify their souls, that they may stand before him and before the world as those who are keeping the way of the Lord. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #17)
The judgments of God are in the land. Calamities are following one another in quick succession. Shall we allow these things to be, without telling people what they mean, and how to escape the destruction soon to come upon all the world? Shall we allow men and women to go down into the darkness without having been told how to gain a preparation for the future life?
I am grieved in spirit as I see how weak are the efforts put forth to reach the unsanctified and the unsaved. We need more workers to gather in the sheaves. Believers in the truth should watch for souls as they that must give an account. They should seek for opportunities to speak words of warning and encouragement to unbelievers, inviting them to come to the Saviour. Many will refuse, but some will come. If you say nothing to those around you about the love of God, if you allow them to continue unwarned, the time will come when you will bitterly regret your wasted opportunities.
We are to let our light shine amid the moral darkness. Many, as they see the reflection of the Light of the world, will realize that they have a hope of salvation. Your light may be small, but remember that it is what God has given you, and that he holds you responsible to let it shine forth. Some one may light his taper from yours, and his light may be the means of leading others out from darkness.
All around you are doors open for service. All around you are men and women who will gladly receive the message of salvation. Take your Bible, and show them the beauty of the truth for this time. Become acquainted with your neighbors, and seek to draw them to Christ. As you do this, he will cooperate with you.
The Need for More Workers.--I hear of workers whose health is breaking down under the strain of the burdens they are bearing. This ought not to be. God desires us to remember that we are mortal. We are not to embrace too much in our work. We are not to keep ourselves under such a strain that our physical and mental powers shall be exhausted.
More workers are needed, that some of the burdens may be removed from those now so heavily loaded down. The Lord desires those who have gained an experience in his service to be educators. They are to be learners in the school of Christ, that they may teach others, and that they may plan wisely for the carrying forward of God's work.
God calls for ministers, Bible workers, and canvassers. Let our young men and young women go forth as canvassers, evangelists, and Bible workers, in company with laborers of experience, who can show them how to labor successfully. Let canvassers carry our publications from house to house. When opportunity offers, let them speak of the truth for this time to those whom they meet, and let them sing and pray with them. When in our work for God right methods are energetically followed, a harvest of souls will be gathered.
There is room in the work of God for all who are filled with the spirit of self-sacrifice. God is calling for men and women who are willing to deny self for the sake of others, willing to consecrate all they have and are to his work. Men are needed who, when they encounter difficulties, will move steadily on, saying, We will not fail or become discouraged. Men are needed who will strengthen and build up the work that others are trying to do.
Different Instrumentalities.--It is God's plan that in his work there shall be unity in diversity. In a garden there are no two flowers just alike. Each leaf on a tree differs from every other leaf. So in the work of God, men of different minds and capabilities are needed.
When the tabernacle was to be erected, the Lord instructed Moses: "See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, . . . and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship."
But Bezaleel was not to work alone. God chose another man to stand at his side to help him. "Behold," he said, "I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee."
One man is not to carry the burden of the whole work in the cause of God today. God has given each one a special place and a special work. Each one is to fill his appointed place, and is to help others in their God-given work. And each one is to be willing to receive help from those who can assist him.
Our minds need to be broadened, that we may see beyond our opinions and ideas and ways to the purposes and plans of God. We must give our fellow workers elbow room. If their ideas are not precisely like ours, we must remember that God has given them ideas, and we must seek to work in harmony with them, under the guidance of Christ.
Brethren, if you are so situated that the work presses too heavily upon you, and you are unable to do all that you think should be done, do the best you can without endangering your health, and then carry your burdens to the Lord. And when he sends some one to help you, do not be afraid to trust the one who is to associate with you, fearing that he will not work in accordance with your ideas. Do not say, "This man does not agree with me; if I unite with him in labor, he will spoil the work that I have been trying to do. He will introduce plans that will divert my mind from the plans that I have laid." Perhaps God desires your mind to be diverted from the plans that you have been following. Perhaps he desires you to have a change of place.
Give room for all to work. Do not watch to see if another's footsteps measure exactly with yours. Keep your eyes fixed on your Leader. Then you will not be continually criticizing what others do. Remember that God has other workmen, who, even though they do not follow exactly in your footsteps, are serving him in his appointed way.
Satan is seeking to hinder the work of God by filling the hearts of the workers with a desire for recognition and supremacy. Contention and strife as to who shall be the greatest have robbed the Lord's working force of grace and power. God calls for a decided change; it is his purpose that we shall be one in Christ. It is no time now for us to draw apart. Among God's people love and unity are to prevail. Each worker, while preserving his individuality, is to labor in harmony with every other worker. Each is to be united with his fellow workers in the bonds of Christian love, and all are to be united with the Lord. The aim of every one is to be the advancement of the cause of truth. Each is to seek earnestly for the impartation of the Holy Spirit. Each is to look to Jesus, believing that he will receive the blessings he must have in order to be a strength to the work.
The Need of the Church.--God's people would put on joy and gladness as a garment if they would only receive what he is waiting to give them,--that which would make them strong to help those in need of help. Our people need the breath of life breathed into them, that they may arouse to spiritual action. Many have lost their vital energy; they are sluggish, dead, as it were. Let those who have been receiving the grace of Christ help these souls to arouse to action. Let us keep in the current of life that comes from Christ, that we may kindle life in some other soul. Healthy, happy, united action is what is needed in the church today.
God calls for self-denying, self-sacrificing workers. Those who devote their time to hunting for souls, watching for souls as they that must give an account, will obtain a rich experience. As they communicate the precious truths of God's Word to others, their own hearts will be opened for the entrance of the word. They will be instructed by the Great Teacher.
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 of the water of life freely. Let him that heareth say, Come; and whosoever will, let him come. Every believer in the truth is to sound this message. Then the work will be carried to the waste places of the earth. The scripture will be fulfilled, In that day the Lord shall open fountains in the valleys, and rivers in the desert, and "with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #18)
God's people are to place in his treasury all the means that they can spare. For this means, needy, unworked fields are calling. From many lands is sounding the cry, "Come over and help us." Our church members should feel a deep interest in home and foreign missions. Great blessing will come to them as they make self-sacrificing efforts to plant the standard of truth in new territory. The money invested in this work will bring rich returns. New converts, rejoicing in the light received from the Word, will in their turn give of their means to carry the light to others.
The Lord is calling upon his people to take up different lines of missionary service. Those in the highways and byways of life are to hear the gospel message. Church members are to do evangelistic work in the homes of their neighbors who have not yet received full evidence of the truth for this time.
Let those who take up this work make the life of Christ their constant study. Let them be intensely in earnest, using every capability in the Lord's service. Precious results will follow sincere, unselfish efforts. From the Great Teacher the workers will receive the highest of all education. But those who do not impart the light they have received will one day realize that they have sustained a fearful loss.
Many of God's people are to go forth with our publications into places where the third angel's message has never been proclaimed. The work of the canvasser-evangelist whose heart is imbued with the Holy Spirit is fraught with wonderful possibilities for good. The presentation of the truth, in love and simplicity, from house to house, is in harmony with the instruction that Christ gave his disciples when he sent them out on their first missionary tour. By songs of praise, humble, heartfelt, prayers, and a simple presentation of truth in the family circle, many will be reached. The divine Worker will be present to send conviction to hearts. "I am with you alway," is his promise. With the assurance of the abiding presence of such a helper, we may labor with faith and hope and courage.
The monotony of our service for God needs to be broken up. Every church member should be engaged in some special service for the Master. Let those who are well established in the truth go into neighboring places, and hold meetings. Let God's Word be read, and let the ideas expressed be such that they will be readily comprehended by all.
There are others who can visit the people in their homes, and speak to them of the love of Christ. By such labor souls will be convicted and converted. Those who do this work should be able to speak and read with clearness and feeling.
There are those who, because of pressing home duties, may not be able to do house-to-house work. But let them not think that they can do nothing to help. They can encourage and pray for those who have opportunity to do this work, and they can give of their means for its advancement.
Medical Missionary Work.--When Christ sent his disciples out on their first missionary journey, he said to them, "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." And when at the close of his earthly ministry he gave them their commission, he said, "These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
Of the disciples after Christ's ascension, we read, "They went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following."
To Christ's disciples today there come countless opportunities to minister to sin-sick souls and to those in need of physical healing. Physical healing is bound up with the gospel commission. Medical missionary work is the pioneer work of the gospel.
God's people are to be genuine medical missionaries. They are to learn to minister to the needs of soul and body. They should know how to give the simple treatments that do so much to relieve pain and remove disease. They should be familiar with the principles of health reform, that they may show others how, by right habits of eating, drinking, and dressing, disease may be prevented and health regained. A demonstration of the value of the principles of health reform will do much toward removing prejudice against our evangelical work. The Great Physician the originator of medical missionary work, will bless every one who will go forward humbly and trustfully, seeking to impart the truth for this time.
Establishing Sanitariums.--Sanitariums are to be established in many places, to stand as memorials for God. I know that the truth will reach the hearts of many who, but for the agency of these institutions, would never be enlightened by the brightness of the gospel message. Self-sacrificing workers, who have full faith in God, should be chosen to take charge of these institutions. They are to take up this work, not with the hope of gaining financial advantage, but because their hearts are weighted with the burden of the message for this time. They are to be willing to sacrifice personal gain and personal convenience for the sake of saving souls.
A Work Demanding Sacrifice.--The work of God is to be carried forward in self-denial and self-sacrifice. "Whosoever will come after me." Christ said, "let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Christ became poor that we might be partakers of the "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." We are to practise the same self-sacrifice that led him to give himself up to the death of the cross to make it possible for human beings to have eternal life. In all that we do or say, in all our expenditure of means, we are to strive with full purpose of heart to fulfil the purpose of him who is the Alpha and Omega of medical missionary work. Beside all waters we are to sow the seeds of truth, winning souls to Christ by tender compassion and unselfish interest.
We are to seek to understand the necessities of those with whom we are brought into contact, and to obtain their confidence. People are eager to hear the truth from those whose lips are governed by the law of kindness. The divine word, spoken by such messengers, will be as music in their ears. Thus many of those whose minds are now filled with prejudice against present truth may be won to Christ.
Our work is a great and solemn one, and it needs men who understand what it means to give themselves to unselfish effort for the saving of the lost. But there is no need for the service of men who are lukewarm. Men and women are needed whose hearts are touched with human woe and suffering, men and women who have heard a message from heaven, and whose lives give evidence that they are receiving and imparting light and life and grace.
Our Efficiency.--Our faith is to be broader, deeper, more trustful, than it has been. We are to bring all our necessities to Christ, knowing that he will supply our need. The deeper our appreciation of his love, the keener will be our sense of need, and the stronger our faith. And we shall receive according to our faith.
Our belief in Christ is not to be a casual belief, but a belief that enters into every part of the life. Such a belief leads us to ask for his help because we realize that he is our only dependence. A casual belief admits that he is the Redeemer, but does not honor him by receiving him as a friend, a helper. Those who have such a belief work at a great disadvantage; for they do not take Christ into their confidence.
Shall we not avail ourselves of our high privilege in Christ,--sanctification through the truth? O, how greatly our souls need to be revived, quickened, spiritualized, filled with a love for the Saviour that leads us to choose his society, saying with real satisfaction, "In the Lord will I rejoice. His Word is my comfort and my guide." A constant reliance on Christ for success gives an abiding satisfaction. It is a source of peace that the world can neither give nor take away.
Laborers Together With God.--By pen and voice, by the circulation of literature, by the preaching of the word, by medical missionary work, by every other agency that can be employed in consecrated service, the work of warning the world is to be carried forward. Every church member is to do something. God's people are to be laborers together with him. As they take up his work, there will be a manifest increase of faith and piety. There will be greater readiness to offer prayer and praise in the testimony meetings held.
Our ministers may visit our churches, and may offer public prayer to God for the comfort of the sorrowing, asking him to dispel doubt from their minds, and shed light into their darkened hearts. But this will not be so effective in helping these sorrowful, doubting, sin-burdened ones, as to lead them to work for those more needy than themselves. The darkness will be dispelled if they can be led to help others. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #19)
Cornelius, the Roman centurion, was not even accounted a disciple of Christ; but he had faith in God, according to the light that he had, and he was reaching out for more light. The Lord saw this man would do honor to the church, and he brought him into connection with the apostle Peter. He sent a special message from heaven to him, and by another message directed Peter to visit him, and give him light. That is God's way of working. Daily prayers for light and guidance will surely be answered.
In our world there are many such men as Cornelius, and for them the Lord desires his servants to make special efforts. The Lord showed Peter, the Jew, that there were Gentiles who were serving God as acceptably as he was. There are today many in the world who are nearer the kingdom of God than we suppose. They are walking in all the light they have, and in the future they will be led into clearer and still clearer light.
In this dark world of sin the Lord has many precious jewels, to whom he will guide his messengers. God will use his believing ones as his instrumentalities, through them ministering to souls fainting for the bread of life. Words of hope and cheer falling from lips that have been touched by a live coal from God's altar, will revive and comfort those who are weary and distressed.
There are many who are represented to me as being like Cornelius, men whom God desires to connect with his church. Their sympathies are with the Lord's people. But the threads that bind them to the world hold them firmly. They have not the moral courage to take their position with the lowly ones. We are to make special efforts for these souls, who are in need of earnest labor because of their responsibilities and temptations.
We talk and write much of the neglected poor; should not some attention be given to the neglected rich? Many look upon this class as hopeless, and they do little to open the eyes of those who, blinded and dazed by the power of Satan, have lost eternity out of their reckoning. Thousands of wealthy men have gone to their graves unwarned, because they have been judged by appearance, and passed by as hopeless subjects. But, indifferent as they may appear, most of this class are soul-burdened. There are thousands of rich men who are starving for spiritual food. Many in official life feel their need of something which they have not. Few among them go to church; for they feel that they receive no benefit. The teaching they hear does not touch the soul. Shall we make no personal appeal in their behalf?
God calls for earnest, humble workers, who will carry the truth to the higher classes. It is by no casual, accidental touch that wealthy, world-loving, world-worshiping souls can be drawn to Christ. Decided personal effort must be put forth by men and women imbued with the missionary spirit, those who will not fail nor become discouraged.
There are some who are especially fitted to work for the higher classes. These should seek the Lord daily, making it a study how to reach these persons, not to make merely a casual acquaintance with them, but to lay hold of them by personal effort and living faith, manifesting a deep love for their souls, a real concern that they shall have a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus.
In order to reach these people, believers themselves must be living epistles, "known and read of all men." We do not represent as fully as we might the elevating, ennobling character of the truth. We are in danger of becoming narrow and selfish. With fear and trembling lest we fail, we should ever remember this.
Let those who work for the higher classes bear themselves with true dignity, remembering that angels are their companions. Let them keep the treasure house of mind and heart filled with "It is written." Hang in memory's hall the precious words of Christ. They are to be valued far above silver or gold.
There are miracles to be wrought in genuine conversion,--miracles that are not now discerned. The greatest men of the earth are not beyond the power of a wonder-working God. If those who are workers together with him will be men of opportunity, doing their duty bravely and faithfully, God will convert men who occupy responsible positions, men of intellect and influence. Through the power of the Holy Spirit many will accept the divine principles. Converted to the truth, they will become agencies in the hand of God to communicate the light. They will have a special burden for other souls of this neglected class. They will feel that a dispensation of the gospel is committed to them for those who have made this world their all. Time and money will be consecrated to God, means will be brought into his treasury, talent and influence will be converted to the truth, and new efficiency and power will be added to the church.
Everywhere there are those who will take their stand for present truth. Beside all waters we are to sow the seeds of truth. Let us never allow ourselves to be controlled by feelings of hopelessness. God's work will be done. The Lord knows those that are his. In his providence he will direct them as he directed Cornelius.
Have we not a work to do for the Lord? and should we not labor more intelligently, more earnestly, than we have labored in the past for those who need help? Let us remember that we are God's helping hand. With the Bible as our guide and counselor, let us go forth to work for the Lord, serving him in the way he has appointed, proclaiming the message of present truth in a way that will make it impressive and acceptable. We are weak, but if we will but believe. God will give us his enduring strength. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #20)
Christ declared that after his ascension, he would send to his church, as his crowning gift, the Comforter, who was to take his place. This Comforter is the Holy Spirit,--the soul of his life, the efficacy of his church, the light and life of the world. With his Spirit Christ sends a reconciling influence and a power that takes away sin.
In the gift of the Spirit, Jesus gave to man the highest good that heaven could bestow. The Saviour looked on humanity, and saw that it was under the power of the prince of darkness; but he saw also that there was hope for human beings because there was power in the divine nature successfully to contend with evil agencies. With glad assurance he said, "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
The Spirit was given as a regenerating agency, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail. The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of man to this satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the third person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fulness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world's Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given his Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress his own character upon the church.
Christ said of the Spirit, "He shall glorify me." As Christ glorified the Father by the demonstration of his love, so the Spirit was to glorify Christ by revealing to the world the riches of his grace. The very image of God is to be reproduced in humanity. The honor of God, the honor of Christ, is involved in the perfection of the character of his people.
At the cost of infinite sacrifice and suffering, Christ has provided for us every essential to success in the Christian warfare. The Holy Spirit brings power that enables man to overcome. It is through the agency of the Spirit that the government of Satan is to be subdued. It is the Spirit that convinces of sin, and, with the consent of the human being, expels sin from the heart. The mind is then brought under a new law,--the royal law of liberty.
The Spirit works in us by bringing to mind, vividly and often, the precious truths of the plan of redemption. We should forget these truths, and for us God's rich promises would lose their efficiency, were it not for the Spirit, who takes of the things of God, and shows them to us. Our hearts are warmed by the contemplation of Jesus and his love, and we long to speak to others the comforting assurances that have been brought to our minds.
It is the privilege of every son and daughter of God to have the indwelling of the Spirit. If those who know the truth would love and fear the Lord alway, if they would abide in Christ, they would have moral and spiritual power. The grace of Christ would be in them as a well of water, springing up unto everlasting life, and would flow from them as streams of living water.
The Spirit illumines our darkness, informs our ignorance, and helps us in our manifold necessities. But the mind must be constantly going out after God. If worldliness is allowed to come in, if we have no desire to pray, no desire to commune with him who is the source of strength and wisdom, the Spirit will not abide with us. Those who are unbelieving do not receive the rich endowment of grace that would make them wise unto salvation, patient, forbearing, quick to perceive and appreciate heavenly ministrations, quick to discern Satan's devices, and strong to resist sin. God can not do his mighty work for them because of their unbelief.
Christ has promised the gift of the Spirit to his church, and the promise belongs to us as much as to the first disciples. But like every other promise, it is given on conditions. There are many who believe, and profess to claim the Lord's promise; they talk about Christ and about the Holy Spirit, yet receive no benefit. They do not surrender the soul to be guided and controlled by the divine agencies. We can not use the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is to use us. Through the Spirit God works in his people "to will and to do of his good pleasure." But many will not submit to this. They want to manage themselves. This is why they do not receive the heavenly gift. Only to those who wait humbly upon God, who watch for his guidance and grace, is the Spirit given.
Christ declared that the divine influence was to be with his followers to the end. But the promise is not accepted and believed by God's people; therefore its fulfilment is not seen. The promise of the Spirit is a matter little thought of; and the result is only what might be expected,--spiritual drought, spiritual weakness, spiritual declension and death. Minor matters occupy the attention, and the divine power that is necessary for the growth and prosperity of the church, and which would bring all other blessings in its train, is lacking, though offered in its infinite plentitude.
Just so long as the church is satisfied with small things will it fail of receiving the great things of God. Why do we not hunger and thirst after the gift of the Spirit, since this is the means by which we are to receive power? Talk of it, pray for it, preach concerning it. The Lord is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to us than parents are to give good gifts to their children.
If our workers realized the responsibility resting upon them, would they enter the work without cherishing a deep sense of its sacredness? Should we not see the deep movings of the Spirit of God upon the men who present themselves for the ministry? For the baptism of the Holy Spirit, every worker should be offering his prayer to God. Companies should be gathered together to ask for special help, for heavenly wisdom, that they may know how to devise and execute. Especially should men pray that God will baptize his missionaries with the Holy Spirit.
There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, putting aside self, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart, and lives a life wholly consecrated to God. If men will endure the necessary discipline, without complaining or fainting by the way, God will teach them hour by hour, and day by day. He longs to reveal his grace. If his people will remove the obstructions, he will pour forth the waters of salvation in abundant streams through human channels. If men in humble life were encouraged to do all the good they could do, if restraining hands were not laid upon them to repress the zeal, there would be one hundred workers for Christ where now there is one.
God takes men as they are, and educates them for his service, if they will yield themselves to him. The Spirit of God, received into the soul, will quicken all its faculties. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the mind that is devoted unreservedly to God develops harmoniously, and is strengthened to comprehend and fulfil the requirements of God. The weak, vacillating character becomes changed to one of strength and steadfastness. Continual devotion establishes so close a relation between Jesus and his disciples that the Christian becomes like him in mind and character. Through a connection with Christ he will have clearer and broader views. His discernment will be more penetrative, his judgment better balanced.
The presence of the Holy Spirit with God's workers will give the presentation of truth a power that not all the honor or glory of the world could give. The Spirit furnishes the strength that sustains striving, wrestling souls in every emergency, amid the unfriendliness of relatives, the hatred of the world, and the realization of their own imperfections and mistakes.
A union of divine and human endeavor, a close connection first, last, and ever, with God, the source of all strength,--this is absolutely necessary in our work. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #21)
We need to understand the meaning of the instruction given in the first chapter of second Peter. "Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ," writes his second epistle, "to them that have obtained like precious faith" with himself. In order that we may realize the importance of God's claims upon us, we need constantly to cherish the faith that the early Christians cherished. This faith is obtained not through any righteousness of our own, but "through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
To those who have obtained the faith that filled the hearts of Christians in Peter's time, are written the words: "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord." In the light of this instruction, how important it is that we give strict attention to the formation of character! He who by faith daily lays hold firmly upon the invisible One, will reveal the character of Jesus. With lowliness of heart he will accept Christ's invitation to the weary and the heavy laden. Instead of unloading his burdens upon his neighbor, with whose heart-sorrows and burdens he is unacquainted, he will seek rest by taking upon himself the yoke of Christ. Let us abide in Jesus. Then he alone--formed within, the hope of glory--will appear in our every word and deed.
"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue."
Before us there has been placed an open door, which no man can shut. In the third of Revelation we read: "Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it." Why are we so slow to enter this door? The promises given us are yea and amen. Christ declares: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
Are we not inexcusable for unloading all our troubles upon our neighbors? Are we not thus insulting God? Is not this why there is among us so much spiritual feebleness? Why do we not take everything to the Lord in prayer? He stands at the head of humanity, enabling men through his sacrifice to become partakers of the divine nature,--to lay hold upon an infinite power that will transform them into the likeness of the Divine.
In co-partnership with Christ, we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, by doing the works he bids us do. We are to be meek and lowly. Trials sometimes come to lead us to humble ourselves before him, and to depend wholly upon him for grace and guidance. We can not afford to live without Christ's presence; for perfection of character comes only through the gift of his righteousness. When we are in trouble, let us go to him instead of to some defective human being. We have a friend in Jesus, and we are without excuse for placing upon our brethren and sisters the burdens that our Saviour alone is able to bear for us.
Peter writes of "the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord." To know Jesus, is to know that he is my personal Saviour,--to know that he pities me, that upon his sympathizing heart he bears the wounds of my transgressions.
My brethren and sisters, this is the great Medical Missionary, the greatest Medical Missionary that ever stood on earthly soil. Sometimes when I speak of him, it seems as if the fountain of my heart would break at the thought of how wicked the world is today, notwithstanding the fact that they have among them a Medical Missionary ready to help them at any time.
Let us guard against speaking words that discourage. Let us resolve never to engage in evil speaking and backbiting. Let us refuse to serve Satan by implanting seeds of doubt. Let us guard against cherishing unbelief, or expressing it to others. Many, many times I have wished that there might be circulated a pledge containing a solemn promise to speak only those words that are pleasing to God. There is as great need for such a pledge as there is for one against the use of intoxicating liquor. Let us begin to discipline the tongue, remembering always that we can do this only by disciplining the mind; for "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."
Through the help that Christ can give, we shall be able to learn to bridle the tongue. Sorely as he was tried on the point of hasty and angry speech, he never once sinned with his lips. With patient calmness he met the sneers, the taunts, and the ridicule of his fellow workers at the carpenter's bench. Instead of retorting angrily, he would begin to sing one of David's beautiful psalms; and his companions, before realizing what they were doing, would unite with him in the hymn. What a transformation would be wrought in this world if men and women today would follow Christ's example in the use of words!
"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
Little do we realize the prevalence of evil among those who claim to be Christians. We, as believers, are exhorted to cultivate the Christian graces. Immediately after holding before us the hope of escaping from the corruption that is in the world through lust, the apostle further declares: "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity [love]."
Daily we have a sum to prove; daily we are to add these graces to the character we are perfecting. Faithfulness in the carrying out of this scripture in the life-practise, will result in the conversion of hundreds and of thousands, as upon the day of Pentecost.
"For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and can not see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."
When we submit to the solemn rite of baptism, we testify to angels and to men that we are purged from our old sins, and that henceforth, having died to the world, we will "seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." Let us not forget our baptismal vow. In the presence of the three highest powers of heaven,--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,--we have pledged ourselves to do the will of him who, over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, declared, "I am the resurrection and the life." Christ forgives every penitent sinner, and as the forgiven one, at the time of baptism, rises from the watery grave, he is declared a new creature, whose life is hid with Christ in God. Let us ever remember that it is our high privilege to be purged from our old sins.
Faithfulness to our baptismal vow gives the heart-preparation needful for saving souls. O how many we might save! As I look over the congregation before me, I realize that there is a work for every church member to do. All may not have lived up to their baptismal vow; but let every erring one do all in his power to redeem the past, turning from the path that has led astray, to the path of humble obedience. You, my brother, my sister, are to win heaven, and a life that measures with the life of God. You know not how soon your own life may be taken away. Have you secured the better life? Make sure of salvation, I beg of you, while you still have the opportunity.
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall."
This is the only election regarding which the Bible speaks. Fallen in sin, we may become partakers of the divine nature, and attain to a knowledge far in advance of any scientific learning. By partaking of the flesh and the blood of our crucified Lord, we shall gain life eternal. In the sixth of John we read: "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life. . . . It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." None need lose eternal life. Every one who chooses daily to learn of the Heavenly Teacher, will make his calling and election sure. Let us humble our hearts before God, and follow on to know him whom to know aright is life eternal.
"Give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
Here are your life insurance papers. This is not an insurance policy the value of which some one else will receive after your death; it is a policy that assures you a life measuring with the life of God,--even eternal life. O what an assurance! what a hope! Let us ever reveal to the world that we are seeking for a better country, even a heavenly. Heaven has been made for us, and we want a part in it. We can not afford to allow anything to separate us from God and heaven. In this life we must be partakers of the divine nature. Brethren and sisters, you have only one life to live. O let it be a life of virtue, a life hid with Christ in God!
Unitedly we are to help one another gain perfection of character. To this end, we are to cease all criticism. Onward and still onward we may advance toward perfection, until at last there will be ministered unto us an abundant entrance into the heavenly kingdom.
"Wherefore," says Peter, "I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance."
Supposing we were to cherish a remembrance of the bright chapters in our Christian experience, and dwell upon these in our testimony meetings; would not this be pleasing to God? If unbelievers are present in these meetings, they will recognize the right ring in such testimonies. Why?--Because angels of God are with those who have gained a personal knowledge of Christ Jesus, and these angels will impress hearts.
The Work in Washington.--In the city of Washington there is much to be done. I am thankful to God for the privilege of seeing the land that has been purchased for our institutional work in this place. The securing of this land was in the Lord's providence, and I praise God that our brethren had the faith to take this forward step.
As I look over this city, I realize the magnitude of the work to be accomplished. Let every professed Christian feel the necessity of self-denial. Let every one guard against the tendency to expend, for the gratification of mere vanity, money that belongs to God,--especially in this time when our people are making every effort possible to build in the capital of the nation memorials that will stand in vindication of present truth. Let us study the use of every penny. Some may have formed habits of extravagance; let all such now choose another way--the way of obedience and self-denial.
God now calls upon every believer in this center to act his individual part in helping to build up the work that must be done. If you do your duty faithfully, you will find no time for dwelling upon the little trials and annoyances and perplexities that come to you. As the result of laboring earnestly to provide facilities for the salvation of unbelievers, and for the training of many of our own people for soul-saving service, you will find that your souls are refreshed with heaven's richest blessings.
In some respects the situation in Washington reminds me of our pioneer experiences in Cooranbong, Australia. There we secured fifteen hundred acres in the heart of the woods, and began the work of establishing a school. With willing hands the workmen toiled early and late. One by one, at great personal sacrifice to many of our dear brethren and sisters in Australia, the school buildings were erected.
Before this work was finished, the problem of providing a meetinghouse at Cooranbong arose. This problem proved to be a perplexing one. It seemed that we had done about all we could, and that it would be impossible to raise means sufficient for erecting a suitable house of worship. Finally, during a council meeting in which the matter was receiving consideration, I offered to go through our settlement, and try to secure gifts of labor and material. Accompanied by my secretary, I visited the workmen living for miles around, and solicited help. Just at this time it happened that several of the carpenters who had been laboring on the school buildings, were temporarily out of employment; and these men generously responded, offering to work on the proposed meetinghouse at a very low wage,--less than one half the usual rate. Several worked for nothing a portion of the time.
The erection of the meetinghouse was pushed forward rapidly. In the providence of God, two hundred pounds came to me from the Wessels family in Africa, just as we were ready to secure lumber; this money brought great relief, as it enabled us to proceed without delay. Many smaller gifts came in. Within a remarkably short time, the building was completed.
May not we hope to have here in Washington some experiences similar to those we had in Australia, and to receive the same blessings that we received there? May God help us to do what we can in this place. May he give us hearts willing to make sacrifices. O, I am thankful, so thankful, that the work which for nearly twenty years I have hoped would be done at the nation's capital, has now been begun! As we plan and labor, let us do a great deal more praying than talking. If we lean heavily upon the Mighty One, and live on the plan of addition, the heavenly graces will be multiplied unto us, and we shall see of the salvation of God.
Sometimes I hardly know how to express my gratitude to God because the work in this place has actually begun. We are to remember that we can now see simply the alpha; we desire to see the omega. Having begun, let us not cease our efforts before completing the work. Christ declares, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end." He has been with us at the beginning: and he will round out all the work we shall do, if by faith we continue to walk in the way in which he leads.
Let us talk faith, and not unbelief; let us praise God, and go forward. The Lord is good, and greatly to be praised. At every step let us praise him from whom all blessings flow. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #21)
Takoma Park, D. C., May 13, 1904.--I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for the blessings that he has bestowed upon me since we left St. Helena.
I have several times gone over the land which has been purchased for school and sanitarium purposes, and all that I have seen is most satisfactory. The land resembles representations that have been shown me by the Lord. It is well adapted for the purpose for which it is to be used. There is on it ample room for a school and a sanitarium, without crowding either institution. The fine stream running through the land is a treasure more valuable than gold or silver.
Our Sanitarium is to have an abundance of water free for five years. The school will pay seven cents for each one thousand gallons used.
Today our contract with the Takoma Park Town Council for the removal of the sewer-farm was signed, and we can now go forward in carrying out the plans that have been laid. The sewer-farm is to be moved one mile down the creek. We are to have most excellent sewer facilities.
No pains or money should be spared to secure perfect sewer arrangements in connection with our schools and sanitariums. Message after message in regard to this matter has been given to those bearing responsibilities in our institutions. I have been plainly instructed that carelessness or neglect in regard to sanitary conditions, in home or in public buildings, means a withdrawal of the blessing of God. Special directions in reference to sanitary arrangements were given to the children of Israel. Every one was charged to keep his premises clean, within and without, lest the Lord, passing by, should see uncleanness, and should remove his presence from those who were careless and indifferent in this respect.
A week ago we took a drive through various portions of Takoma Park, and Sister Daniells showed me the quiet and beautiful settlements near our land, half hidden by the natural forest. These settlements reminded me of Oakland, as it was thirty years ago. We feel thankful that our work can be located in such a place. It seems as if this place has been waiting to be occupied by our working forces.
The situation here fills me with hope and courage. We know that the Lord desires us to go forward as speedily as possible with the work before us. This work is to be a representation of the work that can be done in other parts of the South. It is to give a clear representation of the principles held by Seventh-day Adventists.
There will be much to do in various branches of the work, and young men and women of solid worth will be needed, who can enter the school as students when the buildings are ready. Wise, experienced teachers will be needed,--men and women who can give the youth lessons in business lines, and who can teach them, also, how to do true missionary work. Nothing is to be neglected that will give a thorough training in right principles.
The Bible is to be made the foundation of all study, the basis of the education given. Thus the students will be taught to build upon the Rock. Many in our world do not understand the truth for this time. Our young men and women should be wise unto salvation. They should know what is required of them.
The true motive of service is to be kept before old and young. The students are to be taught in such a way that they will develop into useful men and women. Every means that will elevate and ennoble them is to be employed. They are to be taught to put their powers to the best use. Physical and mental powers are to be equally taxed. No part of the living machinery is to be overworked, or left to become useless.
Our school here is to follow the plan of the schools of the prophets. It is to be the earnest endeavor of every one to use the powers that God has given him in harmony with God's laws. Habits of order and discipline are to be cultivated. All that is done is to brace nerve and muscle and will to more resolute effort for the harmonious development of the whole being. The power that is exerted by a true, pure life is to be kept before the students. This will aid them in their preparation for useful service. Daily they will grow purer and stronger, better prepared, through his grace and a study of his Word, to put forth aggressive efforts against evil. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 81, #22)
Special light has been given me in regard to moving our publishing houses and sanitariums and schools out of the cities into places more favorable for their work, where those connected with them will not be exposed to all the temptations of city life. Especially should our schools be away from the cities. It is not for the spiritual good of the workers in our institutions for them to be located in the cities, where the temptations of the enemy abound on every hand.
The instruction given regarding the removal of the publishing work from Battle Creek to some rural place near Washington, D. C., was clear and distinct, and I earnestly hope that this work may be hastened.
Instruction has also been given that the Pacific Press should be moved from Oakland. As the years have passed by, the city has grown, and it is now necessary to establish the printing plant in some more rural place, where land can be secured for the homes of the employees. Those who are connected with our offices of publication should not be obliged to live in the crowded cities. They should have opportunity to obtain homes where they will be able to live without requiring high wages.
The apprentices in our publishing houses should receive more fatherly care than they had. They are to be given a thorough training in the different lines of the printing business; and they are also to be given every opportunity to gain a knowledge of the Bible; for the time is at hand when believers will be scattered into many lands. The workers in our publishing houses are to be taught what it means to be sincere followers of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In the past, many souls have been left unguarded. They have not been taught what is comprehended in the science of godliness. Not all of those who have borne responsibilities have lived the Christian life.
Consecrated Workers Needed.--I listened to words spoken by One who understands the past, the present, and the future. A most solemn representation was given, delineating the characters that should be possessed by those who are accepted as yokefellows in our institutions. These institutions need men who are temperate in the full acceptance of the term. God forbid that men who have not learned to control themselves, and who neglect their own character-building in order to make plans for someone else, should be brought into our institutions at Washington, D. C., and Mountain View, Cal.
The workers in our institutions are to heed the instruction given by Christ. When the truth abides in the hearts of those in charge, when they walk in the light shining from God's Word, the younger workers will wish to understand better the words they hear in the assembly of God's people. They will ask for fuller explanations, and there will be special seasons of seeking the Lord and studying his Word. It was in some quiet room or some retired spot in the country that Christ explained to the disciples the parables which he had spoken before the multitude. This is the work that will need to be done for the youth in our publishing houses.
The Tendency to Colonize.--Those who are necessarily situated near our institutions should be careful how they send out glowing reports of the place. Everywhere there are people who are restless and dissatisfied, and who long to go to some place where they think they will do better than in their present surroundings. They think that if they could be given work in connection with some one of our institutions, they would have a better chance to earn a living.
Those who are tempted to gather about our institutions should understand that it is skilled workers that are needed, and that heavy burdens fall upon all who are properly related to the work. Those who are connected with our institutions must be producers as well as consumers. To those who desire to change their location, and settle near one of our institutions, I would say: Do you think that in settling near an institution you will be able to get a living without perplexity or hard work? Have you counseled with the Lord in regard to this matter? Have you evidence that your desire for a change of location is free from selfish motives, and would be for the honor of God?
From letters received by those connected with our institutions, and by movements already made, we see that many desire to obtain homes near these institutions. My mind is weighed down with perplexity regarding this, because I have received instruction from the Lord in regard to the influence that would be exerted upon individuals and upon our work for our people selfishly to gather around our institutions.
For years, in warnings often repeated, I have testified to our people that God was not pleased to see families leaving the smaller churches, and gathering into the places where our publishing houses, sanitariums, and schools are established, for their own convenience, ease, or worldly profit.
In Australia, we went into the forest and secured a large tract of land for our school. Plans were laid to sell to our brethren building lots near the school homes and near the meetinghouse. But I was instructed to protest against permitting families to settle near our school homes. The counsel given was that it would be much better for families not to live near the school, and not to live too close to one another.
Those who feel like settling close to our publishing house or our sanitarium and school at Takoma Park, should take counsel before they move.
To those who are looking toward Mountain View as a favorable place in which to live, because the Pacific Press is to be established there, I would say: Look to other parts of the world, which need the light that you have received in trust. Remember that God has given to every man his work. Choose some locality where you will have opportunity to let your light shine forth amid the moral darkness.
It is always the case that when an institution is established in a place, there are many families who desire to settle near it. Thus it has been in Battle Creek and in Oakland, and, to some extent, in almost every place where we have a school or a sanitarium.
There are restless ones who, were they to go to a new place to live, would still be dissatisfied, because the spirit of disaffection is in their hearts, and a change of place does not bring a change of heart. Their characters have not been refined and ennobled by the Spirit of Christ. They need to learn the lesson of contentment. They do not study from cause to effect. They do not seek to understand the Bible tests of character, which are essential to true success.
There are many who are desirous of changing their employment. They wish to obtain advantages which they suppose exist in some other place. Let them ask themselves of what benefit it would be to them to move if they have not learned to be kind and patient and helpful where they are. Let them look at themselves in the light of the Word of God, and then work to the point where improvement is needed.
Let those who are thinking of settling at Mountain View remember that this is not wisdom unless they are called there to connect with the publishing work. The world is large; its needs are great. Go, make new centers in places where there is need of light. Do not crowd into one place, making the same mistake that has been made in Battle Creek. There are hundreds of places that need the light God has given you.
And wherever you live, whatever your circumstances may be, be sure to bring the teachings of the Word of God into your homes, into your daily life. Seek God as your light, your strength, your way to heaven. Remember that to every man God has entrusted talents, to be used for him. Learn at the feet of Jesus the lessons of meekness and lowliness, and then work in the spirit of the Saviour for those around you. By willing obedience to the commandments, make your home a place where God's honor will love to dwell. "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."
We each have an individual work to do. We are to consecrate ourselves, body and soul and spirit, to God. Each child of his has something to do for his name's honor and glory. Wherever you are, you may be a blessing.
If there seems to be but a slender chance of obtaining a livelihood where you are, make the most of every opportunity. Devise wise plans. Put to use every jot of ability that God has given you. Do your duty to yourself, improving in understanding and adaptability, daily becoming better able to turn to the best account the mental and physical powers that God has given you. He wants you to be a success. He wants you to be a blessing in your home and in the neighborhood in which you live.
Parents, help your children to help you and to help one another. Be kind and courteous to your neighbors. By good works let your light shine forth amid the moral darkness. If you are true Christians, you will become more and more able to understand what the will of the Lord is, and you will move forward step by step in the light of his Word.
Study the life of Christ, and strive to follow the pattern he has given you. Ask yourselves if you have done your whole duty to the church in your own house, and your duty to your neighbors. Have you been faithful in teaching your children lessons of Christian politeness? Are there not many opportunities for improvement in the government of your home? Do not neglect your children. Learn how to discipline yourselves, that you may be worthy of the respect of your children and your neighbors. If Christ is not abiding in your hearts, how can you teach others the lessons of patience and kindness that must be manifest in the life of every Christian? Be sure that you are keeping the way of the Lord, and then teach the truth to those around you. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #23)
In the days of Christ there were no sanitariums in the holy land. But wherever the Great Physician went, he carried with him the healing efficacy that was a cure for every disease, spiritual and physical. This he imparted to those who were under the afflicting power of the enemy. In every city, every town, every village through which he passed, with the solicitude of a loving father he laid his hands upon the afflicted ones, making them whole, and speaking words of tenderest sympathy and compassion. How precious to them were his words! From him flowed a stream of healing power, which made the sick whole. He healed men and women with unhesitating willingness and with hearty joyfulness; for he was glad to be able to restore suffering ones to health.
The Mighty Healer worked so incessantly, so intensely,--and often without food,--that some of his friends feared he could not much longer endure the constant strain. His brothers heard of this, and also of the charge brought by the Pharisees that he cast out devils through the power of Satan. They felt keenly the reproach that came upon them through their relation to Jesus. They decided that he must be persuaded or constrained to cease his manner of labor, and they induced Mary to unite with them, thinking that through his love for her they might prevail upon him to be more prudent.
Jesus was teaching the people when his disciples brought the message that his mother and his brothers were without, and desired to see him. He knew what was in their hearts, and "he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."
The enmity kindled in the human heart against the gospel was keenly felt by the Son of God, and it was most painful to him in his home; for his own heart was full of kindness and love, and he appreciated tender regard in the family relation. But with their short measuring-line his brothers could not fathom the mission that he came to fulfil, and therefore could not sympathize with him in his trials.
Some of those whom Christ healed he charged to tell no man. He knew that the more the Pharisees and Sadducees and rulers heard of his miracles, the more they would try to hedge up his way. But notwithstanding his precautions, "so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities." Again and again he was followed by the priests, who expressed their violent sentiments against him in order to stir up the enmity of the people. But when he could no longer safely remain in one place, he went to another.
In doing medical missionary work we shall meet the same opposition that Christ met. He declares: "Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come."
The life of Christ and his ministry to the afflicted are inseparably connected. From the light that has been given me, I know that an intimate relationship should ever exist between the medical missionary work and the gospel ministry. They are bound together in sacred union as one work, and are never to be divorced. The principles of heaven are to be adopted and practised by those who claim to walk in the Saviour's footsteps. By his example he has shown us that medical missionary work is not to take the place of the preaching of the gospel, but is to be bound up with it. Christ gave a perfect representation of true godliness by combining the work of a physician and a minister, ministering to the needs of both body and soul, healing physical disease, and then speaking words that brought peace to the troubled heart.
Christ has empowered his church to do the same work that he did during his ministry. Today he is the same compassionate physician that he was while on this earth. We should let the afflicted understand that in him there is healing balm for every disease, restoring power for every infirmity. His disciples in this time are to pray for the sick as verily as his disciples of old prayed. And recoveries will follow; for "the prayer of faith shall save the sick." We need the Holy Spirit's power, the calm assurance of faith that can claim God's promises.
We should ever remember that the efficiency of the medical missionary work is in pointing sin-sick men and women to the Man of Calvary, who taketh away the sin of the world. By beholding him they will be changed into his likeness. Our object in establishing sanitariums is to encourage the sick and suffering to look to Jesus and live. Let the workers in our medical institutions keep Christ, the Great Physician, constantly before those to whom disease of body and soul has brought discouragement. Point them to the One who can heal both physical and spiritual diseases. Tell them of the One who is touched with the feeling of their infirmities. Encourage them to place themselves in the care of him who gave his life to make it possible for them to have life eternal. Keep their minds fixed upon the One altogether lovely, the Chiefest among ten thousand. Talk of his love; tell of his power to save.
The Lord desires every worker to do his best. Those who have not had special training in one of our medical institutions may think that they can do very little; but, my dear fellow workers, remember that in the parable of the talents, Christ did not represent all the servants as receiving the same number. To one servant was given five talents; to another, two; and to still another, one. If you have but one talent, use it wisely, increasing it by putting it out to the exchangers. Some can not do as much as others, but every one is to do all he can to roll back the wave of disease and distress that is sweeping over our world. Come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty powers of darkness. God desires every one of his children to have intelligence and knowledge, so that with unmistakable clearness and power his glory shall be revealed in our world. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #24)
True medical missionary work is of divine origin, and has a most glorious mission to fulfil. In all its bearings it is to be in conformity with Christ's work.
At this stage of the medical missionary work nothing will help us more than to understand the mission of the greatest Medical Missionary that ever trod the earth; nothing will help us more than to realize how sacred is this line of service, and how perfectly it corresponds to the lifework of the Great Missionary. The object of our mission is the same as the object of Christ's mission. Why did God send his Son to the fallen world?--To make known to mankind his love for them. Christ came as a Redeemer. Throughout his ministry he kept prominent his mission to save sinners.
When Christ was about to ascend to heaven, he committed to his disciples the mission that his Father had committed to him; and he taught them how to fulfil this mission. He declared that as he had represented his Father to the world, so they were to represent him. Although he would be invisible to the natural eye, yet all who believed on him would be able to behold him by faith. He told his followers to work as he had worked. They were to be a spectacle to worlds unfallen, to angels, and to men, revealing the Father through a revelation of the Son.
The Saviour lived on this earth a life that love for God will constrain every true believer in Christ to live. Following his example, in our medical missionary work we shall reveal to the world that we are his representatives, and that our credentials are from above.
Christ knew that his Father had chosen him to carry out the great plan of redemption by coming to the fallen world to die for sinners. And when he came to fulfil his mission, he was, in every sense of the term, a medical missionary. We can do medical missionary work in a Christlike manner only when we are one with him. United with him, we receive spiritual life and power, and learn to be "laborers together with God," manifesting love for every one for whom he died, and working earnestly to bring into the heavenly garner a harvest of souls. Filled with his Spirit, men and women are animated with the same desire to save sinners that animated Christ in his lifework as a missionary sent of God.
I am instructed to say that God desires to have the medical missionary work cleansed from the tarnish of earthliness, and elevated to its true position before the world. Our medical missionary workers must rise to heights that can be reached only by a living, working faith. At this time in our history, we are to allow no confusion of sentiment to prevail in regard to what should be expected of medical missionaries sent of God. There should be a more clear, definite understanding of what medical missionary work comprehends. Those who desire to honor God will not mingle worldly policy plans with his plans in attempting to accomplish that which this work is ordained by him to accomplish.
Clothed with humanity, Christ performed a work that revealed the invisible Father, in order that his disciples might understand the meaning of the prayer, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." But how many who claim to be his followers concede to a worldly policy! This is because their hearts are not filled with love for the truth. God's purpose in committing to men and women the mission that he committed to Christ, is to separate his followers from worldly policy.
The people of God, those who claim to love him and to keep his commandments, are to reflect a much clearer, purer light than they now reflect. Even Christ desired men to know that he was not acting independently, but in behalf of another, who had sent him. He never for a moment lost sight of the greatness of his mission. He was always conscious of the fact that he was the Sent of God. And to his Father he declares concerning his disciples, "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world."
Our work is clearly defined. As the Father sent his only begotten Son into our world, even so Christ sends us, his disciples, as his medical missionary workers. In fulfilling this high and holy mission, we are to do the will of God. No one man's ideas or judgment are to be our criterion as to what constitutes genuine medical missionary work. We can have power and efficiency only by working as Christ worked. And we can be Christlike in word and deed only when his will is perfected in us. Then shall his righteousness go before us, and the glory of the Lord shall be our rearward.
The life of Christ must become our life, our light, our exceeding great reward. Our words and works must bear a living testimony that in our lives we are not lying against the truth we claim to believe. If Christ is indeed formed within, the hope of glory, we shall manifest that tenderness, that love, that fervency of spirit, which reveals his character. Our hearts will be humble, our spirits contrite. Our works will bear witness to his indwelling presence. His disposition, his kindness, his compassion, manifested in us, will inspire hope in the hearts of the most hopeless. Thus in act, as well as in word, we shall reveal to the world the character of the Unseen. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #25)
I have been instructed to direct the minds of our people to the fifty-sixth chapter of Isaiah. This chapter contains important lessons for those who are fighting on the Lord's side in the conflict between good and evil.
"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 of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
"Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called a house of prayer."
"And taketh hold of my covenant." This is the covenant spoken of in the following scripture: --
"Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bear you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed,"--in truth, earnestness, and sincerity,--"and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me . . . for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
"And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do."
This is the pledge that God's people are to make in these last days. Their acceptance with God depends on a faithful fulfilment of the terms of their agreement with him. God includes in his covenant all who will obey him. To all who will do justice and judgment, keeping their hand from doing any evil, the promise is, "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."
"The Lord God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, besides those that are gathered unto him."
"Seek ye out of the book of the law, and read." "In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."
These words outline our work. This scripture is to be received by our people as a message for today. The glad tidings of salvation are to be carried to those who have not heard them.
Among the people of God there is to be no colonizing. The word of the Lord to them is, "Thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left." They are to make plants in all places. Everywhere the truth for this time is to be proclaimed. Those into whose hearts the light has shone are to remember that they are God's workmen, his witnesses. To serve and honor him is to be their science. They are to call upon others to keep his commandments and live. To all people and nations and kindreds and tongues the truth is to be proclaimed. The time has come for much aggressive work to be done in the cities, and in all neglected, unworked fields. This the enemy knows, and he tries to keep the minds of those to whom this work has been committed, occupied with nonessentials. Thus he seeks to lead them to neglect the precious opportunities that come to them to present the truth to those who know it not.
Shall those who know the truth, and who ought to be filled with zeal for its advancement, allow Satan to turn their thoughts from the great truth that has been given them to give to others? The enemy is determined to place God's people in a false light before the world. He is pleased when their lives reveal defects, when they cherish objectionable traits of character. These traits of character he uses in his service.
Many yield to his temptations, and the time and influence of God's servants, which should be used in making known to unbelievers the truth for this time, is used in efforts to recover professing believers from Satan's snares. Thus the way of the advancement of the truth is blocked.
God sees the struggle that is to take place in our world, the whole progress and outcome of which has been traced in the pages of his Word. He sees also the diseased, defective eyesight of his people, which prevents them from discerning their own deficiencies, and from taking an earnest interest in the things of eternity. Christ calls upon the members of his church to cherish the true, genuine hope of the gospel. He points them upward, distinctly assuring them that the riches that endure are above, not below. Their hope is in heaven, not on the earth. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness," he says, "and all these things,"--all that is essential for your good--"shall be added unto you."
With many, the things of this world obscure the glorious view of the eternal weight of glory that awaits the saints of the Most High. They can not distinguish the true, the real, the enduring substance, from the false, the counterfeit, the passing shadow. Christ urges them to remove from before their eyes that which is obscuring their view of eternal realities. He insists upon the removal of that which is causing them to mistake phantoms for realities, and realities for phantoms. God entreats his people to give the strength of body, mind, and soul to the service that he expects them to perform. He calls upon them to be able to say for themselves that the gains and advantages of this life are not worthy to be compared with the riches that are reserved for the diligent, rational seeker for eternal life.
He does not leave us in ignorance of what is before us. He shows us the vast confederacy arrayed against us. He tells us plainly that we are battling against a mighty foe. But he assures us that we shall not be left to fight alone. Angels are in the ranks of God's soldiers. And One more powerful than angels is there. The Captain of our salvation leads the way, saying, "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #26)
The work of God demands true, stanch, wholehearted, spiritual-minded men,--men who are in earnest, and who have a clear understanding of what is truth,--men who are not fashioned after a worldly mold, but who realize that at this time Satan's power will be exercised through believers who have not held the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end. Men are needed 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 him for the use they make of the talents entrusted to them. Men are needed who can speak intelligently of the sacredness and 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 principles, and who watch for souls as they that must give an account.
To Every Man His Work.--Men of varied gifts are needed. In the building of the tabernacle, different lines of work were assigned to different ones; but all worked under the supervision of God. The Lord gives men talents that will enable them to carry forward special lines of work. Each one is to be allowed to do the work for which he is fitted. It is the Lord's purpose that there shall be unity in diversity. He endows men with different degrees of capability, and then places them where they can do the work for which they are best adapted. The trust given to each worker is proportioned to his ability.
While traveling in Switzerland, we passed by a large building in process of erection. Many men were at work. Some were bringing stone from the quarry; others were squaring, shaping, and measuring these stones; and still others were placing them in the building. In charge of the different departments were experienced workers, whose part it was to see that the work was done with care and thoroughness. Over all the men, superintending the work on the entire structure, was the master builder.
United action and perfect order prevailed among the men, and the work moved forward rapidly. Every one was doing something. I was told that in the mountains other men were felling trees for the timber needed in the building, and floating them down the stream.
To me this was an object lesson of the way in which the Lord's work is to be carried forward. In his work there are many different branches. Workers of different talents and capabilities are needed. Every one is to do his best, under the direction of the great Head of the church.
But there has been and still is great danger of one man meddling with another man's work, not from a desire to help him, but in order to confuse him. The Lord is not in this. He has not given to the one who is neglecting his own work the outlines of his brother's work. How can one improve the methods of his fellow worker by making suggestions and criticisms that only harass and discourage? If he will attend to his own work, the Great Teacher, though unseen, will take the oversight of the work that in his wisdom he has entrusted to other hands.
What was Christ's answer when Peter asked him concerning the work of John? "Lord, and what shall this man do?" Peter inquired. And Jesus answered, "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me."
Today many are making the mistake that Peter made. They are so busily engaged in trying to arrange their brother's work according to their ideas that they neglect the work God has placed in their own hands. They lose all sense of the responsibility resting on them.
He who attempts to unravel another man's work will find in his hands a tangle that he can not straighten. Let every man stand in his own place, doing faithfully the work committed to him. It is the questioning, criticizing spirit cherished that puts so many workers in hard places. Let men humble themselves before God, feeling that it is a sin to criticize and condemn. Satan has snares prepared for the feet of the one who is eager to place himself where God has not placed him.
How rapidly God's work would go forward if when a man received a work from God, he would put his own attention on the faithful performance of this work, and if the next man, receiving his task, would also do with humility and fidelity the work entrusted to him, perfecting it in the simplicity of true faith and earnest prayer.
Let men cease to complain and criticize, and let them do their appointed work. Let them be guided by the Lord. Then the different parts of the work of God, varied in kind, and brought together by Christ, the master workman, will be found to fit perfectly.
A Threefold Duty.--To those bearing responsibilities in the work of God, this charge is given: "The elders which are among you I exhort, . . . 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 giving them his word and 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 must be done of a ready, cheerful mind, "neither as being lords over God's heritage," tyrannizing over them.
Let those who have been given responsibilities in the cause of God, 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.
O, what a power a converted man, one who is 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. They are ever 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 strengthen and uplift! When asked a question, one should not answer abruptly, but kindly. The heart of the one who is asking may be sorely grieved by a hidden sorrow, which may not be told. Therefore let the words of the one addressed be always kind and sympathetic. By a few well-chosen, helpful words he may remove a heavy burden from a fellow worker's mind. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #27)
In order to be saved, we must know by experience the meaning of true conversion. It is a fearful mistake for men and women to go on day by day, professing to be Christians, yet having no right to the name. In God's sight, profession is nothing, position is nothing. He asks, Is the life in harmony with my precepts?
There are many who suppose that they are converted, but who are not able to bear the test of character presented in the Word of God. Sad will it be, in the day when every man is rewarded according to his works, for those who can not bear this test.
Conversion is a change of heart, a turning from unrighteousness to righteousness. Relying upon the merits of Christ, exercising true faith in him, the repentant sinner receives pardon for sin. As he ceases to do evil, and learns to do well, he grows in grace and in the knowledge of God. He sees that in order to follow Jesus he must separate from the world, and, after counting the cost, he looks upon all as loss if he may but win Christ. He enlists in his army, and bravely and cheerfully engages in the warfare, fighting against natural inclinations and selfish desires, and bringing the will into subjection to the will of Christ. Daily he seeks the Lord for grace, and he is strengthened and helped. Self once reigned in his heart, and worldly pleasure was his delight. Now self is dethroned, and God reigns supreme. His life reveals the fruit of righteousness. The sins he once loved he now hates. Firmly and resolutely he follows in the path of holiness. This is genuine conversion.
In the lives of many of those whose names are on the church books there has been no genuine change. The truth has been kept in the outer court. There has been no genuine conversion, no positive work of grace done in the heart. Their desire to do God's will is based upon their own inclination, not upon the deep conviction of the Holy Spirit. Their conduct is not brought into harmony with the law of God. They profess to accept Christ as their Saviour, but they do not believe that he will give them power to overcome their sins. They have not a personal acquaintance with a living Saviour, and their characters reveal many blemishes.
Many a one who looks at himself in the divine mirror, and is convinced that his life is not what it ought to be, fails to make the needed change. He goes his way, and forgets his defects. He may profess to be a follower of Christ, but what does this avail if his character has undergone no change, if the Holy Spirit has not wrought upon his heart? The work done has been superficial. Self is retained in his life. He is not a partaker of the divine nature. He may talk of God and pray to God, but his life reveals that he is working against God.
Let us not forget that in his conversion and sanctification, man must cooperate with God. "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling," the Word declares; "for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Man can not transform himself by the exercise of his will. He possesses no power by which this change may be effected. The renewing energy must come from God. The change can be made only by the Holy Spirit. He who would be saved, high or low, rich or poor, must submit to the working of this power.
As the leaven, when mingled with the meal, works from within outward, so it is by the renewing of the heart that the grace of God works to transform the life. No mere external change is sufficient to bring us into harmony with God. There are many who try to reform by correcting this bad habit or that bad habit, and they hope in this way to become Christians, but they are beginning in the wrong place. Our first work is with the heart.
The great truth of the conversion of the heart by the Holy Spirit is presented in Christ's words to Nicodemus: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born from above, he can not see the kingdom of God. . . . That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."
The leaven of truth works secretly, silently, steadily, to transform the soul. The natural inclinations are softened and subdued. New thoughts, new feelings, new motives, are implanted. A new standard of character is set up,--the life of Christ. The mind is changed; the faculties are aroused to action in new lines. Man is not endowed with new faculties, but the faculties he has are sanctified. The conscience is awakened.
The Scriptures are the great agency in this transformation of character. Christ prayed, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." If studied and obeyed, the word of God works in the heart, subduing every unholy attribute. The Holy Spirit comes to convict of sin, and the faith that springs up in the heart works by love to Christ, conforming us, body, soul, and spirit, to his will.
A man sees his danger. He sees that he needs a change of character, a change of heart. He is stirred; his fears are aroused. The Spirit of God is working in him, and with fear and trembling he works for himself, seeking to find out his defects of character, and to see what he can do to bring about the needed change in his life. His heart is humbled. By confession and repentance he shows the sincerity of his desire to reform. He confesses his sins to God, and if he has injured any one, he confesses the wrong to the one he has injured. While God is working, the sinner, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, works out that which God is working in mind and heart. He acts in harmony with the Spirit's working, and his conversion is genuine.
The nobility and dignity of the man increase as he takes his position against the wily foe, who for so many years has kept him in slavery. He feels a holy indignation arising within him as he thinks that for so long he has been Satan's bond-slave, allowing the enemy to lead him to refuse to acknowledge his best friend.
Let the sinner cooperate with his Redeemer to secure his liberty. Let him be assured that unseen heavenly agencies are working in his behalf. Dear souls in doubt and discouragement, pray for the courage and strength that Christ waits to give you. He has been seeking for you. He longs to have you feel your need of his help. He will reach out his hand to grasp the hand stretched out for aid. He declares, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Let mind and heart be enlisted in the warfare against sin. Let your heart soften as you think of how long you have chosen to serve your bitterest foe, while you turned from Him who gave his life for you, who loves you, and who will accept you as his, though you are sinners. Step out from under the rebel flag, and take your stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel.
He who would build up a strong, symmetrical character, must give all and do all for Christ. The Redeemer will not accept divided service. Daily he must learn the meaning of self-surrender. He must study the Word of God, getting its meaning and obeying its precepts. Thus he may reach the highest standard of Christian excellence. There is no limit to the spiritual advancement that he may make if he is a partaker of the divine nature. Day by day God works in him, perfecting the character that is to stand in the day of final test. Each day of his life he ministers to others. The light that is in him shines forth, and stills the strife of tongues. Day by day he is working out before men and angels a vast, sublime experiment, showing what the gospel can do for fallen human beings.
Let us not spare ourselves, but carry forward in earnest the work of reform that must be done in our lives. Let us crucify self. Unholy habits will clamor for the mastery, but in the name and through the power of Jesus we may conquer. To him who daily seeks to keep his heart with all diligence, the promise is given, "Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
"Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, . . . Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee." God himself is "the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." And "whom he justified, them he also glorified." Great as is the shame and degradation through sin, even greater will be the honor and exaltation through redeeming love. To human beings, striving for conformity to the divine image, there is imparted an outlay of heaven's treasure, an excellency of power that will place them higher than even the angels who have never fallen. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #28)
The Lord calls upon his people in every State in America to come up to his help in the establishment of his work in Washington. Those who have this work in hand are to show no lack of interest in it. And our people are to remember that for the present the work in Washington is to be our first interest. There are many kinds of work to be carried forward in different places; but our first interest just now is our work at the capital of our nation.
We are to center our minds for the present on the work that needs to be done at Washington. Daily our petitions are to ascend to heaven for the success of this work, that it may move forward rapidly. The Lord of hosts gave special direction that the publishing work done in Battle Creek should be transferred to Washington. The directions were so plain that we could see that there must be no delay. And since we have moved forward in obedience to this word, we have had evidence that the Lord has prepared the way at every step for the establishment of important interests at Washington. Thus far he has helped us in a way that leaves no room for any one to doubt or question.
Let the work in Washington move forward. Let every one act his part in self-denial and self-sacrifice. Our people are not to wait for more appeals, but are to lay right hold of the work, making those things which appear impossibilities, possibilities. Let each one ask himself, Has not the Lord entrusted me with means for the advancement of his cause? Has he not bidden his servants in Washington arise and build? Shall I, at this time of great importance, withhold my means, which God asks me to invest in raising up memorials for him?
Let us be honest with the Lord. All the blessings that we enjoy come from him; and if he has entrusted us with the talent of means, that we may help to do his work, shall we hold back? Shall we say, No, Lord; my children would not be pleased, and therefore I shall venture to disobey God, burying his talent in the earth?
There should be no delay. The cause of God demands your assistance. We ask you, as the Lord's stewards, to put his means into circulation, to provide facilities by which many will have the opportunity of learning what is truth.
The temptation may come to you to invest your money in land. Perhaps your friends will advise you to do this. But is there not a better way of investing your means? Have you not been bought with a price? Has not your money been entrusted to you to be traded upon for him? Can you not see that he wants you to use your means in helping to build meetinghouses, in helping to establish sanitariums, where the sick shall receive physical and spiritual healing, and in helping to start schools, in which the youth shall be trained for service, that workers may be sent to all parts of the world?
God himself originates the plans for the advancement of his work, and he has provided his people with a surplus of means, that when he calls for help, they may cheerfully respond. If they will be faithful in bringing to his treasury the means lent them, his work will make rapid advancement. Many souls will be won to the truth, and the day of Christ's coming will be hastened.
God will prepare the way before his faithful people, and will greatly bless them. The righteousness of Christ will go before them, and the glory of God will be their rearward. There will be joy in the heavenly courts, and joy, pure, holy joy, will fill the hearts of the workers. To save perishing souls, they are willing to spend and be spent. Their hearts are filled with gratitude and thanksgiving. The consciousness of God's love purifies and ennobles their experience, enriching and strengthening them. The grace of heaven is revealed in the conquests achieved in winning souls to Christ.
So God's work in this world is to be carried forward. The church here below is to serve the Lord with self-denial and self-sacrifice, and the most glorious triumphs are to be won.
God's word to his workers in Washington is, "Arise and build;" and his word to his people in all the conferences is, "Strengthen the hands of the builders." The work in Washington is to advance in straight lines, without delay or hindrance. Let it not be kept back for lack of means. The workers in Washington will advance with steadfast courage just as fast as the Lord's people will furnish them with means. Let every church in every place act its part cheerfully and willingly.
I know that the people of God desire to act their part nobly in advancing his work in the world. God extends his favor to us daily, and we are to regard it as a privilege to show that we are in harmony with the work now being done at the capital of our nation. We have no time to lose. The bounty that God daily bestows upon us makes a direct and forcible appeal to us to respond to the goodness and love of God by placing all that we have and are upon the altar of sacrifice. We must be co-laborers with God. He calls upon us to engage in his work, to return to him a part of that which he has bestowed upon us. He has made us his helping hand. Our self-denying benevolence, our willing offerings, are to give evidence that the truth has been doing its work upon our hearts. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #29)
The Lord desires me to call the attention of his people to the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. Read this chapter every day, and from it obtain comfort and strength. Learn from it the value that God places on sanctified, heaven-born love, and let the lesson that it teaches come home to your hearts. Learn that Christlike love is of heavenly birth, and that without it all other qualifications are worthless.
"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love," Paul declares, "I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing."
How beautiful the earth was when it came from the Creator's hand! God presented before the universe a world in which even his all-seeing eye could find no spot or stain. Each part of the creation occupied the part assigned to it, and answered the purpose for which it was created. Peace and holy joy filled the earth. There was no confusion, no clashing. There was no disease to afflict man or beast, and the vegetable kingdom was without taint or corruption. God looked upon the work of his hands, wrought out by Christ, and pronounced it "very good." He looked upon a perfect world, in which there was no sin, no imperfection.
But a change came. Satan tempted Adam, and he fell. He who in heaven had become disloyal and had been cast out, made lying reports of God to the beings he had created, and they believed his lie. Sin entered the world, and death by sin. The consequences of our first parents' disloyalty we now have to meet as we work for God, and until the close of this earth's history our labors will become more and more trying.
I entreat the members of our churches not to make the work more trying than it necessarily is by watching one another for a word or an act upon which to comment unfavorably. Let them, if a report is brought to them about some one, make it a rule to do just as Christ has said should be done in such cases. Let them follow the counsel of the Great Teacher, who gave his life for the life of the world. His directions are plain. "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." "Tell him his fault between thee and him alone." Without delay make every effort to heal the wrong that exists. Do not, by speaking unwise words, give the enemy opportunity to arouse suspicion and evil surmising in the mind of your brother. Be determined to do all in your power to make the wrong right. Do not tell to a third person the story of the difficulty. Go directly to the one who has erred, and "tell him his fault between thee and him alone." Go to him, not to condemn, but to seek for reconciliation, because Christ has told you to love one another as he has loved you.
Our gifts, our prayers, are not acceptable to God while we leave this duty undone, and let the poison of envy and evil surmising take possession of our souls, to destroy our union and happiness. O, how much unhappiness would be saved, how many evil thoughts would be quenched, if believers would take up the work that Christ has said must be done to prevent evil speaking! We pray, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us." Do we do our part to remove every stumblingblock from before the feet of our brother? Too often our prayers are hindered by our pride of heart, by our refusal to confess faults and to remove wrong impressions. Let us remember that our prayers are not acceptable to God while we suffer a fellow worker to misapprehend us. If we are not to blame for the misunderstanding that exists, we can, perhaps, make an explanation that will remove the misunderstanding. If we are to blame, if we have left a wrong impression on a brother's mind, we are certainly under obligation to do all in our power to remove this impression.
Let the suspicious ones, who think and speak evil of their brethren, remember that they are doing the devil's drudgery. Let every one pass over little differences and mistakes without comment. Do not magnify the small mistakes made by some one, but think of the good that is in him. Each time mistakes are thought of and talked about, they grow larger. A mountain is made out of a molehill. Ill-feeling and a lack of confidence are the result.
To many these words are applicable: "Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
So great is the intemperance in speech that much instruction has been given on this subject by the Great Teacher. He has given special directions for the discipline of the tongue. Study and obey these directions. Check the harsh words that, if spoken, would create difference and alienation. Speak words that will cement hearts, not estrange them,--words that will heal, not wound. When difficulties arise among church members, let them be cleared away before the Sabbath comes. This should be regarded as a Christian duty by every church member. "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, . . . and be ye thankful." Are you troubled and perplexed? Sweep away the rubbish that has been accumulating before the door of the heart, and open the door, inviting Jesus to come in and abide as an honored guest. Bring peace and comfort into your own heart and the hearts of others. This is most blessed missionary work.
The Lord has instructed me to say to his people, Work for perfection. Do nothing that will cause disaffection to spring up in hearts. Do not serve the enemy. Overcome your inclination to find fault and condemn. Give no place to him whose delight it is to accuse. Remember, my beloved brethren and sisters, that you are pleasing and helping Satan by every word you utter that disparages another.
I greatly desire that you shall follow the directions that Christ has laid down. As you do this, he will certainly help you to adjust the difficulties that exist. He will help you not to make dissension by magnifying little mistakes. The light that the Lord has given me is that he will greatly bless his people, if they will not think or speak evil of one another, but go directly to the one they think is in the wrong, and in a kind, compassionate manner point out his mistake. May the Lord help those who have learned to criticize, to learn to think no evil, and to speak only good words,--words of comfort and healing. Then they will rejoice; for they will have evidence that they are laborers together with God.
Christ loved the church, "and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish."
My brethren and sisters, I beseech you to give diligent heed to these words, because the day of the Lord is right upon us. You have no time to lose. Do not neglect the word of God to you.
"We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee.)"
Will you not, as servants of the Most High God, give heed to these words? Will you not respond to God's mercy and compassion and love toward you by loving one another as Christ has loved you?
"Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Giving no offense in anything, that the ministry be not blamed." Remember that when you speak words that disparage one another, the ministry is blamed. The lack of power in the church is charged to the ministry, when often it is directly chargeable to the members, because they do not mix faith with their hearing.
The ministers are to be men of faith, men who give expression to the pure love of God. And the members are to give no offense in anything, "that the ministry be not blamed." No unkind dealing or harsh words are to find a place in their experience.
"In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings." We should be preparing for these things; for they will come. Those who share in Christ's glory must share in his sufferings.
May the Lord lead every minister and every lay member to turn to him with full purpose of heart, and make diligent work for repentance. Thus only can they obtain the sanctification of the Spirit. How true are the words of Paul: "Ye are not straightened in us, but ye are straightened in your own affections." Many complain of others because their own hearts are not in unity with the Spirit of God. When self is crucified, Christ will take possession of the soul temple.
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, 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."
"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." Let every one humble his heart before God, and make a surrender of body, soul, and spirit to him, that he may give his people his rich grace abundantly. Let the heart be closed against selfishness. Let us follow the example of Christ. If we fail of doing this, we shall fail of receiving a welcome into the city of God. He who continues to be a transgressor of the law of God, even though he break but one precept, can have no place in the royal family.
I entreat those who have given so much time to talking of the faults of others, to cease this cruel work, and obey the words, "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life." The divine directory, God's holy Word, is in our hands. In the toil of business and the unceasing activity of daily life, this Word is to be our guide. This Word is appreciated by him who is striving to overcome. It is to him as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
Let God's people set a perfect example, honoring Christ in every place, in every difficulty following his directions. Then at last they will be received into the family of the redeemed, and there will be given unto them a crown of immortal life. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #30)
The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given to us to proclaim to the world. The proclamation of these truths is our work. The world is to be warned, and God's people are to be true to the trust committed to them. They are not to engage in speculations, neither are they to enter into business enterprises with unbelievers; for this would hinder them in doing the work given them.
Christ says of his people, "Ye are the light of the world." It is not a small matter that the counsels and purposes and plans of God have been so clearly opened to us. It is a wonderful privilege to be able to understand the will of God as revealed in the sure word of prophecy. This places on us a heavy responsibility. God expects us to impart to others the knowledge he has given us. It is his purpose that divine and human instrumentalities shall unite in the proclamation of the warning message.
John writes: "I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto 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 waters." This message is to be proclaimed, not in a few places only, but to the whole world.
"And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice. If any man worship the beast and his image, . . . the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb."
To John was given a view of the remnant people of God, and as he beheld their character and their work, he exclaimed, "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."
"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
"And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. . . . And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
In the issue of the great conflict, there will be only two classes in the world,--those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark. Although church and state will unite their power to compel "all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond," to receive the mark of the beast; yet the people of God will not receive it. The prophet of Patmos beheld them "that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God," and singing the song of Moses and the Lamb.
But of those who trample on God's law, and oppress his faithful people, the terrible prediction is uttered: --
"The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation."
On which side are we standing? Have we placed ourselves fully under the direction and protection of the Holy Spirit, and are we giving the message for this time? Does every effort we put forth tend to advance the proclamation of the message? So far as his opportunities extend, every one who has received the light of truth is under the same solemn and fearful responsibility as was the prophet of Israel, to whom came the word: "Son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul."
Are we to wait until the fulfilment of the prophecies of the end before we say anything concerning them? Of what value will our words be then? Shall we wait until the judgments fall upon the transgressor before we tell him how to avoid them? Where is our faith in the word of God? Must we see the things foretold come to pass before we will believe what he has said? In clear, distinct rays light has come to us, showing that the great day of the Lord is at hand, "even at the door." Let us read and understand, before it is too late.
Study carefully the following scriptures: --
"Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, . . . and upon all the hills that are lifted up, and upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures."
"The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of man shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth."
"Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand."
"Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will turn and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?"
The Lord has declared the judgments and calamities that must fall upon those who continue to dishonor him. Warnings have been given by God, and these warnings should be kept before the people. God's appointed messengers are to give the call to flee from the wrath to come.
"Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children: . . . let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
"Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pity his people. Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen."
"Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things. Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed."
"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens, and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #31)
I have been bidden to call the attention of our people to the instruction given by the Lord to Israel regarding the importance of separation from the world. In the fourth chapter of Deuteronomy we read:--
"Now therefore, harken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you."
"Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thine heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons and thy sons' sons."
"When the Lord shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations from before thee, . . . and when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them: neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
"But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. For 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."
"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."
A Departure from Right.--Under David's rule, the people of Israel gained strength, and uprightness through obedience to God's law. But the kings that followed strove for self-exaltation. They took to themselves glory for the greatness of the kingdom, forgetting how utterly dependent they were upon God. They regarded themselves as wise and independent, because of the honor showed them by fallible, erring man. They became corrupt, immoral, and rebelled against the Lord, turning from him to the worship of idols.
God bore long with them, calling them often to repentance. But they refused to hear, and at last God spoke in judgment, showing them how weak they were without him. He saw that they were determined to have their own way, and he gave them into the hands of their enemies, who spoiled their land, and took the people captive.
The alliances made by the Israelites with their heathen neighbors resulted in the loss of their identity as God's peculiar people. They became leavened by the evil practises of those with whom they formed forbidden alliances. Affiliation with worldlings caused them to lose their first love, and their zeal for God's service. The advantages they sold themselves to gain, brought only disappointment, and caused the loss of many souls.
The experience of Israel will be the experience of all who go to the world for strength, turning away from the living God. Those who forsake the mighty One, the source of all strength, and affiliate with worldlings, placing on them their dependence, become weak in moral power, as are those in whom they trust.
God comes with entreaties and assurances to those who are making mistakes. He seeks to show them their error, and lead them to repentance. But if they refuse to humble their hearts before him, if they strive to exalt themselves above him, he must speak to them in judgment. No semblance of nearness to God, no assertion of connection with him, will be accepted from those who persist in dishonoring him by leaning upon the arm of worldly power.
God's Word to Us Today.--Today God's word to his people is: "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." "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."
God's people are to be distinguished as a people who serve him fully, wholeheartedly, taking no honor to themselves, and remembering that by a most solemn covenant they have bound themselves to serve the Lord, and him only.
The Sign Between God and His People.--"The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you; every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed."
Do not these words point us out as God's denominated people? and do they not declare to us that so long as time shall last, we are to cherish the sacred, denominational distinction placed on us? The children of Israel were to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations "for a perpetual covenant." The Sabbath has lost none of its meaning. It is still the sign between God and his people, and it will be so forever.
Now and ever we are to stand as a distinct and peculiar people, free from all worldly policy, unembarrassed by confederation with those who have not wisdom to discern the claims of God, so plainly set forth in his law.
We are to show that we are seeking to work in harmony with heaven in preparing the way of the Lord. We are to bear witness to all nations, kindreds, and tongues, that we are a people who love and fear God, a people who keep holy the seventh-day Sabbath, and we are to show plainly that we have full faith that the Lord is soon to come in the clouds of heaven.
God is testing his people, to see who will be loyal to the principles of his truth. Our work is to proclaim to the world the first, second, and third angels' messages. In the discharge of our duty, we are neither to despise nor fear our enemies. To bind ourselves up by contracts or in partnerships or business associations with those not of our faith is not in the order of God. We are to treat with kindness and courtesy those who refuse to be loyal to God, but we are never, never to unite with them in counsel regarding the vital interests of his work; for this is not the way of the Lord.
Putting our trust in God, we are to move steadily forward, doing his work with unselfishness, in humble dependence upon him, committing ourselves and our present and future to his wise providence, holding the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end, remembering that it is not because of our worthiness that we receive the blessings of heaven, but because of the worthiness of Christ, and our acceptance, through faith in him, of God's abounding grace.
I pray that my brethren may realize that the third angel's message means much to us, and that the observance of the true Sabbath is to be the sign that distinguishes those who serve God from those who serve him not. Let those who have become sleepy and indifferent awake. We are called to be holy, and we should carefully avoid giving the impression that it is of little consequence whether or not we retain the peculiar features of our faith. Upon us rests the solemn obligation of taking a more decided stand for truth and righteousness than we have taken in the past. The line of demarcation between those who keep the commandments of God and those who do not is to be revealed with unmistakable clearness. We are conscientiously to honor God, diligently using every means of keeping in covenant relation with him, that we may receive his blessings--the blessings so essential for a people who are to be so severely tried. To give the impression that our faith, our religion, is not a dominating power in our lives, is greatly to dishonor God. Thus we turn from his commandments, which are our life, denying that he is our God and we his people.
"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."
Where shall we be before the thousand generations mentioned in this scripture are ended? Our fate will have been decided for eternity. We shall either have been pronounced worthy of a home in the everlasting kingdom of God, or we shall have received sentence of eternal death. Those who have been true and faithful to their covenant with God, those who, remembering Calvary, have stood firmly on the side of truth, ever striving to honor God, will hear the commendation, "Well done, good and faithful servant." But those who have given God only halfhearted service, allowing their lives to be conformed to the ways and practises of the world, will hear the sad words, "Depart from me; I know you not."
The Home of the Faithful.--"The city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life."
"And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads."
Who are these?--God's denominated people,--those who on this earth have witnessed to their loyalty. Who are they?--Those who have kept the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus; those who have owned the crucified One as their Saviour.
"And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign forever and ever."
"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." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #32)
I have just returned to Washington from the South. We were away for about six weeks, during which time we visited Nashville, Graysville, and Huntsville.
On the way from Berrien Springs to Nashville, we had to wait for several hours in Chicago, and Dr. Paulson took us out to Hinsdale, where they are about to establish a sanitarium.
I was very much pleased with all that I saw during the afternoon that I spent there. Hinsdale is about fourteen miles out from Chicago, and is a favorable place for a sanitarium. The atmosphere is good, and the surroundings are beautiful. Many of the houses are large, and are evidently the homes of men of wealth, who live in the country, and carry on business in Chicago. The roads are excellent, and sick people would find health in driving about and enjoying the scenery. The sight of the trees and flowers, with the sunshine and fresh air, would bring health to mind and body. In anticipation I can see the Hinsdale Sanitarium established, and hope and faith coming into the hearts of the patients.
We were taken all over the sanitarium property. It consists of ten acres of land, with two houses and a barn. The place was once very beautiful, but it has been neglected for several years. It is a favorable site for a sanitarium, and I am so glad that it has been placed at the disposal of our brethren.
About five years ago a gentleman from Chicago went to the Battle Creek Sanitarium as a patient. He was very sick, but the treatment given him was successful, and he believes that it was the means of saving his life. After returning home, he told Dr. Paulson that he knew of a place that ought to be used for sanitarium work. A few months ago he bought this place, and has placed it at Dr. Paulson's disposal. It cost sixteen thousand dollars, and can be paid for in small monthly installments.
Dr. Paulson looks upon the opportunity to secure this place on easy terms as a providence of God. And this is right; for the hand of the Lord is in the matter. The outdoor advantages that the sick will have will prove the greatest blessing to them, aiding in the cure of mind and body. And as the sick ones associate with those who love and serve God, they will be doubly blessed.
How I wish that all our sanitariums could be placed among such natural surroundings. Men and women in need of physical and spiritual healing need to breathe just such an atmosphere. They need to be brought in contact with those whose words and acts will draw them to Christ. They need to be brought under the influence of the great Medical Missionary, who can heal both soul and body. They need to hear the story of the love of the sin-pardoning Saviour,--of the forgiveness granted to all who come to him confessing their sins.
There are many, many in our great cities, both in the higher and in the lower classes, who need to be helped into the way of life by being brought into contact with our sanitariums.
There are no entreaties so tender, no lessons so plain, no commendations so decided, as those given in the Word of God. How earnest and loving and compassionate are the invitations to come to the fountain of living water. God's Word is indeed a light shining in a dark place. And in our sanitariums, above all other places, the religion of Christ is to be clearly exemplified. This is why I have urged that many sanitariums be established in places out of the cities, that men and women may hear and understand the word of the Lord, and may be brought under an influence direct from heaven.
God sends angels from heaven to cooperate with human instrumentalities in bringing encouragement and hope and joy and peace to the hearts of the sick and suffering. These men and women need the grace that comes from the Lifegiver, the health that the great Medical Missionary alone can give. O that those who have received light from God's Word would take hold in medical missionary lines, to do all in their power to help those in need of help!
Those who plan to establish sanitariums should reason from cause to effect. They should lay their plans with a deep insight into the necessities of a medical institution. One of the first necessities is a site out of the city, in a retired place, where the institution can be surrounded by grounds that can be beautified with flowers and shrubs and trees.
Let the patients be taught that the breathing of pure air is necessary to health. Let there be facilities for the giving of rational treatment, so that there will be no necessity for the use of drugs. By wise methods the patients are to be led more and more to take outdoor exercise. Every one who is recovering from sickness needs such exercise, in order that disease may be completely overcome, and health regained. When physical health has been restored, men and women are better able to exercise that faith in Christ which secures the health of the soul, bringing peace and rest and joy from the consciousness of sins forgiven.
Our sanitariums should be out of the cities. One who is unerring in counsel has given this direction, in mercy to suffering humanity. Physicians and ministers are called upon to exert their influence in favor of establishing our sanitariums, publishing houses, and schools out of the cities. And for the sake of the youth in our schools and publishing houses, and for the sake of the patients and helpers in our sanitariums, this should be done.
We plead the necessity of our sanitariums being out of the smoky, dirty, noisy cities, with their tobacco-laden atmosphere. It is impossible to establish a sanitarium in a city without placing it in an atmosphere that will, to a greater or less extent, undo the good accomplished by the treatment given.
All things are to be considered from the standpoint of the Word of God. The teachers in our schools and sanitariums are to guard the minds of the youth in their care from becoming estranged from God. They are to have an interest in each one. They are to show a Christlike love for souls. Their minds are to be stayed upon Christ, and they are humbly and thankfully to receive, in order that they may impart. In their association with others, they are not to seek to benefit themselves, but to bless others.
And as the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, let Christ ever be recognized as our counselor, infinite in wisdom, and always ready to help. Those who know God as revealed in his Word make him chief in all that they do. They say: "Thou, God, seest me. Thou hearest every word I speak; thou knowest the motives that prompt my words and actions."
The wisdom of heaven is to be brought into every sanitarium. All the workers are to live the truth as it is in Jesus. Godliness--the result of the grace of Christ--is to lead souls to drink of the water of life. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #33)
The Work in Nashville.--During my stay in Nashville, I saw the necessities of the work there, and its great need of help. I visited the sanitarium conducted by Dr. Hayward and Brother Hansen. For several years Brother Hansen has had treatment rooms in Nashville. Recently the Medical Department of the Southern Union Conference purchased his business, and Dr. Hayward, from Graysville, joined Brother Hansen in the work. They have treatment rooms, a health food store, and physicians' offices in a large house in the city. They have also rented a house three miles out of the city, for the accommodation of patients and nurses. I visited both of these places, and found them full of sick people receiving help.
Brethren Hayward and Hansen, with their faithful helpers, are doing their best with the facilities they have, but the inconveniences under which they are at present conducting their work are very trying, and I longed that they might have a larger building, where they could accomplish more with less effort.
We also visited the colored sanitarium, which is in the charge of Dr. Isabel and Brother Young. This is situated very conveniently for the colored business men of Nashville, and is modestly but well equipped for giving the different kinds of baths. Those in charge have labored earnestly to do what they can with their limited means to provide the necessary facilities, but they need assistance to make the institution comfortable and attractive.
To us has been entrusted the work of proclaiming the last message of mercy to be given to our world,--the message that is to prepare a people to stand in the day of God. Do we realize our accountability? Are we acting our part in the proclamation of this message?
When I see our people spending money for needless trimmings, needless furnishings, I think of Jesus. He might have come to this world in the glory of his kingly power. But he chose to come to this world in the garb of humanity, and to live a life of self-denial and sacrifice. Those who follow in his footsteps will remember that every dollar they can spare is needed in the work that God has said shall be done in this world.
When our sisters are buying and making up their own and their children's garments, let them think of the work in the Lord's vineyard that is still waiting to be done. It is right to buy good material for our clothing, and to have it carefully made. This is economy. But rich trimmings are not needed, and to indulge in them is to spend for self-gratification money that should be put into God's cause.
Schools and sanitariums and meetinghouses are needed in the South. The people there must be warned. To my sisters who are inclined to spend much in trimming their clothes, I would say, Deny yourselves, and put the money thus saved aside to send to the help of those who need help so much. Let the self-denial boxes sent out by the Southern Missionary Society be kept in plain sight in the homes of our people.
My sisters, remember that Christ clothed his divinity with humanity, and came to this world to uplift fallen human beings, that they might stand on vantage ground, thus escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust. He gave his all to the work that he came to this world to do, and his word to us is, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." "So shall ye be my disciples."
Remember, too, the words of the apostle: "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."
Let us take heed to God's words of warning, lest at any time we let them slip, and our hearts become evil hearts of unbelief. Just as soon as those who know the truth put away their unbelief, and practise the self-denial enjoined in the Word of God, the message will go with power. The Lord will hear our prayers for the conversion of souls. God's people will let their light shine forth, and unbelievers, seeing their good works, will glorify our Heavenly Father.
The School Work.--In connection with the work in Nashville, I wish to speak of the school work that Brethren Sutherland and Magan are planning to do. I was surprised when, in speaking of the work they wished to do in the South, they spoke of establishing a school in some place a long way from Nashville. From the light given me, I knew that this would not be the right thing to do, and I told them so. The work that these brethren can do, because of the experience gained at Berrien Springs, is to be carried on within easy access of Nashville; for Nashville has not yet been worked as it should be. And it will be a great blessing to the workers in the school to be near enough to Nashville to be able to counsel with the workers there.
In searching for a place for the school, the brethren found a farm of four hundred acres for sale, about nine miles from Nashville. The size of the farm, its situation, the distance that it is from Nashville, and the moderate sum for which it could be purchased seemed to point it out as the very place for the school work. We advised that this place be purchased. I knew that all the land would ultimately be needed. For the work of the students, and to provide homes for the teachers, such land can be used advantageously. And as our work advances, a portion of this tract may be required for a country sanitarium.
Other properties were examined, but we found nothing so well suited for our work. The price of the place, including standing crops, farm machinery, and over seventy head of cattle, was $12,723. It has been purchased, and as soon as possible, Brethren Magan and Sutherland, with a few experienced helpers, will begin school work there. We feel confident that the Lord has been guiding in this matter.
The plan upon which our brethren propose to work is to select some of the best and most substantial young men and women from Berrien Springs and other places in the North, who believe that God has called them to the work in the South, and give them a brief training as teachers. Thorough instruction will be given in Bible study, physiology, and the history of our message; and special instruction in agriculture will be given. It is hoped that many of these students will eventually connect with schools in various places in the South. In connection with these schools there will be land that will be cultivated by teachers and students, and the proceeds from this work will be used for the support of the schools.
We went once more to see the farm, after its purchase had been completed, and were very much pleased with it. I earnestly hope that the school to be established there will be a success, and will help to build up the work of the Lord in that part of his vineyard. There are men of means in various parts of the land who can assist this enterprise by loans without interest, and by liberal gifts.
Let us sustain Brethren Sutherland and Magan in their efforts to advance this important work. They gained a valuable experience in Berrien Springs, and the providence of God has led them to feel that they must labor in the Southern field. God helped them constantly in their efforts at Berrien Springs, as they steadily advanced, determined that obstacles should not stop the work. They are not leaving Berrien Springs because of dissension or strife. They are not fleeing from duty. They are leaving a place where a school has been established, to go to a new field, where the work may be much harder. They have only means enough to pay part of the price of the land. They should not be left to struggle along misunderstood and unaided, at the sacrifice of health.
As these brethren go to the South to take hold of pioneer work in a difficult field, we ask our people to make their work as effective as possible by assisting them in the establishment of the new school near Nashville.
I ask our people to help the work in the Southern field by aiding Brethren Sutherland and Magan and their faithful associates in the carrying forward of the important enterprise they have undertaken. Brethren and sisters, the poverty and the needs of the Southern field call urgently for your assistance. There is a great work to be done in that field, and we ask you to act your part.
(Vol. 81, #34)
Friday morning, June 17, we left Nashville for Graysville, where we spent Sabbath and Sunday.
I found that the work at Graysville has made much progress. Graysville is a homelike place,--a pretty little village in a valley surrounded by hills. A large part of the village is made up of the homes of Seventh-day Adventists.
On Sabbath I spoke to our people. The church was crowded. The Spirit of Lord rested upon me, and I was given a plain testimony to bear. In my weakness I had much strength; for God was with me. My heart was filled with thanksgiving and praise and rejoicing.
On Sunday we were taken to see the different lines of work that are being carried on by our people in Graysville. We went over the school building, and then we visited the twenty-five acre farm on the hill, which is largely planted with peaches. The young trees look thrifty. After looking at this, we went to see the four-hundred-acre farm, which has recently been acquired by the conference and has been leased to the school. On this farm we saw large fields of corn, broad pasture lands, and on the hill thirty acres of strawberries.
The school is doing well. An addition is needed to the main building; for the chapel is not large enough. But we advised those in charge to wait until the sanitarium could be put in running order. Finishing and equipping this institution will require all the means that they can command at present.
From the school farm we drove to the sanitarium. I am much interested in this institution. It is built on the mountainside, in the midst of a grove of trees. There are pine, oak, chestnut, hickory, and many other varieties of beautiful trees. With proper care this grove can be made very beautiful. It is a place in which any lover of nature would take delight, and is as healthful a location for a sanitarium as I have ever seen.
The institution is well planned, and the physicians and nurses are working disinterestedly and earnestly to bring the work on the building to completion. I wish that I had had time to say to the physician, "It pleases me to see the good work you do while handling the ax, hammer, and plane. You seem to be a master of the situation." His face expressed anxiety, and showed a burden of thought, and I did wish to say to him, "This is the work that Christ did in his youth. And through it all he did not speak an impatient word, not even when he was misunderstood. He always spoke pleasantly. When he was blamed for being so particular about his work, he answered by words of song from the Psalms, and those who had been scolding him often found themselves uniting with him in singing, 'O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth forever.' 'Let them now that fear the Lord say, that his mercy endureth forever.' 'Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.'"
I should have been pleased to have spoken words of encouragement to the physician's wife and sister. I would have said to them, "Be sure, my dear friends, ever to walk with Christ. 'Learn of me,' said the divine Teacher; '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.'"
On the second floor we found the nurses busy at work. I hope they all realized that their faithfulness is fully appreciated by One who knows. In looking to their Saviour, they will find peace and joy. We are to unite our influence in making the earth radiant and glorious. Entire consecration is essential, and the union of all is needed, in order that the work of God may advance. No one is to exalt self and disparage others.
I longed to say to all the workers, "Henceforth you are Christ's servants. No longer are you to live to yourselves, but for him who died for you, and rose again. Your lives are to be hid with Christ in God, that when he who is your life shall appear, you may appear with him in glory."
Some of the patients asked if I would not talk to them in the parlor, but I had not the strength to do this, and at the same time to see the various things which our brethren wished me to see in connection with the work in Graysville.
We went up to the third story of the building, and looked off over the treetops across the valley. We greatly enjoyed the view.
I was taken to the spring, which is a little farther up the mountainside. This spring gives an abundance of soft, pure water, and is a treasure of inestimable worth.
I am more than pleased with the earnestness and zeal that the brethren have shown in the erection of this sanitarium. Success had attended their unselfish efforts. Each worker has tried to help the other, and all have worked together harmoniously. This is as it should be. When workers labor thus, their efforts reveal the sweet fragrance of godliness.
On our return, the brother who was driving stopped at the homes of many of our brethren in the village. I did not get out of the carriage, but we drove up to the gate of each house, and the friends came out. Whole families, father, mother, and children came out to speak with me, and I shook hands with them all, not forgetting the children.
Our visit to Graysville was a very pleasant one. We were sorry that we could not stay longer, so that we might have more time to talk with the brethren and sisters there. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #35)
Monday morning, July 20, I went from Graysville to Huntsville. We found the school situated in a beautiful country place. In the school farm there are more than three hundred acres of land, a large part of which is under cultivation.
Several years ago Brother S. M. Jacobs was in charge of the farm, and under his care it made great improvement. He set out a peach and plum orchard, and other fruit trees. Brother and Sister Jacobs left Huntsville about three years ago, and since then the farm has not been so well cared for. We see in the land promise of a much larger return than it now gives, were its managers given the help they need.
Brother Jacobs put forth most earnest, disinterested efforts, but he was not given the help that his strength demanded. Sister Jacobs also worked too hard, and when her health began to give way, they decided to leave Huntsville, and go to some place where the strain would not be so heavy. Had they then been furnished with efficient helpers, and with means to make the needed improvements, the advancement made would have given courage to Brother Jacobs, to the students, and to our people everywhere. But the means that ought to have gone to Huntsville did not go, and we see the result in the present showing.
Recently the question was asked me, "Would it not be well to sell the school land at Huntsville, and buy a smaller place?" Instruction was given me that this farm must not be sold; that the situation possesses many advantages for the carrying forward of a colored school. It would take years to build up in a new place the work that has been done at Huntsville. The Lord's money was invested in the Huntsville school farm, to provide a place for the education of colored students. The General Conference gave this land to the Southern work, and the Lord has shown me what this school may become, and what those may become who go there for instruction, if his plans are followed.
In order that the school may advance as it should, money is needed, and sound, intelligent generalship. Things are to be well kept up, and the school is to give evidence that Seventh-day Adventists mean to make a success of whatever they undertake.
The facilities necessary for the success of the school must be provided. At present the facilities are very meager. A small building should be put up, in which the students can be taught how to care for one another in times of sickness. There has been a nurse at the school to look after the students when they were sick, but no facilities have been provided. This has made the work very discouraging.
The students are to be given a training in those lines of work that will help them to be successful laborers for Christ. They are to be taught to be separate from the customs and practises of the world. They are to be taught how to present the truth for this time, and how to work with the hands and with the head to win their daily bread, that they may go forth to teach their own people. They are to be taught to appreciate the school as a place in which they are given opportunity to obtain a training for service.
Wise plans are to be laid for the cultivation of the land. The students are to be given a practical education in agriculture. This education will be of inestimable value to them in their future work. Thorough work is to be done in cultivating the land, and from this the students are to learn how necessary it is to do thorough work in cultivating the garden of the heart.
The man who takes charge of the Huntsville school should know how to govern himself and how to govern others. The Bible teacher should be a man who can teach the students how to present the truths of the Word of God in public, and how to do house-to-house work. The business affairs of the farm are to be wisely and carefully managed.
The teachers should constantly seek wisdom from on high, that they may be kept from making mistakes. They should give careful attention to their work, that each student may be prepared for the line of service to which he is best adapted. All are to be prepared to serve faithfully in some capacity. Teachers and students are to cooperate in doing their best. The constant effort of the teachers should be to make the students see the importance of constantly rising higher and still higher.
The leading, controlling influence in the school is to be faithfulness in that which is least. Thus the students will be prepared to be faithful in greater things. Each student is to take himself in hand, and with God's help overcome the faults that mar his character. And he is to show an earnest, unselfish interest in the welfare of the school. If he sees a loose board in a walk or a loose paling on the fence, let him at once get a hammer and nails, and make the needed repairs. Nothing in the house or about the premises is to be allowed to present a slack, dilapidated appearance. The wagons and harnesses should be properly cared for and frequently examined and repaired. When harnesses and wagons are sent out in a dilapidated condition, human life is endangered.
These little things are of much more importance than many suppose in the education of students. Business men will notice the appearance of the wagons and harnesses, and will form their opinions accordingly. And more than this, if students are allowed to go through school with slack, shiftless habits, their education will not be worth half as much as it would be if they were taught to be faithful in all they do. "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much." Little things needing attention, yet left for days and weeks, until they become an unsightly neglect, teach the students lessons that will cling to them for a lifetime, greatly hindering them in their work. Such an example is demoralizing, and students whose education is after this order are not needed in the world.
Should not our God be served most faithfully? We are called upon as teachers to rise up with firm purpose of heart, and discipline ourselves with sternness and vigor to habits of order and thoroughness. All that our hands find to do is to be well done. We have been bought with a price, even the blood of the Son of God, and all that we do is to honor and glorify our Redeemer. We are to work in partnership with Christ, as verily as Christ works in partnership with the Father. We are to lay aside every weight, "and the sin that doth so easily beset," that we may follow our Lord with full purpose of heart.
The soul suffers a great loss when duties are not faithfully performed, when habits of negligence and carelessness are allowed to rule the life. Faithfulness and unselfishness are to control all that we do. When the soul is left uncleansed, when selfish aims are allowed to control, the enemy comes in, leading the mind to carry out unholy devices and to work for selfish advantage, regardless of results.
But he who makes Christ first and last and best in everything will not work for selfish purposes. Unselfishness will be revealed in every act. The peace of Christ can not abide in the heart of a man in whose life self is the mainspring of action. Such a one may hold the theories of truth, but unless he brings himself into harmony with the requirements of God's Word, giving up all his ambitions and desires for the will and way of Christ, he strives without purpose; for God can not bless him. He halts between two opinions, constantly vacillating between Christ and the world. It is like some one striving for the mastery, yet cumbering himself by clinging to heavy weights. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #35)
With the great work before us of enlightening the world, we who believe present truth should feel the necessity of thorough education in the practical branches of knowledge, and especially our need of an education in the truths of the Scriptures. Error of every kind is now exalted as truth, and it is our duty to earnestly search the sacred Word, that we may know what is truth, and be able intelligently to present it to others. We shall be called upon to make known the reasons of our faith. We shall have to stand before magistrates to answer for our allegiance to the law of God.
The Lord has called us out from the world that we may be witnesses for his truth, and all through our ranks young men and women should be trained for positions of usefulness and influence. They are privileged to become missionaries for God; but they can not be mere novices in education and in their knowledge of the Word of God, and yet do justice to the sacred work to which they are appointed.
In every land the need of education among our workers is painfully apparent. We realize that education is not only necessary to the proper fulfilment of the duties of domestic life, but necessary for success in all branches of usefulness. . . . Whatever business parents might think suitable for their children, whether they desire them to become manufacturers, agriculturists, mechanics, or to follow some professional calling, they would reap great advantages from the discipline of an education. . . . They need to be thoroughly furnished with the reasons of our faith, to understand the Scriptures for themselves. Through understanding the truths of the Bible they will be better fitted to fill positions of trust. They will be fortified against temptations that will beset them on the right hand and on the left. Efforts must be made to fit young men for the work. They must come to the front to lift burdens and responsibilities. Those who are now young must become strong men. . . . The work is now greatly retarded because men are bearing responsibilities for which they are unfitted. Shall this great want continue and increase? Shall these great responsibilities drop from the hands of experienced workers into the hands of those unable to manage them? Are we not neglecting a very important work by failing to educate and train our youth to fill positions of trust? Let the workers be educated, but at the same time let them be meek and lowly of heart. Let us elevate the work to the highest possible standard, ever remembering that if we do our part, God will not fail to do his.
The agency of the Spirit of God does not remove from us the necessity of exercising our faculties and talents, but teaches us how to use every power to the glory of God. The human faculties when under the special direction of the grace of God, are capable of being used to the best purpose on earth, and will be exercised in the future immortal life.
Ignorance will not increase the humility or spirituality of any professed followers of Christ. The truths of the divine Word can be best appreciated by an intellectual Christian. Christ can be best glorified by those who serve him intelligently. The great object of education is to enable us to use the powers which represent the religion of the Bible and promote the glory of God.
We are indebted to him who gave us existence for all the talents which have been intrusted to us; and it is a duty we owe to our Creator to cultivate and improve the talents which he has committed to our trust. Education will discipline the mind, develop its powers, and understandingly direct them, that we may be useful in advancing the glory of God.-- Christian Education. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #36)
"That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace."
It should be the object of every parent to secure to his children a well-balanced, symmetrical character. This is a work of no small magnitude and importance. It requires earnest thought and prayer, no less than patient, persevering effort. A right foundation must be laid, a framework, strong and firm, erected, and then day by day the work of building, polishing, perfecting, must go forward.
The early training of children is a subject that all should carefully study. We need to make the education of our children a business; for their salvation depends largely upon the education given them in childhood. Parents and guardians must themselves maintain purity of heart and life, if they desire their children to be pure. As fathers and mothers, we should train and discipline ourselves. Then as teachers in the home, we can train our children, preparing them for the immortal inheritance.
At an early age the minds of children are very susceptible to impressions of good or of evil. Even in infancy a child is affected by a sorrowful expression on the mother's face. In a home where harsh, fretful, scolding words are spoken, a child cries much, and upon its tender sensibilities are impressed the marks of unhappiness and discord. Then, mothers, let your countenance be full of sunshine. Smile, if you can, and the infant's mind and heart will reflect the light of your countenance, as the polished plate of an artist portrays the human features. Be sure, mothers, to have an indwelling Christ, so that on your child's plastic mind may be impressed the divine likeness.
Mothers, have you neglected your God-given responsibility of multiplying agencies for the service of Christ? Children are the younger members of the Lord's family. Parents should not allow them to be hindrances. They should be led to consecrate themselves wholly to God, whose they are by creation and by redemption. With their parents, children are to share spiritual as well as temporal burdens. They should be trained to be helpful. Thus they will be taught to serve the Saviour.
Opportunities of inestimable worth, interests infinitely precious, are committed to every mother. During the first three years of the life of Samuel the prophet, his mother carefully taught him to distinguish between good and evil. By every familiar object surrounding him, she sought to lead his thoughts up to the Creator. In fulfilment of her vow to give her son to the Lord, with great self-denial she placed him under the care of Eli the high priest, to be trained for service in the house of God. Though Samuel's youth was passed at the tabernacle devoted to the worship of God, he was not free from evil influences or sinful example. The sons of Eli feared not God, nor honored their father; but Samuel did not seek their company nor follow their evil ways. His early training led him to choose to maintain his Christian integrity. What a reward was Hannah's! and what an encouragement to faithfulness is her example!
The father should be the faithful high priest of the home, the house band of the family. He should not be so absorbed in business life or in the study of books that he can not take time to study the nature and the necessities of his children. He should devise ways by which they may be kept busy in useful labor agreeable to their individual dispositions. It is a great mistake to allow young men to grow up without learning some trade. To the parents of ancient Israel God gave a positive command that every child should learn a trade. The carelessness of parents in neglecting to furnish employment to their children has resulted in untold evil, imperiling the lives of many youth, and sadly crippling their usefulness.
God desires both parents and teachers to train children in the practical duties of everyday life. Encourage industry. Girls--and even boys who do not have outdoor work--should learn how to help the mother. From childhood, boys and girls should be taught to bear heavier and still heavier burdens, intelligently helping in the work of the family firm. Mothers, patiently show your children how to use their hands. Let them understand that their hands are to be used as skilfully as are yours in the household work. Often a fretful infant or a sick child keeps the mother awake night after night. At such times how much better it is for the children to draw upon their strength than to allow the already overtaxed mother to be burdened with work that they should do. Too often the mother succumbs to disease, sometimes lying upon her deathbed before her children realize that by sharing the home burdens, they could have lessened her cares, and spared her much suffering and affliction.
Prayerfully, unitedly, the father and the mother should bear the grave responsibility of guiding their children aright. Whatever else they neglect, they should never leave their children free to wander in paths of sin. Many parents allow children to go and do as they please, amusing themselves, and choosing evil associates. In the judgment such parents will learn that their children have lost heaven because they have not been kept under home restraint. Parents should awake to their solemn responsibility, realizing that they are to teach their children to walk in the narrow way, that at last, a united family, they may enter the heavenly kingdom.
Children left in the hands of Satan are gladly taken by him and used in his service. Fathers and mothers, Satan is seeking to seize every one of your children. Come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty powers of darkness. Consecrate your household to God.
Evening and morning join with your children in God's worship, reading his Word and singing his praise. Teach them to repeat God's law. Concerning the commandments the Israelites were instructed: "Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Accordingly, Moses directed the Israelites to set the words of the law to music. While the older children played on instruments, the younger ones marched, singing in concert the song of God's commandments. In later years they retained in their minds the words of the law which they learned during childhood.
If it was essential for Moses to embody the commandments in sacred song, so that as they marched in the wilderness, the children could learn to sing the law verse by verse, how essential it is at this time to teach our children God's Word! Let us come up to the help of the Lord, instructing our children to keep the commandments to the letter. Let us do everything in our power to make music in our homes, that God may come in. Banish the discord of scolding and fretting. Never exhibit passion. Christian parents will put away every objectionable trait of character, daily learning from the Great Teacher to train their children wisely, bringing them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
Parents, your own home is the first field in which you are called to labor. The precious plants in the home garden demand your first care. To you it is appointed to watch for souls as they that must give an account. Carefully consider your work, its nature, its bearing, and its results. Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, you must instruct, warn, and counsel, ever remembering that your looks, words, and actions have a direct bearing upon the future of your dear ones. Your work is not to form beauty upon canvas, nor to chisel it from marble, but to impress upon a human soul the image of the Divine.
For Christ's sake, for the sake of your children, seek to conform your own life to the divine standard. Let nothing come between you and your God. Be earnest, patient, and persevering; be instant in season and out of season. Give your children intellectual culture and moral training. Fortify their young hearts with firm, pure principles. While you have opportunity, lay the foundation for a noble manhood and womanhood. Your labor will be rewarded a thousandfold. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #37)
The highest duty of parents is to give their children a religious training. To allow a child to follow his natural impulses is to allow him to deteriorate and to become proficient in evil. The results of wrong training begin to be revealed in childhood. In early youth a selfish temper is developed and as the youth grows to manhood he grows in sin. A continual testimony against parental neglect is borne by children who have been permitted to follow a course of their own choosing. Such a downward course can be prevented only by surrounding them with influences that will counteract evil. From infancy to youth and from youth to manhood, a child should be under influences for good.
In the home school--the first grade--the very best talent should be utilized. Instruction should be given as God has directed. Patiently, carefully, diligently, mercifully, children should be trained. Upon all parents rests the obligation of giving their children physical, mental, and spiritual instruction. It is essential ever to keep before children the claims of God.
Physical training, the development of the body, is far more easily given than spiritual training. The nursery, the playground, the workshop, the sowing of seed and the ingathering of the harvest,--all these give physical training. Under ordinarily favorable circumstances a child naturally gains healthful vigor and a proper development of the bodily organs. Yet even in physical lines the child should be carefully trained.
Soul culture, which gives purity and elevation to the thoughts and fragrance to word and act, requires more painstaking effort. It takes patience to keep every evil motive weeded from the garden of the heart.
The spiritual training should in no case be neglected. Let us teach our children the beautiful lessons of God's Word, that through these they may gain a knowledge of him. Let them understand that they should do nothing which is not right. Teach them to do justice and judgment. Tell them that you can not permit them to take a wrong course. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ present them to God at the throne of grace. Let them know that Jesus lives to make intercession for them. Encourage them to form characters fashioned after the divine similitude.
The prudent mother keeps the door of her lips, that she may not utter one hasty, fretful word. Fathers and mothers, never scold. Consecrate to God the talent of speech. Tell your children exactly what you require of them. Then let them understand that your word is law, and must be obeyed. Thus you are training them to respect the commandments of God, which plainly declare "Thou shalt," and "Thou shalt not." It is far better for your boy to obey from principle than from compulsion. If as teachers in the home the father and the mother allow children to take the lines of control into their own hands and to become wayward, they are held responsible for what their children might otherwise have been. From babyhood the child should be taught that the mother is master. Never is the mother to do anything that would give Satan opportunity to arouse or strengthen the disagreeable passions of her child. She should not use the rod, if it be possible to avoid doing so. But if milder measures prove insufficient, punishment that will bring the child to its senses should in love be administered. Frequently one such correction will be enough for a lifetime to show a child that he does not hold the lines of control.
Few parents begin early enough to teach their children to obey. The child is usually allowed to get two of three years the start of its parents, who forbear to discipline it, thinking it too young to learn to obey. But all this time self is growing strong in the little being, and every day makes harder the parent's task of gaining control. At a very early age children can comprehend what is plainly and simply told them, and by kind and judicious management can be taught to obey.
In the school, as well as in the home, the question of discipline should be understood. We should hope that in the schoolroom there would never be occasion to use the rod. But if in a school there are those who stubbornly resist all counsel and entreaty, all prayers and burden of soul in their behalf, then it is necessary to make them understand that they must obey.
Some teachers do not think it best to enforce obedience. They think that their duty is merely to educate. True, they should educate. But what does the education of children amount to, if, when they disregard the principles placed before them, the teacher does not feel that he has a right to exercise authority?
I know that many parents do not cooperate with the teacher by fostering in the home the good influence exerted in the school. Instead of carrying out in the home the principles of obedience taught in the school, they allow their children to do as they please, to go hither and thither without restraint. And if the teacher exercises authority in requiring obedience, the children carry to their parents an exaggerated, distorted account of the way in which they have been "misused." The teacher may have done only that which it was his painful duty to do; but the parents sympathize with their children, even though they are in the wrong.
Those parents who themselves rule in passion are the most unreasonable when their children are restrained and disciplined in school. Parents, when the church school teacher tries so to train and discipline your children that they may gain eternal life, do not in their presence criticize his actions, even though you may think him too severe. If you desire them to give their hearts to Jesus, cooperate with the teacher's efforts for their salvation. How much better it is for children, instead of hearing criticism, to hear from the lips of their mother sweet and tender and loving words commending the work of the teacher. Such words make lasting impressions, and influence children to respect the teacher.
The teachers in our schools need the keen perception of the Spirit of God, that they may know how to deal with the youth in their care. Those who conduct church schools and larger schools should regard it as their privilege, not only to teach in the school, but to bring into the church with which they are connected the same talents that are used in the school. Talk to the parents along educational and medical missionary lines. Show them the privilege they have of using their God-given capabilities in training their children, thus cooperating with the teacher.
We are approaching the day of final reckoning. Christ told his disciples that prior to his second coming the world would be as it was in the days of Noah, when "they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, . . . and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away." Those who believed when Noah began to build the ark, lost their faith through association with unbelievers who aroused all the old passion for amusement and display. For one hundred and twenty years the antediluvians were on probation, free to choose to obey the voice of God and find refuge in the ark, or to refuse to hear his voice, and be destroyed. They chose to disobey, and were destroyed.
In those days "the earth was filled with violence." Is not violence now in the land? How much is human life worth, if man's way is crossed, man's passion excited? If the picture of the present state of the world is not sufficiently startling to arouse parents to do their duty in bringing up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, what will bring them to a right understanding?
Satan is marshaling his hosts. Are you prepared for the conflict just before us? Are you preparing your children for the crisis? Are your children forming habits of decision, that they may be firm to principle? Parental duty has been sadly neglected. Will you not now repent, and take up your God-given lifework? There is no time to lose. Redeem the time, because the days are evil. Pray that your spiritual perceptions may be quickened. Strive to realize the importance of living in obedience to The Holy Spirit. When you do this, the heavenly angels will minister to you as teachers in the home, training you for the work of teaching your children.
When you stand before the great white throne, then your work will appear as it is. The books are opened, the record of every life is made known. Many in that vast company are unprepared for the revelations made. Upon the ears of some, the words will fall with startling distinctness, "Weighed in the balance, and found wanting." To many parents the Judge will say in that day, "You had my Word, plainly setting forth your duty. Why have you not obeyed its teachings? Knew you not that it was the voice of God? Did I not bid you search the Scriptures, that you might not go astray? Not only have you ruined your own souls, but by your pretensions to godliness, you have misled many others. You have no part with me. Depart, Depart?"
Another class stand pale and trembling, trusting in Christ, and yet oppressed with a sense of their own unworthiness. They hear with tears of joy and gratitude the Master's commendation. The days of incessant toil, of burden bearing, of fear and anguish, are forgotten as that voice, sweeter than the music of angel harps, pronounces the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter ye into the joy of your Lord." There stand the host of the redeemed, the palm branch of victory in their hand, the crown upon their head. These are the ones who by faithful, earnest labor have obtained a fitness for heaven. The lifework performed on earth is acknowledged in the heavenly courts as a work well done.
With joy unutterable parents see the crown, the robe, the harp, given to their children. The days of hope and fear are ended. The seed sown in tears and prayers may have seemed to be sown in vain, but their harvest is reaped with joy at last. Their children have been redeemed.
Fathers, mothers, shall the voices of your children swell the song of gladness in that day? Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #38)
On Sunday, July 17, I spoke in the M Street Memorial church to the company of workers who have gathered in Washington to hold a tent meeting and to do Bible work. My heart is filled with a longing desire that all who connect with this important work shall themselves have a daily experience in the things of God, that they may fill the place assigned them in a way that will win the Lord's approval. On this point we can not be too urgent. Each worker should feel that he is on trial, and should strive to do his work in a way that will stand the test of the heavenly watchers.
I wish to express my gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the work that is being done on the school land at Takoma Park. I recently drove over the ground with my son and Brother Baird, and they explained the plans to me, and showed me the buildings going up. All who were on the ground were working diligently and earnestly.
We have an excellent company of workers here. If they will walk with God, they will gain a precious experience; for God takes a special interest in his faithful laborers. The work that they are doing is the Lord's work, and his angels are round about them. We certainly see the hand of the Lord in the establishment of the work in this place. The message received is that many years ago this work should have been done. The call for help that is being made now should have been made long ago.
"The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. . . . And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them."
"And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made him willing, and they brought the Lord's offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation." And the work went forward according to the word of the Lord.
We would now stir up the minds of our people in America to give willingly to the work that is being carried forward in Takoma Park. A school and a sanitarium are to be established in this place. A building in which publishing work can be done is to be erected. As soon as possible, school and sanitarium work should be set in operation.
We hope that no one will become weary in the special effort that is being made to erect memorials for God in this important place. All our churches are to show an unselfish interest in this work, doing all in their power to hasten it forward. Let church officers counsel together, and present to the church the importance of prompt action, and let the prayers of the church ascend to heaven, that all may see that it is their duty to help.
If there are those who are tempted to be extravagant in dress or in other things, let them restrain their desires, and remember that God calls upon them to show a special interest in the work in Washington. Let them be careful not to set an example that would lead others into extravagance.
The means that is sent in is to be used in the most careful, economical way. The buildings are to be put up and furnished without display, and without an unnecessary expenditure of means.
The Lord expects his people to take hold of this work with willingness, and with a ready mind. He is willing to give wisdom to those who are engaged in the erection of the buildings, and to those who shall be chosen to carry forward the work in these buildings. He now asks his people to offer willingly of their means, that the work on the buildings may be hastened forward.
God will surely bless those who will aid in carrying out the command, "Arise, and build for me a memorial in Washington." Let all his people take an active, unselfish interest in the advancement of the work that the Lord has declared should be done. Let no one yield to selfishness, or give with a grudging spirit. Let all give liberally, that the work may make rapid advancement.
Those who are working on the ground are doing their best. We pray that the Lord's blessing may rest upon them all, that everything may be done in accordance with his will. As the work advances, the workers will gain great blessings in seeing that the Lord answers the prayers ascending to him. His name is to be glorified. His truth is to find standing room here. The Lord God of Israel is in the work in this place, and we acknowledge it.
I call upon every church member to remember that those who are working in Washington are in need of your stretching your hands toward heaven, and pleading with the Lord to put his Spirit upon every worker, imbuing him with his rich grace. Elder Daniells is bearing heavy responsibilities, and is putting to the tax every power of mind and body to advance the work. He needs each day the healing, reviving power of the Holy Spirit. It is your prayers we need, brethren and sisters, as well as your gifts. Both are essential, but your prayers are needed constantly.
Let every believer ask God to give special help to the workers in Washington, that no wrong moves may be made, that there may be no extravagance in the outlay of means. We need the meekness of the Redeemer. I pray that we may all put on Christ, wearing the robe of his righteousness.
Let us trust in the Lord, and pray earnestly that we may be kept by his power. Looking to human agents for help is very poor policy. We must put our entire trust in God, and exercise faith in him, depending upon his wisdom. Unless we do this, we shall surely err; for Satan is watching every chance to take advantage of us.
We must plan wisely. God will go before us if we will look to him as our counselor and our strength. We need to get away from our selfishness, and begin to work for the Lord in earnest. When he girds us with his strength, we shall have power to rise above the discouragement that the enemy seeks to bring upon us. We are to move guardedly, walking in wisdom's way, true to the Lord God of Israel, glorifying his name in all that we do and say.
"Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, . . . and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob." "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: 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." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #39)
Ever since the removal of the New England Sanitarium to Melrose, I have had a desire to see the new location, and to tell those connected with the institution of the important influence which its work may exert to benefit the people of Boston.
I have now been at the Melrose Sanitarium for a week, and I find it one of the most favorably located sanitariums that I have ever seen. The spacious lawns, the noble trees, the beauty of the scenery all around, answer to the representations given me of what our sanitariums ought to be. The quietude is delightful. The surroundings are attractive to the eye and refreshing to the mind. Here I see the very pictures that I have been shown in vision,--patients amid beautiful surroundings lying out in the sunshine in wheelchairs and on cots. I see before me the sights that the Lord has helped me to present before our people in print.
Our sanitariums should be attractive places, and the surroundings of this sanitarium correspond more closely than anything else I have seen to the representations that have been given me by the Lord. This place, and several other places, were presented to me some time ago. This place was pointed out as a most desirable site for the sanitarium work that should be carried on near Boston. It has the attractiveness that will bring to it wealthy people from Boston. It has been reserved for us, that we may reach the people of that city. I have been instructed that it is in the providence of God that the sanitarium is here; and we should appreciate the advantages thus placed within our reach.
Since coming to the sanitarium, I have had opportunity to see a great deal of its surroundings. The buildings, with the forty acres which go with them, are in the midst of the Middesex Fells, a State reservation of three thousand five hundred acres. We have driven slowly through the park in every direction, looking with delight at the trees and the lakes, and inhaling the health-giving fragrance of the pines. It is delightful to ride through the forest. There are many beautiful drives, and much fine scenery. I enjoy looking at the many different kinds of trees, but most of all I enjoy looking at the noble pines. There are medicinal properties in the fragrance of these trees. "Life, life," my husband used to say when riding among the pines. "Breathe deep, Ellen; fill your lungs with the fragrant, lifegiving atmosphere."
It is impossible for me to find words to describe the beauty of this place. Just in front of the sanitarium buildings there is a beautiful lake, called Spot Pond. This lake supplies the city of Boston with water, and it is most carefully guarded from contamination. No bathing or boating are allowed in it.
The sanitarium buildings are fairly well adapted to their present use. They were originally used as a hotel, but have been easily adapted to sanitarium purposes, though, of course, some changes had to be made. The buildings, with the forty acres of land, were purchased for thirty-nine thousand dollars. There was about six thousand dollars' worth of furniture in the buildings, and for this no charge was made.
I have been instructed that it was in the providence of God that our people obtained possession of this place. I have also been instructed that proper facilities should be provided for the increasing number of patients. Many from Boston and other places will come to this institution, to be away from the din and bustle of the city. Additional buildings will have to be put up. Rooms must be provided for the rich as well as for the poor. The money of the rich is needed; it will be a great help to the institution.
I groaned in spirit when I saw the sanitarium site in South Lancaster. I knew that the work ought to be carried on in a more favorable place, and when the opportunity came for it to be moved, I felt that the providence of God was guiding. A wealthy family living in South Lancaster offered to buy the sanitarium property, and gave our people a good price for it. Then they offered to give them the building, if they would move it off the ground. This offer was accepted, and the building was afterward taken down, and shipped to Melrose.
At the time that the sanitarium work was moved from South Lancaster to Melrose, I bore testimony to the wisdom of the change, and I now say again, The providence of God has been revealed in the transfer. The Melrose Sanitarium is a place that will be well patronized; and great good will be accomplished by the institution if it is rightly conducted.
There were those who said that the move would result in financial embarrassment. But there is no necessity for this institution to become embarrassed by debt. Should there be a pressure for means, money can be borrowed at four per cent interest. Thus the matter stands at the present time. But another building is needed. There should be accommodations for those who desire and are willing to pay for rooms with a private bathroom. People come here who say that they are willing to pay whatever is asked for rooms which are just what they want. But they see nothing that satisfies them, and they go away. Accommodations must be provided for people of this class. We are to labor in the highways as well as in the byways.
I am instructed that Boston must be worked; and I know that the possession of this sanitarium site is one of the greatest blessings that could come to our work in the Eastern States. A hundred or more might be cared for here were there suitable accommodations. Therefore we advise that the work on the new building be begun soon, so that patients of the wealthy class may be cared for. This class must hear the message. Let those in charge counsel together, and make arrangements to put up a building that will provide the necessary accommodations. The material now lying in the barn can be utilized. Remember, this material was a gift.
We rejoice that the Lord in his providence has guided us to this place. No buildings can be put up near the sanitarium. There is here nothing to offend the sense of sight or the sense of smell, and care must be taken that there shall be nothing of the kind. I am instructed that close inspection is being made by those who are not supposed to be inspectors. Everything about the building will be investigated. Note will be taken of the care given to the barns and stables; therefore there must be no laxness or looseness in the care of the premises. Let everything be such that it will bear favorable testimony to the institution.
Those who are acting a prominent part in connection with this sanitarium should be encouraged by what the Lord has done in behalf of the institution. Let all move forward unitedly. Let every one strive to become better acquainted with Christ Jesus, the great Medical Missionary. Let all strive with every power of the being to control the blind passions, which, if not purged from the life, would lead to the dishonor of God's holy name. Self is to be subdued. Every thought, word, and act is to be brought into obedience to the will of Christ.
Let all who are connected with the sanitarium inquire at every crisis, What would Christ do were he in my place? Keeping the way of the Lord always leads men into paths on truth and righteousness. We are to make advance moves; we are not to stagnate.
If there are members of the board who can not see clearly what ought to be done to advance the work that other members of the board regard as essential, let all bow before God in prayer, asking him to cure the evil of disunion, and make the right way clear. Time is too short for any one to put his foot on the brake, so that the chariot of the Lord can not move forward. If there is one who persists in putting his foot on the brake, let others say, "We will now seek the Lord in prayer." Do not enter into controversy with the one who has set himself against the work that needs to be done. Take it all to the Lord in prayer.
Self, self, self--how it struggles for the supremacy! In all things the Word of the God of truth is to be our criterion. Study this Word. Constantly praying with meekness and reverence, constantly rendering obedience to a plain "Thus saith the Lord," you will reveal to angels and to men that you are members of the redeemed family.
Caution should be exercised not to bring an unnecessary burden of debt upon the institution. Stand in the light and freedom, without a yoke upon your necks. Come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Satanic agencies are constantly seeking to discourage and destroy those who will listen to the counsel of the enemy. Keep close to the word of God; for it is spirit and life. Then the Lord will be able to say of you, Ye "are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #40)
After two weeks' rest at the Melrose Sanitarium, we started Friday, September 2, for the Middletown campmeeting, where we spent three days.
It had been planned that we should attend the Maine campmeeting, and the Canadian Union Conference, which was held in Knowlton, Quebec; but I had not strength to endure so many meetings or the fatigue of so much travel.
Toward the close of our stay at Melrose, my strength revived, and I was encouraged to attempt to speak to our people assembled at the Middletown campmeeting, which was not far away, and to stop on my way West to speak to our people in Battle Creek.
At Middletown we found about one hundred and twenty-five of our people assembled. This was the first annual meeting of the Southern New England Conference. A spot of ground near the city and easy of access had been chosen for the camp, and there was a fair attendance of the public.
During our short stay at the meeting, I spoke four times. Our brethren dared not hope for a large attendance of the public, but on Sunday the large tent was filled, and many were standing outside.
I spoke from the third chapter of First John, about God's great gift to our world. I spoke of Christ's temptation in the wilderness, and then dwelt for a short time on the subject of temperance. I spoke with great plainness, and the people seemed to be interested. The Lord strengthened me, and I felt no weariness after speaking.
Wherever I go, I shall urge the people to keep Christ uplifted. He is always the same, yesterday, today, and forever, always seeking to do us good, always encouraging and guiding us, leading us onward step by step. What he is today,--a faithful high priest, touched with the feeling of our infirmities,--he will be tomorrow, and forevermore. He is our guide, our teacher, our counselor, our friend, ever bestowing his blessings upon us in response to our faith. He invites us to abide with him. When we do this, when we make our home with him, all friction, all ill temper, all irritation, will cease.
Many years ago, when our work was just beginning, my husband and I received a letter from Brother Chamberlain, of Middletown, urging us to attend a conference in Connecticut. We decided to go if we could obtain the necessary means for the journey. My husband settled with his employer, and collected the ten dollars due him. With five of this I purchased articles of clothing that we much needed, and then patched my husband's overcoat, even piecing the patches. We had five dollars left, and with this we bought tickets to Dorchester, Mass. The little box that we used as a trunk contained almost all that we possessed on earth; but we enjoyed peace of mind and a clear conscience, and this we prized above all earthly comforts. On reaching Dorchester, we called at Brother Nichols' house, and as we were leaving, Sister Nichols handed my husband five dollars. This paid our fare to Middletown, Conn. We were strangers in the city, and had never seen one of the brethren living in the place. We had but fifty cents left, and my husband dared not use this to hire a carriage, so we walked on in search of some one of like faith. We soon found Brother Chamberlain, who took us to his house.
It was in Middletown, about 1849, that my husband began the publication of our first paper, a small sheet called, The Present Truth. We were then living in Rocky Hills, seven miles from Middletown, and my husband often walked back and forth between the two places, though he was then lame. When he brought the first number of the paper from the printing office, we all bowed round it, and with humble hearts and many tears besought the Lord to let his blessing rest upon the feeble efforts of his servant. My husband then directed copies of the paper to all who he thought would read it, and walked seven miles to the Middletown post office, carrying the precious papers in a carpet bag. Again and again, before the papers were taken to the post office, they were spread before God, and earnest prayers, mingled with tears, were offered to God that his blessing might attend the silent messengers. Very soon letters came, bringing means to help in the publication of the paper, and bringing also the good news that many souls were accepting the truth.
A Visit to Battle Creek.--On Tuesday, September 6, we reached Battle Creek. Here I spent two days, speaking once to the patients in the Sanitarium parlor, once to a large congregation in the Tabernacle, and once to the Sanitarium helpers. Very short notice could be given of the meeting in the Tabernacle, and I did not expect to see many present. To my surprise, the Tabernacle was filled. It was estimated that about twenty-five hundred people were present. I spoke with freedom for more than an hour.
In the night season I received a special blessing from the Lord. I was to speak the next morning to the Sanitarium helpers, and I felt the need of wisdom and grace from on high. I laid right hold of the great Medical Missionary, and I was assured that his grace would be with me in large measure. This promise was fulfilled to me as I stood on Thursday morning before a congregation of nearly three hundred, mostly made up of sanitarium physicians, nurses, and helpers.
I know that when I ask the Lord to be my helper, he will not deny me, because it is my one desire to do his will and glorify his name. I am weak, but in depending wholly upon him, I obtain strength. In laying my burden upon the Burden Bearer, I find comfort and strength and hope. This is my desire,--to find abiding rest at his feet. While I keep firm hold of his hand, he leads me safely. The living God shall be the joy and rejoicing of my soul.
The Omaha Campmeeting.--From Battle Creek we went to Omaha, where there was a large campmeeting in progress. In a conversation with Elder A. T. Robinson, I learned that there were more than one thousand camped on the ground. There is a decided interest in the truth in Omaha, and the people of the city seem to be glad of the opportunity of attending the meetings.
I spoke on Sabbath afternoon and Sunday afternoon in the large tent. At each of these meetings the large tent was full. At the Sunday evening meeting, there were more than fifteen hundred present.
Monday morning I addressed the workers. During my talk I read the following from my diary:--
Many scenes have passed before me during the night, and many questions in reference to the work that we are to do for our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, have been made plain and clear. Words were spoken by One of authority. The heavenly messenger said, "The ministry is becoming greatly enfeebled because men are assuming the responsibility of preaching without gaining the needed preparation for this work."
Those who give themselves to the ministry of the Word enter a most important work. Some have made a mistake in receiving ministerial credentials. They ought to take up work for which they are better adapted. Their efforts are feeble, and they should not continue to receive pay from the tithe. In many ways the ministry is losing its sacred character.
Our churches are becoming enfeebled by receiving for doctrines the commandments of men. Many are received into the church who are not converted. Men, women, and children are allowed to take part in the solemn rite of baptism without being fully instructed in regard to the meaning of this ordinance. Participation in this ordinance means much, and our ministers should be careful to give each candidate for baptism plain instruction regarding its meaning and its solemnity.
The gospel ministry is a high and sacred calling. Properly done, the work of the gospel minister will bring many souls into the fold. "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth," Christ said. "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." This commission is given to every ordained minister. The minister who is merely a speaker, who does not labor as Christ labored, putting his whole soul intelligently into the work, needs true conversion.
Those who preach the gospel without putting the whole being, heart, mind, soul, and strength, into the work, are consumers and not producers. God calls for men who realize that they must put forth earnest effort, men who bring thought, zeal, prudence, capability, and the attributes of Christ's character into their work. The saving of souls is a vast work, which calls for the employment of every talent, every gift of grace. Those engaged in this work should constantly increase in efficiency. They should be filled with an earnest desire to have their power for service strengthened, realizing that they will be weak without a constantly increasing supply of grace. They should seek to attain larger and still larger results in their work. When this is the experience of our workers, fruit will be seen. Many souls will be brought into the truth.
My brethren, labor earnestly and seriously. This does not mean that you are not to be cheerful, but that you are to put your whole soul into the work of preparing the way for Christ's coming. The Lord calls for wholehearted, unselfish men to sound the note of warning. Workers who perform faithfully the duties given them of God will receive more and more grace. From their lives will shine forth more and more clearly the light of present truth. They will be given power to glorify God. They will be enabled to help and bless others by setting a Christlike example. Their path will grow brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. Their conversion will become more and more decided, and they will be vessels unto honor. God's purpose for his workers is that they shall grow up into the full stature of men and women in Christ. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #41)
We see before us a special work to be done. We are now to pray as never before for the Holy Spirit's guidance. Let us seek the Lord with the whole heart, that we may find him. We have received the light of the three angels' messages; and we need now to come decidedly to the front, and take our position on the side of truth.
The fourteenth chapter of Revelation is a chapter of the deepest interest. This scripture will soon be understood in all its bearings, and the messages given to John the revelator will be repeated with distinct utterance.
The prophecies in the eighteenth of Revelation will soon be fulfilled. During the proclamation of the third angel's message, "another angel" is to "come down from heaven, having great power," and the earth is to be "lighted with his glory." The Spirit of the Lord will so graciously bless consecrated human instrumentalities that men, women, and children will open their lips in praise and thanksgiving, filling the earth with the knowledge of God, and with his unsurpassed glory, as the waters cover the sea.
Those who have held the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end will be wide-awake during the time that the third angel's message is proclaimed with great power. During the loud cry, the church, aided by the providential interpositions of her exalted Lord, will diffuse the knowledge of salvation so abundantly that light will be communicated to every city and town. The earth will be filled with the knowledge of salvation. So abundantly will the renewing Spirit of God have crowned with success the intensely active agencies, that the light of present truth will be seen flashing everywhere.
The saving knowledge of God will accomplish its purifying work on the mind and heart of every believer. The Word declares: "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes." This is the descent of the Holy Spirit, sent from God to do its office work. The house of Israel is to be imbued with the Holy Spirit, and baptized with the grace of salvation.
Amid the confusing cries, "Lo, here is Christ! Lo, there is Christ!" will be borne a special testimony, a special message of truth appropriate for this time, which message is to be received, believed, and acted upon. It is the truth, not fanciful ideas, that is efficacious. The eternal truth of the Word will stand forth free from all seductive errors and spiritualistic interpretations, free from all fancifully drawn, alluring pictures. Falsehoods will be urged upon the attention of God's people, but the truth is to stand clothed in its beautiful, pure garments. The Word, precious in its holy uplifting influence, is not to be degraded to a level with common, ordinary matters. It is always to remain uncontaminated by the fallacies by which Satan seeks to deceive, if possible, the very elect.
The proclamation of the gospel is the only means in which God can employ human beings as his instrumentalities for the salvation of souls. As men, women, and children proclaim the gospel, the Lord will open the eyes of the blind to see his statutes, and will write upon the hearts of the truly penitent his law. The animating Spirit of God, working through human agencies, leads the believers to be of one mind, one soul, unitedly loving God and keeping his commandments,--preparing here below for translation.
There have been conflicts, and there will be until in heaven the voice of the Lord is heard, saying, "It is done." And after the redeemed are taken to heaven, God the Father will be glorified in crowning the Lord Jesus, who gave his life a ransom for the world.
Let the work of proclaiming the gospel of Christ be made efficient by the agency of the Holy Spirit. Let not one believer, in the day of trial and proving that has already begun, listen to the devising of the enemy. The living Word is the sword of the Spirit. Mercies and judgments will be sent from heaven. The working of providence will be revealed both in mercies and in judgments.
If we watch and pray and trust God's living Word, we shall gain victories "Watch and pray," Christ said, "that ye enter not into temptation." The day dawns. We must enter each battle with full faith that through Christ we shall be more than conquerors. As faithful watchmen we must diligently guard against the dangers threatening God's people. Other chapters will open before us, and in order to discern their meaning, we shall need keen perception. We are not to be depressed or discouraged, but filled with holy boldness. We are not to be disheartened by the prevalence of sin, or by the difficulties that arise on the right hand and on the left. We must put on the whole armor of God, and stand firm for the right. In the future, Satan's deceptions will assume new forms. False theories, clothed with garments of light, will be presented to God's people. Thus Satan will try to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Our watchword is to be, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."
God's Messengers.--Moses was chosen by God as the messenger of his covenant. The Lord called him up into the mountain, to receive his instruction for Israel. Today God chooses men as he chose Moses, to be his messengers. These men are first to receive instruction from God; then they are to impart that which they have received, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. Every word they speak must be spoken in truth.
It is fearfully dangerous now to be unable to discern the truth. Those who would proclaim the word of God must be men who know his will. They must be careful lest they make mistakes. They must be men of knowledge, able to instruct others. How can they speak clearly and intelligently of the things of God if they do not commune with him. They must obtain wisdom from on high. They are to be instant in season and out of season, always prepared for whatever they may be called to do.
"The priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts." The people should counsel with him, for he is God's appointed messenger. They should not only hear, but they should ask questions, that they may have a clear knowledge of truth. He is not to withhold his knowledge from them, but is to regard it as a sacred trust, to be imparted to others. His mind is to be a treasure house of good things, from which, whenever occasion demands, he can draw a "Thus saith the Lord." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #42)
We are living in the very last days of this earth's history. All the signs that our Saviour predicted would herald his second advent are being fulfilled. We must earnestly continue laboring until the work given us to do is finished. As we see and sense the perils of the last days, and as the powers of darkness press more heavily than ever upon us, should not we, as Bible believers, do our very best work?
We see before us a special work to be done in the time when the whole earth shall be filled with the light and the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. The prophecies in the eighteenth of Revelation will soon be fulfilled. During the proclamation of the third angel's message, "another angel" is to "come down from heaven, having great power;" and the earth is to be "lightened with the glory." The Spirit of the Lord will so graciously and universally bless consecrated human instrumentalities, that men, women, and children will open their lips in praise and testimony, filling the earth with the knowledge of God, and with his unsurpassed glory, as the waters cover the sea.
The proclamation of the gospel is the only means by which God can employ human beings as his instrumentalities for the salvation of souls. As men, women, and children proclaim the gospel, the Lord will open the eyes of the blind to see his statutes, and will write his law upon the hearts of the truly penitent.
To my brethren and sisters I am bidden to say: Let the work of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ be directed and made efficient by the agency of the Holy Spirit. Let not one believer, in the day of trial and proving that has already begun, listen to the devising of the enemy. The animating Spirit of God, working through human agencies, leads the believers to be of one mind, one soul, unitedly loving God and keeping his commandments,--preparing here below for translation.
If the families around you are opposed to the truth, strive to lead them to yield to the claims of Christ. Work patiently, wisely, considerately, winning your way by tender ministry of love. Present the truth in such a way that it will be seen in all its beauty, exerting an influence that can not be resisted. Thus the walls of prejudice will be broken down.
If this work were faithfully done, if fathers and mothers would work for the members of their own families, and then for those around them, uplifting Christ by a godly life, thousands of souls would be saved. When God's people are truly converted, when they realize the obligation resting on them to labor for those within their reach, when they leave no means untried to rescue sinners from the power of the enemy, the reproach will be removed from our churches.
Do we realize how large a number in the world are watching our movements? From quarters where we least expect it, 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 can not 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. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #43)
The proclamation that freed the slaves in the Southern States opened doors through which Christian workers should have entered to tell the story of the love of God. In this field there were precious jewels that the Lord's workers should have searched for as for hidden treasure. But though the colored people have been freed from political slavery, many of them are still in the slavery of ignorance and sin. Many of them are terribly degraded. Is no message of warning to reach them? Had those to whom God has given great light and many opportunities done the work that he desires them to do, there would today be memorials all through the Southern field,--churches, sanitariums, and schools. Men and women of all classes would have been called to the gospel feast.
The present condition of the Southern field is dishonoring to the Redeemer. But shall it lead us to believe that the commission which Christ gave to his disciples when he told them to preach the gospel to all nations, can not be fulfilled?--No, no! Christ has power for the fulfilment of his commission. He is fully able to do the work laid upon him. In the wilderness, armed with the weapon, "It is written," he met and overcame the strongest temptations that the enemy could bring against him. He proved the power of the Word. It is God's people who have failed. That his Word has not the power on hearts that it ought to have is shown by the present condition of the world. But it is because men have chosen to disobey, not because the Word has less power.
Some time ago I seemed to be, during the night season, in a meeting in which the work in the Southern field was being discussed. The questions were asked by a company of intelligent colored people: "Has God no message for the colored people of the South? Have they no souls to save? Does not the new covenant include them? If the Lord is soon to come, is it not time that something was done for the Southern field?"
"We do not," it was said, "question the need of missions in foreign lands. But we do question the right of those who claim to have present truth to pass by millions of human beings in their own country, many of whom are as ignorant as the heathen. Why is it that so little is done for the colored people of the South, many of whom are ignorant and destitute, and need to be taught that Christ is their Creator and Redeemer? How can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? How can they hear without a preacher? And how can one preach except he be sent?
"We lay this matter before those who profess to believe the truth for this time. What are you doing for the unenlightened colored race? Why have you not a deeper sense of the necessities of the Southern field? Does there not rest upon ministers of the gospel the responsibility of setting in operation plans whereby this people can be educated? Does not the commission of the Saviour teach this? Is it right for professed Christians to hold themselves aloof from this work, allowing a few to carry the burden? In all your plans for medical missionary work and foreign missionary work, has God given you no message for us?"
Then He who has authority arose, and called upon all to give heed to the instruction that the Lord has given in regard to the work in the South. He said: "Much more evangelistic work should be done in the South. There should be a hundred workers where now there is but one.
"Let the people of God awake. Think you that the Lord will bless those who have felt no burden for this work, and who permit the way of its advancement to be hedged up?"
As these words were spoken, deep feeling was manifested. Some offered themselves as missionaries, while others sat in silence, apparently taking no interest in the subject.
Then the words were spoken: "The South is a most unpromising field; but how changed would it be from what it is now, if, after the colored people had been released from slavery, men and women had worked for them as Christians ought to work, teaching them how to care for themselves!"
The condition of the colored people in the South is no more disheartening than was the condition of the world when Christ left heaven to come to its aid. He saw humanity sunken in wretchedness and sinfulness. He knew that men and women were depraved and degraded, and that they cherished the most loathsome vices. Angels marveled that Christ should undertake what seemed to them a hopeless task. They marveled that God could tolerate a race so sinful. They could see no room for love. But "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
Christ came to this earth with a message of mercy and forgiveness. He laid the foundation for a religion by which Jew and Gentile, black and white, free and bond, are linked together in one common brotherhood, recognized as equal in the sight of God. The Saviour has a boundless love for every human being. In each one he sees capacity for improvement. With divine energy and hope he greets those for whom he has given his life. In his strength they can live a life rich in good works, filled with the power of the Spirit. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #44)
Satan came to Adam and Eve with the temptation, "Ye shall be as gods." This same temptation comes to all the members of the human family. Naturally, man is not willing to be what God desires him to be. He is not willing to act his part in meekness and lowliness, as did the great Exemplar. Christ laid aside his royal robe and kingly crown, and clothed his divinity with humanity, that he might stand at the head of the human race.
In man's behalf Christ volunteered to pass over the ground where Adam fell, and, by living a life of perfect obedience, place the race on vantage ground. Power was vested in him for the redemption of mankind. Yet he did not exalt himself. He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even the death of the cross. "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Only through faith in Christ's name can the sinner be saved. He is the head of the new creation. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the prophet, priest, and king of all regenerate humanity. He is Immanuel, God with us. The eternal Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and of his fulness have all we received. He is the author and finisher of our faith. "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
Faith in Christ is not the work of nature, but the work of God on human minds, wrought in the very soul by the Holy Spirit, who reveals Christ, as Christ revealed the Father. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. With its justifying, sanctifying power, it is above what men call science. It is the science of eternal realities. Human science is often deceptive and misleading, but this heavenly science never misleads. It is so simple that a child may understand it, and yet the most learned men can not explain it. It is inexplainable and immeasurable, beyond all human expression.
All who search the Scriptures with humility of heart will be taught of God. "Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness. For they call themselves the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; the Lord of hosts is his name. I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass."
Read the whole of this chapter,--the forty-eighth of Isaiah. It has been pointed out to me as a representation of the true condition of those, who, though they have had the truth, line upon line, precept upon precept, have refused to hear and receive the testimonies of warning that God has given. They have hindered the work and cause of God with misrepresentation, falsehood, and heresy, and when the Spirit of God has spoken, they have said, "It is naught, it is naught."
"Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass; I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; . . . lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them. Thou hast heard, see all this; and will ye not declare it? I have showed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them. . . . Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened; for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously."
"For my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. . . . For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another. Harken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last."
The Lord continues to carry forward his work of redemption in the hearts of his people, not because of the goodness and devotion and purity that he sees in those in high places; not because they have feared the Lord; but for the glory of his name, lest the enemies of the truth should triumph.
The Lord has borne long with the waywardness of his people, with their persistency in carrying out their own way,--a way of self-exaltation suggested by the tempter. If they repent, and turn decidedly from their evil ways, they will become monuments of his almighty power and his abounding grace. They will become witnesses for the truth, establishing that which once they tore down. If they will repent, and make straight paths for their feet, that the lame be no longer turned out of the way, God will have mercy upon them.
The Lord desires those who have the light of truth to be wholly worked by the Holy Spirit. The truth is to be taught as Christ taught it. If he had desired us to cherish new views of God and heavenly things, he would have plainly given them to us by revelation. Let not God's servants allow their eyes to be blinded by the sophistries of the enemy. Let them not allow themselves to be led to accept theories that are contrary to the Word of God.
The word of the Lord is yea and amen. Teach the truth in the way that it is taught in the Bible. Teach it with clearness and in the fervency of the Spirit, because you have first talked with God, and have had the burden of the message laid upon your soul by the ministration of the Spirit. Then the truth will be proclaimed in its purity. There will be no tares mingled with the seed sown. The truth will commend itself to men and women of good judgment.
Thousands who have never heard the truth are starving for the bread of life. They want light from heaven. Were the truth presented to them in love, the Holy Spirit would move upon their hearts, leading them to accept it. But while these are waiting for the truth, there are backsliders in our churches, men and women who are acting as sinners. These, if not soundly converted will soon be punished as sinners.
Let no one present beautiful, scientific sophistries to lull the people of God to sleep. Clothe not the solemn, sacred truth for this time in any fantastic dress of man's wisdom. Let those who have been doing this stop and cry unto God to save their souls from deceiving fables.
It is the living energy of the Holy Spirit that will move hearts, not pleasing, deceptive theories. Fanciful representations are not the bread of life: they can not save the soul from sin.
Christ was sent from heaven to redeem humanity. He taught the doctrines that God gave him to teach. The truths that he proclaimed, as found in the Old Testament and the New, we today are to proclaim as the word of the living God.
Let those who want the bread of life go to the Scriptures, not to the teaching of finite, erring men. Give the people the bread of life that Christ came from heaven to bring to us. Do not mix with your teaching human suppositions and conjectures. I would that all knew how much they need to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God,--to make his words a part of their very lives! "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man," Christ declares, "and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. . . . As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. . . . It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
We need spiritual strength. If we eat the Word of God, if we practise the teachings of Christ, we shall have life in ourselves. We shall be strong in the strength of God. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #45)
In the Word of God, studied and obeyed as our guide book, we possess a spiritual guide and instructor by which the worst forms of evil in ourselves may be brought under the discipline of God's law. If the teachings of this Word were made the controlling influence in our lives, if mind and heart were brought under its restraining power, the evils that now exist in churches and families would find no place. Upon converted households the purest blessings would descend, and from these households an influence would go forth that would make them a power on the side of truth and righteousness.
The work of reformation that is needed must begin in the home. There rests upon parents the most solemn obligation to train their children in the fear and love of God. In the home the purest morals are to be preserved. Strict obedience to Bible requirements is to be taught. The teachings of the Word of God are to control mind and heart, that the home life may demonstrate the power of the grace of God. Each member of the family is to be "polished after the similitude of a palace" by the divine principles and precepts.
Parents need to awake from their deathlike slumber, and no longer neglect the Lord's instructions. As members of the church, and for the benefit of those with whom they may be associated, their characters are to be cast in a Christlike mold. Their course of action is to be a constant declaration that, instead of wearing the stamp and mold of the world, they have put on the image of the heavenly.
In the Bible the will of God is revealed. Through all time this book is to stand as a revelation of Jehovah. To human beings the divine oracles have been committed to be the power of God. The truths of the Word of God are not mere sentiment, but the utterances of the Most High. He who makes these truths a part of his life becomes in every sense a new creature. He is not given new mental powers, but the darkness that through ignorance and sin have clouded the understanding, is removed.
The words, "A new heart will I give you," mean, A new mind will I give you. This change of heart is always attended by a clear conception of Christian duty, an understanding of truth. The clearness of our views of truth will be proportionate to our understanding of the Word of God. He who gives the Scriptures close, prayerful attention will gain clear comprehension and sound judgment, as if in turning to God he had reached a higher grade of intelligence.
The Word of God, studied and obeyed as it should be, will give light and knowledge. Its perusal will strengthen the understanding. By contact with the purest, most lofty truths, the mind will be enlarged, the taste refined.
We are dependent on the Bible for a knowledge of the early history of our world, of the creation of man, and of his fall. Remove the Word of God, and what can we expect but to be left to fables and conjectures, and to that enfeebling of the intellect which is the sure result of entertaining error. We need the authentic history of the origin of the earth, of the fall of Lucifer, and of the introduction of sin into the world. Without the Bible, we should be bewildered by false theories. The mind would be subjected to the tyranny of superstition and falsehood. But, having in our possession an authentic history of the beginning of the world, we need not hamper ourselves with human conjectures and unreliable theories.
Wherever Christians are, they may hold communion with God. And they may enjoy the intelligence of sanctified science. Their minds may be strengthened, even as Daniel's was. God gave him "knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom." Among all the youth examined by Nebuchadnezzar, there was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
The habits and understanding of the youth who were not instructed by God were in accord with the knowledge that comes from idolatrous practises, and leaves God out of the reckoning. Daniel and his companions, from the first of their experience in the king's court, were gaining a clearer comprehension and sounder, more accurate judgment, than all the wise men in the kingdom of Babylon. They placed themselves where God could bless them. They ate only that food which would not becloud their minds. They followed rules of life which would help to give them strength of intellect, that they might gain the greatest possible benefit from their study of God's Word.
It was to Daniel that Nebuchadnezzar, unable to get help from his wise men, turned for an account of his forgotten dream, and for an interpretation of it. Daniel and his companions sought the Lord in prayer, and he revealed to them the dream and its interpretation. And when they related to the king what God had shown them, Nebuchadnezzar said, "Of a truth it is that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldst reveal this secret."
The mind of which error has once taken possession can never expand freely to after-investigation. The old theories will claim recognition. The understanding of things that are true and elevated and sanctifying will be confused. Superstitious ideas will enter the mind, to mingle with the true, and these ideas are always debasing in their influence. Christian knowledge bears its own stamp of unmeasured superiority in all that concerns the preparation for the future, immortal life. It distinguishes the Bible reader and believer, who has been receiving the precious treasures of truth, from the skeptic and the believer in pagan philosophy.
Cleave to the word, "It is written." Cast out of the mind the dangerous, obtrusive theories which, if entertained, will hold the mind in bondage, so that man shall not become a new creature in Christ. The mind must be constantly restrained and guarded. It must be given as food only that which will strengthen the religious experience.
The Bible teaches every soul to turn to the lands where the cross of Calvary has not been uplifted, and the name of Jesus exalted above every other name. The nation that gives free room for the circulation of the Scriptures opens the way for the minds of the people to work with greater vigor. The reading of the Scriptures causes light to shine into the darkness. As the Word of God is searched, lifegiving truths are found.
In the cities and nations of our world, there will be found among unbelievers a remnant who will appreciate the blessed Word, and who will receive the Saviour. Christ will give men and women power to become the sons and daughters of God. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #46)
Fashion rules the world. She is a tyrannical mistress, often compelling her devotees to the greatest inconvenience and discomfort. Fashion taxes without reason and collects without mercy. She has a fascinating power, and stands ready to criticize and ridicule the poor, if they do not follow in her wake at any cost, even at the sacrifice of life itself. Satan triumphs that his devices succeed so well, and Death laughs at the health-destroying folly and blind zeal of the worshipers at Fashion's shrine.
Not a few of our people are backsliding. They are imitating the fashions of the world. Their spirituality is dying. Step by step they are approaching world-loving. Selfishness and pride are taking possession of them, and the love of God finds little room in their hearts. Some who were once zealous reformers are now indifferent. Sisters who were once plain in dress are now conforming to fashion. God expects his commandment-keeping people to be distinct from worldlings, but in many instances the line of demarcation is hardly discernible.
As I have seen those of our faith becoming worldly, my heart has been saddened. Some of those who profess to believe that they have the last message of mercy to give to the world, follow the fashions as far as they think their profession of faith will allow them to do. And their influence leads others astray. Their lack of Christlikeness is apparent to all. The Lord is dishonored by their conformity to the fashions of this degenerate age. Outward display is contradictory to our profession of faith. I entreat my sisters to guard against the tendency to dress in accordance with the demands of fashion.
Many of the mother's burdens are the result of her effort to keep pace with the fashions of the day. Terrible is the effect of these fashions on the physical, mental, and moral health. Lacking the courage to stand firm for the right, women allow the current of popular feeling to draw them on in its wake. Much precious time is devoted to needless stitching and ruffling, to add to the outward adorning. Children are robbed of the time that should be devoted to gaining for them the beauty of holiness,--the inward adorning, which, in the sight of God, is of great price.
In order to follow fashion, many of our youth incur expenses that are out of proportion to their condition in life. Children of poor parents endeavor to dress as do those who are wealthy. Parents tax their purses and their God-given time and strength in making and remodeling clothing to satisfy their children's vanity. If our sisters who have an abundance of means would regulate their expenditures by their responsibility to God, as wise stewards of the means entrusted to them; their example would do much to stay this evil now existing among us. Souls whom they might have helped by letting their light shine in good works, are strengthened in unbelief by their inconsistent course.
Mothers can not be slaves to fashion and at the same time exert a sanctifying influence in the home. Too often professedly Christian mothers sacrifice principle to their desire to follow the multitude who make fashion their god. Conscience protests, but they are not brave enough to take a decided stand against the wrong.
Many of our sisters willingly bear the unnecessary burden of conformity to worldly dress. Attempting to follow the fashions, their burdens are greatly increased, yet they willingly bear the yoke, because they worship the goddess of fashion.
It is not only the privilege, but the duty of every one to increase daily in the knowledge of God and the truth. Satan's object is gained if he can invent something that will so attract the mind that God will be forgotten, and he uses fashion with great success to do this. He knows that women who constantly have a feverish desire to follow the fashions, have benumbed their moral sensibilities, and do not realize their real spiritual condition. Worldly minded, they are without God, without hope. They take no time to pray, or to search the Scriptures in order that they may understand the truth, and teach it to their children.
When I have seen Christian women leading out in temperance campaigns, presenting to liquor inebriates a pledge to abstain from all intoxicating drinks, I have thought that it would also be well for them to present to every Christian woman a pledge to abstain from all needless display and extravagance in dress. By dressing simply, thus saving time and means, Christian women can do much to help the temperance cause. The means thus saved will clothe the destitute, feed the hungry, and will help to close the door against liquor drinking. Those who are simple in dress have time to visit the afflicted, and to pray with and for them. On all Christians rests a solemn duty to economize, that they may be better able to help those in need.
We do not discourage neatness in dress. Correct taste is not to be despised nor condemned. Our faith, if carried out, will lead us to be so plain in dress, and zealous of good works, that we shall be marked as peculiar. But when we lose taste for order and neatness in dress, we virtually leave the truth; for the truth never degrades, but elevates. When believers are neglectful of their dress, and are coarse and rough in their manners, their influence hurts the truth. "We are," said the inspired apostle, "made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men." All heaven is marking the daily influence that the professed followers of Christ exert upon the world. My sisters, your dress is telling either in favor of Christ and the sacred truth or in favor of the world. Which is it? Remember that we must all answer to God for the influence we exert.
Simplicity of dress will make a sensible woman appear to the best advantage. We judge of a person's character by the style of dress worn. A modest, godly woman will dress modestly. A refined taste, a cultivated mind, will be revealed in the choice of a simple, appropriate attire. The young women who break away from the slavery of fashion will be ornaments to society. The one who is simple and unpretending in her dress and in her manners shows that she understands that a true woman is characterized by moral worth. How charming, how interesting, is simplicity in dress, which in comeliness can be compared with the flowers of the field. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #47)
(Reading for Sabbath, December 10.)--Sin is a hateful thing. It marred the moral beauty of a large number of the angels. It entered our world, and well-nigh obliterated the moral image of God in man. But in his great love God provided a way whereby man might regain the position from which he fell in yielding to the tempter. Christ came to stand at the head of humanity, to work out in our behalf a perfect character. Those who receive him are born again. "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God."
Christ saw humanity, through the working of the mighty growth of sin, demoniacally possessed by the prince of the power of the air, and putting forth gigantic strength in exploits of evil. But he saw also that a mightier power was to meet and conquer Satan. "Now is the judgment of this world," he said; "Now shall the prince of this world be cast out." He saw that if human beings believed in him, they would be given power against the host of fallen angels, whose name is legion. Christ strengthened his own soul by the thought that by the wonderful sacrifice which he was about to make, the prince of this world was to be cast out, and men and women placed where, through the grace of God, they would regain what they had lost.
What does the Lord require of his blood bought heritage?--The sanctification of the whole being,--purity like the purity of Christ, perfect conformity to the will of God. My brethren and sisters, God requires this of us. Into the holy city there can enter nothing that defileth, or maketh a lie. God's word to us is, "I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect." "Ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine." "Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." "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." He "gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
We can, we can , reveal the likeness of our divine Lord. We can know the science of spiritual life. We can honor our Maker. But do we do it? O, what an illustrious example we have in the life that Christ lived on this earth! He has shown us what we can accomplish through cooperation with divinity. We are to seek for the union of which he speaks when he says, "Abide in me, and I in you." This union is deeper, stronger, truer, than any other union, and is productive of all good. Those who are thus united to the Saviour are controlled by his will, and are moved by his love to suffer with those who suffer, to rejoice with those who rejoice, to feel a deep sympathy for every one in weakness, sorrow, or distress.
Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God's ideal for his children. He wants our minds to be clear, our tempers sweet, our love abounding. Then the peace that passeth knowledge will flow from us to bless all with whom we come in contact. The atmosphere surrounding our souls will be refreshing.
But how few there are who are making determined efforts to reach this ideal. Satan is trying to keep the people of God dwarfed, feeble, unchristlike. And too often he is successful. In our churches there are many who have not the spirit of the Master, many who act as if they were in the world merely to please themselves. They forget that the enemy is assailing all who profess to be children of God, trying to overcome them, so that they will disappoint and dishonor the Saviour. They forget that the purity and unselfishness that characterized the life of Christ must characterize their lives, else in the day of God they will be found wanting, and will hear from his lips the irrevocable sentence, "Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
I have been especially instructed in regard to the danger of drawing apart, and of evil speaking and contention. We need to bow before God in repentance because of our lack of love for one another, and for him who died for us. The gold of love and faith is not abundant among us. Many are holding on to the truth with but the tips of their fingers. The precious time that should be spent in speaking of the Saviour's power to save, is being spent by many in carrying evil reports. Unless they make a decided change, they will be found wanting. Unless they have an entire transformation of character, they will never enter heaven. A deep, thorough work needs to be done in the hearts of those who profess to be children of God. Until they reveal the faith that works by love and purifies the soul, very little genuine work for God will be done in the world.
Let our people take up their appointed work,--the work of soul-saving. Let them not think that upon them has been laid the burden of watching and criticizing the work of others. Those who put their whole souls into the work that God gives them will have no time to criticize the efforts of their fellow workers, no time to weaken the hands of those who are straining every nerve and muscle to advance the work.
Let not any man or woman feel that he or she has been appointed to carry evil reports from church to church, and from conference to conference. I have been grieved beyond measure to see how easy it is for persons to spend precious time in this cruel work. The proclamation of the first, second, and third angels' messages is now to be our burden. Those who spend their time in thinking and speaking evil are bringing to the foundation, material represented by hay, wood, and stubble, which will be consumed by the fires of the last days. They will one day see that their time has been spent in weakening churches, institutions, and conferences.
God hates all such work. He will call to account all who engage in it. Let those who fear God and believe his word put a guard on their lips. Let them be determined not to speak words that will injure the cause of God, or give a wrong representation of the work being done in any of his institutions. Let them be careful not to speak words that will be a temptation to some one else to withhold the confidence and the words of courage that ought to be given to those who are severely tried, and who, perhaps, work early and late to fulfil the many calls of duty, until it seems as if mind and body would give way under the strain.
Words of suspicion and distrust, like the thistledown carried by the wind, are scattered far and wide, and can never be recalled. Unchristlike speech lies at the foundation of nine tenths of all the difficulties that exist in the church. Satan's agents are industriously trying to get professed Christians to speak unadvisedly. When they succeed, Satan exults, because God's followers have hurt their influence. We have no time, in these solemn moments, to contend with one another. Those who give way to evil thinking and evil speaking do not realize how much time they cause others to lose. God's servants have been called upon to settle difficulties between brother and brother, and time has been spent in this way that belonged to souls ready to perish,--time that ought to have been devoted to the fulfilling of the gospel commission.
My brother, my sister, be afraid to find fault, afraid to talk against your fellow workers. You have enlisted to fight against Satan's forces, and you have no time to fight against your fellow soldiers. The truly converted man has no inclination to think or talk of the faults of others. His lips are sanctified, and as God's witness he testifies that the grace of Christ has transformed his heart. He realizes that he can not afford to talk discouragement or unbelief. He can not afford to be harsh or faultfinding. He has not received orders to punish the erring and sinful by heaping abuse upon them.
Speak words of kindness, words of uplifting; for this is the fruit borne upon the Christian tree. Overcome all harshness. Eternity alone will reveal the harm that harsh words do to those who utter them, and to those who hear. Hold firmly to the One who has all power in heaven and earth, and although you often fail to reveal patience and calmness under provocation, by no means give up the struggle. Resolve again, this time more firmly, that you will be an example of Christian patience. Remember that those only will enter heaven who have overcome the temptation to think and speak evil.
"The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever." Christ will be to his people all that these words express if they will heed the invitation to come to him. He will be to them life and power, strength and efficiency, wisdom and holiness. God calls upon us to live the Christlife, to reveal this life to the world. When we do this, prejudice will vanish, and difficulties will adjust themselves. We shall gather about the great Missionary, our hearts filled with gratitude and love.
My brethren and sisters, instead of spending your time looking for and talking of the shortcomings of others, give yourselves to the work that Christ did when in this world. How untiringly he labored! In the temple and the synagogues, in the streets of the cities, in the marketplace and the workshop, by the seaside and among the hills, he preached the gospel and healed the sick. His life was one of unselfish service, and it is to be our lesson book. The work that he began we are to carry forward.
Brethren and sisters, how much work have you done for God during the past year? Do you think that it is those men only who have been ordained as gospel ministers that are to work for the uplifting of humanity?--No, no! Every one who names the name of Christ is expected by God to engage in this work. The hands of ordination may not have been laid upon you, but you are none the less God's messengers. If you have tasted that the Lord is gracious, if you know his saving power, you can no more keep from telling this to some one else than you can keep the wind from blowing. You will have a word in season for him that is weary. You will guide the feet of the straying back to the fold. Your efforts to help others will be untiring, because God's Spirit is working in you.
Have you told those with whom you have come in contact what banner you are serving under? Have they been able to see, by the Christlikeness of your words and acts, that you are a true follower of Jesus. O that our hearts may be deeply impressed with the importance of living holy lives, that the world may take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus, and have learned of him. Christian worth does not depend upon brilliant talents, lofty birth, wonderful powers, but on a clean heart,--a heart which, purified and refined, reflects the image of divinity. It is the presence of him who gave his life for us that makes the soul beautiful. It is not eloquent speakers that are needed so much as humble, earnest workers,--men and women who have a childlike trust in God. It is the men of prayer that are men of power. They will be enabled to lead sinners to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
My brethren and sisters, do not allow trifling things to absorb your time and attention. Keep your mind on the glorious themes of the Word of God. A study of these themes will give you a strength that will carry you through the trials and difficulties of the last days, and bring you to where you will walk with Christ in white, because you are worthy. In the Word of God, studied and obeyed, we possess a spiritual guide and instructor by which the worst forms of evil in ourselves may be brought under the discipline of his law. If the teachings of this Word were made the controlling influence in our lives, if mind and heart were brought under its restraining power, the evils that now exist in churches and in families would find no place. Upon converted households the purest blessings would descend, and from these households an influence would go forth that would make God's people a power on the side of truth.
But there are many in our churches who know little of the meaning of the truth for this time. They have not searched for the truth with humble, contrite hearts. I appeal to the members of our churches 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 cared for the salvation of their souls will soon make the bitter lamentation, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!"
O, that we would remember that it is court week with us, and that our cases are pending! Now is the time to watch and pray, to put away all self-indulgence, all pride, all selfishness. The precious moments that are now by many worse than wasted should be spent in meditation and prayer. Many of those who profess to be keeping the commandments of God are following inclination instead of duty. As they are now, they are unworthy of eternal life. To these careless, indifferent ones, I would say, Your vain thoughts, your unkind words, your selfish acts, are recorded in the book of heaven. The angels that were present at Belshazzar's idolatrous revelry stand beside you as you dishonor your Redeemer. Sadly they turn away, grieved that you should thus crucify him afresh, and put him to open shame.
"Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hand 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. . . . Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.."
On Christ's coronation day he will not acknowledge as his any who bear spot or wrinkle or any such thing. 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 of whom bears 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 his Son. The angels of heaven, touching their golden harps, will welcome the King, and those who are the trophies of his 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 self-sacrifice has not been in vain. Mrs. E. G.. White.
(Vol. 81, #47)
(Reading for Friday, December 16.)--An Impressive Scene.--Not long ago a very impressive scene passed before me. I saw an immense ball of fire falling among some beautiful mansions, causing their instant destruction. I heard some one say, "We knew that the judgments of God were coming upon the earth, but we did not know that they would come so soon." Others said, "You knew? Why then did you not tell us. We did not know." On every side I heard such words spoken.
In great distress I awoke. I went to sleep again, and seemed to be in a large gathering. One of authority was addressing the company, before whom was spread out a map of the world. He said that this map pictured God's vineyard, which must be cultivated. As light from heaven shone upon any one, that one was to reflect the light to others. Lights were to be kindled in many places, and from these lights still other lights were to be kindled. The words were repeated,--
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is henceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill can not be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
I saw jets of light shining from cities and villages, and from the high places and the low places of the earth. God's Word was obeyed, and, as a result, there were memorials for him in every city and village. His truth was proclaimed throughout the world.
Then this map was removed, and another put in its place. On it, light was shining forth from a few places only. The rest of the world was in darkness, with only a glimmer of light here and there. Our Instructor said, "This darkness is the result of men's following their own course. They have cherished hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil. They have made questioning and faultfinding and accusing the chief business of their lives. Their hearts are not right with God. They have hidden their light under a bushel."
If every soldier of Christ had done his duty, if every watchman on the walls of Zion had given the trumpet a certain sound, the world might, ere this, have heard the message of warning. But the work is years behind. While men have slept, Satan has stolen a march upon us.
No Time to Lose.--Soon grievous troubles will arise among the nations.--trouble that will not cease until Jesus comes. As never before, we need to press together, serving him who has prepared his throne in the heavens, and whose kingdom ruleth over all. God has not forsaken his people, and our strength lies in not forsaking him.
The judgments of God are in the land. The wars and rumors of wars, the destruction by fire and flood, say clearly that the time of trouble, which is to increase until the end, is very near at hand. We have no time to lose. The world is stirred with the spirit of war. The prophecies of the eleventh of Daniel have almost reached their final fulfilment.
From all the countries of the world the Macedonian cry is sounding, "Come over and help us." God has opened fields before us, and if human agencies would but cooperate with divine agencies, many souls would be won to the truth. But the Lord's professed people have been sleeping over their allotted work, and in many places it remains comparatively untouched. God has sent message after message to arouse our people to do something, and to do it now. But to the call, "Whom shall I send?" there have been few to respond, "Here am I; send me."
When the reproach of indolence and slothfulness shall have been wiped away from the church, the Spirit of the Lord will be graciously manifested. Divine power will be revealed. The church will see the providential working of the Lord of hosts. The light of truth will shine forth in clear, strong rays, and, as in the time of the apostles, many souls will turn from error to truth. The earth will be lightened with the glory of the Lord.
Heavenly angels have long been waiting for human agents--the members of the church--to cooperate with them in the great work to be done. They are waiting for you. So vast is the field, so comprehensive the design, that every sanctified heart will be pressed into service as an instrument of divine power.
At the same time there will be a power working from beneath. While God's agents of mercy work through consecrated human beings, Satan sets his agencies in operation, laying under tribute all who will submit to his control. There will be lords many and gods many. The cry will be heard, "Lo, here is Christ," and, "Lo, there is Christ." The deep plotting of Satan will reveal itself everywhere, for the purpose of diverting the attention of men and women from present duty. There will be signs and wonders. But the eye of faith will discern in all these manifestations, harbingers of the grand and awful future, and of the triumphs that will surely come to the people of God.
Work, O work! keeping eternity in view. Bear in mind that every power must be sanctified. A great work is to be done. Let the prayer go forth from unfeigned lips, "God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations."
Those who realize, even in a limited degree, what redemption means to them and to their fellow men will walk by faith, and will comprehend in some measure the vast needs of humanity. Their hearts are moved to compassion as they see the widespread destitution in our world,--the destitution of the multitudes who are suffering for food and clothing, and the moral destitution of thousands who are under the shadow of a terrible doom, in comparison to which physical suffering fades into nothingness.
Make Christ the Refuge.--Let church members bear in mind that the fact that their names are registered on the church books will not save them. They must show themselves approved of God, workmen that need not to be ashamed. Day by day they are to build their characters in accordance with Christ's directions. They are to abide in him, constantly exercising faith in him. Thus they will grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ,--wholesome, cheerful, grateful Christians, led by God, step by step, into clearer and still clearer light.
Those who do not gain this experience will be among the ones whose voices will one day be raised in the bitter lamentation, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved. Why did I not flee to the stronghold for refuge? Why have I trifled with my soul's salvation, and done despite to the Spirit of grace?"
Among those to whom fearful disappointment will come at the day of final reckoning will be those who have been outwardly religious, who have apparently lived Christian lives, but who have woven self into all that they do. They have prided themselves on their morality, their influence, their ability to stand in a higher position than others, their knowledge of the truth. They think that these will win for them the commendation of Christ. "Lord," they say, "we have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets." "Have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?"
But the Saviour says, "I never knew you: depart from me." "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."
There is no discussion; the time for that is past. The irrevocable sentence has been pronounced. They are shut out from heaven by their own unfitness for its companionship.
Those who have bowed to the idols of the world will gain no comfort from them in that great day when every one will be rewarded or punished according to his works. But Omnipotence will deal justly. Those who have made Christ their refuge will find that he lives, and that he is conqueror. He will be their defense.
Encouraging Words--the End Near.--"The great day of the Lord is near; it is near, and hasteth greatly." Every hour, every minute, is precious. We have no time to spend in faultfinding and contention. All around us there are souls perishing in sin. Every day there is something to do for the Master. Every day we are to point souls to the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Be always ready; "in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." Go to your rest at night with every sin confessed. Thus we did in 1844, when we expected to meet our Lord. And now this great event is nearer than when we first believed. Be always ready, in the evening, in the morning, and at noon, that when the cry is heard, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him!" you may, even though awakened out of sleep, go forth to meet him with your lamps trimmed and burning.
"Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry." Look up, look up, and let your faith continually increase. Let this faith guide you along the narrow path that leads through the gates of the city of God into the great beyond, the wide, unbounded future that awaits the overcomer. Heed the encouragement in the words, "Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and the latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."
Let us be found "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer." The Lord has made every provision that we shall have strong hope. If we are true to our covenant with God, the blessing is certain,--as certain as God's promise can make it. And so great is the blessing that it will be a full and sufficient reward for all the self-denial and self-sacrifice that for Christ's sake we have shown here below. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #48)
The true worker in the cause of God will banish from the mind, as impious, every thought of inherent merit. Even the heavenly angels take to themselves no praise. Throughout the heavenly courts, in one grand chorus, resounds their acknowledgment to the Creator: "All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee." Those who live on this earth should unite with the heavenly host in ascribing all praise and glory to the Creator. No man has the least cause for boasting or self-exaltation, even when he does his very best. Man often fails of doing his duty, leaving undone a vast amount that a close connection with God would have enabled him to do.
Constantly God is laboring to make up man's deficiencies. Even repentance is brought about through the application of grace. The natural heart feels no need of repentance. The tears that fall from the eyes of man because of sorrow for his sinfulness and because of sympathy for other sinners, start unbidden. They are as dew from eyes that belong to God. Man's sighs are but indications of the deep feeling in a heart that is God's. The good resolutions we make are but the expression of desires that are his. The reformed life is but the better employment of a life that has been ransomed by the sacrifice of his Son Jesus. No credit should we take to ourselves for anything that we may do. "All things come of thee," we shall eventually be led to acknowledge to our Creator, "and of thine own have we given thee."
Faith, too, is the gift of God. Faith is the assent of man's understanding to God's words, that binds the heart to God's service. And whose is man's understanding, if it be not God's? Whose the heart, if it be not God's? To have faith, is to render to God the intellect, the energy, that we have received from him; therefore those who exercise faith do not themselves deserve any credit. Those who believe so firmly in a Heavenly Father that they can trust him with unlimited confidence; those who by faith can reach beyond the grave to the eternal realities beyond, must pour forth to their Maker the confession, "All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee."
No man has a right to call himself his own. And no man possesses any good thing that he can call his own. Every man, every thing, is the property of the Lord. All that man receives from the bounty of heaven is still the Lord's. Whatever knowledge he has that in any way helps him to be an intelligent workman in God's cause, is from the Lord, and should be imparted by him to his fellow men, in order that they, too, may become valuable workmen. He to whom God has entrusted unusual gifts should return to the Lord's storehouse that which he has received, by freely giving to others the benefit of his blessings. Thus God will be honored and glorified.
In all the departments of the Lord's work, every laborer is to help his fellow laborers. The workers who have had many advantages are to take no credit to themselves, nor are they to think that they deserve praise for using in the service of Christ the talents that he has entrusted to them. They should realize that the non-employment of their capabilities would place upon them a burden of guilt, making them deserving of God's just displeasure and severest judgments.
Heavenly bestowed capabilities should not be made to serve selfish ends. Every energy, every endowment, is a talent that should contribute to God's glory by being used in his service. His gifts are to be put out to the exchangers, that he may receive his own, with usury. The talents that fit a man for service are entrusted to him not only that he may be an acceptable worker himself, but that he may also be enabled to teach others who in some respects are deficient.
If in their ministry those whom we teach develop an energy and an intelligence even superior to that which we possess, we should be led to rejoice over the privilege of having a part in the work of training them. But there is danger that some in positions of responsibility as teachers and leaders, will act as if talent and ability have been given to them only, and that they must do all the work in order to make sure that it is done aright. They are liable to find fault with everything not originated by themselves. A great amount of talent is lost to the cause of God because many laborers, desiring to be first, are willing to lead, but never to follow. Although they closely scrutinize and criticize all that any one else does, they are in danger of regarding that which goes forth from their hands as perfect.
To those upon whom God has bestowed many talents, I am instructed to say: Help the inexperienced; discourage them not. Take them into your confidence; give them fatherly counsel, teaching them as you would teach students in a school. Watch not for their mistakes, but recognize their undeveloped talents, and train them to make a right use of these powers. Instruct them with all patience, encouraging them to go forward and to do an important work. Instead of keeping them engaged in doing things of minor importance, give them an opportunity to obtain an experience by which they may develop into trustworthy workers. Much will thus be gained to the cause of God.
Those placed in positions of responsibility should patiently seek to make others familiar with all parts of the work. This will reveal that they do not desire to be first, but that they are glad to have others become acquainted with details, and to become as efficient as they are. Those who faithfully fulfil their duty in this respect, will, in time, have standing by their side a large number of intelligent workers whom they have trained. Should they shape matters in accordance with narrow, selfish conceptions, they would stand almost alone.
Some workers are incapable of filling positions that others can fill. Many who might have been able to fill positions of trust, have not disciplined themselves, nor have they done that which they could have done from day to day to meet the increasing demands of the present time. Others are able to bear responsibilities, and would do so, if they were encouraged, and if there were some one who, with patience, kindness, and forbearance, would teach them how to work. Ministers should show a real earnestness in helping such persons succeed, and should put forth persevering effort to develop talent. The inexperienced are in need of wise generals who by prayer and personal effort will encourage and help them to become perfect in Christ Jesus, wanting in nothing. This is the work which every gospel minister should endeavor to do, but which some are liable to fail of doing.
Men of varied talents and superior ability will unite with us in the work of giving the last message of mercy to a perishing world. My brethren, learn to see and to recognize ability and talent in others besides yourselves. Be examples to the flock. Give to others the benefit of all the knowledge that the Lord has given to you. He has entrusted you with this knowledge, that you may impart it. With the same liberality and freedom that the Master teaches you, teach others, binding them to your heart by love and tenderness.
Let no one seek to exalt himself by talking of his deeds, extolling his abilities, displaying his knowledge, and cultivating self-conceit. Let no one strive to tear down the work of others who do not labor according to his standard. The heavenly Teacher extends to us the invitation: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Christ was never self-confident or conceited. He declared. "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, there also doeth the Son likewise."
A great work is to be done in America and in other lands. As yet, many fields are still unentered. The most important duty before those who have been sent out into the fields at home and abroad as missionaries, it to combine the forces and strength of all whom they can possibly enlist as helpers. Thus they can make mighty strokes for their Master. God will do a great work in every part of the field, if with willing hearts his servants put self out of sight, and labor for his glory. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #49)
Through nature and revelation, through his providence, and by the influence of his Spirit, God speaks to us. But these are not enough; we need also to pour out our hearts to him. In order to have spiritual life and energy, we must have actual intercourse with our Heavenly Father. Our minds may be drawn out toward him; we may meditate upon his works, his mercies, his blessings; but this is not, in the fullest sense, communing with him. In order to commune with God, we must have something to say to him concerning our actual life.
Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to him.
When Jesus was upon the earth, he taught his disciples how to pray. He directed them to present their daily needs before God, and to cast all their care upon him. And the assurance he gave them that their petitions should be heard, is assurance also to us.
Jesus himself, while he dwelt among men, was often in prayer. Our Saviour identified himself with our needs and weaknesses, in that he became a suppliant, a petitioner, seeking from his Father fresh supplies of strength, that he might come forth braced for duty and trial. He is our example in all things. He is a brother in our infirmities, "in all points tempted like as we are;" but as the sinless One his nature recoiled from evil; he endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and a privilege. He found comfort and joy in communion with his Father. And if the Saviour of men, the Son of God, felt the need of prayer, how much more should feeble, sinful mortals feel the necessity of fervent, constant prayer!
Our Heavenly Father waits to bestow upon us the fulness of his blessing. It is our privilege to drink largely at the fountain of boundless love. What a wonder it is that we pray so little! God is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of his children, and yet there is much manifest reluctance on our part to make known our wants to God. What can the angels of heaven think of poor helpless human beings, who are subject to temptation, when God's heart of infinite love yearns toward them, ready to give them more than they can ask or think, and yet they pray so little, and have so little faith? The angels love to bow before God; they love to be near him. They regard communion with God as their highest joy; and yet the children of earth, who need so much the help that God only can give, seem satisfied to walk without the light of his Spirit, the companionship of his presence.
The darkness of the evil one encloses those who neglect to pray. The whispered temptations of the enemy entice them to sin; and it is all because they do not make use of the privileges that God has given them in the divine appointment of prayer. Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray, when prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven's storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence? Without unceasing prayer and diligent watching, we are in danger of growing careless, and of deviating from the right path. The adversary seeks continually to obstruct the way to the mercy seat, that we may not be earnest supplication and faith obtain grace and power to resist temptation.
If we take counsel with our doubts and fears, or try to solve everything that we can not see clearly, before we have faith, perplexities will only increase and deepen. But if we come to God, feeling helpless and dependent, as we really are, and in humble, trusting faith make known our wants to him whose knowledge is infinite, who sees everything in creation, and who governs everything by his will and word, he can and will attend to our cry, and will let light shine into our hearts. Through sincere prayer we are brought into connection with the mind of the Infinite. We may have no remarkable evidence at the time that the face of our Redeemer is bending over us in compassion and love; but this is even so. We may not feel his visible touch, but his hand is upon us in love and pitying tenderness.
When we come to ask mercy and blessing from God, we should have a spirit of love and forgiveness in our own hearts. How can we pray, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors," and yet indulge an unforgiving spirit? If we expect our own prayers to be heard, we must forgive others in the same manner, and to the same extent, as we hope to be forgiven.
There is necessity for diligence in prayer; let nothing hinder you. Make every effort to keep open the communion between Jesus and your own soul. Seek every opportunity to go where prayer is wont to be made. Those who are really seeking for communion with God will be seen in the prayer meeting, faithful to do their duty, and earnest and anxious to reap all the benefits they can gain. They will improve every opportunity of placing themselves where they can receive the rays of light from heaven.
Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God. You can not burden him; you can not weary him. He who numbers the hairs of your head is not indifferent to the wants of his children. "The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy." His heart of love is touched by our sorrows, and even by our utterance of them. Take to him everything that perplexes the mind. Nothing is too great for him to bear; for he holds up worlds, he rules over all the affairs of the universe. Nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for him to read; no perplexity is too difficult for him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of his children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our Heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which he takes no immediate interest. "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share his watchcare, not another soul for whom he gave his beloved Son. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #50)
We are living in the time of the end. Thrones and churches have united to oppose God's purposes. The association of man with man, which God designed should be a means of strengthening goodness and happiness, is used as a means of strengthening evil and of developing tendencies to rebellion. Men have assumed despotic power, and human laws have been put in the place of the law of God.
It is the reign of Antichrist. God's law is set aside. The Scriptures are exchanged for the traditions of men. Satan has become the ruler of the world; and in his hands temptation has become a science. He rules over a vast, well-organized empire. Sin has stimulated his followers into fearful activity. Men have combined to perpetuate evil. The sale of intoxicating liquor, destructive alike to soul and body, is legalized by Christian governments.
Influences are to be set in motion that will proclaim to the world the first, second, and third angels' messages. The world is to be warned, and I beseech those who know the truth to do all in their power to sound the message, "Prepare to meet thy God."
"It is time for thee, Lord, to work," David said; "for they have made void thy law." David lived many hundreds of years ago, and he thought then that the time had come for God to interfere to vindicate his honor and repress the swelling unrighteousness. Today men have almost filled the cup of their iniquity. But the Lord does not execute the death penalty on the transgressors of his law until they have heard the warning, and have been given an opportunity to see the result of rebellion against him. How wonderful is his forbearance and patience! He is putting a constraint on his own attributes. Omnipotence is exerted over Omnipotence.
"The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power," "plenteous in mercy" and forgiveness; but he "will not at all acquit the wicked." Soon there is to be an awakening of his displeasure, and who then can stay his wrath?
There is a work to be done in our cities,--work to be done in every place. God will take men from the plow, from the sheepfold, from the vineyard, and will put them in the place of those who think that they must have the highest wages. Those who grasp for high wages will find in the money they get all the reward they will ever receive. Such ones can not be expected to feel a burden for the salvation of perishing souls. The Lord can not use such ones in his work. Until they banish selfishness from their hearts, their efforts are worthless.
God says to his people today, "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." Will they heed the reproof? Will they dare to trifle with so direct and decided a statement, and keep their commended excellencies blasted as with a mildew because they allow Satan to steal in among them. "Thou hast left thy first love," and therefore there is no steadfastness of purpose. Without this love, all knowledge, all capabilities, all outward zeal and service, are worthless. You do not receive from Christ grace to impart to others. And while you do not reveal the love that Christ has commanded you to reveal, your light is not shining forth to the world.
Leaving the first love is represented as a spiritual fall. Many have fallen thus. In every church in our land, there is needed confession, repentance, and reconversion. The disappointment of Christ is beyond description. Unless those who have sinned speedily repent, the deceptions of the last days will overtake them. Some, though they do not realize it, are preparing to be overtaken. God calls for repentance without delay. So long have many trifled with salvation that their spiritual eyesight is dimmed, and they can not discern between light and darkness. Christ is humiliated in his people. The first love is gone, the faith is weak, there is need of a thorough transformation.
My brethren and sisters, humble your hearts before the Lord. Seek him earnestly. I have an intense desire to see you walking in the light as Christ is in the light. I pray most earnestly for you. But I can not fail to see that the light which God has given me is not favorable to our ministers or our churches. You have left your first love. Self-righteousness is not the wedding garment. A failure to follow the clear light of truth is our fearful danger. The message to the Laodicean church reveals our condition as a people.
Satan is seeking with all his subtlety to corrupt mind and heart. And O how successful he is in leading men and women to depart from the simplicity of the gospel of Christ! Under his influence hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong are roused into activity. Ministers and church members are in danger of allowing self to take the throne.
Human wisdom, human ability, is nothingness in God's sight. He who supposes that he is superior to his fellow men in wisdom will sooner or later reveal traits of character that are a dishonor to God. In the church today there are many of this stamp,--men and women in whom the loveliness of Christ is hidden by traits of character that unfit the possessor for membership in the Lord's family in the heavenly courts.
There are many who are not Bible Christians. They follow a standard of their own devising. If they would see their defective, distorted characters as they are accurately reflected in the mirror of God's Word, they would be so alarmed that they would fall upon their faces before God in contrition of soul, and tear away the rags of their self-righteousness.
My brethren in the ministry, you ought to be reaching higher and still higher in Christian experience,--higher, not by self-assertion, self-assumption, and self-confidence, but by growth in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Press forward toward the mark of the prize of your high calling in Christ. How much we need to be faithful watchmen over self, to make sure that we have not the spirit that leads us to hurt and destroy in the place of using our God-given talents to awaken the inhabitants of our world to a realization of their lost and undone condition. Let us not be content to be as those who have left their first love. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #51)
"He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; and said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. . . . Is it a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth."
This is the word of the Lord to those who are engaged in the ministry of his word. They are in his special service, and they are not to esteem this as a light thing. Proportionate to their position of trust should be their sense of responsibility and devotion. Cheap, common talk, and light, trifling behavior should not be tolerated. Their highest desire should be to offer Christ perfect service.
The object of preaching is not alone to convey information, not merely to convince the intellect. The preaching of the word should appeal to the intellect, and should impart knowledge, but it should do more than this. The words of the minister should reach the hearts of the hearers.
Neither is it the object of preaching to amuse. Some ministers have adopted a style of preaching that has not the best influence. It has become a habit with them to weave anecdotes into their discourses. The impression thus made upon the hearers is not a savor of life unto life. Ministers should not bring amusing stories into their preaching. The people need pure provender, thoroughly winnowed from the chaff. "Preach the word," was the charge that Paul gave to Timothy, and this is our commission also.
The minister who mixes story-telling with his discourses is using strange fire. God is offended, and the cause of truth is dishonored, when his representatives descend to the use of cheap, trifling words.
My brethren, you are required by our Saviour to take heed how you witness for him. You need to go deeper and still deeper in the study of the Word. You have all classes of minds to meet, and as you teach the truths of the Sacred Word, you are to manifest earnestness, respect, and reverence. Weed out story-telling from your discourses, and preach the word. You will then have more sheaves to bring to the Master. Remember that in your audience there are those who are constantly harassed by temptation. Some are wrestling with doubt, almost in despair, almost hopeless. Ask God to help you to speak words that will strengthen them for the conflict.
Read and study the fourth chapter of Zechariah. The two olive trees empty the golden oil out of themselves through the golden pipes into the golden bowl, from which the lamps of the sanctuary are fed. The golden oil represents the Holy Spirit. With this oil God's ministers are to be constantly supplied, that they, in turn, may impart it to the church. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." God's servants can obtain victories only by inward purity, by cleanness of heart, by holiness.
It is of the utmost importance that ministers set a right example. If they follow lax, loose principles, their example is quoted by those who are doing wrong, as a vindication of their course. The whole synagogue of Satan is watching for defects in the lives of God's representatives, and the most is made of every defect.
Take heed lest by your example you place other souls in peril. It is a terrible thing to lose our own soul, but to pursue a course that will cause the loss of other souls is still more terrible. That our influence should be a savor of death unto death is a terrible thought, and yet it is possible. With what earnestness, then, we should guard our thoughts, our words, our habits, our dispositions. God calls for personal holiness. Only by revealing the character of Christ can we cooperate with him in saving souls.
God's ministers can not be too careful that their actions do not contradict their words. A consistent life alone will command respect. If our practise harmonizes with our teaching, our words will have effect; but a piety that is not based upon practise is as salt without savor. It is of no use for us to strive to inculcate principles which we do not conscientiously practise.
Do not try to work in your own strength; for then the angels of God stand back, leaving you to carry on the warfare alone. Our preparation to meet opponents or to minister to the people must be obtained from the throne of grace. Here we see and acknowledge our own incompetence, and receive the divine efficiency. The Holy Spirit takes the things of God, and shows them to us, leading us into all truth, and giving us the faith that works by love and purifies the soul.
My brethren, in his great mercy and love God has given you great light, and Christ says to you, "Freely ye have received, freely give." Let the light bestowed on you shine forth to those in darkness. Let us rejoice and be glad that Christ has not only given us his Word, but has given us also the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God, and that in his strength we may be more than conquerors.
Christ is saying, "Come unto me. To me belong right counsel and sound judgment. I have understanding and strength for you." By faith we must rest in Christ, remembering the words of one who was inspired of God to write, "Thy gentleness hath made me great." Ask God to give you much of the oil of his grace. Carefully consider every word, whether it be written or spoken.
"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 81, #52)
If the one who feels that he is called of God to be a minister will humble himself and learn of Christ, he will become a true gospel teacher. There should be among our ministers less sermonizing and more tact to educate the people in practical Christianity. The people must be impressed with the fact that Christ is salvation to all who believe. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." There are grand themes on which the gospel minister may dwell. Christ has said, "He that believeth on me, hath everlasting life."
If the minister's lips are touched with a coal from the altar, he will lift up Jesus as the sinner's only hope. When the heart of the speaker is sanctified through the truth, his words will be living realities to himself and others. Those who hear him will know that he has been with God, and has drawn near to him in fervent, effectual prayer. The Holy Spirit has fallen upon him, his soul has felt the vital, heavenly fire, and he will be able to compare spiritual things with spiritual. Power will be given him to break down the strongholds of Satan. Hearts will be melted and subdued by his presentation of the love of God, and many will inquire, "What must I do to be saved?"
My brethren, seek God in earnest prayer, that when you stand before the people, you may realize the solemnity of the message that you are about to bear. Talk simply and to the point. Let your discourses be short. Handle only a few points, saving your strength for house-to-house work. Ministers too often give lengthy discourses. The minds of the people are wearied by such discourses, and the truth loses its effect upon them. Let the teacher of the Word first talk with God. Then he can stand before the people with the Holy Spirit working upon his mind.
The Lord desires that the truth shall come close to the people, and this can be accomplished only by personal labor. Much is comprehended in the command, "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." There is a work to be done in this line that has not yet been done. Let God's workers teach the truth in families, drawing close to those for whom they labor. If they thus cooperate with God, he will clothe them with spiritual power. Christ will guide them in their work, entering the houses of the people with them, and giving them words to speak that will sink deep into the hearts of the listeners. The Holy Spirit will open hearts and minds to receive the rays coming from the source of all light.
There are families who will never be reached by the truth of God's Word unless his servants enter their homes, and by earnest ministry, sanctified by the indorsement of the Holy Spirit, break down the barriers. As the people see that these workers are messengers of mercy, the ministers of grace, they are ready to listen to the words spoken by them. But the hearts of those who do this work must throb in unison with the heart of Christ. They must be wholly consecrated to the service of God, ready to do his bidding, ready to go wherever his providence sends them, ready to speak the words he gives them. And if they are what God desires them to be, if they are imbued with his Spirit, they cooperate with heavenly agencies, and are indeed "laborers together with God."
When such a worker offers prayer to God in the family where he is visiting, the hearts of the members are touched as they would not be by prayer offered in a public assembly. Angels of God enter the family circle with him; and the minds of the hearers are prepared to receive the word of God; for if the messenger is humble and contrite, if he has a living connection with God, the Holy Spirit takes the word, and shows it to those for whom he is laboring.
Light, light from the Word of God,--this is what the people need. If the teachers of the word are willing, the Lord will lead them into close relation with the people. He will guide them to the homes of those who need and desire the truth; and as the servants of God engage in the work of seeking for the lost sheep, their spiritual faculties are awakened and energized. Knowing that they are in harmony with God, they feel joyous and happy. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they obtain an experience that is invaluable to them. Their intellectual and moral powers attain their highest development; for grace is given in answer to the demand.
I was shown two Bible workers seated in a family. With the open Bible before them, they presented the Lord Jesus as the sin-pardoning Saviour. Their words were spoken with freshness and power. Earnest prayer was offered to God, and hearts were subdued by the softening influence of the Holy Spirit. As the Word of God was explained, I saw that a soft, radiant light illumined the Scriptures, and I said softly, "Go ye out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.."
These workers were not boastful, but humble and contrite, realizing always that the Holy Spirit is the efficiency of every worker. Under the influence of the Spirit, indifference vanished, and an earnest interest was manifested. The precious light was communicated from neighbor to neighbor. Family altars that had been broken down were again erected, and many souls were won to the truth.
Teaching the Scriptures, praying in families,--this is the work of the evangelist, and this work is to be mingled with preaching. If it is omitted, preaching will, to a great extent, be a failure. Come close to the people by personal efforts. Teach them that the love of God must come into the sanctuary of the home life.
Take no glory whatever to yourself. Do not work with a divided mind, trying to serve God and self at the same time. Keep self out of sight. Let your words lead the weary and heavy laden to carry their burdens to Jesus. Work as seeing Him who is at your right hand, ready to give you his efficiency and omnipotent power in every emergency. The Lord is your counselor, your guide, the captain of your salvation. He goes before your face, conquering and to conquer. Mrs. E. G. White.