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The Review and Herald Articles
for the Year 1905
(Vol. 82, #1)
Ministry means service, and to this ministry we are all called. It is a dishonor to God for any one to choose a life of self-pleasing. My brethren and sisters, do you realize that every year thousands and thousands of souls are perishing, dying in their sins because the light of truth has not been flashed upon their pathway? Do you realize that the end is near, that already the judgments of God are doing their work in this world? The lack of interest manifested in the work of God by our churches alarms me. I ask all who have means to remember that God has entrusted this means to them to be used in advancing the work which Christ came to our world to do. In the sight of God, we are not owners of what we possess, but only trustees. "Not thine, but mine," God says. He will call all to give an account of their stewardship. Our accountability to heaven should cause us to fear and tremble. The decisions of the last day turn upon practical benevolence. Christ acknowledges every act of beneficence as done to himself.
There is a great work to be done in our world. Men and women are to be converted, not by the gift of tongues nor by the working of miracles, but by the preaching of Christ crucified. Why delay the effort to make the world better? Why wait for some wonderful thing to be done, some costly apparatus to be provided? However humble your sphere, however lowly your work, if you labor in harmony with the teachings of the Saviour, he will reveal himself through you, and your influence will draw souls to him. He will honor the meek and lowly ones, who seek earnestly to do service for him. Into all that we do, whether our work be in the shop, on the farm, or in the office, we are to bring the endeavor to save souls.
We are to sow beside all waters, keeping our souls in the love of God, working while it is day, using the means entrusted to us in the Master's service. Whatever our hands find to do, we are to do it with cheerfulness; whatever sacrifice we are called upon to make, we are to make it cheerfully. As we sow beside all waters, we shall realize the truth of the words, "He which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."
We owe everything to grace, sovereign grace. Grace ordained our redemption, our regeneration, and our adoption to heirship with Jesus Christ. Let this grace be revealed to others.
The Saviour takes those whom he finds will be molded, and uses them for his own name's glory. He uses material that others would pass by, and works in all who will give themselves to him. He delights to take apparently hopeless material, those whom Satan has debased, and through whom he has worked, and make them the subjects of his grace. He rejoices to deliver them from suffering, and from the wrath that is to fall upon the disobedient. He makes his children his agents in the accomplishment of this work, and in its success, even in this life, they find a precious reward.
But what is this compared with the joy that will be theirs in the great day of final revealing? "Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face;" now we know in part, but then we shall know even as also we are known.
It is the reward of Christ's workers to enter into his joy. That joy, to which Christ himself looks forward with eager desire, is presented in his request to his Father, "I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am."
The angels were waiting to welcome Jesus, as he ascended after his resurrection. The heavenly host longed to greet again their loved Commander, returned to them from the prison house of death. Eagerly they pressed about him as he entered the gates of heaven. But he waved them back. His heart was with the lonely, sorrowing band of disciples whom he had left upon Olivet. It is still with his struggling children on earth, who have the battle with the destroyer yet to wage. "Father," he says, "I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am."
Christ's redeemed ones are his jewels, his precious and peculiar treasure. "They shall be as the stones of a crown,"--"the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints." In them "he shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied."
And will not his workers rejoice when they, too, behold the fruit of their labors? The apostle Paul writes to the Thessalonian converts, saying, "What is our hope, or joy or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy." And he exhorts the Philippian brethren to "be blameless and harmless," to "shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain."
Every impulse of the Holy Spirit leading men to goodness and to God, is noted in the books of heaven, and in the day of God every one who has given himself as an instrument for the Holy Spirit's working will be permitted to behold what his life has wrought.
Wonderful will be the revealing as the lines of holy influence, with their precious results, are brought to view. What will be the gratitude of souls that will meet us in the heavenly courts, as they understand the sympathetic, loving interest which has been taken in their salvation! All praise, honor, and glory will be given to God and to the Lamb for our redemption; but it will not detract from the glory of God to express gratitude to the instrumentality he has employed in the salvation of souls ready to perish.
The redeemed will meet and recognize those whose attention they have directed to the uplifted Saviour. What blessed converse they have with these souls! "I was a sinner," it will be said, "without God and without hope in the world, and you came to me, and drew my attention to the precious Saviour as my only hope. And I believed in him. I repented of my sins, and was made to sit together with his saints in heavenly places in Christ Jesus," Others will say, "I was a heathen in heathen lands. You left your friends and comfortable home, and came to teach me how to find Jesus, and believe in him as the only true God. I demolished my idols, and worshiped God, and now I see him face to face. I am saved, eternally saved, ever to behold him whom I love. I then saw him only with the eye of faith, but now I see him as he is. I can now express my gratitude for his redeeming mercy to him who loved me, and washed me from my sin in his own blood."
Others will express their gratitude to those who fed the hungry and clothed the naked. "When despair bound my soul in unbelief, the Lord sent you to me," they say, "to speak words of hope and comfort. You brought me food for my physical necessities, and you opened to me the word of God, awakening me to my spiritual needs. You treated me as a brother. You sympathized with me in my sorrows, and restored my bruised and wounded soul, so that I could grasp the hand of Christ that was reached out to save me. In my ignorance you taught me patiently that I had a Father in heaven who cared for me. You read to me the precious promises of God's Word. You inspired in me the faith that he would save me. My heart was softened, subdued, broken, as I contemplated the sacrifice which Christ had made for me. I became hungry for the bread of life, and the truth was precious to my soul. I am here, saved, eternally saved, ever to live in his presence, and to praise him who gave his life for me."
What rejoicing there will be as these redeemed ones meet and greet those who have had a burden in their behalf! And those who have lived, not to please themselves, but to be a blessing to the unfortunate who have so few blessings,--how their hearts will thrill with satisfaction! They will realize the promise, "Thou shalt be blessed; for they can not recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #2)
All the instruction that any one needs in order to gain eternal life is found in the Word of God. This Word is a revelation of the divine will, given to us that by a daily study of it, our characters, showing daily improvement, may become transformed to the likeness of the character of the great Medical Missionary.
The Word of God is definite and specific, pointing out plainly the path to heaven. Those who heed the teachings of this Word will not turn their feet into false paths. Not only is the right way pointed out, but man is commanded to walk in that way, lest by setting a wrong example, he shall lead others in the path that ends in ruin.
"And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?"
The young man who asked this question was a ruler. He had great possessions, and occupied a position of responsibility. Not long before he asked Christ this question, the mothers had brought their children to the Saviour to receive his blessing. The disciples would have kept these mothers away from their Master, but Jesus rebuked them, saying, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God."
The ruler saw the love that Christ revealed for these children; he saw how tenderly he received them; and his heart kindled with love for the Saviour. He felt a desire to be his disciple. He was so deeply moved that as Christ was going on his way, he ran after him, and kneeling at his feet, asked with sincerity and earnestness the question so important to his soul and to the soul of every human being: "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"
"Why callest thou me good?" Christ said; "there is none good but one, that is, God." Jesus desired to test the ruler's sincerity, and to draw from him the way in which he regarded him as good. Did he realize that the One to whom he was speaking was the Son of God? What was the true sentiment of his heart?
"If thou wilt enter into life," Christ continued, "keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which?" In response Jesus quoted several of the commandments: "Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. Honor thy father and thy mother; and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
The ruler's answer to this was positive: "All these things have I kept from my youth up. What lack I yet?"
"One thing thou lackest," Jesus said. "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven;" "and come, take up the cross, and follow me." Christ read the ruler's heart. He laid his hand upon his idol,--his earthly possessions,--which he must renounce before he could be found wanting in nothing. The possessions that he called his own were the Lord's, entrusted to him to be used for the very purpose that Christ has pointed out,--for the help of the poor and needy, for the relief of suffering humanity, to clothe the naked and feed the hungry.
Had the ruler been willing to obey Christ, great would have been the good that he might have done in following the Saviour's example. But he was not willing. The cost of eternal life seemed too great, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. The Saviour was not so much to him as his own name among men, or his possessions. To give up his earthly treasure, which was seen, for the heavenly treasure, which was unseen, was too great a risk. He refused the offer of eternal life, and ever after the world was to receive his worship.
Christ came to this world to give men and women an example of how to do true missionary work. He came to bring to human beings physical and spiritual healing. Laying aside his royal robe and kingly crown, he stepped down from his high command in the heavenly courts, and, clothing his divinity with humanity, came to this world to help human beings to rid themselves of selfish practises, and to give themselves to the service of God in helping others.
The healing of diseased souls and diseased bodies,--this was Christ's work in our world, and it is our work also. His words to the rich young ruler, "Sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven," are spoken to all who possess this world's goods. If they will follow Christ's example, using their entrusted possessions to relieve the physical and spiritual necessities of those less fortunate than themselves, they will secure the enduring riches of eternal life.
To those who, like the young ruler, are in high positions of truth, and have great possessions, it may seem too great a sacrifice to give up all in order to follow Christ. But this is the rule of conduct for all who would become his disciples. Nothing short of it can be accepted. Self-surrender is the keynote of the teachings of Christ. Often it is presented and enjoined in language that seems authoritative, because God sees that there is no other way to save man than to cut away from his life that which, if entertained, would demoralize the whole being.
The work of evangelizing the world has been greatly hindered by personal selfishness. Some, even among professed Christians, are shortsighted, unable to see that the work of the gospel is to be supported by the goods that Christ has entrusted to them. Are we obeying the Saviour's instructions? Are we following his example? If we are truly converted, we shall regard ourselves as God's almoners, and will dispense for the advancement of his work the means that he has placed in our hands. Money is needed in order that the work waiting to be done all over our world may be carried forward. If Christ's words were obeyed, there would be thousands where there are hundreds willing to carry out his directions to the ruler. The Lord has entrusted to men and women an abundance of means for the carrying forward of his plan of mercy and benevolence. He bids his stewards of means to invest their money in the work of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and preaching the gospel to the poor. Perfection of character can not possibly be attained without self-sacrifice.
When Christ's followers give back to the Lord his own, they are accumulating treasure which will be theirs when they hear the words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." "Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." The joy of seeing souls redeemed, souls eternally saved, is the reward of all who follow in the steps of him who said, "Follow me."
There are many in our world who are longing to hear the words of life. But how can they hear without a preacher? And how can those sent to teach them live without support? God would have the lives of his followers carefully sustained. They are his property, and he is dishonored when they are compelled to labor in a way that injures their health. He is dishonored, also, when, for lack of means, workers can not be sent to destitute fields.
We are at this time making special efforts to set in operation certain lines of work in different places. These lines of work must have support. My brethren and sisters, read carefully the following scripture, and ask God to help you to do justice to the needs of his work:--
"He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work, . . . being enriched in everything to all bountifulness." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #3)
From the Omaha campmeeting we went to College View, where the General Conference Committee was in council from September 15 to 25. We were made welcome, and were well cared for at the Nebraska Sanitarium.
On Thursday morning I spoke to the students in the college chapel. A goodly number of the College View church members were present, and I was led to present to them the exhortation given by the apostle to those who know that the day of the Lord is near at hand. Please read 1 Thess. 5:1-7. The apostle continues, "Let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another."
This is our work. We are not to watch for defects in those around us. By so doing, we are placing ourselves on the judgment seat, and are judging. This is not our proper place or work.
If we see one in error, we should go to him kindly, and speak to him in regard to the matter, seeking by every possible means to present the truth in contrast with error. There is always a truth with which to meet error. Let this never be forgotten. And believers are to watch for souls as they that must give an account. Not that you are to watch for their haltings and their errors; you are to watch for the prosperity of their souls, that you may know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.
We take upon ourselves a grave responsibility when we unite with the church. The church is God's family, and the members of this family are to be unselfishly interested in one another. They are to pray and work for one another's salvation.
This is the work that God expects from us as a people. When you see a church whose members are in arms against one another, complaining and finding fault, you may know that there are duties which they have neglected. You may know that there is something lacking in those who always see something defective in their brethren. You may know that such ones have something to correct in their own characters.
If you think that a brother is in the wrong, go right to him. Do not go to some one else, because this will not cure the difficulty. Go to the very one who you think is in error, and ask him if he is standing in a position that will lead others to make missteps. Tell him that he must make straight paths for his feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way.
It will not do for any of us to get careless and indifferent in regard to our church membership. While on this journey that I am now taking, I have felt a most solemn responsibility to try to show our people that God holds them accountable to live lives that will keep the atmosphere of the church pure and fragrant. God is dishonored, and his Spirit is grieved, when this atmosphere is tainted by careless living and by evil speaking.
The haphazard work done in the church by speaking to others of errors and mistakes before speaking to the one at fault has been the greatest cause and manifestation of wickedness and defection in the church. Weakness has come to many because they have not taken up their appointed work. God will not accept your gifts, however precious they may be, unless you make a straight path for your feet by following the directions that Christ has given.
"If thou bring thy gift to the altar," he says, "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."
We read again, "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother."
Tell him his fault "between thee and him alone." If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. You have not lost him, you have not built up a barrier between him and you. You have gained him.
Say to him, If you have anything against me, tell me what it is, that I may take it out of the way. Do not blame him. Do not cast reflections on him, but ask, What have I done? If I have done wrong, I want this to be removed; for I have a gift to offer to the Lord, and he has told me first to be reconciled to my brother.
When you have done all in your power to bring about a reconciliation, you have acted your part, and you can then offer your gift, knowing that it will be accepted by God. You will have removed a mountain of difficulty out of the way of your brother. It may be that the difficulty was really only a molehill, but it had been made into a mountain. When you remove the molehill, the mountain has gone.
This is the work resting upon us, and we are not to delay to do it. We can not afford to delay. We have much of this work to do, because we have left much undone. It is because of this neglect that the Lord of heaven is not glorified in our lives.
When this work is done, the disunion existing in the church will be cured, and the cause of God will move forward with power. When you see that which you think is wrong, do all in your power to correct it. Find out what it is that separates you from your brother, and plead for the unity that Christ has said should exist in the church. Love as brethren, and do the work appointed you. Then you will know the preciousness of Christ's words, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
As you seek for Christ with all your heart, and in faith, that you may reach a higher standard of righteousness, he may reveal to you a duty undone, a stumblingblock that you must remove in order that your brother may be relieved, and that you may advance in the right way. Your brother may be wrong, and you may be wrong; therefore come together as children of the same family. Work as earnestly to make things right as you will wish you had worked in that day when the judgment shall sit, and the books shall be opened, and every man shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body.
It is the neglect of this work that is standing in the way of our churches all through our conferences. When believers stand where Christ has said they should stand, when they clear difficulties out of the way by the very process that he has outlined, they will be greatly blessed.
On Sabbath morning I spoke in the church to a large congregation. I read from the first chapters of Revelation the messages given to the apostle John for the churches.
John had a message for the people in his day. But they became tired of hearing of Jesus, and of the character which, in order to be saved, they must perfect through him, so they tried to kill the faithful messenger. This plan being thwarted, they banished him to the lonely, rocky island of Patmos. They thought that by separating him from his fellow men, they would silence his testimony, and that he would live out the remainder of his life in mournful solitude. But God was with the lonely exile, and opened to his view the glories of heaven, and the things that "must shortly come to pass."
John bore no uncertain message. "That which was from the beginning," he says, "which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us); that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."
We have, as had John, a message to bear of the things which we have seen and heard. God is not giving us a new message. We are to proclaim the message that in 1843 and 1844 brought us out of the other churches. We need the Holy Spirit to kindle in our hearts the zeal and earnestness that were then seen among God's people. I thank the Lord that there are still living a few who can remember those days, and who know whereof they speak.
John continues: "These things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."
The Lord does not want us to walk in darkness and perplexity. He desires us to know the truth as it is in Jesus, and wherever we go, to proclaim that truth. By word and deed we are to reveal Jesus to the world.
"If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
"These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby we know that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk even as he walked."
My heart was made glad to hear of the unity and good cheer that prevailed during the council. I had a severe cold, and was not able to attend all the meetings, but my mind was constantly exercised. In the night season scene after scene passed before me. I am so sorry that we are such dwarfs in the work of Christ, when such wonderful incentives are placed before us to encourage us to cultivate our powers to the very highest point of development. We are to grow. Christians are to grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ. Our words and works are to bear witness to the world of what Christianity can do for human beings.
Every church should be a light in the world. If there is in your church a deadness, a stagnation, come together, as the disciples did before the day of Pentecost, and plead with God until you receive the light of life. Then let the light shine forth to those around you. Do not go on from week to week, from year to year, without knowing whether or not you are in the love of God. When Jesus went away, he promised to send the Holy Spirit, and we have a right to claim this promise. God wants us to work in the power of the Spirit. He wants us to be guided and controlled by the living, abiding principles that will keep us firm in the truth.
God has not placed us on the judgment seat, to pronounce sentence against our brethren. There is only one Judge,--the One who died for us, who took upon himself our nature and all the infirmities of humanity, that we might stand on vantage ground with God. Never are we to dissect the work or the character of another. Each one has enough to do to attend to the work that has been delivered to him. Each one is to bear his burden in the place in which he has been appointed to labor, doing his work with that perfection which will give character and influence to the cause of God. This is what the Lord expects of every conference president. This is what he expects of every worker in every line. Stand at your post of duty. When you act well your part, in your own place, there will come to you a freedom, a light, a power, that will enable you to endure as seeing him who is invisible. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #4)
At the close of the General Conference Committee Council at College View, Neb., we returned to Battle Creek, as I had promised. At Moline Ill., we broke our journey, that we might visit the Moline Sanitarium. Here we had a profitable visit with Drs. Sanford and Maria Edwards, who have charge of the medical work of the institution. We were pleased with the location and appearance of the sanitarium, though we wished it might have been a little way out of the city. Dr. Edwards gave us as much of his time as possible, and took us for a drive through the city and the park.
This city is an important field, and must be given the message for this time. We are glad that the sanitarium work has been begun here, and we hope that a holy influence may be exerted by this institution through its workers. The Lord has many souls in this place that should be visited by workers ready to do their Master's bidding.
Not long ago this sanitarium had a narrow escape from being destroyed by fire. Electric wires set fire to a portion of the upper story, and the flames had begun to burst out from the roof. But Dr. Edwards discovered the blaze, and by quick action with fire extinguishers succeeded in putting it out. When the fire engines arrived, the fire had been entirely subdued. All are very thankful that it has not been necessary for the fire engines to be put in operation.
This sanitarium has a good patronage, and the hearts of the workers have been greatly cheered by the favors and tokens of appreciation shown them by the patients. One day one of the wealthy patients, after climbing the stairs to his room after his bath, remarked that they should have an elevator. Sister Edwards replied that when they had taken in sufficient money so they could afford it, they would put in an elevator. Very soon this gentleman gave Dr. Edwards instruction to select a good elevator, promising that he and a friend of his would purchase it, and present it to the institution. This elevator is now in daily use.
We hope that our brethren and sisters in northern Illinois will encourage and assist Brother and Sister Edwards and their faithful helpers in the good work to be done in the sanitarium and in the city. If all will labor heartily and disinterestedly, the Lord will give them souls for their hire. I think of the many places in need of such work, and wish that all our people could realize that the Lord is ready to go before every self-sacrificing worker who will carry the truth to places where it has not been heard. Then those who are collected in large numbers in some of our churches would feel a burden to go out into other cities and villages to search out those who are waiting for the truth.
In the night season I am repeating the words:--
"My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust."
"Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, 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."
As I rode through the streets and parks of Moline, I thought, Verily this is a place where the truth should be firmly established. The Lord will work here if those who are placed in positions of trust will work and watch and pray. He will in mercy call out in this place a people who will be united in keeping his way. I felt an earnest desire that our people, who profess to accept the great commission given by Christ to his disciples just before his ascension, should take up their appointed work, and carry the message to all the cities and villages in our land. The truth must be proclaimed in the highways and the byways.
The Lord says to his people: "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." O that the Lord would awaken the church members to go forth to devote their powers to the work of saving the souls that are perishing in sin! God calls upon men and women everywhere to go forth and earnestly prepare the way for his coming.
On our arrival at Battle Creek, we were met by our friends, who gave us a hearty welcome. We spent five days there, during which time I spoke three times to large congregations in the Tabernacle, once to the students in the medical college, and once to the helpers in the sanitarium gymnasium. The Lord gave me a decided testimony to bear at these meetings. I can not find words to tell how heavy was the burden resting upon me as I looked upon the large audience before me in the Tabernacle Sabbath morning, and thought of the instruction and the warnings that have so often come to the people in this congested center. Often has the testimony been borne that there are thousands upon thousands perishing in ignorance of the requirements of God, and of the judgments that will fall upon the disobedient.
There were between twenty-five hundred and three thousand people present. I knew that if they were awake to discern the signs of the times, if they understood the responsibility resting upon them individually, they would not all be in Battle Creek, listening to a repetition of gospel truth, and paying little attention to the messages sent them. If they knew and understood the voice of God, many would leave Battle Creek, and go forth with the light of present truth, carrying it to many places now in darkness.
As I read the words of the twenty fourth chapter of Luke, I wonder that God's people do not see and understand the work they have been given to do. Read the whole chapter carefully and prayerfully.
After receiving the Holy Spirit, the disciples were first to bear their witness in Jerusalem, and then they were to go forth to all nations. "Ye shall be witnesses unto me," Christ declared, "both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, thousands were converted in a day. The word of the Spirit, newly edged with power, and bathed in the lightnings of heaven, cut its way through unbelief. The hearts of the disciples were surcharged with a benevolence so full, so deep, so far-reaching that it impelled them to go to the ends of the earth, testifying, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." They were filled with an intense longing to add to the church such as should be saved. They called on believers to arouse and do their part, that all nations might hear the truth, and the earth be filled with the glory of the Lord.
As the disciples, filled with the power of the Spirit, went forth to proclaim the gospel, so God's servants are to go forth today. Every one on whom is shinning the light of present truth is to be stirred with compassion for those who are in darkness. From all believers light is to be reflected in clear, distinct rays. A work similar to that which the Lord did through his delegated messengers after the day of Pentecost he is waiting to do today. At this time, when the end of all things is at hand, the zeal of the church should exceed even that of the early church. Zeal for the glory of God moved the disciples to bear witness to the truth with mighty power. Should not this zeal fire our hearts with a longing to tell the story of redeeming love, of Christ and him crucified?
Sunday afternoon I spoke again in the Tabernacle. The meeting had been advertised, and there were present many citizens of Battle Creek who were not of our faith. At this meeting I assured my hearers that we held the same principles of truth that we had so many times set before them in past years. I assured them that no phase of our message had been changed to meet scientific or spiritualistic philosophy, but that we hold as firmly as ever to the strongholds of our faith, which have made the Seventh-day Adventist people what they are. We have built our house upon the eternal Rock, the Rock of Ages.
I said that I did not claim to be a prophetess. I have not stood before the people claiming this title, though many called me thus. I have been instructed to say, "I am God's messenger, sent to bear a message of reproof to the erring and of encouragement to the meek and lowly." With pen and with voice I am to bear the messages given me. The word given me is, "You are faithfully to reprove those who would mar the faith of the people of God. Write out the things which I shall give you, that they may stand as a witness to the truth till the end of time."
I said, "If any of the citizens of Battle Creek wish to know what Mrs. White believes and teaches, let them read her published books. My labors would be naught should I preach another gospel. That which I have written is what the Lord has bidden me write. I have not been instructed to change that which I have sent out. I stand firm in the Adventist faith; for I have been warned in regard to the seducing sophistries that will seek for entrance among us as a people. The Scripture says, 'Some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.' I present before our people the danger of being led astray as were the angels in the heavenly courts. The straight line of truth presented to me when I was but a girl is just as clearly presented to me now."
I have a most earnest desire that the truth for this time shall be proclaimed throughout the world. God's people have a great and solemn work to do. The 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 the gratification of selfish desires. 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, who taketh away the sin of the world. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #5)
"Elmshaven," Sanitarium, Cal., Jan. 11, 1905.-- To Our Workers in Washington, D.C.-- Dear Brethren and Sisters: You are engaged in a most important work, and I feel a deep interest in all of you. I am hoping that every stroke that is made in Takoma Park and in the city of Washington toward the upbuilding of the cause of God, may tell to the glory of the Lord. I pray that you may all work in such a way that many souls shall be brought to a knowledge of the truth for this time. Let all who can speak words of the Master be wide-awake now, just now, when so much depends upon the earnestness of our efforts. We have not a moment to lose, The end is nearer than when we first believed. Keep your eyes fixed steadfastly on Jesus. Seek the Lord daily for a new consecration.
Often ask yourselves the question, "What must I do to be saved?" Then search your Bibles, and pray earnestly for the impartation of the Holy Spirit, that you may understand the truth as it is in Jesus. Remember that you are workers together with God, and that your hearts are to be purified from all defilement. Put away all strife, all evil speaking and evil thinking. Remember that haphazard work will not answer now. We are to do faithful work in upholding the claims of God's law.
Truth in the heart guides us to Christ who is the author of all truth, and the only one who can cleanse the soul from defilement. The practise of the principles of truth fills the soul with peace.
The Medical Missionary Work.--I am very much pleased to know that our brethren in Washington have been successful in finding, in a good locality, a building suitable for well-equipped treatment rooms. I see the providence of God in this. I have been instructed that some provision must be made to carry on sanitarium work in this city as soon as possible, while the sanitarium building at Takoma Park is being erected. It would be in harmony with the instruction given me for our brethren to begin sanitarium work in rented buildings in the cities, and then carry on the work until other buildings outside of the cities can be provided. Patients can be transferred from the city place to the institutions in the country. City treatment rooms and country sanitariums can work together advantageously and harmoniously. In Washington the sanitarium work should thus make rapid advancement. The city patients can be gathered in by the place in the city, and from there be taken to Takoma Park, which is only a few miles away, and where they can have the retirement of rural life.
In our Washington work wise, competent physicians, efficient managers, and nurses with the very best qualifications will be needed. Earnest, devoted young people also will be needed, to enter the work as nurses. These young men and women will increase in capability as they use conscientiously the knowledge they gain, and they will become better and better qualified to be the Lord's helping hand. They may become successful missionaries, pointing souls to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world, and whose healing efficiency can save both soul and body.
The Lord wants wise men and women, acting in the capacity of nurses, to comfort and help the sick and suffering. Through the ministrations of these nurses, those who have heretofore taken no interest in religious things will be led to ask, "What must I do to be saved?" The sick will be led to Christ by the patient attention of nurses who anticipate their wants, and who bow in prayer and ask the great Medical Missionary to look with compassion upon the sufferer, and to let the soothing influence of his grace be felt, and his restoring power be exercised.
O that all who are sick and afflicted could be ministered to by Christlike physicians and nurses, who could help them to place their weary, pain-racked bodies in the care of the great Healer, in faith looking to him for restoration!
The nervous timidity of the sick will be overcome as they are made acquainted with the intense interest that the Saviour has for all suffering humanity. O the depth of the love of Christ! To redeem us from death, he died on the cross of Calvary.
Let our physicians and nurses ever bear in mind the words, "We are laborers together with God." Let every physician and every nurse learn how to work for the alleviation of mental as well as physical suffering. At this time, when sin is so prevalent and so violently revealed, how important it is that our sanitariums be conducted in such a way that they will accomplish the greatest amount of good. How important that all the workers in these institutions know how to speak words in season to those who are weary and sin sick.
Physicians and nurses should ever be kind and cheerful, putting away all gloom and sadness. Let faith grasp the hand of Christ for his healing touch.
As our nurses minister patiently to those who are sick in body and soul, let them ask God to work for the suffering ones, that they may be led to know Christ, and let them believe that their prayers will be answered. In all that is done, let the love of Christ be revealed.
Every sincere Christian bows to Jesus as the true physician of souls. When he stands by the bedside of the afflicted, there will be many not only converted but healed. He who declared, "I am the way, the truth, and the life," will be with his faithful physicians and nurses as they strive to cooperate with him. If through judicious ministration the patient is led to give his soul to Christ, and to bring his thoughts into obedience to the will of God, a great victory is gained.
It is for the object of soul saving that our sanitariums are established. In our daily ministrations we see many careworn, sorrowful faces. What does the sorrow on these faces show?--The need of the soul for the peace of Christ. Poor, sad human beings go to broken cisterns, which can hold no water, thinking to quench their thirst. Let them hear a voice saying, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters." Poor, weary, oppressed souls, seeking you know not what, come to the water of life. All heaven is yearning over you.
"Come to Me, that ye might have life."
It is that thirsting souls may be led to the living water that we plead for sanitariums, not expensive, mammoth sanitariums, but homelike institutions, in pleasant places.
Never, never build mammoth sanitariums. Let these institutions be small, and let there be more of them, that the work of winning souls to Christ may be accomplished. It may often be necessary to start sanitarium work in the city, but never build a sanitarium in a city. Rent a building, and keep looking for a suitable place out of the city. The sick are to be reached, not by massive buildings, but by the establishment of many small sanitariums, which are to be as lights shinning in a dark place. Those who are engaged in this work are to reflect the sunlight of Christ's face. They are to be as salt that has not lost its savor. By sanitarium work, properly conducted, the influence of true, pure religion will be extended to many souls.
From our sanitariums trained workers are to go forth into places where the truth has never been proclaimed, and do missionary work for the Master, claiming the promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Christ can bring light out of darkness.
I appeal to all who have means to make a determined effort to carry out the instruction God has given regarding the establishment of a sanitarium in Takoma Park. Let our people rally to the support of this important enterprise. Let the churches in every State act their part, that the work in Washington may not come to a standstill. Let us make liberal gifts to this work, and the Lord will bless us and it. We can not see this work coming to a standstill while it is but half done. It need not come to a standstill if all our people will come up to the help of the Lord.
Let us come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty powers of darkness. Satan is working with intensity of purpose to enslave and destroy souls. Let us take a firm stand against him. The word of God urges every one to go steadily forward on the upward grade, pressing toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Signed) Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 82, #6)
Leaving Battle Creek on the morning train, we spent Monday afternoon, October 3, in Chicago, visiting some of our institutions there. In company with Dr. Paulson and Elder Sadler, we visited the Life Boat Mission and the Workingmen's Home. I was much pleased with the report of the work being done in this place. The workers assured me that the Lord was giving them success. I rejoiced with them, but I was so weary that I could not enter into the details of the work as fully as I should have been glad to.
The Lord is pleased with the efforts made to gather people to a place where they can hear his praises sung and his Word explained in the simplicity with which Christ explained it as he went through Palestine from village to village and from city to city. Those engaged in this work may take courage. As they walk and work humbly with God, he will certainly impart his grace to them, that they may impart it to others. I shall ever encourage any work that brings souls to Christ. How large a number of our cities might hear the truth if the people of God would put their talents out to the exchangers.
From the Life Boat Mission we drove out to see the newly established Swedish Mission on Oak Street. There we were shown a building which our Swedish brethren, under the leadership of Elder S. Mortenson, have recently purchased for the headquarters of their work in Chicago. The building presents a good appearance. In the basement they have a well-equipped vegetarian restaurant. On the first floor there is a pleasant, commodious hall for meetings, comfortably seated for a congregation of about one hundred and fifty, and the two upper stories are rented to lodgers. I was indeed glad to see this evidence of progress in the Swedish work in Chicago.
There is a great work to be done for the people of all nations in the large cities of America, and such rallying points as this may be a great help in the matter of gaining the attention of the people, and in the training of workers. In every large city in America there are people of different nationalities, who must hear the message for this time. I long to see evidence that the lines of work which the Lord has marked out are being disinterestedly taken up. A work similar to that which is being done in Chicago for the Swedish people should be done in many places.
Time is fast passing. The day of the Lord's reckoning is approaching. Seventh-day Adventists are not to colonize. We are to work as Jesus has given us an example. Of the work of Christ we read: "And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the seacoast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people." This is the work that will open doors for the truth.
"And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan."
Thus was the time of the Great Missionary occupied. I think of the work that might be done if those held in Battle Creek and a few other favored places, were carrying forward the work in the villages and towns and cities in which there are no memorials for the truth.
We are to do all in our power to fulfill the commission given by Christ to his disciples just before his ascension. Of the giving of this commission we read: "Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, 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."
When the eyes of the members of our large churches are anointed with the heavenly eyesalve, they will arise, and go forth to fulfil this commission. When their hearts are imbued with the Holy Spirit, they will worship the Lord their God, and him only will they serve. The Lord is calling upon those who are congregated in congested centers to go forth into the places where the truth has never been proclaimed. They are to teach the things that Christ has commanded, leaving alone the various suppositions born of erratic theories. False teachers will come in, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. Satan will bring forward fables to militate against the principles of Christ's teaching. God calls upon his faithful messengers to search his Word, and to teach only those things that Christ has commanded.
To give all nations the message of warning,--this is to be the object of our efforts. A way will be prepared for the faithful worker to labor at all times and seasons for the conversion of souls. Upon all who have received the word of God there rests the burden of doing this work. From city to city, and from country to country, they are to carry the publications containing the promise of the Saviour's soon coming. These publications are to be translated into every language; for to all the world the gospel is to be preached. To every worker Christ promises the divine efficiency that will make his labors a success.
There is too much hovering round our institutions; too much ease-loving. The commission of Christ is to be carried out to the letter. God's people must consecrate to him their means and their capabilities. The faithful soldiers of the cross of Christ are to go forth without the camp, bearing the reproach, and following in the path of self-denial trodden by the Redeemer.
The ministers who are hovering over the churches, preaching to those who know the truth, would better go into places still in darkness. Unless they do this, they themselves and their congregations will become dwarfed. Our religion has become weak and sickly because the members of the church have left their first love. They might be strong men and women in Christ if they would obey the Lord's directions.
I am commanded to lift my voice in warning, and to call upon our people who are gathered together in Battle Creek to go forth and take up the work appointed them by God. The world is perishing in sin. How much longer will you allow yourselves to be held from the great, needy vineyard, when the history of this world is so near its close?
"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel." This is the message that we are to proclaim at this time. Men and women are turning from obedience to the law of God, and are perishing in transgression. They must reap the sure consequence of their abuse of the laws of nature. By habits of intemperance, they lay the foundations of disease, and crime after crime is the result. Under the influence of poisoned liquor, men lift the hand of murder, and bring dishonor upon themselves, and want and wretchedness upon their families. Obedience to the law of God would save those who are perishing in defiance of truth and righteousness. (To be concluded.) Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #7)
The following extracts from a communication from Sister White, under date of Jan. 16, 1905, addressed to some of our workers in Washington, are both instructive and encouraging:--
"Now is our time to press to the front in Washington. A decided testimony must be borne to the people in the national capital, and this work must not rest upon a few.
"A most important work is to be done in Washington, and I inquire whether you do not need the help of those who in years past have stood prominently for religious liberty.
"As we work with all our might, our trust must be in God. Sooner or later Sunday laws will be passed. But there is much for God's servants to do to warn the people. This work has been greatly retarded by their having to wait and stand against the devisings of Satan, which have been striving to find a place in our work. We are years behind.
"God's law is to be vindicated, by the obedience of heart and mind, and by strong arguments.
"For a long time I have carried a heavy burden regarding the work to be done in Washington. Not one in a thousand of the people there knows what the Bible says about the Sabbath. The instruction given me is that the ten commandments should be printed in plain letters in a prominent place in the Review. Had these commandments been obeyed, the wickedness now seen in our world would never have existed.
"The time has come when the liberty of the church of Christ is endangered. Let it be a time also when true missionary work shall be done, in public ministry and in house-to-house labor. The oppression of Christ's church would apparently be a great victory for the side of transgressors of the Sabbath, and would cause rejoicing among evildoers. But nothing should discourage us. God has victory for his people. Let sanctified ability be brought into the work of proclaiming the truth for this time. If the forces of the enemy gain the victory now, it will be because the churches have neglected their God-given work.
"When all our ministers and physicians come into line, taking their stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel, we shall see an army of men and women going forth to work for Christ, speaking the word with holy boldness and power.
"Remind our people often of the work that may be done by the sale of our books and the distribution of tracts. Encourage them to sell the periodicals containing the message for this time. Our large books can be sold in Washington and other cities in the East, if the canvassers will take up the work courageously.
"Instruction has been given me that the important books containing the light that God has given regarding Satan's apostasy in heaven should be given a wide circulation just now; for through them the truth will reach many minds. 'Patriarchs and Prophets,' 'Daniel and the Revelation,' and 'Great Controversy' are needed now as never before. They should be widely circulated because the truths they emphasize will open many blind eyes.
"When 'Patriarchs and Prophets' was first issued, it was neglected for a book easy to sell and more profitable to the publishers. Many of our people have been blind to the importance of the very books that were most needed. Had tact and skill then been shown in the sale of these books, the Sunday law movement would not be where it is today.
"I am glad that the Lord has at Washington able men, who can treat this Sunday movement as it should be treated. Let every minister, every evangelist, now put on the whole armor of God, and work and watch and pray. Our church members also should humble their hearts before God, and cry aloud, and spare not. O that the Lord would imbue the members of his church with a sense of the importance of the responsibility of being laborers together with him!" Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #7)
From the North Side, we drove across the city to the neighborhood of the great Chicago University, to visit Brother R. Eason and his family, who are conducting the Drexel Avenue restaurant. We were pleased to hear of the interest that some of the students who patronize the restaurant manifest in the principles and belief of those who conduct it. We had a short talk with Brother Eason's sick daughter. My heart was made sad as I saw her unable to take part in the work in which she was so much interested. She made no complaint, but put her whole trust in the Lord, saying, "Thy will be done," yet hoping that her life might be spared, that she might help in the work so greatly needing to be done.
Brother Eason is doing a good work, and I pray that he may see many souls converted as the result of his efforts. Already some of those coming to the restaurant for their meals are interested in the truth for this time.
It is certainly a great blessing to students for them to be able to take their meals at a restaurant where they can get pure, wholesome food, free from grease, condiments, and stimulants. Far more good may be accomplished by this line of work than is generally supposed. Those engaged in it are obeying the command to sow beside all waters.
In our restaurants no opportunity for presenting the truth should be left unimproved. Free reading matter should be provided, and an occasional lecture on health topics should be given. The instruction that for years has been given me is that most earnest efforts should be put forth by believers for those outside the church. Not only should the truth be proclaimed from the pulpit; the Lord's servants are to go forth into the highways and the byways, to seek for souls. Let our restaurant workers learn to make the best use of our periodicals, tracts, pamphlets, and books.
Late at night we took our places in the tourist sleeper that was to take us home to California over the Burlington, Rio Grande, and Southern Pacific Railways.
At Salt Lake we were met by several of our brethren, who urged us to remain with them for a few days. By a hard struggle the church in Salt Lake City has built a good meetinghouse. In a prominent part of the city our brethren are conducting a vegetarian cafe and a health food store; and all felt the need of counsel as to how to conduct the work in Utah.
This invitation we were obliged to refuse. We had cut short our work in Battle Creek because of the sickness of Sister Marian Davis, and had to hasten home as quickly as possible on her account. Our visit with the brethren at Salt Lake was a short one, but it was cheering to hear of the progress of our work in this citadel of Mormonism.
About half an hour's ride west from Ogden, we came to the shore of the great Salt Lake, and instead of skirting round the north end of the lake as we used to do, our train kept straight on in its westward course on a long embankment built across the lake.
From shore to shore the distance across the lake is thirty-one miles. For more than an hour the shores seemed far away and indistinct, the mountains looming up in the distance. By one hundred and three miles of new road that has been built, the line has been shortened nearly forty-four miles, and many steep grades are avoided. Three thousand men were employed on the work for more than a year, and the cost is said to have been four and a half million dollars.
All the way from Chicago the traffic along the lines seemed heavy, and from Ogden west the number of long passenger trains and freight trains was surprising. Waiting for trains to pass delayed us, and Friday morning we saw that we could not reach home before the Sabbath. So we stopped off at Reno, Nev., and spent the Sabbath with my granddaughters, Ella and Mabel White, who had recently gone there for the winter. Ella was teaching the church school, and Mabel was conducting a small kindergarten. On Sabbath I spoke to our people in their little meetinghouse, and met some who were at the campmeeting which I attended in Reno many years ago.
Some of our brethren and sisters in Battle Creek and other favored centers should be working in Nevada.
Death of Sister Marian Davis.--Sunday evening, October 9, we reached home, after an absence of nearly six months. We found Sister Davis very sick. For twenty-five years she had been a member of my family, and a most efficient helper in my literary work. She had been with me in Texas, California, Michigan, Europe, and Australia. A year ago last May, during the General Conference at Oakland, she caught a severe cold, which led to pneumonia. This brought her very low; but during the autumn she recovered, and carried on her work during the winter. Last summer her health began to fail rapidly, and the best care of physicians and nurses could not avail to restore her to health and strength.
On our arrival home, we found her weak and emaciated, unable to eat enough to sustain life and build up her strength. When we had been at home for about a week, she rallied a little, and for a few days we hoped for her recovery. But suddenly she failed, and on Tuesday, October 25, she closed her lifework. Her sister, Mrs. W. K. Kellogg, and her niece, Miss Beth Kellogg, were with her during the last six weeks of her sickness. At the funeral Elder H. A. St. John spoke words of comfort, and we laid our faithful helper away to rest in the St. Helena Cemetery.
Of Sister Davis it can truly be said, "She hath done what she could." All the energies of her being were freely given to the work she loved. Her quick appreciation of truth, and her sympathy for the seeker after truth, enabled her to work enthusiastically in preparing for the press the matter which the Lord has given me for his people. I miss her at the fireside, at the table, and at the family altar; but we sorrow not as those who have no hope. The time is not far when the trump of the Archangel shall sound, awaking all who sleep in Jesus to a life of endless joy. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #8)
Friday morning, October 28, we left St. Helena for southern California. We had been at home less than three weeks, and the need of completing unfinished books was urgent. But there were two new sanitariums in southern California in which I was deeply interested, and I hoped to be able to help our brethren who had the burden of the work in arranging for the opening and successful operation of these two sanitariums.
We spent the Sabbath in Fresno. I spoke to the church there on Sabbath afternoon. The large meetinghouse was well filled, and the Lord helped me to bear my testimony. Here we met Dr. G. A. Hare, from Washington, who had been called back to his old home by the sickness of his mother. He told us of the advancement of the work at Takoma Park, and of the excellent place secured for treatment rooms in the city of Washington.
We intended to go on to Los Angeles Saturday night, but we were unable to secure accommodations on the train, so we stayed over, and on Sunday went to the Hanford-Lamore district, intending to spend the day visiting old friends. On our arrival there, we found a missionary convention in progress, and the brethren asked us to stay with them for a few days. This we consented to do, and I spoke each afternoon while I was there, twice in Hanford, once in Lamore, and once in Armona.
On Sunday afternoon, when I spoke at Hanford, the Lord gave me much liberty, and I think that a good impression was made. I dwelt especially on the words, "Let not your hearts be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
I sought earnestly to carry the minds of those present from the things of this world to the things of eternity. I sought to impress them with the thought that those who are saved must now prepare for the heavenly mansions by washing their robes, and making them white in the blood of the Lamb. I urged the fathers present to realize the duty resting upon them to train their children for God. I told them that this work is of infinitely more importance than all the advantages that they gain by undue devotion to the things of this world. Those parents who set their affections on the things of earth rob themselves and their children of a place in the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those who love him.
It was at an infinite sacrifice that Christ redeemed the human race. But in his parting conversation with his disciples, he made no reference to the suffering that he had endured and must still endure. He did not speak of the humiliation that was before him, but sought to bring to their minds that which would strengthen their faith, leading them to look forward to the joys that await the overcomer.
Adam sinned, and his posterity became sinners. Christ came to this world, and died on the cross of Calvary, that human beings might not "perish, but have everlasting life." O how diligent and faithful we should be, in view of the great sacrifice that has been made for us! How earnestly we should strive to separate from all sin, and through Christ become partakers of the divine nature.
On Tuesday afternoon I spoke at Lamore. I spoke of the great opportunities offered God's people to present the truth for this time to those who know it not. This truth must be proclaimed throughout the world. It is positively necessary that we become more deeply interested in the work that must be done to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.
"How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent?" Those who know the truth must give of their means to send it to those who know it not. They must not be so engrossed in worldly business that they have little time to keep their souls refreshed and strengthened with the bread of heaven, of which they must eat daily if they would prepare for the future immortal life.
I endeavored to set before those present the necessity for strict economy in the outlay of means, that they may have something to bring to the Lord, saying, Of thine own we freely give thee. Thus they are to offer God thanksgiving for the blessings received from him. Thus, too, they are to lay up for themselves treasure beside the throne of God. Hear the words of the Great Teacher; "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
"The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye can not serve God and Mammon.
"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought"--no anxious, troubled, complaining thought--"for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
"Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? And which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."
In these words the great Master speaks to every one. There are many who spend upon dress large sums of money,--money that ought to be used in feeding and clothing those who are suffering from hunger and cold. Many of those for whom Christ died have but little even of the cheapest, most common clothing, while others are spending thousands of dollars in the effort to satisfy the never-ending demands of fashion.
Even among those who profess to be children of God there are those who spend more than is necessary upon dress. God's children should be neatly and tastefully clothed, but they should leave off all unnecessary trimmings, and lay aside the means thus saved for the advancement of the cause of God.
Parents, learn the lesson of self-denial, and teach this lesson to your children. Every dime that you can spare is needed now in the work that must be done. The necessities of the suffering must be relieved; the naked must be clothed, and the hungry fed. The truth for this time must be proclaimed to those who know it not. By denying ourselves of that which is not necessary, we may all have a part in this great work.
We are Christ's witnesses, and we are not to allow worldly interests and plans to absorb our time and attention. There are higher interests at stake. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Christ gave himself willingly and cheerfully to the carrying out of the will of God. He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. In view of all that he has done, should we feel it a hardship to deny self? Shall we draw back from being partakers of Christ's sufferings? His death ought to stir every fiber of our being, making us willing to consecrate to his work all that we have and are. As we think of what he has done for us, our hearts should be filled with gratitude and love, and we should renounce all selfishness. What duty could the heart refuse to perform, under the constraining influence of the love of God and Christ? "I am crucified with Christ," the apostle declares; "nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Let us relate ourselves to God in self-denying, self-sacrificing obedience. Faith in Christ always leads to this. The Saviour died to redeem us from all iniquity, and to purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. There is to be perfect conformity, in thought, word, and deed, to the will of God. Heaven is for those only who have purified their souls through obedience to the truth. It is a place where unsullied purity alone can dwell. "Every man that hath this hope in him"--the hope of seeing Christ--"purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
In perfect obedience there is perfect happiness. "These things have I spoken unto you," Christ said, "that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." May the Lord bless his people, and strengthen their faith, and lead them onward to the heights to which they have not yet attained. He gave Christ to die for us, that we might be purified from all iniquity. He has promised to pour out his Spirit upon us, that we may be sanctified through the truth. He has given us his Word, that through obedience to its teachings we may be made holy. This is the will of God, even our sanctification. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #9)
After four busy days spent at Hanford, Lamore, and Armona, we resumed our journey south, and reached Los Angeles on Thursday, November 3. At the restaurant and treatment rooms we were welcomed by Elder Burden and Dr. Simpson, and there we met Elders Santee, Healey, Simpson, and Adams.
The next day several of us went out to Glendale to see the large building that our people have recently purchased for a sanitarium. We found this building well adapted to sanitarium use, and conveniently located. The new electric streetcar line runs past the property. The Glendale post office is but two blocks away. We found that double treatment rooms were being added to the building, and painting, plumbing, and plastering were going on.
Elder W. W. Simpson had been holding tentmeetings in the heart of the city of Los Angeles during a large part of the summer, and the large tent, then standing on Grand Avenue and Seventh Street, was being used by the church for their Sabbath meetings. Soon after our arrival, letters were sent to our people in the neighboring churches, suggesting that a general meeting be held at Los Angeles on Sabbath and Sunday. In response to this, two or three hundred brethren and sisters came in from surrounding towns, and these, with the believers in the city, filled the large tent on Sabbath morning. The Lord helped me to speak to this congregation of over a thousand souls, all of whom seemed much interested. At the close of my discourse, a collection amounting to seventy-five dollars was taken up for the work among the colored people of the Southern States.
In the churches that I visited in central and southern California, I made earnest appeals in behalf of this needy work, and I hope to hear that our churches throughout the land are becoming aroused to their duty to give the work for the colored people their continual support.
There were about six hundred present at the afternoon meeting, and Brethren Adams, Ballenger, Santee, and W. C. White presented the plans for the home missionary campaign, and three thousand copies of the four special numbers of The Signs of the Times were subscribed for.
On Sunday morning W. C. White presented some encouraging facts about the progress of our work in many lands. Then Elder Burden made a plea in behalf of the Glendale Sanitarium, presenting especially the need of furniture, that the beautiful building may soon be opened for patients. In response to this appeal, eight hundred dollars was subscribed for furniture, and one hundred dollars toward the purchase fund.
On Sunday afternoon I spoke again to a large congregation. At the close of my talk, W. C. White told the people of a letter that my son Edson had written me, saying that he had gathered together one hundred and sixty dollars toward the building of an orphanage for colored children, and pleading for my help in raising one hundred and forty dollars more, saying that with three hundred dollars he hoped to be able to put up one wing of the orphanage, and open it for the waiting, suffering orphans. A collection was taken, and sixty-five dollars was given for this blessed work.
Advancement in Los Angeles.--We rejoice to see that the work is moving forward in Los Angeles. The interest aroused by the meetings that Elder Simpson has been holding is remarkable. Night after night the large tent, holding two thousand persons, has been crowded. As a result of these meetings, a large number have taken their stand for the truth.
Elder Simpson presents the truth as it was presented in past years, illustrating his remarks by means of many charts. He explains the prophecies very clearly, showing plainly that the end of all things is at hand. The Lord certainly works with him, and I wish that there were hundreds of such workers in the field, proclaiming with the same earnestness and enthusiasm the last message of warning.
Special light has been given me regarding the character and magnitude of the work to be done in Los Angeles. Several times messages have been given regarding the duty that rests upon us of proclaiming the third angel's message with power in that city. And now, as we see that the Lord has blessed the labors of Brother Simpson and his faithful helpers, and that large additions have been made to the Los Angeles church, it is our duty to be wide-awake to the privileges and opportunities of the hour. Wherever such an interest is awakened as that which is now shown in Los Angeles, men of the best ability should be chosen to help in the effort. They should enter heartily into the work of visiting and holding Bible readings with those newly come to the faith, and with those who are interested, endeavoring to establish them in the faith. The new believers are to be carefully instructed, that they may have an intelligent knowledge of the various lines of work committed to the church of Christ. One or two men should not be left alone with the burden of such a work.
Much depends upon the work done by the members of the church in connection with and following the tentmeetings that shall be held in our cities. During the meeting, many, convicted by the Spirit, may be filled with a desire to begin the Christian life; but unless there is constant watchfulness on the part of the workers who remain to follow up the interest, the good impressions made on the minds of the people will become indistinct. The enemy, full of subtle reasoning, will take advantage of every failure on the part of God's workers to watch for souls as they that must give an account.
Earnest efforts must be made to lead men and women to place themselves on the Saviour's side. In this work there is need of divine help and of untiring vigilance. No one is to sleep at his post of duty. Every capability must be put to use to win for Christ a victory against the powers of darkness.
The voice of duty is the voice of God. The gospel demands from Christians unreserved consecration of soul and body. The Lord claims the highest service that men and women, aided by divine grace, can offer. In childhood, youth, and age, human beings of every rank, high and low, rich and poor, belong to God. They are to withhold nothing from him. Each one is to stand at his post of duty in the great enterprise of saving souls.
Those who present the truth are to enter into no controversy. They are to preach the gospel with such faith and earnestness that an interest will be awakened. By the words they speak, the prayers they offer, the influence they exert, they are to sow seeds that will bear fruit to the glory of God. There is to be no wavering. The trumpet is to give a certain sound. The attention of the people is to be called to the third angel's message. Let not God's servants act like men walking in their sleep, but like men preparing for the coming of Christ.
(Vol. 82, #9)
[We give below some extracts from a communication from Mrs. E. G. White, dated February 15. This instruction ought to be studied by all our readers, and especially by the conference workers. Note the statement, "The Lord calls for action." It is evident that prompt and decided moves ought to be made to present this message to all the people. Every leader should plan wisely, and then command all his forces for service. Sister White writes:--]
Let those who have been trained for service now take their places quickly in the Lord's work. House-to-house laborers are needed. The Lord calls for decided efforts to be put forth in places where the people know nothing of the truth. Singing and prayer and Bible readings are needed in the homes of the people. Now, just now, is the time to obey the commission, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." Those who do this work must have a ready knowledge of the Scriptures. "It is written" is to be their weapon of defense. God has given us light on his Word that we may give it to our fellow men. The truth spoken by Christ will reach hearts. A "Thus saith the Lord" will fall upon the ear with power, and fruit will appear wherever honest service is done.
The Lord calls for action. The Sabbath question is being agitated in Washington, and while minds are stirred, there is an opportunity for our people everywhere to sow the seeds of truth. Should we neglect to take advantage of this time, we should miss a great opportunity for letting light from God's Word shine forth. The trumpet is to give a certain sound.
Christ's divinity is to be steadfastly maintained. When the Saviour asked his disciples the question, "Whom say ye that I am?" Peter answered, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Said Christ, "Upon this rock," not on Peter, but on the Son of God, "I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Great is the mystery of godliness. There are mysteries in the life of Christ that are to be believed, even though they can not be explained. The finite mind can not fathom the mystery of godliness.
Christ is to be preached, not controversially, but affirmatively. Take your stand without controversy. Let not your words at any time be uncertain. The Word of the living God is to be the foundation of our faith. Gather up the strongest affirmative statements regarding the atonement made by Christ for the sins of the world. Show the necessity for this atonement, and tell men and women that they may be saved if they will repent and return to their loyalty to God's law. Gather all the affirmatives and proofs that make the gospel the glad tidings of salvation to all who receive and believe on Christ as a personal Saviour.
(Vol. 82, #10)
"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and might, be unto our God forever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
Those whom the Lamb shall lead by the fountains of living waters, and from whose eyes he shall wipe away all tears, will be those now receiving the knowledge and understanding revealed in the Bible, the Word of God. To us has been given the privilege of receiving the wisdom that cometh from God, of seeing the beauty and the glories of that Word which lies at the foundation of all true knowledge. The Bible teaches us what a Christian ought to be, and what he ought to do.
We are to copy no human being. There is no human being wise enough to be our criterion. We are to look to the man Christ Jesus, who is complete in the perfection of righteousness and holiness. He is the author and finisher of our faith. He is the pattern Man. His experience is the measure of the experience that we are to gain. His character is our model. Let us, then, take our minds off the perplexities and the difficulties of this life, and fix them on him, that by beholding we may be changed into his likeness. We may behold Christ to good purpose. We may safely look to him; for he is all-wise. As we look to him and think of him, he will be formed within, the hope of glory.
Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand. And let us do all that we can to help others to gain heaven. We are to have an intense interest in Christ Jesus; for he is our Saviour. He came to this world to be tempted in all points as we are, to prove to the universe that in this world of sin human beings can live lives that God will approve.
Think of how much it cost Christ to leave the heavenly courts, and take his position at the head of humanity. Why did he do this?--Because he was the only one who could redeem the fallen race. There was not a human being in the world who was without sin. The Son of God stepped down from his heavenly throne, laid off his royal robe and kingly crown, and clothed his divinity with humanity. He came to die for us, to lie in the tomb as human beings must, and to be raised for our justification. He came to become acquainted with all the temptations wherewith man is beset. He rose from the grave, and proclaimed over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, "I am the resurrection and the life." One equal with God passed through death in our behalf. He tasted death for every man, that through him every man might be a partaker of eternal life.
Christ ascended to heaven, bearing a sanctified, holy humanity. He took this humanity with him into the heavenly courts, and through the eternal ages he will bear it, as the One who has redeemed every human being in the city of God the One who has pleaded before the Father, "I have graven them upon the palms of my hands." The palms of his hands bear the marks of the wounds that he received. If we are wounded and bruised, if we meet with difficulties that are hard to manage, let us remember how much Christ suffered for us. Let us sit together with our brethren in heavenly places in Christ. Let us bring heaven's blessing into our hearts.
Our Saviour bore all that we are called upon to bear, so that no human being could say, "He does not know my suffering and my trials." In all our afflictions he was afflicted, and because of this, the Father has committed to him all judgment.
Satan declared that human beings could not live without sin. Christ passed over the ground where Adam stumbled and fell, and by a sinless life placed the human race on vantage ground, that every one might stand before the Father accepted in the Beloved.
The Saviour ascended to heaven to plead before the throne of God in our behalf. Just before his ascension he gave to his disciples the commission, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." To us as well as to the disciples this commission is given. We are to speak the things that Christ has commanded us. Let us not talk of the mistakes and defects of others. Let us speak the words that Christ has given us to speak. Let us seek for the blessings that Christ has placed within our reach, that we may be made capable of receiving more and still more of his grace, and that we may be filled with a living, active, growing faith,--a faith that believes the promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #11)
From Los Angeles we went to San Diego, and spent three weeks, from November 7 to 28, at the Paradise Valley Sanitarium.
There are nearly three hundred Sabbath-keepers in San Diego County, settled mostly in San Diego, National City, Escondido, and San Pasqual. A general meeting was appointed to be held in the San Diego church, November 12 and 13. The brethren responded cheerfully, and the commodious meetinghouse was well filled. Elders Santee, Healey, and Burden came down from Los Angeles County to take part with us and Elder F. I. Richardson in the general meeting, and to counsel about the work of our new sanitarium.
It had been announced that I would speak on Sabbath morning, but I was unable to fill my appointment. While traveling I had caught a severe cold, and could only whisper. Sunday afternoon was pleasant, and I attempted to speak. With great difficulty I spoke for about twenty minutes. Then Elder Healey gave a stirring discourse to the large audience that had assembled.
On Monday the attention of our brethren was given to the affairs of the Paradise Valley Sanitarium. They looked over the land and the buildings, and saw the improvements that were being made. All were surprised to find that so much had been done during the summer in preparing the building for occupancy, and with thankful hearts they entered into counsel concerning future plans and work.
A Review of Our Experiences.--During the spring of 1902 the attention of several of our brethren was called to the Paradise Valley Sanitarium building, which was erected for a sanitarium by Mrs. Mary L. Potts about twenty years ago. After being used for a few months, it lay idle for many years, and was then offered for sale at twenty thousand dollars, with encouragement that it might be purchased for fifteen thousand dollars cash.
In September, 1902, after the Los Angeles campmeeting, we spent a week in San Diego, and visited several places that were offered us for sanitarium work. In the building offered us by Mrs. Potts, it seemed to me we found about all that we could ask. Here was a well-constructed, three-story building of fifty rooms, with broad verandas, standing upon a pleasant rise of ground, and overlooking a beautiful valley. Many of the rooms are large and airy, and there is a stationary marble washbowl in most of the bedrooms.
Besides the main building, there is a good stable, and also a six-room cottage, which can be fitted up for helpers. The property is conveniently located, being less than seven miles from San Diego, and about a mile from the National City post office.
There are twenty acres of land. About one half of this had once been planted to fruit trees, but during the long drought that this country has suffered, all the trees died except the ornamental trees and shrubbery around the buildings, and about seventy olive trees on the terraces.
When we learned that the owners of this property had become so discouraged on account of the many years of drought that they were offering it for twelve thousand dollars, I said to our brethren, "I believe that the Lord has kept this place for us, and that he will open the way for us to secure it. I never saw a building offered for sale that was better adapted for sanitarium work. If this place were fixed up, it would look just like places that have been shown me by the Lord."
A year before, light had been given me that our people in southern California must watch for opportunities to purchase such properties, and it seemed plain to me and to those who were with me that the opportunity of securing this place was a fulfilment of the encouragement given us, and published in the "Testimonies for the Church," Vol. VII, in the following words:--
"As soon as possible sanitariums are to be established in different places in southern California. Let a beginning be made in several places. If possible, let land be purchased on which buildings are already erected. Then, as the prosperity of the work demands, let appropriate enlargement be made. . . . In southern California there are many properties for sale on which buildings suitable for sanitarium work are already erected. Some of these properties should be purchased, and medical missionary work be carried forward on sensible, rational lines. Several small sanitariums are to be established in southern California, for the benefit of the multitudes drawn there in the hope of finding health. Instruction has been given me that now is our opportunity to reach the invalids flocking to the health resorts of southern California."
In December we learned that this place could be purchased for eleven thousand dollars, and I encouraged Dr. Whitelock to take steps to secure it. But our leading brethren in the Southern California Conference were not ready to cooperate in the matter, and nothing was done.
In the summer of 1903 the property was offered to us for eight thousand dollars, and again we found that our brethren were not in a position to act.
The drought continued, and the owners of this property were very much discouraged. In January, 1904, Dr. Whitelock wrote me that the mortgages could be bought for six thousand dollars, and perhaps less. Again I advised our brethren connected with the medical work in southern California to secure the place. But I learned that they were not prepared to act. Then I laid the matter before Sister Gotzian, and she consented to join me in securing the place. Then we telegraphed an offer of four thousand dollars for the mortgages. Two days later a telegram was returned accepting the offer. Meanwhile a letter from other parties in San Diego was on its way to New York, offering six thousand dollars for the mortgages.
Shortly after we had secured the place, Elder and Mrs. J. F. Ballenger joined us in raising the amount to be paid for the property.
Having secured the place, we needed a manager, and we found one ready for the work. Brother E. R. Palmer and his wife, who had spent the winter in Arizona, were in San Diego. Brother Palmer's bronchial trouble, which had brought him West, was being overcome, and they were willing to take charge of the work of fitting up the sanitarium building for use.
At first Brother Palmer had to work moderately and with great caution. His health would not admit of violent exertion, and our funds would not admit of hiring much help. He began the work cautiously, and the way opened for advance.
When we visited the place in November last, we found that much had been done during the summer. The building had been thoroughly repaired, inside and out, and painted outside. It had been fitted up with electric lights, and about one third of the rooms were furnished. By taking advantage of several sales of furniture by wealthy families leaving the country, first-class furniture had been secured at very low prices.
Our great anxiety about the place was the matter of an ample supply of water. Years ago, when the valley was prosperous, it depended upon the water of the mountain streams stored up by great dams, but as the result of the many years of drought, there was no water in the reservoirs to supply our needs. Some of our neighbors in the valley had good wells, but our place was a little to one side. The great question was, Can we get plenty of water by digging?
The well-diggers had gone down eighty feet, and found a little water, but they wanted much more. O how much depended upon our finding plenty of good, pure water! With an abundance of water our work could go forward, but without it, what should we do? From the beginning, I had felt the assurance that the Lord would open the way for our work to advance; but who could tell when and how? Our people were deeply desirous of seeing the sanitarium make a success, and as we met them, the question was, "Have you found water?"
While this important question was pending, Prof. E. S. Ballenger and my son went to San Pasqual and Escondido to present to our people the encouragements that had attended the enterprise thus far, and the plan of organization that had been prepared, and to ask for their help.
All were glad to share the burden of making this sanitarium, as far as possible, a San Diego County enterprise, and they gave freely according to their ability. About fifteen hundred dollars was subscribed, and half of this was brought back for immediate use.
The very day of the return of Professor Ballenger and my son, with the evidence of the hearty, practical support of the people, the workers in the well struck a fine stream of good, pure water. The next morning Brother Palmer came up early to tell me that there was fourteen feet of water in the well. The water is soft and pure, and we are greatly rejoiced to know that there is an abundant supply. This well is a treasure more valuable than gold or silver or precious stones.
The workers at the sanitarium are all cheerful and hard working. Every morning and evening they have a season of worship. For a day or two after reaching there, I met with them, and enjoyed the privilege very much. The blessing of the Lord rested upon us, and I was very sorry when sickness prevented me from attending regularly.
When shall we open the place for patients? was a question often discussed. Several were impatiently waiting to enter, but how could we admit them while the house was being repainted inside, and while the large kitchen range was being set up?
One morning a lady came unannounced, and insisted upon staying. Others came before we were ready, and patients continued to come till there were twenty, and our workers were kept so busy that there has been no time as yet for a formal opening.
One evening, just before we left, a four-horse team drawing a large, heavy wagon, drove in, bringing gifts to the sanitarium from San Pasqual. In the load there were potatoes, squash, canned fruit, and two beautiful Jersey cows.
During the last three nights of my stay at this institution, much instruction was given me regarding the sanitariums which for years have been greatly needed, and which should long ago have been equipped and set in working order. Medical missionary work is to be to the third angel's message as the right hand to the body. Our sanitariums are one great means of doing medical missionary work. They are to reach the people in their need.
The workers connected with our sanitariums are to be sympathetic, kind, and straightforward in their dealings with one another and with the patients. Their words and deeds are to be noble and upright. They are ever to receive from Christ light and grace and love to impart to those in darkness. By their efforts the sick, the sinful, the prodigals, who have left the Father's house, are to be encouraged to return. God's word to these workers is, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." "Fear not, neither be discouraged; for I am thy God." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #12)
Sanitarium, Cal., March 6, 1905.--Dear Brethren and Sisters: There is a great work to be done in many cities. Just now is the time for a deep, earnest effort to be made in Washington, the capital of our nation.
I feel somewhat disappointed that the gifts that are being made toward the work in Washington do not steadily increase. The remarkable developments in the work in Washington, showing the importance of our moving there, should lead the people of God to make their offerings toward the One Hundred Thousand Dollar Fund larger and larger. The present showing should be decidedly different. My brethren and sisters, do not allow the large gifts for the work in Washington to be so few. We thank the givers of the small sums. And we know that there are those who can make larger gifts. The occasion demands that the men of means among us should bestir themselves. Our reputation is at stake. Now is the time for all to act a part. Unbelievers are looking on, and forming their opinions by the representation made.
Let our ministers arouse, and fully realize the importance of the situation. Let the work in Washington become a matter of the first interest now. Let every believer in every place feel called upon to help. Let all feel that the work in Washington belongs to them, and let them do their utmost toward its advancement.
Come to the front, my brethren and sisters, with your gifts and offerings. Awake to the responsibilities of the hour. We plead with the Lord to work upon minds, and to lead those who have means to realize that now is their time to help liberally in a most important crisis.
The Takoma Park Sanitarium.--We have purchased land in Takoma Park, not for the purpose of building up commercial enterprises, but for the purpose of establishing institutions in which workers may be prepared to go out into the great harvest field. The school has made a humble beginning. A sanitarium must be established there. The ground is ready for the building. Who will now bring their hundreds and their thousands for the help of this enterprise? And let not those who can afford to give but little withhold the smaller sums.
Our sanitariums are one of the most successful means of reaching all classes of people. Christ is no longer in this world in person, to go through our cities and towns and villages healing the sick. He has commissioned us to carry forward the medical missionary work that he began; and in this work we are to do our very best. Institutions for the care of the sick are to be established, where men and women may be placed under the care of God-fearing medical missionaries, and be treated without drugs. To these institutions will come those who have brought disease on themselves by improper habits of eating and drinking. These are to be taught the principles of healthful living. They are to be taught the value of self-denial and self-restraint. They are to be provided with a simple, wholesome, palatable diet, and are to be cared for by wise physicians and nurses.
Our sanitariums are the right hand of the gospel, opening doors whereby suffering humanity may be reached with the glad tidings of healing through Christ. In these institutions the sick may be taught to commit their cases to the Great Physician, who will cooperate with their earnest efforts to regain health, bringing to them healing of soul as well as healing of body.
There is most precious missionary work to be done in our sanitariums. In them Christ and the angels work to relieve suffering caused by bodily disease. And the work is by no means to stop there. The prayers offered for the sick, and the opening of the Scriptures to them give them a knowledge of the great Medical Missionary. Their attention is called to him as the One who can heal all disease. They learn about the great gift of eternal life, which the Lord Jesus is longing to bestow on those who receive him. They learn how to prepare for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those that love him. If I go away, he said, "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." In the Word of God there are gracious promises, from which those who are suffering, whether in body or in mind, may receive comfort and hope and encouragement.
The plan to provide institutions for the proper care of the sick originated with the Lord. He has instructed his people that these institutions should be established. With them are to be connected intelligent, God-fearing physicians, who know how to treat the sick from the standpoint of the skilful Christian physician. These physicians are to be earnest and active, serving the Lord in their activity. They are to remember that they are working in the place and under the oversight of the Great Physician. They stand as guardians of the beings that Christ has purchased with his own blood, and it is therefore essential that they be governed by high, noble principles, carrying out the will of the divine Medical Missionary, who is ever watching over the sick and suffering.
He who is set as a guardian of the health of the sick should understand by experience the soothing power of the grace of Christ, so that to those who come to him for treatment he can impart in words the uplifting, health-giving power of God's own truth. A physician is not fit for medical missionary work until he has gained a knowledge of him who came to save perishing, sin-sick souls. If Christ is his teacher, if he has an experimental knowledge of the truth, he can hold up the Saviour before the sick and dying.
The sick note carefully the looks and words and acts of their physician, and as the Christian physician kneels beside the bedside of the sufferer, asking the Great Physician to take the case into his own hands, an impression is made upon the mind of the sick one that may result in the saving of his soul.
A sanitarium building is to be erected at Takoma Park, that this work may be carried forward. Will not those who have means feel it a privilege to give something toward this work, that the needed fund may be raised soon? The Lord will certainly bless those who will cheerfully return to him his own. Doors that were once fast closed are now opening wide for the entrance of our workers. I call upon our people, while the way is open, to do earnest work, to rally round the standard, to answer the call that has been made for the completion of the One Hundred Thousand Dollar Fund. Come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty. This work is the Lord's, and he calls upon those who have means to place it in the treasury for the advancement of his work. Send in your offerings for the buildings to be erected at Takoma Park. We are praying that the money buried in lands and houses may now be called in, because it is the Lord's money, and he needs it. It is to our honor to send in large and small sums, so that, when the next General Conference shall assemble, we can say that the fund needed has been raised.
We call upon those who have invested money in worldly interests to withdraw it, and place it in the Lord's cause, where it is now greatly needed. Show your gratitude to God by the liberality of your offerings. Thus you may give evidence that you appreciate the mercies of the gospel.
To the workers in Washington, I would say: We have faith, my brethren and sisters, that if you will walk humbly with God, you will see of his salvation. It is the desire of my heart that you shall know the power of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have an all-sufficient Helper. He understands our weakness and our needs. Let there be fasting and prayer. Let self be humbled. Let the heart be cleansed from all impurity. Confess your sins, and plead with God day and night for the victory, and you will walk in the light as Christ is in the light. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 82, #13)
From San Diego we returned to Los Angeles, and on Tuesday, December 6, we went to Redlands for a few days' visit. A little way out from Los Angeles, the scenery became very uninteresting. We passed through much barren land. Here and there, the desert, by means of irrigation, had been converted into flourishing orange groves; but for miles and miles at a stretch the land was uncultivated. As we rode along, I remembered scenes presented to me years before, of barren land, such as that through which we were passing, being cultivated and improved, and, by irrigation, made to yield rich returns. I was instructed that this was an object lesson of the influence that the saving grace of Christ should have upon the hearts and lives of human beings. And had those to whom God has given the riches of the water of life, realized the responsibilities resting upon them as stewards of the grace of God, and gone forth as faithful missionaries into all the barren places of the earth, the wilderness would have been made to blossom as the garden of the Lord.
The dreary, uninviting appearance of the desert over which we were passing represented only too well the spiritual condition of many cities, towns, and country places,--a condition that might have been changed had those who know the truth put forth earnest, self-sacrificing efforts to impart light to others.
Places that have not yet been worked should long ago have heard the message. Those who are familiar with the teachings of God's Word, those who understand the things that Christ has commanded, are required, as stewards of his grace, to perform faithfully their appointed work. The means entrusted to them they are to use in opening new fields, in teaching those who would accept the truth were it presented to them in the way that Christ presented it when on this earth. All who have received the light of truth are held responsible to do their part in enlightening others.
Of the Saviour's work we read, "The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up."
"Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan."
These words give an illustration of the way in which Jesus cultivated the soil of the heart. They point out clearly the work that we are to do, not in one place merely, but in every place. The light that God has graciously given us we are to communicate to many others. To every nation and kindred and tongue and people the warning message is to be given.
We are to learn from Christ the science of soul saving. He is the mighty Healer. In our work of preaching the gospel, we are to establish small sanitariums in many places. Sanitarium work is one very successful means of bringing the message of salvation through Christ to the attention of a large class of people who can be reached in no other way. Those from the higher walks of life will come to our sanitariums for treatment, and when they go away, they will tell others of the benefits they have received. Thus others will be induced to come. It is God's design that our sanitariums shall act an important part in giving the message of Christ's soon coming to those in the highways and the byways.
As we neared Redlands, the aspect of the country changed entirely. Cultivation and irrigation have transformed the desert into beautiful and fertile orange groves, which, at the time of our visit, were laden with fruit. On reaching Redlands, we went to the home of Brother and Sister E. S. Ballenger, where we were entertained during our stay.
In this short sketch I shall not attempt to describe Redlands. One morning we took a long drive over the city. We drove through a beautiful highland park, known as Smiley Heights. This was once barren hills, but it is now covered with orange groves and with a great variety of ornamental trees and shrubs. As we drove higher and higher up the mountainside, which was so beautifully adorned, we were charmed with the scenery. From the top of the hill, we obtained a fine view of the city of Redlands; and as I looked upon it, I realized that just such places had been presented to me in vision as places to which we must give special attention. I had been instructed that in places similar to this, we would have opportunity to establish sanitariums, and that by means of these institutions men and women would be taught the gospel of physical and spiritual healing.
On Sabbath morning I spoke in the pretty little church building that has recently been erected by our people in Redlands. There was a good attendance, some of the brethren and sisters from San Bernardino being present. The Lord gave me strength to speak for about thirty minutes. I felt so thankful for this; for I was just recovering from a four weeks' sickness.
The Lord blessed our meeting. In the evening another meeting was held, at which Brother Ballenger and W. C. White spoke of the Glendale Sanitarium and its needs, and invited those present to help in preparing the building for the reception of patients. The church members in Redlands are poor, but they gave liberally in response to this call. (To be concluded.) Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #14)
Years ago many places in southern California were presented to me as very important fields, needing earnest labor. While at Redlands, I recognized it as one of these places. Light was given me that the unworked condition of the cities of southern California is a dishonor to those who know the truth. Recently Elder Simpson held tentmeetings in Redlands, as a result of which many new members were added to the church. For this we praise the Lord. But there is still much to be done in Redlands. We need now to put forth earnest efforts in the cities of southern California.
On reaching Redlands we learned that Brother J. A. Bowles had died a few days before. I felt so sorry to think that I could not meet him once more and have prayer with him. As we passed by his flourishing orange grove, we thought of the kindness he had so often shown in sending us presents of oranges. Brother Bowles was a sincere Christian, and ever showed a deep interest in the work and cause of God. He rejoiced greatly when he saw souls accepting the truth. He is resting now, till the last trump shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall rise to meet their Lord in the air.
An announcement had been sent out that on Sunday morning at eleven o'clock I would speak in our church at Riverside. Sister Mcenterfer and I drove across with Brother Bowles's son and his wife. On the way we passed through miles and miles of orange groves. A wonderful work has been done in bringing water from the mountains and from wells, and irrigating the land so abundantly that it yields rich harvests of beautiful fruit.
On reaching the place of meeting, we found that here at Riverside, also, our people had recently built a beautiful house of worship. The church was well filled. Several not of our faith were present. I was able to speak for an hour, and all seemed interested.
For a year or two Dr. Leadsworth has been operating treatment rooms in Riverside; and at the close of the meeting, I went there to rest for a little while before taking the train for Redlands. Here we met Brother and Sister Towle, old friends from Maine.
On our way back to Redlands, as our train passed through miles of orange groves, I thought of the efforts that should be made in this beautiful valley to proclaim the truth for this time. I recognized this section of southern California as one of the places that had been presented to me with the word that it should have a fully equipped sanitarium.
Why have such fields as Redlands and Riverside been left almost unworked? As I looked from the car window, and saw the trees laden with fruit, I thought, Would not earnest, Christlike efforts have brought forth just as abundant a harvest in spiritual lines? In a few years these towns have been built up and developed, and as I looked upon their beauty and the fertility of the country surrounding them, there rose before me a vision of what the spiritual harvest might have been had earnest, Christlike efforts been put forth for the salvation of souls.
The Lord would have brave, earnest men and women take up his work in these places. The cause of God is to make more rapid advancement in southern California than it has in the past. Every year thousands of people visit southern California in search of health, and by various methods we should seek to reach them with the truth. They must hear the warning to prepare for the great day of the Lord, which is right upon us.
In his work, Christ met the people where they were. Much of his public labor was done in Capernaum, a great thoroughfare of travel. People from many lands passed through the city, or tarried for rest in their journeyings to and fro. Here Jesus could meet all nations and all ranks, the rich and the great as well as the poor and lowly, and his lessons would be carried to other countries and into many households. Investigation of the prophecies would thus be excited, attention would be directed to the Saviour, and his mission would be brought before the world.
We are called upon by God to present the truth for this time to those who year by year come to southern California from all parts of America. Workers who can speak to the multitudes are to be located where they can meet the people, and give them the warning message. Ministers and canvassers should be on the ground, watching their opportunity to present the truth and to hold meetings. Let them be quick to seize opportunities to place present truth before those who know it not. Let them give the message with clearness and power, that those who have ears to hear may hear.
I have longed to see men moved by the Holy Spirit meeting these people with the message borne by John the Baptist, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. . . . This is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."
"Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan," went out to hear John the Baptist, "and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins." Just such a work as this can be done today in southern California. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #15)
"Elmshaven," Sanitarium, Cal., Jan. 11, 1905.-- To the Leaders in Our Work at Takoma Park:-- I exhort all who are connected with the work at Takoma Park to bring Christ into all that they do and say. Lift him up, higher and still higher, that by beholding him, you may be changed into the same image. To you, and to all others who believe in him, he becomes an inspiring force. To all who receive him he gives power to become the sons of God. Only by obtaining this power can we gain perfection of character..
We can be partakers of the divine nature. In the strength of the Redeemer, we can live pure, noble, helpful lives. Make yourselves acquainted with every detail of the life of Christ. Strive to become like the Saviour, who was meek and lowly and self-denying. He was inspired with the purest purposes. So must you be if ever you see the King in his beauty. Pure, unselfish love was the principle that governed all that he said and did. He has power to imbue us with the faith that works by love and purifies the soul.
I thank the Lord that we have men in charge of our work at Takoma Park who have taken a firm stand that they will not be corrupted in any of their transactions with worldly men. Thus business men will be convinced that the faith of Seventh-day Adventists is not a pretense or sham, but that it leads men to walk in the way of the Lord and to do his will.
I have been instructed that strong temptations will come to men who are connected with our institutions. The work we are called upon to do in Washington is to keep every jot and tittle of the law in surety and in strength, in might and in power. When worldly men present temptations to you, listen not to their offers, and accept not their bribes. I thank the Lord that you have not betrayed the sacred trusts committed to your hands.
Our physicians also will have opportunities to gain advantages for themselves, by following worldly policy. Let them distinctly tell those who offer these temptations that they will not enter into any worldly schemes. I rejoice to think that those who have charge of the work in Takoma Park are Christians, men who can teach the youth in their charge to do acceptable work. My brethren, let unselfishness and scrupulous integrity characterize all that you do. Do not allow your actions to be tainted with dishonesty. Work for time and work for eternity, remembering that the Lord sees and hears all that is said and done. His all-seeing eye examines every work. Never resort to the slightest dishonesty to gain an advantage. Do not buy or sell dishonestly. In all that you do, inquire, "Is this the way of the Lord?" Cherish a clear sense of what you must be and do in order to develop a character that is without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. It is the perfect man in Christ who meets God's ideal. The work of those who are guided and controlled by Christian motives will bear witness for God. Christ lived the very life that he requires his followers to live.
The Saviour has a deep contempt for all deception. The stern punishment meted out to Ananias and Sapphira shows this. Desiring to receive commendation for good deeds, yet unwilling to give all to God, they sold their possessions, and keeping back part of the price, laid the rest at the apostles' feet. They hoped to be thought liberal and self-denying, but the Holy Spirit read the deception, and sudden punishment came upon them. Today the same Spirit condemns all underhand dealing. All selfish meanness is to be put away from the character. This is the lesson that God would have us learn from the experience of Ananias and Sapphira.
There are virtues that are to be daily strengthened. A reverence for justice and equity is to be cultivated. He who permits in himself that which he condemns in others is doing himself a great wrong.
"Love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous." Cherish a supreme reverence for justice and truth, and a hatred for all cruelty and oppression. Do unto others as you would wish them to do to you. God forbids you to favor self, to the disadvantage of another.
A terrible deception has taken possession of the Christian world. There is a high profession, but a dwarfed godliness. Let us so live that at last God can say to us, "Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Our lives may show a steady spiritual growth. But I have seen that which makes me tremble--men and women dwarfed in character, possessing the Word of God, which tells them what they must do in order to be saved, yet unsanctified and unholy.
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
This is a time for every one to deal truly with his own case. "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 that is in heaven."
Daily, hourly, the leaders in the work are giving lessons to those with whom they are associated. My brethren, be reasonable in your every requirement, as men of intelligence, whom God has chosen. Let all that you do reveal the strictest integrity. Be true and faithful. Set an example that all may safely follow. Do not draw into the web of your character one thread of selfishness; for this would spoil the pattern.
As you advance in the work, you will find that there are many things that must receive careful consideration. Allow no shiftlessness. When a man is employed in the work of God, he is under obligation to use all his capabilities in the very best service that he can offer. He is to remember that God has hired him to work in his vineyard. Every woman is to stand in her place, helping to perfect her own character and the characters of the members of her family. Father, mother, and children are to do honor to the principles of heaven, that the influence of angels may unite with their efforts in the preparation of character for the higher life. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 82, #16)
I have a message to bear to our people. For weeks I have not been able to sleep for more than a few hours each night. I am thinking, praying, and planning for the work in Washington. Shall the work at the capital of our nation be hindered for lack of funds? Shall the number of laborers be limited to a very few, when many should be improving the present opportunity to call the attention of the people to the truth for this time? I pray that those of our people who have means to spare will at this time place it in the Lord's treasury, that his purpose for the advancement of his cause may be carried out. This is the Lord's opportune time for the working of Washington and the surrounding suburbs.
Night after night I am standing before the people, bearing a very positive testimony, and pleading with them to be wide-awake, and to take up the work of circulating our literature. I have seen men and women agitated in regard to present truth, and in need of some one to lead them into clearer light. Night after night I am urging our people to awake from their spiritual slumber, and do their utmost to help in this great crisis in the work in Washington.
God is looking down from his throne, and is sending his angels to this earth to cooperate with those who are teaching the truth. Read the record of the experience of Philip and the eunuch. "The angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
"Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
"The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth; in his humiliation his judgment was taken away; and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
"And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, Of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
"And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch saith, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip saith, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
"And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
"But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea."
This incident shows the care that the Lord has over every mind that is susceptible to the truth. We see how closely the ministration of heavenly angels is connected with the work of the Lord's servants on this earth.
A burden was placed upon Philip to enter new places, to break up fresh ground. Direction was given him by an angel who was watching for every opportunity to bring men into connection with their fellow men. Philip was sent "toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert." This brought him into touch with a man of wide influence, who, when converted, would communicate to others the light of truth. By the Lord's working through Philip, the man was convinced of the truth, and was converted and baptized. He was a highway hearer, a man of good standing, who would exert a strong influence in favor of the truth.
Today, as then, angels of heaven are waiting to lead men to their fellow men. An angel showed Philip where to find this man, who was so ready to receive the truth, and today angels of God will guide and direct the footsteps of those workers who will allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify their tongues and refine and ennoble their hearts.
There is no place in America of greater importance than Washington. The recent developments in that place show that our brethren moved there none too soon. Angels of heaven directed their course in planting the standard of truth in Washington. Men of influence are being aroused to study the truth for this time. No opportunity should be left unimproved to establish the work firmly in this important place. And our efforts are not to stop there. In many cities the truth has not yet been proclaimed. Workers are to come to the front; men and women who are wise in reaching human minds are to be set at work in every place where there is an opening. Every one who is interested is to be judiciously labored for. The men in high places are to hear the message of truth. Angels of heaven will unite with the Lord's appointed ministers and medical missionaries, aiding them to exert on the minds of the people an influence in favor of the truth.
Philadelphia and other important places should be worked. Evangelists should be finding their way into all the places where the minds of men are agitated over the question of Sunday legislation and of the teaching of religion in the public schools. It is the neglect of Seventh-day Adventists to improve these providential opportunities to present the truth that burdens my heart, and keeps me awake night after night.
Instruction has been given me that there is a withholding of the tithe that should be faithfully brought into the Lord's treasury, for the support of the ministers and missionaries who are opening the Scriptures to the people, and working from house to house. These workers are to do their best, as the Lord's lightbearers. As they walk humbly with God, angels of heaven will cooperate with them, making impressions on minds. In the past angels of God have stood beside his messengers, as they have raised the standard bearing the inscription, "The Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus." The ministers and evangelists who are laboring in the Lord's vineyard, must be supported. We may have a part in the work by bringing to the storehouse means for the sustenance of the Lord's chosen ones.
In the place of complaining of the officers of the General Conference because they can not respond to the multiplied calls for men and means, let our church members bear a living testimony to the power of the truth by denying self, and giving liberally for the advancement of the work. Let our sisters save by refusing to put expensive trimmings on their garments. Let every unnecessary expense be cut down. Let every family bring their tithes and offerings to the Lord.
Most earnest work is now to be done in proclaiming the message of present truth. Every voice is now to harmonize; every believer is to unite in urging obedience to the law proclaimed from Sinai. Let us unite with the angels of heaven in presenting to our people in every place the necessity of paying a faithful tithe and of bringing to the Lord liberal gifts and offerings.
Never was there a more important time in the history of our work than at present. The message in the third chapter of Malachi comes to us, holding up before us the need of honesty in our relations to the Lord and his work. My brethren, the money that you use to buy and sell and get gain will be a curse to you if you withhold from the Lord that which is his. The means entrusted to you by the Lord for the advancement of his work should be used in sending the gospel to all parts of our world.
The curse of God will surely come upon those who rob him in tithes and offerings. "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts."
Shall we not, as a people, come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty? Shall we not with humble hearts confess our sins of neglect? Shall we not return unto the Lord his own? Then he will impart his goods to those who are faithful, that they may do still more for the advancement of his work.
Thousands upon thousands are perishing in sin, and a lack of means is hindering the proclamation of the truth that is to be carried to all nations, and kindreds, and tongues, and peoples. There are men ready to go forth as the Lord's messengers, but because of a lack of means in the treasury they can not be sent to the places where people are begging for some one to come and teach them the truth.
Our heaviest burden at the present time is for the work in Washington. Angels of God are cooperating with those who are lifting the standard of God's holy law in this important place. Will you help these faithful workers? Will you send in the means needed in order for the necessary buildings to be erected? Let the members of every church now do all in their power to raise the fund necessary for the completion of the buildings that are so much needed in Washington. The work must be quickly established at the capital of our nation. Will you not, my brethren and sisters, see that the necessary means are supplied for the accomplishment of this work? St. Helena, Cal., March 28, 1905. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #17)
To the stewards and matrons, accountants and clerks, foremen and laborers, I would say: Let your stewardship and your service and all your business dealing be marked by strict integrity and the sanctifying influence of the truth, that others may take knowledge of you that you have been with Jesus, and have learned of him. Be faithful in all that you do. Let not one selfish, covetous act be recorded in the books of heaven against your name. Do not allow it to be seen that while you profess to be children of God, you are really serving the world. Serve God with heart and soul and mind and strength. Then angels of heaven will come close to you, and will lift up for you a standard against the enemy.
Give your whole heart and life to the service of him who gave himself for your redemption. Disappoint the enemy. Refuse to be his tool for the carrying out of his plans. Turn away from the financial advantages which he offers you, and which, if accepted, would prove a curse to your religious experience. Then you can say in the cleanness of your heart, "My soul shall make her boast in the Lord." Let there be in your lives no deceitful devising, no artifice, no underhand schemes and contrivings. Depart from all things that you would condemn in others.
Living Bible truth day by day will place you on vantage ground. Your face will be calm and peaceful, and your words will be, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; for he hath clothed me with the garments of his righteousness, and it is my salvation. He hath covered me with the robe of his righteousness." You will be able to give comfort and hope to others, because you have through your integrity glorified God.
You will walk carefully, lest you make crooked paths by which weak, struggling, halting souls shall be led out of the way. You will refuse to cooperate with worldly men to carry out worldly plans or policies. As you realize that you have a work to do for God, the temptations and allurements of the world will not tempt you from the path of equity and uprightness. The whole life will bear the testimony, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever." "O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art God. The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup" With the eye of faith you will behold the invisible, and the soul finds its strength in One who never fails. He is the joy of your life.
We are fighting a battle with the powers of darkness. The Bible is the rule of our life. This word is the light which is to guide us in all our perplexities. Make the Lord your counselor. When you are at work, the enemy may come to you with suggestions and temptations, hoping to lead you from the path of integrity. Do not listen to him. Look away from him to the One who has bought you with his life. Give yourself to Christ, trust in him, and he will give you strength to resist the enemy.
"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." "Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth." "Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's."
"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Never forget that you belong to Christ. Let all your work, to the most minute detail, be such that he can approve. Do not, in order to gain worldly advantages, steal that which belongs to God.
Only by doing the will of God can we show that we possess true religion. Those who strive sincerely to break from the grasp of the enemy, and with full purpose of heart seek to know and obey the commandments of God, will be given power to become the sons and daughters of God. Their search after the things of heaven will be rewarded.
To the Students in the Training College.--To the students in the school I would say: Keep in the path of self-denial. Avoid all ungodly companionship. Seek daily for the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. You will find your safety in studying the Word of God with a sincerity that keeps Christ constantly before the mind as the example to be followed. Lift him up, the Man of Calvary, by purity of word and work; for thus you honor God. By true religion, revealed in the daily life, you and I and all who are striving for the crown of life, are to bear witness for Christ.
He who is sanctified by the truth is strengthened to resist the assaults of those who have grown hardened in guilt. Shun the companionship of those who have not heeded the appeals of conscience. Let your light shine forth in Christlike words and deeds. Ask yourselves, What can I do to help those with whom I am brought in contact to resist temptation? What can I say to warn those who have not been taught to believe that the Lord is soon to come?
Earnest searching of the Scriptures, with a sincere desire to understand the truth, will receive a sure reward. An occasional glance into the Word is not enough. An occasional prayer is not enough. "Search the Scriptures," Christ said, "for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." Make the Bible the man of your counsel. Only thus can you gain strength to overcome. Let your light shine forth in clear, constant, distinct rays. An occasional service done for the Master is not enough. Only by an unreserved consecration to Christ of all that you have and are can you win souls to him.
Let the students who are engaged in building do their work with thoroughness. Let them learn from their daily work lessons that will help them in their character building. Let them remember that in order to have perfect characters, they must make their work as perfect as possible. Into every line of this work let there be brought that stability which means true economy.
Students, eternal interests are before you. Work with heaven in view, remembering ever your character building. Keep a pocket Bible with you as you work, and improve every opportunity to commit to memory its precious promises.
"All things are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." God gave Christ to be the head over all things to the church. The Saviour loves the church with an everlasting love. "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
Christ gave himself for the church 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.
Remember that Satan will not leave any one alone who is working to build up memorials for the Lord. "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation."
From the Washington training college missionaries are to be sent forth to many distant lands. Let the students improve every opportunity to prepare for missionary work, while at the school. They are to be tested and proved that it may be seen what their adaptability is, and whether they have a right hold from above. If they have a firm hold on Christ, they will have a right hold on all with whom they come in contact.
The Lord will surely bless all who seek to bless others. The school is to be so conducted that students and teachers will be continually increasing in power through the faithful use of the talents given them. By faithfully putting to a practical use that which they have learned, they will continually increase in wisdom and knowledge. We are to learn from the Book of books the principles by which we are to live and labor. By consecrating all our abilities to him who has the first right to them, we may ennoble all that is worthy of our attention.
The students who will get the most good out of life are those who live the word of God in their dealings with their fellow men. Those who receive to give will feel the greatest satisfaction in this life. Those who live for themselves are always in want, for they are never satisfied. There is no Christianity in shutting up our sympathies in our own selfish hearts. We are to bring brightness and blessing into the lives of others. We are to be channels through which God can let his goodness, mercy, and truth flow to the world. We are to be co-workers with Jesus Christ, imparting to others the blessings bestowed on us. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #18)
God manifested his love for the world be sending his only begotten Son to save sinners. Christ took our nature, that through his grace we might be partakers of the divine nature. His divinity was bound up with humanity that humanity might stand on vantage ground with God.
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
"Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God. God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God loves his brother also."
We need to watch unto prayer, walking and working in constant dependence upon God. He in whose heart Christ is formed, he to whom Christ is the hope of glory, enlightening, sanctifying, strengthening, will be preserved from the false representations that will be made of God.
The false sentiments that prevail today are of the world; they belong to the world; they are worldly in spirit and character. The apostle declared, "We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us." The teaching of the apostles is not to be set aside. Men are not to feel at liberty to speak disrespectfully of these teachings because they do not agree with all that they set forth. Those who teach the truth for this time must understand the Scriptures, that they may give the right interpretation of the Scriptures, exalting the principles of the truth, and in life and character revealing the spirit of the truth. God works with such ones as speak of the life and miracles of his Son.
He whose heart is filled with the love that proceeds from God, does not allow self-exaltation or dishonesty to find place in his life. He who is "born again," of the Spirit, reveals Christ in the daily life. He is upright in all his dealings. He does no sly, cunning, underhand work. The good fruit that appears in his life testifies to the condition of his heart.
Christ's true followers are made complete in him, because he gives them of his Spirit. The blessed hope of seeing Christ as he is, and being like him, works in mind and heart like a quickening power, cleansing away impurity and depravity. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him,--the hope of seeing Christ as he is--"purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
How wide the contrast between the ones thus described and those who, though professing the faith, have not the love of God in their hearts. The latter class have not been made Christian gentlemen by the purifying influence of the truth. They are transgressors of the law of God, and their work is opposed to the work of Christ.
Those who walk humbly with God are approved by him. Let us build ourselves up, through Christ, in the most holy faith. The truth of God alone is invincible. Those who profess to believe the Scriptures need now to know where they are standing. Christ will receive all who come to him confessing and forsaking their sins, and will give to them transformation of character. He offers to all the eternal-life insurance policy. The everlasting covenant is sealed with the blood of his crucifixion. Through his sacrifice on Calvary he makes peace for us. In him are hid the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He is the divine storehouse of all light. He alone can prepare us to enter the gates of the holy city. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #20)
Remarks by Mrs. E. G. White at the Opening of the Conference, Thursday Morning, May 11.--I want to say a few words at the beginning of this conference. I feel a deep and intense desire that those who have come to this meeting shall not occupy their minds in investigating other souls. The work resting upon us as individuals should be taken up at this meeting. We are living in the great day of atonement, when every person should confess his sins, that the conviction of the Spirit of God may come to his heart. If you think that there is something standing between you and God, go to him, and ask him to help you to make the confession necessary in order that the wrong, whatever may be its character, may be taken out of the way. And ask him to help you not to repeat the wrong.
It was a question with me whether I should venture to attend this meeting, because of the condition of my health. I decided that I would make no promises; I would wait and see what the will of the Lord was in the matter. Night after night I seemed to be bearing this testimony: that there are those in our churches who need at this time the deep movings of the Spirit of God upon their hearts; and I decided to come to the conference.
Some pass over their wrongdoings, or, if they have confessions to make, they think that they will not confess, because to do this would lessen the confidence that their brethren have in them. God wants us to look to him, and to him alone, and have everything straight between our souls and God. We need to seek the Lord with all our hearts, that we may find him; we need to come into close relation with the cross of Calvary. We need to see Christ hanging upon that cross, making an atonement for our sins. When we see and understand our relation to Calvary, we shall know for ourselves something of the grief which, because of sin, Christ knew for us.
How can we do this?--"Repent . . . and be converted." This is our only hope of salvation. We are to stand in a repentant, confessing attitude, and then joy will fill our hearts.
Just as soon as you are impressed that there is something standing between you and God, or between you and your brethren, leave your gift before the altar of prayer, and do that which Christ has said you must do in order for the wrong to be taken out of the way. This is the first work that is to be done in this conference, if we expect the blood of Jesus Christ to be efficacious in our behalf. If we confess and forsake our sins, we shall come into that close relation to Jesus to which reference is made in the seventeenth chapter of John. We shall be one with Christ. This is the evidence that we are to give to the world that God sent his Son to save sinners. This is the result of the influence of the grace of God upon human hearts; and when the conviction of sin comes, then the light of the glory of God will be revealed. If we have a living union with God, we shall hate the sin that separates the soul from God.
The Lord does not want us to bring a sorrowful tone into our meetings. He desires praise. "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me," he declares. We are to be always praising God. We need in our hearts the light of Christ; we need to know the joy of pardoned transgression and forgiven sin. If this joy is in us, we shall not be able to keep our lips closed during this conference, because we shall realize the greatness of the sacrifice made for us upon the cross. We shall realize that Christ bore our sins in his own body upon the tree. He was mocked and derided by those who ought to have received him. As he hung upon the cross, the leaders and rulers of the Jewish nation cried out: "He saved others; himself he can not save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him."
When there are set before us things that are a cross for us to take up, we can never be one with Christ until we have lifted the cross. It may be the cross of confession, the cross of repentance, the cross of humiliation; but whatever it may be, let us remember that in lifting it, we are one with Christ, partakers of the divine nature. He suffered the agony, he endured the reproach, and he cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" It was because of our sins--because of your sins and mine--that he was thus afflicted.
When those in our churches commit sins, they should repent of them before God, and they should also repent of them before their brethren, asking the pardon that they will be willing to give. Then the light that shines from the face of Christ will shine upon them. Let us clear the King's highway; let us plead with God until we know that we have received pardon. He will give it to us. But if you cover up your sin, you will have less and less sense of its sinfulness, and you will go on in the same line. God will receive every one who will confess and forsake his sins, crucifying self by departing from iniquity.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ has been promised to all who will come to him in faith. You may say, I do confess my sins; but I do not feel any better. What has feeling to do with it? If you have confessed your sins if you have planted your feet on vantage ground, and are sorry for your sins, so sorry that you will not repeat them, you will receive pardon. Remember that when you sin, you wound afresh the One who gave his precious life for you, putting him to open shame. The world looks on, and says, "Ah, they are the ones who profess to believe that Christ is coming, and who profess to believe that the Lord forgives their sins; but do you see their conniving, their dishonesty, their sinfulness?" Christ is humiliated in the person of his saints. Let us not take that position. Let us consider that it is a noble thing to confess our faults, and to forsake them.
We expect to see the salvation of God in this meeting; but it will never come to those who cover up their wrongs, those who, catching perhaps a glimpse of light, think that it is all right, and that they have nothing more to do. You can never stand on vantage ground by taking that attitude. It is through the rectitude, the grace, revealed by the disciples of Christ, that the world is to be led to believe on him. This is to be the convincing power. In this our day of confession, this last great day of atonement, before the books shall be opened, and every man shall be judged by the things written in the books, are we considering how we shall stand in the judgment, in that day when every deed is to be tried, and every act is to be brought into review before the heavenly universe? Let us not make play-work of our religious life. Is it not time that we believed that Christ died on Calvary, that he might forgive our sins and pardon our transgressions?
All through this meeting we want to hear voices saying, "He has pardoned my transgressions, he has forgiven my sins, and I am looking unto him, beholding him who is the author and finisher of our faith." We must stand where we shall not dare to take up a report against our brethren. Go right to the one you think has erred, and tell him his fault between him and you alone. Let this work be carried on, that there may be a coming closer and closer to God. Then you can speak of his pardon, and tell of his glory; and every voice can proclaim, "He has pardoned my transgressions, he has forgiven my sins, and I will praise him with heart, and soul, and voice."
All heaven is looking upon this company. All the heavenly angels are watching those assembled here. We greatly desire that the deep movings of the Spirit of God shall be felt upon human hearts. Last night I lay awake for hours, saying these very things. I could not keep them out of my mind. I was repeating the very words that I am speaking to you this morning. Clear the King's highway; take out the stumblingblocks; remove the rubbish; clear away the stones, that the Spirit of God may go through our midst, and that we may see the salvation of God as a lamp that burneth. That is what we need. We can not afford to cover up one sin. We want the richest blessing here; for trial is coming right upon us. Only a little while, only a short time, and every one will be severely tried. We want a daily renewal of the grace of God in our hearts, that we may climb the ladder of perfection step by step, rising higher and higher in the way that leads to heaven, to holiness, and to God.
May the Spirit of God come into our meetings. May we see of his salvation, and may his glory be revealed here. Let every voice be raised to glorify God, not to pick flaws in one another. It is an individual work that we are to do. When this work is done, we shall hear the high praises of God in the midst of the sermon. This will not disturb the preacher at all, because the truth makes its application to the heart, to the mind, and to the conscience, and you will know that the word being spoken is inspired by the Spirit of God. Let every one take a firm hold upon God, and depart from iniquity, and the Lord will make your feet to stand upon high and holy ground. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #21)
Development of the Interests at Washington.--Address by Mrs. E. G. White before the Conference, Tuesday Afternoon, May 16.--Our work for this time is a most solemn and important work. Let those who claim to believe the truth take into consideration the fact that unless the Holy Spirit is with them in the work which God has given them, they will lose a great blessing, and their efforts will be a failure. If there are those who think that it is their business to criticize the ones whom God has put in a certain place to open the way, that the truth shall be carried forward as it should be in the different places, let them know that they are doing a work which God has not appointed them. If there are those here who cherish the spirit of criticism, this meeting will be of very little advantage to them. What we need at this very time is that the Spirit of God shall be manifested among us.
Each one of us has all that he can do to overcome his own faults. Search out your own defects, and ask God to help you. Do not, for Christ's sake, excuse yourself from doing the very work that God has called you to do for yourself, and instead busy yourself trying to set some one else right. If each of you will take hold of Number One right at this meeting, the salvation of God will be revealed in a most marked manner. If this army of people would seek the Lord with heart and mind and soul, they would have something to say that would bring light and blessing and joy into the meeting.
We are glad that we came to Washington a year ago, and spent some time here. We are thankful to the Lord that we know how the work started. I remember how, when we were living in the Carroll House, near the watertower, the workmen would come over at half-past five every morning for a season of prayer. As often as I could, I met with this little company, speaking encouraging words to them. I felt so thankful that they would take the time every morning to seek the Lord. At these meetings we had singing and prayer, and a short Bible study. Sometimes several prayers would be offered, and earnest testimonies would be borne. We had evidence that the sweet Spirit of God came in among us. And the one who had charge of those working on the school land said that he had never had a company of workers who were more willing and ready to do all that it was possible for them to do. When I heard this, I thanked God.
How the Lord Has Led.--It was with the greatest thankfulness that we watched the progress of the work; for we knew that the Lord had led us here. Do you not think that the building up of this work cost earnest thought? Do you not think that it meant diligent seeking of the Lord? If you have any inclination to pull the work here to pieces, and tell how it ought to have been done, I tell you that you should feel it your duty to see that you yourself are moving justly before God.
God has given to every man his work. He has given to every individual a certain work. If any of you have turned criticizer, you may be sure of one thing: that you will lose the blessing which you might have obtained had you rightly considered the work that your brethren have had to do in this new place. They have worked with all their strength to place things in such shape that the work could go forward. I have been given message after message for those who were standing at the head of the work here, for Elder Daniells and Elder Prescott, and for all connected with them in the work. The blessing of the Lord came upon me as I would write to them, saying, Be of good courage in the Lord. He is leading and guiding. He will bless you as you move forward. He will be your helper.
Suppose that our brethren had not come to Washington when they did. Suppose that they had dallied for six months or a year. What would have been the result?--The bill concerning Sunday legislation would have been slipped right in, and I do not know how long or how severe a battle we should have had to fight. But in the mercy of God our brethren were able to forestall this movement, although, in order to do this, they had to neglect other pressing work. I can assure you that their hands and hearts were full. They prayed, they reached out to God, and they sent out tracts and pamphlets everywhere. And wherever this reading matter has gone, the light of the Sabbath truth has penetrated. Earnest work was done, and constantly our prayers ascended to God, that he would let his power rest upon every one engaged in the work.
A Burden for Souls.--Those connected with the work labored in harmony. They did not stop to find fault with one another. Every one tried to press the battle to the gates. We were far away at the time, but every morning and evening our petitions ascended to God for the work in Washington, that from this important place the light of Sabbath truth might shine forth. We prayed that God would put upon men a burden to enter the other cities that have been so long neglected.
God has men who understand the truth. If they would feel the burden of his work, and press forward, not waiting to have everything outlined before them, much more would be accomplished. If many of these gathered in Battle Creek, who have a knowledge of the truth, were scattered out into the different fields, and were working intelligently and earnestly for the Master in the neglected cities, many souls would be brought into the truth. I would give a great deal more for the education that is obtained through practical work than I would for that obtained by hearing, hearing, hearing, and doing nothing. There may be some who have done the work of the Lord in Battle Creek, but every time the matter is presented to me, the light given is that many should move out of Battle Creek, and out of other churches where large numbers of Sabbath keepers are congregated, and go to work for the Master.
There is a great work to be done, and we have felt so anxious, so full of hope and prayer, so full of earnest entreaty that the Lord would lead and guide. Night after night I have lain awake, unable to sleep, asking God for his mercy's sake to save those who are dying in their sins. The world is fast becoming as it was before the flood. My brethren and sisters, use your talent of speech, your influence, every jot of ability you have, in helping and strengthening others. Do not place your talents on the negative side, to discourage and dishearten others, but put your arms around those in need of help, and tell them that you will help them all you can. When the Holy Spirit rests upon you, you will understand what it means to have a burden for souls.
For many months I could not sleep past twelve o'clock. What was the matter?--The burden of the work in Washington was upon my mind. God had signified that the publishing work should be transferred from Battle Creek to Washington. He promised to demonstrate his power and grace, and this he has done. When the crisis regarding Sunday legislation came, our workers were right on the ground, prepared to act in a way that made them channels of light to others. If they had not been on the ground, the bill regarding Sunday legislation would have been pressed through, leaving our work in darkness and discouragement.
I want those present at this meeting to realize that it has meant a hard struggle to bring the work in this place to its present state of advancement. The Lord God has been at work. My brethren, instead of criticizing what has been done, save your speech for the great cities that have not yet been worked, such as New Orleans, Memphis, and St. Louis. Go to these places and labor for the people, but do not speak a word of censure regarding those who have tried so hard to do everything in their power for the advancement of the work. Sometimes these workers would be almost discouraged, but we kept praying for them. Wherever I was, I would ask the prayers of God's people in their behalf.
Let those who have any complaint to make, go right to the Lord, and ask him to give them a place where they can show what great things they can do, or else humble their hearts before God, and thank him for what he has done.
Erection of Buildings.--I thank the Lord that I can meet you at this meeting. I am glad to see so many here. I know that the Lord is with those connected with this work. We were here when the buildings were first started, and we investigated everything as they went up. At the time, I was quite weak, but Brother Baird would take one of my arms and my son the other, and with their help I would walk up to where I could see what the foundation was, and how the walls were made. Again and again I went over the unfinished building, and as I now see some of them completed, I say, Thank the Lord with heart and soul and voice for what has been accomplished. I have felt almost afraid to touch this subject here, lest I should burst into tears before you all, I am so grateful to see so much done. I am glad to see such neat buildings. There is no extravagance, but everything has been done with thoroughness, as God has directed it to be. From the work on these buildings, the students have learned lessons which they can carry with them wherever they go. When I was here, I was so glad to see the workers, not discouraged, but thankful for an opportunity to work for the Lord. I looked with great satisfaction upon the work being done; for I knew that the blessing of God was resting upon the workers.
Opportunity after opportunity came to those in charge to gain advantage for the work. At one time they had a chance to buy lumber at so low a rate that thousands of dollars were saved. How was it that they were able to take advantage of this opportunity?--They had the money in their hands.
Yesterday I went for a short ride through the forest, and O, the trees--God's trees and God's forest--how beautiful they looked! The city is not the slightest temptation to me. And yet we must carry the truth to the cities. Tents are to be pitched in the most favorable places, and meetings held. Let our workers pray the Lord to open the way that they may enter the large cities of the South, and labor as men taking down trees in the forest, as men earning a large amount of money. For they are. One soul saved is worth more than the whole world. If we can but take hold upon the arm of the Lord, success will attend our efforts. Christ gave his life on Calvary's cross to make it possible for human beings to be saved; and yet we are leaving the world without the knowledge of the truth that would make them wise unto salvation. What kind of an account will many have to settle with the Lord in the future?
I ask you never to find fault with what has been done here; for I have seen the angels of God working here, encouraging the workers, and leading them to lift their eyes to see their Redeemer and be strengthened. I have seen the angels of God on this ground with the youth and with the other workers. I have seen the power of God at work here, and I wish to tell you that I want this meeting to be an everlasting cure of your faultfinding and murmuring and trying to find some one to criticize. May God help us all to humble our hearts before him and be converted.
The Sanitarium and Educational Work.--There is a great work to be done here. Brethren Daniells, Prescott, Washburn, Colcord, Warren, and others, but especially Brethren Daniells and Prescott, have worked amid difficulties in the name of the Lord, and I know that the Spirit of God has been upon them. And though we have felt disappointed because means did not come in faster for the work in Washington, we have not complained, but have gone straight forward. The buildings have been put up as fast as possible. There is yet much to do. We must have a small sanitarium here, and we feel sure that the blessing of God will rest upon this branch of the work. The building will not be a large, expensive one, but just such as the Lord desires to see here.
It is the Lord's design that a training school shall be conducted on these grounds. If there is a place anywhere in our world where there should be a school for the training of our youth to be efficient missionaries, it is here, where there is such an important field to be worked. We must make every effort to have a school of the highest order. Provision will have to be made for the very young, and also for intermediate students, in this vicinity. And we must reach the highest possible standard of perfection in the work of preparing students for the school above.
Let the complaints come if they will. Those who complain will find that this brings them nothing but barrenness of soul; for we are moving under the direction of the One who has given the gospel commission, and we intend to carry the work forward.
I call upon those who have been held at Battle Creek to gird on the armor. It is high time that they went forth into needy fields to labor for the Lord. It is not pleasing to God for them to stay in a place that has been worked over and over again, encouraging others to drift into Battle Creek to become unbelievers in the Testimonies God has given to his people, or perhaps infidels. Those who are fully established in the truth may gain a good education there, but there are others who go away infidels. By some, the truths that lie at the very foundation of our faith are being sacrificed.
Our Periodicals.--God has given me light regarding our periodicals. What is it?--He has said that the dead are to speak. How?--Their works shall follow them. We are to repeat the words of the pioneers in our work, who knew what it cost to search for the truth as for hidden treasure, and who labored to lay the foundation of our work. They moved forward step by step under the influence of the Spirit of God. One by one these pioneers are passing away. The word given me is, Let that which these men have written in the past be reproduced. And in The Signs of the Times let not the articles be long or the print fine. Do not try to crowd everything into one number of the paper. Let the print be good, and let earnest, living experiences be put into the paper.
Not long ago I took up a copy of the Bible Echo. As I looked it through, I saw an article by Elder Haskell and one by Elder Corliss. As I laid the paper down, I said, These articles must be reproduced. There is truth and power in them. Men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Let the truths that are the foundation of our faith be kept before the people. Some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. They talk science, and the enemy comes in and gives them an abundance of science; but it is not the science of salvation. It is not the science of humility, of consecration, or of the sanctification of the Spirit. We are now to understand what the pillars of our faith are,--the truths that have made us as a people what we are, leading us on step by step.
Early Experiences.--After the passing of the time in 1844 we searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with the brethren, and we studied and prayed earnestly. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the Word. Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that they might know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, "We can do nothing more," the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me. I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, his mission, and his priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me.
During this whole time I could not understand the reasoning of the brethren. My mind was locked, as it were, and I could not comprehend the meaning of the scriptures we were studying. This was one of the greatest sorrows of my life. I was in this condition of mind until all the principal points of our faith were made clear to our minds, in harmony with the Word of God. The brethren knew that, when not in vision, I could not understand these matters, and they accepted, as light directly from heaven, the revelations given.
Many errors arose, and though I was then little more than a child, I was sent by the Lord from place to place to rebuke those who were holding these false doctrines. There were those who were in danger of going into fanaticism, and I was bidden in the name of the Lord to give them a warning from heaven.
We shall have to meet these same false doctrines again. There will be those who will claim to have visions. When God gives you clear evidence that the vision is from him, you may accept it, but do not accept it on any other evidence; for people are going to be led more and more astray in foreign countries and in America. The Lord wants his people to act like men and women of sense.
Salvation in the Truth.--In the future, deception of every kind is to arise, and we want solid ground for our feet. We want solid pillars for the building. Not one pin is to be removed from that which the Lord has established. The enemy will bring in false theories, such as the doctrine that there is no sanctuary. This is one of the points on which there will be a departing from the faith. Where shall we find safety unless it be in the truths that the Lord has been giving for the last fifty years?
I want to tell you that Christ lives. He makes intercession for us, and he will save every one who will come to him in faith and obey his directions. But remember that he does not want you to give your energies to criticism of your brethren. Attend to the salvation of your own soul. Do the work God has given you. You will find so much to do that you will have no inclination to criticize some one else. Use the talent of speech to help and bless. If you do the work God has given you, you will have a message to bear, and you will understand what is meant by the sanctification of the Spirit.
Do not think that Satan is not doing anything. Do not think that his army is passive. He and his agencies are on the ground today. We are to put on the whole armor of God. Having done all, we are to stand, meeting principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. And if we have on the heavenly armor, we shall find that the assaults of the enemy will not have power over us. Angels of God will be round about us to protect us. I have the assurance of God that thus it will be. In the name of the Lord God of Israel I ask you to come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. If you do this, you will have on your side a strong helper, a personal Saviour. You will be covered with the shield of providence. God will make a way for you, so that you will never be overtaken by the enemy. I am praying that the power of the Saviour will be exerted in behalf of those who have entered into the temptations of the enemy. They are not standing under the broad shield of Omnipotence. My brethren, it is our privilege to stand under this shield. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #22)
A Talk by Mrs. E. G. White, Friday, May 19, at 10 A. M.--We feel very grateful to our Heavenly Father because he has moved by his Holy Spirit upon the minds of his people to give so liberally for the establishment of his work here in Washington. Every dollar of the money that has been sent in is needed. If God's people knew as I do the necessities of the cause in different parts of the great harvest field, and if they felt as they should the urgency of the work, they would not permit of delay. I have seen workers on their knees, pleading with God to open the way for the truth to be proclaimed in places where souls, unwarned and unsaved, are perishing in their sins. There are houses of worship to be built, and in some places it is necessary that there be erected small sanitariums, that the higher classes may be reached.
There are those in the world upon whose hearts God is moving, and if they but knew the principles of present truth, they would heed the message for this time, and would go forth to give it to others.
The money that has been sent in for the work here is the Lord's. The gold and the silver are mine, he declares, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. God bids us deny ourselves in the expenditure of means, and put into his treasury the money thus saved.
I thank the Lord for these gifts. Those who have sent them are in so doing fastening themselves to God's work. As they give of their means, their interest in the progress of God's cause is deepened, and the act of giving thus becomes a double blessing. I feel so grateful for what has been done, because, in figures and representations, I have seen the necessity of help in foreign fields, and also in the Southern field; and I know that the Lord will move upon hearts in the large cities that have not yet been worked. We must not leave these cities unworked; but the very first necessity is right here in Washington. The work in this important place must be established. A publishing house must be erected here. God directed that the publishing work should be transferred from Battle Creek to this place. He will place his approval on the efforts made to carry forward his work on the lines that he has marked out.
The establishment of the work here in Washington is creating a widespread interest in other places. Tracts and pamphlets have been widely circulated, and when we begin to work in other cities, we shall find those who have been studying this literature. We shall find that they are not utterly ignorant of our truth, but that they have been studying the facts regarding the establishment of our work here. As people read of what has been done, they say, "That means work, and we must learn more of what this people is doing."
The work that has been done here would never have been accomplished had there not been a determined effort to press the battle to the gates.
I am thankful that the Lord has not left us in ignorance of how to gain his blessing. Read the eighth and ninth chapters of Second Corinthians, and you will find the whole matter outlined in a few words. Read how the believers came to the apostles, and laid their offerings at their feet, praying them with much entreaty that they would receive the gift. When God by his Spirit stirs the hearts of his people, leading them to see the necessities of his work, there will be a denying of self, and gifts will flow into the treasury for the proclamation of the truth for this time.
If there are those who think that they are making large sacrifices for the work, let them consider the sacrifice that Christ made in their behalf. The human race was under sentence of death, but the Son of God clothed his divinity with humanity, and came to this world to live and die in our behalf. He came to stand against the host of fallen angels. We must have a Defender, and when our Defender came, he was clothed with humanity; for he must be subject to all the temptations wherewith man is beset, that he might understand how to deliver the godly out of temptation. He took his stand at the head of the fallen race, that men and women might be enabled to stand on vantage ground.
Christ did not come to this world with a legion of angels. Laying aside his royal robe and kingly crown, he stepped down from his high command, and for our sake became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. This was the plan laid in the heavenly courts. The Redeemer of mankind was to be born in poverty, and he was to be a worker with his hands. He labored with his father at the carpenter's trade, and into all that he did he brought perfection. His companions sometimes found fault with him because he was so thorough. What is the use of being so particular? they said. But he would work until he had brought what he was doing as near to perfection as he could, and then he would look up with the light of heaven shining from his face, and those who had criticized him would turn away ashamed of themselves. Instead of retaliating when found fault with, he would begin to sing one of the psalms, and before those who had found fault with him realized it, they, too, were singing.
Never should botch work of any kind be allowed in our institutions. Every student should be taught that in order to attain to perfection in character building, he must be faithful in the smallest duties appointed him. "Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building," and your work is to be done as in the sight of a holy God. Do your best, and heavenly angels will help you to carry the work on to perfection.
Who was He who came to our world to redeem the fallen race? Isaiah tells us: "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
Let us make it known that provision has been made for our redemption. Christ left the heavenly courts, and came to this world to make an atonement for us. All who come to him in living faith will be enabled to stand on vantage ground.
As God's servants proclaim these things, Satan steps up to some who have itching minds, and presents his scientific problems. Men will be tempted to place science above God. But who by searching can find out God? Men may put their own interpretation upon God, but no human mind can comprehend him. This problem has not been given us to solve. Let not finite man attempt to interpret Jehovah. Let none indulge in speculation regarding his nature. Here silence is eloquence. The omniscient One is above discussion.
Christ is one with the Father, but Christ and God are two distinct personages. Read the prayer of Christ in the seventeenth chapter of John, and you will find this point clearly brought out. How earnestly the Saviour prayed that his disciples might be one with him as he is one with the Father. But the unity that is to exist between Christ and his followers does not destroy the personality of either. They are to be one with him as he is one with the Father. By this unity they are to make it plain to the world that God sent his Son to save sinners. The oneness of Christ's followers with him is to be the great, unmistakable proof that God did indeed send his Son into the world to save sinners. But a loose, lax religion leaves the world bewildered and confused.
My brethren and sisters, take your stand on an elevated platform, and work to the point to be one with Christ. The heart of the Saviour is set upon his followers' fulfilling God's purpose in all its height and depth. They are to be one with him, even though they are scattered the world over. But God can not make them one in Christ unless they are willing to give up their own way for his way.
In view of all that Christ has suffered for us, should we complain when we are called to endure self-denial and suffering? Would not this make God ashamed of us? Let us rejoice that it is our privilege to be partakers of Christ's suffering; for thus only can we be fitted to be partakers of his glory.
I thank God in behalf of those who have sent in their offerings to the work in Washington. I thank him for the privilege and satisfaction of knowing that there are hearts which are alive to the needs of the work of God, and are influenced by the Holy Spirit to give of their means for the advancement of this work. I thank God with heart and soul and voice. The work in this place is to be carried forward solidly. In the buildings that are put up, there is to be no extravagance, but the representation is to be such that those in the world will see that we understand what propriety is.
Brethren and sisters, let us have characters so pure and holy that Christ can with joy present us to the Father. Let us be filled with the living principles of the truth for this time. Let us live lives that will lead sinners to the Saviour. Christ carried his humanity with him into the heavenly courts, and all humanity can claim him as their representative. We may be made complete in him. How?--By becoming partakers of the divine nature. To be partakers of this nature means more than many of us realize. It means giving up one's own way, and following the path that Christ has marked out. As we become partakers of the divine nature, we escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #24)
Talk by Mrs. E. G. White, May 13, 1905.--"If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."
I address those who have the light of the knowledge of Bible truth. Are you obeying the instruction given in the words I have read? Are you of one mind and one heart in Christ?
There are many points that might be dwelt upon, but there is one that I wish to speak about especially. It is regarding the necessity of our working together in unity. One year ago I visited this ground. It was then a wilderness. You can all see what God has enabled the workers to accomplish because they were of one mind. Every one has done all in his power to lift. And our people in the different States have sent in their gifts for the establishment of the work in Washington.
I well remember how, when we were living in the Carroll House, near the watertower, the young men working on the school land would meet together in a large room in this house at half-past five every morning for family worship. As we worshiped God together, we knew that the Holy Spirit was among us. We sought the Lord with the whole heart, and he came very near to us. We presented the promise, "Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." Is not this assurance strong enough? We took this promise with us into the place of prayer, asking the Lord to lead and direct in the work to be done here. Only one year has passed since then, and much has been accomplished.
If there are any of you who have weak faith, remember that it is because you do not work on the affirmative side. It is of no use for us to think that we can carry forward the glorious work of God without strong, unfaltering faith. The world is fast becoming as it was in the days of Noah. Satan is working with intensity of effort, knowing that he has but a short time. Wickedness prevails to an appalling extent. God's people are but a handful, compared with the ungodly, and we can gain success only as we cooperate with the heavenly angels, who will go before all who press forward to do that which God has said should be done.
I thank the Lord for the privilege of speaking to so many at this meeting. When I think of all that God has done for us, I say, "Praise God, from whom all blessings flow." As the work is opened up in the various places, may we ever remember that we are to draw in even cords. Those who have educated themselves to stand on the negative side should without delay repent and be converted. Let this conversion take place right on this ground. Remember that when you stand on the negative side, accusing and condemning, you make room for the agencies of the power of darkness. Precious time has to be spent in waging war against these agencies, because there were those who refused to stand on the affirmative side.
Is it not best to be in harmony with the God of heaven? When you see your brethren striving to press the battle to the gates, is it not best to say, "Advance, advance. Carry the work forward with greater power than ever before"?
"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory." Satan is behind all strife and vainglory. Let us get out of his company, and stand with those who say, "Victory is for us, and we will cling to the arm of infinite power."
"In lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." If we would obey these words, we should find our work easier. We should find that we could accomplish very much more than we can when hindered by strife and discord.
"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." Do not try to gain every advantage for yourselves. I thank God for the evidence that our people are unselfishly trying to help in the establishment of the work in Washington. I am thankful that the school buildings are so nearly completed, and that we now have an institution in this place in which students may be trained for service. I pray that from this school young men and young women may be prepared to go forth into the world as consecrated missionaries.
"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."
Laying aside his royal robe and kingly crown, Christ clothed his divinity with humanity, that human beings might be raised from their degradation, and placed on vantage ground. Christ could not have come to this earth with the glory that he had in the heavenly courts. Sinful human beings could not have borne the sight. He veiled his divinity with the garb of humanity, but he did not part with his divinity. A divine-human Saviour, he came to stand at the head of the fallen race, to share in their experience from childhood to manhood. That human beings might be partakers of the divine nature, he came to this earth, and lived a life of perfect obedience.
There is no need for the world to be as it is today--filled with war and bloodshed, violence and crime. Christ has made provision for the salvation of every soul. He gave his life for the life of the world, and John declares, "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God." This is the gift of heaven to all who truly believe. In view of these things, how can men and women choose to receive the father of lies, and to cherish his spirit?
It is because human beings have chosen to listen to the tempter that we see men and women partaking of that which robs them of their reason. In our large cities there are saloons on the right hand and on the left, tempting passers-by to indulge an appetite which, once established, is exceedingly hard to overcome. The youth should be trained never to touch tobacco or intoxicating drink. Alcohol robs men of their reasoning powers. Watch that man entering the saloon. His eye is bright, and his step steady.. Watch him as he comes out. The brightness has gone from his eye, and as he walks, he staggers from side to side. He is drunk,--a specimen of the work done by the saloon.
The home of a drunkard tells the sad story of the evil wrought by the use of strong drink. Wretchedness and destitution reign, and often the wife and children suffer from cold and hunger. And yet the liquor traffic is legalized. Heaven sees it all. God keeps a record of the men robbed of their reason, and the homes made wretched, by the use of alcohol. In that great day when every man will be judged according to the deeds done in the body, what will those who have legalized the liquor traffic say in excuse for allowing these places of death to be kept open?
God grant that we may be wide-awake to this awful evil. May he help us to labor with all our power to save men and women and youth from this effort of the enemy to ensnare them. We do not take into the church those who use liquor or tobacco. We can not admit such ones. But we can try to help them to overcome. We can tell them that by giving up these harmful practises, they will make their families and themselves happier. Those whose hearts are filled with the Spirit of God will feel no need for stimulants. The Lord is high and lifted up, and his train fills the heavens. Those who are overcomers here will one day see him as he is; for we read, "We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." They will sing the song of redemption in the heavenly courts.
Here in this world we are to gain a preparation for a life in the kingdom of God. Our youth must be trained to habits of strict temperance and self-denial. May God help us to stand in unity, warring against the powers of darkness that are pressing in on every side.
Christ has done everything in his power to redeem human beings. In our behalf he made an infinite sacrifice. For our sake he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. Enduring riches, an eternal weight of glory, is the boon he offers to those who will accept him. Is it not a sufficient inducement? Will man strive against his Maker?
May God help us at this meeting to be converted. You may say, If we are church members, that does not belong to us. But does it not? What are you doing to lift up those who are fallen? There ought to be a thousand where now there is but one trying to prepare the way of the Lord, to make straight in the desert a highway for our God. We have great light. "Ye are the light of the world," Christ declared. It is by letting our light shine that we are to glorify God. Clear and distinct the light of present truth is to shine forth from God's people, piercing the darkness that envelops the world.
It is that light may shine forth that we are establishing institutions here. The school buildings are almost finished, and soon a sanitarium must be erected, to which we can bring the sick and afflicted, and tell them of Christ and his power to save. We should every one stand where we can uplift and bless. We are to speak words that will comfort and encourage. Brethren and sisters, train yourselves to speak in pleasant, agreeable tones. It does no harm, but good, to speak kindly, but to speak discourteously and roughly drives the holy angels away in sadness.
May God help us all to take a right position. May he help us not to spoil our lives and the lives of others by being unconsecrated. May he help us to conquer the inclination to follow the impulses of the unsanctified heart. We can not afford to follow these impulses. We are to be judged according to the deeds done in the body.
Being found in fashion as a man, Christ "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."
We are to confess Christ before the world because he gave his life for us. He died that we might receive strength to stand against the temptations by which we shall be beset. Those who receive Christ are made heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ to an immortal inheritance.
We have only a little while in which to prepare for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have not a moment to lose. We need to begin at once to gain a preparation to enter the courts above. God will help all who will help themselves. But if you sit down under Satan's shadow, and let him tempt you to look on the objectionable side, and to weaken the hands of those who are trying to carry forward the work of the Lord, how can you hope to gain the victory over temptation? You can not be a joint heir with Christ unless you have his spirit, and are determined to gain heaven at any cost. Those who regardless of all else, place themselves in God's hands, to be and do all that he would have them, will see the King in his beauty. They will behold his matchless charms, and, touching their golden harps, they will fill all heaven with rich music and with songs to the Lamb.
I am glad to hear the musical instruments that you have here. God wants us to have them. He wants us to praise him with heart and soul and voice, magnifying his name before the world.
I thank God that there are those here who have had an experience in self-denial and sacrifice. They know what it means to be counted fools for Christ's sake. But in heaven their names are recorded as those who love God and keep his commandments.
"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; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain."
God would have us help one another to be of good cheer. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. By beholding, you will be changed into the same likeness, from character to character.
"Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me."
God wants you to praise him far more than you do. Read the Psalms, and you will see that by offering praise you glorify God. Educate the voice to offer him thanksgiving. Thus you will bring strength and courage to those around you. I pray that at the very beginning of this meeting the salvation of God may be revealed. Brethren and sisters, open the door of the heart and let the Saviour in. Then you will praise God with heart and soul and voice. I thank God that it is our privilege to use our voices in this service, to speak words in season to those that are weary.
While on my way to this meeting, I had the privilege of speaking to some of the Saviour's love. I asked one young man to give up the use of tobacco. "I can not," he said; "it is so soothing." "But," I said, "it is robbing you of your sense of right and wrong. You say that you are teaching in a Sunday school. What influence do you think your example of smoking has on the members of your class?" Before we left the car, he came to me, and told me that I must not be surprised to hear that he had given up the use of tobacco. I gave this young man a copy of "Steps to Christ," and he seemed much pleased with it.
God wants us to work for humanity. We have an onward work to do. Let us put on the whole armor of righteousness, revealing Christ in thought, word, and deed. Let us remember that we are laborers together with God. Brethren and sisters, let self be crucified, and let Christ live in you, the hope of glory. Keep reaching forward. Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The work of righteousness is to be wrought in you through the mighty power that God has given. When in weakness and feebleness you say, "Lord, I lay hold upon thee," power from above will be given you.
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." What were the words spoken as you took part in the solemn rite of baptism?--"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." You were buried with Christ in baptism, and raised to newness of life. And the three great powers of heaven pledged themselves to cooperate with you in your efforts to live the new life in Christ. Then should we not praise him with every breath?
Let us cast aside all murmuring and repining, and be filled with the spirit of praise. Let us draw in even cords with Christ. He is coming soon, and we must be ready to meet him in peace. Let us repent and be converted. Let us place ourselves on the altar of service. I beg of you, my brethren and sisters, to bring Christ into your hearts and into these meetings. Then there will be rejoicing such as you have never before heard, and you will be gaining a fitness for the heavenly home, where God's redeemed ones will sing the song of victory. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #25)
"Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him." It is impossible for us to have Christ abiding in our hearts unless we constantly behold him.
"Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him; and he can not sin, because he is born of God."
In the second chapter of his epistle John says, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
This means that we have a world on our hands. It is of no use for us to think that we can follow our preferences or natural tendencies. We have a world on our hands, and we are to make known the saving principles of our Lord Jesus Christ,--the principles that have been committed to us to impart to the world. God wants us to be faithful stewards of the grace of Christ.
"Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not." It does not understand the principles that underlie our course of action. We must stand before God with a conscience void of offense. There are wonderful privileges for every one of us. God never places before us a requirement without giving us the power to perform it. He never asks us to take one step in advance of him. He leads the way, and we are to follow after. Following him, we are in no danger of going astray. Thus only can we perfect a Christian character as stewards of the grace of God.
To us has been entrusted the truth of the gospel for this time. It is a wonderful, wonderful treasure, and the Lord desires us to have our eyes enlightened and our hearts quickened. He desires us to be nerved and strengthened by the power that he will give us if we will only be true to him. He desires every one of us to perfect a character after the divine similitude. The Christian who does not do this casts reflection on God. He dishonors his Saviour. Those who have access to the words written in the Scripture are without excuse if they do not apply these words to themselves, if they do not thus cleanse their hearts from sin. By the light shining from the throne of God upon our pathway, we shall be judged at the last great day.
"Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida!" Christ said; "for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you."
To have light shining upon the pathway in the clearness of the gospel of Christ, as it has shone upon our pathway, is a fearful responsibility. We are to follow on step by step, with our eyes fixed on our Leader. He will not lead us one step out of the right way.
God gave Christ to our world to save us from eternal death. Behold him, behold him! Keep looking upon him till you reflect his image. Do not accept the words of any man, unless you can see that he is conformed to the divine image, because if you do, you sustain him in doing wrong; you sustain him by asking his counsel and following his directions. What we need is the word pure from the holy Bible. Christ has bidden us conform our lives to his life. We are to know what it means to keep the commandments of God in truth and righteousness. The love that was in the heart of Christ is to be in our hearts, that we may reveal it to those around us. We need to be daily strengthened by the deep love of God, and to let this love shine forth to those around us.
Brethren and sisters, you are to reveal this love from the very beginning of the married life. It is to be the guiding principle in the family. Let your children see that you are controlled by the Spirit of God. Every member of the family is to be brought under subjection to the will and way of God.
I want you to think of the education that is to be given in the home. This education begins with the parents. They are to build the home after the pattern that Christ has given them. They are to teach what Christ taught, to bless what Christ blessed, and to correct what Christ corrected. Sin is not to dwell in the mortal bodies of those who have committed themselves, body and soul, to Christ.
There is no middle ground presented before us. The cross of Calvary is the great center of the plan of salvation; and we are to begin to crucify self at once, that we may be preparing for a place in the redeemed family in the heavenly courts. What we need is the saving power of the grace of Christ day by day. This saving grace is to begin its work in our homes. Not an angry word is to fall from the lips of parents. They are to be constantly under the influence of the Holy Spirit. They are to realize that they are the teachers of their children, and that they are to reveal the kindness, tenderness, and love of Christ. And yet they are not to overlook the faults of their children. They are not to gratify their wishes simply because they desire gratification. This is not the way to train children for God. Children are made happy by being brought under right control. The most unhappy children I have ever seen were those who had never been brought under control.
You may talk to your children about bringing them under the control of God, but it will not have any influence on them unless you first teach them to obey you, and unless they can see that you yourselves are under the control of God.
Parents, you have a church in your home, and God demands that you bring into this church the grace of heaven, which is beyond computation, and the power of heaven, which is without measure. You can have this grace and this power if you will. But you must educate yourselves in accordance with your baptismal vows. When you took these vows, you pledged yourself, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, that you would live unto God, and you have no right to break this pledge. The help of the three great powers is placed at your disposal. When in the name of Christ you ask for grace to overcome, it will be given you; for the promise is, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." Yes, seek God for aid. If you are in perplexity, do not go to your neighbors. Learn to carry your troubles to God. If you seek, you will find; if you knock, it will be opened unto you. But this means faith, faith, faith. Exercise living faith in Christ, and do not, I beg of you, step aside out of the right way.
Your home is to be an example of what a Christian home should be. You are to bring your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. You are to overcome the faults which wrestle for the victory, and which, unless overcome, will separate you from God.
The father and mother are to be respected in the Christian home. The father is the priest and house-band of the home. The mother is the teacher of the little ones from their babyhood, and queen of the household. Never is she to be slighted. Never are careless, indifferent words to be spoken to her before the children. She is their teacher. In thought and word and deed the father is to reveal the religion of Christ, that his children may see plainly that he has a knowledge of what it means to be a Christian.
Brethren and sisters, are you doing your God-given work in the home? Are you allowing your sons and daughters to shun the responsibilities that properly belong to them? Does your daughter sit at a musical instrument, while the mother does the cooking? Do the little ones go to the mother for everything, when the older ones ought to be taught to share the burden of caring for them, that the mother may have time to rest? Many mothers die years before their time because they have had to carry the burdens that ought to have been willingly borne by younger shoulders.
Children are to be educated to deny themselves. At one time, when I was speaking in Nashville, the Lord gave me light on this matter. It flashed upon me with great force that in every home there should be a self-denial box, and that into this box the children should be taught to put the pennies they would otherwise spend for candy and other unnecessary things. They are to be taught that there is a great work to be done for a needy, suffering people, even the colored people of the Southern States. To them we must present the truth for this time. We are to take up intelligently the work of helping them. A good work has already been done with these self-denial boxes, and let no one lift a finger to hinder this work. Let no one speak a discouraging word regarding it; for it is God's plan, and thus he has said that help should be sent to the work for the colored people.
You will find that as the children place their pennies in these boxes, they will gain a great blessing. They will tell the children of neighboring families what they are doing, and the way will open for these boxes to be placed in other homes. We are not to do anything to discourage this work. Every member of the family, from the oldest to the youngest, should practise self-denial.
As the children of such families grow up, they understand something about mission work, because they are taught what it means to deny self in order that souls may be brought into the truth. They are taught that the money which they save by denying themselves goes to relieve a race whom the great majority of people in this country seem largely to have forgotten. The colored people need help and education and training, and we are going to work to the point until a great work is accomplished. As long as God gives me breath, I shall bear my testimony regarding this matter. I thank God that he has means and ways by which self-denial can be taught in the family. Thus his people are to be taught how to do missionary work, how to go out and in simplicity open the Word of God to others. When questioned about their faith, they are able to state plainly and clearly the reasons of their faith. Such families bring into the church the influence of their home training. (To be concluded.) Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #26)
What we need is home religion,--the sanctification of the truth in the home life. We know in whom we have believed, but we do not half express it, and when we fail to give expression to our faith, we lose half the sense of what it means to give ourselves to God. To live for him means sacrifice at every step. It means self-denial in the matter of dress. Much money is spent in the adornment of the person that ought to be devoted to the proclamation of the truth for this time. A world has been committed to us, and in the name of Christ Jesus, I ask you, my sisters, to dress plainly and neatly, but not for display. Do not try to follow every fashion. Get a good fashion, and keep it. Let all see that you have a nobler aim in life than following the ever-changing fashions of the world, that you are preparing for the higher life in the kingdom of God.
My brethren, build plainly and solidly the houses that you put up. We have no fault to find with the buildings here. Our institutions are to be a representation of the characters that we are to form. Everything about them is to be solid. God will help us as we try to carry out his will in our character building.
Christ came to our world without display. But today great displays are made every now and then. Thousands of dollars are expended right among our people in such displays, and this God forbids. That is not the way to get the truth before the people. Christ could have come to this world accompanied by thousands of angels, but he did not do this. He stepped down from his high command, and laying aside his royal robe and kingly crown, he came to this' world in the garb of humanity, to live a life of perfect obedience, that human beings, receiving him as their Redeemer, might become partakers of the divine nature, and at last stand before God without spot or stain of sin. He died for us that we might be made worthy to enter through the gates of the holy city, and hear the welcome, "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
In our work we are not to strive to make an appearance. We are to look unto Christ, beholding what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. And what a joy, what a power, will be with us as we do this! It will not be merely the excitement of feeling, but a deep, abiding joy. We are to present the solid truths of the Word of God, that these truths may be impressed on the hearts of the people, and that men and women may be led to walk in the footsteps of the Redeemer.
When the Pharisees complained because Christ and his disciples ate with publicans and sinners, the Saviour said, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." He accepted the invitations given him to attend different gatherings, and every time he went to one of these places, he spoke words that reached forth to rescue the lost sheep.
May God help us so to act that his converting power may be seen among us. Parents and children are to act as if they were under God's discipline. In the home, under the direction of the great Counselor, they are to carry out the principles of heaven. God will be with them in their work, giving them victory after victory, if they will follow in the way of truth and righteousness.
O, how my soul longs after God,--to see him with his people, to see his power revealed in the heart, in the character, and in the home!
We need true religion in the church. It is God's purpose that we shall show that we are born again, and that we are working out in our lives the great, heaven-born principles of truth. Thus only can we gain eternal life in the kingdom of glory. But there are so few who are going out to proclaim the wonderful truth that we have received! Why do you not go out? Why do you not enter the different places that have not yet heard the truth? Do you say, I do not know how I should be supported? Christ told his disciples how they would be supported. He told them to go right into the homes of the people, and eat at their tables. He wants his workers today to come so close to the people that those for whom they are working will be bound to the one who speaks to them the word of life. There might be a thousand more laborers than there now are if God's people would deny themselves, and take up the cross and follow Jesus. What we need is the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, and we need it every day. What we need is men of prayer,--men who in quietness and humility, without any display or excitement, are overcoming self.
What we need at this meeting is to settle into the living principles of present truth. Satan is creeping in with his sophistry, to undermine the principles of our faith. You remember how, when Paul and Silas were teaching in a certain place, a woman met them, "and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation." This woman was possessed with a spirit of divination, and by soothsaying brought her masters much gain. Her influence had helped to strengthen idolatry.
"But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out that same hour."
But, you say, she spoke good words, and why should Paul rebuke her? It was Satan speaking through her, hoping to mingle his sophistry with the truths taught by those who were proclaiming the word of God.
The same danger exists today. The enemy is trying to bring in his sophistry through those who ought to be on their knees before God, praying for an understanding of what saith the Scriptures, that they may stand against the evil influences that fill the world. God desires scientific sophistry to be purged from every heart. He desires us to rebuke every evil devising, every evil work. If we allow such devising to go unrebuked, we shall have to suffer the consequences.
After the woman had been freed from the evil spirit, she became a follower of Christ. Her masters saw that their hope of gain was gone, and taking Paul and Silas, they brought them before the rulers, charging them with troubling the city. This caused an uproar. The multitude rose against the disciples, and the magistrates commanded that the prisoners should be beaten. They were then taken to prison, and their feet were placed in the stocks.
Things looked very discouraging for the disciples, but Angels of God were with them, and they sang the praises of God in the prison. Could we have sung under such circumstances? They did. While they were singing, "suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
"And the keeper of the prison, awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
"Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling. and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
"And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house."
It looked as if their effort had been a failure, when they were in jail, with their feet in the stocks. But their effort resulted in the conversion of the jailer and all his household.
What we need is to hold fast to the living principles of the truth, whatever may be the consequences to us. We are not to accept one thread of sophistry from any doctor or minister or any one else. God is our teacher. And yet we are bound to unify. Christ has declared that we are to be one, even as he is one with the Father. But we are not to pick up sophistry from men whose lives are full of failures and mistakes and underhand working. God wants us to go to him for light, and to carry his presence with us wherever we go.
May the Lord impress his people that there is good religion in good management in the home. When this is done, we shall have men and women who understand the meaning of good management in the church. We shall have those who will stand as firm as a rock to principle. They will not try to gain all the advantages for a certain place, because they have an interest in that place. What God wants is men who are as true as steel to principle. Unless we have such men, we shall not know when the devising of the enemy comes. We shall not know when he speaks as he spoke through the woman in Paul's day.
We are to bring sound principles into the home, and into the church. Every member of the family is to exert a right influence in the home, in the church, and in the world. Parents, I ask you, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, to begin to work in God's lines in your home. We desire to see the salvation of the Lord revealed in every home. I desire your homes to be such that angels of God can enter them, and work with you and your children. But if by harsh words and angry blows you are constantly sinning against God, the angels can not enter your home. Sadly they turn away, grieved that those for whom Christ has done so much should thus dishonor their Redeemer.
If parents have not a reformation to make in their homes, God has never spoken by me. They need to be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
This is that last Sabbath that we shall be here together, and I want to know how many in this congregation are ready to take hold of the work of the Lord in advance lines, ready to spend their time hunting and fishing for souls. Christ did not place his fishermen-disciples in a school to be educated for his work. He took them to himself, bidding them follow him. They asked no questions, but followed him. Today men will go straight from our churches to work in the harvest field. They may never have laid on them the hands of ordination, but they will do a work for God, and none are to forbid them.
The time has come when the Jews are to be given light. The Lord wants us to encourage and sustain men who shall labor in right lines for this people; for there are to be a multitude convinced of the truth, who will take their position for God. The time is coming when there will be as many converted in a day as there were on the day of Pentecost, after the disciples had received the Holy Spirit.
The Jews are to be a power to labor for the Jews; and we are to see the salvation of God. We are altogether too narrow. We need to be broader-minded. God wants us to carry out the principles of truth and righteousness. His work is to go forward in cities and towns and villages.
I wish to ask how many are willing to re-consecrate their hearts to God today. How many are willing to take the stand that they will no longer be lukewarm in their religious experience, neither cold nor hot? Christ wants you to be where the virtue of his life is taken into your life. How many during the meeting have been impressed by the truth, and are determined to obey it?
[The entire congregation arose.]
Will you in the name of the Lord take steps upward? Christ has placed one end of the ladder firmly on the earth. The ladder reaches to heaven, and you may climb round by round until at last you step off the topmost round into the kingdom of God.
I want you to remember that you have today pledged yourselves to live wholly for God. You have declared your determination to serve him. Let your lives be so pure and holy that Christ will not be ashamed to call you brethren. In such a day as ye think not, the Son of man cometh. Get ready to meet him in peace. Theories are being presented that say, My Lord delayeth his coming. But look at the world, at its wickedness. The life of no one is safe, except for God's protection. The world is fast becoming as Sodom and Gomorrah. It is fast becoming as it was in the days of Noah. We are to be as wholly consecrated to Christ and his service as the world is wholly given over to evil. The enemy will present his sophistries, with little fibers that would take hold of your experience and undermine your faith. I pray that your eyes may be anointed with the heavenly eyesalve, that you may discern what is truth and what is error. We need to put on the white garments of Christ's righteousness. We need to walk and talk with God. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #27)
I know of nothing better to present to teachers and students than the instruction found in the first chapter of Second Peter.
"Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 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."
Let the young men and young women who come to our schools, and those who have been set as guardians over them, remember that God calls on them to move steadily forward, to advance step by step, because Christ is their Saviour. The youth are to be taught to consecrate themselves, body and soul, to the service of Christ. While in school they are to impart as well as receive. They will find that by imparting truth, they will increase in a knowledge of Christ. They can be channels of light. Said Christ," Ye are the light of the world." When you get a fresh thought from the Word of God or from your other studies, do not keep to yourself. Give to some one else that which has helped you. Remember that as surely as you live out the principles of truth, you will help yourself, and in helping yourself to climb the ladder of progress, you will show others the way.
"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue." Your faith is worthless without the virtue. Faith of the right kind brings virtue that is more valuable than gold or silver or precious stones.
"And to virtue knowledge." We have some knowledge of God, but not a hundredth part of what it is our privilege to have, because we do not walk in the light that, day by day, God is giving us.
You are to work on the plan of addition, and as you do this, the promise will be fulfilled. "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord." As you live on the plan of addition, constantly adding to your fund of knowledge, and seeking to carry out the instruction you receive, you will gain strength to overcome temptation, and will be enabled to stand on vantage ground. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh unto you. He will lift up for you a standard against the enemy.
"And to knowledge temperance." Each one must settle for himself the question of temperance. You are to put nothing into your lips that will overtax the digestive organs. This is necessary, if you would have a clear mind. Those who eat improper food are hindering themselves from making the advance steps that Christ expects them to make. Let not those who are older in years tempt the youth to eat anything but plain, simple food. When a great variety of rich food is eaten, a disturbance is created in the stomach, the thoughts are disturbed, and the intellect dulled. It is to be our study to make our eating and drinking such that we shall be enabled to offer to God the highest service.
"And to temperance patience." Temperance always leads to patience. Students, if you will take yourselves in hand, if you will practise temperance in all things, you will find wonderful help in Christ. You will watch well your words. Speech is a precious talent. You can speak fretfully, or you can speak pleasantly. Remember that it will not hurt your influence to speak pleasantly, but that it will sweeten your influence. If provoking words are spoken to you, do not utter a word. The best rebuke you can give the one who has uttered the provoking words is to keep silent until you can speak in a calm, pleasant voice. Try to gain control over yourself. This will help you to stand on vantage ground. Constantly keep God and his promises before your mind. Brace yourselves to habits of self-control.
"And to godliness brotherly kindness." O how much we need to cultivate brotherly kindness!
"And to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour 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." He can not see the influence of his harsh, angry words, and his unchristlike course of action.
If students would read the Word of God more, and pray over it, the light of heaven would shine upon them. The Lord God does not want them to go round with long faces, unable to speak pleasant words. He wants them to be full of pleasantness. The youth and those who have charge of them need to have such a power of self-control that they will exert a cheerful, uplifting influence upon all with whom they come in contact. Then the angels of God can give them success in their work.
There are those whose characters are so frivolous that it seems impossible for them to keep their tongues from speaking evil; but notwithstanding this, maintain your self-control, and then, wherever you are, those who have charge over you will not have to control you, for you will control yourselves. Climb steadily upward on the ladder of progress, round by round, and at last you will step off the topmost round into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fail." Out eternal life insurance policy is found right in these words, and we want you to study them carefully. "Ye shall never fail." Ought we not, then, to work right to the point?
"For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Will you not pledge yourselves to God to serve him, and him alone? I do not ask you to pledge your word to one another. Pledge yourselves to God. Let him be the one who will hear the promise that you will press steadily forward in the way to heaven. Holy angels will watch over you, and the golden oil, which the two olive branches empty through the two golden pipes, for the perfection of the characters of God's people, will be imparted to you.
Those who have the guardianship of the youth need to cling to the mighty One. Those who will continue in the faith will obtain the eternal life insurance policy, which will give them a right to enter in through the gates into the city of God, and a right to eat of the fruit of the tree of life. Let us hold fast to God. Let us consecrate ourselves to the service of Christ. He will give us power to overcome. Of yourselves you can not create this power. Place yourselves as humble seekers at the feet of Jesus, and he will give you the strength you need.
I feel so glad that we could hold our meeting in a place where there are so many quiet retreats in which to pray. O, I have longed for this when I have been on campgrounds where there was no such opportunity! Get together in companies of two or three, and go off into some quiet place to seek the Lord. His promise is that where two or three are agreed together as touching anything, their prayer will be answered. Our God is close beside us. "Lo," he declares, "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Yoke up with Christ . Do not yoke up with human beings, and then think that because they are not perfect, you need not be. Link up with the One who is perfect, and who has power to sanctify you and give you a fitness to receive the life that measures with the life of God.
"Wherefore 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; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me. Moreover, I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice, which came from heaven, we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount." Today the voice of heaven will come to souls who are striving for the victory over sin.
"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the daystar arise in your hearts." God would have us take hold of the rich promises of his Word. Come to his feet, and plead with him for power.
A school has been established here in Takoma Park. The students who come to us are to receive a preparation for service that will be full of marrow and fatness. Angels of God will help every one who endeavors to conform his life to the life of Christ. Just as surely as the students grasp the hand of infinite power, that hand will lift them up.
We all need to gain greater victories than we have yet gained, and we may do this if we will reach high enough and cling close enough. You may say, "I do not feel as if God is blessing me." But what have your feelings to do with it? You have the promise. Move steadily forward, believing that God has heard your prayer, and that he will fulfil his word. Be determined that you will overcome, that you will not fail or be discouraged. Do not depend on feeling, but on God. Cast your helpless souls on Christ. Praise God with heart and voice, and glorify his name day by day. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #28)
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us); that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."
There are those who are always seeking for something new. If they understood aright, they would realize that the newness that they need is that which comes from a daily growth in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Let us keep firm and unshaken our faith in the message that God has given us for these last days. The world is fast becoming as it was in the days of Noah. Christ declared that this would be the sign of the end,--men would be eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day of the coming of the Son of man. His words mean far more than we have yet seen. Do not the events that have taken place show this?
"And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." All through the Scriptures, the Father and the Son are spoken of as two distinct personages. You will hear men endeavoring to make the Son of God a nonentity. He and the Father are one, but they are two personages. Wrong sentiments regarding this are coming in, and we shall all have to meet them.
"And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full." If we would apply the precious truth of God to our own individual cases, we should find such blessing, such consolation, that we should be ashamed to murmur and complain. Some have educated their tongues to utter complaints, and thus they lose many precious blessings that come with the exercise of patience.
"This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." "God is light." How are his disciples to declare it?--Not with their lips merely, but in their lives. They themselves are to be "the light of the world." "Let your light so shine before men," Christ said, "that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
"If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth." Every church member is to walk worthily of the high calling to which he has been chosen, having gained a living experience in the things of God. There is no need for us always to be babes in religious things. We are to grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ.
"If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."
We may pray for sanctification, but whether or not we get it depends on whether we walk in the light, reflecting light to those around us. My brethren and sisters, the salvation of your souls depends on the course that you pursue. If you fail of gaining eternal life, it will be because you have failed to keep the commandments of God. From the Word of God there shines light sufficient to guide us along every step of the way to heaven, and those who lose the way will be without excuse.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
In this world we are exposed to the temptations of the enemy, and because we do not depend on God as we should, we are continually sinning. There are those who, when they make mistakes, stand out in stubbornness, saying that they have not sinned, and refusing to confess. Those who say, "I never confess," will never see the kingdom of heaven unless they do confess. Read the prayer of confession that Daniel offered. He was called a man greatly beloved by God, and yet he confessed that he as well as the people had sinned.
Those who make no acknowledgment of sin, those who refuse to confess because they think it would hurt their position and influence, will never be cleansed from unrighteousness unless they make a decided change in their attitude. We need the spirit of confession right here in this meeting. It would be surprising if none of those present had anything to confess. Brethren and sisters, will you not take the stumblingblocks out of the way, and clear the King's highway, that he may enter in among us? Then we shall see of the salvation of God, and the glory of the Lord will be revealed.
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." When we thus unite with Christ, we are gaining an experience that will be of more value to us than gold or silver or precious stones.
"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."
We are to lift the cross, and follow the steps of Christ. Those who lift the cross will find that as they do this, the cross lifts them, giving them fortitude and courage, and pointing them to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.
"Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth."
We can have something fresh to think of all the time. We have held communion with God as we have tried to understand the high privilege of being one with Christ. I am so thankful for the Word of God. I thank the Lord with heart and soul and voice. We have no need to be led astray. We have no need to seek for something new and strange from the lips of human beings. We have a science that is above all human science. Many will grasp false science, teaching it as truth. But we need not be led astray. God wants us to cherish the truth in the simplicity in which we have received it from Christ. (To be concluded.) Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #29)
"He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes."
We are not to watch for an opportunity to find fault, if a brother does not speak exactly as we wish him to speak. Perhaps God does not want him to speak as you want him to. His words may cut you to the quick, but even then you are not at liberty to find fault. The talent of speech was given to us that we might speak, not words of faultfinding, but words of counsel, words of encouragement, words of reproof. Because we are not to find fault, this does not mean that we are to pass by things that are wrong, without saying a word. If you see one doing wrong, go right to him, and tell him his fault in the way outlined in the Scriptures. In the meekness of Christ tell him the truth, and you may save his soul from death. But if you gloss over the mistakes, leaving those who have made them to think that they have done nothing wrong, you must share in the punishment, because you were unfaithful to your trust.
If we desire to see the King in his beauty, we must here behave worthily. We must outgrow our childishness. When provocation comes, let us be silent. There are times when silence is eloquence. We are to reveal the patience and kindness and forbearance that will make us worthy of being called sons and daughters of God. We are to trust him, and believe on him, and rely upon him. We are to follow in Christ's steps. "If any man will come after me," he says, "let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." "So shall he be my disciple." It may be a heavy cross to keep silent when you ought to. It may be a painful discipline; but let me assure you that silence does much more to overcome evil than a storm of angry words.
Here in this world we are to learn what we must be in order to have a place in the heavenly courts. We are to learn the lessons that Christ desires to teach us, that we may be prepared to be taken to the higher school in the courts above, where the Saviour will lead us beside the river of life, explaining to us many things that here we could not comprehend, and teaching us of the mysteries of God. There we shall see the glory of God as we have never seen it here. We get but a glimpse of the glory now, because we do not follow on to know the Lord.
John writes, "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
Talk it, pray it, sing it, and remember that you must eat of the leaves of the tree of life here in this world, if you would know the healing power of the grace of God. When words are spoken that tempt you to feel provoked, ask the Lord Jesus to give you a taste of the healing brought by the tree of life. Get your mind on some subject of eternal interest, and it will be easy for you to keep still when you ought to keep still, and to speak when you ought to speak.
"I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one."
Are you not glad, young men, that this word of encouragement has been spoken to you? O, what a grand work is this,--to overcome the folly and wickedness that prevails in our world! Young men, God will watch over you, and will give you strength, if you will put on every piece of the armor, and be ready to resist the tempter when he seeks to lead you astray. We are striving for heaven, for a life that measures with the life of God. Keep your eyes fixed on the Author and Finisher of your faith.
"I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one."
"Because ye are strong." Do not spend your time reading magazines and novels. Read your Bible. You have many temptations to meet and overcome. You have a great truth to proclaim. Only by a constant study of the Word of God can you gain the strength needed for this work. Put novel reading out of your lives. You have none too much time in which to gain an understanding of what saith the Scriptures. The Lord wants the young men in his cause to stand where they are worthy of being entrusted with sacred responsibilities.
Do not encourage any appetite for stimulants. Eat only plain, simple, wholesome food, and thank God constantly for the principles of health reform. In all things be true and upright, and you will gain precious victories.
Remember that you can not overcome the wicked one unless you have on every piece of the armor. Do not be turned away from the truth by supposition or sophistry. If you once allow Satan to tamper with your mind, you will find that it is not easy to break away from him. But if you confess your sins before God, and take hold of his power, sophistry will have no power over you.
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." There is a great work before us. There are cities to be warned. If you go forth into the work accompanied by the grace of God, success will attend your efforts. The power of heaven will be with you. The righteousness of Christ will go before you, and the glory of God will be your rearward. Let us thank God that provision has been made for every emergency. We can take hold of Christ's righteousness, pleading with him to cleanse us from all iniquity.
"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." He has carried on a faithful warfare against the enemy. He has built himself up in the most holy faith.
"Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."
Brethren and sisters, at all hazards we must hold fast to the truth. I am so glad that it is not yet too late for wrongs to be righted. I am so grateful for all the precious promises given us, that we may have courage and faith and hope, and that we may stand firm on the platform of eternal truth.
There is one thing that I want to ask those assembled at this conference to do: pray earnestly for the blessing of the Lord. I am glad to know that you are having early morning meetings. These meetings are of the highest value. Every time you come together at one of these meetings, lay your hearts open before God, and do not be afraid that your experience will be spoiled if you make confession. Take the stumblingblocks out of the way. May God give us light that will clear away everything which would prevent us from having that love for one another which we should have.
I want you to pray that God will give me strength; for I have received instruction from the Lord, and I want to give it to you. And pray also for yourselves. We want to see the glory of God at this meeting. May he help you to press to the light. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #30)
"As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.
"Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily, I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Many professing Christians are cherishing the thought, "My lord delayeth his coming." They are becoming careless, and are following worldly policy. Eagerness to buy and sell and get gain is beclouding the spiritual vision.
Those whose business makes it necessary for them to come into contact with worldly men should stand constantly on guard, keeping strict watch over themselves, and praying always, lest the enemy take them unawares. To those of his followers who are of necessity compelled to deal with worldlings, God gives grace according to their need. If they stand ever on guard, special wisdom will be given them when they are obliged to be in the company of those who do not respect the Lord Jesus Christ. Their every transaction is to reveal the fact that they are Christians. They are to be kind and courteous, in all that they say and do, showing that they are under the control and discipline of God, that they are serving the Lord Jesus Christ. The followers of Christ are to be separate from the world in principles and interests; but they are not to isolate themselves from the world. "As thou hast sent me into the world," Christ said, "even so have I also sent them into the world." And he said again, "Ye are the light of the world." We are not to withdraw ourselves from the world in order to escape persecution. We are to abide among men, that the savor of divine love may be as salt to preserve the world from corruption.
Hearts that respond to the influence of the Holy Spirit are the channels through which God's blessings flow. Were those who serve God removed from the earth, and his Spirit withdrawn from among men, this earth would be left to desolation and destruction. Though the wicked know it not, they owe even the blessings of this life to the presence in this world of God's people, whom they despise and oppress. But if Christians are such in name only, they are as salt that has lost its savor. They are no influence for good in the world. Through their misrepresentation of God they are worse than unbelievers.
Without a living faith in Christ as a personal Saviour, it is impossible to make our influence felt in a skeptical world. We can not give to others that which we do not ourselves possess. It is in proportion to our own devotion and consecration to Christ that we exert an influence for the blessing and uplifting of mankind. If there is no actual service, no genuine love, no reality of experience, there is no power to help, no connection with heaven, no savor of Christ in the life. Unless the Holy Spirit can use us as agents through whom to communicate to the world the truth as it is in Jesus, we are as salt that has lost its savor. By our lack of the grace of Christ we testify to the world that the truth which we claim to believe has no sanctifying power, and thus, so far as our influence goes, we make of no effect the word of God.
Following the instruction of Christ brings the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, and this enables men and women to reveal in spirit and word and deed the fragrance and the saving grace of the truth. If this transformation is not seen in the life, the actions will certainly make of no effect the principles of truth, which, if practised, would exert a saving influence upon unbelievers.
Those who study the Word of God, and day by day receive instruction from Christ, bear the stamp of heaven's principles. A high, holy influence goes forth from them. A helpful atmosphere surrounds their souls. The pure, holy, elevated principles that they follow enable them to bear a living testimony to the power of divine grace.
In all ages the "Spirit of Christ which was in them" has made God's true children the light of the people of their generation. Joseph was a lightbearer in Egypt. In his purity and benevolence and filial love, he represented Christ in the midst of a nation of idolaters. While the Israelites were on their way from Egypt to the promised land, the truehearted among them were a light to the surrounding nations. Through them God was revealed to the world. From Daniel and his companions in Babylon, and from Mordecai in Persia, bright beams of light shone out amid the darkness of the kingly courts. In like manner the disciples of Christ are set as lightbearers on the way to heaven; through them the Father's mercy and goodness are made manifest to a world enshrouded in the darkness of misapprehension of God. By seeing their good works, others are led to glorify the Father who is above; for it is made manifest that there is a God on the throne of the universe whose character is worthy of praise and imitation. The divine love glowing in the heart, the Christlike harmony manifested in the life, are as a glimpse of heaven granted to men of the world, that they may appreciate its excellence.
The world watches to see what fruit is borne by professed Christians. It has a right to look for self-denial and self-sacrifice from those who claim to believe advanced truth. The world is watching, ready to criticize with keenness and severity your words, your deportment, and your business transactions. Every one who acts a part in the work of God is watched, and is weighed in the scales of human discernment. Impressions favorable or unfavorable to Bible religion are constantly made on the minds of all with whom you have to do.
God has ordained that his work shall be presented to the world in distinct, holy lines. He desires his people to show by their lives the advantage of Christianity over worldliness. By his grace every provision has been made for us in all our transaction of business to demonstrate the superiority of heaven's principles over the principles of the world. We are to show that we are working upon a higher plane than that of worldliness. In all things we are to manifest purity of character, to show that the truth received and obeyed makes the receivers sons and daughters of God, children of the heavenly King, and that as such they are honest in their dealings, faithful, true, and upright in the small as well as the great things of life. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #31)
Christ intended that a greater work should be done in behalf of men than we have yet seen. He did not intend that such large numbers should choose to stand under the banner of Satan, and be enrolled as rebels against the government of God. The world's Redeemer did not design that his purchased inheritance should live and die in their sins. Why, then, are so few reached and saved?--It is because so many of those who profess to be Christians are neglecting their heaven-appointed mission. Thousands who know not God might today be rejoicing in his love if those who claim to serve him would work as Christ worked.
Read the instruction contained in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. There you will learn what kind of education was given to the families of Israel. While God's chosen people were to stand forth distinct and holy, separate from the nations that knew him not, they were to treat the stranger kindly. He was not to be looked down upon because he was not of Israel. The Israelites were to love the stranger, because Christ died as verily to save him as he did to save Israel. At their feasts of thanksgiving, when they recounted the mercies of God, the stranger was to be made welcome. At the time of harvest they were to leave in the field a portion for the stranger and the poor. So the strangers were to share also in God's spiritual blessings. The Lord God of Israel commanded that they should be received if they chose the society of those who knew and acknowledged him. In this way they would learn the law of Jehovah, and glorify him by their obedience.
So today God desires his children, both in spiritual and in temporal things, to impart blessings to the world. For every disciple of Christ in every age were spoken these precious words of the Saviour, "From within him shall flow rivers of living water."
Many of the youth, in the midst of churches, religious institutions, and professedly Christian homes, are choosing the path to destruction. Through intemperate habits, they bring upon themselves disease, and through greed to obtain money for sinful indulgences, they fall into dishonest practises. Health and character are ruined. Aliens from God, and outcasts from society, these poor souls feel that they are without hope either for this life or for the life to come. The hearts of the parents are broken. Men speak of these erring ones as hopeless; but God looks upon them with pitying tenderness. He understands all the circumstances that have led them to fall under temptation. This is a class that demands labor.
Not the youth only, but those of all ages who are in poverty and distress, sunken in sin, and weighed down with a sense of guilt, demand our assistance. It is the work of God's servants to seek for these souls, to pray for them and with them, and lead them step by step to the Saviour. What misery exists in the very heart of our so-called Christian countries! Think of the condition of the poor in our large cities. In these cities there are multitudes of human beings who do not receive as much care and consideration as are given to the brutes. There are thousands of wretched children, ragged and half-starved, with vice and depravity written on their faces. Families are herded together in miserable tenements, many of them in cellars reeking with dampness and filth. Children are born in these terrible places. Thus in years of infancy and youth, their eyes behold nothing attractive, nothing of the beauty of the natural things that God has created to delight the senses. These children are left to grow up molded and fashioned in character by the wretchedness and wickedness around them. They hear the name of God only in profanity. Impure words, the fumes of liquor and tobacco, moral degradation of every kind, meet the eye and pervert the senses. And from these abodes of wretchedness piteous cries for food and clothing are sent out by many who know nothing about prayer.
While working for the poor, we should give attention also to the rich, whose souls are equally precious in the sight of God. The wealthy man needs to be labored for in the love and fear of God. Too often he trusts in his riches, and feels not his danger. The worldly possessions which the Lord has entrusted to men are often a source of great temptation. Thousands are thus led into sinful indulgences that confirm them in habits of intemperance and vice. Among the wretched victims of want and sin are found many who were once in possession of wealth. Men of different vocations and different stations in life have been overcome by the pollutions of the world, by the use of strong drink, by indulgence of the lusts of the flesh, and have fallen under temptation. While these fallen ones excite our pity and demand our help, should not some attention also be given to those who have not yet descended to these depths, but who are setting their feet in the same path? There are thousands occupying positions of honor and usefulness who are indulging habits that mean ruin to soul and body. Should not the most earnest efforts be made to enlighten them?
Ministers of the gospel, statesmen, authors, men of wealth and talent, men of vast business capacity and power for usefulness, are in deadly peril because they do not see the necessity of strict temperance in all things. They need to have their attention called to the principles of temperance, not in a narrow or arbitrary way, but in the light of God's great purpose for humanity. Could the principles of true temperance thus be brought before them, there are very many of the higher classes who would recognize their value and give them a hearty acceptance.
There is another danger to which the wealthy classes are especially exposed, and here also is a field for the work of the medical missionary. Multitudes who are prosperous in the world, and who never stoop to the common forms of vice, are yet brought to destruction through the love of riches. Absorbed in their worldly treasures, they are insensible to the claims of God and the needs of their fellow men. Instead of regarding their wealth as a talent to be used for the glory of God and the uplifting of humanity, they look upon it as a means of indulging and glorifying themselves. They add house to house and land to land, and fill their homes with luxuries, while want stalks the streets, and all about them are human beings in misery and crime, disease and death. Those who thus give their lives to self-serving are developing in themselves, not the attributes of God, but the attributes of Satan.
These men are in need of the gospel. They need to have their eyes turned from the vanity of material things to behold the preciousness of the enduring riches. They need to learn the joy of giving, the blessedness of being co-workers with God.
Persons of this class are often the most difficult of access, but Christ will open ways whereby they may be reached. Let the wisest, the most trustful, the most hopeful laborers seek for these souls. With the wisdom and tact born of divine love, with the refinement and courtesy that result alone from the presence of Christ in the soul, let them work for those who, dazzled by the glitter of earthly riches, see not the glory of the heavenly treasure. Let the workers study the Bible with them, pressing truth home to their hearts.
Such an appeal, made in the spirit of Christ, will not be thought impertinent. It will impress the minds of many in the higher classes.
By efforts put forth in wisdom and love, many a rich man may be awakened to a sense of his responsibility and his accountability to God. When it is made plain that the Lord expects them as his representatives to relieve suffering humanity, many will respond, and will give of their means and their sympathy for the benefit of the poor. When their minds are thus drawn away from their own selfish interests, many will be led to surrender themselves to God. With their talents of influence and means they will gladly unite in the work of beneficence with the humble missionary who was God's agent in their conversion. By a right use of their earthly treasure they will lay up "a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth." They will secure for themselves the treasure that wisdom offers, even "durable riches and righteousness."
Many have lost the sense of eternal realities, lost the similitude of God, and they hardly know whether they have souls to be saved or not. They have neither faith in God nor confidence in man. As they see one with no inducement of earthly praise or compensation come into their wretched homes, ministering to the sick, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and tenderly pointing all to him of whose love and pity the human worker is but the messenger,--as they see this, their hearts are touched. Gratitude springs up. Faith is kindled. They see that God cares for them, and they are prepared to listen as his Word is opened.
As God's children devote themselves to this work, many will lay hold of the hand stretched out to save them. They are constrained to turn from their evil ways. Some of the rescued ones may, through faith in Christ, rise to high places of service, and be entrusted with responsibilities in the work of saving souls. They know by experience the necessities of those for whom they labor; and they know how to help them; they know what means can best be used to recover the perishing. They are filled with gratitude to God for the blessings they have received; their hearts are quickened by love, and their energies are strengthened to lift up others who can never rise without help. Taking the Bible as their comforter, they find a new career opening before them. Every one of these souls that is added to the force of workers, provided with facilities for service and with instruction as to how to save souls for Christ, becomes a colaborer with those who brought him the light of truth. Thus God is honored, and his work advanced. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #32)
"These things saith he that hath the seven spirits of God and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent."
Among the people to whom this message was sent, there were those who had heard and been convinced by the preaching of John the Baptist, but who had lost the faith in which they once rejoiced. There were others who had received the truth from Christ's teaching, and who were once ardent believers, but who had lost their first love, and were without spiritual strength. They had not held the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end. They had a name to live, but as far as exerting a saving influence is concerned, they were dead. They had a form of godliness without the power. They quibbled about matters of no special importance, not given by the Lord as tests, till these matters became as mountains, separating them from Christ and from one another.
"These things saith he that hath the seven stars." These words show the origin of the message. Then a plain truth is stated: "I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead." With God outward show weighs nothing. The outward forms of religion, without the love of God in the soul, are utterly worthless.
"Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die." This is our work. There are many ready to die spiritually, and the Lord calls upon us to strengthen them. God's people are to be firmly united in the bonds of Christian fellowship, and are to be strengthened in the faith by speaking often to one another about the precious truths entrusted to them. Never are they to spend their time in accusing and condemning one another.
"If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." There must be a waking up among our people. Those who do not abound in the love of God will go into apostasy. They will lose their faith in the truth.
"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."
There are today in the church of God those who do not discern their spiritual need, those who do not keep the pure principles of the truth uncontaminated by worldly influences. They are careless in regard to their spiritual standing. To them comes the urgent message, "Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God." Receive the messages of warnings brought by the Lord's ambassadors. Let not these warnings become dim in your memory. "Hold fast, and repent."
Divine grace can be forfeited by a misapplication of the rich treasure. Every minister, every teacher, every medical worker, is in positive need of the Holy Spirit. Let God's servants work in sincerity, with purity of motive. There is spiritual power for all who will seek for it with intensity of purpose. These will become partakers of the divine nature; for they have cooperated with God. Influence will be given them, to be increased by a right use. They will be given an enlargement of power proportionate to their desire to do the will of God. The influence given them will greatly increase their usefulness, unless they forfeit the blessing by selfishness, by a misuse of the entrusted gift.
Jesus declares that the Father is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him than parents are to give good gifts to their children. The Holy Spirit understands man's every necessity. He will bestow upon the earnest seeker that for which he hungers and thirsts. The blessings that God has to bestow are unlimited. We can not comprehend their height and depth and breadth. All heaven is at the command of those who, realizing their lack of wisdom, come directly to the source of all wisdom. To such ones God gives liberally, and upbraids not. But let them ask in faith, nothing wavering. "He that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." The one who receives wisdom from on high is the one who holds fast to the promise, the one who feels his need, and will not be turned aside.
The Lord is greatly dishonored when wrong practises are carried on by the members of his church. These wrong practises arouse a spirit of alienation and strife and faultfinding. God sees beneath the surface. He reads the heart of every one, and he knows those who are following in evil ways. He says to all, "I know thy works." How many times those who are misusing the precious gifts of heaven, have read these words, and yet have made no change in the life. We must arouse from our spiritual slumber. We must be born again. There is a lamentable decay in Christian experience. A truly godly life is rarely seen.
"Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy." Because of their faith this honor is bestowed on them. In this life they did not boast, nor lift up their souls unto vanity. With intensity of desire, with a pure, holy faith, they grasped the promise of eternal riches. Their one desire was to be like Christ. Ever they kept the standard of righteousness uplifted. To them is given an eternal weight of glory, because on the earth they walked with God, keeping themselves unspotted from the world, revealing to their fellow beings the righteousness of Christ. Of them the Saviour declares, "They shall walk with me in white, in the world that I have prepared for them." "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."
"And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder; and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps. And they sang as it were a new song before the throne, . . . and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. . . .These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile; for they are without fault before the throne of God.
"After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #33)
I have been instructed by the Lord to call the attention of our people to the history of Solomon. From the record of his reign we may learn many lessons helpful in avoiding the paths that led to Israel's downfall.
The early life of Solomon was bright with promise. He chose the wisdom of God, and the glory of his reign excited the wonder of the world. He might have gone on from strength to strength, from glory to glory, ever approaching nearer the similitude of the character of God.
The Kingdom of Israel in Solomon's Time.--In the reigns of David and Solomon, Israel reached the height of her greatness. Solomon was anointed and proclaimed king in the closing years of his father David, who abdicated in his favor. After the death of David, "Solomon was king over all Israel." At this time "Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude."
Extent of the Kingdom.--"Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river [Euphrates] unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life. . . . He had dominion . . . over all the kings on this side the river [Euphrates]: and he had peace on all sides round about him.
"And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon."
"Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David."
"Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the Lord his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly."
The promise given to Abraham and repeated through Moses was fulfilled: "If ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him; then will the Lord drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves. Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be. There shall no man be able to stand before you."
Solomon's Opportunity.--The last great work of David, in his official position, was to call the attention of the people once more to their solemn relation to God as subjects of his theocracy. Summoning the princes of Israel, with the representative men from all parts of the kingdom, he delivered, in their presence, an inspired charge to his son, vesting him with kingly authority, and bidding him perform faithfully the duties devolving upon him. "Know thou the God of thy father," the aged monarch pleaded, "and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever. Take heed now; for the Lord hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it."
Through obedience the Israelites could have stood at the head of the nations of the earth. God would have made them "high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor." "All the peoples of the earth," said Moses, "shall see that thou art called by the name of Jehovah; and they shall be afraid of thee." "The nations which shall hear all these statutes" shall say, "Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people."
None understood these promises better than David. By his own experience he had learned how hard is the path of him who departs from God. He had felt the condemnation of the broken law, and had reaped the fruits of transgression; and his whole soul was moved with solicitude that the leaders of Israel should be true to God, and that Solomon should obey God's law, shunning the sins that had weakened his father's authority, embittered his life, and dishonored God. David knew that it would require humility of heart, a constant trust in God, and unceasing watchfulness, to withstand the temptations that would surely beset Solomon in his exalted station; for such prominent characters are a special mark for the shafts of Satan.
When he felt that death was approaching, the burden of David's heart was still for Solomon and for the kingdom of Israel, whose prosperity must so largely depend upon the fidelity of her king. "And he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man; and keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, . . . that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: that the Lord may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel."
O, what an opportunity was Solomon's! He was to be not merely a warrior, a statesman, and a sovereign, but a strong, good man, an example of fidelity, a teacher of righteousness. With tender earnestness David entreated Solomon to be manly and noble, and to show mercy and lovingkindness to his subjects. The many trying and remarkable experiences through which David had passed during his lifetime, had taught him the value of the nobler virtues, and led him to exclaim: "He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain."
Had Solomon followed the divinely inspired instruction of his aged father, his reign might have been indeed a reign of righteousness, so beautifully described in the seventy-second Psalm:--A Reign of Righteousness-- "Give the king thy judgments, O God, And thy righteousness unto the king's son. He will judge thy people with righteousness, And thy poor with justice. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, And the hills, in righteousness. He will judge the poor of the people, He will save the children of the needy, And will break in pieces the oppressor. They shall fear thee while the sun endureth, And so long as the moon, throughout all generations. He will come down like rain upon the mown grass, As showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish, And abundance of peace, till the moon be no more. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, And from the River unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; And his enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall render tribute: The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him; All nations shall serve him. For he will deliver the needy when he crieth, And the poor, that hath no helper. He will have pity on the poor and needy, And the souls of the needy he will save. He will redeem their soul from oppression and violence; And precious will their blood be in his sight: And they shall live; and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: And men shall pray for him continually; They shall bless him all the day long. There shall be abundance of grain in the earth upon the top of the mountains; The fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: And they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. His name shall endure forever; His name shall be continued as long as the sun: And men shall be blessed in him; All nations shall call him happy. "Blessed be Jehovah God, the God of Israel, Who only doeth wondrous things: And blessed be his glorious name forever; And let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen, and Amen."
Solomon's entire history might have been in accordance with this inspired prophecy. Exalted to a position of sacred trust, he for a time heeded the wise counsels of David, and brought glory to the name of the God of Israel. But the later years of his reign were marred by pride, self-sufficiency, self-exaltation. Desire for political power and self-aggrandizement led him to form alliances with heathen nations. The silver of Tarshish and the gold of Ophir were procured at a terrible expense, even the sacrifice of integrity, the betrayal of sacred trust. Association with idolaters corrupted his faith. One false step led to another, until there was a breaking down of the barriers that God had erected for the safety of his people.
Gradually, yet surely, Solomon's life was corrupted by conformity to worldly customs. Looking to the standards of right followed by heathen nations, he began to lose sight of the standard of God's law. Uniting in marriage with worshipers of false gods, at last he gave himself up to idolatry. A character that had been pure and elevated, became marred and degraded. The mind that was once given to God, and inspired to write the precious words of wisdom found in the book of Proverbs,--that noble mind, through evil associations and constant indulgence, became weak in moral power. Solomon dishonored himself, dishonored Israel, and dishonored God.
Sad as is the story of Solomon's apostasy, it portrays the result of separation from God. One false step prepares the way for a second and a third, and every additional step is taken more easily than the last. It is our privilege to take heed to the God-given warning of Solomon's life. As followers of Christ, we are to honor our Master by studying and obeying his teachings. We are to manifest our love and fear of God by refusing to conform to the world's standard of right. Let us beware of departing from the simplicity of our faith. The Christian's standard of right must ever be the standard that is given in Holy Writ. Constantly we are to guard against every worldly influence that would weaken us in moral power. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #34)
At the time when David committed to Solomon the affairs of the kingdom and the great work of building the temple he "assembled all the princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes, and the captains of the companies that ministered to the king by course, and the captains over the thousands, and captains over the hundreds, and the stewards over all the substance and possession of the king, and of his sons, with the officers, and with the mighty men, and with all the valiant men, unto Jerusalem."
In the presence of the representative men bearing the responsibility of government throughout the kingdom of Israel, David delivered his dying charge. Sustained by the power that accompanies divine inspiration, he told them of his own desire to build the temple, and of the Lord's command that the work should be committed to Solomon his son. The divine assurance was, "Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, I will be his father."
King David, in the years of his prosperity, had provided an abundance of the most costly material,--gold, silver, onyx stones, and stones of divers colors; marble, and the most precious woods,--to be used in the construction of the temple. These valuable treasures were committed by him to Solomon.
"Be Strong, and Do It."--David gave Solomon minute directions for building the temple, with patterns of every part, and of all its instruments of service, as had been revealed to him by divine inspiration. These directions, so precisely given, were not left to be recalled by treacherous memory, but were carefully and minutely written out, and preserved for the guidance of the builders.
Solomon was still young, and he shrank from the weighty responsibilities that would devolve upon him in the erection of the temple and in the government of God's people. But David said to him, "Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed [by the greatness of the plans]: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." "The Lord hath chosen thee to build a house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it."
Freewill Offerings.--Again David appealed to the congregation: "Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the Lord God." "I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God," he declared, and then he enumerated the materials he had gathered. More than this, he said, "I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal." "Who then," he asked of the assembled multitude that had brought their liberal gifts,--"who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?"
There was a ready response from the assembly. "The chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king's work, offered willingly, and gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the Lord. . . . Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy."
A Prayer of Thanksgiving.--"Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.
"Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness."
"As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee: and give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision.
"And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the Lord your God. And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshiped the Lord."
"Of Thine Own Have We Given Thee."--With deepest interest the king had gathered the rich material for building and beautifying the temple. He had composed the glorious anthems that in after-years should echo through its courts. Now his heart was made glad in God, as the chief of the fathers and the princes of Israel so nobly responded to his appeal, and offered themselves to the important work before them. And as they gave their service, they were disposed to do more. They swelled the offerings, giving of their own possessions unto the treasury.
David had felt deeply his own unworthiness in gathering the material for the house of God; and the expression of loyalty in the ready response of the nobles of his kingdom, as with willing hearts they dedicated their treasures to Jehovah, and devoted themselves to his service, filled him with joy. But it was God alone who had imparted this disposition to his people. He, not man, must be glorified. It was he who had provided the people with the riches of earth, and his Spirit had made them willing to bring their precious things for the temple. It was all of the Lord; if his love had not moved upon the hearts of the people, the king's efforts would have been vain, and the temple would never have been erected.
All that man receives of God's bounty still belongs to God. Whatever God has bestowed in the valuable and beautiful things of earth, is placed in the hands of men to develop and to test character,--to sound the depths of their love for him and their appreciation of his favors. Whether it be the treasures of wealth or of intellect, they are to be laid, a willing offering, at the feet of Jesus; the giver saying, meanwhile, with David, "All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee."
It is an honor bestowed upon man that God should entrust to his keeping the riches of earth, and it is done that he may cooperate with God by using these precious gifts in advancing the Lord's work in the earth. None of us can do without the blessing of God, but God could do his work without the aid of man, if he should so choose. But this is not his plan; he has given to every man his work, and he trusts men as his stewards with treasures of wealth and of intellect. Whatever you render to God is, through his mercy and generosity, placed to your account as a faithful steward. But ever bear in mind, "Of thine own have we given thee."
This is not a work of merit on man's part. However wonderful the powers and abilities of man, he possesses nothing which God did not give him, and which he can not withdraw if these precious tokens of his favor are not appreciated and rightly applied. Angels of God, with perceptions unclouded by sin, recognize the endowments of Heaven as bestowed in order that they may be returned in such a way as to add to the glory of the great Giver. For one to use these God-given capabilities for self-gratification or to promote his own glory, dishonors the Creator. Brethren and sisters in Christ, God calls for the consecration to his service of every faculty he has given you. He wants you to say with David, "All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #35)
From Sinai, in awful grandeur, God proclaimed his law to Israel, that they might realize the high standard to which they were to attain. He presented to them the beauty and safety of obedience, declaring that only through obedience could they find peace and prosperity. He portrayed also the sure results of disobedience to his law. We who live in this period of the earth's history see the fulfilment of his warnings to Israel. In the stormy scenes taking place in our world, we see the result of the transgressions of God's law.
"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. Your eyes have seen what the Lord did because of Baal-peor: for all the men that followed Baal-peor, the Lord thy God hath destroyed them from among you. But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day."
It was in mercy that the Lord destroyed those who had been led away by Baal-peor. Had they been permitted to live, their influence would have corrupted the whole congregation of Israel. The judgment that came on them was a warning to others not to disregard the honor and glory of God. Often the Lord speaks in judgment to repress iniquity. He sees and rebukes the sins of those who disobey his laws, but he shows mercy to those who obey him. When their own inclinations would lead them into danger, he withholds from them that which they desire.
God chose Israel to be his own people, that, by adhering closely to his commandments, they might be to the world an illustration of the beauty of character, the moral power, and the virtue that might be attained through fearing and honoring him. He desired also to reveal through them the advantages that would come to those who, as his true sons and daughters, would walk in harmony with the principles of his law. In his dealing with men, God has often demonstrated that through the virtue obtained by obedience to the laws of heaven, human beings may gain a beauty of character that will fit them to be laborers together with him.
Purity of character will be distinctly revealed by all who truly follow Christ. In them will be seen the fulfilment of the promise, "I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon." The psalmist thus describes the beauty and growth of the Christian: "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; to show that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him."
Striking its roots deep down into the earth, the tree gains strength to withstand the tempest. So the Christian is to be "rooted and grounded" in the truth, that he may stand firm against the temptations of the enemy. He must have a continual renewal of strength, and he must hold firmly to Bible truth. Fables of every kind will be brought in to seduce the believer from his allegiance to God, but he is to look up, believe in God, and stand firmly rooted and grounded in the truth.
Keep a firm hold upon the Lord Jesus, and never let go. Have firm convictions as to what you believe. Let the truths of God's Word lead you to devote heart, mind, soul, and strength to the doing of his will. Lay hold resolutely upon a plain, "Thus saith the Lord." Let your only argument be. "It is written." Thus we are to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. That faith has not lost any of its sacred, holy character, however objectionable its opposers may think it to be.
Those who follow their own mind and walk in their own way will form crooked characters. Vain doctrines and subtle sentiments will be introduced with plausible presentations, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Are church members building upon the Rock? The storm is coming, the storm that will try every man's faith, of what sort it is. Believers must now be firmly rooted in Christ, or else they will be led astray by some phase of error. Let your faith be substantiated by the Word of God. Grasp firmly the living testimony of truth. Have faith in Christ as a personal Saviour. He has been and ever will be our Rock of Ages. The testimony of the Spirit of God is true. Change not your faith for any phase of doctrine, however pleasing it may appear, that will seduce the soul.
The fallacies of Satan are now being multiplied, and those who swerve from the path of truth will lose their bearings. Having nothing to which to anchor, they will drift from one delusion to another, blown about by the winds of strange doctrines. Satan has come down with great power. Many will be deceived by his miracles. Those who accept his science will be among those to whom Christ addresses the words:--
"These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent."
I entreat every one to be clear and firm regarding the certain truths that we have heard and received and advocated. The statements of God's Word are plain. Plant your feet firmly on the platform of eternal truth. Reject every phase of error, even though it be covered with a semblance of reality, which denies the personality of God and of Christ.
Of the Saviour, John says: "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew 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: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, . . . full of grace and truth."
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He was manifest in the flesh. What was his work in this world?--To put away sin by the sacrifice of himself on the cross of Calvary. He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin. By his prayers and strong supplications, he overcame. In his human nature, he perfected a character after the divine similitude. By a life of perfect obedience to every requirement of God, he procured redemption for all who will be obedient. The divine nature is imparted to those who receive and acknowledge him as their Saviour. They become partakers of the divine nature, overcoming the assaults of Satan and escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust. Christ energizes by his Spirit those who seek him with the whole heart.
Those who truly receive Christ are given power to become the sons of God. As they look to Jesus, they catch the divine rays of light, and are attracted by the loveliness and purity and goodness of the Saviour. They seek to copy his pleasantness, rather than the harsh violence manifested by those who disregard the laws of God. And as they keep before them the fear of God, and walk as obedient children, others will mark their Christlikeness of character, and will be drawn to the Saviour by the revelation of their love, their justice, and their mercy. Yet some will refuse to come to the Saviour, choosing darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.
Christ and his righteousness,--let this be our platform, the very life of our faith. That which he taught, we are to teach. His commission to his followers is: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;" "and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #36)
My heart has been made glad by the encouraging advancement of the Lord's cause in Nashville, Tenn. As a few tried, faithful workers in this city have labored perseveringly, God has gone before them in a most wonderful manner, and has opened the way for a great work to be done. Those who have advanced in faith, now see so many opportunities for establishing the truth firmly in Nashville that they feel like making an effort to arouse every believer in the third angel's message to meet the emergency and help them take advantage of these opportunities. I have the same desire; and so confident have I been regarding the willingness of our brethren and sisters throughout the churches in America to meet the situation nobly, that I have encouraged our brethren in the South to arise in the strength of God, and with faith and courage enter his opening providences.
The Lord has set the seal of his approval on the effort to establish memorials to his name in the city of Nashville. He has signified that from this important center, the light of the truth for this time shall radiate to every part of the Southern field. Nashville is a natural center for our work in the South. And the influence of the various educational and publishing institutions established there, makes the city a favorable place in which to carry on the various phases of our work.
In Nashville much interest is taken in the colored people. In and near the city are large schools for the colored people. The truth is to be brought before the white people of Nashville, including those who have given of their means and influence for the benefit of the colored race. They have taken a noble stand for the uplifting of this people. They should be given a representation of our work that will be an object lesson in genuine Christian education and medical missionary training. We are to do all that we can to remove from the minds of the people the prejudice the exists against our work. If the efforts we put forth are in accordance with God's will, many will be converted.
For the accomplishment of the work that should be done in Nashville the best talent is needed. In so important a center of influence, we need men who talk courage and faith,--men who never become discouraged,--men who cling to the Mighty One, and in his strength make decided efforts to advance,--men who believe that the God of Israel still lives and reigns, and that he will surely fulfil his word. And how thankful we should be that at this time there are in Nashville tried soldiers of the cross,--laborers of long experience, who with voice and pen are effectively proclaiming the vital truths of the third angel's message. God desires the gray haired pioneers, the men who acted a part in the work when the first, second, and third angels' messages were first given, to stand in their place in his work today.
The Nashville Meetinghouse.--For a long time the Sabbath keepers in Nashville have met for worship in a room in the publishing house. But some have felt that in order to give a correct impression regarding the exalted character of our faith, we ought in some way to provide for a church building. But considering the lack of means, it seemed impossible to secure a suitable house of worship.
About the time that Elder Haskell and his wife united with Elder Butler in labor at Nashville, the Lord instructed me in the night season to bear to the brethren and sisters in the South the following message:--
"God would have the standard lifted higher and still higher. The church can not abridge her task without denying her Master. Meetinghouses must be built in many places. Is it economy to fail to provide in our cities places of worship where the Redeemer may meet with his people? Let us not give the impression that we find it too great an expense to provide properly for the reception of the heavenly Guest.
"In laying plans for building, we need the wisdom of God. We should not needlessly incur debt, but I would say that in every case all the money required to complete a building need not be in hand before the work is begun. We must often move forward by faith, working as expeditiously as possible. It is through a lack of faith that we fail of receiving the fulfilment of God's promises. We must work and pray and believe. We are to move forward steadily and earnestly, trusting in the Lord, and saying, 'We will not fail nor become discouraged.'
"Let our brethren in Nashville and in all parts of the South lay aside their doubts, and come over to the side of faith. Let them say, 'We will do our best. No longer will we question the work and ways of the Lord. From this time we will believe the word of the Lord, and obey his command to "arise and build," whether all the money required is in sight or not.'
"The Lord has instructed me that in some places there are buildings suitable for our work, and that we can secure these buildings at reasonable cost."
In the providence of God, about a year after our brethren received this message, and after they had decided that they could not afford to buy land and build a meetinghouse suitable for their needs, an opportunity came to them to purchase a good house of worship in a desirable location for five thousand dollars. The brethren made a careful examination of the property, and decided that it be purchased. The step required an exercise of faith; for no funds were in hand to make the first payment of one thousand dollars. Their great need led them to go forward, trusting in God for help.
The building is in need of some repairs, in order that it may correspond with the directions God has given regarding the places in which his people meet to worship him.
The opportunity to purchase this church property is one fulfilment of the light given me by the Lord that to our people would be offered at a price far below the original cost, properties that could be used in our work. It was in the providence of God that our brethren obtained possession of this house of worship in Nashville. We are confident the means to pay for it will come in, because we have asked for it, and God has signified that it will be received by the workers in Nashville.
The Nashville Mission and Bible Training School.--Brother and Sister Haskell have rented a house in one of the best parts of the city, and have gathered round them a family of helpers, who day by day go out of giving Bible readings, selling our papers, and doing medical missionary work. During the hour of worship, the workers relate their experiences. Bible studies are regularly conducted in the home, and the young men and young women connected with the mission receive a practical, thorough training in holding Bible readings and in selling our publications. The Lord has blessed their labors, a number have embraced the truth, and many others are deeply interested.
It was in this way that the fishermen who left their nets at the call of Christ were trained. A similar work should be done in many cities. The young people who go out to labor in these cities should be under the direction of experienced, consecrated leaders. Let the workers be provided with a good home, in which they may receive thorough training. The Lord has a precious, sacred work of soul-saving to be done in the world, and it is to be done now. This work is to be carried forward on a higher plane of individual responsibility than ever before.
The Tent Meeting.--For a long time the workers in Nashville have been searching for a suitable place in which to pitch a tent for a series of tent meetings. For months it seemed impossible for them to find a place, but recently the Lord opened the way for them to secure a good place, and the tent has been pitched, and the meetings opened.
The God of Israel has commanded that the work in the South shall go forward. How grateful we should be that he has placed in Nashville experienced workers who are determined to make a success of the work, surmounting all difficulties! So long as these workers keep their hands uplifted to heaven, the Lord will be their strength, their front guard and their rearward.
The Nashville Sanitarium.--Medical missions must be opened as pioneer agencies to prepare the way for the proclamation of the third angel's message in the cities of the South. O how great is the need for means to do this work! Gospel medical missions can not be established without financial aid. Every such mission calls for our sympathy, and for our means, that facilities may be provided to make the work successful. These institutions, conducted in accordance with the will of God, would remove prejudice, and call our work into favorable notice. The highest aim of the workers is to be the spiritual health of the patients. Medical missionary work gives opportunity for carrying forward successful evangelistic work. It is as these lines of effort are united, that we may expect to gather the most precious fruit for the Lord.
For some time, Brethren Hayward and Hansen have been carrying on sanitarium work in a modest way in the heart of the city, and in a rented building a few miles out of the city. The difficulties and inconveniences against which they have had to contend have greatly retarded the work, making it doubly hard.
During my visit to the Southern field a year ago, we tried to find, near Nashville, a property suitable for a sanitarium. We examined several places, but arrived at no definite decision. Recently I have been rejoiced to learn that there has been found a desirable property four miles south of the city, and near the terminus of a streetcar line. In this tract there are thirty-three acres of land. Our brethren regard the location as an ideal site for a sanitarium. An ample supply of water comes from a lithia spring, pure, and clear as crystal.
Our brethren were able to buy this property for eight thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars, by paying cash. The amount was loaned to them by a brother in Kentucky.
A sanitarium building should soon be erected on this property. Our brethren must have help in order to build up this much-needed institution. The establishment of medical institutions in the South will make the work more expensive; but the importance of this line of effort can not be overestimated.
Our Opportunity.--And now, my dear brethren and sisters, how shall we relate ourselves, individually, to the work that is being carried forward in Nashville? My heart is stirred. I can not but feel the deepest sympathy for my brethren in the South, who have been laboring earnestly and untiringly to carry out the directions given that in Nashville the truth is to be proclaimed. Elder Haskell and his wife and Elder Butler have been and still are most earnest, self-denying workers in that field. They and their associates are advancing at the command of the Lord, in order that a knowledge of the truth for this time may be given to the people of Nashville and of the entire South. Shall not we encourage them to continue their aggressive work, by revealing our sympathy in a practical way?
In the name of the Lord, I now call upon the members of our churches in the North and South, the East and the West, to contribute liberally for the work at Nashville. Let the children act their part. The Lord will greatly bless you as you help this needy field. He expects those for whom he has made so great a sacrifice, to show their appreciation of his love by denying self for the good of others.
God has bestowed gifts on man, not capriciously, but with equality. To every man God has given talents according to his ability to use them. And it is his purpose that the different parts of his field shall receive the help that their needs demand. When his stewards act unselfishly, his work is advanced, and rejoicing is the result.
True Christians, whose interests are bound up with the interests of Christ, are pained to the heart as they see that by man's cupidity the Saviour is dishonored in the person of his saints. They are cut to the quick as they see their fellow men perishing in their sins, and precious opportunities to save them passing by unimproved because means for the carrying forward of the work of soul-saving are not available.
The workers in Nashville have not received the help that they should have had; and we now entreat you, my brethren and sisters, to send of your means to the workers there; for they are greatly in need of help. This morning I have been asking the Lord to move upon your hearts to do this, that his work in Nashville may not be delayed. I have faith and hope to believe that you will respond with gladness of heart.
A Prayer for Help.--We must all look to God. We must all present our necessities to Christ our Burden Bearer, the One who knows the great burdens that are borne by his servants in important centers, and who knows how greatly they need help.
I am pleading with God to enlighten our brethren in all matters, that they may understand the work that needs to be done just now in Nashville. My prayer is: "We come to thee, O thou Saviour of the world, pleading the promise, 'Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.' I ask sincerely, earnestly, because I believe thy word. Help our faithful, aged workers in Nashville, Tenn. I, thy dependent, believing child, take thy words, and call upon thee to open the hearts of thy people throughout the United States, and lead them to send in their offerings to Nashville now, just now. Help Elder Butler and Elder Haskell in their tent effort. Help them to secure means to pay for the meetinghouse and to set it in acceptable order, so that it will make a presentation corresponding with thy directions. Help thy servants to establish a sanitarium for the honor of thy name.
"In thy lessons to thy disciples thou didst say, 'What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?' Thou hast said, 'If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him.'
"My Heavenly Father, we ask thee in Christ's name to give to the workers in Nashville the things they so much need to advance thy work. Encourage the hearts of thy servants to do this work, to look to thee, to ask of thee the things they need, to believe in thee. Sustain their faith and courage. O, sustain their courage, and indite their prayers! Keep them ever looking to thee, ever believing and receiving thy promised gifts. Keep them glad, hopeful, rejoicing, that their words may glorify thee.
"O Lord, I do believe. O Lord, thou wilt hear. Make thy servants strong in faith, strong in hope, strong in courage, mighty in word and deed to proclaim thy truth. Amen." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #37)
The Responsibilities of Burden Bearers.--After King David, in the presence of the men in positions of responsibility in his kingdom, had outlined his plans regarding the building of the temple, he appealed to them to cooperate with Solomon in carrying forward this work. "Who," he asked of the assembled multitude, "is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?"
Willing Service.--The response came not only in liberal offerings of treasures to meet the expense of the building, but also in willing service in the various lines of God's work. Hearts were filled with a desire to return to the Lord his own, by consecrating to his service all the energies of mind and body. Those upon whom had been placed burdens of state, determined to labor heartily and unselfishly, using for God the skill and ability he had given them.
David's exhortation to Solomon, and his appeal to the burden bearers of the nation, should be kept in mind by those who are in positions of trust in the Lord's cause today. In this our day God's people will prosper only so long as they keep his precepts; and those who bear responsibilities are called upon to consecrate their service to the Lord. Conference officers, church officers, managers and heads of departments in our institutions, laborers in the field at home and abroad,--all are to render faithful service by using their talents wholly for God. The Lord is not pleased with halfhearted service. To him we owe all that we have and are.
Implicit Obedience.--To all engaged in his service, the Lord gives wisdom. The tabernacle to be borne from place to place in the wilderness, and the temple at Jerusalem, were built in accordance with special directions from God. Throughout the ages, God has been particular as to the design and the accomplishment of his work. In this age, he has given his people much light and instruction in regard to how his work is to be carried forward,--in an elevated, refined, conscientious manner; and he is pleased with those who in their service carry out his design. Only those who, feeling their own inefficiency, obey implicitly the Lord's commands, can be retained in his service.
Uzzah meddled with the ark, notwithstanding the plain command of the Lord to regard it with fear and trembling, and to keep it sacred. He had to be removed from the Lord's work. God changes not. Today he is just as desirous as in the days of Uzzah that men shall know his ways, and that they shall reverence the methods he has outlined for their guidance. They are to carry out the plans he has devised. When men feel that it is unimportant to obey a "Thus saith the Lord" in carrying forward his work, but that their own plans should be followed, they thereby evidence unfitness for any position of trust in his cause. In every effort to advance the interests of his work, we must lose sight of self, and keep in view God's glory.
Satan's propositions appear to present great advantages, but they end in ruin. Over and over again men have found out by experience the result of choosing to follow the plans of men rather than the plans that God has made for us. Will not others gain wisdom from their experience? Let us be afraid of any plans that are not heaven-born.
Often the professed followers of Christ are found with hearts hardened and eyes blinded, because they do not obey the truth. Selfish motives and purposes take possession of the mind. In their self-confidence they suppose that their way is the way of wisdom. They are not particular to follow exactly the path that God has marked out. They declare that circumstances alter cases, and when Satan tempts them to follow worldly principles, they yield, and, making crooked paths for their feet, they lead others astray. The inexperienced follow where they go, supposing that the judgment of Christians so experienced must be wise.
Those in positions of responsibility who follow their own way are held responsible for the mistakes of those who are led astray by their example. "Shall I not judge for these things?" God asks.
There are those who think that they can improve upon the plan that the Lord has given; that they can mark out for themselves a course better than the course he has marked out for them. Such ones, choosing the things that be of men, harden their hearts against God's leading, and follow their own way. Unless they repent, the time will come when they will look upon the utter failure of their lifework. Man's wisdom, exercised without Christ's guidance, is a dangerous element.
Any recognition or exaltation gained apart from God is worthless; for it is not honored in heaven. To have the approval of men does not win God's approval. Those who would be acknowledged by God in the day of judgment, must here listen to his counsels and be governed by his will. Only thus can they receive the rich blessings that will fit them to receive his commendation. They must hold fast to the truth until the end, refusing to be drawn from their allegiance by any ambitious projects.
Stemming the Tide of Evil.--We have not realized fully the importance of studying the counsel given by the Lord, through David, to Solomon, regarding those who are unworthy of confidence. Those who prove untrue are to be dealt with in accordance with the wisdom that God will impart. Never are God's servants to look upon disaffection, scheming, and deception as virtues; those in responsibility are to manifest their decided disapproval of all unfaithfulness in business and spiritual matters. And they are to choose as counselors in every line of work, only those men in whom they can repose the utmost confidence.
In the sixteenth chapter of First Corinthians we read: "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." Those who are elevated to official positions in the Lord's work are ever to guard against incurring the guilt of rash speech, of unfaithfulness, of betrayal of sacred trusts. And only so long as they discharge aright their responsibilities, are they to be retained in office.
Those who bear responsibilities must be wide-awake. It is not the man who drifts with circumstances, and who in an emergency indorses questionable moves, who wins the respect of his fellow men and the approval of heaven. It is the man who, like a rock meeting the tide, stands firm against evil who commands respect. In a crisis, when many are not fully decided as to the right course, the one who moves steadfastly in the path that God has marked out, with unshaken determination carrying out God's plans, is the one who wins confidence as a man fit to command. Those who occupy positions of responsibility should know what saith the Lord, and they should then stand unflinchingly for the right, stemming the tide of evil. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #38)
Dear Brethren and Sisters: I greatly desire to impress your minds with the importance of doing what you can to help forward the work for the colored people in the Southern States. In this field there are thousands and thousands of negroes, many of whom are ignorant and in need of the gospel. Upon the white people of the United States the Lord has laid the burden of uplifting this race. But, as yet, Seventh-day Adventists have done comparatively little to help them.
There are many, many places in the South in which no earnest Christian effort has been made for the colored people. These unentered fields, in their unsightly barrenness, stand before heaven as a witness against the unfaithfulness of those who have had great light. When I think of the way in which this line of work has been treated, there comes over me an intensity of feeling that words can not express. Like the priest and the Levite, men have looked indifferently on a most pitiful picture, and have passed by on the other side. For years this has been the record. Our people have put forth only a hundredth part of the earnest effort that they should have put forth to warn the indifferent, to educate the ignorant, and to minister to the needy souls in this field.
A few faithful laborers have made beginnings here and there. And among our brethren and sisters in the more favored fields of America, there are warm hearts beating in sympathy with the hearts of those who, with integrity and faithfulness, have bravely borne a burden of labor for the colored people, laying a foundation that will be as enduring as eternity. The Lord has been working with and for the tried laborers in the South. Many are preparing to put their shoulders to the wheel, to help advance the work. The cloud of darkness and despondency is rolling back, and the sunshine of God's favor is shining upon the workers. The Lord is gracious. He will not leave the work in the South in its present condition. The people living in this great field will yet have the privilege of hearing the last message of mercy, warning them to prepare for the great day of God which is right upon us. Now, just now, is our time to proclaim the third angel's message to the millions living in the Southern States, who know not that the Saviour's coming is near at hand.
The Training of Workers.--For the accomplishment of the Lord's work among the colored people in the South, we can not look wholly to white laborers. We need, O, so much! colored workers to labor for their own people, in places where it would not be safe for white people to labor. Without delay, most decided efforts should be made to educate and train colored men and women to labor as missionaries. We must provide means for the education and training of Christian colored students in the Southern States, who, being accustomed to the climate, can work there without endangering their lives. Promising young men and young women should be educated as teachers. They should have the very best advantages. Those who make the fear of the Lord the beginning of wisdom, and give heed to the counsel of men of experience, can be a blessing, by carrying to their own people the light of present truth. Every worker who labors in humility and in harmony with his brethren, will be a channel of light to many who are now in the darkness of ignorance and superstition.
It was for the education of Christian workers, that, in the providence of God, the General Conference purchased a beautiful farm of three hundred acres near Huntsville, Ala., and established an industrial training school for colored students. During the past two or three years I have often received instruction in regard to this school, showing what manner of school it should be, and what those who go there as students are to become.
All that is done by those connected with the Huntsville school, whether they be teachers or students, is to be done with the realization that this is the Lord's institution, in which the students are to be taught how to cultivate the land, and how to labor for the uplifting of their own people. They are to work with such earnestness and perseverance that the farm will bear testimony to the world, to angels, and to men, regarding the fidelity with which this gift of land has been cared for. This is the Lord's farm, and it is to bear fruit to his glory. Heavenly angels will be able to read, in the thrift and painstaking effort revealed in the care of the farm, the story of the improvement made by the students themselves in character building. On this farm the students are to learn how to earn their living by honest work. Such a knowledge will be of inestimable value to them when they go forth to teach others of their race.
The students of the Huntsville school are to be given a training in many lines of service. All are to be taught the importance of practical Christianity. And they are to learn how to present the truth for this time to their own people. Not only are they to learn to do public work, but they should learn also the special value of house-to-house work in soul-saving. In carrying forward work among the colored people, it is not learned men, not eloquent men, who are now the most needed, but humble men who in the school of Christ have learned to be meek and lowly, and who will go forth into the highways and hedges to give the invitation, "Come; for all things are now ready." Those who beg at midnight for loaves for hungry souls, will be successful. It is a law of heaven that as we receive, we are to impart.
In all the Lord's arrangements, there is nothing more beautiful than his plan of giving to men and women a diversity of gifts. The church of God is made up of many vessels, both large and small. The Lord works through the men and women who are willing to be used. He will bless them in doing the work that has brought blessing to many in the past,--the work of seeking to save souls ready to perish. There are many who have received but a limited religious and intellectual training, but God has a work for this class to do, if they will labor in humility, trusting in him.
The Lord says, I will take illiterate men, obscure men, and move upon them by my Spirit to carry out my purposes in the work of saving souls. The last message of mercy will be given by a people who love and fear me. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit." We should give willing, devoted men every possible encouragement to go forward and in their humble way reveal their loyalty to principle and their integrity to God. Let them visit the people at their homes, and talk and pray with the unwarned regarding the soon-coming Saviour. Let them take a personal interest in those whom they meet. Christ took a personal interest in men and women while he lived on this earth. He was a true missionary everywhere he went. His followers are to go about doing good, even as he did. By personal efforts to meet the people where they are, coarse and rough though some of these people may be, humble house-to-house missionaries and colporteurs may win the hearts of many to Christ. In their unpretentious way they can reach a class that ministers generally can not touch.
The Establishment of Schools.--No line of work will be of more telling advantage to the colored people in the Southern field than the establishment of small schools. Hundreds of mission schools must be established; for there is no method of giving the truth to these people so effectual and economical as these small schools. This line of work has been specially presented before me. But the work is almost at a standstill for the lack of money to provide facilities for the training of teachers, and for the building of schoolhouses, and for paying the wages of the teachers.
There are many who can not even read the divine Word; many are slaves of superstition; and yet through divine power these poor, ignorant beings, degraded by sin, may be saved, elevated, sanctified, ennobled. And in the Lord's estimation every soul saved is worth more than the wealth of the whole world. Those who are ignorant must be educated; and this means much. Instead of making superabundant provision for educating a few, we should devise ways and means of helping the many who are neglected and oppressed.
So far as possible, these mission schools for colored people should be established outside the cities. But in the cities there are many children who could not attend the schools that will be established out of the cities; and schools should be opened for them.
The colored people need simple books. They have been left in ignorance when they should have been taught; left unconverted when every effort possible should have been put forth to rescue and save them.
This work will require talent, and, above everything else, the grace of God. The colored youth will be found to be far more difficult to manage than the white youth, because they have not been taught from their childhood to make the best use of their time. Many of them have had no opportunity to learn how to take care of themselves. Those who for years have been working to help the colored people, know their needs; and they are the best fitted to begin schools for them. Colored teachers must work for the colored people, under the supervision of well-qualified men who have the spirit of mercy and love. How important it is, then, that we place our training school at Huntsville on vantage ground, so that many may be educated to labor as teachers of their own race!
Medical Missionary Work,--In no place is there greater need of genuine gospel medical missionary work than among the colored people in the South. Had such a work been done for them immediately after the proclamation of freedom, their condition today would nave been very different. Medical missionary work must be carried forward for the colored people. Sanitariums and treatment rooms should be established in many places. These will open doors for the entrance of Bible truth.
This work will require devoted men and means, and much wise planning. Years ago we should have been training colored men and women to care for the sick. Plans should now be made to do a quick work. Let promising colored young men,--young men of good Christian character,--be given a thorough training for this line of service. Let them be imbued with the thought that in all their work they are to proclaim the third angel's message. Strong, intelligent, consecrated colored nurses will find a wide field of usefulness opening before them.
Christ, the great Medical Missionary, is our example. Of him it is written, that he "went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people." He healed the sick, and preached the gospel. In his service, healing and teaching were linked closely together. To day they are not to be separated. The nurses who are trained in our institutions, are to be fitted to go out as medical missionary evangelists, uniting the ministry of the Word with that of physical healing.
The Lord has instructed us that with our training schools there should be connected small sanitariums, that the students may have opportunity to gain a knowledge of medical missionary work. This line of work is to be brought into our schools as part of the regular instruction. Huntsville has been especially pointed out as a school in connection with which there should be facilities for thoroughly training consecrated colored youth who desire to become competent nurses and hygienic cooks. We have delayed long enough the carrying out of this instruction.
Redeeming the Time.--My brethren and sisters, let us look at the destitution of this field. Let us consider the ignorance, the poverty, the misery, the distress of many of the people. They know but little in regard to Bible truth. They are unacquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ. And yet this field lies at our door! How selfish and inattentive we have been to our neighbors! We have passed them by, doing little to relieve their suffering. The condition of this field is a condemnation of our professed Christianity.
Let us now arise, and redeem the time. Everything in the universe calls upon those who know the truth to consecrate themselves unreservedly to the proclamation of the truth as it has been made known to them in the third angel's message. That which we see of the needs of the millions of colored people in the South, calls us to our duty. We are not to become dispirited and disheartened over the outlook. The Lord lives and reigns. And he expects us to do our part, by training for service and by sustaining in the field those who are best fitted to labor for the colored people. To our every effort he will add his blessing. His faithful servants in charge of the various lines of work, will be given wisdom to discern talent, and to train an army of workers to labor with courageous perseverance for their own race. There is work to be done in many hard places, and out of these places laborers are to come. The field is opening in the Southern States, and many wise, Christian colored men and women will be called to the work. The Lord now gives us the opportunity of searching out these men and women, and of teaching them how to engage in the work of saving souls. When they go forth into the field, God will cooperate with them, and give them the victory. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 82, #39)
(To be Read in All the Churches on Sabbath, October 7.)-- Dear Brethren and Sisters: I am thankful that the General Conference has set apart the first Sabbath in October as a day upon which a general contribution will be taken up in all our churches for the advancement of the work among the colored people of the Southern States. I have great hope that this important work will receive substantial help as the result of this collection. I am working, praying, and hoping for this; and I shall leave the result with God.
Some may say that the work in the Southern States is already receiving from the General Conference more than its share of attention, more than its proportion of men and means. But if the South were not a neglected, needy field, if there were not a pressing necessity for more work to be done there in many different lines, why should the Lord keep the question constantly before his people as he has done for so many years?
Over and over again the Lord has presented before me the pioneer work that must be done in new territory. When a difficult field is presented before me as one that must receive special attention. I understand that it is my duty to make this field my special burden, until, before the earnest, continuous efforts put forth, the difficulties disappear, and the work is established.
The work among the colored people in the Southern field, with its encouraging and discouraging features, has been kept before me for many years. While in Australia, I earnestly called upon my brethren and sisters in America to awake to the responsibility resting upon them to carry the third angel's message to this neglected race. And since my return to this country, I have borne a similar message in every place where I have been. I have an intense interest in all that concerns the welfare of the work among the colored people.
Few realize the magnitude of the work that must be done among the colored people. In the South there are millions who have never heard the third angel's message. These must be given the light of present truth. And it is because of the neglect of our people to take hold of this work heartily, that the Lord has instructed me to continue making appeals in their behalf.
At one time I felt as if I could no longer bear the burden of this work. I thought that if men would continue to do as they have done, I would let matters drift, and let those who have so much confidence in their own plans go on as they chose to go. I intended merely to pray that the Lord would have mercy upon the ignorant and those who are out of the way. But I dared not lay down the burden; for in the visions of the night the Lord asked me the question: "Will you do that which many would be only too pleased to see you doing? Will you keep silent? Will your voice no longer be heard presenting clearly and distinctly the needs of this long-neglected field? If so, you yourself will share the reproach that rests on the ministers and people who have not done for the Southern field the work the Lord has given them to do, who have passed by on the other side those who are their neighbors, treating them with indifference and cruel neglect."
I know not how to describe the way in which the Southern field has been presented to me. In this field thousands and thousands of people are living in ignorance of the third angel's message, and they are right within the shadow of our doors. This field bears testimony to the neglect of a people who should have been wide-awake to work for the Master among all classes, but who have done very little for the colored people of the South. A little work has been done there, it is true; we have touched the field with the tips of our fingers; but not one hundredth part of the work has been done that should be done. God calls upon his people to stand in a right position before him, to heed the light given fifteen years ago--that the colored people be labored for and helped.
My brethren and sisters, I entreat you to arouse, and show a living interest in the unworked portions of the Lord's vineyard. Catch the spirit of the great Master Worker. His heart was ever touched with human woe. Why are we so cold and indifferent? Why are our hearts so unimpressionable? Christ placed himself on the altar of service, a living sacrifice. Why are we so unwilling to give ourselves to the work to which he consecrated his life? Something must be done to cure the terrible indifference that has taken hold upon us. Let us bow our heads in humiliation as we see how much less we have done than we might have done to sow the seeds of truth.
To the members of our churches I am instructed to say once more, Take hold of this work now, at once, and resolutely put away all compliance with selfish desires. Come right to the merits of the case. The work among the colored people must be helped with an earnestness that is proportionate to its discouraging features. Many excuses present themselves for our not taking up this work, but these excuses are not prompted by the Holy Spirit.
The sentiment prevails in some minds that when colored people are given an education, they are spoiled for practical work. Of the education given in some schools this may be true to a certain extent; but it will not be so in the schools where the Bible is made the foundation of all education, and where the students are taught to work in the fear and love of God, as their Master worked. It will not be so where students follow the example of the One who gave his life for the life of the world.
There are among the negro race those who have superior natural intelligence, and who, if converted to Christ, could do a good work for their own people. Many should be given the opportunity of learning trades. And others are to be trained to labor as evangelists, Bible workers, teachers, nurses, hygienic cooks, and colporteurs. Many can be taught to be home missionaries.
We ask our people to enlarge their gifts, that the training of workers may be hastened, and that the various lines of work so greatly needed may be established without further delay. Every church member should awake to the responsibility resting upon him. The colored people are to be shown that God has not left them, but that he is working that they may receive an education that will enable them to read, believe, and do the words of Christ, catching his spirit, that in turn they may work for their own people.
Churches of believers are to be developed. Meetinghouses are to be built. Facilities for caring for the sick are to be provided. Small books specially prepared to meet the needs of the people, are to be given a wide circulation. In all the large cities of the South the light of present truth is to shine forth to the colored people. And in all parts of the field, the believers, by a wise use of the talent of speech and by practical Christian Help work, are to live out the truth before those who know it not.
The Lord has instructed me that those who are now carrying on work among the colored people can not remain in the field in a bare-handed condition, and do the work that is required. It will be necessary for them to receive help. The Lord has been calling upon his people in the stronger conferences of the North, the East, and the West to sustain the Huntsville school by liberal gifts. We pray that he will put it into their hearts to respond nobly. And the smaller mission schools must also be sustained. In past years this line of work has been approved and blessed of heaven, and it must now be developed and strengthened. Means must be raised for establishing the medical missionary work also, and for training and supporting ministers and house-to-house workers.
Will our brethren awake to a realization of their responsibility? Will they give liberally, that the work in the South may be so established that it may be self-supporting? This world was established and is supported by the charity of a benevolent Creator. We are sustained by God's compassionate love. God is the donor of all we have. He calls upon us to return to him a portion of the abundance he has bestowed upon us. Think of the care he gives the earth, sending the rain and the sunshine in their season, to cause vegetation to flourish. It is the great Husbandman who gives life to the seeds planted in the earth. He bestows his favors on the just and on the unjust. Shall not the recipients of his blessings show their gratitude to him by giving of their bounties to help suffering humanity?
Greater liberality must be shown toward the work among the colored people, than has yet been shown. The families among us who have every comfort and convenience of life are to work out plans by which, through self-denial and self-sacrifice, they may help to accomplish what God has said should be accomplished.
There is before us a long-neglected duty,--the practise of self-denial and economy. In every transaction of life, we are to follow the example and reveal the spirit of the greatest Teacher the world has ever seen. He is our example in all things. When we follow his example, we shall let our light shine forth in good works.
I call upon our people in America to come up to the help of the Lord. Let those who can not do more, bring their mites; and let those who have been entrusted with more, bring larger offerings. We ask fathers and mothers to make gifts for the advancement of the work in the South, and we ask them to tell their children of the blessing they will receive if they will give of their pennies and nickels and dimes.
I present this matter to you, my brethren and sisters, and I ask you to do your best on the day that the General Conference has set apart as the time when gifts are to be made for work among the colored people. By willing liberality let us prepare the way for the laborers in the South to do a work of mercy for this people. I urge you in the name of the Lord to do something, and do it now. I pray that God will open your hearts, and help you to do justice to the needs of the work for the colored people. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 82, #40)
The student of sacred history will observe that throughout the ages God has distributed the responsibilities of the varied interests of his work in the earth among men whose talents fitted them for service, and who by training might become skilful in the service required.
During Jethro's visit to the camp of Israel, the Lord permitted him to see how heavy were the burdens that rested upon Moses. To maintain order and discipline among that vast, ignorant, and untrained multitude was indeed a stupendous task. Moses was their recognized leader and magistrate; and not only the general interests and duties of the people, but the controversies that arose among them, were referred to him. He had permitted this, for it gave him an opportunity to instruct them; as he said, "I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws."
Jethro remonstrated against this, saying, "This thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone;" "thou wilt surely wear away;" and he counseled Moses to appoint proper persons as rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, and rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. They should be "able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness." All matters of minor consequence were to be judged by the men placed over the smaller groups; matters of greater importance were to be carried to the higher officers; and the most difficult cases were still to be brought before Moses, who was to be to the people, said Jethro, "to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: and thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do." This counsel was accepted, and it not only brought relief to Moses, but resulted in establishing order and system among the people.
Chosen Men for Special Duties.--Later, when the tabernacle was to be built in the wilderness, chosen men were specially endowed by God with skill and wisdom for the construction of the sacred building. And when it was completed, certain men were appointed to perform certain parts of the holy service. Moses, and Aaron and his sons, were to minister before the tabernacle of witness. "The Lord said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy father's house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood. . . . Ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar: that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel. . . . Thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest's office for everything of the altar, and within the veil; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest's office unto you as a service of gift."
So particular was the Lord that this sacred work should be performed only by those whom he had appointed, that he declared: "The stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death." Every worker was to know his place, and to perform faithfully the special duties committed to him; and he was to let alone that which another worker had been appointed to do.
To the Levites was committed the charge of the tabernacle and all that pertained thereto, both in the camp and on the journey. When the camp set forward, they were to strike the sacred tent; when a halting-place was reached, they were to set it up. No person of another tribe was allowed to come near, on pain of death. The Levites were separated into three divisions, the descendants of the three sons of Levi, and each was assigned its special position and work. In front of the tabernacle, and nearest to it, were the tents of Moses and Aaron. On the south were the Kohathites, whose duty it was to care for the ark and the other furniture; on the north the Merarites, who were placed in charge of the pillars, sockets, boards, etc.; in the rear the Gershonites, to whom the care of the curtains and hangings was committed.
This plan of carefully apportioning special duties to certain men who were best fitted for these duties, had been carefully studied by David, and followed in his administration of the government of Israel; and now that Solomon was placed upon the throne, David gave particular attention to the perfection of the organization of all branches of the ministration of the priests and Levites, of the civil officers, and of the army.
"When David was old and full of days, . . . he gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites. Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand. Of which, twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the Lord; and six thousand were officers and judges: moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the Lord with the instruments."
The four thousand musicians, divided into twenty-four courses, were each led by twelve men especially instructed and skilful in the use of musical instruments. The work of the porters was also definitely arranged.
The priests were divided into twenty-four courses, and a full and accurate record was made regarding this division. Each course was thoroughly organized under its chief, and each was to come to Jerusalem twice a year, to attend for one week to the ministry of the sanctuary.
The Levites, whose duty it was to assist in the sanctuary service, were organized and allotted their part with similar precision.
The care of the treasures was put into the hands of trusty men. "Of the Levites, Ahijah was over the treasures of the house of God, and over the treasures of the dedicated things. . . . All the treasures of the dedicated things, which David the king, and the chief fathers, the captains over thousands and hundreds, and the captains of the host, had dedicated; . . . and all that Samuel the seer, and Saul the son of Kish, and Abner the son of Ner, and Joab the son of Zeruiah, had dedicated; and whosoever had dedicated anything, it was under the hand of Shelomith, and of his brethren."
"And over the king's treasures was Azmaveth; . . . and over the storehouses in the fields, in the cities, and in the villages, and in the castles, was Jehonathan; . . . and over them that did the work of the field for tillage of the ground, . . . over the vineyards, . . . over the increase of the vineyards for the wine cellars, . . . over the olive trees and the sycamore trees that were in the low plains, . . . over the herds that fed in Sharon, . . . over the herds that were in the valleys, . . . over the camels also, . . . over the asses, . . . and over the flocks," were placed men whose experience and training peculiarly fitted them for their respective duties. Thus many men of varied abilities were appointed "rulers of the substance which was King David's."
Diligence in Business.--In his work today, the Lord would be pleased to have those who are engaged in any part of his service, guard against the tendency to take upon themselves responsibilities that they are not called upon to bear. Some of his servants are to direct the business matters connected with his work in the earth; others are to look after the spiritual matters. Every laborer is to strive to do well his part, leaving to others the duties entrusted to them.
For years the Lord has been instructing us to choose wise men,--men who are devoted to God,--men who know what the principles of heaven are,--men who have learned what it means to walk with God,--and to place upon them the responsibility of looking after the business affairs connected with our work. This is in accordance with the Bible plan as outlined in the sixth chapter of Acts. We need to study this plan; for it is approved of God. Let us follow the Word.
It is a great mistake to keep a minister who is gifted with power to preach the gospel, constantly at work in business matters. He who holds forth the Word of life is not to allow too many burdens to be placed upon him. He must take time to study the Word and to examine self. If he closely searches his own heart, and gives himself to the Lord, he will better understand how to grasp the hidden things of God.
Let ministers and teachers remember that God holds them accountable to fill their office to the best of their ability, to bring into their work their very best powers. They are not to take up duties that conflict with the work that God has given them. It is time for our ministers to understand the responsibility and sacredness of their mission. There is a woe upon them, if they fail of performing the work which they themselves acknowledge that God has placed in their hands.
The finances of the cause are to be properly managed by business men of ability; but preachers and evangelists are set apart for another line of work. Let the management of financial matters rest on others than those set apart for the work of preaching the gospel. Our ministers are not to be heavily burdened with the business details of the evangelical work carried on in our large cities. Those in charge of our conferences should find business men to look after the financial details of city work. If such men can not be found, let facilities be provided for training men to bear these burdens.
Men of experience in business lines, with a practical knowledge of bookkeeping, should be chosen to superintend the keeping of the accounts in our institutions at home and abroad. If such men had been appointed in years past to superintend the financial affairs of our conferences and institutions, thousands of dollars would have been saved, and the efficiency of the ministry would not have been so greatly weakened by the burden of financial cares and perplexities that has too often fallen where it does not belong.
Close investigation of the business transactions in various departments of the cause, are to be frequently made. This work must not be neglected. Never are we to sanction any transactions that imperil the purity of the Lord's church, and of his institutions, which are his appointed instrumentalities.
Those in charge of the work have erred sometimes in permitting the appointment of men devoid of business tact and ability to manage important financial interests. A man's fitness for one position does not always qualify him to fill another position. Experience is of great value. The Lord desires to have men of intelligence connected with his work,--men qualified for various positions of trust in our conferences and institutions. Especially are consecrated business men needed,--men who will carry the principles of truth into every business transaction. Those placed in charge of financial matters should not assume other burdens,--burdens that they are incapable of bearing; nor is the business management to be entrusted to incompetent men.
Men of promise in business lines should develop and perfect their talents by most thorough study and training. They should be encouraged to place themselves where, as students, they can rapidly gain a knowledge of right business principles and methods. All may improve; no one needs to remain a novice.
If men in any line of work ought to improve their opportunities to become wise and efficient, it is those who are using their ability in the work of building up the kingdom of God in our world. In view of the fact that we are living so near the close of this earth's history, there should be greater thoroughness in labor, more vigilant waiting, watching, praying, and working. All the religious service and every branch of business are to bear the signature of heaven.
"Holiness unto the Lord" is to be the motto of the laborers in every department. The human agent should strive to attain to perfection, that he may be an ideal Christian, complete in Christ Jesus. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #41)
Our God is a God of order. Everything connected with heaven is in perfect order; subjection and thorough discipline mark the movements of the angelic host.
The Jewish Economy.--During the days of Moses, the government of Israel was characterized by the most thorough organization, wonderful alike for its completeness and its simplicity. The order so strikingly displayed in the perfection and arrangement of all God's created works was manifest in the Hebrew economy. God was the center of authority and government, the sovereign of Israel. Moses stood as their visible leader, by God's appointment, to administer the laws in his name. From the elders of the tribes a council of seventy was afterward chosen to assist Moses in the general affairs of the nation. Next came the priests, who consulted the Lord in the sanctuary. Chiefs, or princes, ruled over the tribes. Under these were "captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens;" and, lastly, officers who might be employed for special duties.
Reorganization at the Beginning of Solomon's Reign.--In planning for the administration of the affairs of the kingdom, after David abdicated in favor of Solomon, the aged king and his son and their counselors regarded it as essential that everything be done with regularity, propriety, fidelity, and dispatch. So far as possible, they followed the system of organization given Israel soon after the deliverance from Egypt. The Levites were assigned the work connected with the temple service, including the ministry of song and instrumental music, and the keeping of the treasures.
The men capable of bearing arms and of serving the king were divided into twelve courses of twenty-four thousand each. Over every course was a captain. "The general of the king's army was Joab." "The courses . . . came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year." Thus every group of twenty-four thousand served the king one month during each year.
David appointed Jonathan, his uncle, as "a counselor, a wise man, and a scribe;" Ahithophel also was "the king's counselor. . . . And after Ahithophel was Johoiada . . . and Abiathar." Hushai was "the king's friend." By his prudent example, the aged king taught Solomon that "in the multitude of counselors there is safety."
The thoroughness and completeness of the organization perfected at the beginning of Solomon's reign; the comprehensiveness of the plans for bringing the largest number possible of all the people into active service; the wide distribution of responsibility, so that the service of God and of the king should not be unduly burdensome to any individual or class,--these are lessons which all may study with profit, and which the leaders of the Christian church should understand and follow.
This picture of a great and mighty nation living in simplicity and comfort in rural homes, every person rendering willing and unsalaried service to God and the king for a portion of each year, is one from which we may gather many helpful suggestions.
Order in the Christian Church.--There was order in the church when Christ was upon the earth, and after his departure, order was strictly observed among his apostles. And now in these last days, while God is bringing his children into the unity of the faith, there is more real need of order than ever before; for, as the Lord unites his people, Satan and his evil angels are very busy to undo this unity and to destroy it.
It is Satan's studied effort to lead professed Christians just as far from heaven's arrangement as he can; therefore he sometimes deceives even the professed people of God, and makes them believe that order and discipline are enemies to spirituality; that the only safety for them is to let each pursue his own course. But if we see no necessity for harmonious action, and are disorderly, undisciplined, and disorganized in our course of action, angels, who are thoroughly organized and move in perfect order, can not work for us successfully. They turn away in grief; for they are not authorized to bless confusion, distraction, and disorganization.
All who desire the cooperation of the heavenly messengers, must work in unison with them. Those who have the unction from on high, will in all their efforts encourage order, discipline, and unity of action, and then the angels of God can cooperate with them. But never, never will these heavenly messengers place their indorsement upon irregularity, disorganization, and disorder. All such evils are the result of Satan's studied effort to weaken our forces, to destroy courage, and to prevent successful action. God desires that his work shall be done with system and exactness, in order that he may place upon it the seal of his approval.
The Result of Organized Effort.--It is nearly half a century since order and organization were established among us as a people. I was one of the number who had an experience in laboring for their establishment. I know of the difficulties that had to be met, the evils that organization was designed to correct, and I have watched its influence in connection with the growth of the cause. At an early stage in the work, God gave us special light upon this point; and this light, together with the lessons that experience has taught us, should be carefully considered.
From the first our work was aggressive. Our numbers were few, and mostly from the poorer classes. Our views were almost unknown to the world. We had no houses of worship, but few publications, and very limited facilities for carrying forward our work. The sheep were scattered in the highways and byways, in cities, in towns, in forests. The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus was our message.
"Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh shall glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
Our numbers gradually increased. The seed that was sown was watered of God, and he gave the increase. At first we assembled for worship, and presented the truth to those who would come to hear, in private houses, in large kitchens, in barns, in groves, and in schoolhouses; but it was not long before we were able to build humble houses of worship. As our numbers increased, it was evident that without some form of organization, there would be great confusion, and the work could not be carried forward successfully. To provide for the support of the ministry, for carrying the work in new fields, for protecting both the churches and the ministry from unworthy members, for holding church property, for the publication of the truth through the press, and for many other objects, organization was indispensable.
Yet the feeling against organization was very strong among our people. The Adventists generally, who had withdrawn from the churches of the various denominations under the call of the second angel's message to come out of Babylon, opposed organization, and many Seventh-day Adventists were fearful that church organization would bring us under condemnation. We sought the Lord with earnest prayer that we might understand his will, and light was given to us by his Spirit, that there must be order and thorough discipline in the church,--that organization was essential. System and order are manifest in all the works of God throughout the universe. Order is the law of heaven, and it should be the law among God's people on the earth.
We had a hard struggle in establishing organization. Notwithstanding that the Lord gave Testimony after Testimony upon this point, the opposition was strong, and it had to be met again and again. But we knew that the Lord God of Israel was leading us, and guiding us by his providence. We engaged in the work of organization, and marked prosperity attended this advance movement.
As the development of the work called us to engage in new enterprises, we were prepared to enter upon them. The Lord directed our minds to the importance of educational work. We saw the need of schools, that our children might receive instruction free from the errors of false philosophy, that their training might be in harmony with the principles of the Word of God. The need of a health institution had been urged upon us, both for the help and instruction of our own people and as a means of blessing and enlightenment to others. This enterprise also was carried forward. All this was missionary work of the highest order. Our work was not sustained by large gifts and legacies; for we have few wealthy men among us.
Our work has steadily advanced. What is the secret of our prosperity?--We have moved under the orders of the Captain of our salvation. God has blessed our united efforts. The truth has spread and flourished. Institutions have multiplied. The mustard seed has grown to a great tree. The system of organization has proved a grand success. Systematic benevolence was entered into according to the Bible plan. The body has been "compacted by that which every joint supplieth." As we have advanced, our system of organization has still proved effectual.
In some parts of the work, it is true, the machinery has been made too complicated; especially has this been the case in former years in the tract and missionary work; the multiplication of rules and regulations made it needlessly burdensome. An effort has been made to simplify the work, so as to avoid all needless labor and perplexity.
The business of our conference session has sometimes been burdened with propositions and resolutions that were not at all essential, and that would never have been presented if the sons and daughters of God had been walking carefully and prayerfully before him. The fewer rules and regulations that we can have, the better will be the effect in the end. When they are made, let them be carefully considered, and, if wise, let it be seen that they mean something, and are not to become a dead letter. Do not, however, encumber any branch of the work with unnecessary, burdensome restrictions and inventions of men. In this period of the world's history, with the vast work that is before us, we need to observe the greatest simplicity, and the work will be stronger for its simplicity.
Let none entertain the thought, however, that we can dispense with organization. It has cost us much study, and many prayers for wisdom that we know God has answered, to erect this structure. It has been built up by his direction, through much sacrifice and conflict. Let none of our brethren be so deceived as to attempt to tear it down, for you will thus bring in a condition of things that you do not dream of. In the name of the Lord, I declare to you that it is to stand, strengthened, established, and settled. At God's command, "Go forward," we advanced when the difficulties to be surmounted made the advance seem impossible. We know how much it has cost to work out God's plans in the past, which has made us as a people what we are. Then let every one be exceedingly careful not to unsettle minds in regard to those things that God has ordained for our prosperity and success in advancing his cause.
The work is soon to close. The members of the church militant who have proved faithful will become the church triumphant. In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what God has wrought, I am filled with astonishment and with confidence in Christ as leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and his teaching in our past history. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #42)
Solomon, in his youth, made David's choice his own. Pure and noble in character, he was named Jedidiah, the beloved of the Lord. Above every earthly good he desired a wise and understanding heart. Upon him there rested great burdens of state, which he felt unable to bear alone. Not only was he to strive to be a just ruler, but he was also to carry out the long-cherished plan of his father, by building a temple at Jerusalem. As he began to comprehend the magnitude of this special work, and of the duties connected with his kingly office, he sought the great Source of wisdom for divine guidance.
An Offering At Gibeon.--Early in his reign, King Solomon went with his chief counselors to Gibeon to offer sacrifices to God, and to reconsecrate himself to the Lord's service. In the time of Moses the Israelites were commanded to bring their sacrifices to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. During David's reign the ark of the covenant had been brought to Jerusalem, and set "in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it;" and there he "offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord." The old tabernacle of the congregation was still at Gibeon. David left "Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the Lord in the high place that was at Gibeon, to offer burnt offerings unto the Lord upon the altar of the burnt offering continually morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the law of the Lord, which he commanded Israel."
With "the captains of thousands and of hundreds," "the judges," and "every governor in all Israel, the chief of the fathers," Solomon "went to the high place that was at Gibeon; for there was the tabernacle of the congregation of God, which Moses the servant of the Lord had made in the wilderness. But the ark of God had David brought up from Kirjath-jearim to the place which David had prepared for it: for he had pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem. Moreover the brazen altar, that Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur had made, he put before the tabernacle of the Lord: and Solomon and the congregation sought unto it. And Solomon went up thither to the brazen altar before the Lord, which was at the tabernacle of the congregation, and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it."
These sacrifices were offered by Solomon and his men in positions of trust, not as a formal ceremony, but as a token of their earnest desire for special help. They knew that they were insufficient, in their own strength, for the responsibilities entrusted to them. Solomon and his associates longed for quickness of mind, for largeness of heart, for tenderness of spirit.
A Noble Choice.--"In that night" "in Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream; . . . and God said, Ask what I shall give thee."
Solomon answered the Lord with these words: "Thou hast showed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.
"And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that can not be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
"And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
"And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honor, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet has asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king;" "behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honor," "such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like."
"And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days."
God promised that as he had been with David, he would be with Solomon. If the king would walk before the Lord in uprightness, and if he would do all that God commanded him, his throne would be established, and his reign would be the means of exalting Israel as the light of the surrounding nations,--as "a wise and understanding people."
"And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream."
"Then Solomon came from his journey to the high place that was at Gibeon," "to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants." And Solomon "reigned over Israel."
An Understanding Heart.--The Lord imparted to Solomon the wisdom that he desired above earthly riches, honor, or long life. His petition for a quick mind, a large heart, and a tender spirit, was granted. He became the wisest of earthly monarchs, because God gave him superior wisdom and an understanding heart.
"And all Israel . . . feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment." The hearts of the people were turned toward Solomon, as they had been to David, and they obeyed him in all things. Solomon "was strengthened in his kingdom, and the Lord his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly."
For many years Solomon's life was marked with devotion to God, with uprightness and firm principle, and with strict obedience to God's commands. He directed in every important enterprise, and managed wisely the business matters connected with the kingdom. His faithfulness in carrying out the directions of God regarding the construction of the temple, resulted in the erection of the most magnificent building the world has ever seen,--a building that could not be excelled for richness, beauty, and costly design; and this caused his fame to spread among the nations everywhere.
"God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the seashore. And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about.
"And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.
"And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom."
All nations acknowledged, and marveled at, Solomon's superior knowledge and wisdom, the excellence of his character, and the greatness of his power. Many came to him from distant parts of the world to see the manner of his government, and to receive instruction regarding the conduct of difficult affairs. The power of his understanding, the extent of his knowledge, the glory of his reign, commanded the wonder and admiration of the world. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #43)
At the beginning of his reign, when King Solomon was entrusted with many responsibilities connected with the Lord's work, his prayer was: "Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad."
Here is a lesson for those occupying positions of responsibility in God's cause today,--not only those in charge of large and varied interests, but those also who are entrusted with the lesser responsibilities. Officers of churches and Sabbath schools, leaders of small companies, laborers engaged in evangelistic work,--these are as verily in need of divine discernment as are officers of large conferences and institutions.
God is no respecter of persons. He who gave to Solomon the spirit of wise discernment, is willing today to impart wisdom to his children. The apostle James writes: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him, But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering." And Paul refers to teachers of truth who have faithfully studied the Scriptures, as "those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.."
Solomon realized that he lacked discernment. It was his great need that led him to seek God for wisdom. In his heart there was no selfish aspiration for a knowledge that would exalt him above his brethren. He desired to do faithfully the work that had been committed to him, and he chose the gift that would be the means of causing his reign to redound to God's glory.
Receiving to Impart.--The Lord provides men and women with all that they need. And his gifts are bestowed upon those only who can make a proper use of them. To some he can grant greater discernment than to others, because he sees that they will use this gift to his glory. When a laborer desires heavenly wisdom more than he desires wealth, power, or fame, God will not disappoint him. Such a worker will learn from the Great Teacher not only what to do, but how to do it in a way that will meet the divine approval.
The man upon whom the Lord has bestowed special wisdom, will be enabled, by God's blessing, to train those with whom he is associated in labor to be quick of understanding, trustworthy, and true to principle. His consecrated zeal, his wise counsel, his piety, will be an inspiration to his fellow workers. They will be led, not to praise and exalt the human agent, nor to become dependent on him, but to go themselves to the Source of all true wisdom for the help they need. God has been greatly dishonored by those who lean upon human beings. He who has said to all who believe on him as a personal Saviour, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," will guide and teach those who recognize him as their leader and instructor.
Guarding the Purity of the Church.--As the work of God advances in our time, there is an increasing need of men of keen discernment,--men who know God and trust in him for their understanding,--men who are working for his name's glory. In the days of Israel men were set apart as judges, to decide regarding what was right, and what was wrong. Surrounded by corrupting influences, they endeavored faithfully to warn the people against the things that were wrong, and to exalt righteous principles, and thus to keep the cause of God from contamination with evil. His cause is just as sacred now as it was in ancient times. Today men in positions of trust, in every place, should be faithful guardians of the purity of the church and everything connected with it. We need, O so greatly! keen discernment and clear spiritual eyesight. In this day of sin and abounding iniquity, our eyes need to be anointed with the heavenly eyesalve, that we may see all things clearly. The great and solemn truths for this time, as outlined in the book of Revelation, are to be proclaimed to the world. Into the very designs and principles of the church these truths are to enter.
The interests of God's cause are sometimes imperiled by the unadvised movements of those who, cherishing self-esteem and seeking for self-glorification, lose sight of the object for which our institutions are established. Failing to realize the importance of bringing men and women to a knowledge of the truth for this time, they allow to enter these institutions wrong influences, which tend to disparage present truth, and to retard greatly the spiritual growth of the workers. Institutions that were established for the specific purpose of extending the knowledge of the last message of mercy to be given in our world, should be kept free from every worldly, commercial influence. With sanctified judgment our brethren in responsibility must discern between good and evil, and be faithful to their God-given trust.
So long as he remains consecrated, a man whom God has endowed with wise discernment and unusual ability, will not manifest an eagerness to obtain high positions, to guide, to control, to rule. None upon whom have been placed sacred responsibilities, are to grasp at power as did Satan in the heavenly courts. Of necessity men must bear responsibilities; but instead of striving to gain the supremacy, every true laborer will pray for an understanding heart, that he may glorify God by discerning between good and evil.
The man at the head of any work in God's cause is to be a man of intelligence, a man capable of managing large interests successfully, a man of even temper, Christlike forbearance, and perfect self-control. He only whose heart is transformed by the grace of Christ, can be a proper leader.
The path of men in positions of trust is not a path free from all obstruction. In the place of becoming faint-hearted and discouraged, those to whom God has entrusted responsibilities are to see in every difficulty a call to prayer. They are to consult, not unconsecrated men who are boastful and who show a masterly independence, but the great Source of all wisdom. They are to be faithful workers, always laboring in co-partnership with the Master Worker. Strengthened and enlightened by him, they will stand firm against every unholy influence, and will discern the right from the wrong, the good from the evil. They will approve that which God approves. With earnestness they will strive to guard against the introduction or the maintenance of wrong principles in households, churches, institutions, and conferences. By maintaining a vital connection with heaven, they will ever be wise to discern between good and evil. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #44)
The long-cherished plan of David to erect a temple to the Lord was wisely carried out by Solomon, who "determined to build an house for the name of the Lord."
Solomon's Letter to Hiram.--"Solomon sent to Hiram the king of Tyre," saying, "Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the Lord his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent. And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name."
"Behold, I build an house to the name of the Lord my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual showbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the Lord our God. This is an ordinance forever to Israel. And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods. But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens can not contain him? who am I then, that I should build him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him?
"Send me now therefore a man cunning to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple, and crimson, and blue, and that can skill to grave with the cunning men that are with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David my father did provide.
"Send me also cedar trees, fir trees, and algum trees, out of Lebanon: for I know that thy servants can skill to cut timber in Lebanon; and, behold, my servants shall be with thy servants, even to prepare me timber in abundance: for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great." "Thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians." "And, behold, I will give to thy servants, the hewers that cut timber, twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil."
Hiram's Reply.--"It came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said. Blessed be the Lord this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people. And Hiram" "answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon," saying:--
"Because the Lord hath loved his people, he hath made thee king over them. . . . Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that might build an house for the Lord."
"I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for:" "and now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Hiram my father's the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre, skilful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my lord David thy father.
"Now therefore the wheat, and the barley, the oil, and the wine, which my lord hath spoken of, let him send unto his servants: and we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need: and we will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem."
The Gathering of Material.--"So Hiram gave Solomon cedar trees and fir trees according to all his desire.
"And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat for food to his household, and twenty measures of pure oil: thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year.
"And the Lord gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him: and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league together.
"And King Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men. And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy. And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains; beside the chief of Solomon's officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work.
"And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house. And Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders did hew them, and the stone squarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house."
The Building Erected.--"It came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel," "in the second day of the second month," that "Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in Mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David' had prepared in the thrashing floor of Ornan the Jebusite."
Of the inner temple,--the building containing the holy place and the most holy place,--we read: "The length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits."
"The house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor ax nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building."
"He built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the ceiling: and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir." "The cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen."
The Most Holy Place.--"The oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the Lord. And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar.
"So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold. And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house: also the whole altar that was by the oracle he overlaid with gold.
"And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits high. And five cubits was the one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the other wing of the cherub: from the uttermost part of the one wing unto the uttermost part of the other were ten cubits. And the other cherub was ten cubits: both the cherubims were of one measure and one size. The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was it of the other cherub. And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings touched one another in the midst of the house. And he overlaid the cherubims with gold. And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without. And the floor of the house he overlaid with gold, within and without." "He garnished the house with precious stones for beauty."
"For the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive tree: the lintel and side-posts were a fifth part of the wall. The two doors also were olive tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims, and upon the palm trees. So also made he for the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of the wall. And the two doors were of fir tree: the two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding. And he carved thereon cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work."
"He made the veil of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon."
The Furniture of the Holy Place.--"Solomon made all the vessels that were for the house of God, the golden altar also, and the tables whereon the showbread was set; moreover the candlesticks with their lamps, that they should burn after the manner before the oracle, of pure gold; and the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs, made he of gold, and that perfect gold; and the snuffers, and the basons, and the spoons, and the censers, of pure gold: and the entry of the house, the inner doors thereof for the most holy place, and the doors of the house of the temple, were of gold."
The Courts.--"He made before the house two pillars of thirty and five cubits high, and the chapiter that was on the top of each of them was five cubits. And he made chains, as in the oracle, and put them on the heads of the pillars; and made an hundred pomegranates, and put them on the chains. And he reared up the pillars before the temple, one on the right hand, and the other on the left; and called the name of that on the right Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz."
"The porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits was the breadth thereof before the house."
"He built the inner court with three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams."
"Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court, and doors for the court, and overlaid the doors of them with brass."
The Furniture of the Courts.--"Moreover he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and twenty cubits the breadth thereof, and ten cubits the height thereof." This stood in the court of the priests.
"The pots also, and the shovels, and the fleshhooks, and all their instruments," he made "of bright brass."
"Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about." "It stood upon twelve oxen" cast of brass; "three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east." "And the thickness of it was an handbreadth, and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; and it received and held three thousand baths. . . . And he set the sea on the right side of the east end" of the court of the priests, "over against the south."
"He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them: such things as they offered for the burnt offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in."
These vessels were cast "in the plain of Jordan, . . . in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredathah. Thus Solomon made all these vessels in great abundance: for the weight of the brass could not be found out."
Completion of the Work.--"So was ended all the work that King Solomon made for the house of the Lord. And Solomon brought in the things which David his father had dedicated; even the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, did he put among the treasures of the house of the Lord." "Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord, . . . and all that came into Solomon's heart to make in the house of the Lord, . . . he prosperously effected."
"In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, in the month Zif: and in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #45)
Beyond the inner veil of the wilderness-tabernacle built in the time of Moses, was the holy of holies, where centered the symbolic service of atonement and intercession. In this apartment was the ark, a chest of acacia wood, overlaid within and without with gold, and having a crown of gold about the top. It was made as a depository for the tables of stone, upon which God himself had inscribed the ten commandments. Hence it was called the ark of God's testament, or the ark of the covenant, since the ten commandments were the basis of the covenant made between God and Israel.
The cover of the sacred chest was called the mercy seat. This was wrought of one solid piece of gold, and was surmounted by golden cherubim, one standing on each end. One wing of each angel was stretched forth on high, while the other was folded over the body in token of reverence and humility. The position of the cherubim, with their faces turned toward each other, and looking reverently downward toward the ark, represented the reverence with which the heavenly host regard the law of God, and their interest in the plan of redemption. Above the mercy seat was the Shekinah, the manifestation of the divine presence; and from between the cherubim, God made known his will.
Throughout the times of Moses and Joshua, and of the judges and kings of Israel, the ark of the covenant was regarded as a symbol of God's presence among his people. It was the ark that led the way for the hosts of Israel when they crossed the Jordan and entered the promised land. Surrounded by a halo of glory, the ark was borne around the walls of Jericho by priests clad in the dress denoting their sacred office. During the conquest of Canaan, Gilgal was the headquarters of the Jewish nation and the seat of the tabernacle. Afterward, Shiloh, a little town easy of access to all the tribes, was chosen as a place most suitable for the tabernacle of the congregation.
The ark remained at Shiloh for three hundred years, until, because of the sins of Eli's house, it fell into the hands of the Philistines, and Shiloh was ruined. Through the providence of God, the ark was returned, uninjured, to the Israelites, and was placed in the house of a Levite at Kirjath-jearim, nine miles distant from Jerusalem. There it remained for many years, until David, at the head of a triumphal procession, with sacrifices, and dancing, and music, brought the ark to Jerusalem, and deposited it in the tent that had been prepared for its reception.
The Transfer of the Ark to the Temple.--After Solomon had finished building the temple, he assembled the elders of Israel, and the most influential men among the people, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David. These men consecrated themselves to God, and, with great solemnity and reverence, accompanied the priests who bore the ark. "And they brought up the ark of the Lord, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up. And King Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude."
Solomon followed the example of his father David. Every six paces he sacrificed. With singing, and with music, and great ceremony, "the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims. For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above."
A most splendid sanctuary had been made, according to the pattern showed to Moses in the mount, and afterward presented by the Lord to David. In addition to the cherubim on the top of the ark, Solomon made two other angels of larger size, standing at each end of the ark, representing the heavenly angels guarding the law of God. It is impossible to describe the beauty and splendor of this sanctuary. Into this place the sacred ark was borne with solemn reverence by the priests, and set in its place beneath the wings of the two stately cherubim that stood upon the floor.
The sacred choir lifted their voices in praise to God, and the melody of their voices was accompanied by all kinds of musical instruments. And while the courts of the temple resounded with praise, the cloud of God's glory took possession of the house, as it had formerly filled the wilderness-tabernacle. "And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord."
A "Shadow of Heavenly Things."--Like the earthly sanctuary built by Moses according to the pattern shown him in the mount, Solomon's temple, with all its services, was "a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices;" its two holy places were "patterns of things in the heavens;" Christ, our great High Priest, is "a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man." As in vision the apostle John was granted a view of the temple of God in heaven, he beheld there "seven lamps of fire burning before the throne." He saw an angel "having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne." Here the prophet was permitted to behold the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven; and he saw there the "seven lamps of fire" and the "golden altar," represented by the golden candlestick and the altar of incense in the sanctuary on earth. Again, "the temple of God was opened," and he looked within the inner veil, upon the holy of holies. Here he beheld, "the ark of His testament," represented by the sacred chest constructed by Moses to contain the law of God.
In the ministration of the earthly tabernacle, which served "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things," the holy of holies was opened only upon the great day of atonement, the typical day of judgment, set apart for the cleansing of the sanctuary. Therefore the announcement, "The temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament," points to the opening of the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, at the end of the twenty-three hundred days,--in 1844,--as Christ entered there to perform the closing work of the atonement. Those who by faith followed their great High Priest, as he entered upon his ministry in the most holy place, beheld the ark of the testament.
The sanctuary in heaven is the very center of Christ's work in behalf of men. It concerns every soul living upon the earth. It opens to view the plan of redemption, bringing us down to the very close of time, and revealing the triumphant issue of the contest between righteousness and sin. It is of the utmost importance that all should thoroughly investigate these subjects, and be able to give to every one that asketh them a reason for the hope that is in them.
We are now living in the great day of atonement. In the typical service, while the high priest was making the atonement for Israel, all were required to afflict their souls by repentance of sin, by humiliation before the Lord, lest they be cut off from among the people. In like manner, all who would have their names retained in the book of life, should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin, and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart. The light, frivolous spirit indulged in by so many professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. The work of preparation is an individual work. We are not saved in groups. The purity and devotion of one will not offset the want of these qualities in another. Though all nations are to pass in judgment before God, yet he will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being upon the earth. Every one must be tested, and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement. Momentous are the interests involved therein. The judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. For more than sixty years this work has been in progress. Soon--none know how soon--it will pass to the cases of the living. In the awful presence of God our lives are to come up in review. At this time above all others it behooves every soul to heed the Savior's admonition, "Watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is." "If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."
When the work of the investigative judgment closes, the destiny of all will have been decided for life or death. Probation is ended a short time before the appearing of the Lord in the clouds of heaven. At that time, Christ will declare: "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."
The righteous and the wicked will still be living upon the earth in their mortal state--men will be planting and building, eating and drinking, all unconscious that the final, irrevocable decision has been pronounced in the sanctuary above. Before the flood, after Noah entered the ark, God shut him in, and shut the ungodly out; but for seven days the people, knowing not that their doom was fixed, continued their careless, pleasure-loving life, and mocked the warnings of impending judgment. "So," says the Saviour, "shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Silently, unnoticed as the midnight thief, will come the decisive hour which marks the fixing of every man's destiny, the final withdrawal of mercy's offer to guilty men.
"Watch ye therefore, . . . lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping." Perilous is the condition of those who, growing weary of their watch, turn to the attractions of the world. While the man of business is absorbed in the pursuit of gain, while the pleasure-lover is seeking indulgence, while the daughter of fashion is arranging her adornments,--it may be in that hour the Judge of all the earth will pronounce the sentence, "Thou art weighed in the balance, and art found wanting." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #46)
Several years had been spent in the building of the temple, and at last it was complete. And now, in order that this beautiful palace might indeed be, as David had declared, a dwellingplace "not for man, but for the Lord God," there remained the solemn ceremony of formally dedicating it to Jehovah and his worship.
The time chosen for the dedication was a most favorable one--the seventh month, when the people from every part of the kingdom were accustomed to assemble at Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of the tabernacles. This feast was pre-eminently an occasion of rejoicing. The labors of the harvest being ended, and the toils of the new year not yet begun, the people were free from care, and could give themselves up to the sacred, joyous influences of the hour.
At the time appointed, "a great congregation" from every part of the realm gathered at Jerusalem, and participated in the removal of the wilderness-tabernacle and all its holy furniture, including the ark of the testament, to the temple.
The hour for the dedicatory service revealed a scene of great splendor. Before the temple were assembled the hosts of Israel, and the richly clad representatives of many foreign nations. Solomon stood facing the great altar of burnt offering. The priests who had carried in the sacred furniture, came out of the holy place, and took the places assigned them in the court of the temple. The singers,--Levites "arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps,"--"stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets."
"It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth forever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God."
Solomon, realizing the significance of this cloud, declared: "The Lord hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. But I have built an house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling forever."
An Inspired Blessing.--"In the midst of the court" of the temple had been erected "a brazen scaffold," or platform, "five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high;" and after ascending this, Solomon stood and lifted up his hands, and blessed the vast multitude before him. "And all the congregation of Israel stood."
"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel," Solomon exclaimed, "who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying, Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel: but I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.
"Now it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel. But the Lord said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart:" "nevertheless thou shalt not build the house; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house unto my name. And the Lord hath performed his word that he spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and have built an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel. And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt."
The Dedicatory Prayer.--Having pronounced this blessing upon the people, Solomon knelt upon the brazen scaffold, and in the presence and hearing of all the people before him, offered the dedicatory prayer. Lifting his hands toward heaven, the king offered an earnest and solemn petition to God, while the congregation were bowed with their faces to the ground. The king pleaded:--
"O Lord God of Israel, there is no god like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and showest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts: thou which hast kept with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him; and spakest with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.
"Now, therefore, O Lord God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in my law, as thou hast walked before me. Now then, O Lord God of Israel, let thy word be verified, which thou hast spoken unto thy servant David.
"But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens can not contain thee; how much less this house which I have built! Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to harken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee: that thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to harken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place. Harken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwellingplace, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive.
"If a man sin against his neighbor, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house; then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.
"And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house; then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers.
"When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them; then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance.
"If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillars; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be: then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house: then hear thou from heaven thy dwellingplace, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men); that they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.
"Moreover concerning the stranger, which is not of thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name's sake, and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched out arm; if they come and pray in this house; then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwellingplace, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name.
"If thy people go out to war against their enemies by the way that thou shalt send them, and they pray unto thee toward this city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name; then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
"If they sin against thee (for there is no man which sinneth not), and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near; yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly; if they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name: then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwellingplace, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.
"Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. Now therefore arise, O Lord God, into thy restingplace, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.
"O Lord God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant."
A Divine Token of Acceptance.--As Solomon ended his prayer, a miraculous fire "came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices." The priests could not enter the temple, because "the glory of the Lord filled the house." "When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshiped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth forever."
The Closing Ceremonies.--"Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord. And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of music of the Lord, which David the king had made to praise the Lord, because his mercy endureth forever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood. Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brazen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat."
The Feast of the Tabernacles.--"Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt. And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the Lord had showed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #47)
(Reading for Sabbath, December 9.)-- The Lord is soon to come. Wickedness and rebellion, violence and crime, are filling the world. The cries of the suffering and the oppressed rise to God for justice. In the place of being softened by the patience and forbearance of God, the wicked are growing stronger in stubborn rebellion. The time in which we live is one of marked depravity. Religious restraint is thrown off, and men reject the law of God as unworthy of their attention. A more than common contempt is placed upon this holy law. David in his time saw the wickedness of the last days. He saw the law of God's kingdom trampled under foot, and in righteous indignation he exclaimed, "It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law."
Men are now passing the boundary line, and the Lord is permitting the enemy to do his will. We hear of floods, of earthquakes, of storms by land and on the sea, blotting out hundreds of lives in a moment of time; but the end is not yet. The tread of the Lord will be heard upon the land and upon the water. For his own honor's sake, God is now about to repress iniquity. He will soon, very soon, vindicate the claims of his law.
The final overthrow of all earthly dominions is plainly foretold in the Word of truth. In the prophecy uttered when sentence from God was pronounced upon the last king of Israel, is given the message:--
"Thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: . . . exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him."
The crown removed from Israel passed successively to the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. God says, "It shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him."
That time is at hand. Today the signs of the times declare that we are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Everything in our world is in agitation. Before our eyes is fulfilling the Saviour's prophecy of the events to precede his coming: "Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. . . . Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places."
The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living. Rulers and statesmen, men who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. They are watching the strained, restless relations that exist among the nations. They observe the intensity that is taking possession of every earthly element, and they realize that something great and decisive is about to take place--that the world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis.
Angels are now restraining the winds of strife, until the world shall be warned of its coming doom; but a storm is gathering, ready to burst upon the earth, and when God shall bid his angels loose the winds, there will be such a scene of strife as no pen can picture.
"Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof; . . . because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate. . . . The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth."
"I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down."
"Alas, for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it."
"Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast."
To us who are standing on the very verge of the fulfilment of these great scenes, of what deep moment, of what living interest, are these delineations of the things to come--events for which, since our first parents turned their steps from Eden, God's children have watched and waited, longed and prayed!
At this time, before the great final crisis, as before the world's first destruction, men are absorbed in the pleasures and the pursuits of sense. Engrossed with the seen and the transitory, they have lost sight of the unseen and the eternal. For the things that perish with the using, they are sacrificing imperishable riches. Their minds need to be uplifted, their views of life broadened. They need to be aroused from the lethargy of worldly dreaming.
A moment of respite has been graciously given us of God. Every power lent us of heaven is to be used in doing the work assigned us by the Lord for those who are perishing in ignorance. The warning message is to be sounded in all parts of the world. There must be no delay. The truth must be proclaimed in the dark places of the earth. Obstacles must be met and surmounted. A great work is to be done, and this work has been entrusted to those who know the truth for this time.
Now is the time for us to lay hold of the arm of our strength. The prayer of David should be the prayer of pastors and laymen: "It is time for thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void thy law." Let the servants of God weep between the porch and the altar, crying, "Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach." God has always wrought in behalf of his truth. The designs of wicked men, the enemies of the church, are subject to his power and his overruling providence. He can move upon the hearts of statesmen; the wrath of the haters of his truth and his people can be turned aside, even as the waters of a river could be turned, if thus he ordered it. Prayer moves the arm of Omnipotence. He who marshals the stars in order in the heavens, whose word controls the waves of the great deep--the same infinite Creator will work in behalf of his people, if they will call upon him in faith. He will restrain all the forces of darkness, until the warning is given to the world, and all who will heed it are prepared for his coming.
God's people should make mighty intercession to him for help now. And they must put their whole energies into the effort to proclaim the truth during the respite that has been granted. As they consecrate themselves unreservedly to God's service, a convincing power will attend their efforts to present the truth to others, and light will shine into many hearts. My brethren and sisters, sleep no longer on Satan's enchanted ground, but arouse, and call into requisition every resource for the proclamation of the message of mercy. The last warning is to be given "before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings."
My heart is often burdened because so many who might work are doing nothing. They are the sport of Satan's temptations. Every church member who has a knowledge of the truth is expected to work while the day lasts; for the night cometh, wherein no man can work. Erelong we shall understand what that night means. The Spirit of God is being grieved away from this earth. The nations are angry with one another. Widespread preparations are being made for war. The night is at hand. Let the church arouse and go forth to do her appointed work. Every believer, educated or uneducated, can bear the message.
Eternity stretches before us. The curtain is about to be lifted. What are we doing, what are we thinking of, that we cling to our selfish love of ease, while all around us souls are perishing? Have our hearts become utterly callous? Can we not see and understand that we have a work to do in behalf of others? My brethren and sisters, are you among those who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not? Is it in vain that God has given you a knowledge of his will? Is it in vain that he has sent you warning after warning of the nearness of the end? Do you believe the declarations of his Word concerning what is coming upon the world? Do you believe that God's judgments are hanging over the inhabitants of the earth? How, then, can you sit at ease, careless and indifferent?
Every day that passes brings us nearer the end. We are one year nearer the judgment, nearer eternity, than we were at the beginning of 1905. Are we also nearer to God? Are we watching unto prayer? Another year of the time granted us for labor has rolled into eternity. Every day we have been associating with men and women who are judgment bound. Each day may have been the dividing line for some soul. Each day some one may have made the decision which will determine his future destiny. What has been our influence over these fellow travelers? What effort have we put forth to bring them to Christ?
Those with whom we associate day by day need our help, our guidance. They may be in such a condition of mind that a word in season will be sent home by the Holy Spirit as a nail in a sure place. Tomorrow some of these souls may be where we can never reach them again. May God help us to work while the day lasts.
Unmistakable evidences point to the nearness of the end. The way must be prepared for the coming of the Prince of Peace. Let not our church members complain because they are so often called upon to give. What is it that makes the frequent calls a necessity? Is it not the rapid increase of missionary enterprises? Shall we by refusing to give, retard the growth of these enterprises? Shall we forget that we are laborers together with God? From every church, prayers should ascend to God for an increase of devotion and liberality. My brethren and sisters, do not plead for retrenchment in evangelical work. So long as there are souls to save, our interest in the work of soul saving is to know no abating. Not all can go as missionaries to foreign lands, but all can do the work waiting for them in their own neighborhood; and all can give of their means for the carrying forward of foreign missions.
There are new fields to be entered, and we must have your help. Shall we ignore the commission given us, and thus forfeit the fulfilment of the promise accompanying the commission? Shall the people of God become careless and indifferent, and refuse to give of their means for the advancement of his work? Can they do this without severing their connection with him? They may think thus to economize; but it is a fearful economy that places them where they are separated from God.
Let the Lord's people pay a faithful tithe, and let them, also, from parents to children, lay aside for the Lord the money that is so often spent for self-gratification. The Lord has made us his stewards. He has placed his means in our hands for faithful distribution. He asks us to render to him his own. He has reserved the tithe as his portion, to be used in sending the gospel to all parts of the world. My brethren and sisters, confess and forsake your selfishness, and bring to the Lord your gifts and offerings. Bring him also the tithe that you have withheld. Come confessing your neglect. Prove the Lord as he has invited you to do. "I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land."
My brethren and sisters, it is too late to devote your time and strength to self-serving. Let not the last day find you destitute of the heavenly treasure. Seek to push the triumphs of the cross, seek to enlighten souls, labor for the salvation of your fellow beings, and your work will abide the trying test of fire.
"If any man's work abide . . . he shall receive a reward." Glorious will be the reward bestowed when the faithful workers gather about the throne of God and of the Lamb. When John in his mortal state beheld the glory of God, he fell as one dead. He was not able to endure the sight. But when the children of God have put on immortality, they will "see him as he is." They will stand before the throne, accepted in the Beloved. All their sins have been blotted out, all their transgressions borne away. Now they can look upon the undimmed glory of the throne of God. They have been partakers with Christ in his sufferings, they have been workers together with him in the plan of redemption, and they are partakers with him in the joy of seeing souls saved in the kingdom of heaven, there to praise God through all eternity. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #47)
(Reading for Thursday, December 14.)-- God chose a people for himself, and gave them the name of Christian. This is a royal name, given to those who join themselves to Christ. It is of this name that James is speaking when he says, "Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?" And Peter says, "If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf."
God expects those who bear the name of Christ to represent him in thought, word, and deed. Their thoughts are to be pure, and their words and deeds noble and uplifting, drawing those around them nearer to the Saviour.
In the life of the true Christian there is nothing of self. Self is dead. There was no selfishness in the life that Christ lived while on this earth. Bearing our nature, he lived a life wholly devoted to the service of others.
"Be ye therefore perfect," is God's word to us. And in order that we might obey this word, he sent his only begotten Son to this earth to live in our behalf a perfect life. We have before us his example; and the strength by which he lived this life is at our disposal. In thought, word, and act Jesus was sinless. Perfection marked all that he did. He points us to the path that he trod, saying, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in this world as watchmen and lightbearers. To them has been entrusted the last message of mercy for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the Word of God. What manner of persons, then, ought they to be?
Our lives should show steady spiritual growth. But I have seen that which makes me tremble--men and women dwarfed in character, possessing the Word of God, which tells them what they must do in order to be saved, yet unsanctified and unholy. They do not enjoy the strength provided for every Christian, because they refuse to be Christlike.
It is the purpose of God to glorify himself in his people before the world. He longs to make them channels through which he can pour his boundless love and mercy. But are we what God would have us?--No, we are not. The members of our churches in every place need to examine themselves closely, and surrender their lives unreservedly to God. They need to grasp the offered gifts of heaven, and live out their love and gratitude. Did they do this, they would regard time as too precious to be spent in faultfinding and criticism. 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.
Let us come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty powers of darkness. Satan is working with intensity of purpose to enslave and destroy souls. Let us take a firm stand against him. He who is fully consecrated to the service of God will be made strong for the battle. He will be strengthened with "all might." He who feels his weakness, and wrestles with God as did Jacob, saying. "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me," will go forth with the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit. The atmosphere of heaven will surround him. He will go about doing good. His influence will be a positive force in favor of the religion of Christ.
God calls for lightbearers, who will fill the world with the light and peace and joy that come from Christ. He calls for humble men, men who cherish a sense of their weakness, and who remember what the service of God demands of them--the propriety of speech and action which shows the power of the grace of Christ. Such ones will reveal in their lives the virtues of Christ's character.
There needs to be a deeper work of grace in the hearts of God's people. Less of self, and more of Christ, must be seen. Tests, close and sharp, are coming to all. The religion of the Bible must be interwoven with all that we do and say. Every business transaction must be fragrant with the presence of God.
The condition of things in this world bears unmistakable evidence that the end of all things is at hand. Men's hearts are filled with pride and selfishness. Theft and murder are common. And the world is not being warned as it should be. Thousands are perishing in sin, and the last message of mercy is yet to be proclaimed in the power of the Spirit. How little is being done in comparison with what must be done! Souls are perishing out of Christ. In the future men will be moved by the Spirit to leave their ordinary employment, and enter the fields in which the warning message has never been proclaimed. Many will be endued with power from on high. These workers will labor wisely, not expending means lavishly, but studying how souls can be brought to a knowledge of the truth. This work men and women can take hold of for the love of Christ.
Time is precious. The destiny of souls is in the balance. God is holding back his judgments, waiting for the message to be sounded to all. There are many who have not yet heard the testing message of truth for this time. The last call of mercy is to be proclaimed throughout the earth. 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 agent of divine power.
At infinite cost a way of salvation has been provided. Shall Christ's great sacrifice be in vain? Shall the earth be entirely controlled by satanic agencies? The salvation of souls is dependent upon the consecration and activity of the members of the church of God. The Lord calls upon those who believe in him to be workers together with him. While their life shall last, they are not to feel that their work is done. Until the time shall come when Christ shall say "It is finished," the work for the saving of souls will not decrease, but will grow in importance. A thousand times more work for God might be accomplished if all his children would fully consecrate themselves to him. If they would improve every opportunity for doing good, doors for service would open before them. They would be called to bear greater responsibilities.
The same devotion, the same self-sacrifice, the same subjection to the claims of the Word of God, that were manifest in the life of Christ, must be seen in the lives of his servants. He left his home of security and peace, left the glory that he had with the Father, left his position on the throne of the universe. He went forth, a suffering, tempted man, went forth in solitude, to sow in tears, to water with his blood, the seed of life for a lost world.
In like manner his servants are to go forth to sow. The warning message is to be carried to all parts of the world. Our books are to be published in many different languages. With these books, humble, faithful men are to go forth as colporteur-evangelists, bearing the truth to many who would otherwise never be enlightened. Those who take up this line of work are to go prepared to do medical missionary work. The sick and suffering are to be helped. Many for whom this work of mercy is done will hear and accept the words of life.
It is not learned, eloquent workers that are needed now, but humble, Christlike men and women, who have learned from Jesus of Nazareth to be meek and lowly, and who, trusting in his strength, will go forth into the highways and hedges to give the invitation, "Come; for all things are now ready."
Not all can go as missionaries to foreign fields, but all can live the Christlife where they are. All can give of their means for the support of workers in foreign fields. And all can engage in home missionary work. Let not parents forget the great mission field that lies before them in the home. In the children committed to her, every mother has a sacred charge from God. "Take this son, this daughter," God says, "and train it for me. Give it a character polished after the similitude of a palace, that it may shine in the courts of the Lord forever."
The light and glory that shines from the throne of God rests upon the faithful mother as she tries to educate her children to resist the influence of evil.
Church members, let the light shine forth. Let your voices be heard in humble prayer, in witness against the intemperance, the folly, and the amusements of the world, and in proclamation of the truth for this time. Your voice, your influence, your time--all these are gifts from God, to be used in winning souls to Christ.
My brethren and sisters, you have a voice, you have reason, you have capabilities, and the Lord calls upon you to make known his truth. Visit your neighbors, and show an interest in the salvation of their souls. Arouse every spiritual energy to action. Tell those whom you visit that the end of all things is at hand. The Lord Jesus Christ will open the door of their hearts, and will make lasting impressions upon their minds.
Strive to arouse men and women from their spiritual insensibility. Tell them how you found Jesus, and how blessed you have been since you gained an experience in his service. Tell them what blessing comes to you as you sit at the feet of Jesus, and learn precious lessons from his Word. Tell them of the gladness and joy that there is in the Christian life. Your warm, fervent words will convince them that you have found the pearl of great price. Let your cheerful, encouraging words show them that you have certainly found the higher way. This is genuine missionary work, and as it is done, many will awake as from a dream.
The gospel commission is never to lose its force on the minds of the people of God. Into the darkness of sin the light of truth is to shine, that the darkness may be expelled. Those who reflect light will receive more light to reflect. New power will be brought into the church.
Let companies of Christian workers unite to help the needy and to proclaim the truth for this time. As they labor with self-sacrifice, for the sake of others denying themselves of that which they have heretofore enjoyed, but have not really needed, they are God's helping hand.
The Lord calls upon his people to arouse out of sleep. The end of all things is at hand. When those who know the truth will be laborers together with God, the fruits of righteousness will appear. By the revelation of the love of God in missionary effort, many will be awakened to see the sinfulness of their own course of action. They will see that in the past their selfishness has disqualified them to be laborers together with God. The exhibition of the love of God as seen in unselfish ministry to others will be the means of leading many souls to believe the Word of God just as it reads.
God desires to refresh his people by the gift of the Holy Spirit, baptizing them anew in his love. There is no need for a dearth of the Spirit in the church. After Christ's ascension, the Holy Spirit came upon the waiting, praying, believing disciples with a fulness and power that reached every heart. In the future, the earth is to be lightened with the glory of God. A holy influence is to go forth to the world from those who are sanctified through the truth. The earth is to be encircled with an atmosphere of grace. The Holy Spirit is to work on human hearts, taking the things of God, and showing them to men.
The message of salvation is not to be proclaimed in a few places only, but throughout the world. Those who know not the gospel are in the darkness of unbelief. They know not God. Why is the church so indolent, so selfish, so weak? Why do the members not make earnest efforts to proclaim the message of mercy, that others may know the joy of salvation through Christ?
Ye churches of the living God, study the promises of the Saviour, and think of how your lack of faith, of spirituality, of divine power, is hindering the coming of Christ. If you would go forth to do the Lord's work, angels of heaven would go before you, preparing hearts to receive the gospel. Were every one of us a genuine missionary, the message for this time would be proclaimed speedily in all lands, to every nation and people and tongue. Are you individually workers together with God? If not, why not?
The kingdoms of this world are soon to become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. "The seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever." There is to be a rapid and triumphant spread of the gospel.
"The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple. . . . Who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." Soon every man will be judged according to his deeds.
My brother, my sister, I urge you to prepare for the coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven. Day by day cast the love of the world out of your hearts. Understand by experience what it means to have fellowship with Christ. Prepare for the judgment, that when Christ shall come, to be admired in all them that believe, you may be among those who will meet him in peace. In that day the redeemed will shine forth in the glory of the Father and the Son. The angels, touching their golden harps, will welcome the King and his trophies of victory--those who have been washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. A song of triumph will peal forth, filling all heaven. Christ has conquered. He enters the heavenly courts, accompanied by his redeemed ones, the witnesses that his mission of suffering and sacrifice has not been in vain. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #48)
The prayer offered by Solomon at the dedication of the temple breathed sentiments of loftiest piety blended with deepest humility.
In all that was said during the dedicatory services, Solomon sought to remove from the minds of those present the superstitions in regard to the Creator that had beclouded the minds of the heathen. He told them that the God of heaven is not like the gods of the heathen, who are confined to temples built for them, but that the true God would meet with his people by his Spirit when they should assemble at the house dedicated to his worship. The Lord visits his people in their homes, or wherever they may be, and cheers them by special revelations of his goodness. And in every place God's children have the privilege of worshiping their Heavenly Father.
Centuries later, Paul taught the same truth in these words: "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 nations of men" "life, and breath, and all things; . . . 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."
And the psalmist declares:--"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; The people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. The Lord looketh from heaven; He beholdeth all the sons of men; From the place of his habitation he looketh forth Upon all the inhabitants of the earth." "He hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary." "The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; And his kingdom ruleth over all."
"Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people."
Although God dwells not in temples made with hands, yet he honors with his presence the assemblies of his people. He has promised that when they come together to seek him, to acknowledge their sins, and to pray for one another, he will meet with them by his Spirit. But those who assemble to worship him should put away every evil thing. Unless they can worship him in spirit and truth and in the beauty of holiness, their coming together will be of no avail.
If God's people, when they assemble, will let him speak to them through his appointed agencies, all will be united in his service. "Give ear, O my people," he pleads, "to my law: incline your ear to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and the wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God."
Words of Approval and of Warning.--After the close of the dedicatory ceremonies, "the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house that my name may be there forever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually."
If Israel had remained faithful and true to God, this glorious building would have stood forever, as a perpetual sign of God's especial favor to his chosen people. "The sons of the stranger," God declared, "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 for all people." And the Saviour himself, in referring to this scripture, declared that the temple was to have been known as "a house of prayer for all nations."
In the night vision given Solomon, the Lord made very plain the path of duty before the king. "As for thee," he declared, "if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel."
How full are God's promises! Had Solomon continued to serve the Lord in humility, his reign would have been a powerful influence for good over the surrounding heathen nations,--nations that had been so favorably impressed by his father David's reign, and by the wise words and magnificent works of the earlier years of his own reign. God, in his mercy, foreseeing the terrible temptations that attend prosperity and worldly honor, tenderly warned Solomon against the sin of apostasy, and foretold the awful results of sin.
"If ye turn away," the Lord plainly declared, "and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations. And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and unto this house? And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshiped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them."
"Let Us Kneel Before the Lord Our Maker."--The prayer offered by Solomon during the dedication of the temple, was not made while he stood upon his feet. The king knelt in the humble position of a petitioner.
Herein is a lesson for God's people today. Our spiritual strength and our influence are not increased by conformity to a worldly attitude during prayer. In these perilous times, those who profess to be God's commandment-keeping people should guard against the tendency to lose the spirit of reverence and godly fear.
The Scriptures teach men how to approach their Maker,--with humility and awe, through faith in a divine Mediator. Let man come on bended knee, as a subject of grace, a suppliant at the footstool of mercy. Thus he is to testify that the whole soul, body, and spirit are in subjection to his Creator.
Both in public and in private worship, it is our duty to bow upon our knees before God when we offer our petitions to him. Jesus, our example, "kneeled down, and prayed." And of his disciples it is recorded that they, too, "kneeled down, and prayed." Stephen "kneeled." Paul declared: "I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." In confessing before God the sins of Israel, Ezra knelt. Daniel "kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God." And the invitation of the psalmist is: "O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker."
"What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul?" "Fear ye not me? saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence?" "Unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings."
"Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. . . . The eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy." "By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life."
"Wherefore . . . let us have grace, whereby we may offer service well-pleasing to God with reverence and awe." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #49)
The wealth and the wisdom of Solomon, the magnificent buildings and public works constructed during the early years of his reign, the energy and the piety revealed in word and deed, made a deep impression upon all Israel, and brought to him fame and honor from the surrounding nations. By his justice and magnanimity he won the loyalty of Israel, and the admiration of the rulers of many lands.
"God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much. . . . He was wiser than all men; . . . and his fame was in all nations round about." Solomon took special interest in natural history, but his researches were not confined to any one branch of learning. Through diligent study of all created things, both animate and inanimate, he gained a clearer conception of the Creator. In the forces of nature, in the mineral and the animal world, and in every tree and shrub and flower, he saw a revelation of God's infinite wisdom; and as he sought to learn more and more, his knowledge of God and his love for him constantly increased.
The Tribute of Kings.--"And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year."
As the people from many lands visited Solomon, he taught them of God as the Creator of all things. These visitors returned to their homes with clearer conceptions of the God of Israel, and of his compassionate love for the human race. In the works of nature they now beheld an expression of his love and a revelation of his character; and many were led to worship him as their God.
Never was Israel more greatly honored than during the first part of Solomon's reign. The righteousness and wisdom revealed by the king bore to all nations continual witness of the power of God. For a time the Israelites shone forth as the light of the world, showing, by their nobility of character, the greatness of Jehovah.
The Visit of the Queen of Sheba.--One of those deeply interested in Solomon's wisdom, the queen of Sheba, determined to "prove him with hard questions," and "came to Jerusalem," attended by a retinue of servants, with camels bearing "spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones."
"And when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart." The queen talked with him of the mysteries of nature, and Solomon taught her of the God of nature, the great Creator, who dwells in the highest heaven and rules over all. "And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not anything hid from the king, which he told her not."
"When the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her."
"It was a true report," she acknowledged to the king, "which I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom: howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it:" "and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom."
Recognizing the source of Solomon's wisdom and prosperity, the queen exclaimed: "Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on his throne, to be king for the Lord thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them forever, therefore made he thee king over them, to do judgment and justice."
The queen "gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon."
"King Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants."
"The Lips of the Wise Disperse Knowledge."--The real glory of Solomon's reign was not the surpassing wisdom, the fabulous riches, and the far-reaching power and fame that were his. It was by a wise use of these gifts of heaven, in revealing to the world a knowledge of the King of kings, that Solomon brought glory to the name of the God of Israel.
With the passing of the years and the increase of his fame, Solomon sought to honor God by adding to his mental and spiritual strength, and by imparting to others the blessings he received. He realized that he had come into possession of a kingdom, and of power, wisdom, and glory, through the favor of Jehovah. None understood better than he that these gifts were bestowed in order that he might give to the world a knowledge of God.
It was to give in his own life a revelation of his Father's character, that Christ came in the form of humanity. In his life no ostentatious display, no act to gain applause, was ever witnessed. Christ was hid in God, and God was revealed in the character of his Son. To this revelation Jesus desired the minds of the people to be directed and their homage to be given.
Solomon's divinely given wisdom found expression in songs of praise, and in many inspired proverbs. In these writings are outlined principles of holy living and high endeavor,--principles that should govern every act of life,--principles that are heaven-born and that lead to godliness. The wide dissemination of these truths, and the recognition of God as the one to whom belongs all praise and honor, made Solomon's early reign most glorious.
"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her."
"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate."
O that Solomon had heeded in later years these wonderful words of wisdom that he was inspired to write! O that he who once declared that "the lips of the wise disperse knowledge," and who himself wisely taught the kings of the earth to ascribe to the King of kings the glory they desired to give him, had never with a "froward mouth," in "pride and arrogancy," taken to himself the glory due to God alone! Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #50)
The Lord is soon to come. Wickedness and rebellion, violence and crime, are filling the world. The cries of the suffering and the oppressed rise to God for justice. In the place of being softened by the patience and forbearance of God, the wicked are growing stronger in stubborn rebellion. The time in which we live is one of marked depravity. Religious restraint is thrown off, and men reject the law of God as unworthy of their attention. A more than common contempt is placed upon this holy law.
A moment of respite has been graciously given us of God. Every power lent us of heaven is to be used in doing the work assigned us by the Lord for those who are perishing in ignorance. The warning message is to be sounded in all parts of the world. There must be no delay. The truth must be proclaimed in the dark places of the earth. Obstacles must be met and surmounted. A great work is to be done, and this work is entrusted to those who know the truth for this time.
Now is the time for us to lay hold of the arm of our strength. The prayer of David should be the prayer of pastors and laymen: "It is time for Thee, Lord, to work, for they have made void Thy law." Let the servants of God weep between the porch and the altar, crying, "Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach." God has always wrought in behalf of His truth. The designs of wicked men, the enemies of the church, are subject to His power and His overruling providence. He can move upon the hearts of statesmen; the wrath of the haters of His truth and His people can be turned aside, even as the waters of a river could be turned, if thus he ordered it. Prayer moves the arm of Omnipotence. He who marshals the stars in order in the heavens, whose word controls the waves of the great deep-the same infinite Creator will work in behalf of His people, if they will call upon Him in faith. He will restrain all the forces of darkness, until the warning is given to the world, and all who will heed it are prepared for His coming. Mrs. E.G. White.
(Vol. 82, #50)
In the midst of Solomon's wonderful prosperity, lurked danger. The sins of his father David's later years, though sincerely repented of and sorely punished, had emboldened the people in transgression of God's commandments. Through association with surrounding nations, evil influences were gradually permeating the kingdom that had been so remarkably blessed. God was not inquired of. Wealth, with all its temptations, came in Solomon's day to a rapidly increasing number of the people. "The king made silver and gold at Jerusalem as plenteous as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycamore trees that are in the vale for abundance."
Throughout the ages, riches and honor have been attended with much peril to humility and spirituality. It is when a man is prospered, when all his fellow men speak well of him, that he is in special danger. Man is human. Spiritual prosperity continues only so long as man depends wholly upon God for wisdom and for perfection of character. And those who feel most their need of dependence upon God are usually those who have the least amount of earthly treasure and human honor on which to depend.
The Commendation of Man.--There is danger in the bestowal of rich gifts or of words of commendation upon human agencies. Those who are favored by the Lord need to be on guard constantly, lest pride spring up and obtain the supremacy. He who has an unusual following, he who has received many words of commendation from the messengers of the Lord, needs the special prayers of God's faithful watchmen, that he may be shielded from the danger of cherishing thoughts of self-esteem and spiritual pride. Never is such a man to manifest self-importance, or attempt to act as a dictator or a ruler. Let him watch and pray, and keep his eye single to the glory of God. As his imagination takes hold upon things unseen, and he contemplates the joy of the hope that is set before him,--even the precious boon of life eternal,--the commendation of man will not fill his mind with thoughts of pride. And at times when the enemy makes special efforts to spoil him by flattery and worldly honor, his brethren should faithfully warn him of his dangers; for, if left to himself, he will be prone to make mistakes, and reveal human frailties.
In Solomon's day, as in ours, the very ones who praised and flattered and glorified the man of ability were the ones who failed to recognize and glorify God for the blessings he bestowed upon them through the human instrumentality. They praised the man; God was dishonored; and soon the Lord found the vessel he had ordained and used in his sacred service, becoming unclean. The sentiments, the spirit, and the likeness of the natural man began to appear, and he who once was doing God's will, became corrupted through human exaltation. Then the feebleness and weakness of man was revealed by the choice of injudicious friends, whose course helped the tempter to ensnare the man. The Lord allowed him to be ensnared, because he would not be counseled; he would walk in his own way.
Strength in Service.--The Lord places men in positions of responsibility to carry out not their own will, but God's will. He gives wisdom to those who seek him, and who depend upon him as their counselor. So long as men represent the pure principles of his government, he will continue to bless and maintain them as his instrumentalities to carry out his purposes concerning his people. He cooperates with those who cooperate with him. It is to the interest of all who act any part in God's service, to labor with exactitude and fidelity; for with distinctness is to be revealed the line of demarcation separating his people from the inhabitants of the world. He who remains true to principle will never be left by the Lord to become weak and discouraged.
The Lord's word to Solomon is applicable to every man who consents to assume responsibilities in any place in the Lord's work. Strength of character is to be honored by those who claim to keep the commandments and statutes of God. The solemn charges and appeals and promises, so large and full, that were made to Solomon, are made to every man who will stand in his lot and place to do the work that God has appointed him to.
In the Valley of Humiliation.--It is not the empty cup that we have trouble in carrying; it is the cup full to the brim that must be carefully balanced. Affliction and adversity may cause much inconvenience, and may bring great depression; but it is prosperity that is dangerous to spiritual life. Unless the human subject is in constant submission to the will of God, unless he is sanctified by the truth, and has the faith that works by love and purifies the soul, prosperity will surely arouse the natural inclination to presumption.
Our prayers need most to be offered for the men in high places. They need the prayers of the whole church, because they are entrusted with prosperity and influence.
In the valley of humiliation, where men depend on God to teach them and to guide their every step, there is comparative safety. But let every one who has a living connection with God pray for the men in positions of responsibility,--for those who are standing on a lofty pinnacle, and who, because of their exalted position, are supposed to have much wisdom. Unless such men feel their need of an Arm stronger than the arm of flesh to lean upon, unless they make God their dependence, their view of things will become distorted, and they will fall. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #51)
From instruction which is dated Nov. 20, 1905, we quote the following significant statements:
"The time has come for the enlargement and growth of God's people. For years the backward tendencies of many have greatly hindered the work of God. Now, just now, the Lord's people are to show their loyalty. The time has come when the Lord would have all who honor him take their stand firmly on the side of truth and righteousness. No longer are we to be a mixed multitude. Those who profess to be followers of God's word must be straightforward, pure and holy....We can not afford to trifle with our soul's salvation. All who choose to mark out a path for themselves, supposing that they will be saved by their own righteousness, will be destroyed suddenly, and that without remedy. God now graciously calls to those whose souls are lifted up unto vanity, to come to him. No longer are they to act as a stumbling-block to hinder the work of the Lord. Unless they change their attitude, the Lord will remove them; for his work is to be delayed no longer....Long has he borne with men who have not glorified his name. He now calls upon his people to make a thorough work, and to remove every stumbling-block. Let us clear the highway for our God."
(Vol. 82, #51)
For many years Solomon walked uprightly. Heavenly wisdom was given him to rule over God's people with impartiality and mercy. But his life, after a morning of so great promise, was darkened with apostasy. History records the melancholy fact that he who was called Jedidiah (Beloved of the Lord),--he who had been specially honored by God with tokens of divine favor so remarkable that his wisdom and uprightness gained for him worldwide fame,--he who had so often given wise counsel to others,--turned from the worship of the true God to bow before the idols of the heathen.
Solomon's apostasy was so gradual that almost before he was aware of it, he had wandered far from God. Gradually but surely, he lost sight of the necessity of implicit obedience to the plain precepts of Holy Writ, and conformed more and more closely to the customs of the surrounding nations. Yielding to the temptations connected with his prosperity and his honored position, he forgot God, and the conditions of success.
Hundreds of years before Solomon came to the throne, the Lord, foreseeing the perils that would beset those chosen as rulers of Israel, gave Moses special instruction for their guidance. Directions were given that he who sat on the throne of Israel should "write him a copy" of the statutes of Jehovah "in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel."
In connection with this instruction, the Lord particularly cautioned the one who should be anointed king not to "multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold."
These plain warnings were familiar to Solomon. And for a time he heeded them. His greatest desire was to live and rule in accordance with the statutes given at Sinai. His manner of conducting the affairs of the kingdom was in striking contrast with the customs of the idolatrous nations of his time,--nations who feared not God, and whose rulers trampled under foot his holy law.
The beginning of Solomon's apostasy may be traced to his violation of the plain commandments of the Lord. God had given the king of Israel wonderful prestige in the surrounding nations. Had Solomon continued to trust the Lord fully, his fame and the greatness of his nation would have constantly increased. But he began, almost imperceptibly at first, to trust less and less in the guidance and blessing of God, and to put confidence in his own strength. This is seen in his effort to gain power and dignity by allying himself with the nations round about him.
In seeking to strengthen his relations with the powerful kingdom lying to the southward of Israel, Solomon ventured upon forbidden ground. He "made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David." From a human point of view, this marriage, although contrary to the teachings of God's law, seemed to prove a blessing; for Solomon's heathen wife was converted, and united with him in the worship of the true God. Furthermore, Pharaoh rendered signal service to Israel by taking Gezer, slaying "the Canaanites that dwelt in the city," and giving it "for a present unto his daughter, Solomon's wife." Solomon rebuilt and fortified this city, and thus apparently greatly strengthened his kingdom along the Mediterranean seacoast.
The barrier was further broken by Solomon's marriage with other heathen princesses. He flattered himself that his wisdom and the power of his example would lead his wives from idolatry to the worship of the true God, and also that the alliances thus formed would draw the nations round about into close touch with the people of God. Vain hope! How fatal was Solomon's mistake in regarding himself strong enough to resist the influence of heathen associates! And how fatal, too, the deception that led Solomon to hope that a disregard of God's law on his part, would lead others to revere and obey its sacred precepts!
Alliances and commercial relations with many heathen nations brought Solomon renown, honor, and the riches of this world. He was enabled to bring gold from Ophir and silver from Tarshish in great abundance. More and more he came to regard luxury, self-indulgence, and the favor of the world as indications of greatness. Beautiful and attractive women were brought from Egypt, Phoenicia, Edom, Moab, and from many other places. These women were numbered by hundreds. Their religion was idol-worship, and they had been taught to practise cruel and degrading rites. Infatuated with their beauty, the king neglected his duties to God and to his kingdom. His wives exerted a strong influence over him, and gradually prevailed on him to unite with them in their worship.
Solomon's course brought its sure penalty. His separation from God through communication with idolaters ruined him. As he cast off his allegiance to God, he lost the mastery of himself. His moral efficiency was gone, as power is gone from a paralytic. His fine sensibilities became blunted, his conscience seared. Association with idolaters corrupted his faith. The instruction that God had given to serve as a barrier for his safety,--"neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold,"--was disregarded, and Solomon gave himself up to the worship of false gods. He became the tool of Satan and a slave to impulse.
"It came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods."
On the southern eminence of the Mount of Olives,--opposite Mount Moriah, where stood the beautiful temple of Jehovah,--Solomon erected an imposing pile of buildings to be used as idolatrous shrines. To please his wives, he placed huge idols, unshapely images of wood and stone, amid the groves of myrtle and olive. There, before the altars of the heathen deities, were practised the most degrading rites of heathenism.
He who in his early reign had displayed so much wisdom and kingly sympathy in restoring a helpless babe to its unfortunate mother, fell so low as to consent to the erection of an idol to whom children were offered as living sacrifices. He who in his youth was endowed with discretion and understanding, and who in his strong manhood had been inspired to write, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death," in later years departed so far from purity as to countenance the licentious revolting rites connected with the worship of Chemosh and Ashtoreth. He who at the dedication of the temple had said to his people, "Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God," himself became an offender, in heart and life denying his own words. He mistook license for liberty. He tried, but at what cost, to unite light with darkness, Christ with Belial, purity with impurity, good with evil.
From being one of the greatest kings that ever wielded a scepter, whose wisdom made him renowned throughout the world, Solomon became a profligate,--the tool and slave of others. His character, once noble and manly, became enervated and effeminate. His faith in the living God was shaken and supplanted by atheistic doubts. Unbelief marred his happiness, weakened his principles, and degraded his life; gloomy and soul-harassing thoughts troubled him night and day. The justice and magnanimity of his early reign were changed to despotism and tyranny. Poor, frail human nature! God can do but little for men who lose their sense of dependence upon him. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 82, #52)
One of the most powerful influences that led to Solomon's apostasy, was the pride of prosperity. As wealth and worldly honor came to him, he at first remained humble, but after a time he began to lose sight of the Source of his unparalleled prosperity. This led to a wrong use of the talents of wealth and of influence. The gifts of heaven were perverted for selfish purposes.
Solomon's profligacy was accompanied by extravagance. For his first wife, Pharaoh's daughter, he built a magnificent palace "of costly stones . . . within and without, even from the foundation unto the coping." "Solomon was building his own house thirteen years."
"The House of the Forest of Lebanon."--"He built also [in Jerusalem] the house of the forest of Lebanon; the length thereof was an hundred cubits, and the breadth thereof fifty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits, upon four rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams upon the pillars. . . . And there were windows in three rows, and light was against light in three ranks. . . . He made a porch of pillars; the length thereof was fifty cubits, and the breadth thereof thirty cubits."
"King Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target." "And three hundred shields made he of beaten gold; three hundred shekels of gold went to one shield. And the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon."
"All the drinking vessels of King Solomon were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold: none were of silver; it was not anything accounted of in the days of Solomon."
God's money, which should have been held in sacred trust for the benefit of the worthy poor, and for national improvements of permanent value, was selfishly absorbed in the king's ambitious projects. The suffering ones in Israel were not given proper food and clothing and shelter. In his proud heart the king cherished the desire to excel all other earthly kings in the magnificence of his court.
Solomon's Throne.--"He made a porch for the throne where he might judge, even the porch of judgment: and it was covered with cedar from one side of the floor to the other." "Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom."
Military Equipment.--A striking illustration of the blinding influence of sin is seen in Solomon's disregard of the plain command of the Lord that the king of Israel should not "multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses." The record declares: "Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt." "They brought unto Solomon horses . . . out of all lands." "And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots. . . Barley also and straw for the horses and dromedaries brought they unto the place where the officers were, every man according to his charge."
In the matter of military equipment, Solomon chose to follow unsanctified human judgment in the place of following the word of God. "A chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver [over three hundred dollars], and an horse for an hundred and fifty [over seventy-five dollars]." "Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem."
"The king had at sea a navy of Tarshish with the navy of Hiram."
A Record of Folly.--The pride of prosperity brought separation from God. From the joy of divine communion Solomon turned to find satisfaction in the pleasures of sense. A word-picture portraying this experience is given, in the language of Solomon himself, in the book of Ecclesiastes. "I communed with mine own heart," he confesses, "saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me. . . . And I gave my heart to know. . . madness and folly." "I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure."
"I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly. . . . I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards; . . . I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem. . . . And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labor. . . .
"Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit. . . . I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness. . . . Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me. . . . I hated life. . . . Yea, I hated all my labor which I had taken under the sun."
The National Revenues.--The enormous expense of establishing and maintaining a court of unrivaled splendor and Oriental profligacy, was met in part by the annual tribute of kings, and by the rich treasures brought from the East, from Tarshish, and from the land of Ophir, by the king's seagoing vessels sailing from Ezion-geber, and from Eloth, "at the seaside in the land of Edom." Hiram "sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to King Solomon." "And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones."
"The king's ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Hiram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks."
"The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and threescore and six talents of gold; besides that which chapmen and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon."
Even this enormous revenue did not prove sufficient to meet the lavish expenditures of the king and his court. And now pride, ambition, prodigality, and indulgence bore fruit in cruelty and exaction. The conscientious, considerate spirit that had actuated Solomon in all his dealings with his people during his early reign, was now sadly changed. From the wisest and most merciful of rulers, he degenerated into a tyrant. Once the compassionate, God-fearing guardian of the people, he became oppressive and despotic. His passion for extravagant display led him to impose great burdens on the people. Tax after tax was levied on them, that means might be forthcoming to support the luxurious court.
The people began to murmur and complain. The respect and admiration they once cherished for their king was changed into disaffection and abhorrence.
National Apostasy.--Solomon's alliance with heathen nations was followed by evils which led many of the children of Israel to violate the law of God. Multitudes became contaminated with the principles and practises of the heathen. Polygamy was introduced into Palestine. The pure religious service instituted by God was replaced by idolatry of the darkest hue. Human sacrifices were offered to idols; and the licentious rites practised by the heathen were countenanced.
In the rejection of the ways of God for the ways of men, the downfall of Israel began. Thus also it continued, until the Jewish people became a prey to the very nations whose practices they had chosen to follow. Mrs. E. G. White.