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The Review and Herald Articles
for the Year 1906
(Vol. 83, #1)
The beginnings of Solomon's apostasy may be traced to many seemingly slight deviations from right principles. Associations with idolatrous women was by no means the only cause of his downfall. Among the primary causes that led Solomon into extravagance and tyrannical oppression, was his course in developing and cherishing a spirit of covetousness.
In the days of ancient Israel, when at the foot of Sinai Moses told the people of the divine command, "Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them," the response of the Israelites was accompanied by appropriate gifts. "They came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing," and brought offerings. For the building of the sanctuary, great and expensive preparations were necessary; a large amount of the most precious and costly material was required; yet the Lord accepted only freewill offerings. "Of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering," was the divine command repeated by Moses to the congregation. Devotion to God and a spirit of sacrifice were the first requisites in preparing a dwellingplace for the Most High.
A similar call to self-sacrifice was made when David turned over to Solomon the responsibility of erecting the temple. Of the assembled multitude that had brought their liberal gifts, David asked, "Who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?" This call should ever have been kept in mind by those who had to do with the construction of the temple.
Chosen men were especially endowed by God with skill and wisdom for the construction of the wilderness-tabernacle. "Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the Lord hath called by name Bezaleel . . . of the tribe of Judah; and he hath filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship. . . . And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab . . . of the tribe of Dan. Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer . . . and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work." "Then wrought Bezaleel, . . . and every wise-hearted man, in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding." Heavenly intelligences cooperated with the workmen whom God himself chose.
The descendants of these men inherited to a large degree the skill conferred upon their forefathers. In the tribes of Judah and of Dan there were men who were regarded as especially "cunning" in the finer arts. For a time these men remained humble and unselfish; but gradually, almost imperceptibly, they lost their hold upon God and his truth. They began to ask for higher wages because of their superior skill. In some instances their request was granted, but more often those asking higher wages found employment in the surrounding nations. In place of the noble spirit of self-sacrifice that had filled the hearts of their illustrious ancestors, they cherished a spirit of covetousness, of grasping for more and more. They served heathen kings with their God-given skill, and dishonored their Maker.
It was to these apostates that Solomon looked for a master workman to superintend the construction of the temple on Mount Moriah. Minute specifications, in writing, regarding every portion of the sacred structure, had been entrusted to the king, and he should have looked to God in faith for consecrated helpers, to whom would have been granted special skill for doing with exactness the work required. But Solomon lost sight of this opportunity to exercise faith in God. He sent to the king of Tyre for "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 cunning men. . . in Judah and in Jerusalem."
The Phoenician king responded by sending Huram, "a cunning man, endued with understanding, . . . the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre." This master workman, Huram, was a descendant, on his mother's side, of Aholiab, to whom, hundreds of years before, God had given special wisdom for the construction of the tabernacle. Thus at the head of Solomon's company of workmen there was placed an unsanctified man, who demanded large wages because of his unusual skill.
Huram's efforts were not prompted by a desire to render his highest service to God. He served the god of this world--Mammon. The very fibers of his being had been inwrought with principles of selfishness, which were revealed in his grasping for the highest wages. And gradually these wrong principles came to be cherished by his associates. As they labored with him day after day, and yielded to the inclination to compare his wages with their own, they began to lose sight of the holy character of their work, and to dwell upon the difference between their wages and his. Gradually they lost their spirit of self-denial, and fostered a spirit of covetousness. The result was a demand for higher wages, which was granted them.
The baleful influences set in operation by the employment of this man of a grasping spirit, permeated all branches of the Lord's service, and extended throughout Solomon's kingdom. The high wages demanded and received gave many an opportunity to indulge in luxury and extravagance. In the far-reaching effects of these influences, may be traced one of the principal causes of the terrible apostasy of him who once was the wisest of mortals. The king was not alone in his apostasy. Extravagance and corruption were to be seen on every hand. The poor were oppressed by the rich; the spirit of self-sacrifice in God's service was well nigh lost.
Herein lies a most important lesson for God's people today,--a lesson that many are slow to learn. The spirit of covetousness, of seeking for the highest position and the highest wage, is rife in the world. The old-time spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice is too seldom met with. But this is the only spirit that can actuate a true follower of Jesus. Our divine Master has given us an example of how we are to work. And to those whom he bade, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men," he offered no stated sum as a reward for their services. They were to share with him his self-denial and sacrifice.
Those who claim to be followers of the Master Worker, and who engage in his service as colaborers with God, are to bring into their work the exactitude and skill, the tact and wisdom, that the God of perfection required in the building of the earthly tabernacle. And now, as in that time and as in the days of Christ's earthly ministry, devotion to God and a spirit of sacrifice should be regarded as the first requisites of acceptable service. God designs that not one thread of selfishness shall be woven into his work.
Great care should be taken in regard to the spirit pervading the Lord's institutions. These institutions were founded in self-sacrifice, and have been built up by the self-denying gifts of God's people and the unselfish labor of his servants. Everything connected with institutional service should bear the signature of heaven. A sense of the sacredness of God's institution should be encouraged and cultivated. The workers are to humble their hearts before the Lord, acknowledging his sovereignty. All are to live in accordance with principles of self-denial. As the true, self-sacrificing laborer, with his spiritual lamp trimmed and burning, strives unselfishly to advance the interests of the institution in which he is working, he will have a precious experience, and will be able to say, "The Lord indeed is in this place." He will feel that he is highly privileged in being permitted to give to the Lord's institution his ability, his service, and his unwearying vigilance.
In the early days of the third angel's message those who established our institutions, and those who labored in them, were actuated by high motives of unselfishness. For their arduous labors they received no more than a mere pittance--barely enough for a meager support. But their hearts were baptized with the ministry of love. The reward of whole-souled liberality was apparent in their close fellowship with the Spirit of the Master Worker. They practised the closest economy, in order that as many other laborers as possible might be planting the standard of truth in new places.
But in time a change came. The spirit of sacrifice was not so manifest. In some of our institutions the wages of a few workers was increased beyond reason. Those who received these wages claimed that they deserved a greater sum than others, because of their superior talents. But who gave them their talents, their ability? With the increase of wages came a steady increase of covetousness, which is idolatry, and a steady decline of spirituality. Gross evils crept in, and God was dishonored. The minds of many who witnessed this grasping after higher and still higher wages, were leavened with doubt and unbelief. Strange principles, like evil leaven, permeated nearly the entire body of believers. Many ceased to deny self, and not a few withheld their tithes and offerings.
God in his providence called for a reform in his sacred work, which should begin at the heart, and work outwardly. Some who blindly continued to place a high estimate upon their services, were removed. Others received the message given to them, turned to God with full purpose of heart, and learned to abhor their covetous spirit. So far as possible, they endeavored to set a right example before the people by voluntarily reducing their wages. They realized that nothing less than complete transformation in mind and heart would save them from being swept off their feet by some masterly temptation.
The work of God in all its wide extent is one, and the same principles should control, the same spirit be revealed, in all its branches. It must bear the stamp of missionary work. Every department of the cause is related to all parts of the gospel field, and the spirit that controls one department will be felt throughout the entire field. If a portion of the workers receive large wages, there are others, in different branches of the work, who will call for higher wages, and the spirit of self-sacrifice will gradually be lost sight of. Other institutions and conferences will catch the same spirit, and the Lord's favor will be removed from them; for he can never sanction selfishness. Thus our aggressive work would come to an end. Only by constant sacrifice can it be carried forward.
God will test the faith of every soul. Christ has purchased us at an infinite sacrifice. Although he was rich, yet for our sake he became poor, that we through his poverty might come into possession of eternal riches. All that we possess of ability and intellect has been lent us in trust by the Lord, to use for him. It is our privilege to be partakers with Christ in his sacrifice. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #2)
"He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth."
From the day when Solomon was entrusted with the work of building the temple, to the time of its completion, his avowed purpose was to build "a house for the name of the Lord God of Israel." This purpose was fully recognized before assembled Israel during the dedication of the temple. In his prayer he acknowledged that Jehovah had said, "My name shall be there."
One of the most touching portions of Solomon's dedicatory prayer is his plea for the strangers that would come "out of a far country for thy name's sake; for they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched-out arm." In behalf of every stranger that would "come and pray toward this house," Solomon pleaded with the Lord: "Hear thou in heaven thy dwellingplace, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name."
At the close of the services, Solomon exhorted Israel to be faithful and true to God, in order that "all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else."
The temple of Jehovah was a marvel of richness and glory, unequaled by any work of human art. A greater than Solomon was the designer of this building; the wisdom and glory of God stood there revealed. Those who were unacquainted with the source of Solomon's wisdom naturally admired and praised the human agent; but the king disclaimed any honor for the conception and the erection of so magnificent a structure.
The queen of Sheba, at the close of her visit to Jerusalem, was constrained by what she had seen and learned, not to extol Solomon, but to exclaim: "Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel forever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice." This is the impression that God designed should be made upon all peoples. And when "all the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart," the king continued for a time reverently to direct them to the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the Ruler of the universe, the All-Wise. The name of Jehovah was honored, and his holy temple was regarded with reverence.
Had Solomon remained humble, had he continued to turn the attention of men from himself to the One who had endowed him with wisdom and riches and honor, what a history might have been his! But the unerring pen of inspiration, while it records his virtues, also bears faithful witness to his downfall. Raised to a pinnacle of greatness, and surrounded with the gifts of fortune, Solomon became dizzy, lost his balance, and fell. Constantly extolled by men of the world for his unsurpassed wisdom, he at length was unable to withstand the flattery. The gift of heaven, the wisdom which was entrusted to him by God, and which should ever have been used to glorify the Giver, filled Solomon with pride. He forgot that man, in humility, must reveal constant reverence for God.
Like the tabernacle, the temple had been built in accordance with specifications divinely given. And it was through the Lord's blessing that the people were enabled to give and prepare the necessary material. All the temple services were divinely instituted. And yet the honor was diverted from God, and given to Solomon. He finally allowed men to speak of him as the one most worthy of praise for the matchless splendor of the building that had been planned and erected for the honor of "the name of the Lord God of Israel."
Thus it was that the temple of Jehovah came to be known throughout the nations as "Solomon's temple." The human agent had taken to himself the glory that belonged to "the One higher than the highest." Even to this day the temple of which Solomon had declared to the Lord, "This house which I have builded is called by thy name," is oftenest spoken of, not as the temple of Jehovah, but as "Solomon's temple."
The course followed by Daniel, to whom God gave "knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom," is in striking contrast with the course followed by Solomon during the latter years of his reign. In Daniel's life, the desire to glorify God was the most powerful of all motives. He realized that when standing in the presence of men of influence, a failure to acknowledge God as the source of his wisdom would have made him an unfaithful steward. And his constant recognition of the God of heaven before kings, princes, and statesmen, detracted not one iota from his influence. King Nebuchadnezzar, before whom Daniel so often honored the name of God, was finally thoroughly converted, and learned to "praise and extol and honor the King of heaven." And to the close of his career Daniel honored God.
In connection with every line of God's work in the earth today, the Name that is above every other name is to be honored. The gospel ministry, the publishing work, the medical missionary work, the educational work,--all are of heavenly origin. Not one of these lines of service has been originated or perfected by any human being. God has given the wisdom that has made possible the rapid development of every department of his cause. Let no man take unto himself the glory that belongs to God alone. Let no line of work, no institution, bear a name that would divert honor from God to any man or any set of men. Let us remember that the beautiful temple which was erected for the honor of "the name of the Lord God of Israel," came to be known, through the apostasy of the builder, as "Solomon's temple."
Said the great apostle Paul: "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." Let every worker understand that as he strives to advance the glory of God in our world, whether he stands before Christians or infidels, peasants or princes, he is to make God first, and last, and best in everything. Man can not show greater weakness than by allowing men to ascribe to him the honor for gifts that are heaven-bestowed. God must stand the highest. The worldly wisdom of the greatest men is foolishness with him. The true Christian will exalt the name of the Lord. No ambitious motive will chill his love for God; steadily, perseveringly will he cause honor to redound to his Heavenly Father.
"It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." When we are faithful in making God known, our impulses will be under divine supervision, and we shall make steady growth, spiritually and intellectually. It is Christ's power alone that can give success to the human agent. God has given every man talents, that his name may be exalted; not that man may be lauded and praised, honored and glorified, while the Giver is forgotten. Let those around you see that you give God the glory. Let self be crucified; let God appear.
Jesus, our divine Master, ever exalted the name of his Heavenly Father. He taught his disciples to pray, "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name." And they were not to forget to acknowledge, "Thine is the glory." So careful was the great Healer to direct attention from himself to the source of his power, that the wondering multitude, "when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see," glorified not Him; "they glorified the God of Israel." In his wonderful prayer offered just before the crucifixion, he declared: "I have glorified thee on the earth." "Glorify thy Son," he pleaded, "that thy Son also may glorify thee." "O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."
"Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord."
"I will praise the name of God, . . . and will magnify him with thanksgiving." "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power."
"I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name forevermore." "O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #3)
One sad feature of Solomon's experience was his supposition that massive buildings and magnificent furnishings give character to the work of God. He endeavored to pattern after, and to compete with, the world. He lost sight of the foundation principle underlying the influence that is ever to be exerted by the people of God,--obedience to every precept of Holy Writ. The real power of God's people lies not in numbers, nor in the wealth and worldly prosperity that may be displayed, but in steadfast adherence to his Word. The truth, obeyed, is made the power of God unto salvation.
Solomon became ambitious of excelling all other nations in power and grandeur. It was his desire to attain greater political power, that led him to form alliances with idolatrous nations, and to seal these alliances by marriages with heathen princesses. In conformity with the customs of surrounding nations, he maintained a luxurious court, in many respects surpassing in splendor the courts of the rulers of other kingdoms. Luxury was followed by wanton extravagance. Vast riches were squandered. This led to the levying of a grievous tax upon the poor people.
"I made me great works," Solomon declares. Among these were "Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer." "And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store cities, which he built in Hamath. Also he built Beth-horon the upper, and Beth-horon the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars; and Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities, and the cities of the horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and throughout all the land of his dominion."
So engrossed was Solomon with thoughts of vanity, that perfection and beauty of character were overlooked in his attempt to surpass other nations in outward display. He sold his honor and his integrity in seeking to glorify himself before the world, and he finally became a despot. The power and the riches obtained at a sacrifice of right principles, proved to him a terrible curse.
How striking is the contrast between Solomon's ambitious desire to exalt himself, and the life that the Son of God lived upon this earth! The Saviour of mankind was born of humble parentage in a sin-cursed, wicked world. He was brought up in obscurity at Nazareth, a small town of Galilee. He began his work in poverty and without worldly rank. He sought not the admiration or the applause of the world. He dwelt among the lowly. To all appearance he was merely a humble man, with few friends. Thus God introduced the gospel in a way altogether different from the way in which many deem it wise to proclaim the same gospel in this age. At the very beginning of the gospel dispensation he taught his church to rely, not on worldly rank and splendor, but on the power of faith and obedience.
"The kingdom of God cometh not with outward show." The gospel of the grace of God, with its spirit of self-abnegation, can never be in harmony with the spirit of the world. The two principles are antagonistic. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
It is not the largeness or the grandeur of an edifice that impresses hearts, but the principles of righteousness, of justice and equity, practised within. Our institutions will give character to the work of God just according to the consecrated devotion of the workers,--by revealing the power of the grace of Christ to transform the life. Never are we to rely upon worldly recognition and rank. Never are we, in the establishment of institutions, to try to compete with worldly institutions in size or splendor. We shall gain the victory, not by erecting massive buildings in rivalry with our enemies, but by cherishing a Christlike spirit of meekness and lowliness. We are to be distinguished from the world because God has placed his seal upon us, because he manifests in us his own character of love. Our Redeemer covers us with his righteousness.
As Solomon continued to conform to the customs of the world, his pride greatly increased. And the worldly prosperity that attended his apostasy, was regarded by him as a token of God's favor. So fully had he yielded himself to evil influences, that his spiritual discernment was well-nigh destroyed. He could not see the terrible losses that were sustained by the nation spiritually because he brought into the kingdom an abundance of the gold of Ophir and the silver of Tarshish.
Today there exists the same danger of mistaking prosperity for the favor of heaven. The prosperity that often for a time attends those who turn from a plain "Thus saith the Lord" to follow a way of their own choosing, is not an assurance of divine approval. Men many interpret it thus, but it is no sign that God's prospering hand is with them. Let all learn a lesson from Solomon's experience. Notwithstanding his violation of a plain "Thus saith the Lord," riches and worldly honor poured in upon him, and seemingly he was greatly blessed. This is in harmony with Job's declaration that the wicked spend their days in prosperity. And the psalmist testifies:--"As for me, my feet were almost gone; My steps had well-nigh slipped. For I was envious at the arrogant, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked. . . . Pride is as a chain about their neck; Violence covereth them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness: They have more than heart could wish. They scoff, and in wickedness utter oppression: They speak loftily."
Like Solomon, those who esteem their own wisdom above the wisdom of the Lord will surely feel the sad result of their course. For a time they may seemingly be prospered, but their work will not abide. The Lord will let them pass through bitter experiences, in order that they may have an opportunity to learn that real prosperity comes not by outward display, but only by conformity to his will and purpose.
God's way is always the right and prudent way. It always brings honor to his name. Man's only security against rash, ambitious movements is to keep the heart in harmony with Christ Jesus. Man's wisdom is untrustworthy. Man is fickle, filled with self-esteem, pride, and selfishness. Let the workers in God's service trust wholly in the Lord. Then they will reveal that they are willing to be led, not by human wisdom, which is as useless to lean upon as is a broken reed, but by the wisdom of the Lord, who has said, "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."
Fellow Christian, keep your religion pure and untainted. Worldly interests may tempt you to yield your principles, but "what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Worldly greatness is no equivalent for integrity, honesty, a pure heart, and a noble, unwavering purpose to do right. Even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like him who possesses the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, untouched by the tinsel and show of the world. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #4)
Upon the Israelites God bestowed great privileges, blessing them richly from his abundant goodness. He looked for them to honor him by revealing the principles of his kingdom. In the midst of a fallen, wicked people--a world in which violence and crime, greed, oppression, and the most corrupt practises were indulged without restraint--the Israelites were to represent the character of God. In the holiness of their lives, in their mercy and lovingkindness and compassion, they were to show that "the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul."
Through the Jewish nation it was God's purpose to impart rich blessings to all peoples. Through Israel the way was to be prepared for the diffusion of his light to the whole world. The nations of the world, through following corrupt practises, had lost the knowledge of God. Yet in his mercy God did not blot them out of existence. He purposed to give them opportunity for becoming acquainted with him through his church. He designed that the principles revealed through his people should be the means of restoring the moral image of God in man.
The Lord's vineyard, his own chosen possession, was planted in the land of Canaan. And as the tower in the vineyard, God placed in the midst of the land his holy temple. In the temple his glory dwelt in the holy Shekinah above the mercy seat.
In the days of Solomon, the kingdom of Israel extended from Hamath on the northward, to the border of Egypt on the southward, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River. Through this territory ran many natural highways of the world's commerce. Caravans were constantly passing to and from distant lands. Thus there was given Solomon and his people a most wonderful opportunity to reveal the character of the true God so clearly that men of all nations would be taught to reverence and obey the King of kings. To all the world the gospel invitation was to be given. Through the teaching of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before the nations, and all who would look unto him should live. All who, like Rahab the Canaanite and Ruth the Moabitess, turned from idolatry to the worship of the true God, were to unite themselves with his chosen people. As the numbers of Israel increased, they were to enlarge their borders, until their kingdom should embrace the world.
But Solomon lost sight of God's high and holy purpose. He failed of improving the magnificent opportunities for enlightening the representatives of all nations who were continually passing through his territory and tarrying for rest at the principal cities. A selfish use was made of the strategic points along the well-traveled highways. Solomon sought to strengthen his position by building fortified cities at the gateways of commerce. He rebuilt Gezer, near Joppa, and lying along the road between Egypt and Syria; Beth-horon, to the westward of Jerusalem, commanding the passes of the highway leading from the heart of Judea to Gezer and the seacoast; Megiddo, situated on the caravan road from Damascus to Egypt, and from Jerusalem to the northward; and "Tadmor in the wilderness," along the route of caravans from the East. All these cities were strongly fortified.
The commercial advantages of an outlet at the head of the Red Sea were developed by the construction of "a navy of ships in Ezion-geber, . . . on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom." Trained sailors from Tyre, "with the servants of Solomon," manned these vessels on voyages "to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold," and "great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones."
The missionary spirit that God had implanted in the heart of Solomon and in the hearts of many true Israelites, was rapidly supplanted by a spirit of commercialism. The precious opportunities afforded by contact with many nations, were misused for personal aggrandizement. The revenues of the king and of many of his subjects were greatly increased, but at what a cost! Because of the cupidity and the shortsightedness of those to whom had been entrusted the oracles of God, the countless multitudes that thronged the thoroughfares of travel were allowed to remain in ignorance of the true God.
Our Opportunity.--To the church of today God has given the care of his vineyard. The workers of today are called to do the work that Israel failed of doing. The salvation of God must be made known to all the people living on the face of the earth. God's glory is to be revealed, his word established, and Christ's kingdom set up to give deliverance to the world. His followers are now to arise and shine.
Those who, in response to the call of the hour, have entered the service of the Master Workman, may well study his methods of labor. During his earthly ministry, our Saviour took advantage of the opportunities to be found along the great thoroughfares of travel. It was at Capernaum that Jesus dwelt in the intervals of his journeys to and fro, and it came to be known as "his own city." This city was well adapted to be the center of the Saviour's work. Being on the highway from Damascus to Jerusalem and Egypt, and to the Mediterranean Sea, it was a great thoroughfare of travel. People from many lands passed through the city, or tarried for rest on their journeyings to and fro. Here Jesus could meet all nations and all ranks, the rich and 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.
In these days of travel, the opportunities for coming in contact with men and women of all classes and of many nationalities, are much greater than in the days of Israel. The thoroughfares of travel have multiplied a thousandfold. God has wonderfully prepared the way. The agency of the printing press, with its manifold facilities, is at our command. Bibles and publications in many languages setting forth the truth for this time, are at our hand, and can be swiftly carried to every part of the world.
We are to give the last warning of God to men, and what should be our earnestness in studying the Bible, and our zeal in spreading the light! Let every soul who has received the divine illumination, seek to impart it. Let the workers go from house to house, opening the Bible to the people, circulating the publications, telling others of the light that has blessed their own souls. Let literature be distributed judiciously on the trains, in the street, on the great ships that ply the seas, and through the mails.
Christians who are living in the great centers of commerce and travel have special opportunities. The believers in these cities can work for God in the neighborhood of their homes. They are to labor quietly and in humility, carrying with them wherever they go the atmosphere of heaven. If they keep self out of sight, pointing always to Christ, their influence will be felt.
The truth is not to be hidden in the corners of the earth. It must be made known; it must shine in our large cities. Like Christ, the messengers of the Most High today must take their position in the great thoroughfares of travel, where they can meet people from all parts of the world. Like him, they are to give the true light; they are to sow the gospel seed; they are to rescue truth from its companionship with error, and present it in its original simplicity and clearness, so that men may comprehend it. The third angel's message is a worldwide message. It is to be given to all cities, to all villages; it is to be proclaimed in the highways and the byways.
In the world renowned health resorts and centers of tourist traffic, crowded with many thousands of seekers after health and pleasure, there should be stationed ministers and canvassers capable of arresting the attention of the multitudes. Let these workers watch their chance to present the message for this time, and hold meetings as they have opportunity. Let them be quick to seize opportunities to speak to the people. Accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit, let them meet the people with the message borne by John the Baptist: "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The word of God is to be presented with clearness and power, that those who have ears to hear, may hear the truth. Thus the gospel of present truth will be placed in the way of those who know it not, and will be accepted by not a few, and carried by them to their own homes in all parts of the earth.
A great work is to be done, and those who know the truth should now make mighty intercession for help. The love of Christ must fill their own hearts. The Spirit of Christ must be poured out upon them, and they must be making ready to stand in the judgment. As they consecrate themselves to God, a convincing power will attend their efforts to present the truth to others. We must no longer sleep on Satan's enchanted ground, but call into requisition all our resources, avail ourselves of every facility with which Providence has furnished us. The last warning is to be proclaimed "before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings;" and the promise is given, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. . . . I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. . . . Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #5)
Placed at the head of a nation that had been set as a light to the surrounding nations, Solomon might have brought great glory to the Lord of the universe by a life of obedience. He might have encouraged God's people to shun the evils that were practised in the surrounding nations. He might have used his God-given wisdom and power of influence in organizing and directing a great missionary movement for the enlightenment of those who were ignorant of God and of his truth. Thus multitudes might have been won to an allegiance to the King of kings.
Satan well knew the results that would attend obedience, and during the earlier years of Solomon's reign,--years glorious because of the wisdom, the beneficence, and the uprightness of the king,--he sought to bring in influences that would insidiously undermine Solomon's loyalty to principle, and cause him to separate from God. And that the enemy was successful in this effort, we know from the record: "Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David."
In forming an alliance with a heathen nation, and sealing the compact by marriage with an idolatrous princess, Solomon rashly disregarded the wise provisions that God had made for maintaining the purity of his people. The hope that his Egyptian wife might be converted, was but a feeble excuse for the sin. In violation of a direct command to remain separate from other nations, the king united his strength with the arm of flesh.
For a time, God in his compassionate mercy overruled this terrible mistake. Solomon's wife was converted; and the king, by a wise course, might have done much to check the evil forces that his imprudence had set in operation. But Solomon began to lose sight of the Source of his power and glory. Inclination gained the ascendency over reason. As his self-confidence increased, he sought to carry out the Lord's purpose in his own way. He reasoned that political and commercial alliances with the surrounding nations would bring them to a knowledge of the true God; and so he entered into unholy alliance with nation after nation. Often these alliances were sealed by marriage with heathen princesses. The commands of Jehovah were set aside for the customs of the surrounding nations.
During the years of Solomon's apostasy, the spiritual decline of Israel was rapid. How could it have been otherwise, when their king united with satanic agencies? Through these agencies the enemy worked to confuse the minds of the people in regard to true and false worship. They became an easy prey. It came to be a common practise to intermarry with the heathen. The Israelites rapidly lost their abhorrence of idolatry. Heathen customs were introduced. Idolatrous mothers brought their children up to observe heathen rites. The Hebrew faith was fast becoming a mixture of confused ideas. Commerce with other nations brought the Israelites into intimate contact with those who had no love for God, and their own love for him was greatly lessened. Their keen sense of the high and holy character of God was deadened. Refusing to follow in the path of obedience, they transferred their allegiance to Satan. The enemy rejoiced in his success in effacing the divine image from the minds of the people that God had chosen as his representatives. Through intermarriage with idolaters and constant association with them, Satan brought about that for which he had long been working,--a national apostasy.
Unscriptural Alliances.--The Lord desires his servants to preserve their holy and peculiar character. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers," is his command; "for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
Never was there a time in earth's history when this warning was more appropriate than at the present time. Many professed Christians think, like Solomon, that they may unite with the ungodly, because their influence over those who are in the wrong will be beneficial; but too often they themselves, entrapped and overcome, yield their sacred faith, sacrifice principle, and separate themselves from God. One false step leads to another, till at last they place themselves where they can not hope to break the chains that bind them.
Great care should be taken by Christian youth in the formation of friendships and in the choice of companions. Take heed, lest what you now think to be pure gold turns out to be base metal. Worldly associations tend to place obstructions in the way of your service to God, and many souls are ruined by unhappy unions, either business or matrimonial, with those who can never elevate or ennoble. Never should God's people venture upon forbidden ground. Marriage between believers and unbelievers is forbidden by God. But too often the unconverted heart follows its own desires, and marriages unsanctioned by God are formed. Because of this, many men and women are without hope and without God in the world. Their noble aspirations are dead; by a chain of circumstances they are held in Satan's net. Those who are ruled by passion and impulse will have a bitter harvest to reap in this life, and their course may result in the loss of their souls.
Institutional Work.--Those who are placed in charge of the Lord's institutions are in need of much of the strength and grace and keeping power of God, that they shall not walk contrary to the sacred principles of the truth. Many, many are very dull of comprehension in regard to their obligation to preserve the truth in its purity, uncontaminated by one vestige of error. Their danger is in holding the truth in light esteem, thus leaving upon minds the impression that it is of little consequence what we believe, if, by carrying out plans of human devising, we can exalt ourselves before the world as holding a superior position, as occupying the highest seat.
God calls for men whose hearts are as true as steel, and who will stand steadfast in integrity, undaunted by circumstances. He calls for men who will remain separate from the enemies of the truth. He calls for men who will not dare to resort to the arm of flesh by entering into partnership with worldlings in order to secure means for advancing his work--even for the building of institutions. Solomon, by his alliances with unbelievers, secured an abundance of gold and silver, but his prosperity proved his ruin. Men today are no wiser than he, and they are as prone to yield to the influences that caused his downfall. For thousands of years Satan has been gaining an experience in learning how to deceive; and to those who live in this age he comes with almost overwhelming power. Our only safety is found in obedience to God's Word, which has been given us as a sure guide and counselor. God's people today are to keep themselves distinct and separate from the world, its spirit, and its influences.
"Come out from among them, and be ye separate." Shall we hear the voice of God and obey, or shall we make halfway work of the matter, and try to serve God and Mammon? There is earnest work before each one of us. Right thoughts, pure and holy purposes, do not come to us naturally. We shall have to strive for them. In all our institutions, our publishing houses and colleges and sanitariums, pure and holy principles must take root. If our institutions are what God designs they should be, those connected with them will not pattern after worldly institutions. They will stand as peculiar, governed and controlled by the Bible standard. They will not come into harmony with the principles of the world in order to gain patronage. No motives will have sufficient force to move them from the straight line of duty. Those who are under the control of the Spirit of God will not seek their own pleasure or amusement. If Christ presides in the hearts of the members of his church, they will answer to the call, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate." "Be not partakers of her sins."
God would have us learn the solemn lesson that we are working out our own destiny. The characters we form in this life decide whether or not we are fitted to live through the eternal ages. No man can with safety attempt to serve both God and Mammon. God is fully able to keep us in the world, but not of the world. His love is not uncertain and fluctuating. Ever he watches over his children with a care that is measureless and everlasting. But he requires us to give him our undivided allegiance. "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."
Solomon was endowed with wonderful wisdom; but the world drew him away from God. We need to guard our souls with all diligence, lest the cares and the attractions of the world absorb the time that should be given to eternal things. God warned Solomon of his danger, and today he warns us not to imperil our souls by affinity with the world. "Come out from among them," he pleads, "and be ye separate, . . . and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord God Almighty." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #6)
Twice during Solomon's reign the Lord had appeared to him with words of approval and of counsel. Soon after he ascended the throne, the king passed through a remarkable experience at Gibeon, where the Lord, after promising him wisdom, riches, and honor, admonished him to remain obedient and humble. "Walk in my ways," he counseled the youthful king, "to keep my statutes and my commandments." And after the dedication of the temple, "the Lord appeared to Solomon the second time," and exhorted him to remain true to his sacred trust. "Walk before me," the Lord pleaded, "as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprighteousness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee." As the reward of obedience, the Lord declared, "I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel forever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel."
Plain are these admonitions, wonderful are these promises of prosperity on condition of obedience; and yet of him who in circumstances, in character, and in life, seemed favored above all others, it is recorded that "his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded."
Solomon's apostasy was so complete, his heart became so hardened in transgression, that his case seemed well-nigh hopeless. But the Lord in his infinite mercy forsook him not. By terrible judgments and by words of stern rebuke he sought to arouse the king to a realization of the sinfulness of sin. God's protecting care was removed, and adversaries were permitted to harass and weaken him. "The Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite." "And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon, . . . captain over a band," who "abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria. And Jeroboam, . . . Solomon's servant," "a mighty man of valor," "even he lifted up his hand against the king."
God spoke to Solomon not only by means of these judgments, but also through a prophet, who delivered the startling message: "Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son."
When Solomon heard this terrible denunciation, he awoke as from a dream. His folly began to dawn upon him in its true light. By his own bitter experience, he had learned the emptiness of a life that seeks in earthly things its highest good. He had erected altars to heathen gods, only to learn how vain is their promise of rest to the soul. And now, in his later years, Solomon returned to drink at the fountain of life. For him at last the discipline of suffering accomplished its work.
The Book of Ecclesiastes.--The history of the king's wasted years, with their lessons of warning, he by the Spirit of inspiration recorded for after generations. And thus, although the seed of his sowing was reaped by his people in harvests of evil, the lifework of Solomon was not wholly lost. Chastened, broken in spirit, trusting not in his own power, but in the power of Him that is "higher than the highest," he acknowledged that "the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart." Whenever left to their own devices, he confessed, "they have sought out many inventions." And "because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil."
Through his own experience Solomon learned that, "though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: but it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God."
In meekness and lowliness Solomon "taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs." He "sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth." "The words of the wise," he declared, "are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. And further, by these, my son, be admonished."
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."
A Touching Appeal.--The true penitent does not put his past sins from his remembrance. He does not, as soon as he has obtained peace, grow unconcerned in regard to the mistakes he has made. He thinks of how many have been led into evil by his wrong course, and he tries in every possible way to help those whom he has led into false paths. The clearer the light that he has entered into by returning to the Lord, the stronger his desire to set the feet of others in the right way. He does not gloss over his wayward course, making his wrong a light thing, but lifts the danger signal, that others may take warning. He walks humbly and carefully, his eyes fixed on his Leader.
Solomon's later writings reveal that he realized the wickedness of his course, and sought to warn those who were in danger of going astray. With sorrow and shame he confessed that in the prime of manhood, when he should have found in God his comfort, his support, his life, he had lost sight of the rich experience of his youth and of the signal blessings bestowed at the time of the dedication of the temple. How sad the confession recorded in Ecclesiastes! For a time, he had turned from the light of heaven and the wisdom of God; he had confounded idolatry with religion.
After the king repented, and returned to his allegiance to God, he made a special appeal to those who were still in the earlier years of life. His yearning desire to save others from the bitter experience through which he had passed, is clearly revealed in this touching appeal:--
"Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun. Yea, if a man live many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity. Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for youth and the prime of life are vanity"--they soon pass away. "Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth, Or ever the evil days come, And the years draw nigh, When thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; Or ever the sun, And the light, And the moon, And the stars, Be darkened, And the clouds return after the rain: In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, And the strong men shall bow themselves, And the grinders cease because they are few, And those that look out of the windows be darkened, And the doors shall be shut in the street; When the sound of the grinding is low, And one shall rise up at the voice of a bird, And all the daughters of music shall be brought low; Yea, they shall be afraid of that which is high, And terrors shall be in the way: And the almond tree shall blossom, And the grasshopper shall be a burden, And the caper-berry shall burst: Because man goeth to his long home, And the mourners go about the streets: Or ever the silver cord be loosed. Or the golden bowl be broken. Or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, Or the wheel broken at the cistern; And the dust return to the earth As it was, And the spirit return unto God Who gave it."
The Hope of the Penitent.--Christ, the gift of the Father to our world, is the hope and efficiency of the penitent. In him all hopes of eternal life center. He is our advocate in the heavenly courts. He is interceding in our behalf. Without his grace, no progress in spiritual grace can be made. The penitent can not take one step in sincerity, in truthfulness, in righteousness, without the help of the Lord Jesus. For this help let us most earnestly plead.
Through no power of his own could Solomon have broken from the snare of Satan. By no human means could he have been cleansed from the defilement of sin. Without divine help, he would have sunk lower and still lower. Only by coming to Jesus in humility and contrition, with heartfelt confession of sin; only by making a full surrender; only through the merits of Christ's righteousness, could he hope to be freed from the snare of the enemy, and be cleansed.
"Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of." True repentance can never be mistaken. It bears fruit that testifies to its own genuineness. Self is subdued; Christ is magnified.
The words and deeds of the truly penitent bear witness that theirs is a repentance that needs not to be repented of. They will offer earnest petitions for fresh grace, for new supplies of strength, for the efficiency and power of the Holy Spirit, promised to all who ask in faith. The truly penitent soul will reach high attainments of holiness, peace, and joy. But he will never forget that he owes it all to the Saviour. A sense of deep humiliation and contrition will fill his heart, and he will bow low before God. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #7)
For hundreds of years after the death of Solomon, a strange and melancholy sight could be seen opposite Mount Moriah. Crowning the eminence of the Mount of Olives, and peering above the groves of myrtle and olive trees, were imposing piles of buildings, for the idolatrous worship of gigantic, unseemly images of wood and stone. Many a devout stranger, seeing these shrines for the first time, was led to inquire, "How came these buildings and idols on the opposite side of the Jehoshaphat ravine, thus impiously confronting the temple of God?" The truthful answer must be given: "The builder was Solomon. He whom God so wonderfully honored, failed to give God the glory, and finally was persuaded by his heathen wives to build these altars for idol worship."
Little did Solomon think when he built the unholy shrines on the hill before Jerusalem, that these evidences of his apostasy would remain from generation to generation, to testify against him. Notwithstanding his repentance, the evil that he did lived after him, witnessing to the terrible fall of the greatest and wisest of kings.
More than three centuries later, Josiah, the youthful reformer, in his religious zeal demolished these buildings and all the images of Ashtoreth and Chemosh and Moloch. Many of the broken fragments rolled down the channel of the Kedron, but great masses of ruins remained. Even as late as the days of Christ, the ruins on the "Mount of Offense," as the place was called by many of the truehearted of Israel, might still be seen. Could Solomon, when rearing these idolatrous shrines, have looked into the future, how he would have started back in horror to think of the sad testimony they would bear to the Messiah!
By a life of loyalty and integrity, Solomon could have done much to preserve God's people from backsliding. His early piety and his great wisdom, the power and the prosperity that attended his reign, the respect and the honor shown the kingdom of Israel by the surrounding nations,--all these favorable conditions combined to increase greatly the influence wielded by the king. Had he remained sincere, earnest, and true, had no taint of apostasy marred his life, he might have exerted a most powerful influence for good on the lives of others. But he swerved from his allegiance to God; and the nation, of which he had been the pride, followed his leading. So powerful was his influence, that through his apostasy he became their seducer.
Solomon's repentance was sincere, but the harm that his example of evil-doing had done the people, could not well be remedied. In the anguish of bitter reflection on the evil influence of his sinful course, he was constrained to declare: "Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good." "There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler: folly is set in great dignity." "Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor."
During the king's apostasy, there were faithful men who remained true to their trust, maintaining their allegiance to purity and loyalty. Many, however, were led astray by his example, and the forces of evil that were set in operation as the result of the introduction of idolatry and worldly practises, could not easily be stayed by the penitent king after his return to God. His influence for good was broken. Many hesitated to place full confidence in his leadership.
How sad the thought that the far-reaching influence of Solomon's apostasy could never be fully counteracted! The king confessed his sins, and wrote out, for the benefit of after generations, a record of his folly and repentance; but he could never hope to destroy the baleful influence of his evil deeds. Emboldened by his apostasy, many continued to do evil, and evil only. And in the downward course of many of the rulers that followed him, may be traced the sad influence of the prostitution of his God-given powers.
Among the manifold lessons that we may learn from Solomon's life, none are more plainly taught than the power of influence for good or for ill. However contracted may be one's sphere, he exerts an influence. That our influence should be a savor of death unto death, is a fearful thought, yet this is possible. One soul misled--forfeiting eternal bliss--who can estimate the loss! And yet one rash act, one thoughtless word, on our part, may exert so deep an influence on the life of another that it will prove the ruin of his soul! One blemish on the character may turn many away from Christ.
God calls for strong, brave Christians, whose influence is always exerted for the right. His cause needs men and women whose every word and act draws those around them to Christ, binding them to him by the persuasive force of loving service. Men and women who commune with God, who, because they cooperate with the heavenly angels, are surrounded by a holy influence, are needed at this time.
It is only through the grace of God that we can make a right use of our influence. There is nothing in us of ourselves by which we can influence others for good. If we realize our helplessness, and our need of divine power, we shall not trust to ourselves. We know not what results a day, an hour, or a moment may determine, and never should we begin the day without committing our ways to our Heavenly Father. His angels are appointed to watch over us, and if we put ourselves under their guardianship, then in every time of danger they will be at our right hand. When unconsciously we are in danger of exerting a wrong influence, the angels will be by our side, prompting us to a better course, choosing words for us, and influencing our actions. Thus our influence may be a silent, unconscious, but mighty power in drawing others to Christ and the heavenly world. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #8)
The life of Solomon is full of warning, not only to the youth, but to those of mature years and to the aged, those who are descending the hill of life and facing the western sun. We see and hear of unsteadiness in youth,--the young wavering between right and wrong, and the current of evil passions proving too strong for them. But we do not look for unsteadiness and unfaithfulness in those of mature years; we expect the character to be established, the principles to be firmly rooted. In many cases this is so, but there are exceptions, as with Solomon. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." When Solomon should have been in character as a sturdy oak, he fell from his stedfastness under the power of temptation. When his strength should have been the firmest, he was found the weakest of men.
From such examples as this we should learn that watchfulness and prayer are the only safety for either young or old. A man is not one whit the safer because he occupies an exalted position, and has been given great privileges. Those who for many years have enjoyed a genuine Christian experience, are, nevertheless, still exposed to Satan's attacks, and are liable to fall into grievous sins. In the battle with inward corruptions and outward temptations, even the wise and powerful Solomon was vanquished. His failure reveals to us that, whatever a man's intellectual qualities may be, and however faithfully he may have served the Lord in past years, he can never with safety venture to trust in his own wisdom and integrity.
Whenever man accomplishes anything in spiritual or temporal lines, he should bear in mind that he does it only through the grace and cooperation of his Maker. When left to himself, man reveals his natural temperament; selfishness appears; human wisdom occupies the throne of the heart. But those who make God their efficiency, realize their own weakness, and the Lord supplies them with his wisdom. As day by day they depend upon God, carrying out his will with humility and wholeheartedness and strictest integrity, they increase in knowledge and ability. By willing obedience they show reverence and honor to God, and are honored by him.
From the beginning there has been opposition between the forces of good and evil. God declares, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
Man vainly attempted to exalt himself by following his own way, in harmony with Satan's temptation, and in opposition to the will of God. He thus gained a knowledge of evil, but he gained it at the cost of his loyalty; and his disobedience opened the floodgates of woe upon our world. Ever since, men have been trying to exalt themselves by the same means. When will they learn that the only way to true exaltation is the path of obedience? Men's plans may seem to them to be exceedingly wise, but there is safety for those only who walk in accordance with a "Thus saith the Lord."
The originator of evil, Satan comes with stealthy tread, presenting plausible theories to the people of God, telling them that if they do this or that, even though it may be questionable, they will gain great advantage, and the end will justify the means. He tries to persuade them that the eating of the forbidden fruit will be to them a source of great good. When men listen to him, the spiritual insight is dimmed, and the power of distinguishing between good and evil is lost.
Nothing has been so difficult for the people of God to learn as loyalty to the pure, elevated, unselfish principles of heaven. And as a result, sin and suffering make up a large part of their history. The words spoken to Daniel by the angel are positive: "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand." Satan, as a strong man armed, is continually on the watch, seeking to bring in questionable methods, and thereby mar the work of God. He would be well pleased to eclipse the brightness of God's principles by the selfishness of the principles on which he works. If he possibly can, he will tarnish the pure gold of character. If he can place the false where the true should be, his object is gained.
Shall we give heed to the warning of Solomon's apostasy, and shun the first approach to those sins that overcame him who was called the wisest of men? In these days of peril, nothing but obedience will keep man from apostasy. God has bestowed on man great light and many blessings. But unless this light and these blessings are received, they are no security against disobedience and apostasy. When those whom God has exalted to positions of high trust turn from him to human wisdom, their light becomes darkness, and how great is that darkness! Their entrusted capabilities are a snare to them. They become an offense to God. There can be no mockery of God without the sure result.
Till the conflict is ended, there always will be a departing from God. Satan will so shape circumstances that unless we are kept by divine power, they will almost imperceptibly weaken the fortifications of the soul. We need to inquire at every step, "Is this the way of the Lord?" As long as life shall last, there is need of guarding the affections and the passions with a firm purpose. Not one moment can we be secure only as we are relying upon God, the life hid with Christ in God. The safeguards of our purity must be watchfulness and prayer. We must do nothing to lower the standard of our religious principles.
Notwithstanding the warnings that God has given in his Word and through his messengers, many have closed their eyes to danger, and have gone on in their own way, infatuated, deluded by Satan, until they fall under his temptations. Then they abandon themselves to despair. This was the history of Solomon. But even for him there was help. He truly repented of his course of sin, and found hope. Let none venture into sin as he did, in the hope that they, too, may recover themselves. Sin can be indulged only at the peril of infinite loss.
All who enter the city of God, enter there through the strait gate,--through agonizing effort. But none who have fallen need give themselves up to despair. Aged men, once honored of God, may have defiled their souls, sacrificing virtue on the altar of lust; but there is still hope for them if they repent, forsake sin, and turn to God. He who has so graciously declared, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life," has also inspired the invitation, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." God hates sin, but he loves the penitent, and declares, "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely."
"Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight."
"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." "Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart." "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."
"My beloved brethren," the apostle Paul wrote, "be ye stedfast, unmovable." God desires us to "hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end." "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #9)
The truth for this time is to be proclaimed to all peoples, all nations. The question before us is, How shall this work be done? Shall we take hold of it listlessly and indifferently, doing it as a routine, or shall we enter into it with the same spirit in which Christ entered into it, putting into its accomplishment every power of mind and body?
If we take up this work as drudgery, failing to remember that it is the Lord's work, which we are to do to his name's glory, to bring light to those in darkness, we shall not find much satisfaction in the doing of it. Such service is a mere form. The hand and mind work in a formal way, but the heart is not in it. Such service brings no refreshing to the worker; for he feels no real interest in it.
My brethren and sisters, take up this work as the Lord's work, doing it with thoughtfulness and patience. This is real service, which the Master will approve. Work with a clear sense of the obligation resting upon you, knowing that angels of God are present, to set the seal of heaven to faithfulness, and to condemn unfaithfulness in any form.
Taking hold courageously of the work that needs to be done, and putting the heart into it, makes the work a pleasure, and brings success. Thus God is glorified.
We each have a work to do. We may be of different nationalities, but we are to be one in Christ. If we allow peculiarities of character and disposition to separate us here, how can we hope to live together in heaven? We are to cherish love and respect for one another. There is to be among us the unity for which Christ prayed. We have been bought with a price, and we are to glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits.
When you are given a duty to perform, do not ask whether it will glorify you, or whether it will show your wisdom and judgment to be superior to that of your fellow workers. Take up the duty with an eye single to the glory of God, in living sympathy with the object to be gained. Hold communion with Christ in God, knowing that the work in which you are engaged has been given you by the Master, and that by its faithful performance you are to glorify him.
As you faithfully do your work, your mind will be assimilated to the mind of Christ. By prayer and supplication seek for the promised blessing. Ask God to give you a true comprehension of the work to be accomplished. Do not allow yourself to be drawn away or hindered by any counter-influence. Act faithfully your part in bringing blessing to your fellow men. Praise God for the privilege of cooperating with him in his work. As you put your whole heart into the work to be done, you will enter into true companionship with your fellow workers. You will see Christ in your brethren.
God does not mean you to look upon any work that he has given you as drudgery. Lift your hearts and voices in praise to him. All duties are irksome into which the heart is not brought. There is a great work to be done, and into the doing of this work we are to put our whole hearts. The duties that the Lord places in our way we are to perform, not as a cold, dreary exercise, but as a service of love. Bring into your work your highest powers and sympathies, and you will find that Christ is in it. His presence will make the work light, and your heart will be filled with joy. You will work in harmony with God, and in loyalty and love and fidelity.
We are to be sincere, earnest Christians, doing faithfully the work placed in our hands, and looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Our reward is not dependent upon our seeming success, but upon the Spirit in which our work is done. As canvassers or evangelists, you may not have had the success you have prayed for, but remember that you do not know and can not measure the result of faithful effort.
Let the fear of God influence you, not the fear of man. Use all the tact and skill at your command in giving the truth to those who know it not. Remember that all around you there are souls perishing in sin. Be as true as steel to principle, and put your whole heart into the work of winning souls to Christ. Speak and act in such a way that at the last great day Christ can say to you. "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."
An advance work is to be done in our conferences. Our churches are to be aroused to take up aggressive warfare. We are to consecrate soul and body to God. We are to hunt and fish for souls. We are God's witnesses, and every power of the being is to be put to use in his service. Sing his praises. Pray with and for souls. So order your life and conversation that through association with you souls will be convicted and converted. Do not forget that every worker needs a daily conversion, a daily fitting up for service. Let Christ dwell in your hearts by faith. Give back to God his treasures. Distribute his bounties. Learn daily of Christ, that your hearts may be meek and lowly. Remember that the Lord has rich blessings for all who will lay hold upon him.
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." The powers of the whole being are to be employed in unselfish service. Every talent is to be used. Improve the future better than you have the past. Put your talents out to the exchangers; for Christ is hungry for souls.
The Lord's workers are now to exercise every capability in preparing for his coming. We are to work while the day lasts; for the night cometh, in which no man can work. Let every one seek to prepare the King's highway. Take up the stumblingblocks. Show that you are God's property. The heart is to be purified from all dross. The thoughts and affections are to be brought into obedience to the Lord's will.
I speak to our church members in every place. You must reach a higher standard of consecration to God. If you will seek the Lord, putting away all evil speaking and all selfishness, and continuing instant in prayer, the Lord will draw nigh to you. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that will give efficacy to your efforts and your appeals. Humble yourselves before God, that in his strength you may rise to a higher standard.
We have no time to lose. Every moment is precious. We know not how soon our cases may pass in review before God. Brethren and sisters, for Christ's sake purify your souls by obeying the truth, that you may have clear spiritual discernment. Leave not one duty undone. Arise and move forward on your upward march. Can you afford to be careless and indifferent, at the risk of losing heaven? Wake up, wake up! You need keen perceptions, that you may understand how to be laborers together with God. Let there be no uncertainty. Postpone no duty. Work to the point. Error of every species will come in, and unless your mind is clear, unless you know and practise the truth, Satan will take advantage of you, and you will be led away by his sophistries. You must know the meaning of practical godliness. Our only safety is union with Christ. If you are abiding in him, the fruit you bear will be unto righteousness.
There is to be deep searching of heart. Ask yourselves, "On what foundation am I building?" We are to live Christlike lives. Not a thread of selfishness is to be woven into the pattern. Christ is to be our all and in all. By the sanctification that he gives, we are to bear witness to the world that we are children of God.
Take deep drafts of the water of life. Then you will flourish in the Lord. A great work is to be done in a short time. Arouse the energies of your soul, and work for time and for eternity. Put all that you have and are into this glorious enterprise, saying, "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset, and run with patience the race set before you. Press on toward perfection. Then you will have success in your service. The message that you bear will be a living message; for you will be filled with the earnestness of the Spirit. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #10)
The Lord is a God of knowledge. In his Word, he is represented as weighing men, their development of character and all their motives, whether they be good or evil. Hannah, the mother of Samuel, the child granted her by God in answer to her earnest petition, said, "The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed." David declared, "Men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity." Isaiah said, "Thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just." Solomon wrote, "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits."
It is for the eternal interest of every one to search his own heart, and to improve every God-given faculty. Let all remember that there is not a motive in the heart of any man that the Lord does not clearly see. The motives of each one are weighed as carefully as if the destiny of the human agent depended upon this one result. We need a connection with divine power, that we may have an increase of clear light and an understanding of how to reason from cause to effect. We need to have the powers of the understanding cultivated, by our being partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Let each one consider carefully the solemn truth, God in heaven is true, and there is not a design, however intricate, nor a motive, however carefully hidden, that he does not clearly understand. He reads the secret devisings of every heart. Men may plan out crooked actions for the future, thinking that God does not understand; but in that great day when the books are opened, and every man is judged by the things written in the books, those actions will appear as they are.
David in the Psalms writes, "O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thoughts afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. . . .
"If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee."
The Lord sees and understands all dishonesty in planning, all unlawful appropriation in any degree of property or means, all injustice in man's dealing with his fellow men.
There are many who need now to consider the words, " Tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting."God's holy, everlasting, immutable law is the standard by which man is to be tried. This law defines what we shall do and what we shall not do, saying, Thou shalt, and, Thou shalt not. This law is summed up in the two great principles, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.."
This means just what it says. O how few will be prepared to meet the law of God in the great day of judgment! If the work of individual preparation for which the Lord calls were carried on in the home circle and in the church, how much suffering, how much sin, would be avoided!
My brethren, day and night, and especially in the night season, this matter is presented to me. " Tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." How do we stand before God at this time? We may be sincere, and yet greatly deceived. Saul of Tarsus was sincere when he was persecuting the church of Christ. "I verily thought," he declared, "that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus." He was sincere in his ignorance. But after Christ had revealed himself to him, he declared, "What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord."
If we are not cleansed by the blood of Christ, we are altogether wanting. We know that there is no one, however earnestly he may be striving to do his best, who can say, "I have no sin." He who would say this would be under a dangerous deception. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." How then can we escape the charge, "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting"? We are to look to Christ. At infinite cost he has covenanted to be our representative in the heavenly courts, our advocate before God.
Weighed in the balances, and found wanting. Man, weighed against God's holy law, is found wanting. We are enlightened by the precepts of the law, but no man can by them be justified. Weighed and found wanting is our inscription by nature. But Christ is our Mediator, and accepting him as our Saviour, we may claim the promise, "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
"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. 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.
"Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had 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. 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.
"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. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. 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.
"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. 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.
"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. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth."
How important that we, living as we are at the very close of this earth's history, should be very careful to put away our own individual sins, so that we shall not grieve the heart of Christ. Let each one, old or young, be faithful in dealing with himself, lest he shall stumble along in darkness, making grievous mistakes, and thus helping others to make mistakes.
"Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father; [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
"And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you in all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when we shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him."
He who denies the personality of God and of his Son Jesus Christ, is denying God and Christ. "If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father." If you continue to believe and obey the truths you first embraced regarding the personality of the Father and the Son, you will be joined together with him in love. There will be seen that union for which Christ prayed just before his trial and crucifixion:--
"That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
Christ is glorified in his saints. He, the propitiation for their sins, will be glorified in all who believe in him as their Saviour, all who commit themselves and their interests to his guidance. They are on Christ's side, known by the manifestation that Christ makes through them of his power to save. They obtain victory after victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. They are made perfect in their victory through Christ. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #11)
"Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer; preserve my life from fear of the enemy. Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: that they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them? They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep.
"But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded. So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away. And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing. The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory."
This scripture will be literally fulfilled. Everything is to be shaken that can be shaken, that those things that can not be shaken may remain. I am amazed as I consider the past, present, and future of the people of God. The Lord will have a pure, holy people,--a people who will stand the test. Every believer needs now to search his heart as with a lighted candle.
We may well ask the question asked by the lawyer, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Christ said unto him, "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" The answer came, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." And Christ said, "Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live."
The Sinner's Only Hope.--"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." God is our creator, benefactor, preserver. The author of all good, he is able to fulfil his purpose in the creation of human beings.
The wickedness that fills our world is the result of Adam's refusal to take God's word as supreme. He disobeyed, and fell under the temptation of the enemy. "Sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." God declared, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." And, apart from the plan of redemption, human beings are doomed to death. "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." But Christ gave his life to save the sinner from the death sentence. He died that we might live. To those who receive him he gives power that enables them to separate from that which, unless they return to their loyalty, will place them where they must be condemned and punished.
Christ is the sinner's only hope. By his death he brought salvation within the reach of all. Through his grace all may become loyal subjects of God's kingdom. Only by his sacrifice could salvation be brought within man's reach. This sacrifice has made it possible for men and women to fulfil the conditions laid down in the councils of heaven.
Christ came to this earth and lived a life of perfect obedience, that men and women, through his grace, might also live lives of perfect obedience. This is necessary to their salvation. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.
Before us is held out the wonderful possibility of being like Christ--obedient to all the principles of the law of God. But of ourselves we are utterly powerless to attain to this condition. All that is good in man comes to him through Christ. The holiness that God's Word declares we must have before we can be saved is the result of the working of divine grace as we bow in submission to the discipline and restraining influence of the Spirit of truth.
Man's obedience can be made perfect only by the incense of Christ's righteousness, which fills with divine fragrance every act of true obedience. The part of the Christian is to persevere in overcoming every fault. Constantly he is to pray to the Saviour to heal the disorders of his diseased soul. He has not the wisdom and strength without which he can not overcome. They belong to the Lord, and he bestows them on those who in humiliation and contrition seek him for help.
The work of transformation from unholiness to holiness is a continuous work. Day by day God labors for man's sanctification, and man is to cooperate with him by putting forth persevering efforts in the cultivation of right habits. The way in which we are to work out our own salvation is plainly specified in the first chapter of Second Peter. Constantly we are to add grace to grace, and as we do this, God will work for us upon the plan of multiplication. He is always ready to hear and answer the prayer of the contrite heart, and grace and peace are multiplied to his faithful ones. Gladly he grants them the blessings that they need in their struggle against the evils that beset them. Those who listen to the counsels of his Word shall not want any good thing.
The reason that many who once knew and loved the Saviour are now in darkness, wandering far from him, is because in self-confidence and self-sufficiency they have followed their own inclinations. They walked not in the way of the Lord--the only way of peace and happiness. By disobedience they cut themselves off from receiving his blessings, when by obedience they might have gone forward in his strength.
The abundant evidence given by God that he desires the salvation of all, will be the condemnation of those who refuse the gift of heaven. At the last great day, when all will be rewarded or punished according to their obedience or disobedience, the cross of Calvary will appear plainly before those standing before the Judge of all the earth to receive sentence for eternity. They are made capable of comprehending something of the love that God has expressed for fallen human beings. They see how greatly he has been dishonored by those who have continued in transgression, choosing sides with Satan, and showing contempt for the law of Jehovah. They see that obedience to this law would have brought them life and health, prosperity and eternal good.
Today angels are sent to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. to help them to escape from the thraldom of Satan's power, and stand as faithful volunteers in the army of him who in their behalf came to this world and endured suffering and affliction. Each human being is given the freedom of choice. It is his to decide whether he will stand under the black banner of rebellion, or under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel. With deep solicitude heaven watches the conflict between good and evil. None but the obedient can enter the gates of the city of God. Upon those who choose to continue in transgression, the death sentence must at last be pronounced. The earth will be purified from their misdoings, their defiance of God.
"Yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be." "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. . . . They shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts."
Those who refuse to conform their characters to the divine similitude can never enter the city of God. They have cut themselves off from the happiness, and hope, and peace, and joy that might have been theirs. Had they accepted the grace of Christ, they would have been made strong to resist the temptations of the enemy; and they would at last have been received into the holy city as sons and daughters of God, to be eternally blessed, to live a life measuring with the life of God.
But the mournful words that God spoke of Israel, he will be obliged to speak of many, many living on the earth today: "My people would not harken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels." God would have rejoiced to number them with the saints in light, but he could not; for they refused all his invitations and appeals. He says, "O that my people had harkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured forever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee."
The Divine Standard of Character.--God's law is the transcript of his character, and those only who obey this law will be accepted by him. Every departure from obedience to the law of God is rebellion. It is for the highest interest of man to obey the law of God; for conformity to the principles of this law is essential to the formation of a righteous character. The rules of life that the Lord has given will make men pure and happy and holy. Those only who obey these rules can hear from the lips of Christ the words, "Come up higher."
Idolaters are condemned by the word of God. Their folly consists in trusting in self for salvation, in bowing down to the works of their own hands. God classes as idolaters those who trust in their own wisdom, their own devising, depending for success on their riches and power, striving to strengthen themselves by alliance with men whom the world calls great, but who fail to discern the binding claims of his law.
God will more than fulfil the highest expectations of those who put their trust in him. He desires us to remember that when we are humble and contrite, we stand where he can and will manifest himself to us. He is well pleased when we urge past mercies and blessings as a reason why he should bestow on us higher and greater blessings. He is honored when we love him, and bear testimony to the genuineness of our love by keeping his commandments. He is honored when we set apart the seventh day as sacred and holy. To those who do this the Sabbath is a sign, "that they might know," God declares, "that I am the Lord that sanctify them." Sanctification means habitual communion with God. There is nothing so great and powerful as God's love for those who are his children. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #12)
I have a decided message from the Lord for the people who claim to believe the truth for this time. I can but present before them their danger. There are many who, though members of the church, are unconverted, having lost their first love. God will not accept any excuse for backsliding, for continuing in a cold, lifeless condition spiritually. Christ has given every encouragement for his disciples to grow in grace. "Come unto me," he says, "all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
If you remain servants of sin, the result of the consequence will rest upon you; for you have had light. We are not to turn from the One mighty in counsel to ask guidance of men. Let those who are inclined to do this read and receive the Bible as the word of God to them. The Bible is the voice of God to his people. As we study the living oracles, we are to remember that God is speaking to his people out of his Word. We are to make this Word the man of our counsel. "Search the Scriptures," Christ said; "for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." If we realized the importance of searching the Scriptures, how much more diligently we would study them! With awe we would take up the inspired Word, and with earnest desire search its pages, beginning a new life of genuine experience in the things of God. The Scriptures would be read and studied as the sure evidence of God's will concerning us.
The Bible is to be studied with special interest; for it contains the most valuable information that finite beings can have, pointing out the way in which we are to prepare for the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven, putting away sin, and putting on the white robes of character that will give us entrance into the mansions that Christ told his disciples he was going to prepare for them. "If I go" away, he said, "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
If we do not receive the Word of God as food for the soul, we shall miss the greatest treasure that has been prepared for men and women; for the Word is a message to each and every soul. Christ declares that those who make its truths a part of their lives are eating his flesh and drinking his blood. If obeyed, it gives spiritual life and strength. The pure, spiritual current that enters the life in a living experience is eternal life to the receiver.
God's Word is our light. It is Christ's message to his heritage, who have been bought with the price of his blood. It was written for our guidance, and if we make this Word our counselor, we shall never walk in strange paths. Our words, whether we are in the home or associating with those outside the home, will be kind, affectionate, and pure. If we study the Word, and make it a part of our lives, we shall have a wholesome experience, which will always speak forth the truth. We shall search our hearts diligently, comparing our daily speech and tenor of life with the Word, that we may make no mistake. With the example of Christ Jesus before us, none need make a failure of the lifework.
In our daily experience, we shall be safe in criticizing ourselves in the light of the great moral standard of righteousness which never changes. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul," and when we bring our lives into harmony with the life of Christ, it will be seen that we are eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. The spiritual life is built up from the food given to the mind; and if we eat the food provided in the Word of God, spiritual and mental health will be the result.
Eternal interests are involved in this matter. From a diligent study and faithful practise of the principles of the Word of God, we shall obtain the highest of all education. The Word must not be neglected for other interests. No other food can build up the spiritual life. My brethren and sisters, do not depend upon minister or physician to create your experience for you. The Word of God is to be your counselor. I am deeply in earnest, because this instruction, in most forcible words, has been given me to give to our church members.
We are each deciding our eternal destiny, and it rests wholly with us whether we shall gain eternal life. Shall we live the lessons given in the Word of God, Christ's great lesson book? It is the grandest, and yet the most simply arranged and easily understood study book ever provided for human beings. It is the only book that will prepare men and women for the life that measures with the life of God.
Christ is the only judge of the fitness of human beings to receive eternal life. The gates of the holy city will open to those who are humble, meek, lowly followers of his, those who learn in his school, and receive from him the eternal life insurance policy, forming characters after the divine similitude.
One night I was standing before a congregation, calling their attention to the way to obtain the life insurance policy by living upon the plan of addition. Read the first chapter of Second Peter. I now call upon all who desire to obtain the eternal life insurance policy to take the Word of God as their guide. Let them not listen to the words of men who are not studying the Word with the determined purpose of carrying out the principles of the teaching of Christ, but who have come to suppose that they can be a law to themselves. If those who suppose this continue to carry on the same kind of character building that they have carried on, they will at last find themselves outside the gates of the city, with that company who think that they can take the city, and hold it as their property, though they have no right to it. They are disqualified by disobedience for being received into the kingdom of God as loyal citizens.
Let all who shall read these words, all to whose notice they shall come, remember that they are truth,--a solemn, earnest warning. I know that in the hearts of our people there is a large work to be done. O how grateful I should be if I could see a deep, thorough work accomplished in the hearts of all! Purification of soul is needed. Let us begin at once to take out of our hearts the root of bitterness. Let us consider the time in which we are living, the nearness of the end, and the work that God expects us to do. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #13)
There are many in this age of the world who act as if they were at liberty to question the words of the Infinite, to review his decisions and statutes, indorsing, revising, reshaping, and annulling at their pleasure. We are never safe while we are guided by human opinions, but we are safe when we are guided by a "Thus saith the Lord." We can not trust the salvation of our souls to any lower standard than the decisions of an infallible Judge. Those who make God their guide and his word their counselor, behold the lamp of life. God's living oracles guide their feet in straight paths. Those who are thus led do not dare to judge the word of God, but ever hold that his word judges them. They get their faith and religion from the word of the living God. It is the guide and counselor that directs their path. The word is indeed a light to their feet and a lamp to their path. They walk under the direction of the Father of light, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. He whose tender mercies are over all his works makes the path of the just as a shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
The word of God is to be our spiritual food. "I am the bread of life, Christ said; "he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." The world is perishing for want of pure, unadulterated truth. Christ is the truth. His words are truth, and they have a greater value and a deeper significance than appears on the surface. All the sayings of Christ have a value beyond their unpretending appearance. Minds that are quickened by the Holy Spirit will discern the value of these sayings. They will discern the precious gems of truth, though they may be buried treasure.
How needful for all who are workers in the cause of God to ponder these things, that they may guard against self-sufficiency. If men are self-sufficient, the Lord leaves them to their own human wisdom. We are not to trust in self, or make self our god. Pride, selfishness, and all desire for self-exaltation place human agents in a position where the Holy Spirit can not work with them. In no case can the Holy Spirit cooperate with the methods and plans of self-sufficient men. It is not for any one to seek to be a great preacher or a wonderful evangelist. All who realize the dignity and elevated character of the message they bear will hide in Christ, realizing that their security and efficiency come from God.
Men may turn from one doctrine to another, and yet know nothing of the meaning of the words, "A new heart also will I give you." Accepting new theories merely does not bring new life into the soul, even though the church that is entered may be established on the true foundation. A connection with the church does not take the place of conversion. To have one's name placed on the church roll is not of the least value unless the heart is truly changed.
This question is a serious one, and should be fully entered into, and its meaning realized. Men may be members of a church. Apparently they may work religiously, performing a round of prescribed duties from year to year, and still remain unconverted. There are those who write in regard to religious matters. But although they delight to do this work in defense of Christianity, they may yet be unconverted. A man may preach pleasing, entertaining sermons, but he may be far from Christ as regards genuine experience. He may be self-sufficient, and exalted to the pinnacle of greatness, yet never have experienced the inward work of grace that transforms the character. Such a one is deceived by his connection and familiarity with the sacred truths of the gospel, which have reach the intellect, but have gone no deeper. The truth has not been brought into the inner sanctuary of the soul.
By his conscience every honest Jew was convinced that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, but the heart, in its pride and ambition, would not surrender. When the truth is held as the truth only by the conscience, when the heart is not stimulated and made receptive, the mind only is affected. But when the truth is received as truth by the heart, it has passed through the conscience and captivated the soul by its pure principles. It is placed in the heart by the Holy Spirit, who reveals its beauty to the mind, that its transforming power may be seen in the character.
Unless a man is renewed in the spirit of his mind by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, he will become restless and dissatisfied, because he has not died to self. "Come unto me," Christ said, "all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Again Christ says, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Without me ye can do no good thing, any more than could Cain. Of what advantage is any system of religion to one who has not been transformed in character by the Holy Spirit's power. It is as saying without doing. It is a confession of faith, without works.
He who really believes the truth will live a life of unselfishness; for the truth is elevating, refining, and sanctifying in its influence. The true minister of the gospel will not stand before the people to speak smooth words, to cry, Peace and safety. He realizes the dangers that threaten the soul, and he presents the truth as it is in Jesus. The truth comes from his lips clear, plain, decided, as if he fully believed that the words spoken will be a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. The words of the minister who knows that he has the Spirit and power of God, will awaken the conscience of his hearers.
Truth must become truth to the receiver, to all intents and purposes. It must be stamped on the heart. "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." This is the service that God accepts. Nothing short of this is hunted by him as pure and undefiled religion. The heart is the citadel of the being, and until that is wholly on the Lord's side, the enemy will gain constant victories over us through his subtle temptations.
If the life is given into its control, the power of the truth is unlimited. The thoughts are brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. From the treasure of the heart are brought forth appropriate and fitting words. Writing to Timothy, Paul says, "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us."
"All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution," he says again. But this should not intimidate one soul. What can give such sunshine to the soul as the evidence of sins forgiven? What can impart true nobility if it is not the restoration of the moral image of God in man? Whence can peace come to the soul if not from the Prince of Peace? To what source can we look for help but to him who can give us light in the midst of darkness?
Christ has promised to send us the Comforter, whose work it is to establish the kingdom of God in the soul. Full and abundant is the provision that has been made that we may have mercy, grace, and peace. Why, then, do human beings act as if they entertained the idea that the truth is a yoke of bondage?--It is because the heart has never tasted and seen that the Lord is good. The soul that cherishes the love of Christ is full of freedom, light, and joy in Christ. In such a soul there are no divided thoughts. The whole man yearns after God. He goes not to men for counsel, to know what is duty, but to the Lord Jesus, the Source of all wisdom. He searches the Word of God, that he may find out what standard has been set up.
Can we ever find a surer guide than the Lord Jesus? True religion is embodied in the Word of God, and consists in being under the guidance of the Holy One in thought, word, and deed. He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, takes the humble, earnest, wholehearted seeker, and says, Follow me. He leads him in the narrow way to holiness and heaven. Christ has opened this path for us at great cost to himself. We are not left to stumble our way along in darkness. Jesus is at our right hand, proclaiming, "I am the Way." And all who decide to follow the Lord fully will be led in the royal path, yea more, in the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in.
God calls upon his people to reveal him. Shall the world manifest principles of integrity that the church does not maintain? Shall a selfish desire to be first be shown by the followers of Christ? Shall not the principles cherished by them be unselfish, laid upon the true foundation, even Christ Jesus? What material shall we bring to the foundation? Shall we bring wood, hay, and stubble, or gold, silver, and precious stones? Shall we not distinguish sharply between the chaff and the wheat? Shall we not realize that we must receive the Holy Spirit in our hearts, that it may mold and fashion the daily life? Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #14)
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth."
This chapter delineates the character and importance of the work of Christ. As one who understands his subject, John ascribes all power to Christ, and speaks of his greatness and majesty. He flashes forth divine rays of precious truth, as light from the sun. He presents Christ as the only Mediator between God and humanity.
The doctrine of the incarnation of Christ in human flesh is a mystery, "even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations." It is the great and profound mystery of godliness. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." Christ took upon himself human nature, a nature inferior to his heavenly nature. Nothing so shows the wonderful condescension of God as this. He "so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son." John presents this wonderful subject with such simplicity that all may grasp the ideas set forth, and be enlightened.
Christ did not make believe take human nature; he did verily take it. He did in reality possess human nature. "As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same." He was the son of Mary; he was of the seed of David according to human descent. He is declared to be a man, even the Man Christ Jesus. "This Man," writes Paul, "was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honor than the house."
But while God's Word speaks of the humanity of Christ when upon this earth, it also speaks decidedly regarding his pre-existence. The Word existed as a divine being, even as the eternal Son of God, in union and oneness with his Father. From everlasting he was the Mediator of the covenant, the one in whom all nations of the earth, both Jews and Gentiles, if thy accepted him, were to be blessed. "The Word was with God, and the Word was God." Before men or angels were created, the Word was with God, and was God.
The world was made by him, "and without him was not anything made that was made." If Christ made all things, he existed before all things. The words spoken in regard to this are so decisive that no one need be left in doubt. Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity, God over all, blessed forevermore.
The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of the angels was received by him as his right. This was no robbery of God. "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way," he declares, "before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth; while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth."
There are light and glory in the truth that Christ was one with the Father before the foundation of the world was laid. This is the light shining in a dark place, making it resplendent with divine, original glory. This truth, infinitely mysterious in itself, explains other mysterious and otherwise unexplainable truths, while it is enshrined in light, unapproachable and incomprehensible.
"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." "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." Here the pre-existence of Christ and the purpose of his manifestation to our world are presented as living beams of light from the eternal throne. "Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." "We preach Christ crucified," declares Paul, "unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."
That God should thus be manifest in the flesh is indeed a mystery; and without the help of the Holy Spirit we can not hope to comprehend this subject. The most humbling lesson that man has to learn is the nothingness of human wisdom, and the folly of trying, by his own unaided efforts, to find out God. He may exert his intellectual powers to the utmost, he may have what the world calls a superior education, yet he may still be ignorant in God's eyes. The ancient philosophers boasted of their wisdom; but how did it weigh in the scale with God? Solomon had great learning; but his wisdom was foolishness; for he did not know how to stand in moral independence, free from sin, in the strength of a character molded after the divine similitude. Solomon has told us the result of his research, his painstaking efforts, his persevering inquiry. He pronounces his wisdom altogether vanity.
By wisdom the world knew not God. Their estimation of the divine character, their imperfect knowledge of his attributes, did not enlarge and expand their mental conception. Their minds were not ennobled in conformity to the divine will, but they plunged into the grossest idolatry. "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things." This is the worth of all requirements and knowledge apart from Christ.
"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life," Christ declares; "no one cometh unto the Father, but by me." Christ is invested with power to give life to all creatures. "As the living Father hath sent me," he says, "and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. . . .It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." Christ is not here referring to his doctrine, but to his person, the divinity of his character. "Verily verily, I say unto you," he says again, "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man."
God and Christ knew from the beginning, of the apostasy of Satan and of the fall of Adam through the deceptive power of the apostate. The plan of salvation was designed to redeem the fallen race, to give them another trial. Christ was appointed to the office of Mediator from the creation of God, set up from everlasting to be our substitute and surety. Before the world was made, it was arranged that the divinity of Christ should be enshrouded in humanity. "A body," said Christ, "hast thou prepared me." But he did not come in human form until the fulness of time had expired. Then he came to our world, a babe in Bethlehem.
No one born into the world, not even the most gifted of God's children, has ever been accorded such demonstration of joy as greeted the Babe born in Bethlehem. Angels of God sang his praises over the hills and plains of Bethlehem. "Glory to God in the highest," they sang, "and on earth peace, good will toward men." O that today the human family could recognize this song! The declaration then made, the note then struck, the tune then started, will swell and extend to the end of time, and resound to the ends of the earth. It is glory to God, it is peace on earth, good will to men. When the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings, the song then started in the hills of Bethlehem will be re-echoed by the voice of a great multitude, as the voice of many waters, saying, "Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."
By his obedience to all the commandments of God, Christ wrought out a redemption for man. This was not done by going out of himself to another, but by taking humanity into himself. Thus Christ gave to humanity an existence out of himself. To bring humanity into Christ, to bring the fallen race into oneness with divinity, is the work of redemption. Christ took human nature that men might be one with him as he is one with the Father, that God may love man as he loves his only begotten Son, that men may be partakers of the divine nature, and be complete in him.
The Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the only begotten Son of God, binds the human agent, body, soul, and spirit, to the perfect, divine-human nature of Christ. This union is represented by the union of the vine and the branches. Finite man is united to the manhood of Christ. Through faith human nature is assimilated with Christ's nature. We are made one with God in Christ. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #15)
Let not those connected with the Master's service look to men of large ability to do their work for them. God stands behind the one who does his best. Let the workers rely on divine power, and God will impress the hearts of those for whom they labor. Great good may be accomplished by the sincere, humble worker, who realizes that success does not depend on appearances, but on the One who has given him his commission.
The reason that the number of workers is so much smaller than it should be is that men are looking at their supposed weakness, and putting their trust in those whose appearance and capabilities will, they suppose, bring success. Thus spiritual consumption is brought into the church, and souls are dying because the spiritual lifeblood is poisoned. Men have depended on men till they are strengthless.
God desires a different mold placed on his work. Let men go forth to labor, trusting in the Lord, and he will go with them, convicting and converting souls. One worker may be a ready speaker, another a ready writer; another may have the gift of sincere, earnest, fervent prayer, another the gift of singing. Another may have special power to explain the word of God with clearness. And each gift is to become a power for God because he cooperates with the worker. To one God gives the word of wisdom, to another knowledge, to another faith. But all are to work under the same Head. The diversity of gifts leads to a diversity of operations, "but it is the same God which worketh all in all."
Let no man despise the supposed lesser gifts. Let all go to work. Let no one fold his hands in unbelief because he thinks that he can do no mighty work. Cease looking at self. Look to your Leader. In meekness, sincerity, and love do what you can. Do your best in faith, and out of weakness you shall be made strong. God will certainly bless wholehearted workers.
The world is enshrouded in the darkness of error. Satan and his angels are urging on their warfare against the truth. We must have help. But the help we need will not come from human beings. We must look to him who has said, "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." "These signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
Claim this promise, instead of going to men for help. There stands among you the Mighty Counselor of the ages, inviting you to place your confidence in him. Shall we turn from him to uncertain human beings, who are as wholly dependent on God as we ourselves are? Have we not fallen far below our privileges? Have we not been guilty of expecting so little that we have not asked for what God is longing to give?
In a variety of figures matters have been presented to me regarding the church members who are dwarfed in spirituality because they do not look to Jesus, their ever-present help in time of trouble. I see men bearing a heavy burden of responsibility, but they are not gaining the strength of hope and courage by exercising faith in God. The promise is, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." But when in trouble they think that they must go to earthly friends, telling them their troubles, and begging for help. Under trying circumstances, unbelief comes in, and the way seems dark. And all the time Jesus, the great Burden Bearer, stands beside them, saying, Come unto me, and I will give you the rest for which you are longing. Why do we turn from him?
My brethren and sisters, show more confidence in Jesus. Turn not from the waters of Lebanon to seek refreshing at broken cisterns, which can hold no water. Have faith in God. Praise him with heart and voice. God demands heart and life service. Reach higher and still higher, and catch divine rays from him who is light and peace and joy and gladness. Do not wait for some one more ready of speech, but do what you can in the meekness of the great Master, who gave his life for you, that his joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
There are many souls in the darkness of error. There is abundant work for all who know the truth. Approach the people in a persuasive, kindly manner, full of sympathy and love. Christ is ever passing by, with grace and power that will enable you to present the gospel of salvation. Reach out after the souls ready to perish. Call the attention of the people to the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
No human words can express the preciousness of the ministration of the Word and the Holy Spirit. No human tongue can portray to the finite mind the value of receiving by living faith the blessing that is given as Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. Many have a deep sense of need,--a need that earthly riches or pleasure can not supply; but they know not how to obtain that for which they are longing.
The gospel of Christ is from beginning to end a gospel of saving grace. It is a distinctive and controlling idea. It will be a help to the needy, light for eyes that are blind, and a guide to the souls seeking for the sure foundation. Full and everlasting salvation is within the reach of every soul. Christ is waiting and longing to speak pardon, and to impart the freely offered grace. He is watching and waiting, saying, as he said to the blind man at the gate of Jericho, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? I will take away your sins, and wash you in my blood.
In the highways and byways of life there are souls to be saved. The blind are groping in darkness. Give them the light, and God will bless your efforts.
Christ is our Leader. He presents before his soldiers the plan of the battle. He points out the imminent peril of the conflict, and enjoins every one to count the cost. As he shows us the preparation that we must make for the battle, he assures us that we shall have divine assistance. In our human weakness, we shall be enabled to do the deeds of omnipotence.
Christ takes his soldiers to an eminence, and shows them the vast confederacy arrayed against them. He reminds them that they are not warring against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. He reminds them that they are fighting for eternal life. The heavenly universe are marshaled for the conflict, with Christ, the Commander of the forces of heaven, at their head. Infirmities compass humanity, but in the strength that Christ gives, we may be more than conquerors. "Be of good cheer," he declares; "I have overcome the world."
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #16)
I have a positive message from the Lord to those who are standing as watchmen in the Lord's cause. There must be an earnest contending for the faith once delivered to the saints. If you weaken your presentation of evidence in regard to the dangers of the present time, you will lose an advantage that should be maintained. Hold fast to the One who has given you power to become the children of God. Let your life be hid with Christ in God. Satan is not dead. He is not indifferent or careless. He is working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness, striving to lead men and women to deny the faith and enter the path where he leads the way.
Many who profess godliness are asleep. They do not discern between righteousness and unrighteousness. Some have cherished unconsecrated traits of character till they are spiritually blind. O that every one would believe and live the truth as it is in Jesus! "Learn of me," said the greatest Teacher the world has ever known," and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." The lesson that every soul needs to learn is to copy the perfect pattern. The lessons of the King of peace, when practised, reveal that Christ's ways are ways of pleasantness and all his paths are peace.
Many who suppose that they are fitted to give counsel and instruction to others need first to learn from the Great Teacher what is truth. Many who think that they are wise enough to teach others are building upon a sandy foundation. Such need to offer to the Lord Jesus Christ the prayer, "Lord, teach me thy way." Obedience to the truth will sanctify the soul, making men and women Christlike in thought, word, and deed. The Lord calls for earnest, wholehearted, sensible men and women, whose habits and practices and ideas are brought into conformity to the Word, and who are ever ready to stand in defense of the truth.
"I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but . . . by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. . . . Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: to God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever." Rom. 16:17-27.
No Change in the Message.--I have been instructed that the messages given in the past are to be revived, and that it is essential that as brethren and sisters, we be joined together in the bonds of sacred union in the accomplishment of the work before us. The world knows very little of the truths that we believe, and in clear, straight lines the message for this time must be given to all the world. The message comes to me, "Wake up the watchmen. Let every one now come into working order."
Certain ones are presented before me, with a representation of their words and works and influence. I am not to retract one word of the message I have borne. My message is, "Be not deceived: God is not mocked." In the near future all will be judged. Very soon every hidden thing will be brought to light. O how untiringly the mystery of iniquity has worked! How many souls there are who will be lost as the result of the evil working of human agencies.
I am instructed that by pen and voice I must bear a straight, clear testimony, and that I must never call sin righteousness. The apostle declares, "And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."
The Lord permits the present condition of things to exist in order that those who have had an experience in proclaiming the truth may now rehearse the past experience of God's servants, and bring to the front the testimonies that are more valuable than gold.
"Be Strong in the Lord."--We are to do as we are instructed in the following scriptures:--
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Eph. 6:10-17.
"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. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Phil. 2:1-11.
"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." Verses 12-15.
Presenting the Evidences Received.--My brethren, the value of the evidences of truth that we have received during the past half century, is above estimate. These evidences are as treasure hidden in a field. Search for them. Study the Bible truths that for fifty years have been calling us out from the world. Present this evidence in clear, plain lines. Those who have been long in the truth, and those who have recently received the truth, must now dig for the buried heavenly treasure. Let every man work to the point. Study the Word of God. Revive the evidences given in the past. "Search the Scriptures," Christ said; "for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
Those who stand before the people as teachers of truth are to grapple with great themes. They are not to occupy precious time in talking of trivial subjects. Let them study the word, and preach the word. Let the word be in their hands as a sharp, two-edged sword. Let it testify to past truths, and show what is to be in the future.
Christ came from heaven to give to John the great, wonderful truths that are to shape our lives, and that by us are to be proclaimed to the world. We are to keep abreast of the times, bearing a clear, intelligent testimony, guided by the unction of the Holy Spirit.
A Plea for Unity.--One thing we must not do: we must not draw away from our brethren, ministers or physicians, who have been following the Lord, and who have demonstrated that the Lord is with them. To those standing at the head of the work I would say, Come close to your brethren. Do not pick up suppositions and make them facts. We need to use tenderness and true courtesy in our dealings with one another. We are to strive earnestly to win souls, and to remove the difficulties that are causing division.. The Lord forbid that we should neglect this part of the work. We are not to repel men, but to draw them to Christ. I bear this message to every one, Come close to the ones who are tempted, and try to remove the impressions made by the enemy.
The true work of grace in the heart will unite believers to Christ and to one another. They become partakers of the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust. They are one with Christ in God. And as he loves his Son, the Father loves the members of the fallen human race who are changed from sin to holiness.
This is the wonderful representation given in the prayer recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John. It is the privilege of men and women to have an enduring union with Christ, a union that opens to them the source of rich and eternal happiness, which outlives all earthly, sinful enjoyment.
Those who become one with Christ in God are under the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. Their lives blend with the life of Christ. True believers in Christ, his servants, chosen of God and precious, will speak and act in such a way as to reflect light, to the saving of many souls. They will receive power from God to become his children, accepted in the Beloved, acknowledged and rewarded as the purchase of the blood of Christ. They will receive their reward in the great day when every one is judged by the things written in the book.
I am instructed to say that we are to continue to stand on affirmative ground. Strong, decided testimonies in favor of the truth are to be borne, but we are to give no occasion for any one to charge us with being inconsiderate or unjust. We are to do all we possibly can to win souls to Christ. He went through the shame and agony of the death on the cross to save souls to whom Satan was holding out every inducement to allure them to his side. The Lord's standard bearers are to carry the work forward with power, yet in Christlike love for souls. They are to show a decided care for those who are being drawn away. They are to urge them to face about. They are to fight for the souls of those for whom Christ has died. Too often there is shown an inclination to stand apart from those who need to be helped. Let us remember that every soul that is led to return to the first love is a soul gained for Christ. Let us not pass on in indifference, leaving the tempted ones to become the prey of the enemy. We are to watch for souls as they that must give an account.
I say to all, Press together, press together. Be very critical in regard to yourselves, but exercise all the tenderness of Christ toward your brethren. I entreat the Lord's people to cease to criticize one another, and to give themselves to the proclamation of the truth for this time. The Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the earth, and drunkenness, insanity, revelry, and crime are rapidly increasing. There is before us a terrible crisis. The lives of many will go out in darkness. We need now to bow before God in true humility of soul; for the day of clouds and thick darkness is fast approaching.
The last great conflict is before us; but help is to come to all who love God and obey his law, and the earth, the whole earth, is to be lighted with the glory of God. "Another angel" is to come down from heaven. This angel represents the giving of the loud cry, which is to come from those who are preparing to cry mightily, with a strong voice, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.."
We have a testing message to give, and I am instructed to say to our people, Unify, unify. But we are not to unify with those who are departing from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. With our hearts sweet and kind and true, we are to go forth to proclaim the message, giving no heed to those who lead away from the truth.
Let those who shall read these lines wash their robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. We are to go forth under the Holy Spirit's guidance, studying how to save souls. We are to put our entire trust in the Lord Jesus, and pray and talk and work in faith. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #17)
God has instructed me to say to his people, ministers and lay members. "Take your stand on higher ground. Move steadily onward and upward in the path that Jesus trod. Do not trust in your own opinions. Sanctification through the truth is your only safety." The Lord God of Israel would have his people stand in his strength, and in his might, receiving to impart. He will uphold and sustain those who serve him with mind and heart and strength.
We need to understand what it means to put on Christ, what it means to have an experimental knowledge of the grace of Christ, and a continually increasing faith.
Speaking of the mystery "which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God," Paul says, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery; . . . to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be made known by the church the manifold wisdom of God." Not only to those living in this world, but to the principalities and powers in heavenly places is the church on this earth to reveal the glory of God.
A Royal Name.--God chose from among the Gentiles a people for himself, and gave to 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." "Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye: for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."
O that God's people would take him at his word, and lay hold of the wonderful treasure of knowledge opened to them! O that they could realize the simplicity of the faith and love that means so much to them!
Words of Instruction.--"The elders which are among you," Peter says, "I exhort, who also am an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory which shall be revealed." He who is chosen to fill the office of elder is not, because of this, to become self-exalted. Let him remember that the office does not make the man, but that before angels and before men he is to honor his office.
"Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock."
The teachers of the word of God are first to learn of Christ, that in spirit and word and act they may represent him.
"And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."
"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, . . . for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time." You may sometimes feel that you are wronged, abused, misjudged, but looking to Jesus, remember the words, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Our Example and Our Rule.--We have before us the highest, holiest example. In thought, word, and deed 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."
We have a perfect rule--the word of the living God. This word he has given us as our guide and counselor. The psalmist says, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." And in Paul's letter to Timothy we read, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
Christians, those who are to represent God in the world, are not to seek for doctrines that are new and strange. They are not to pry into the mysteries of the future life. Their part is to make their life in this world such as God can approve. They are to practise the lessons that God has given.
Different Instrumentalities.--God has not given to any one man all the knowledge and wisdom. He entrusts to different ones the different gifts needed for the accomplishment of the work to be done in this world.
When God gave Moses instruction regarding the building of the tabernacle, he said:--
"See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship. . . . And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee."
Many of God's people are to go forth with our publications into places where the third angel's message has never been proclaimed. The word of the canvasser-evangelist, whose heart is imbued with the Holy Spirit, is fraught with wonderful possibilities for good. The presentation of the truth, in love and simplicity, from house to house, is in harmony with the instruction that Christ gave his disciples when he sent them out on their first missionary tour. By songs of praise, humble, heartfelt prayers, and a simple presentation of truth in the family circle, many will be reached. The divine worker will be present to send conviction to hearts. "I am with you alway," is his promise. With the assurance of the abiding presence of such a helper, we may labor with faith and hope and courage.
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 to all 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 that 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 in the truth.
God has not placed any soul on the judgment seat. We are not to dissect the work and character of others. Each one has enough to do to attend to the work that has been given him. Every one is to bear his burden in the place where he has been appointed to labor, doing his work with the perfection that will give character and influence to the cause of God. This is what the Lord expects of every conference president. It is what he expects of every worker in every line, and of every church member. Each one is to stand at his post of duty. When God's people act their part, in their appointed places, there will come to them a freedom, a light, a power, that will enable them to endure the seeing of him who is invisible. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #18)
The warfare that began in heaven did not end there. When Satan was cast out, there were cast out with him a large number of angels whom by his sophistry he had led to rebel against God. They came to this earth, and the same deception by which Satan caused the fall of the angels, he practised upon Adam and Eve. They fell under his temptation, and ever since there has been waged an unceasing, desperate conflict between good and evil. This earth is the scene of the conflict, the field of the battle between the forces of Satan and the forces of Christ. Until the end there will be warfare between satanic agencies and those who accept Christ, those for whom he gave his life, that they might have power to obey the law of God. This conflict, which is outlined in the Word of God, concerns us individually, and in it we are now to be intensely interested.
When Adam apostatized, he placed himself on Satan's side; his nature became evil, and he became separated from God. Had there been no interference on the part of God, Satan and man would have formed an alliance against heaven, and together they would have carried on a battle against God. There is not a natural enmity between fallen angels and fallen man. Naturally both are united in rebellion against good. Evil, wherever it exists, will always league with evil against good, so that naturally fallen angels and fallen men are linked in a desperate companionship.
But as soon as man transgressed, God gave the promise that he would put enmity between Satan and the seed of the woman. This promise is the key that opens to the world the grand plan of redemption. When Satan had succeeded in causing the fall of our first parents, he supposed that the whole of the human race would come under his control, that he and his sympathizers could induce men to join them in rebellion, as he had induced the angels to join him. He thought that he would have human beings as his allies against heaven, and that he could dethrone the Omnipotent One, and once more take his place in heaven.
When Satan heard the word, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed," he knew that man would be given power to resist his temptations. He realized that his claim to the position of prince of the newly created world was to be contested, that One would come whose work would be fatal to his evil purposes, that he and his angels would be forever defeated. His assurance of certain power, his sense of security, was gone. Adam and Eve had yielded to his temptations, and their posterity would feel the strength of his assaults. But they would not be left without a helper. The Son of God was to come to the world, to be tempted in our behalf, and in our behalf to overcome.
There is enmity between fallen human beings and Satan only as man places himself on God's side, and yields obedience to the law of Jehovah. This brings to him power to withstand Satan's attacks. It is through Christ's sacrifice that man is enabled to obey. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The Son of God, bearing human nature, and tempted on all points as we are tempted, met and resisted the assaults of the enemy. And in his strength human beings can gain the victory, meeting the tempter, yet not overcome by his artifice and his presumptuous presentations. By accepting Christ as a personal Saviour, men and women can stand firm against the temptations of the enemy. Human beings may have eternal life if they will accept the principles of heaven, and allow Christ to bring the heart and mind into obedience to the law of Jehovah.
Christ saw the meaning of Satan's wiles, and till the end of his test and trial, he stood firm in his resistance, refusing to swerve from allegiance to God. He took his stand on the foundation of truth, and from this foundation he would not move, even for the offer of the whole world and the glory of it, which Satan promised should be his if he would fall down and worship him.
The way in which Satan tempted Christ, he is today tempting every soul. He seeks to hold men under his reasoning. The Saviour warns us against entering into controversy with him or his agencies. We are not to meet them except on the Bible ground, "It is written." The less that we have to do with the arguments of those who are opposed to God, the firmer will be our foundation. We are to repeat as seldom as possible the sentiments of Satan's forming. Let every tempted soul keep looking at the principles that are wholly from above, remembering the promise, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman." Ministers, physicians, church members, enmity against Satan is a gift from God, and the power provided by God is your efficiency.
The plain evidence given to the Word is the evidence that we are to present. The words that God has given, it is safe for us to speak to the opposing forces. "It is written" was the only weapon the Christ used in his contest with Satan.
It is by loyalty to God's law that every soul who shall enter the pearly gates into the city of God will be tested. The Saviour has worked out the salvation of every one who will receive him and believe in him. Christ is to be received by faith, in the full belief that he is the propitiation for our sins. He took upon himself the iniquities of the fallen race, and suffered in the sinner's stead. To lay hold by faith upon Christ, to become a partaker of the divine nature, is the sinner's only hope. Through the efficacy of the atonement made, man may return to his allegiance. Through accepting the righteousness of Christ, he may become loyal to the law of God, united to the Father and the Son.
In the great controversy now going on, God's servants are to put on every piece of the gospel armor, and fight manfully for him. We are wrestling with no human foe. God calls upon every Christian to enter the warfare and fight under his leadership, depending for success on grace and help from above. In God's strength we are to go forward. Never are we to yield ground to Satan. Why should we not, as Christian warriors, stand against principalities and powers, and against the rulers of the darkness of this world? Satan will place temptation before us. He will try by stratagem to overcome us. But in the strength of Christ we may stand firm as a rock to the principles of heaven.
In this warfare there is no release. Satan's agents never pause in their work of destruction. Those who are in Christ's service must guard every outpost. To save perishing souls from ruin is our object. This is a work of infinite greatness, and man can not hope to obtain success in it unless he unites with the divine Worker.
The terrible condition of the world today would seem to indicate that apparently the death of Christ has been almost in vain; that Satan has triumphed. The great majority of the world's inhabitants belong to Satan's kingdom. Satanic agencies are not yet subdued. Christ has not yet set up his kingdom on the earth. "We see not yet all things put under him."
But we have not been deceived. Notwithstanding the apparent triumph of Satan on the earth, Christ is carrying forward his work in the heavenly sanctuary. The word of God portrays the wickedness and corruption that should exist in the world in the last days. As we see the fulfilment of the prophecy, our faith in the final triumph of Christ's kingdom should be increased. We should go forth with courage to do our appointed work.
"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, . . . Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which can not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #19)
"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."
But a change came. You were convicted and converted. Did you then exercise the faith that works by love and purifies the soul, or did you continue to follow the same evil habits and practises that you followed before your conversion? If you were genuinely converted, you turned away from all wrong. The mind which has been placed in the control of Christ, and on which he has wrought by his grace, becomes refined, purified, elevated.
"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved), and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
Let us consider the representation that God wants us to make before angels and before men. By helpful words, purity of actions, nobility of principle, the Christian is to reveal Christ. "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Those who obey these words will show what a belief in the truth that Christ came to impart, will do for human beings.
"Wherefore remember," Paul says, "that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands: that at that time"--before light broke into the darkened chambers of the soul--"ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."
The apostle desired those to whom he was writing to remember that they must reveal in their lives the glorious change wrought in them by Christ's transforming grace. They were to be lights in the world, by their purified, sanctified characters exerting an influence counter to the influence of satanic agencies. They were ever to remember the words, "Not of yourselves." They could not change their own hearts. And when by their efforts souls were led from the ranks of Satan to take their stand for Christ, they were not to claim any credit for the transformation wrought.
God's workers today are to remember this. The great change that is seen in the life of a sinner after conversion is not brought about by any human goodness. "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." Let those who are brought to repentance declare that it is only because of the goodness of God that they have been led to Christ.
He who is rich in mercy has imparted his grace to us. Then let praise and thanksgiving ascend to him, because he has become our Saviour. Let his love, filling our hearts and minds, flow forth from our lives in rich currents of grace. When we were dead in trespasses and sins, he quickened us into spiritual life. He brought grace and pardon, filling the soul with new life. Thus the sinner passes from death to life. He now takes up his new duties in Christ's service. His life becomes true and strong, filled with good works. "Because I live," Christ said, "ye shall live also."
I ask every church member to consider the words, "ye must be born again." Are you living the new life in Christ? Are you doing his work? Are you honoring him by showing the great blessing that is found in standing under his banner? Are you so grateful to Christ for his redeeming love, so faithful and true to his service, that your heart can not be haughty, selfish, self-centered? Is watching unto prayer a part of your daily life?
The truly converted man has no time to think or talk of the faults of others. His lips are sanctified, and as God's faithful witness he testifies that the grace of Christ has transformed his heart. He realizes that he can not afford to talk discouragement and unbelief; he can not afford to be harsh and faultfinding. He has not received orders from God to punish the erring by heaping abuse upon them.
My brethren and sisters, be afraid to find fault, afraid to talk against your fellow beings, lest you lose the sense that you are dedicated to the service of God, and that as a faithful servant you must keep his interests in view. You are to live a life that will convince others that you are a child of God, under the training of the Captain of your salvation, that you may be prepared for active service. You have enlisted to fight against Satan's forces, and you have no time to fight against your fellow soldiers.
God calls upon his church to awake to their duty, to show themselves true and loyal to the Captain of their salvation. They are to follow his example, and learn what it means to be faithful to him who loves them, and who has given them a place in his army.
Not to Destroy, But to Save.--Envy, evil surmising, backbiting, and faultfinding,--let these not be named among Christ's disciples. These things are the cause of the present feebleness of the church. We have a perfect Pattern, even the life of Christ. It is to be our eager desire to do as he has done, to live as he lived, that others, by seeing our good works, may be led to glorify God. The blessing of heaven will rest upon those who try to help others by doing the work that Christ came to do.
God gave his only begotten Son to die for a race of rebels, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Why should we not walk and work in the way that God has marked out? Why should any one please the enemy by tearing down another's work, using the powers God has given him to kill hope and drive souls into discouragement? In every church there are young men and women who need the help of a strong, compassionate handclasp, of a loving, Christlike interest that will not let them go. Let there be an end to bickering over little things. Cease to speak words that do no good, and come close to those who have erred. Take hold of them, and draw them to Christ. Give Satan no chance to enter our ranks.
Angels are sent from the heavenly courts, not to destroy, but to watch over and guard imperiled souls, to save the lost, to bring the straying ones back to the fold. "I came not to condemn, but to save," Christ declared. Have you, then, no pitying words to speak to the straying? Will you let them perish, or will you reach out to them a helping hand? Right around you there are souls who are in danger of perishing. Will you not with the cords of love draw them to the Saviour? Will you not cease your reproaches, and speak words that will inspire them with faith and courage?
God's Message to Us.--"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
This is the message that I am commissioned to bear to you: You are to take the words addressed by Paul to the church at Ephesus as if addressed to you personally. By alienation, disunion, and diversity of opinion, Satan has hindered the work outlined in the words of the apostle. Had believers put self out of sight, had they refused to carry out the plans devised by Satan to hinder the work of God, how much farther advanced we might now be! For years messages have been sent pointing out the work to be done. But this work has not been accomplished. Believers have stood directly across the path of its accomplishment, blocking the way by envy, evil surmisings, and faultfinding. They have sought the highest place. Commercial business has absorbed the attention and consumed the means that ought to have been given to the proclamation of the message of salvation. Thank God, something has been done, but a thousand times more might have been done than has been done. The enemy has brought in a variety of things to occupy the minds of believers. Time is fast passing, the work is still undone, and the world is growing worse and worse. And yet in mercy the Spirit of God is still striving with souls. Brethren and sisters, I call upon you to put on the whole armor of God. Those who have never heard the reasons of our faith are now to be reached. Many are waiting for a message from God's Word. Go to them, and tell them where we are standing in the history of this world.
The end is near, and the message contained in the third chapter of Ephesians is the message that I am bidden to give to believers. A worldwide work is to be done. We are now to go to work in earnest to proclaim the truth. The Voice said, "Lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins. They are hindering the proclamation of the last message of warning."
Paul carried a burden that we ought now to be carrying. A great work is to be done, and it is to be done in a short time. O, how much there is to do, and how many there are who for various reasons are not engaged in God's work! Satan is devising plans to keep the Lord's forces out of the work. He does not want people to be aroused to a realization of the swift judgments that are coming upon the world.
My brethren and sisters, let us arouse to an understanding of our true position. God will not be trifled with. He has spoken in judgments to arouse those who for years have worked at cross-purposes with him. These judgments were not mere casualties. They were the reproof of God to his people. I entreat those who have, as it were, defied God to his face, no longer to dishonor him by clinging to their own way. Let us now take up the work of God intelligently and unitedly, proclaiming as with one voice the message of warning and salvation. Let us heed the word of the Lord, lest coming suddenly, he find us unready. There will be no second probation. Now, while it is called today, if we will hear the voice of the Lord, and turn fully to him, he will have mercy upon us, and abundantly pardon. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #20)
"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."
The Lord presents before his finite creatures no impossibilities. Our Heavenly Father claims not at our hands that which we can not perform. He desires his people to labor earnestly to carry out his purpose for them. They are to pray for power, expect power, and receive power, that they may grow up into the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus.
Not all the members of the church are cultivating personal piety; therefore they do not understand their personal responsibility. They do not realize that it is their privilege and duty to reach the high standard of Christian perfection. God is not well pleased when all the burden bearing is done by a few members of the church, whose physical and spiritual powers are taxed to the utmost of their ability in their effort to counteract the influence of the worldly minded, halting, doubting ones. If those so lacking in piety and earnestness would seek to learn the lessons contained in God's Word, and would feel it their duty to practise these lessons, there would be more power in the church. Every member would seek to improve his talents. The light would not be hidden under a bushel, but placed on a candlestick, and its clear, steady rays would shine forth to dispel the darkness.
We are in great need of the pure, lifegiving atmosphere that nurtures and invigorates the spiritual life. We need greater earnestness. The solemn message given us to give to the world is to be proclaimed with greater fervency, even with an intensity that will impress unbelievers, leading them to see that the Most High is working with us, that he is the source of our efficiency and strength.
We are not accomplishing one third of what God desires us to accomplish, because careless, ease-loving church members shirk responsibilities, leaving them to be borne by a few willing ones. But God has not appointed a few to do all the praying, all the watching, all the believing, all the warning and entreating, while the majority look on, taking no part in the great work.
Many who claim to be children of God are only a burden to the church. God has given them capabilities which, if properly used, would enable them to be a great help in his work. He expects them to be colaborers with Christ. Their inexcusable indolence is causing them to be recorded in the books of heaven as unfaithful servants. The "well-done" will be spoken to those only who are earnest, faithful workers.
Shall this state of indifference continue from year to year! Are we looking forward to the latter rain, confidently hoping for a better day, when the church shall be endued with power from on high, and thus fitted for work? The latter rain will never refresh and invigorate the indolent, who do not use the powers God has given them. Is Christ always to be disappointed in the beings he has redeemed at an infinite cost?
The power of a higher, purer, nobler life is our great need. God's people are to be filled with holy joy, that its radiance may shine forth from them, brightening the pathway of others. What power, what peace, what joy, the soul may have that is united with Christ. The divine splendor is revealed to those who commune with him who is the source of power.
We know little of the peace and happiness and joy of heaven. We need more efficiency. We need to receive from Christ the water of life, that it may be in us a well of water, refreshing all who come within the sphere of our influence.
It is not spiritual laziness that will bring us near to God, but Christian devotion, personal piety, intelligent advancement in the knowledge of Christ. We shall be filled with the fruits of righteousness. There is a higher standard for us to reach. The world has too much of our thought, and the kingdom of heaven too little.
God has given us talents to be used in the upbuilding of his kingdom. Are we betraying this solemn trust? Do we ask ourselves the question, How am I using the talents my Lord has given me? Have you given to earthly things strength of purpose, tact, and skill, and to God only a feeble, diseased service? Will he accept this at your hand? Shall the eternal be made secondary to the temporal?
Are we doing our appointed work? Are we showing forth in our lives the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light? Is Christ dwelling in our hearts? Are we not falling far short in our duty? If we are doers of the word, and not hearers only, we shall be wholehearted in our efforts to make his name a praise in the earth.
Christ tells us to pray with unshaken faith, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." These words will surely be fulfilled. Work to the utmost of your ability to answer this prayer. You will then feel so weighty a responsibility resting upon you that you will put away from you all selfishness, all sloth, all indifference. You will rid yourselves of all that Satan could take advantage of in his efforts to defeat Christ's prayer.
We have no time to listen to the suggestions of the foe. At our baptism we pledged ourselves to break all connection with Satan and his agencies, and to put heart and mind and soul into the work of extending the kingdom of God. All heaven is working for this object. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are pledged to cooperate with sanctified human instrumentalities. If we are true to our vow, there is opened to us a door of communication with heaven,--a door that no human hand or satanic agency can close.
We are to despair at nothing in the line of progression. Moral and spiritual perfection, through the grace and power of Christ, is promised to all who believe. At every step we are to ask for the help of Christ. He is the model we are to follow in character building. He calls for deeds, not words, saying, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." "Do unto others as you would they should do unto you"--this is to be our rule of life. Christ is the source of light, the fountain of life. He brings us to his word, and from the tree of life presents to us leaves for the healing of the nations. It is his purpose that human beings, purified and sanctified, shall be his helping hand. He leads us to the throne of God, and gives us a prayer to offer to him. When we live this prayer, we are brought into close contact with Christ; at every step we touch his living power. In our behalf he sets in operation the all-powerful agencies of heaven.
My brother, my sister, are you carrying a burden for the unsaved? Do you know what it means to be a Christian? Not ministers only, are to know what saith the Lord. All are permitted to enter the door opened by the sacrifice of Christ. Not ministers only, but all who take their stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel, are to work for the Master, presenting to the sin-sick the wonderful gospel remedy.
Is your faith practical? Are you doing what the Bible tells you to do? Are you using all your powers in an effort to bring the lost sheep back to the fold? There are thousands upon thousands in ignorance who might be warned. Pray as you have never prayed before for the power of Christ. Pray for the inspiration of his Spirit, that you may be filled with a desire to save those who are perishing. Let the prayer ascend to heaven, "God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #21)
While at Loma Linda, the second night after the dedication of the sanitarium, there passed before me a most wonderful representation. During a vision of the night, I stood on an eminence, from which I could see houses shaken like a reed in the wind. Buildings, great and small, were falling to the ground. Pleasure resorts, theaters, hotels, and the homes of the wealthy were shaken and shattered. Many lives were blotted out of existence, and the air was filled with the shrieks of the injured and the terrified.
The destroying angels of God were at work. One touch, and buildings so thoroughly constructed that men regarded them as secure against every danger, quickly became heaps of rubbish. There was no assurance of safety in any place. I did not feel in any special peril, but the awfulness of the scenes that passed before me I can not find words to describe. It seemed that the forbearance of God was exhausted, and that the Judgment day had come.
The angel that stood by my side then instructed me that but few have any conception of the wickedness existing in our world today, and especially the wickedness in the large cities. He declared that the Lord has appointed a time when he will visit transgressors in wrath for persistent disregard of his law.
At about one o'clock I awoke, and was impressed to write out some things regarding the supreme rulership of God, and the sacredness of his law. When I met my secretary early in the morning, I told her that wonderful representations had been passing before me in the night season. After breakfast, we received a message asking us to go to Los Angeles by the afternoon train; but I was unable to take any part in preparing for the journey. I was as one dazed by the awful scenes that had passed before me.
We went to Glendale, near Los Angeles, and the following night, April 17, further representations passed before me. I seemed to be in an assembly, setting before the people the requirements of God's law. I read the scriptures regarding the institution of the Sabbath in Eden at the close of the creation week, and regarding the giving of the law at Sinai; and then I showed that the Sabbath was to be observed "for a perpetual covenant," as a sign between God and his people forever, that they may know that they are sanctified by the Lord, their Creator.
Then I dwelt upon the supreme rulership of God above all earthly rulers. His law is to be the standard of action. None are to pervert their senses by intemperance, or by yielding their minds to satanic influences: for this makes impossible the keeping of God's law. While the divine Ruler bears long with perversity, he is not deceived, and will not always keep silence. His supremacy, his authority as Ruler of the universe, must finally be acknowledged, and the just claims of his law vindicated.
Much more instruction regarding the longsufferance of God, and the necessity of arousing transgressors to a realization of their perilous position in his sight, was repeated to the people, as received from my instructor.
Wednesday morning, April 18, I was to speak in the church at Los Angeles, where the Southern California Conference was assembled. As we neared the church, we heard the newsboys crying, "San Francisco destroyed by an earthquake!" With a heavy heart I read the first hastily printed news of the terrible disaster.
Two weeks later, on our homeward journey, we went by the way of San Jose, Mountain View, and San Francisco. As we traveled northward, we saw some of the effects of the earthquake; and when we entered San Jose, we could see that large buildings had collapsed, and that others had been seriously damaged.
At Mountain View, the new post office and some of the largest stores in the town had been leveled to the ground. Other buildings had partially collapsed, and were badly wrecked. When we saw the fallen walls of the Pacific Press, we were sad at heart; but we could not help rejoicing over the fact that no lives were lost. Here, as also in San Francisco, the Lord mercifully spared his children.
We were glad to learn that the proposal of our brethren in Washington, that the situation of our institutions at Mountain View and in San Francisco should be presented in all our churches, met with general favor, and that all will be invited to contribute something toward a fund for their relief. We believe that our people will respond liberally in offerings to meet the present necessities of our institutions that have suffered. There is no necessity of urging our people to help these institutions; for we believe that all will respond with gifts, and with a tribute of thanksgiving to God for his protecting care over his children.
In this their hour of need, the managers of the Pacific Press are not idle. They have enclosed their building, and are now repairing the damaged rooms inside. The machinery was injured but little, and very soon the presses were at work. The office is now busy with the publication of a special edition of The Signs of the Times, containing an account of the earthquake, and some articles regarding the meaning of such disasters. A commendable effort is being made to give this Earthquake Special a large circulation, and to accompany its distribution with many books and tracts.
Just now, when people are thinking seriously, literature on the meaning of the signs of the times, wisely circulated, will have a telling effect in behalf of the truth. At this time, when awful calamities are sweeping away the most costly structures as if by a breath of fire from heaven, many sinners are afraid, and stand trembling before God. Now is our opportunity to make known the truth to them.
Brethren and sisters, will you put on the Christian armor? "Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace," you will be prepared to walk from house to house, carrying the truth to the people. Sometimes you will find it trying to do this kind of work; but if you go forth in faith, the Lord will go before you, and will let his light shine upon your pathway. Entering the homes of your neighbors to sell or to give away our literature, and in humility to teach them the truth, you will be accompanied by the light of heaven, which will abide in these homes.
God's judgments are abroad in the land. Shall we allow these things to come upon the world without telling the people the meaning of these terrible calamities, and how every one may escape from the wrath to come? Shall we let our neighbors remain in darkness without a preparation for the future life? Unless we ourselves realize where we stand, the day of God will come upon us as a thief.
Time is precious. The destiny of souls is in the balance. 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 on the consecration and activity of God's church. The Lord calls upon all 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 comes when Christ shall say, "It is finished," his work for the saving of souls will not decrease, but will grow in importance, and be far-reaching.
On our way home from Mountain View, we passed through San Francisco, and for an hour and a half viewed the destruction wrought in that great city. Buildings that were supposed to be proof against disaster, are lying in ruins. In some instances buildings were partially sunken into the ground. The city presents a most dreadful picture of the inefficiency of human ingenuity to frame fireproof and earthquake-proof structures.
San Francisco has been laid low, but other cities still remain standing. The mercy of God is shown by his long forbearance. He is holding back his judgments, waiting for the message of warning to be sounded to all. There are many who have not yet heard the testing truths for this time. The last call of mercy is to be given more fully to our world. The Word of God portrays the wickedness and corruption that will exist in the world in the last days. As we see the fulfilment of prophecy, our faith in the final triumph of Christ's kingdom should be increased. We should go forth with courage to do our appointed work.
The Lord is soon to come. In fire and flood and earthquake, he is warning the inhabitants of this earth of his soon approach. O, that the people may know the time of their visitation! We have no time to lose. We must make more determined efforts to lead the people of the world to see that the day of judgment is near at hand. Carefully prepared literature on the significance of the scenes we are now witnessing, is to be circulated everywhere. Our understanding is to be quickened by the Holy Spirit. O, if our people would feel as they should the responsibility resting upon them to give the last message of mercy to the world, what a wonderful work would be done! A thousand times more work for God might be accomplished if all his children would fully consecrate themselves to him, using their talents aright. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #22)
All day yesterday a very heavy burden rested upon me, and last night I could not sleep after one o'clock. We seemed to be assembled in council meeting, where many things were being considered. The Spirit of the Lord came upon me, and I spoke very earnestly to those present. I will now endeavor to write out some of the things that have been burdening my mind. The Lord has preserved my life for some wise purpose, and has given me instruction upon many points regarding the past, present, and future history of Seventh-day Adventists.
We are now passing through a crisis. This is not an ordinary period in our history. We need now to understand the leadings of providence. None of us should take ourselves under our own supervision, to follow our own desires. In this important time, we are to seek diligently to know the way of the Lord, and be sure that we are following our divine Leader. God is our counselor, and we are to follow the light that he gives in his Word.
We see the conflict going on in Battle Creek, and we are to meet the situation in the right way. Every man and woman connected with the work of God is now, while manifold voices are heard, to ask for grace to discern the right way and to understand the Voice among voices. Christ says, "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." Have we responded to his knock? Have we opened the door, and said, "Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; wherefore standest thou without?" Are we desirous of the presence of the heavenly guest? Are we willing to be instructed as workers together with God, willing to be educated, trained, and disciplined in his way for his service? Are we willing to lay aside our individual preferences, in order to follow the Lord's way and do the Lord's will? Are we seated at his feet, as learners in his school? Do our lives express the desire, "Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day."
I am instructed to speak to all our ministering brethren, saying, Have you in faith asked God for that consecration that will lead to self-denial and self-sacrifice? Many do not move in the confidence of a living assurance that Christ is pleading before the Father as our Intercessor. Christ has identified himself with our necessities, and is able to supply every peculiar need of our weakness. During his life on this earth, he took the attitude of a suppliant, an earnest petitioner, seeking at the hand of the Father a fresh supply of strength, that he might be invigorated and refreshed, and come forth with words of encouragement and lessons of consolation to impart to human beings. His words are to brace every soul for duty and strengthen every soul for trial. As Christ, in his humanity, sought strength from his Father, that he might be enabled to endure trial and temptation, so are we to do. We are to follow the example of the sinless Son of God. Daily we need help and grace and power from the Source of all power. We are to cast our helpless souls upon the One who is ready to help us in every time of need. Too often we forget the Lord. Self gives way to impulse, and we lose the victories that we should gain.
If we are overcome, let us not delay to repent, and to accept the pardon that will place us on vantage ground. If we repent and believe, the cleansing power from God will be ours. His saving grace is freely offered. His pardon is given to all who will receive it. But the pride of unbelief often rises in the heart, and the sinner turns from the light, and loses the strength that God is so willing to bestow. If he continues in this course, his mind becomes full of criticism of others who do appreciate the light the Lord has given them. But will his criticism of others lessen the mistakes and errors that he in his self-sufficiency has committed? He is dissatisfied with himself, and every word that appears like a reflection on his course he resents.
God will always accept confession, if the evil that has been done is repented of. Our Heavenly Father makes the declaration, "As I live, . . . I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked should turn from his way and live." Over every sinner that repents, the angels of God rejoice with songs of joy. Not one sinner need be lost. Full and free is the gift of saving grace. Every one may have the salvation that the Lord Jesus will bestow abundantly on all who bring his love into their lifework.
"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." We are living in the day of preparation. We must obtain a full supply of grace from the divine storehouse. The Lord has made provision for every day's demand.
Ministers and physicians, in your work you are bearing weighty responsibilities. Let not your thoughts become cheap or common or selfish, for want of the grace of Christ. Our preparation for the home above must be wrought out in this life. The grace of Christ must be woven into every phase of the character.
I am to say to all who claim to be converted, Are your hearts truly changed, and are you watching unto prayer, preserving a thoughtful, consistent course of action, that you may have, not a semblance of religion, but the precious, genuine article? Ministers and physicians, when you accepted Christ, did you experience a deep sense of spiritual need? How much it means to you who are to be ministers of righteousness, to accept the heavenly gift of light and love and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. You are to be imbued with such love for Christ that you will yield to him your whole affections, surrendering your life to him who gave his life for you. Imbued with the love of Christ, you are to be constrained to perform acts of unselfish service until such acts become your life practise. Daily growth into the life of Christ creates in the soul a haven of peace; in such a life there is continual fruit bearing.
Brethren and sisters, we need the reformation that all who are redeemed must have, through the cleansing of mind and heart from every taint of sin. In the lives of those who are ransomed by the blood of Christ self-sacrifice will constantly appear. Goodness and righteousness will be seen. The quiet, inward experience will make the life full of godliness, faith, meekness, patience. This is to be our daily experience. We are to form characters free from sin--characters made righteous in and by the grace of Christ. Thus we shall reveal pure and undefiled religion to a world that has not now in the midst of it a Saviour in human form, constantly manifesting his power to heal others' woes. Much depends upon our individual course of action. We should each live in the world the life of a true Christian, that our words and acts may be such as to win souls to Christ. Our hearts are to be cleansed from all impurity in the blood shed to take away sin.
When ministers adorn the doctrine of Christ our Saviour, and when physicians reveal in words and works, and in their influence the healing grace of Christ, when the Saviour is revealed as the One altogether lovely, a great work will be done in behalf of other souls. God calls for truth in the inner sanctuary of the soul, that the whole being may be a representation of the life of Christ.
This matter has been thus presented to me over and over again, and I am instructed to write the same. It is now daylight, and I must take up other matters that have been presented to me in connection with that which I have written. I entreat my brethren and sisters who are ministers or physicians, to work out in their lives the precious principles of truth, that others may take knowledge of you that you have been with Jesus, and have learned of him who is pure and holy and undefiled, without rebuke in a sinful and corrupt generation. Then many will be turned to the Lord through the earnest efforts made in their behalf by those who know the truth. Loma Linda, Cal., May 1, 1906. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #23)
"To the law and to the testimony. If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." The people of God are directed to the Scriptures as their safeguard against the influence of false teachers and the delusive power of spirits of darkness. Satan employs every possible device to prevent men from obtaining a knowledge of the Bible; for its plain utterances reveal his deceptions. At every revival of God's work, the prince of evil is aroused to more intense activity; he is now putting forth his utmost efforts for a final struggle against Christ and his followers. The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true, that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be stated.
Those who endeavor to obey all the commandments of God will be opposed and derided. They can stand only in God. In order to endure the trial before them, they must understand the will of God as revealed in his Word; they can honor him only as they have a right conception of his character, government, and purposes, and act in accordance with them. None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict. To every soul will come the searching test, Shall I obey God rather than men? The decisive hour is even now at hand. Are our feet planted on the rock of God's immutable Word? Are we prepared to stand firm in defense of the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus?
Before his crucifixion, the Saviour explained to his disciples that he was to be put to death, and to rise again from the tomb; and angels were present to impress his words on minds and hearts. But the disciples were looking for temporal deliverance from the Roman yoke, and they could not tolerate the thought that he in whom all their hopes centered should suffer an ignominious death. The words which they needed to remember were banished from their minds; and when the time of trial came, it found them unprepared. The death of Jesus as fully destroyed their hopes as if he had not forewarned them. So in the prophecies the future is opened before us as plainly as it was opened to the disciples by the words of Christ. The events connected with the close of probation and the work of preparation for the time of trouble, are clearly presented. But multitudes have no more understanding of these important truths than if they had never been revealed. Satan watches to catch away every impression that would make them wise unto salvation, and the time of trouble will find them unready.
When God sends to men warnings so important that they are represented as proclaimed by holy angels flying in the midst of heaven, he requires every person endowed with reasoning powers to heed the message. The fearful judgments denounced against the worship of the beast and his image should lead all to a diligent study of the prophecies to learn what the mark of the beast is, and how they are to avoid receiving it. But the masses of the people turn away their ears from hearing the truth, and are turned unto fables. The apostle Paul declared, looking down to the last days, "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine." That time has fully come. The multitudes do not want Bible truth, because it interferes with the desires of the sinful, world-loving heart; and Satan supplies the deceptions which they love.
But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines, and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority,--not one or all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain "Thus saith the Lord" in its support.
Satan is constantly endeavoring to attract attention to man in the place of God. He leads the people to look to bishops, to pastors, to professors of theology, as their guides, instead of searching the Scriptures to learn their duty for themselves. Then, by controlling the minds of these leaders, he can influence the multitudes according to his will.
When Christ came to speak the words of life, the common people heard him gladly; and many, even of the priests and rulers, believed on him. But the chief of the priesthood and the leading men of the nation were determined to condemn and repudiate his teachings. Though they were baffled in all their efforts to find accusations against him, though they could not but feel the influence of the divine power and wisdom attending his words, yet they encased themselves in prejudice; they rejected the clearest evidence of his Messiahship, lest they should be forced to become his disciples. These opponents of Jesus were men whom the people had been taught from infancy to reverence, to whose authority they had been accustomed implicitly to bow. "How is it," they asked, "that our rulers and learned scribes do not believe on Jesus? Would not these pious men receive him if he were the Christ?" It was the influence of such teachers that led the Jewish nation to reject their Redeemer.
The spirit which actuated those priests and rulers is still manifested by many who make a high profession of piety. They refuse to examine the testimony of the Scriptures concerning the special truths for this time. They point to their own numbers, wealth, and popularity, and look with contempt upon the advocates of truth as few, poor, and unpopular having a faith that separates them from the world.
Christ foresaw that the undue assumption of authority indulged by the scribes and Pharisees would not cease with the dispersion of the Jews. He had a prophetic view of the work of exalting human authority to rule the conscience which has been so terrible a curse to the church in all ages. And his fearful denunciations of the scribes and Pharisees, and his warnings to the people not to follow these blind leaders, were placed on record as an admonition to future generations. (To be continued.) Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #24)
Thursday afternoon, April 12, I left my home near St. Helena for a short visit to southern California. Months before I had promised Elder Haskell and his wife that I would unite with them in planning for the establishment of a training school for medical missionary evangelists, in connection with the educational work of the Loma Linda Sanitarium. Now the time had come for the fulfilment of this promise, and as the sanitariums at Loma Linda and Paradise Valley were to be dedicated about the time of the annual meeting of the Southern California Conference, it was an opportune time to visit this part of the field. Accompanying me were my son, W. C. White, my secretary, and one of my copyists. My son went by way of the Coast Line, that he might stop over a few hours at Mountain View. The other members of our party went direct by way of the San Joaquin Valley route.
As we crossed a portion of the Mojave Desert, we were reminded of the promise, "The desert shall blossom as the rose." Where one usually can see only sagebrush and cactus, there is now to be seen an abundance of grass, and acres upon acres of wild flowers of varied hues.
The Los Angeles Vegetarian Restaurant.-- Our train into Los Angeles was a few minutes late, and we could not make close connections with the train for Loma Linda, so we spent a pleasant hour at the vegetarian restaurant, on the corner of Third and Hill Streets. This restaurant is now conducted by the medical missionary department of the Southern California Conference, and is in charge of Brother and Sister Allen, who were stanch Roman Catholics until they attended a series of meetings held by Brother W.. W. Simpson and his associates less than two years ago.
During the past few years, the Lord has given much instruction regarding the establishment of hygienic restaurants in large cities. Over and over again he has indicated that in many cities we should have small restaurants, as centers of influence, by which the attention of thinking men would be called to the principles that make us "a peculiar people." Thus many would be led to a knowledge of the message for this time.
In connection with this instruction have been given many cautions against the danger of tying up in restaurant work talent that could be utilized to better advantage elsewhere. Especially is this the danger that attends the conduct of hygienic restaurants so large that many helpers must be employed. The pressure and rush of business is liable to lead to a neglect of the work of soul saving.
In 1902 I wrote out many reasons why it will be best to establish several smaller restaurants in different parts of our large cities. Among these reasons were the following: "The smaller restaurants will recommend the principles of health reform as well as the larger establishments, and will be much more easily managed. We are not commissioned to feed the world, but we are instructed to educate the people. In the smaller restaurants there will not be so much work to do, and the helpers will have more time to devote to the study of the Word, more time to learn how to do their work well, and more time to answer the inquiries of the patrons who are desirous of learning about the principles of health reform."
At noon we returned to the station, and took "The Golden State Limited" for Loma Linda, sixty-two miles east of Los Angeles, on the main line of the Southern Pacific. Ordinarily this train carries no passengers for small stations, like Loma Linda. Had we taken a later train, we could not have reached our destination until a few minutes after the beginning of the Sabbath, and this we very much disliked to do. In the unusual courtesy shown us by the conductor of the limited through train, we recognized the favoring hand of providence.
At Loma Linda we met many friends, and were made to feel at home. Every one was busy preparing for the Sabbath. At this season of the year, the lawns and flower gardens are very beautiful, and the air is filled with the fragrance of orange blossoms.
Sabbath Sermon.--Sabbath forenoon, we assembled in the sanitarium parlors, and I spoke to the patients and helpers on the first chapter of Second Peter. I dwelt upon the thought that Christ in his humanity, perfected by a life of holiness, revealed that humanity may in this world attain unto perfection of character, through cooperation with divinity. Abundant provision has been made for us. Within the reach of every human being God has placed "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.
"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity."
In this scripture is set forth the perfection that we are all to reach. As we live on the plan of addition, there will be granted us the grace spoken of in the second verse: "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you,"--multiplied "through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord." Christ offers to work in our behalf on the plan of multiplication.
"For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." It is our privilege to lay hold upon these encouraging assurances, that we may place ourselves in right relation to Christ, and thus perfect Christian character.
"He that lacketh these things is blind, and can not see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall." We must cooperate with Christ Jesus. We must lay hold of every advantage he has given us, and show that we receive it; for to "as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed of his name." "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Precious, precious assurance!
On every hand we see men anxious to insure their lives by taking out a life insurance policy. Here is your life insurance policy--an eternal life insurance policy offered to all who carry out the conditions outlined in this chapter.
"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." Every one of us may have living faith in the power of Christ to keep our feet from walking in false paths.
There is in our world a spirit of belief, and also a spirit of unbelief. In the latter days some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. We expect that those who refuse to harmonize with Christ will develop into a warring element; but we should not think that this will do us harm. We must remember that they that are for us are more than they that can be against us. This is my hope and strength and power. I believe in God. I know in whom I believe. I believe the messages that God has given to his remnant church. From childhood I have had many, many experiences that have strengthened my faith in the work that God has given me to do.
Early in my public labors I was bidden by the Lord, "Write, write the things that are revealed to you." At the time this message came to me, I could not hold my hand steady. My physical condition made it impossible for me to write. But again came the word, "Write the things that are revealed to you." I obeyed; and as the result it was not long before I could write page after page with comparative ease. Who told me what to write? Who steadied my right hand, and made it possible for me to use a pen?--It was the Lord. When we come into right relation with him, and give ourselves wholly to him, we shall see the miracle-working power of God in word and deed.
In the early days of the message, when our numbers were few, we studied diligently to understand the meaning of many scriptures. At times it seemed as if no explanation could be given. My mind seemed to be locked to an understanding of the Word; but when our brethren who had assembled for study, came to a point where they could go no farther, and had recourse to earnest prayer, the Spirit of God would rest upon me, and I would be taken off in vision, and be instructed in regard to the relation of scripture to scripture. These experiences were repeated over and over and over again. Thus many truths of the third angel's message were established, point by point. Think you that my faith in this message will ever waver? Think you that I can remain silent, when I see an effort being made to sweep away the foundation pillars of our faith? I am as thoroughly established in these truths as it is possible for a person to be. I can never forget the experience I have passed through. God has confirmed my belief by many evidences of his power.
The light that I have received, I have written out, and much of it is now shining forth from the printed page. There is, throughout my printed works, a harmony with my present teaching. Some of the instruction found in these pages was given under circumstances so remarkable as to evidence the wonder-working power of God in behalf of his truth. Sometimes while I was in vision, my friends would approach me, and exclaim, "Why, she does not breathe!" Placing a mirror before my lips, they found that no moisture gathered on the glass. It was while there was no sign of any breathing, that I kept talking of the things that were being presented before me.
These messages were thus given to substantiate the faith of all, that in these last days we might have confidence in the spirit of prophecy. I thank God that he has preserved my voice, which in my early youth physicians and friends declared would be silent within three months. The God of heaven saw that I needed to pass through a trying experience in order to be prepared for the work he had for me to do. For the past half century my faith in the ultimate triumph of the third angel's message and everything connected with it, has been substantiated by the wonderful experiences through which I have passed. This is why I am anxious to have my books published and circulated in many languages. I know that the light contained in these books is the light of heaven.
I ask you to study the instruction that is written in these books. To John, the aged apostle, came the message, "Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter." The Lord has bidden me write that which has been revealed to me. This I have done, and it is now in printed form.
Let us give our hearts to God; for we have only a little time remaining. We are living in the last days. On every hand are signs of the end. Life is becoming more and still more uncertain. We hear of numerous wrecks and other disasters; we hear of many who are killed in an instant, without a moment's warning. Let us determine not to wait until a more convenient season before preparing to meet the Lord in peace when he comes. Let us give ourselves wholly to him, and then work for the salvation of other souls, from house to house, and wherever we may be. I am expending all the means I have, in the work of advancing the third angel's message. We should be planning to win souls to Christ, and now is our time to do this work. The harvest is ready, but the reapers are few. From all parts of the world we are receiving letters telling us that the light is shining in clear rays in distant lands, and that the honest in heart are accepting the evidences of the truth for this time.
Amid the error that is overspreading the whole earth, let us strive to stand firm on the platform of eternal truth. Let us put on the whole armor of God; for we are told that in this time Satan himself will work miracles before the people; and as we see these things, we must be prepared to withstand their deceptive influence. Whatever is presented by the enemy as truth, ought not to influence us; for we should be under the instruction of the great Author of all truth.
I feel an intense interest in the future work and prosperity of the Loma Linda Sanitarium. God has not given us these buildings for naught. He has not given them for us simply to take pride and comfort in. We know that this beautiful property has been given us as an indication of a great work that is to be done in southern California for the Lord. We are to help every soul in need of help. We desire to see souls converted, that finally they may enter in through the gates into the city of our God. We desire to see these souls receive the crown of life and a golden harp and a palm branch of victory. We desire that they shall have life, eternal life, in the kingdom of glory.
This is why I am willing, so long as my life is spared, to bear the testimony that God may give me. Pray, pray, I beseech of you who are here in this Sanitarium. You who have no hope, do not wait; do not, I beg of you, wait a moment. Get hold of it, oh, get hold of it; for you can have hope. It is offered all who believe in Christ Jesus, and you can have it. If you will work on the plan of addition, God will work on the plan of multiplication, and you will have peace and joy and assurance--a foundation that can never fail. Then you will be prepared to meet the King in his beauty, and will hear him say, "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."
(Vol. 83, #25)
Sunday, April 15, the beautiful buildings and grounds of the Loma Linda Sanitarium were solemnly dedicated to the service of God.
The exercises of the day meant much to those who had many personal sacrifices in order to help secure the institution and set it in operation. During the forenoon, the friends of the sanitarium began to come in from Los Angeles and its vicinity, and from Riverside, Redlands, San Bernardino, and other places in the beautiful valley, in the heart of which is Loma Linda. The morning hours were spent in looking over the property that has so providentially come into our possession. At noon, a lunch was served on the lawn.
Early in the afternoon the people gathered for the dedicatory exercises. Seats had been placed on a gentle sloping lawn, under the shadow of a beautiful grove of evergreen pepper trees. In front was a large improvised platform, on which were seated the speakers and the singers. The congregation numbered about five hundred. Among those present were several physicians and other leading men from the surrounding cities.
During the exercises, the people were told of the remarkable providences that had attended every step taken to secure the property. The purpose we have in view in the establishment of many sanitariums was also dwelt upon. I was present at the meeting only a portion of the time, and spoke with freedom for nearly half an hour on the advantages of outdoor life in the treatment of disease.
I tried to make it plain that sanitarium physicians and helpers were to cooperate with God in combating disease not only through the use of the natural remedial agencies he has placed within our reach, but also by encouraging their patients to lay hold on divine strength through obedience to the commandments of God.
In Deuteronomy we read: "Harken. O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live." And when Moses, just before his death, had repeated the statutes of Jehovah in the hearing of all Israel, he declared: "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live."
Again he pleaded: "I have set before you life and death; . . . choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: that thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days."
In his closing admonitions, Moses once more exhorted Israel to observe "all the words" of God's law. "It is not a vain thing for you," he declared; "because it is your life: and through this thing [through obedience] ye shall prolong your days."
Physicians and ministers are to unite in an effort to lead men and women to obey God's commandments. They need to study the intimate relationship existing between obedience and health. Solemn is the responsibility resting upon medical missionaries. They are to be missionaries in the true sense of the term. The sick and the suffering who entrust themselves to the care of the helpers in our medical institutions, must not be disappointed. They are to be taught how to live in harmony with heaven. As they learn to obey God's law, they will be richly blessed in body and in spirit.
The advantage of outdoor life must never be lost sight of. How thankful we should be that God has given us beautiful sanitarium properties at Paradise Valley and Glendale and Loma Linda! "Out of the cities! out of the cities!"--this has been my message for years. We can not expect the sick to recover rapidly when they are shut in within four walls, in some city, with no outside view but houses, houses, houses--nothing to animate, nothing to enliven. And yet how slow some are to realize that the crowded cities are not favorable places for sanitarium work!
Even in southern California not many years ago, there were some who favored the erection of a large sanitarium building in the heart of Los Angeles. In the light of the instruction God had given, we could not consent to the carrying out of any such plan. In the visions of the night, the Lord had shown me unoccupied properties in the country, suitable for sanitarium purposes, and for sale at a price far below the original cost.
It was some time before we found these places. First, we secured the Paradise Valley Sanitarium, near San Diego. A few months later, in the good providence of God, the Glendale property came to the notice of our people, and was purchased and fitted up for service. But light came that our work of establishing sanitariums in southern California was not complete; and on several different occasions Testimonies were given that medical missionary work must be done somewhere in the vicinity of Redlands.
In an article published in the Review of April 6, 1905, I wrote:--
"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. . . .
"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."
These words were written before I had learned anything about the property at Loma Linda. Still the burden of establishing another sanitarium rested upon me. In the fall of 1903 I had a vision of a sanitarium in the midst of beautiful grounds, somewhere in southern California, and no property I had visited answered to the presentation given in this vision. At the time, I wrote about this vision to our brethren and sisters assembled at the Los Angeles campmeeting early in September, 1903.
While attending the General Conference of 1905, at Washington, D. C., I received a letter from Elder J. A. Burden, describing a property he had found four miles west of Redlands, five and one-half miles southeast of San Bernardino, and eight miles northeast of Riverside. As I read his letter, I was impressed that this was one of the places I had seen in vision and I immediately telegraphed him to secure the property without delay. He did so, and as the result, Loma Linda is in our possession.
Later, when I visited this property, I recognized it as one of the places I had seen nearly two years before in vision. How thankful I am to the Lord our God for this place, which is all prepared for us to use to the honor and glory of his name!
Loma Linda cost us forty thousand dollars. The original cost was over three times this sum. There were seventy-six acres of land in the tract, and thirty have been added since. As a sanitarium site, the property is a valuable one. The grounds have been carefully laid out, at great expense to the original owners, and are beautified by well-kept lawns and flower gardens. The extensive view of valley and mountain is magnificent. One of the chief advantages of situation at Loma Linda is the pleasing variety of charming scenery on every side.
But more important than magnificent scenery and beautiful buildings and spacious grounds, is the close proximity of this institution to a densely populated district, and the opportunity thus afforded of communicating to many, many people a knowledge of the third angel's message. We are to have clear spiritual discernment, else we shall fail of understanding the opening providences of God that are preparing the way for us to enlighten the world. The great crisis is just before us. Now is the time for us to sound the warning message, by the agencies that God has given us for this purpose. Let us remember that one most important agency is our medical missionary work. Never are we to lose sight of the great object for which our sanitariums are established,--the advancement of God's closing work in the earth.
Loma Linda is to be not only a sanitarium, but an educational center. With the possession of this place comes the weighty responsibility of making the work of the institution educational in character. A school is to be established here for the training of gospel medical missionary evangelists.
Much is involved in this work, and it is very essential that a right beginning be made. The Lord has a special work to be done in this part of the field. He instructed me to call upon Elder and Mrs. S. N. Haskell to help us in getting properly started a work similar to that which they had carried on in Nashville and at Avondale. They came, and are now laboring with all the powers of their being to do a solid work. They conduct classes regularly in the institution, and have established a Bible training school at San Bernardino, from which center is extending an influence throughout this district. Prof. W. E. Howell and his wife have consented to unite with the forces at Loma Linda in an effort to develop the school that must be carried on there. As they go forward in faith, the Lord will go before them, preparing the way. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #26)
The Romish Church reserves to the clergy the right to interpret the Scriptures. On the ground that ecclesiastics alone are competent to explain God's Word, it is withheld from the common people. Though the Reformation gave the Scriptures to all, yet the selfsame principle which was maintained by Rome prevents multitudes in Protestant churches from searching the Bible for themselves. They are taught to accept its teachings as interpreted by the church; and there are thousands who dare receive nothing, however plainly revealed in Scripture, that is contrary to their creed, or the established teaching of their church.
Notwithstanding the Bible is full of warnings against false teachers, many are ready thus to commit the keeping of their souls to the clergy. There are today thousands of professors of religion who can give no other reason for points of faith which they hold than that they were so instructed by their religious leaders. They pass by the Saviour's teachings almost unnoticed, and place implicit confidence in the words of the ministers. But are ministers infallible? How can we trust our souls to their guidance unless we know from God's Word that they are lightbearers? A lack of moral courage to step aside from the beaten track of the world, leads many to follow in the steps of learned men; and by their reluctance to investigate for themselves, they are becoming hopelessly fastened in the chains of error. They see that the truth for this time is plainly brought to view in the Bible, and they feel the power of the Holy Spirit attending its proclamation; yet they allow the opposition of the clergy to turn them from the light. Though reason and conscience are convinced, these deluded souls dare not think differently from the minister; and their individual judgment, their eternal interests, are sacrificed to the unbelief, the pride and prejudice, of another.
Many are the ways by which Satan works through human influence to bind his captives. He secures multitudes to himself by attaching them by the silken cords of affection to those who are enemies of the cross of Christ. Whatever this attachment may be, parental, filial, conjugal, or social, the effect is the same; the opposers of truth exert their power to control the conscience, and the souls held under their sway have not sufficient courage or independence to obey their own convictions of duty.
The truth and the glory of God are inseparable; it is impossible for us, with the Bible within our reach, to honor God by erroneous opinions. Many claim that it matters not what one believes, if his life is only right. But the life is molded by the faith. If light and truth are within our reach, and we neglect to improve the privilege of hearing and seeing it, we virtually reject it; we are choosing darkness rather than light.
"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Ignorance is no excuse for error or sin, when there is every opportunity to know the will of God. A man is traveling, and comes to a place where there are several roads, and a guide-board indicating where each one leads. If he disregards the guide-board, and takes whichever road seems to him to be right, he may be ever so sincere, but will in all probability find himself on the wrong road.
God has given us his Word that we may become acquainted with its teachings, and know for ourselves what he requires of us. When the lawyer came to Jesus with the inquiry, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" the Saviour referred him to the Scriptures, saying, "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" Ignorance will not excuse young or old, to release them from the punishment due for the transgression of God's law, because there is in their hands a faithful presentation of that law and of its principles and its claims. It is not enough to have good intentions; it is not enough to do what a man thinks is right, or what the minister tells him is right. His soul's salvation is at stake, and he should search the Scriptures for himself. However strong may be his convictions, however confident he may be that the minister knows what is truth, this is not his foundation. He has a chart pointing out every waymark on the heavenward journey, and he ought not to guess at anything.
It is the first and highest duty of every rational being to learn from the Scriptures what is truth, and then to walk in the light, and encourage others to follow his example. We should day by day study the Bible diligently, weighing every thought, and comparing scripture with scripture. With divine help, we are to form our opinions for ourselves, as we are to answer for ourselves before God.
The truths most plainly revealed in the Bible have been involved in doubt and darkness by learned men, who, with a pretense of great wisdom, teach that the Scriptures have a mystical, a secret, spiritual meaning not apparent in the language employed. These men are false teachers. It was to such a class that Jesus declared, "Ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God." The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed Christ has given the promise, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine." If men would but take the Bible as it reads, if there were no false teachers to mislead and confuse their minds, a work would be accomplished that would make angels glad, and that would bring into the fold of Christ thousands upon thousands who are now wandering in error.
We should exert all the powers of the mind in the study of the Scriptures, and should task the understanding to comprehend, as far as mortals can, the deep things of God; yet we must not forget that the docility and submission of a child is the true spirit of the learner. Scriptural difficulties can never be mastered by the same methods that are employed in grappling with philosophical problems. We should not engage in the study of the Bible with that self-reliance with which so many enter the domains of science, but with a prayerful dependence upon God, and a sincere desire to learn his will. We must come with a humble and teachable spirit to obtain knowledge from the great I AM. Otherwise evil angels will so blind our minds and harden our hearts that we shall not be impressed by the truth. Mrs. E. G. White. (To be concluded.)
(Vol. 83, #27)
It was while we were still at Loma Linda, the second night after the dedication of the sanitarium, that there passed before me an awful scene of buildings shaken down and destroyed, with great loss of life. I have already described this scene, in the article, "The San Francisco Earthquake."
Terrible as was the representation that passed before me, that which impressed itself most vividly on my mind was the instruction given in connection with it. The angel that stood by my side declared that God's supreme rulership, and the sacredness of his law, must be revealed to those who persistently refuse to render obedience to the King of kings. Those who choose to remain disloyal, must be visited in mercy with judgments, in order that, if possible, they may be aroused to a realization of the sinfulness of their course.
Throughout the following day, I pondered the scenes that had passed before me, and the instruction that had been given. During the afternoon we journeyed to Glendale, near Los Angeles; and the following night I was again instructed regarding the holiness and binding claims of the ten commandments, and the supremacy of God above all earthly rulers. It seemed as if I were before many people, and presenting scripture after scripture in support of the precepts spoken by the Lord from Sinai's height.
It has taken me many days to write out a portion of that which was revealed those two nights at Loma Linda and Glendale. I have not finished yet, as many other matters of urgent importance have come up for consideration. I hope soon to write several articles on God's law, and the blessings that are promised the obedient.
Our God is the Ruler of the universe. His law is of universal application. It is founded on love,--love to God, and love to our fellow men. Satan's supreme efforts are directed toward the setting aside of this law. In this work he has been largely successful. There is a marked disposition to exalt human enactments above the law of our Sovereign Ruler, the Monarch of the heavens and the earth. The world is filled with transgression. A spirit of lawlessness pervades every land, and is especially manifest in the great cities of the earth. The sin and crime to be seen in our cities is appalling. God can not forbear much longer. Already his judgments are beginning to fall on some places, and soon his signal displeasure will be felt in other places.
There is to be, at this period, a series of events which will reveal that God is Master of the situation. The truth will be proclaimed in clear, unmistakable language. As a people, we must prepare the way of the Lord, under the overruling guidance of the Holy Spirit. The gospel is to be given in its purity. The stream of living water is to deepen and widen in its course. In all fields, nigh and afar off, men will be called from the plow and from the more common commercial business vocations that largely occupy the mind, and will be educated in connection with men of experience. As they learn to labor effectively, they will proclaim the truth with power. Through most wonderful workings of divine providence, mountains of difficulties will be removed, and cast into the sea. The message that means so much to the dwellers upon the earth, will be heard and understood. Men will know what is truth. Onward, and still onward the work will advance, until the whole earth shall have been warned. And then shall the end come.
The startling and stupendous events connected with the warning of the world are fraught with momentous results. The messengers who proclaim the truth for this time are laboring in cooperation with all the forces of heaven. In tender compassion God himself is speaking to an impenitent world through judgments; and he will continue to speak in this manner. For many years we have known that the great cities would be visited with divine judgments because of long-continued disobedience. In no uncertain words the Lord has warned us not to establish large institutions in the cities. "Out of the cities; out of the cities,"--this is the message that has often come to us. And this is one reason why the Lord has been opening the way so wonderfully for our publishing houses and sanitariums and schools to be located in country places.
The cities must be worked. The millions living in these congested centers are to hear the third angel's message. This work should have been developed rapidly during the past few years. A beginning has been made, for which we praise God. Outpost centers are being established, from whence, like Enoch of old, our workers can visit the cities and do faithful service.
This was the burden of my message to the brethren and sisters assembled in conference at Los Angeles. On the morning of the San Francisco earthquake, April 18, the second day after the scene of falling buildings had passed before me, I spoke in the Carr Street church, and bore a decided testimony on the necessity of our doing all we can to acquaint the people with the teachings of God's Word. I referred to the great work that must be done in the cities of our land, and of our inability to do this work by establishing institutions in the heart of these cities. We must learn to labor from outpost centers, and to place our dependence, not on buildings or display, but on the power of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit will impress the honest heart. Our dependence is in God.
"Out of the cities; out of the cities!"--this is the message the Lord has been giving me. The earthquakes will come; the floods will come; and we are not to establish ourselves in the wicked cities, where the enemy is served in every way, and where God is so often forgotten. The Lord desires that we shall have clear spiritual eyesight. We must be quick to discern the peril that would attend the establishment of institutions in these wicked cities. We must make wise plans to warn the cities, and at the same time live where we can shield our children and ourselves from the contaminating and demoralizing influences so prevalent in these places.
Since the San Francisco earthquake, many rumors have been current regarding statements I have made. Some have reported that while in Los Angeles, I claimed that I had predicted the San Francisco earthquake and fire, and that Los Angeles would be the next city to suffer. This is not true. The morning after the earthquake, I said no more than that "the earthquakes will come; the floods will come;" and that the Lord's message to us is that we shall "not establish ourselves in the wicked cities."
Not many years ago, a brother laboring in New York City published some very startling notices regarding the destruction of that city. I wrote immediately to the ones in charge of the work there, saying that it was not wise to publish such notices; that thus an excitement might be aroused which would result in a fanatical movement, hurting the cause of God. It is enough to present the truth of the Word of God to the people. Startling notices are detrimental to the progress of the work.
Under date of Aug. 9, 1903, I further wrote regarding this sensational report:--
"Now comes the word that I have declared that New York is to be swept away by a tidal wave? This I have never said. I have said, as I looked at the great buildings going up there, story after story, 'What terrible scenes will take place when the Lord shall arise to shake terribly the earth! Then the words of Rev. 18:1-3 will be fulfilled.' The whole of the eighteenth chapter of Revelation is a warning of what is coming on the earth. But I have no light in particular in regard to what is coming on New York, only that I know that one day the great buildings there will be thrown down by the turning and overturning of God's power. From the light given me, I know that destruction is in the world. One word from the Lord, one touch of his mighty power, and these massive structures will fall. Scenes will take place the fearfulness of which we can not imagine.
"But I have sent cautions to the brethren working in New York, saying that these flaming, terrifying notices should not be published. When my brethren go to extremes, it reacts on me, and I have to bear the reproach of being called a false prophet. . . .
"The destroying angels are today executing their commission. Death will come in all places. This is why I am so anxious for our cities to be warned. There is a work to be done by canvassing in our cities that has not yet been done. . . . The blessing of God rests on the workers who warn those that are unready to meet him. . . . Now is our time to work."
For the past twenty years, and particularly since my return from Australia, I have borne a most decided testimony in favor of proclaiming the third angel's message in the cities of America.
About thirty years ago, when my husband and I were planning for the building of a house of worship in San Francisco, some, when they saw the plan, said, "It is too large. The house will never be filled." At the same time, we were erecting the first building of the Pacific Press and the meetinghouse in Oakland. How great was the anxiety felt, and how earnest the prayers offered to God that he would open the way for the advancement of these enterprises!
At that time, I dreamed that I saw two beehives, one in San Francisco and one in Oakland. In the hive in Oakland, the bees were diligently at work. Then I looked at the hive in San Francisco, and saw very little being done. The hive in Oakland seemed to be far the more promising. After a time my attention was again called to the hive in San Francisco, and I saw that an entire change had taken place. Great activity was seen among the bees. They were earnestly at work.
When I related this dream, it was interpreted to mean that in San Francisco there was a great work to be done. There were among us at that time only a few men to whom we could look for large financial assistance. Believers were few in number, and we needed much courage and much faith to brace us for the work.
We prayed much in regard to the necessities of the cause and the meaning of the dream, and resolved to venture out in accordance with the light given. My husband and I decided to sell our property in Battle Creek, that we might use the proceeds in this work. We wrote to our brethren, "Sell everything we have in Battle Creek, and send us the money at once." This was done, and we helped to build the churches in Oakland and San Francisco. And the Lord revealed to us that although at first the work in San Francisco would move slowly, yet it would make steady advancement, and San Francisco would become a great center. The Lord would inspire men by his Holy Spirit to carry forward the work with faith and courage and perseverance.
Before leaving Australia, I dreamed that I was standing before a large congregation in San Francisco; that the Lord gave me a message to bear, and freedom in bearing this message. The people had ears to hear, and hearts to understand.
Sabbath morning, Nov. 10, 1900, we entered the San Francisco church, and found it crowded to its utmost capacity. As I stood before the people, I thought of the dream and the instruction which had been given me so many years ago, and I was much encouraged. Looking at the people assembled, I felt that I could indeed say, The Lord has fulfilled his word.
During the past few years, the "beehive" in San Francisco has been indeed a busy one. Many lines of Christian effort have been carried forward by our brethren and sisters there. These included visiting the sick and destitute, finding homes for orphans, and work for the unemployed; nursing the sick, and teaching the truth from house to house; the distribution of literature, and the conducting of classes on healthful living and the care of the sick. A school for the children has been conducted in the basement of the Laguna Street meetinghouse. For a time a working men's home and medical mission was maintained. On Market Street, near the city hall, there were treatment rooms, operated as a branch of the St. Helena Sanitarium. In the same locality was a health food store. Nearer the center of the city, not far from the Call building, was conducted a vegetarian cafe, which was open six days in the week, and entirely closed on the Sabbath. Along the water front, ship mission work was carried on. At various times our ministers conducted meetings in large halls in the city. Thus the warning message was given by many.
I have carried a constant burden for our work in the large cities. Nearly two years after meeting with our brethren and sisters in the San Francisco church since my return to America, I wrote the following (Sept. 1, 1902):--
"The all-wise God is working on minds, leading men to see the advantage of getting away from the congested cities into the country. . . . It would be a mistake for us to purchase or erect large buildings in the cities of southern California for sanitarium work; and those who see advantages in doing this are not moving understandingly. A great work is to be done in preparing these cities to hear the gospel message; but this work is not to be done by fitting up in them large buildings for the carrying forward of some wonderful enterprise.
"Well-equipped tent meetings should be held in the large cities, such as San Francisco; for not long hence these cities will suffer under the judgments of God. San Francisco and Oakland are becoming as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Lord will visit them in wrath."
In this same manuscript, the opening of hygienic restaurants was mentioned as "a work that God would have done in the cities. If wisely conducted, these restaurants will become missionary centers."
Some weeks later, Oct. 8, 1902, I wrote: "For years I have been given special light that we are not to center our work in the cities. The turmoil and confusion that fills these cities, the conditions brought about by the labor unions and the strikes, would prove a great hindrance to our work."
Oct. 30, 1902: "To parents who are living in the cities, the Lord is sending the warning cry, Gather your children into your own houses; gather them away from those who are disregarding the commandments of God, who are teaching and practising evil. Get out of the cities as fast as possible. Parents can secure small homes in the country, with land for cultivation, where the children will not be surrounded with the corrupting influences of city life. God will help his people to find such homes outside the cities."
Nov. 28, 1902: "A great work is to be done. I am instructed by the Spirit of God to say to those engaged in the Lord's work, that the favorable time for our message to be carried to the cities has passed by; and this work has not been done. I feel a heavy burden that we shall now redeem the time."
April 20, 1903: "The message of warning should be sounded in the large, wicked cities, such as San Francisco. San Francisco and Oakland are becoming as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Lord will visit them. Not far hence they will suffer under his judgments."
June 20, 1903: "The judgments of God are in our land. The Lord is soon to come. In fire and flood and earthquake, he is warning the inhabitants of this earth of his soon approach. O that the people may know the time of their visitation!
"We have no time to lose. We must make more determined efforts to lead the people of the world to see that the day of judgment is at hand. . . . O, if our people would feel as they should the responsibility resting upon them to give the last message of mercy to the world, what a wonderful work would be done! We need the impartation of the Holy Spirit, that we may realize how closely heavenly things are bound up with God's church on this earth."
June 3, 1903: "There are many with whom the Spirit of God is striving. The time of God's destructive judgments is the time of mercy for those who have no opportunity to learn what is truth. Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched; his hand is still stretched out to save, while the door is closed to those who would not enter. Large numbers will be admitted who in these last days hear the truth for the first time. The Lord calls upon every believer to consecrate himself wholly to his service. All are to work for him, according to their several ability."
Nov. 12, 1902: "The time is nearing when the great crisis in the history of the world will have come, when every movement in the government of God will be watched with intense interest and inexpressible apprehension. In quick succession the judgments of God will follow one another,--fire and flood and earthquakes, with war and bloodshed. Something great and decisive will soon of necessity take place."
May 27, 1903: "The mercy of God is shown by his long forbearance. He is holding back his judgments, waiting for the message of warning to be sounded to all. There are many who have not yet heard the testing truths for this time. The last call of mercy is to be given more fully to our world. The truths of the eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of Revelation should be read and understood by all."
April 9, 1903: "The divine statutes have been set aside. The time will soon come when God will vindicate his insulted authority. 'The Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: and the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.' 'Who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?'" Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #28)
The annual meeting of the Southern California Conference was held in Los Angeles, April 16-20. I was present only a portion of the time.
The reports presented at the conference were most encouraging. It was stated that about a year ago, there was a deficit of nearly eight thousand dollars, which has all been paid; and at the time of the meeting, there was about six thousand dollars in the treasury. The gifts to missions amounted to nearly three thousands dollars. It was further stated that the debt on the Fernando School is now twelve thousand dollars--just about half the total debt a few months ago. According to the financial report, the medical institutions in Los Angeles, including the restaurant and the Glendale Sanitarium, earned nearly nine thousand dollars during the past nine months. A large portion of this sum has been used to lessen the debts on these institutions.
I was especially pleased to learn of the efforts put forth during the past year in the tourist centers of this conference. A special work is to be done in places where people are constantly coming and going. Christ labored in Capernaum much of the time, because this was a place through which travelers were constantly passing, and where many often tarried. There are now twenty-six churches and nine companies in the Southern California Conference, with a membership of over fifteen hundred. What a work could be done in this field, if all these brethren and sisters were to improve every opportunity to let the light of truth shine forth!
The Glendale Sanitarium.--During the Los Angeles meeting, we were entertained at the Glendale Sanitarium. This institution, which was opened in the latter part of 1904, has been well patronized by a good class of patients. The blessing of the Lord has attended the efforts put forth for restoration of health. Nor have the spiritual interests been lost sight of. Brother C. N. Marvin, the chaplain, reports that some who have come to the sanitarium have been brought into the truth. The physicians and helpers are of good courage. They have had some remarkable experiences in answer to prayer. The Lord has worked upon hearts, and some who were indifferent have responded to the influences of the Holy Spirit, and are now having a good Christian experience. A deep interest has been manifested in the study of the Bible.
Brother W. R. Simpson, the manager, told me that the earnings of the institution are sufficient to make possible a reduction of the debt. For some time the sanitarium has been filled with patients. There are those who can not go far from Los Angeles for treatment. The close proximity of the Glendale Sanitarium to Los Angeles, makes it possible for such ones to patronize this institution. Glendale is a very important member of the sisterhood of medical institutions in southern California. Let us continue to praise the Lord that he has given us this institution to use for the honor of his name.
Sabbath Sermon in San Diego.--Upon reaching Paradise Valley, April 20, I was very weary; but the next morning we attended the San Diego church, where I spoke to the people on the first chapter of Second Peter. Since my former visits to San Diego, Elders W. W. Simpson and Wm. Healey have held a series of meetings there, and as the result many were added to the church membership. The church building was crowded. As I looked for the first time into the faces of these new converts, I was drawn out to speak words of counsel and encouragement to them.
In connection with the injunction of Peter that we are to add "to temperance, patience," I referred to the blessings of health reform, and the advantages to be gained by the use of proper combinations of simple, nourishing foods. The close relationship that eating and drinking sustain to the state of one's mind and temper, was dwelt upon. We can not afford to develop a bad temper through wrong habits of living. Whether we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do, we are to keep in mind the glory of God. We are the purchased possession of the blood of the Son of God.
To the parents I made an appeal in behalf of the church in the home. Fathers and mothers have the privilege of studying the Bible with their children, and of training and disciplining them for service in the Master's cause. In every instance where discipline is necessary, the tenderness and patience that God manifests toward us, is to be revealed. Correction administered in love will touch and tender the hearts of the children, and accomplish far more than would sternness and harshness. As parents pray, and strive to deal wisely with their children, heavenly angels will work in their behalf.
God desires parents to take hold of their work intelligently, because we have only a little time in which to prepare for the return of the Saviour. We are admonished of the nearness of the end by the calamity that has befallen San Francisco. Christ declared that earthquakes and other judgments would be seen in divers places. By these he desires to demonstrate that he hates iniquity, and that at last he will punish transgressors. He will forbear, and forbear, and forbear; but finally he can forbear no longer.
In the days of Abraham the Lord declared, "The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." He would not at that time allow them to be destroyed. In this is revealed the longsufferance of God. The Amorites were at enmity against his law; they believed not in him as the true and living God; but among them were a few good persons, and for the sake of these few, he forbore long. Centuries afterward, when the Israelites returned from Egypt to the promised land, the Amorites were "cast out before the children of Israel." They finally suffered calamity because of continued wilful disregard of the law of God.
Our brethren and sisters in the San Diego church, and in many other churches as well, have the privilege of training the youth so conscientiously in a knowledge of the truths of God's Word that these youth will be able to meet the people where they are, and introduce the third angel's message into many homes. Thus many of our youth will develop rapidly into missionaries who can labor from house to house.
It is difficult to find capable young men and young women who can enter the cities and do effective service. In these tourist centers where many travelers come for health and pleasure, we greatly need young men who are thoroughly grounded in the truths of the third angel's message, to go around among the people, and minister to them, speaking a word in season to this one, and offering encouragement to another. We greatly need consecrated women who, as messengers of mercy, shall visit the mothers and the children in their homes, and help them in the everyday household duties, if need be, before beginning to talk to them regarding the truth for this time. You will find that by this method you will have souls as the result of your ministry.
Dedication of the Paradise Valley Sanitarium.--While we were at the Paradise Valley Sanitarium, this institution was dedicated. Early in the afternoon of April 24, the invited guests and many friends of the sanitarium began to arrive. The dedicatory exercises passed off very pleasantly.
Elder S. N. Haskell was on the program as the first speaker, but his train was late, and so I spoke first, on the theme, "In Touch with Nature." I began by reading a portion of the forty-second of Isaiah, in which scripture are emphasized the power of Jehovah, his care for his people, and his yearning desire to bring under his beneficent care those who are ignorant of his purposes concerning them. Through the prophet Isaiah, "Jehovah, he that created the heavens, and stretched them forth; he that spread abroad the earth and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein," declares to his people: "I, Jehovah, have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thy hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. . . . Sing unto Jehovah a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth."
I related some of my early experiences in caring for the sick, and showed how outdoor life, exercise, and good food, in connection with the best of treatments and faith in God's healing power, will do wonders in the restoration of health.
Elder Haskell spoke next, on the healing of the one "sick of the palsy." Brother J. F. Ballenger offered the dedicatory prayer. Elder Reaser was chairman of the afternoon service.
While many of the guests were looking over the buildings and grounds, I had a very interesting interview with Dr. Mary L. Potts, the one who formerly owned the property now known as the Paradise Valley Sanitarium. Mrs. Potts is a woman of ability. She is an excellent speaker, and is still going from place to place to deliver public lectures on health and temperance. During the evening exercises she spoke before the large assembly, and told the story of her effort to establish and maintain a sanitarium home in this beautiful place, and of her pleasure because the work she was unable to carry on, is now taken up by us. She seemed to be very thankful that the place is in such good hands.
With the three-story addition, including ample treatment rooms, sun parlors, and rooms for the nurses, there are now about eighty rooms; these, with the cottage on the sanitarium grounds, are sufficient for the accommodation of about seventy-five patients. Through the sacrificing liberality of our brethren and sisters, this institution has been placed on vantage ground. May the Lord continue to bless those who have given of their means for the establishment of the Paradise Valley Sanitarium.
The Loma Linda Bakery.--On the morning of April 26, we returned to Loma Linda, to attend a meeting called for the consideration of the health food business in southern California.
We shall have a work to do at Loma Linda in supplying health foods, in a limited way, to the surrounding cities; but it has been presented to me that in the establishment of a large food factory, the managers of the sanitarium would be disappointed in their expectations. The light given me is that in a food business large enough to supply southern California through the regular channels of trade, it would be difficult to avoid bringing in a spirit of commercialism; and if the perplexing details were not attended to most carefully, there would be more expense than income. The sanitarium managers could ill afford to spend the time that would be required to make the business a success.
Loma Linda is a place that has been especially ordained of God to make a good impression upon the minds of many who have not had the light of present truth. Every phase of the work in this place, every movement made, should be so fully in harmony with the sacred character of present truth as to create a deep spiritual impression.
Everything connected with the institution at Loma Linda should, so far as possible, be unmingled with commercialism. Nothing should be allowed to come in that would in anywise hinder our efforts for the saving of souls. In the management of a small sanitarium bakery, the commercial idea is to be lost sight of. In the carrying forward of every line of sanitarium work, we are to leave upon the minds of our patients the impression that we are keeping constantly in view the glory of God. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #29)
On the morning of May 2, we left Loma Linda, and started on our homeward journey. Passing through Los Angeles, we rested an hour or two at the treatment rooms, and took the afternoon north-bound train over the Coast Line.
I had planned to spend a day at Fernando, but on account of a severe cold recently contracted, dared not undertake labor there. I did not want to see the ruins of San Francisco, and dreaded to stop at Mountain View. But the next morning, as we neared Mountain View, we decided to stop over for a few hours.
The board of managers of the Pacific Press Publishing Company felt the need of counsel, and urged that we remain over the Sabbath. We finally consented to do so. Thursday afternoon we met with the brethren in council. I spoke a short time. The following day I was ill, and very weak. The cold had taken a firm hold on my system. I doubted if I should be able to speak on the morrow. However, I ventured to allow the brethren to make an appointment for me to address the people Sabbath forenoon. I made the Lord my entire dependence; for I knew that unless he should be my helper, I could not speak more than a few words. My throat and head were greatly troubled. I was so hoarse that I could scarcely speak aloud.
Sabbath morning I felt no better. At the appointed hour, I went over to the chapel, and found it crowded. I feared I should fail, but began talking. The moment I began to speak, strength was imparted. I was relieved of hoarseness, and spoke without difficulty for nearly an hour. My illness seemed to disappear, and my mind was clear. As soon as I finished speaking, the hoarseness came upon me again, and I began coughing and sneezing as before.
To me, this experience was a marked evidence of divine help. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for this special miracle of his power, which gave me no chance to entertain any doubt but that he had a message for me to bear to the people. I was very ill in the afternoon, and restless during the night; but Sunday I was able to sit up in bed and write a few pages. Monday, May 7, we returned home, passing through San Francisco en route.
The Sabbath Sermon.--The last prayer of Christ, as recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John, formed the basis of my remarks. Standing in the shadow of the cross, the Saviour here presented principles that lie at the foundation of all true Christian experience. Lifting up his eyes unto heaven, he said: "Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
Fathers and mothers may find special encouragement in these words. Their greatest desire in behalf of their children should be to train them in the knowledge of "the only true God, and Jesus Christ," who was sent by the Father to bring to us the gift of life eternal. Of Abraham, the great Searcher of hearts declared, "I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment." There will be no betraying of truth, no yielding to the temptation of Satan to allow the children and the household to control. By the influence of decided authority mingled with love, the wise parent will rule his household in the fear of God.
(Vol. 83, #30)
Last night, in vision, I was standing before an assembly of our people, bearing a decided testimony regarding present truth and present duty. After the discourse, many gathered about me, asking questions. They desired so many explanations about this point, and that point, and another point, that I said, "One at a time, if you please, lest you confuse me."
And then I appealed to them, saying: "For years you have had many evidences that the Lord has given me a work to do. These evidences could scarcely have been greater than they are. Will you brush away all these evidences as a cobweb, at the suggestion of a man's unbelief? That which makes my heart ache is the fact that many who are now perplexed and tempted are those who have had abundance of evidence and opportunity to consider and pray and understand; and yet they do not discern the nature of the sophistries that are presented to influence them to reject the warnings God has given to save them from the delusions of these last days."
Some have stumbled over the fact that I said I did not claim to be a prophet and they have asked, Why is this?
I have had no claims to make, only that I am instructed that I am the Lord's messenger; that he called me in my youth to be his messenger, to receive his word, and to give a clear and decided message in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Early in my youth I was asked several times, Are you a prophet? I have ever responded, I am the Lord's messenger. I know that many have called me a prophet, but I have made no claim to this title. My Saviour declared me to be his messenger. "Your work," he instructed me, "is to bear my word. Strange things will arise, and in your youth I set you apart to bear the message to the erring ones, to carry the word before unbelievers, and with pen and voice to reprove from the Word actions that are not right. Exhort from the Word. I will make my Word open to you. It shall not be as a strange language. In the true eloquence of simplicity, with voice and pen, the messages that I give shall be heard from one who has never learned in the schools. My Spirit and my power shall be with you.
"Be not afraid of man, for my shield shall protect you. It is not you that speaketh: it is the Lord that giveth the messages of warning and reproof. Never deviate from the truth under any circumstances . Give the light I shall give you. The messages for these last days shall be written in books, and shall stand immortalized, to testify against those who have once rejoiced in the light, but who have been led to give it up because of the seductive influences of evil."
Why have I not claimed to be a prophet?--Because in these days many who boldly claim that they are prophets are a reproach to the cause of Christ; and because my work includes much more than the word "prophet" signifies.
When this work was first given me, I begged the Lord to lay the burden on some one else. The work was so large and broad and deep that I feared I could not do it. But by his Holy Spirit the Lord has enabled me to perform the work which he gave me to do.
God has made plain to me the various ways in which he would use me to carry forward a special work. Visions have been given me, with the promise, "If you deliver the messages faithfully and endure to the end, you shall eat of the fruit of the tree of life, and drink of the water of the river of life."
The Lord gave me great light on health reform. In connection with my husband, I was to be a medical missionary worker. I was to set an example to the church by taking the sick to my home and caring for them. This I have done, giving the women and children vigorous treatment. I was also to speak on the subject of Christian temperance, as the Lord's appointed messenger. I engaged heartily in this work, and spoke to large assemblies on temperance in its broadest and truest sense.
I was instructed that I must ever urge upon those who profess to believe the truth, the necessity of practising the truth. This means sanctification, and sanctification means the culture and training of every capability for the Lord's service.
I was charged not to neglect or pass by those who were being wronged. I was specially charged to protest against any arbitrary or overbearing action toward the ministers of the gospel by those having official authority. Disagreeable though the duty may be, I am to reprove the oppressor, and plead for justice. I am to present the necessity of maintaining justice and equity in all our institutions.
If I see those in positions of trust neglecting aged ministers, I am to present the matter to those whose duty it is to care for them. Ministers who have faithfully done their work are not to be forgotten or neglected when they have become feeble in health. Our conferences are not to disregard the needs of those who have borne the burdens of the work. It was after John had grown old in the service of the Lord that he was exiled to Patmos. And on that lonely isle he received more communications from heaven than he had received during the rest of his lifetime.
After my marriage I was instructed that I must show a special interest in motherless and fatherless children, taking some under my own charge for a time, and then finding homes for them. Thus I would be giving others an example of what they could do.
Although called to travel often, and having much writing to do, I have taken children of three and five years of age, and have cared for them, educated them, and trained them for responsible positions. I have taken into my home from time to time boys from ten to sixteen years of age, giving them motherly care, and a training for service. I have felt it my duty to bring before our people that work for which those in every church should feel a responsibility.
While in Australia I carried on this same line of work, taking into my home orphan children, who were in danger of being exposed to temptations that might cause the loss of their souls.
In Australia we also worked as Christian medical missionaries. At times I made my home in Cooranbong an asylum for the sick and afflicted. My secretary, who had received a training in the Battle Creek Sanitarium, stood by my side, and did the work of a missionary nurse. No charge was made for her services, and we won the confidence of the people by the interest that we manifested in the sick and suffering. After a time the Health Retreat at Cooranbong was built, and then we were relieved of this burden.
To claim to be a prophetess is something that I have never done. If others call me by that name, I have no controversy with them. But my work has covered so many lines that I can not call myself other than a messenger sent to bear a message from the Lord to his people, and to take up work in any line that he points out.
When I was last in Battle Creek, I said before a large congregation that I did not claim to be a prophetess. Twice I referred to this matter, intending each time to make the statement, "I do not claim to be a prophetess." If I spoke otherwise than this, let all now understand that what I had in mind to say was that I do not claim the title of prophet or prophetess.
I understood that some were anxious to know if Mrs. White still held the same views that she did years ago when they had heard her speak in the sanitarium grove, in the Tabernacle, and at the camp-meetings held in the suburbs of Battle Creek. I assured them that the message she bears to-day is the same that she has borne during the sixty years of her public ministry. She has the same service to do for the Master that was laid upon her in her girlhood. She receives lessons from the same Instructor. The directions given her are, "Make known to others what I have revealed to you. Write out the messages that I give you, that the people may have them." This is what she has endeavored to do.
I have written many books, and they have been given a wide circulation. Of myself I could not have brought out the truth in these books, but the Lord has given me the help of his Holy Spirit. These books, giving the instruction that the Lord has given me during the past sixty years, contain light from heaven, and will bear the test of investigation.
At the age of seventy-eight I am still toiling. We are all in the hands of the Lord. I trust in him; for I know that he will never leave nor forsake those who put their trust in him. I have committed myself to his keeping.
"And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." Sanitarium, Cal. June 29, 1906 .
(Vol. 83, #31)
There is a heavy burden resting on my soul. I pray the Lord to impress the hearts of his people with the solemnity of the time in which they are living, and with the necessity of making straight paths for their feet. Some who have long known the truth are confused by leaders who have been walking in false paths.
"I am the way, the truth, and the life," Christ declares. "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Those who have a living connection with Christ will reveal it by their works. "Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."
We have reached an important chapter in our experience. We have advance movements to make. Straightforward work must be done. Faith without works is dead, unproductive of good. Faith works by love, and purifies the soul; faith must be revealed and substantiated by works. There is a spurious faith, which does not work to the point, because the heart is decidedly opposed to the truth. Some may take comfort in the thought that God will number them with his people because they make a profession. We may have a measure of faith, a knowledge of the theory of truth, but unless self dies, unless we live Christ's life of obedience, our profession is worthless.
Nothing can take the place of obedience to a "Thus saith the Lord." Knowledge that does not lead to a practise of self-denial and self-sacrifice, to a daily walk in the footsteps of Christ, but rather to self-exaltation and self-sufficiency, is opposed to practical godliness. God calls for obedience.
Self-sufficiency, exercised in a family or an institution, means great injury to the work of God. It is destructive to the spiritual life of those who cherish it. True faith leads away from selfish plans and from the self-pleasing life. Obedience, in order to be acceptable to God, must be the whole-souled obedience that Christ ever offered to the Father.
In response to the question, Who shall enter the kingdom of heaven? Christ says, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
What must we do to inherit eternal life? The answer is, Keep the commandments. To the question, Who are the blessed? Christ answers, "Blessed are they that hear the Word of God, and keep it." "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie."
The theories that lead to unbelief in the Word of God and to a lack of the faith that works by love and purifies the soul, are theories of the enemy. They may be very pleasing, and very attractive, but they develop into strange doctrines, which unsettle faith in the past experience of God's people, and take away the foundation pillars. These theories have come in among us, and have been a seductive power, robbing some of the faith that enables human beings to see where they are living in the history of the world. They are false theories, leading away from the truth into subtle errors.
When physicians are diligent students of the Scriptures, when our ministers live in accordance with the Word of God, making this Word their text-book, then the truth will be proclaimed with power, and souls will be converted.
Christ, our divine Teacher, and the greatest Medical Missionary that ever trod this earth, came to our world at great sacrifice to show human beings the correct light in which to regard God. He has given his life as our example in all things. I have been instructed that those who in the daily life heed not the instructions of the Bible, do not know God or Christ, who he has sent. Those who have not lived the Scriptures will invent sophistries to occupy the mind and absorb the attention, and teach things that the One who owns men--body, soul, and spirit--has not said should be taught.
Just before his ascension, Christ gave his disciples a wonderful presentation, as recorded in the twenty-eighth chapter of Matthew. This chapter contains instruction that our ministers, our physicians, our youth, and all our church-members need to study most earnestly. Those who study this instruction as they should will not dare advocate theories that have no foundation in the Word of God. My brethren and sisters, make the Scriptures, which contain the alpha and the omega of knowledge, your study. All through the Old Testament and the New there are things that are not half understood.
"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."
The giving of this message is our work in the world. Those of our people who are living in large centers would gain a precious experience, if, with their Bibles in their hands, and their hearts open to the impressions of the Holy Spirit, they would go forth to the highways and byways of the world with the message they have received. There is aggressive work to be done. Evangelistic work, opening the Scriptures to others, warning men and women of what is coming upon the world, is to occupy more and still more of the time of God's servants.
Regarding the messages he had written out, John the Revelator declared: "I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things,"--to lessen the force of their meaning,--"God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book." Many will make the words of the Revelation a spiritualistic mystery, robbing them of their solemn import. God declares that his judgments shall fall with increased dreadfulness upon any one who shall try to change the solemn words written in this book -- the Revelation of Jesus Christ. "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein; for the time is at hand." "If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey?" Study these words. Study the instruction found in Matt. 25: 14-46. Compare this instruction with your life record. Let every man put away his boasting. Self-sufficiency is a fearfully dangerous thing for any one to entertain. It leads men to make of no effect the words of Christ.
Let us walk in the footsteps of Christ, in all the humility of true faith. Let us put away all self-trust, committing ourselves, day by day and hour by hour, to the Saviour, constantly receiving and imparting his grace. I beg those who profess to believe in Christ to walk humbly before God. Pride and self-exaltation are an offense to him. "If any man will come after me," Christ declares, "let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Those only who obey this word will he recognize as his believing ones. "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." O, wonderful condescension! The Prince of heaven, the Commander of the heavenly hosts, stepped down from his high position, laid aside his royal robe and kingly crown, and clothed his divinity with humanity, that he might become the divine Teacher of all classes of men, and live before human beings a life free from all selfishness and sin, setting them an example of what, through his grace, they may become.
"The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth." Praise God for this wonderful statement! The possibilities that it presents seem almost too great for us to grasp, and put to shame our weakness and our unbelief. Let us praise God that we can see our Saviour by faith. Let us grasp the great gift. Our only hope in this life is to reach forth the hand of faith, and grasp the hand outstretched to save. Daily we are to "behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." If we would look away from self to Jesus, making him our guide, the world would see in our churches a power that it does not now see. July 3, 1906.
(Vol. 83, #32)
For many months I have been troubled as I have seen that some of our brethren whom God has used in his cause are now perplexed over the scientific theology which has come in to lead men away from a true faith in God. Sabbath night, a week ago, after I had been prayerfully studying over these things, I had a vision, in which I was speaking before a large company, where many questions were asked concerning my work and writings.
I was directed by a messenger from heaven not to take the burden of picking up and answering all the sayings and doubts that are being put into many minds. "Stand as the messenger of God anywhere, in any place," I was bidden, "and bear the testimony I shall give you. Be free. Bear the testimonies that the Lord has for you to bear in reproof, in rebuke, in the work of encouraging and lifting up the soul; '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.'"
After the vision I prayed aloud with great fervor and earnestness. My soul was strengthened; for the words had been spoken: "Be strong, yea, be strong. Let none of the misleading words of ministers or physicians distress your mind. Tell them to take the light given them in publications. Truth will always bear away the victory. Go straight forward with your work.
"If the Holy Spirit is rejected, all my words will not help to remove, even for the time being, the false representations that have been made, and Satan stands ready to invent more. If the evidence already given is rejected, all other evidence will be useless until there is seen the converting power of God upon minds. If the convincing impressions of the Holy Spirit made in the past will not be accepted as trustworthy evidence, nothing that can be presented hereafter will reach them, because the bewitching guile of Satan has perverted their discernment."
To those who have been convinced again and again as the Holy Spirit has borne witness, all the words that can now be said can not be as forcible as the impression made by the Holy Spirit of God.
To my brethren I say, God forward. Be of good courage. Whenever the Spirit of God is entertained in the place of the underworking of evil influences on mind and heart, those who have been working against God will come to their right bearings. A great work is to be done now in convicting souls. The message must in no case be changed from what it has been. As has been foretold in the Scriptures, there will be seducing spirits and doctrines of devils in the midst of the church, and these evil influences will increase; but hold fast the beginning of your confidence firm unto the end.
Let not souls be drawn into Battle Creek. Warnings are to be given. A message similar to that borne by John the Baptist is to be heard. But beware of men; for they will seek to divert the mind from the necessity of heeding the true issues for this time. Carry on the work now for those who need the truth, and who have not resisted evidences of the truth for fallacies and scientific imaginations.
The time is at hand when Satan will work miracles to confirm minds in the belief that he is God. All the people of God are now to stand on the platform of truth as it has been given in the third angel's message. All the pleasant pictures, all the miracles wrought, will be presented in order that, if possible, the very elect shall be deceived. The only hope for any one is to hold fast the evidences that have confirmed the truth in righteousness. Let these be proclaimed over and over again, until the close of this earth's history.
The perils of the last days are upon us. Devote not precious time in trying to convince those who would change the truth of God into a lie. Proclaim the third angel's message. Bear a straightforward, clear-cut message.
Thus I was speaking before a perplexed company just before I called them to take their stand on the right side. If some choose another position, let them alone. Labor for those who have never had the evidence of truth. So long as men hold fast to men , and believe men in the place of the word of God, you can do little to help them. You are working against principalities and powers, as is represented in Eph. 6:12.
We are to revive the truth; to stand in the truth. Whoever is determined to depart from the faith can not be helped by you. All your reasoning will be as idle tales.
Take the banner of truth and hold it aloft, higher and still higher. The Lord calls for faithful minutemen. Go into the cities that need the message of a soon-coming Saviour. Thousands of unbelievers in our cities need to hear the last message of warning.
It is Satan's plan to produce these variances, to keep our minds on dissensions and unprofitable problems until the last woe shall come upon the world. Time now is too precious to be lost through confusion. Proclaim to the world that Christ is soon coming.
Gather not at Battle Creek; spoil not the minds of youth, physicians, and ministers. Set at work in the cause of God every soul who has heeded the words of warning given.
I have been instructed that it is not extravagant display which is now required in giving the last message of mercy to our world. We must go forth in the simplicity of true godliness. Our sanitariums, our schools, our publishing houses, are to be God's instrumentalities to represent the humble manner of Christ's teaching. In a marked manner the Lord will be the strength and power of his people. Maintain simplicity; and pray in faith, constantly. Wherever you are, your only safety is in prayer. Hold fast the beginning of your confidence firm unto the end.
Beware of the leaven of evil. Talk less; criticize less. Let every one remember that he is now on test and trial for life, eternal life.
God now calls for all who choose to serve him, to stand firmly on the platform of eternal truth. Let those who have brought about the present state of confusion by making the division that exists, stop to consider seriously before going any further. "Choose you this day whom ye will serve." "If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him." June 3, 1906.
(Vol. 83, #33)
I have a message for those standing at the head of our educational institutions. I am instructed to call the attention of every one occupying a position of responsibility, to the divine law as the basis of all right conduct. I am to begin by calling attention to the law given in Eden, and to the reward of obedience and the penalty of disobedience.
In consequence of Adam's transgression, sin was introduced into the fair world that God had created, and men and women became more and still more bold in disobeying his law. The Lord looked down upon the impenitent world, and decided that he must give transgressors an exhibition of his power. He caused Noah to know his purpose, and instructed him to warn the people while building an ark in which the obedient could find shelter until God's indignation was overpast. For one hundred and twenty years Noah proclaimed the message of warning to the antediluvian world; but only a few repented. Some of the carpenters he employed in building the ark, believed the message, but died before the flood; others of Noah's converts backslided. The righteous on the earth were but few, and only eight lived to enter the ark. These were Noah and his family.
The rebellious race was swept away by the flood. Death was their portion. By the fulfilment of the prophetic warning that all who would not keep the commandments of heaven should drink the waters of the flood, the truth of God's word was exemplified.
After the flood the people once more increased on the earth, and wickedness also increased. Idolatry became well-nigh universal, and the Lord finally left the hardened transgressors to follow their evil ways, while he chose Abraham, of the line of Shem, and made him the keeper of his law for future generations. To him the message came, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee." And by faith Abraham obeyed. "He went out, not knowing whither he went."
Abraham's seed multiplied, and at length Jacob and his sons and their families went down into Egypt. Here they and their descendants sojourned for many years, till at last the Lord called them out, to lead them into the land of Canaan. It was his purpose to make of this nation of slaves a people who would reveal his character to the idolatrous nations of the world. Had they been obedient to his word, they would soon have entered the promised land. But they were disobedient and rebellious, and for forty years they journeyed in the wilderness. Only two of the adults who left Egypt entered Canaan.
It was during the wilderness wandering of the Israelites that God gave them his law. He led them to Sinai, and there, amid scenes of awful grandeur, proclaimed the ten commandments.
We may with profit study the record of the preparation made by the congregation of Israel for the hearing of the law. "In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine."
Who, then, is to be regarded as the Ruler of the nations? -- The Lord God Omnipotent. All kings, all rulers, all nations, are his, under his rule and government.
"And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him."
What was the response of the congregation, numbering more than a million people?
"And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord."
Thus the children of Israel were denominated as a special people. By a most solemn covenant they were pledged to be true to God.
Then the people were bidden to prepare themselves to hear the law. On the morning of the third day the voice of God was heard. Speaking out of the thick darkness that enshrouded him, as he stood upon the mount, surrounded by a retinue of angels, the Lord made known his law.
God accompanied the proclamation of his law with manifestations of his power and glory, that his people might be impressed with a profound veneration for the Author of the law, the Creator of heaven and earth. He would also show to all men the sacredness, the importance, and the permanence of his law.
The people of Israel were overwhelmed with terror. They shrank away from the mountain in fear and awe. The multitude cried out to Moses, "Speak thou with us, but let not God speak with us, lest we die."
The minds of the people, blinded and debased by slavery, were not prepared to appreciate fully the far-reaching principles of God's ten precepts. That the obligations of the decalogue might be more fully understood and enforced, additional precepts were given, illustrating and applying the precepts of the ten commandments. Unlike the decalogue, these were delivered privately to Moses, who was to communicate them to the people.
Upon descending from the mountain, Moses "came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace-offerings of oxen unto the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words."
Thus by a most solemn service the children of Israel were once more set apart as a peculiar people. The sprinkling of the blood represented the shedding of the blood of Jesus, by which human beings are cleansed from sin.
Once more the Lord has special words to speak to his people. In the thirty-first chapter of Exodus we read: -
"The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. . . . Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communicating with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God."
Many other scriptures on the sacredness of God's law have been presented before me. Scene after scene, reaching down to the present time, passed before me. The word spoken by God to Israel was verified. The people disobeyed, and only two of the adults who left Egypt entered Canaan. The rest died in the wilderness. Will not the Lord to-day vindicate his word if the leaders of his people depart from his commandments? (To be concluded)
(Vol. 83, #33)
AT THIS JUNCTURE OF THE MEETING, SISTER E. G. WHITE SPOKE, AS FOLLOWS:--
"We are distinctly denominated as a people that keep the day which the Lord gave man in Eden in commemoration of the creation. After God had made the world in six days, he rested on the seventh day, and was refreshed; and he blessed the day upon which he had rested, and sanctified it. By observing this day, we are to be reminded continually of the creative power of our God.
"The world's inhabitants have lost sight of the holiness of God's law, and have set aside the day that he has sanctified. In its place, they have substituted a day of their own choosing. As a people, we are bidden to restore that which has been broken down. The breach that has been made in God's law, must be repaired. In directing the attention of the world to the light of the truth for this time, preparatory to the second coming of Christ, we are to use every agency possible for the proclamation of our message.
"It is for this purpose that our institutions have been established. The world is filled with subjects of Satan's kingdom. We thank God that we have many institutions wherein are carried forward various lines of work.
"How thankful we should be that we have a God who can preserve and sustain us in the hour of trial! We can not always understand his dealings with us. His providences may at the time seem strange; but he has in view something that is for our good and for the glory of his name.
"In the book of Job we find recorded a narrative that throws considerable light on things otherwise difficult to understand. [Sister White then read the first chapter of Job.]
"From this scripture we may learn much regarding God's dealings with his people. And when calamity comes, unless the Lord indicates plainly that this calamity is sent as a punishment of those who are departing from the word of his counsel; unless he reveals that it has come as a retribution for the sins of the workers, let every man refrain from criticism. Let us be careful not to reproach any one.
"The enemy is often permitted to try God's people in just such a way as Job was tried. And when Job's friends came to him and began to remind him of his sins, and to urge that he was suffering because of divine displeasure, they were doing a work that was wholly uncalled for.
"Job endured the test; he proved true to God. And after his trial, his blessings were manifold. The prosperity that attended the closing years of his life gave the enemy no opportunity to exult over the former misfortunes of God's faithful servant.
"The Lord desires us to labor for the benefit of one another. Let us all, ministers and people, be careful of our words. The power of speech is a talent; the mind, the voice, the strength,--all these are precious talents. Let us keep them wholly sanctified for service in God's cause. We must sanctify ourselves, body, soul, and spirit, unto God, that he may use us effectually as evangelists for the carrying forward of his work."
(Vol. 83, #34)
I was referred to the fourth chapter of Deuteronomy. The whole of this chapter is to be studied. Notice particularly the statement: "Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, forever."
The eighth and eleventh chapters of Deuteronomy also mean much to us. The lessons that they contain are of the greatest importance, and are given to us as verily as to the Israelites. In the eleventh chapter God says:--
"Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: and a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known."
I have been instructed, as God's messenger, to dwell particularly upon the record of Moses' sin and its sad result, as a solemn lesson to those in positions of responsibility in our schools, and especially to those acting as presidents of these institutions.
Of Moses God's Word declares, "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." Long had he borne with the rebellion and obstinacy of Israel. But at last his patience gave way. They were on the borders of the promised land. But before they entered Canaan, they must show that they believed God's promise. The supply of water ceased. Here was an opportunity for them to walk by faith instead of by sight. But they forgot the hand that for so many years had supplied their wants, and instead of turning to God for help, they murmured against him.
Their cries were directed against Moses and Aaron: "Why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into the wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink."
The two brothers went before the multitude. But instead of speaking to the rock, as God had directed, Moses smote the rock angrily, crying, "Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?"
Bitter and deeply humiliating was the judgment immediately pronounced. "The Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron. Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them." With rebellious Israel they must die before crossing the Jordan.
From the experience of Moses the Lord would have his people learn that when they do that which gives prominence to self, his work is neglected, and he is dishonored. The Lord will work counter to those who work counter to him. His name, and his alone, is to be magnified on the earth.
For more than twenty years strange things have at different times been coming in among us. Those who have become unfaithful, who have not exalted the principles of righteousness, need now to seek the Lord with deep humiliation of soul, and be converted, that God may heal their transgressions.
The one standing at the head of a school is to put his undivided interests into the work of making the school just what the Lord designed it to be. If he is ambitious to climb higher and still higher, if he gets above the real virtues of his work, and above its simplicity, and disregards the holy principles of heaven, let him learn from the experience of Moses that the Lord will surely manifest his displeasure because of his failure to reach the standard set before him.
Especially should the president of a school look carefully after the finances of the institution. He should understand the underlying principles of bookkeeping. He is faithfully to report the use of all moneys passing through his hand for the use of the school. The funds of the school are not to be overdrawn, but every effort is to be made to increase the usefulness of the school. Those entrusted with the financial management of our educational institutions, must allow no carelessness in the expenditure of means. Everything connected with the finances of our schools should be perfectly straight. The Lord's way must be strictly followed, though this may not be in harmony with the ways of man.
To those in charge of our schools I would say, Are you making God and his law your delight? Are the principles that you follow, sound and pure and unadulterated? Are you keeping yourselves, in the life practise, under the control of God? Do you see the necessity of obeying him in every particular? If you are tempted to appropriate the money coming into the school, in ways that bring no special benefit to the school, your standard of principle needs to be carefully criticized, that the time may not come when you will have to be criticized and found wanting. Who is your bookkeeper? Who is your treasurer? Who is your business manager? Are they careful and competent? Look to this. It is possible for money to be misappropriated without any one's understanding clearly how it came about; and it is possible for a school to be losing continually because of unwise expenditures. Those in charge may feel this loss keenly, and yet suppose they have done their best. But why do they permit debts to accumulate? Let those in charge of a school find out each month the true financial standing of the school.
My brethren in responsibility, exalt the law of Christ's kingdom by giving to it willing obedience. If you are not yourselves under the control of the Ruler of the universe, how can you obey his law, as required in his Word? Those who are placed in positions of authority are the very ones who need most fully to realize their amenability to God's law and the importance of obeying all his requirements.
In some respects, many of those connected with our schools should be standing on a higher platform. We know that it is determined purpose of some to be obedient to every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Such men and women will be given power of intellect to discern the difference between righteousness and unrighteousness. They have the faith that works by love and purifies the soul, and they reveal God to the world.
We all need to gain a much deeper experience in the things of God than we have gained. Self is to die, and Christ is to take possession of the soul temple. Physicians, ministers, teachers, and all others in responsible positions, must learn the humility of Christ before he can be revealed in them. Too often self is so important an agency in the life of a man that the Lord is not able to mold and fashion him. Self rules on the right hand and on the left, and the man presses his way forward as he pleases. Christ says to self, Stand out of my path. Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Then I can accept him as my disciple. In order to serve me acceptably, he must do the work I have given him in harmony with my instructions. July 4, 1906 .
(Vol. 83, #35)
Dear Brother: Your letter came to me while in southern California. For some weeks the consideration of matters connected with the development of our sanitarium work there, and the writing out of the views given me regarding the earthquake and its lessons, have taken my time and strength.
But now I must respond to the letters received from you and others. In your letter, you speak of your early training to have implicit faith in the Testimonies, and say, "I was led to conclude and most firmly believe that every word that you ever spoke in public or private, that every letter you wrote under any and all circumstances, was an inspired as the ten commandments."
My brother, you have studied my writings diligently, and you have never found that I have made any such claims. Neither will you find that the pioneers in our cause have made such claims.
In my preface to "Great Controversy," pages c and d, you have no doubt read my statement regarding the ten commandments and the Bible, which should have helped you to a correct understanding of the matter under consideration. Here is the statement:--
"The Bible points to God as its Author; yet it was written by human hands; and in the varied style of its different books it presents the characteristics of the several writers. The truths revealed are all `given by inspiration of God' (2 Tim. 3:16); yet they are expressed in the words of men. The Infinite One by his Holy Spirit had shed light into the minds and hearts of his servants. He has given dreams and visions, symbols and figures; and those to whom the truth was thus revealed, have themselves embodied the thought in human language.
"The ten commandments were spoken by God himself, and were written by his own hand. They are of divine, and not of human, composition. But the Bible, with its God-given truths expressed in the language of men, represents a union of the divine and the human. Such a union existed in the nature of Christ, who was the Son of God and the Son of man. Thus it is true of the Bible, as it was of Christ, that `the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.' John 1:14.
"Written in different ages, by men who differed widely in rank and occupation and in mental and spiritual endowments, the books of the Bible present a wide contrast in style, as well as a diversity in the nature of the subjects unfolded. Different forms of expression are employed by different writers; often the same truth is more strikingly presented by one than by another. And as several writers present a subject under varied aspects and relations, there may appear, to the superficial, careless, or prejudiced reader, to be discrepancy or contradiction, where the thoughtful, reverent student, with clearer insight, discerns the underlying harmony.
"As presented through different individuals, the truth is brought out in its varied aspects. One writer is more strongly impressed with one phase of a subject; he grasps those points that harmonize with his experience or with his power of perception and appreciation; another seizes upon a different phase and each, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, presents what is most forcibly impressed upon his own mind; a different aspect of the truth in each, but a perfect harmony through all. And the truths thus revealed unite to form a perfect whole, adapted to meet the wants of men in all the circumstances and experiences of life.
"God has been pleased to communicate his truth to the world by human agencies, and he himself, by his Holy Spirit, qualified men and enabled them to do this work. He guided the mind in the selection of what to speak and what to write. The treasure was entrusted to earthen vessels, yet it is, none the less, from heaven. The testimony is conveyed through the imperfect expression of human language; yet it is the testimony of God; and the obedient, believing child of God beholds in it the glory of a divine power, full of grace and truth."
In perfect harmony with this, are my statements found in the article, "The Testimonies Slighted," written June 20, 1882, and published in "Testimonies for the Church," Vol. V, No. 31, pages 62-84. From this I quote for your consideration, several paragraphs:--
"Many are looking with self-complacency upon the long years during which they have advocated the truth. They now feel that they are entitled to a reward for their past trials and obedience. But this genuine experience in the things of God in the past, makes them more guilty before him for not preserving their integrity and going forward to perfection. The faithfulness for the past year will never atone for the neglect of the present year. A man's truthfulness yesterday will not atone for his falsehood to-day.
"Many excuse their disregard of the Testimonies by saying, 'Sister White is influenced by her husband; the Testimonies are molded by his spirit and judgment.' Others are seeking to gain something from me which they could construe to justify their course, or to give them influence. It was then I decided that nothing more should go from my pen until the converting power of God was seen in the church. But the Lord placed the burden upon my soul. I labored for you earnestly. How much this cost both my husband and myself, eternity will tell. Have I not a knowledge of the state of the church, when the Lord has presented their case before me again and again for years? Repeated warnings has been given, yet there has been no decided change. . . .
"Yet now when I send you a testimony of warning and reproof, many of you declare it to be merely the opinion of Sister White. You have thereby insulted the Spirit of God. You know how the Lord has manifested himself through the spirit of prophecy. Past, present, and future have passed before me. I have been shown faces that I had never seen, and years afterward I knew them when I saw them. I have been aroused from my sleep with a vivid sense of subjects previously presented to my mind; and I have written at midnight letters that have gone across the continent, and, arriving at a crisis, have saved great disaster to the cause of God. This has been my work for many years. A power has impelled me to reprove and rebuke wrongs that I had not thought of. Is this work of the last thirty-six years from above, or from beneath? . . .
"When I went to Colorado, I was so burdened for you, that, in my weakness, I wrote many pages to be read at your camp-meeting. Weak and trembling, I arose at three o'clock in the morning, to write to you. God was speaking through clay. You might say that this communication was only a letter. Yes, it was a letter, but prompted by the Spirit of God, to bring before your minds things that had been shown me. In these letters which I write, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper, expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision--the precious rays of light shining from the throne. . . .
"What voice will you acknowledge as the voice of God? What power has the Lord in reserve to correct your errors, and show you your course as it is? What power to work in the church? If you refuse to believe until every shadow of uncertainty and every possibility of doubt is removed, you will never believe. The doubt that demands perfect knowledge, will never yield to faith. Faith rests upon evidence, not demonstration. The Lord requires us to obey the voice of duty, when there are other voices all around us urging us to pursue an opposite course. It requires earnest attention from us to distinguish the voice which speaks for God. We must resist and conquer inclination, and obey the voice of conscience, without parleying or compromise, lest its promptings cease, and will and impulse control. The word of the Lord comes to us all who have not resisted his Spirit by determining not to hear and obey. This voice is heard in warnings, in counsels, in reproof. It is the Lord's message of light to his people. If we wait for louder calls, or better opportunities, the light may be withdrawn, and we left in darkness. . . .
"It pains me to say, my brethren, that your sinful neglect to walk in the light, has enshrouded you in darkness. You may now be honest in not recognizing and obeying the light; the doubts you have entertained, your neglect to heed the requirements of God, have blinded your perceptions so that darkness is now to you light, and light is darkness. God has bidden you to go forward to perfection. Christianity is a religion of progress. Light from God is full and ample, waiting our demand upon it. Whatever blessings the Lord may give, he has an infinite supply beyond, an inexhaustible store from which we may draw. Skepticism may treat the sacred claims of the gospel with jests, scoffing, and denial. The spirit of worldliness may contaminate the many and control the few; the cause of God may hold its ground only by great exertion and continual sacrifice, yet it will triumph finally.
"The word is, Go forward; discharge your individual duty, and leave all consequences in the hands of God. If we move forward where Jesus leads the way, we shall see his triumph, we shall share his joy. We must share the conflicts, if we wear the crown of victory. Like Jesus, we must be made perfect through suffering. Had Christ's life been one of ease, then might we safely yield to sloth. Since his life was marked with continual self-denial, suffering, and self-sacrifice, we will make no complaint if we are partakers with him. We can walk safely in the darkest path, if we have the Light of the world for our guide. . . .
"When the Lord last presented your case before me, and made known to me that you had not regarded the light which had been given you, I was bidden to speak to you plainly in his name, for his anger was kindled against you. These words were spoken to me, `Your work is appointed you of God. Many will not hear you, for they refuse to hear the Great Teacher; many will not be corrected, for their ways are right in their own eyes. Yet bear to them the reproofs and warnings I shall give you, whether they will hear, or forbear.' . . .
"Our people are making very dangerous mistakes. We can not praise and flatter any man without doing him a great wrong; those who do this will meet with serious disappointment. They trust too fully to finite man, and not enough to God who never errs. The eager desire to urge men into public notice is an evidence of backsliding from God, and friendship with the world. It is the spirit which characterizes the present day. It shows that men have not the mind of Jesus; spiritual blindness and poverty of soul have come upon them. Often persons of inferior minds look away from Jesus to a merely human standard, by which they are not made conscious of their own littleness, and hence have an undue estimate of their own capabilities and endowments. There is among us as a people an idolatry of human instrumentalities, and mere human talent, and these even of a superficial character. We must die to self, and cherish humble, childlike faith. God's people have departed from their simplicity. They have not made God their strength, and are weak and faint, spiritually. . . .
"I have been shown that unbelief in the Testimonies has been steadily increasing as the people backslide from God. It is all through our ranks, all over the field. But few know what our churches are to experience. I saw that at present we are under divine forbearance; but no one can say how long this will continue. No one knows how great the mercy that has been exercised toward us. But few are heartily devoted to God. There are only a few who, like the stars in a tempestuous night, shine here and there among the clouds. . . .
"Many have exalted science, and lost sight of the God of science. This was not the case with the church in the purest times.
"God will work a work in our day that but few anticipate. He will raise up and exalt among us those who are taught rather by the unction of his Spirit, than by the outward training of scientific institutions. These facilities are not to be despised or condemned; they are ordained of God, but they can furnish only the exterior qualifications. God will manifest that he is not dependent on learned, self-important mortals."
In connection with these quotations, study again the article "The Nature and Influence of the Testimonies," in Vol. V, No. 33, pages 654-691. Mrs. E. G. White. (To be concluded)
(Vol. 83, #36)
The statement which you quote from "Testimony," No. 31, that "in these letters which I wrote, in the Testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper, expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision -- the precious rays of light shining from the throne," is correct. It is true concerning the articles in our papers and in the many volumes of my books. I have been instructed in accordance with the Word in the precepts of the law of God. I have been instructed in selecting from the lessons of Christ. Are not the positions taken in my writings in harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ? If not, point it out to me.
To some of the questions you have asked, I am not to answer Yes or No. I must not make statements that can be misconstrued. I see and feel the peril of those who I have been instructed were endangering their souls at times by listening to deceptive representations regarding the messages that God has given me. Through many twistings and turnings and false reasonings on what I have written, they seek to vindicate their personal unbelief. I am sorry for my brethren who have been walking in the mist of suspicion and skepticism and false reasoning. I know that some of them would be blessed by messages of counsel if the clouds obscuring their spiritual vision could be driven back, and they could see aright. But they do not see clearly. Therefore I dare not communicate with them.
When the Spirit of God clears away the mysticism, there will be found just as complete comfort and faith and hope in the messages that I have been instructed to give as were found in them in years past.
Truth will surely bear away the victory. One who gave His life to ransom man from the delusions of Satan is not asleep, but watching. When his sheep turn away from following the voice of a stranger whose sheep they are not, they will rejoice in the life of Christ. The envious Pharisees misinterpreted the acts and words of Christ, which, if properly received, would have been beneficial to their spiritual understanding. Instead of admiring his goodness, they charged him, in the presence of his disciples, with impiety-- "Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?" Instead of addressing our blessed Saviour himself, whose answer would at once have convicted them of their malice, they talked with the disciples, and made their charges where, as a leaven of evil, they would do great harm. If Christ had been an impious man he would have lost his hold upon the hearts of his believing followers. But because of their confidence in Christ, the disciples would not give ear to the insinuations of his wicked accusers.
Desiring to bring censure upon the disciples, these wicked accusers went again and again to Christ with the question, Why do thy disciples that which is not lawful? And when they judged our Lord to have transgressed, they spoke not to himself, but to his disciples, to plant the seeds of unbelief in the hearts of his followers. Thus they worked to bring in doubt and dissension. Every method was tried to bring doubt into the hearts of the little flock, that it might cause them to watch for something that would check the good and gracious work of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Work of this same character will be brought to bear upon true believers to-day. The Lord Jesus reads the heart; he discerns the intents and purposes of the thoughts of all men concerning himself and his believing disciples. He answers their thoughts concerning the fault-finding ones. "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." The insolent Pharisees had an exalted idea of their own piety and holiness, while they were ready to pass censure on the lives of others.
On one occasion those who were guilty of many secret sins, brought to Christ a woman who had been taken in sin. They thought that he would pronounce judgment against her, and then they could accuse him of taking judgment into his own hands. While they were presenting the case, Christ was busy writing on the sand. He said nothing, and when they pressed him for a decision, he was in no hurry to pronounce judgment. One after another came near to him to see what he was writing, and there in the sand they saw the record of their own sins. Then Christ said to them, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone." But not a stone was cast, and they went away, leaving the woman with him. He said to her, "Where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?" She said, "No man, Lord." Christ answered, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."
The Lord Jesus beheld the whole plot and the arrogance of the ones who had arranged it, who were worthy of condemnation and punishment, and when they saw that he knew their lives, they left and went out, having failed in their desire to bring about the condemnation of Christ.
Let no one complain. True religion is free from the exaltation of self. If we have not a sense of our interest, heart and mind and soul, in our Saviour, if we have not the grace and the intelligent Bible knowledge to apply to ourselves his merits and disposition of character, through the merits of the atonement, we shall obtain no ease, on assurance.
Bear in mind that it is none but God that can hold an argument with Satan. The sentiments of the enemy are to be met with a plain "Thus saith the Lord." Human infirmity, I am instructed, will not be able to resist the devil. Always keep aloof from secret science. If the mind is once open to this evil, Satan has the mastery. Flee from this unequal conflict. Let it ever be our individual care to keep clear of Satan's mysterious devisings. He will ever be making efforts to give power to secret science by which to overcome us, and then follows the sin of secret disobedience.
The law of the Lord is to be written on the heart. If it is not, we never obey it in truth. I am having deeply impressed upon my mind the history of the children of Israel while the awful presence of God was before them, as recorded in Ex. 19:16. "And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice."
This was the all-important occasion when God and angels came from heaven to the armies of Israel. Here was the law spoken in awful solemnity. The Lord God manifested himself to his people who were delivered out of Egyptian bondage. But this very people, while waiting before the mount for Moses to return, were tempted to doubt, by the suggestion of some that perplexities were arising, and notwithstanding the most solemn impressions that had been recently made upon their minds, they now by their attitude of questioning and doubt, invited the tempter to come in as an honored guest. Growing doubt soon led to a demand for a substitute for Moses.
Only a few days before, the presence of the Lord was manifest in such power that they were terribly afraid and asked that Moses might hear the words of God, and then speak the same to them. But now they wanted something present that they could depend upon.
They might, at this time, have been learning precious lessons, which the Lord was ready to give them, if they had trusted fully in him. But the result of their murmurings and unbelief was that Aaron made them a golden calf to represent God. He proclaimed this idol to be God, and a great deal of enthusiasm was created over this false god. If instead of doing this, he had called to mind the wonderful deliverance which God had wrought for them, and every mind had been drawn upon to express gratitude to God for all his rich mercies in delivering his people from Egyptian bondage, they might have been placed on vantage-ground, to glorify the Lord God who had wrought such wonderful deliverance from degradation and slavery. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 83, #37)
"A certain lawyer stood up," and tempted Christ, "saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself."
"Thou hast answered right," Christ declared; "this do, and thou shalt live."
In the question, "What is written in the law?" the Saviour referred to the ten commandments communicated to the Israelites at Sinai. Those to whom had been entrusted the sacred oracles had well-nigh lost sight of these precepts. There came a time when Christ saw that Satan was gathering the whole world, as it were, in his grasp. The enemy was working with the intensity with which he had worked in the heavenly courts, when first he refused to yield to the mighty Monarch of the universe. Satan was rapidly leading the world to act counter to God's law, counter to the principles of righteousness that should have been made their rule of action.
Christ saw that the time had come when Satan's power over mankind must be broken. Before the fall of man, the Son of God had united with his Father in laying the plan of salvation. God was to be manifested in Christ, "reconciling the world unto himself." And now, thousands of years later, the fulness of time came for the infinite sacrifice to be made. Divinity was to be communicated to humanity through a divine-human Saviour. The great Life-giver was to purchase the whole world by giving his own life as a ransom.
Christ came, but not in the brightness of his divine glory. He laid aside his royal robe and kingly crown, clothed his divinity with humanity, and came to live upon the earth as a man among men. Had he come in the full power and glory of his divinity, sinners could not have stood in his presence without being destroyed. He came to meet humanity in its most sinful and corrupt form. Thus divine love was manifested toward erring mortals.
The Saviour gained victories over temptation through power imparted from above in answer to prayer. He met the enticements of the enemy with the sword of the Spirit--God's Word. Again and again he declared, "It is written." And when the lawyer stood up to question him while he was teaching the people, he drew from the questioner the answer desired, by appealing to the lawyer's knowledge of God's Word.
It was to vindicate the just claims of the law of God, and to establish the supreme authority of its divine Author, that Christ came to this earth. The lawyer, while trying to prove that Christ lightly regarded the law given from Sinai, found himself a lawbreaker. Rather than repent, he sought to justify himself by putting another question, "Who is my neighbor?"
By a short story Jesus brought to view the duty of man toward his fellow man and toward God. "A certain man," he said, "went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side."
Not all who claim to keep God's law -- a law given by One who is full of compassion, long-sufferance, and loving-kindness -- reveal a love for their neighbor as great as their love for themselves. Not all reveal, in word and deed, that they comprehend God's great love for humanity.
"But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn; and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee."
Fixing his eyes upon the lawyer, in a glance that seemed to read his soul, the Saviour inquired, "Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?"
The lawyer answered, "He that showed mercy on him." Jesus said, "Go, and do thou likewise." Show the same tender kindness to those in need. Thus you will give evidence that you keep the whole law.
In giving this lesson, Christ presented the principles of the law of God in a direct, forcible way, showing his hearers that they had neglected to carry out these principles. His words were so definite and pointed that the listeners found no opportunity to cavil or raise objections.
Those who study this lesson aright will see that in order to keep the law it is necessary to have a knowledge of God; for the law is a transcript of his character, and his character is love. Moses prayed, "I beseech thee, show me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee." "And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth."
The lawyer asked. "Who is my neighbor?" The despised Samaritan of whom Jesus told, acted as Jesus would have acted toward the suffering Jew robbed by the wayside and left to perish. He fulfilled the command, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," thus showing that he was more righteous than those by whom he was despised. This Samaritan represents Christ. The Saviour stooped from the position of commander in the heavenly courts to become a servant. He clothed his divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity. He was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, yet he humbled himself. His whole life was one of poverty and self-denial. For our sake he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. He did not live to please himself. His life is the mystery of godliness.
Jesus was the foundation of the Jewish economy, the author of all the laws, statutes, and requirements of his chosen people. How his soul was pained and his heart filled with grief as he saw those who claimed to be the depositaries of truth, mercy, and compassion, so destitute of the love of God!
In the providence of God, the priest and the Levite were brought in contact with a suffering fellow creature, that they might minister to him. Christ is constantly weaving the web of human events. He placed this suffering man where one who had sympathy and compassion would give attention to his needs. The Lord permits suffering and calamity to come upon men and women to call us out of our selfishness, to awaken in us the attributes of his character,-- compassion, tenderness, and love.
Divine love makes its most touching appeals when it calls upon us to manifest the same tender compassion that Christ manifested. He was a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. In all our afflictions he is afflicted. He loves men and women as the purchase of his own blood, and he says to us, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." (To be concluded)
(Vol. 83, #38)
Last night I was in a sleepless state much of the time. Many representations passed before me. One was a scene in a council meeting where several were present. One man arose and began finding fault with one of his brethren. I looked at the speaker's garments, and saw that they were very undesirable.
Another person arose, and began to state his grievance against a fellow laborer. His garments were of another pattern, and they, too, were undesirable. Still another, and yet another arose, and uttered words of accusation and condemnation regarding the course of others. Every one had some trouble to speak of, some fault to find with some one else. All were presenting the defects of Christians who are trying to do something in our world; and they declared repeatedly that certain ones were neglecting this or that or the other thing, and so on.
There was no real order, no polite courtesy, in the meeting. In their anxiety to speak, some crowded in while others were still talking. Voices were raised, in an effort to make all hear above the din of confusion.
The dress of the speakers was unbecoming and grotesque. This, I was shown, was a representation of defective character.
When many had spoken, One of authority appeared, and repeated the words: "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
O, how can Christians afford to speak words of criticism and fault-finding,--words that stir up the worst passions of the human heart? The talent of speech is too precious a gift to be abused in this way. Let us refrain from uttering any words that would stir up a spirit of antagonism or retaliation. When irritated, let us remain silent.
In this council meeting that I saw in the visions of the night, Christ himself was present. An expression of pain came over his countenance as one after another would come forward, with uncouth dress, to expiate upon the faults of various members of the church.
Finally the heavenly Visitant arose. So intent were those present on criticizing their brethren, that it was with reluctance that they gave him opportunity to speak. He declared that the spirit of criticism, of judging one another, is a source of weakness in the church to-day. Things are spoken that should never find utterance. Every one who by word of mouth places an obstruction in the way of a fellow Christian, has an account to settle with God.
With earnest solemnity the Speaker declared: "The church is made up of many minds, each of whom has an individuality. I gave my life in order that men and women, by divine grace, might blend in revealing a perfect pattern of my character, while at the same time retaining their individuality. No one has the right to disparage the individuality of any other human mind, by uttering words of criticism and fault-finding and condemnation."
These words he repeated with solemn earnestness; and then he turned and grasped a standard, and held it aloft. From this standard, in burning letters, clear and distinct, gleamed God's law. The Speaker declared: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself."
As the light from the uplifted standard flashed upon these men in council, they shrank from it as if it were a burning flame. Some prostrated themselves; some turned and went away.
As I looked upon the scene, the names of the fault-finders appeared before them, and opposite each name were written out the faults of the erring one. None were free from defects of character. In the light of the uplifted standard, all were guilty.
The churches have had light, great light. Infinite light and power are promised those who go forth in the name of the Master to do his bidding. While all do not labor in the same manner, or say the same things, yet the words of one will balance the words of another. In the midst of diversity there will be a beautiful harmony.
Let every one attend to his own individual case before God. Let every one confess his own sins with humility of mind. Let every one appropriate the rich promises of God's Word, and while working out his own salvation with fear and trembling, labor for the salvation of others as well.
"Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor."
All who love God supremely will love their neighbor as themselves. The keeping of the new commandment is to the believer a step heavenward. That which will give God's people the supremacy is obedience to the injunction, "These things I command you, that ye love one another." "Neither pray I for these alone," Christ said, "but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."
(Vol. 83, #39)
"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."
What a precious privilege is this,--that we may be sons and daughters of the Most High, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ! What love, what matchless love, that, sinners and aliens as we are, we may be brought back to God, and adopted into his family!
It is sin that alienates from God. "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: whoso sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him."
To every one who surrenders fully to God is given the privilege of living without sin, in obedience to the law of heaven.
"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."
God requires of us perfect obedience. We are to purify ourselves, even as he is pure. By keeping his commandments, we are to reveal our love for the Supreme Ruler of the universe. And the Lord has not left us in ignorance regarding his law. While enshrouded in a thick cloud, he repeated from Mount Sinai the holy precepts of the decalogue distinctly and with solemn impressiveness. So deeply were the people impressed when they "saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking," that "they removed, and stood afar off."
"Speak thou with us," they pleaded with Moses, "and we will hear: but let not God speak with us; lest we die." "And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not." Every provision against sin has been made in our behalf.
The importance of obedience was further impressed upon the minds of the Israelites by the Lord himself, when, as recorded in the thirty-first of Exodus, he "spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. . . . Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
"And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God."
In the providence of God, these same commandments that were written with the finger of Jehovah and entrusted to the Israelites, are now committed to our care. Upon us rests the solemn obligation of proclaiming God's law to an impenitent world. The last great conflict over the question of loyalty to God, will turn on obedience to the Sabbath commandment, which is so plainly enforced by the Lord himself, "for a perpetual covenant." Men will labor with an intensity from beneath to make of no effect God's command regarding the observance of the seventh day; but we are not to be influenced by anything that man may do. Our allegiance to the King of kings must ever be made a matter of paramount importance. We can not afford to be out of harmony with the Creator of the universe.
Men may make laws to enforce Sunday observance, but they have no Scriptural authority for so doing. We can not do otherwise than obey the law of Jehovah, irrespective of any conflicting law enacted by man. When man-made laws are contrary to God's sacred enactments, we must choose to obey God rather than man. While respecting earthly authorities in so far as they do not interfere with our allegiance to God, we are ever to acknowledge our divine Ruler as the Supreme Authority. And in all our efforts to remain true, we are to keep constantly in mind the words of the beloved disciple, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God."
The final conflict is near at hand, but many are asleep regarding the responsibilities of the hour. "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is."
Years ago, in the early days of our denominational work on the Pacific Coast, my husband and I united with a few faithful brethren and sisters in an effort to build meeting-houses in San Francisco and in Oakland. At that time there were not many believers, and we had to make heavy personal sacrifices in order to secure sufficient means with which to erect churches and establish institutions. But we realized that San Francisco and Oakland must be worked, and so we toiled and struggled until the Laguna Street church in San Francisco and the first church in Oakland were built.
San Francisco has been visited with a terrible calamity. The Lord in mercy spared life, in order that the people may still have opportunity to repent. The wickedness practised in San Francisco, and in Oakland as well,--though in a lesser degree,--has been opened before me again and again. No tongue can describe the conditions that existed before the earthquake; words are inadequate to portray the awful iniquity carried on. To an unusual extent, many were "lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers," "heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God."
God has manifested his displeasure in a signal manner in San Francisco. He is seeking to teach men that they can not always disregard his authority with impunity. He has given to us a law, which, sooner or later, we must acknowledge as holy, and just, and good. The Ruler of the universe bears long with those who trample on his law and disregard his holy Sabbath; but in the fulness of time he arises to vindicate his supreme authority.
In his judgments, God remembered mercy. He spared life. We now have a solemn work to do in San Francisco. The third angel's message is to be proclaimed in San Francisco with power. If possible, the people are to be aroused to a realization of their peril. By this stroke of God's providence they are to understand that it requires but a single touch from the One in supreme authority to break up the foundations laid by man, and to bring destruction to the works of human hands. God's judgments are not sent for naught. They are given in order that all may take warning. Every one should inquire, Have I a hope in God? Do I believe in him? Can I take hold of him by living faith?
In the midst of the confusion caused by the earthquake and the fire, the people are to be taught to discern the wondrous import of the words, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God."
Diligent work is now called for. In this crisis, no half-hearted efforts will prove successful. In all our city work, we are to hunt for souls. Wise plans are to be laid, in order that such work may be done to the best possible advantage. More and more, as wickedness increases in the great cities, we shall have to work them from outpost centers. This is the way Enoch labored in the days before the flood, when wickedness was rife in every populous community, and when violence was in the land.
God in his providence has spared Oakland, and thousands are flocking to it. We have a present duty to perform in Oakland. We are now to give this city a decided warning; for God has spared it in order that we may do a thorough and a quick work here. Let not those who are in this place become discouraged over the outlook. The Lord has a message to be borne just now to the people in Oakland. Decided efforts are to be made to lead men and women to see that God is Supreme Ruler, and that his commandments are to be obeyed.
In the night season there have passed before me many presentations, in figures, regarding the work to be done in Oakland. Among other things, I saw One from heaven standing before the people in Oakland and in the surrounding cities, and bearing the proclamation, "Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world."
To the members of the Oakland church I would say: Do not be discouraged because many of your brethren and sisters are going away in response to the counsels given that our people should leave the cities. Do not feel that Oakland is to be left without a witness. Help and strength must be given to the work in Oakland. God may touch Oakland, but he has spared it thus far, in order that those who have never heard the third angel's message, may be warned and converted and saved. Those who choose to stand on the Lord's side shall behold "what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God."
Much missionary work is to be done in Oakland, and in the surrounding communities. We expect to stand by the brethren and sisters of the Oakland church; and we shall expect you to unite heartily with the conference laborers by rallying around the standard and by doing much personal work among your neighbors and friends. Money will also be needed for the maintenance of the laborers. Let every church-member deny self as Christ denied himself. Let us study the closest economy because of the many pressing calls for means to advance the message. As we sacrifice willingly, God will not fail us in time of need. The Source of all our blessings, he will not allow us to suffer because of our liberality.
More and more, as time advances, our people will have to leave the cities. For years we have been instructed that our brethren and sisters, and especially families with children, should plan to leave the cities as the way opens before them to do so. Many will have to labor earnestly to help open the way. But until it is possible for them to leave, so long as they remain, they should be most active in doing missionary work, however limited their sphere of influence may be. As they yield their talents and their all to God to be used as he may direct; as they live out their consecration by engaging in practical missionary work wherever opportunity affords, God will bless them with wisdom and discretion, and in his own way and time he will make it possible for them to place themselves where they will not be surrounded constantly with the contaminating influences of modern city life.
O, how much we need genuine missionaries! How much we need men and women who will labor under the supervision of the Almighty, in the power of his Spirit! How much we need those who know that God has called them to his service! It is when the work goes hard, that living missionaries reveal by their courage and fortitude and their trust in God that they are led and taught by the Holy Spirit.
(Vol. 83, #40)
It was my privilege to attend the Oakland camp-meeting from beginning to close, July 19-29. The meeting was held on a large block in a residence district of Oakland, within easy access of San Francisco and neighboring Bay cities, by trolley and railway. It was reported that there were about two hundred tents pitched, for the accommodation of over six hundred campers. The attendance of our brethren and sisters from the surrounding towns was good, and on Sabbaths and Sundays the large pavilion was well filled.
For several weeks prior to this meeting I had been somewhat feeble. But I went trusting in God, and he wonderfully sustained me. I spoke seven times, with no feeling of weariness. Despite the fact that the congregations were often large, and I was under the necessity of speaking so as to make all hear, I was refreshed physically, and was able to do much writing every day. A feeling of peace seemed to take possession of mind and heart from day to day.
The closing Sabbath was a day marked by many rich blessings. At the morning service, the large tent was literally packed with people. Every seat was taken. Elder S. N. Haskell opened the meeting with prayer. I then spoke for about forty-five minutes, on the privileges and the responsibilities of the Christian life, as brought to view in the first chapter of Paul's epistle to the Colossians.
This scripture very clearly teaches us that we may constantly grow in spirituality through Christ our Lord. "To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse," the apostle Paul wrote: "Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth."
Paul rejoiced in the fact that the church-members at Colosse manifested a spirit of brotherly love toward one another. "For this cause we also," he declared, "since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God."
To every one who constantly yields his will to the will of the Infinite, to be led and taught of God, there is promised an ever-increasing development in spiritual things. God fixes no limit to the advancement of those who are "filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding."
Through prayer, through watchfulness, through growth in understanding, we are "strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness." Thus we are prepared to communicate the word of the living God, the truth for this generation, acceptably to all with whom we are brought into contact. O, let us give "thanks unto the Father," who, in the language of the inspired apostle, "hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son."
God's plan for us is so broad, so full, so complete, that we have every reason for co-operating whole-heartedly with him in carrying it out. There is no reason for hesitancy on our part. The sacrifice of Christ atones for every sinner. Christ is the One "in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins." All that is required on our part is a complete surrender of our thoughts and purposes, our will, all that we have and are, to God, to be used as he may direct.
It matters not how great the sin: he who returns to God, with full purpose of heart, is assured of pardon and peace. "You, that were sometime alienated," the apostle continues, "and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death."
And what rich assurances are given to the steadfast,--to those who remain true to their allegiance to the God of heaven! "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled," the promise reads, "and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven," the Redeemer will "present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable" in the presence of his Father in the kingdom of glory. Wonderful, wonderful assurance! How cheering, indeed, is the hope of the Christian! Naught in this world can compare with the reward set before those who will "be not moved away from the hope of the gospel."
As these thoughts were dwelt upon before the great congregation Sabbath morning, my heart was moved with an intense desire that not one soul in that vast assembly should fail of appropriating the rich promises of the gospel. I appealed to the parents to unite with their children in making sure work for eternity. In these closing hours of probation, none can afford to be listless or half-hearted. A world is to be warned. To every Christian God has given some work to do for the saving of souls. O that every one who claims to be a follower of Jesus, would labor as the Saviour labored for mankind! This would bring untold blessing both to the laborers and to those whom they would be able to lead to the foot of the cross.
To every one who has named the name of Jesus, is given the commission to go and tell others that which they have learned of the way of salvation. As they go, Jesus declares, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Anointed by the Holy Spirit, as were the disciples of old, they are to labor in tender sympathy and love for souls ready to perish.
I appealed to the brethren and sisters in Oakland and in the surrounding cities, to rise to their opportunities, gird on the Christian armor, and labor for God in whatever way he may direct. If the members of the Oakland church do all that it is possible for them to do through the power imparted by the Holy Spirit, a great missionary work will be done in this city--a work exceeding anything that has ever been done heretofore in this portion of the Lord's vineyard.
A work of this character must necessarily be accomplished through daily consecration and earnest prayer, through faithful and continued searching of the Scriptures, and through obedience to all the divine commands. We need to draw fresh supplies daily from the great storehouse of God's Word. This will give no time for novel reading, or for anything else that does not edify and strengthen for every good work.
May the Lord help us to choose this day whom we shall serve. Let us make our decision now, at this meeting, to serve God forevermore. The riches of heaven are at the command of God's children. There is set before us the hope of a life that measures with the life of the Eternal. "Choose you this day whom ye will serve." Make thorough work for eternity.
After I had finished speaking, the order of the meeting was changed, and Elder G. B. Thompson led out in an earnest revival effort. He appealed most urgently to the unconverted and the backslidden, and called upon all who had not made a full surrender, but who today desired to stand wholly on the Lord's side, to come forward.
The response was most encouraging. The front seats were vacated, and a large number who desired special prayer and help came forward. Every vacated seat was filled. A second move was made to make room for others coming to the front. Several more rows of seats were rapidly filled. I was so thankful to God for this evidence of the working of his Holy Spirit upon hearts.
While the people were coming forward, there was singing by the choir; then several prayers were offered. The Lord Jesus was in our midst. While praying, I felt that it was my privilege to lay hold on the arm of the Infinite, and to cling fast in behalf of the ones who so much needed divine help and blessing. I pleaded for a full surrender on the part of all who signified their determination to leave the ranks of the enemy and to take their position henceforth under the standard of Prince Emmanuel.
Many children and youth were among the number who bowed low before God in repentance and confession of sin, while God's servants offered prayer in behalf of these trembling souls. Afterward, the general congregation was dismissed, and those who had come forward were separated into two groups,--the children, and the older ones. A special season of prayer and of counsel was held with each group. Of the children who gathered in the kindergarten tent, thirty gave in their names for baptism the following day. Several of the older ones, including some whose heads were gray, also followed their Lord in baptism.
Those who bore the responsibilities of this camp-meeting felt as if the good work begun must not be allowed to remain unfinished, and so they decided to leave the large tent standing, and continue evening meetings. A company of workers remained encamped on the grounds, and have daily engaged in house-to-house labor.
At the urgent request of the California Conference Committee, Elder S. N. Haskell and his wife consented to conduct a Bible training-school for workers while this special effort is being put forth for Oakland. They are now training a group of workers for effective service.
It is planned that Elder W. W. Simpson shall begin a series of meetings in Oakland within a very few weeks. With him should be associated a strong force of house-to-house workers. Bible readings should be held in the homes of the people, and our literature should be circulated. Truth, precious truth from the Word of God, is to be presented, both in public and in house-to-house visitation. We have a message that is to prepare a people to stand amid the perils of the last days, and in proclaiming this message we need many men and women filled with the Holy Spirit and with a knowledge of God's Word.
Only a little time remains in which to labor. Now is our golden opportunity to give the third angel's message in the large cities. This is especially true of Oakland. Nothing of an ordinary character will be effective in awakening the people of Oakland to a realization of the times in which they are living, and the meaning of signs rapidly fulfilling. A powerful message must be borne, and faithful house-to-house work must be done by consecrated laborers. May the Lord lay upon many the burden of service.
(Vol. 83, #41)
There is coming, rapidly and surely, an almost universal guilt upon the inhabitants of the great cities because of the steady increase of determined wickedness. God has given life to man, in order that through a knowledge of the Word and by practising its principles, the human agent may become one with God, obedient to the divine will. But Satan has been working constantly by many devisings to bring man into disfavor with God.
In the antediluvian world, human agencies brought in all manner of devisings and ingenious practises to make of no effect the law of Jehovah. They cast aside his authority, because it interfered with their schemes. As in the days before the flood, so now the time is right upon us when the Lord God must reveal his omnipotent power. Even many of those who claim to believe the truth do not practise the truth. They have the Word, but they do not live in accordance with its precepts. Their business affairs are not conducted in harmony with its teachings. In the plans devised by men who desire to execute their own purposes, is revealed the masterly hand of the enemy. Satan is not asleep; he is wide awake, to make of no effect the sure word of prophecy. With skill and deceptive power he is working to counterwork the expressed will of God, made plain in his Word. For years Satan has been gaining control of human minds, through subtle sophistries that he has devised to take the place of the truth. In this time of peril, right-doers, in the fear of God, will glorify his name by repeating the words of David, "It is time for thee, O Lord, to work; for they have made void thy law."
Through his prophet Zephaniah the Lord specifies the judgments that he will bring upon evil-doers:--
"I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the Lord. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the Lord. I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, . . . and them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham; and them that are turned back from the Lord; and those that have not sought the Lord, nor inquired for him. Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.
"And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord's sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their master's houses with violence and deceit.
"And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills. Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off. And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil. Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.
"The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
"Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lord's anger come upon you.
"Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness; it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger. . . . Woe unto the inhabitants of the seacoast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the Lord is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant."
In many places there exist conditions that make these words of warning applicable in this our day. Should not the terrible earthquake that has caused almost complete destruction of San Francisco, one of the largest cities of America, awaken a most earnest interest to seek the Lord while he may be found? Let not our ministers, in their discourses, dwell upon commonplace matters. Now is a time when there should be a humbling of the heart before God. Let us seek him while he is to be found on the pardoning side, and not on the judgment side. Wake up, my brethren and sisters. You have no time to lose. Call upon the Lord while he may be found.
"Wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. . . .
"The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid."
In this our day, some whose tongues are deceitful have been presenting as truth many things that they themselves have originated,--as if the law of truth were in their heart and coming from their lips. But the Lord will surely punish every deceitful, lying tongue that has caused his people to err and to turn from the righteousness of Christ.
"Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.
"At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord."
(Vol. 83, #42)
"Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me."
This is the special message that God bade his servant Jonah bear in the ancient and populous city founded by Asshur, the son of Shem, who "went forth" from "the land of Shinar" about the time of the dispersion from Babel, "and builded Nineveh" along the fertile bank of the Tigris, over two hundred miles to the northward from Babylon.
Jonah was bidden to "cry against" the city, but he was averse to bearing any such message. Instead of obeying, he "rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish": so he paid the fare thereof and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord."
God in his providence taught Jonah, by severe affliction, the lesson of obedience that enabled him to fulfil God's purpose in behalf of the inhabitants of Nineveh. The record of his experience, as given in the first and second chapters of Jonah, is worthy of most careful study.
"The word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey, . . . and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
"So the people of Nineveh believed God and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything: let them not feed, nor drink water: but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?"
As the people of Nineveh humbled themselves before God, and cried to him for mercy, he heard their cry. "And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not."
But Jonah revealed that he valued the souls in that wretched city less than he valued his reputation. He feared lest he should be regarded as a false prophet. The compassion shown by God toward the repentant people "displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry." "Was not this my saying," he inquired of the Lord, "when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil."
When Jonah saw the Lord exercising his compassionate attributes in sparing the city that had corrupted its ways before him, he should have co-operated with God in his merciful design. But he lost sight of the interests of the people. Again he yielded to his feelings, and, as the result, he was not grieved over the thought that so large a number must perish because they had not been taught to do right. He felt as if he would rather die than live to see the city spared; and in his dissatisfaction he exclaimed, "Now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.
"Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry? So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd."
Then the Lord gave Jonah an object-lesson. He "prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.
"Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not labored, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: and should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that can not discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?"
Our God is a God of compassion With long-sufferance and tender mercy he deals with the transgressors of his law. And yet, in this our day, when men and women have so many opportunities for becoming familiar with the divine law as revealed in Holy Writ, the great Ruler of the universe can not behold with any satisfaction the wicked cities, where reign violence and crime. If the people in these cities would repent, as did the inhabitants of Nineveh, many more such messages as Jonah's would be given.
Of the disobedient, God now declares: "Although they have been cumberers of my ground, I will forbear with them as long as there is a possibility of their repenting. Toward those who will choose to leave the ranks of the transgressors of my law, and to stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Emmanuel, I will show mercy and forgiveness. But the end of my forbearance with those who persist in disobedience is approaching rapidly."
Ought men to be surprised over a sudden and unexpected change in the dealings of the Supreme Ruler with the inhabitants of a fallen world? Ought they to be surprised when punishment follows transgression and increasing crime? Ought they to be surprised that God should bring destruction and death upon those whose ill-gotten gains have been obtained through deception and fraud? Notwithstanding the fact that increasing light regarding God's requirements has been shining on their pathway, many have refused to recognize Jehovah's supreme rulership, and have chosen to remain under the black banner of the originator of all rebellion against the government of heaven.
The forbearance of God has been very great,--so great that when we consider the continuous insult to his holy commandments, we marvel. The Omnipotent One has been exerting a restraining power over his own attributes. But he will certainly arise to punish the wicked, who so boldly defy the just claims of the decalogue.
Not long ago, in the visions of the night, I was in a large assembly, where the sacredness of God's law was being pointed out. With solemn earnestness a speaker read the one hundred and nineteenth, the one hundred and twenty-sixth, and the one hundred and twenty-seventh psalms. He declared that the wickedness of the world has reached a point where the Lord will certainly interfere. These words were repeated: "The Lord is slow to anger, and of great power, and will not at all acquit the wicked . The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and in the bowels of the earth, and in the clouds wherewith he hides himself."
By studying the story of the Amorites, we may learn a lesson regarding God's dealings with the transgressors of his law. God promised Abraham and his posterity the land of Canaan; but centuries passed by before this promise was fulfilled. One reason given was that the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full. Though practising idolatry, they had not yet reached the full measure of guilt that was to bring upon them the vengeance of God. Finally, when their period of probation was ended, the command was given for their destruction.
God allows men a period of probation; but there is a point beyond which divine patience is exhausted and the judgments of God are sure to follow. The Lord bears long with men, and with cities, mercifully giving warnings to save them from divine wrath; but a time will come when pleadings for mercy will no longer be heard, and the rebellious element that continues to reject the light of truth, will be blotted out in mercy to themselves and to those who would otherwise be influenced by their example.
(Vol. 83, #43)
In these times, when the daily newspapers are filled with many horrible details of revolting drunkenness and terrible crime, there is a tendency to become so familiar with existing conditions that we lose sight of the significance of these conditions. Violence is in the land. More intoxicating liquor is used than has ever been used heretofore. The story of the resultant crime is given fully in the newspapers. And yet, notwithstanding the many evidences of increasing lawlessness, men seldom stop to consider seriously the meaning of these things. Almost without exception, men boast of the enlightenment and progress of the present age.
Upon us, to whom God has given great light, rests the solemn responsibility of calling the attention of thinking men and women to the significance of the prevalence of drunkenness and crime with which they are so familiar. We should bring before their minds the scriptures that plainly portray the conditions which shall exist just prior to the second coming of Christ. Faithfully should we uplift the divine standard, and raise our voices in protest against the sanctioning of the liquor traffic by legal enactment.
For a time after the great earthquake along the coast of California, the authorities in San Francisco and in some of the smaller cities and towns ordered the closing of all liquor saloons. So marked were the effects of this strictly enforced ordinance, that the attention of thinking men throughout America, and notably on the Pacific Coast, was directed to the advantages that would result from a permanent closing of all saloons. During many weeks following the earthquake in San Francisco, very little drunkenness was seen. No intoxicating drinks were sold. The disorganized and unsettled state of affairs gave the city officials reason to expect an abnormal increase of disorder and crime, and they were greatly surprised to find the opposite true. Those from whom was expected much trouble, gave but little. This remarkable freedom from violence and crime was traceable largely to the disuse of intoxicants.
The editors of some of the leading dailies took the position that it would be for the permanent betterment of society and for the upbuilding of the best interests of the city, were the saloons to remain closed forever. But wise counsel was swept aside, and within a few short weeks permission was given the liquor dealers to reopen their places of business, upon the payment of a considerably higher license than had formerly been paid into the city treasury.
In the calamity that befell San Francisco, the Lord designed to wipe out the liquor saloons that have been the cause of so much evil, so much misery and crime; and yet the guardians of the public welfare have proved unfaithful to their trust, by legalizing the sale of liquor. Those who have been placed in positions of official responsibility, and who in the recent past have become thoroughly familiar with the advantages of the closed saloon, now deliberately choose to enact laws sanctioning the carrying on of the liquor traffic. They know that in doing this, they are virtually licensing the commission of crime; and yet their knowledge of this sure result deters them not.
The evils that are so apparent at the present time, are the same that brought destruction to the antediluvian world. "In the days that were before the flood" one of the prevailing sins was drunkenness. From the record in Genesis we learn that "the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence." Crime reigned supreme; life itself was unsafe. Men whose reason was dethroned by intoxicating drink, thought little of taking the life of a human being.
"As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." The drunkenness and the crime that now prevail, have been foretold by the Saviour himself. We are living in the closing days of this earth's history. It is a most solemn time. Everything betokens the soon return of our Lord. The very conditions we see in the great cities of our land; the mad acts of men whose minds have been inflamed by drugged liquor sold under sanction of human enactments; the dead and the dying whose destruction can be traced to the use of poisonous liquor,--all these evils are but a fulfilment of our Saviour's prophecy, whereby we may know that Jesus will soon appear in the clouds of heaven.
O, what a work there is before the faithful watchman who must quickly warn the people of the perils of these last days! How important it is that God's messengers shall call the attention of statesmen, of editors, of thinking men everywhere, to the deep significance of the drunkenness and the violence now filling the land with desolation and death! As faithful colaborers with God, we must bear a clear, decided testimony on the temperance question.
The Lord can not bear much longer with an intemperate and perverse generation. In days of old, when Moses was rehearsing the desire of Jehovah concerning his people, there were uttered against the drunkard the following words: --
"The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousies shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven."
The people of San Francisco must answer at the judgment bar of God for the reopening of the liquor saloons in that city. O that our cities might reform! In places where the judgments of heaven have fallen, God is now proving those whose lives he has spared, as to whether they will continue to allow health and reason to be destroyed by the sale of maddening drink. To-day, in many places, men are being tried in courts of justice, because under the influence of drugged liquor they have committed all manner of violence and sin. Satan looks on, highly gratified over the persistent determination of men to sell and use these poisonous drinks.
Well could it be said of the cities in our world to-day, as the Saviour declared of the cities "wherein most of his mighty works were done," "Woe unto thee!" "The men of Nineveh shall rise up in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; because they repented at the preaching of Jonah." When the Lord sees men whom he has spared as he spared the inhabitants of Nineveh, continue to legalize and carry on the liquor traffic, the next stroke of the Infinite will be to destroy life. God has given men an opportunity to repent, to prepare to meet death with Christ's armor on, if death must come; and yet they continue in the wicked works that brought the cities under the rebuke and the chastening hand of God, and caused the devastation of that in which they took so much pride.
Human lives have been wonderfully preserved. Should there not be an acknowledgment of the Lord's mercy? Should there not be heartfelt repentance? Should not the liquor saloons that have wrought so much evil, be entirely abolished?
God is now withholding further vengeance, in order that a faithful work may be done by his ministers. Let there be proclaimed, with no uncertain sound, the message: "Watch; . . . for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." In every place is to be heard the voice of the faithful sentinel of truth. God is now calling upon his servants to engage in this closing work of warning the world. Those whose talents have heretofore been tied up in mercantile and other worldly pursuits, are now to plan to use their talents speedily in proclaiming the third angel's message. Let not Satan keep you from engaging in this work. Count the cost of delay. Souls are perishing in sin. We must now improve every opportunity.
The world is to be warned; soon Jesus will come. We are to allow nothing to interpose between us and the work God has given us to do. The people must hear the truth in clear, distinct lines. Just at this time we must make special efforts to bring the truth before those who live in our cities. As we near the close of this earth's history, we shall see repeated in many other places the calamity that befell San Francisco. Now is our golden opportunity to co-operate with heavenly intelligences in enlightening the understanding of those who are studying the meaning of the rapid increase of crime and disaster. As we do our part faithfully, the Lord will bless our efforts to the saving of many precious souls.
(Vol. 83, #44)
In John the Baptist God raised up a messenger to prepare the way of the Lord. He was to bear to the world an unflinching testimony, reproving and denouncing sin. The angel, in announcing John's mission and work, said: "He shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
John had not been educated in the schools of the rabbis. He had obtained no human scholarship. The forerunner of Christ did not expose himself to evil conversation and the corrupting influences of the world. He chose to have his home in the wilderness. Here his surroundings were favorable to habits of simplicity and self-denial. Uninterrupted by the clamor of the world, he could here study the lessons of nature, of revelation, and of providence, and preserve a sacred sense of the majesty of God.
To prepare the way before Christ, one was needed, who, like the prophets of old, could summon the degenerate nation to repentance, and the voice of John was lifted up like a trumpet. His commission was, "Show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." He presented no long arguments, no fine-spun theories, elaborately delivered in their "first," "secondly," and "thirdly." Pure, native eloquence was revealed; every word carried with it certainty and truth.
And all went forth into the wilderness to hear him. Unlearned peasants and fishermen came from the surrounding country. The Roman soldiers from the barracks of Herod came to hear him. Chieftains came, with their swords girded at their sides, to put down anything that savored of rebellion. The avaricious tax-gatherers came from the regions round about, and from the Sanhedrin came the phylacteried priests. All listened as if spellbound; and all came away, even the Pharisee, the Sadducee, and the cold, unimpressible scoffer, with the sneer gone, and cut to the heart with a sense of their sins.
John called every class to repentance. He met sin with open rebuke, in men of humble occupation, and in men of high degree. He declared the truth to kings and nobles, whether they would hear or reject it. And kings and nobles, Pharisees and Sadducees, Roman soldiers, and officers trained in all court etiquette, wily, calculating tax-gatherers and world-renowned men, listened to his words. They had confidence in his plain statements, and were convicted of sin.
In this age, just prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven, God calls for men who will prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord. Just such a work as that of John is to be carried on in these last days. The Lord has given messages to his people, through the instruments he has chosen, and he would have all give heed to the admonitions and warnings he sends. The message preceding the public ministry of Christ was, Repent, publicans and sinners. Repent, Pharisees and Sadducees. Repent, "for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Our message is not to be one of peace and safety. As a people who believe in Christ's soon appearing, we have a message to bear,--"Prepare to meet thy God." We are to lift up the standard and bear the third angel's message. Our message must be as direct as was the message of John. He rebuked kings for their iniquity. Notwithstanding that his life was in peril, the truth did not languish upon his lips. And our work in this age must be as faithfully done.
The inhabitants of the world at this time are represented by the dwellers upon the earth at the time of the flood. The wickedness of the antediluvians is plainly stated: "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." God became weary of this people whose thoughts were only of sinful pleasure and indulgence. They sought not the counsel of God who had created them, nor cared to do his will. The rebuke of God was upon them because they followed the imagination of their own hearts; and there was violence in the land. "And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth,. . . . and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them from the earth."
In his teachings Christ referred to this. "But as the days of Noe were," he said, "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."
Look at the picture which the world presents to-day. Dishonesty, fraud, and bankruptcies, violence and bloodshed, exist on every hand. The widows and the fatherless are robbed of their all. Plays, horse-races, and amusements of every kind occupy the mind. In the church, sins have become fashionable. They are glossed over and excused. The right hand of fellowship is given to the very men who bring in false theories and sentiments. Thus the discernment and sensibilities have become deadened as to what constitutes right principles. Conscience has become insensible to the counsel and reproofs which have been given. The light given, calling to repentance, has been shut out by the thick cloud of unbelief and opposition brought in by human plans and human inventions.
The inhabitants of the antediluvian world had the warning given them prior to their overthrow; but the warning was not heeded. They refused to listen to the words of Noah; they mocked at his message. Righteous men lived in that generation. Before the destruction of the antediluvian world, Enoch bore his testimony unflinchingly. And in prophetic vision he saw the condition of the world at the present time. He said, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lust; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage." Jude leaves the testimony for the believers: "But, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit."
It is living earnestness that God requires at this time. Ministers may have but little learning from books; but if they do the best they can with their talents; if they work as they have opportunity; if they clothe their utterances in the plainest and most simple language; if they walk in carefulness and humility, seeking for heavenly wisdom; if they work for God from the heart, actuated by love for Christ and the souls for whom Christ has died, they will be listened to by men of even superior ability and talents. There will be a charm in the simplicity of the truths they present.
The men who have spent long terms in the study of books are not all revealing in their lives that earnest ministry which is essential for this time. Some do not have a simple, straightforward testimony. Among ministers there is a need of the infusion of the Spirit of God. The prayerful, earnest appeals that come from the heart of the whole-hearted messenger, will create conviction. It will not need the learned men to do this; for often they depend more on their own learning than upon their knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ, whom he has sent. All who know the only true and living God, will know Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father, and they will preach Christ and him crucified.
(Vol. 83, #45)
We are rapidly nearing the close of this earth's history. The end is very near, much nearer than many suppose, and I feel burdened to urge upon our people the necessity of seeking the Lord earnestly. Many are asleep, and what can be said to arouse them from their carnal slumber? The Lord would have his church purified, before his judgments shall fall more signally upon the world.
"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: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness."
Christ will remove every pretentious cloak. No mingling of the true with the spurious can deceive him. "He is like a refiner's fire," separating the precious from the vile, the dross from the gold.
Like the Levites, God's chosen people are set apart by him for his special work. Every true Christian bears priestly credentials. He is honored with the sacred responsibility of representing to the world the character of his Heavenly Father. He is to heed well the words, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
"But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.
"Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and the judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."
I am instructed to urge upon our people most earnestly the necessity of religion in the home. Among the members of the household there is ever to be a kind, thoughtful consideration. Morning and evening let all hearts be united in reverent worship. At the season of evening worship, let every member of the family search well his own heart. Let every wrong that has been committed be made right. If, during the day, one has wronged another, or spoken unkindly, let the transgressor seek pardon of the one he has injured. Often grievances are cherished in the mind, and misunderstandings and heartaches are created that need not be. If the one who is suspected of wrong be given an opportunity, he might be able to make explanations that would bring relief to other members of the family.
"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another," that ye may be healed of all spiritual infirmities, that sinful dispositions may be changed. Make diligent work for eternity. Pray most earnestly to the Lord, and hold fast to the faith. Trust not in the arm of flesh, but trust implicitly in the Lord's guidance. Let each one now say, "As for me, I will come out, and be separate from the world. I will serve the Lord with full purpose of heart."
"For we are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more (for they could not endure that which was commanded. And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake): but ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
"See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which can not be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which can not be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire."
Shall we heed the warnings that God has given? The Lord will show his loving favor to those who will keep his commandments. The Word, the living Word, received and obeyed, will be a savor of life unto life. The reception of the truth will regenerate and cleanse the sinful soul.
This work of individual purification of character can not be safely delayed. Let our brethren and sisters take hold diligently of this work, co-operating with him who "loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
Put away all deception. Let no one idolize his own opinions. Take your position decidedly to be fully consecrated to truth and righteousness. Christ is ready to receive all who will come to him. Exercise a firm faith in all the promises of God. With confession and prayer, take your stand to be wholly the Lord's henceforth and forever.
To my ministering brethren I would say, Unite in a work of humbling your souls before God. Some have lost their first love, and need a new experience. Be determined that you will not yield to the enemy. Be patient toward all men, remembering that Christ has died for them. Improve every capability for the Lord's work, and labor faithfully, untiringly, to save souls. Seek to arouse the churches by your own zeal. Thus you may be the Lord's helping hand laborers together with him.
We all have a part to act in the Lord's great plan for his work in the earth. We shall all have something to do, though it may be in jots and tittles, as opportunities present themselves.
If these warnings are not heeded, if diligent work is not made to overcome and put away defects of character, God will soon have finished the work of judgment, and many will be found wanting Shall we now, at once, cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God? We can not afford to delay this work of confession and humbling of soul, that our offerings may be acceptable unto God. Fulness of joy it to be found in an entire surrender to God.
Sept. 5, 1906.
(Vol. 83, #46)
Under the Jewish system, God's chosen people were required to cherish a spirit of liberality, both in sustaining his cause and in supplying the wants of the needy. At the harvest and the vintage, the first-fruits of the fields -- corn, wine, and oil -- were to be consecrated as an offering to the Lord. The gleanings and the corners of the fields were reserved for the poor. The first-fruits of the wool when the sheep were shorn, and of the grain when the wheat was thrashed, were to be offered to the Lord; and at the feast it was commanded that the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the strangers should be invited. At the close of every year all were required to make solemn oath whether or not they had done according to the command of God.
This arrangement was made by the Lord to impress upon the people that in every matter he must be first. They were, by this system of benevolence, reminded that their gracious Master was the true proprietor of their fields, their flocks, and their herds; that the God of heaven sent them sunshine and rain for their seed-time and harvest; and that everything which they possessed was of his creation. All was the Lord's, and he had made them stewards of his goods.
The liberality of the Jews in the construction of the tabernacle evinced a spirit of benevolence which has not been equaled by the people of God at any later date. The Hebrews had just been freed from their long bondage in Egypt; they were wanderers in the wilderness; yet scarcely were they delivered from the armies of the Egyptians who pursued them in their hasty journey, when the word of the Lord came to Moses: "Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering."
His people had small possessions, and no flattering prospect of adding to them; but an object was before them,--to build the tabernacle of God. The Lord had spoken, and they must obey his voice. They withheld nothing. All gave with a willing hand, not a certain amount of their increase, but a large portion of their actual possessions. They devoted it gladly and heartily to the Lord. They honored him by so doing. Was it not all his? Had he not given them all that they possessed? If he called for it, was it not their duty to give back to the Lender his own? No urging was needed. The people brought even more than was required; and they were told to desist, for there was already more than could be appropriated.
Again, in building the temple, the call for means met with a hearty response. The people did not give reluctantly; they rejoiced in the prospect that a building would be erected for the worship of God. They gave more than enough for the purpose. David blessed the Lord before all the congregation, and said, "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." Again, in his prayer David gave thanks in these words: "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."
David well understood from whom came all his bounties. Would that those of this day who rejoice in a Saviour's love could realize that their silver and gold is the Lord's, and should be used to promote his glory, not grudgingly retained to enrich and gratify themselves. He has an indisputable right to all that he has lent his creatures. All that they possess is his.
There are high and holy objects that require means; thus invested, it will yield to the giver more elevated and permanent enjoyment than if expended in personal gratification or selfishly hoarded for the greed of gain. When God calls for our treasure, whatever the amount may be, the willing response makes the gift a consecrated offering to him, and lays up for the giver a treasure in heaven that moth can not corrupt, nor fire consume, nor thieves break in and steal. The investment is safe. The money is placed in bags that have no holes.
Can Christians who boast of a broader light than had the Hebrews, give less freely than they? Can Christians, living near the close of time, be satisfied with their offerings when not half so large as were those of the Jews? Their liberality was to benefit primarily their own nation; the work of God in these last days extends to the entire world. The message of truth is to go to all nations, tongues, and people; its publications, printed in many different languages, are to be scattered abroad like the leaves in autumn.
It is written, "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind;" and again, "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." Let us inquire, What would our Saviour do in our circumstances? what would be his efforts for the salvation of souls? This question is answered by the example of Christ. He left his royalty, laid aside his glory, sacrificed his riches, and clothed his divinity with humanity, that he might reach men where they were. He laid down his life for sinners.
The spirit of liberality is the spirit of heaven. The spirit of selfishness is the spirit of Satan. Christ's self-sacrificing love is revealed upon the cross. He gave all that he had, and then gave himself, that man might be saved. The cross of Christ appeals to the benevolence of every follower of the blessed Saviour. The principle illustrated there is to give, give. This, carried out in actual benevolence and good works, is the true fruit of the Christian life. The principle of worldlings is to get, get, and thus they expect to secure happiness; but, carried out in all its bearings, the fruit is misery and death.
To carry the truth to the population of the earth, to rescue them from their guilt and indifference, is the mission of the followers of Christ. Men must have the truth in order to be sanctified through it; and we are the channels of God's light. Our talents, our means, our knowledge, are not merely for our own benefit; they are to be used for the salvation of souls, to elevate man from his life of sin, and bring him, through Christ, to the infinite God.
We should be zealous workers in this cause, seeking to lead sinners, repenting and believing, to a divine Redeemer, to impress them with a sense of God's love to man. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." What an incomparable love is this! a theme for the most profound meditation! the amazing love of God for a world that did not love him! The thought has a subduing power upon the soul, and brings the mind into captivity to the will of God. Men who are crazy for gain, and are disappointed and unhappy in their pursuit of the world, need the knowledge of this truth to quiet the restless hungering and thirsting of their souls.
Missionaries for God are wanted to carry light to those who sit in the shadow of death. Experienced hands are needed, in the meekness of wisdom and the strength of faith, to lift weary souls to the bosom of a compassionate Redeemer. O, selfishness! what a curse! It prevents us from engaging in the service of God. It prevents us from perceiving the claims of duty, which should set our hearts aglow with fervent zeal.
Ours is a great work. Yet how many who profess to believe these sacred truths are paralyzed by the sophistry of Satan, doing nothing for God, but rather hindering his cause! When will they act like those who wait for the Lord? When will they show a zeal in accordance with their faith? Many who are able to give liberally when the cause is in need, selfishly retain their means, and soothe their conscience with a plan for doing some great thing for the cause of God after their death. They make a will, giving a large sum to the church and its various interests, and then settle down with a feeling that they have done all that is required of them. Wherein have they denied self by this act? They have, on the contrary, revealed selfishness. When they have no further use for their money, they propose to give it to God. But they will retain it as long as they can, till they are compelled to relinquish it by a messenger that can not be turned aside.
God has made us all his stewards, and in no case has he authorized us to neglect our duty or leave it for others to do. The call for means to advance the cause of truth will never be more urgent than now. Our money will never do a greater amount of good than at the present time. Every day of delay in rightly appropriating it, is limiting the period in which it will do good in the saving of souls. If we leave others to accomplish that which God has left for us to do, we wrong ourselves and him who gave us all we have. How can others do our work of benevolence any better than we can do it ourselves? So far as practicable, God would have every man an executor of his own will in this matter, during his lifetime.
Adversity, accident, or intrigue may cut off forever intended acts of benevolence, when he who has accumulated a fortune is no longer by to guard it. It is sad that so many neglect the golden opportunity to do good in the present, but wait to be cast out of their stewardship before giving back to the Lord the means which he has lent them to be used for his glory.
One marked feature in the teachings of Christ is the frequency and earnestness with which he rebuked the sin of covetousness, and pointed out the danger of worldly acquisitions and the inordinate love of gain. In the mansions of the rich, in the temple, and in the streets, he warned those who inquired after salvation: "Take heed, and beware of covetousness." "Ye can not serve God and mammon."
It is this increasing devotion to money getting, the selfishness which the desire for gain begets, that deadens the spirituality of many in the church, and removes from them the favor of God. When the head and hands are constantly occupied with planning and toiling for the accumulation of riches, the claims of God and humanity are forgotten.
If God has blessed us with prosperity, it is not that our time and attention should be diverted from him and given to that which he has lent us. The giver is greater than the gift. We have been bought with a price; we are not our own. Have we forgotten that infinite price paid for our redemption? Is gratitude dead in the heart? Does not the cross of Christ put to shame a life of selfish ease and indulgence?
What if Christ had left his work, becoming weary in consequence of the ingratitude and abuse that met him on every side! What if he had never reached that period when he said, "It is finished!" What if he had returned to heaven, discouraged by his reception! What if he had never passed through that soul-agony in the garden of Gethsemane that forced from his pores great drops of blood!
Christ was joined to his plan of labor to work out redemption for the race, by a love that is without parallel and an unswerving devotion to the Father's will. He toiled for the good of man up to the very hour of his humiliation. He spent his life in poverty and self-denial, for the degraded sinner. In a world that was his own he had no place to lay his weary head. We are reaping the fruits of this infinite self-sacrifice; and yet, when labor is to be done, when our money is wanted to aid the work of the Redeemer in the salvation of souls, many shrink from duty and pray to be excused. Ignoble sloth, careless indifference, and wicked selfishness seal the senses of many to the claims of God.
O, must Christ, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, bear the heavy cross, and wear the thorny crown, and drink the bitter cup, while we recline at ease, glorify ourselves, and forget the souls he died to redeem by his precious blood? No; let us give, while we have the power. Let us do, while we have the strength. Let us work, while it is day. Let us devote our time and our means whole-heartedly to the service of God, that we may have his approbation, and receive his reward.
(Vol. 83, #47)
Jesus is coming again. Before parting with his disciples on the earth, he gave them the promise of his return. "Let not your heart be troubled," he said; "in my Father's house are many mansions: . . . 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."
The exact day and hour of Christ's coming have not been revealed. The Saviour told his disciples that he himself could not make known the hour of his second appearing. But he mentioned certain events by which they might know when his coming was near. "There shall be signs," he said, "in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars." "The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall." Upon the earth, he said, there shall be "distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth."
"And they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
The signs in the sun, moon, and stars have been fulfilled. Since that time earthquakes, tempests, tidal waves, pestilence, and famine have multiplied. The most awful destructions, by fire and flood, are following one another in quick succession. The terrible disasters that are taking place from week to week speak to us in earnest tones of warning, declaring that the end is near, that something great and decisive will soon of necessity take place.
Probationary time will not continue much longer. Now God is withdrawing his restraining hand from the earth. Long has he been speaking to men and women through the agency of his Holy Spirit; but they have not heeded the call. Now he is speaking to his people, and to the world, by his judgments. The time of these judgments is a time of mercy for those who have not yet had opportunity to learn what is truth. Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched; his hand is still stretched out to save. Large numbers will be admitted to the fold of safety who in these last days will hear the truth for the first time.
The Lord calls upon those who believe in him to be workers together with him. While life shall last, they are not to feel that their work is done. Shall we allow the signs of the end to be fulfilled without telling people of what is coming upon the earth? Shall we allow them to go down in darkness without having urged upon them the need of a preparation to meet their Lord? Unless we ourselves do our duty to those around us, the day of God will come upon us as a thief. Confusion fills the world, and a great terror is soon to come upon human beings. The end is very near. We who know the truth should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise.
As a people, we must prepare the way of the Lord, under the overruling guidance of the Holy Spirit. The gospel is to be proclaimed in its purity. The stream of living water is to deepen and widen in its course. In fields nigh and afar off, men will be called from the plow, and from the more common commercial business vocations, and will be educated in connection with men of experience. As they learn to labor effectively, they will proclaim the truth with power. Through most wonderful workings of divine providence, mountains of difficulty will be removed. The message that means so much to the dwellers upon earth will be heard and understood. Men will know what is truth. Onward, and still onward, the work will advance, until the whole earth shall have been warned. And then shall the end come.
The day of Christ's coming will be a day of judgment upon the world. When the multitude of the lost--those whom God has favored with great light, but who rejected the light; those who might have been saved, had they obeyed God's law, but who refused to obey--when these see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, they will understand the great sacrifice made in their behalf; they will understand the unmeasured love of the Redeemer, his incarnation, the sweat-drops of blood, the marks of the nails in his hands and feet, the pierced side; and they will ask to be hidden from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. They see as in reality the condemnation of Christ, and hear the loud cry, "Release unto us Barabbas." They hear the question, What shall be done with Jesus? and the answer, " Crucify him, crucify him!"
The reign of appearance and pretense is over. The righteous Judge speaks with awful emphasis as he utters the sentence, "I never knew you: depart from me."
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Thus he welcomes them, to live hereafter in eternal communion with himself. And every voice in the heavenly mansions echoes and echoes the welcome, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
Jesus is coming, coming with clouds and great glory. A multitude of shining angels will attend him. He will come to honor those who have loved him and kept his commandments, and to take them to himself. He has not forgotten them or his promise.
There will be a re-linking of the family chain. When we look upon our dead, we may think of the morning when the trump of God shall sound, when "the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
That time is near. A little while, and we shall see the King in his beauty. A little while, and he will present his faithful ones "faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy."
No human language can fully describe the reward of the righteous. It will be known to those only who behold it. There the heavenly Shepherd leads his flock to fountains of living water. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. There are everflowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the widespreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God's people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home.
"My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places." "Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise."
"They shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: . . . mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands."
There will be no more tears, no funeral trains, no badges of mourning. "There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, . . . for the former things are passed away." "The inhabitants shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity."
In the earth made new, only righteousness shall dwell. "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."
(Vol. 83, #48)
Ever since the close of the camp-meeting held at Oakland, Cal., July 19-29, 1906, aggressive labor has been put forth in that city. For a time, the large tent and about twenty of the family tents were left standing, to accommodate the workers that remained. Elder S. N. Haskell, assisted by Elder E. J. Hibbard, had charge of the company of laborers.
Sabbath and Sunday, August 18 and 19, I spent in Oakland. The meetings were still in progress. Elder and Mrs. Haskell were conducting Bible studies in the forenoons, and in the afternoons the workers in training were going out and visiting from house to house. These missionary visits, and the sale of many books and periodicals, opened the way for the holding of Bible readings. About forty men and women were attending the morning classes, and a goodly number of these students engaged in the afternoon work. While in Oakland, I had the privilege of speaking to these workers, and to our brethren and sisters from the Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, and San Francisco churches. All assembled in the large tent for a union service. The Lord gave me freedom in the presentation of truth.
The labors of Elder and Mrs. Haskell have been greatly blessed of God. One day a woman, a stranger, slipped two coins into Sister Haskell's hand. Sister Haskell thought them to be two twenty-five-cent pieces, but when she looked, she saw that they were twenty-dollar gold pieces. Sister Haskell asked the stranger if she had not made a mistake, but she replied that she had not. The woman refused to give her name, but it has since been learned that she is not of our people.
A few days later, our brethren were obliged to vacate the place they had been occupying with the tents, as a circus was coming to occupy the grounds.
Friday, August 31, I made another trip to Oakland. As the large tent had been taken down, our people secured the use of the Congregational church, corner Eighteenth and Market Streets, for our Sabbath services. A few months ago our own church building in Oakland was sold, and our brethren and sisters are meeting in this rented church until some more permanent arrangement can be made.
On Sabbath morning Elder Haskell spoke in the Laguna Street church in San Francisco--the church that was not destroyed by the earthquake; Elder Hibbard spoke in Oakland, others in Alameda and Berkeley. In all these churches the appointment was given out that I would speak in the afternoon.
When I reached the church, I found the room crowded. I felt impressed to urge upon all our people present the necessity of taking a decided interest in working Oakland. We must not allow the enemy to come in and sow his tares among the precious seeds of truth that have already been sown. There are many religious movements, many "isms," but Christ will identify himself with the needy souls who are seeking after truth. We need true workers,--workers whose hearts and minds are imbued with the truth, workers who will act a part in bringing the truth to other minds. Every Christian should be a missionary, working for the salvation of souls.
The children in our families need thorough instruction in the Bible. Let every soul put his talent of means, and his talent of speech, into the service of God. We are not to condemn others, but we must win them to a knowledge of the truth.
Because of the importance of this work, I have urged that Elder Haskell and his wife, as ministers of God, shall give Bible instruction to those who will offer themselves for service. God will use humble men. He will make of every consecrated man a light-bearing Christian. Not the most eloquent in speech, not those who are the best versed in so-called theology, are always the most successful, but those who will work diligently and humbly for the Master. The blessing of God rests upon those who are meek and lowly,--upon those who have the faith that works by love and purifies the soul.
Before the close of the discourse, I asked all to arise who would stand faithfully by Elder Haskell and his wife, by Elder Hibbard, and by those who were laboring with them. I urged the brethren and sisters to consider that now is the opportune time to work Oakland, and that to every man is given his work. I asked, "How many will pledge themselves to be in earnest in this work?" The whole congregation responded by rising, and we were encouraged to hope that much good would be accomplished by their united efforts.
On Sunday afternoon, I spoke again to our people assembled in the Congregational church.
A short time later, a vacant lot was found in a good residence district; and here a large tent and several smaller tents were pitched. The Bible training-school was continued daily, and evening services were held.
During the month of September I made two more visits to Oakland, speaking to our people in the Congregational church each time, and also speaking in the tent.
I have felt stirred with an intense desire to do all in my power to encourage the faithful workers in Oakland, as I have realized that many souls in this city and in near-by cities are in great peril. Satan is doing all in his power to make of no effect the merciful warnings of Jehovah. Notwithstanding the heavy judgments of God, the wickedness in San Francisco and in Oakland is increasing.
Thursday, October 18, I visited Oakland for the fifth time since the close of the July camp-meeting. The California Conference had just perfected all arrangements for beginning a series of tent-meetings in the very heart of the city, on Broadway, half a block south of the post-office. Elder Wm. W. Simpson is bearing a large share of the burden of these meetings, and is doing everything in his power to present the third angel's message in such a manner that all who hear may understand that the Bible lies at the foundation of all his statements. His strongest arguments are based on the plain words of the Old and New Testaments.
Brother Simpson's first meeting was held in the First Congregational church, corner Twelfth and Clay Streets, Thursday evening, the eighteenth. An intelligent class of people listened attentively for a full hour, as he spoke on the Millennium. Friday evening his first meeting was held in the large tent. The attendance was good. Saturday night the attendance was considerably larger, and many for the first time listened to an exposition of the first two chapters of Daniel. These evening discourses have been continued regularly, and the attendance is reported to be on the increase.
Brother Simpson dwells especially on the significance of the prophecies in the books of Daniel and the Revelation. By means of ingeniously contrived charts and symbolic representations, he holds the attention of the people, while he endeavors to preach the word. Through this effort hundreds will be led to a better understanding of the Bible than they ever had before, and we trust that there will be many conversions. Those who attend his lectures and are not converted, must practically reject the Word of God.
Elder Haskell and his wife, with some helpers, have just opened a Bible training-school in San Francisco, with headquarters at the Laguna Street church. The Lord blessed their efforts in Oakland, and they helped lay the foundation for a broad work to be carried forward in that city. Now, they enter San Francisco to do a similar work.
From town to town, from city to city, from country to country, the warning message of present truth is to be proclaimed, not with outward display, but in the power of the Spirit, by men of faith. In the golden censer of truth, as presented in the Scriptures, there is that which will convict and convert souls. As the truth that our Saviour came to this world to proclaim, is presented in the simplicity of the gospel, the power of the message will make itself felt. In this age, a new life coming from the Source of all life is to take possession of every faithful laborer. O, how little do we comprehend the breadth of our mission! We need to have earnest, determined faith, and unshaken courage in the Lord. Our time to work is short, and we are to labor with unflagging zeal.
(Vol. 83, #49)
When a special effort to win souls is put forth by laborers of experience in a community where our own people live, there rests upon every believer in that field a most solemn obligation to do all in his power to clear the King's highway, by putting away every sin that would hinder him from co-operating with God and with his brethren.
This has not always been fully understood. Satan has often brought in a spirit that has made it impossible for church-members to discern opportunities for service. Believers have not infrequently allowed the enemy to work through them at the very time when they should have been wholly consecrated to God and the advancement of his work. Unconsciously they have wandered far from the way of righteousness. Cherishing a spirit of criticism and fault-finding, of pharisaical piety and pride, they grieve away the Spirit of God, and greatly retard the work of God's messengers.
This evil has been pointed out many times and in many places. Sometimes those who have indulged in a censorious, condemnatory spirit have repented and been converted. These God has been able to use to his name's honor and glory.
Experiences in Europe -- We met this evil in Europe more than once. At the Basel missionary conference, Sept. 17, 1885, I spoke to the delegates regarding methods of labor, and appealed to them to "preach the truth with the meekness of simplicity." "There are always those in the church and out," I declared, "who have not the love of Jesus in their souls, and who have, in the place of true religion, a criticizing, exacting spirit, a desire to find something to condemn in their brethren and sisters." I referred to instances that had come under my notice, of professed Christians' accusing one another at times when general meetings of the most solemn interest were in progress. "All the religion many have," I continued, "is to pick flaws. I once knew a lady whose religion was of just this character, and in her family she was so overbearing that they could hardly live with her. A tent-meeting was held near the place where she lived, but instead of taking hold to help those who were laboring very hard in the meetings, or to receive help herself, this woman stood back to criticize. . . . We shall ever have just such people to deal with in this world." God calls upon all such to repent, and be reconverted.
In November, 1885, I bore a plain message to our brethren and sisters in Christiania, Norway. It was at a time when plans for aggressive work had been laid--when every church-member should have stood ready to lend a willing hand in upholding the servants of God sent to Scandinavia to proclaim the third angel's message by voice and pen in that part of the world. From the report of the words spoken by me to the Christiania church, I quote the following:--
"If those who indulge in unkind criticism or idle talk could realize that an angel of God is noting down their words, and that all are to appear against them in the judgment, they would be far more careful as to what is entered on that book of records. How must the continual fault-finding appear to the heavenly messengers who are sent forth to minister to God's people? Would that the eyes of all might be opened, that they might see the holy angels walking among them. Surely they would be more guarded; instead of judging their brethren and sisters, and talking of their weaknesses, they would be seeking God with the whole heart. . . .
"Let no Christian be found an accuser of the brethren. Satan is the one who bears this title; he accuses them before God day and night, he stirs up the enemies of our faith to accuse us, and he prompts those of like precious faith to criticize and condemn one another. We are not to take part in his work. These are days of trial and of great peril; the adversary of souls is upon the track of every one; and while we stand out separate from the world, we should press together in faith and love. United, we are strong; divided, we are weak. . . .
"In our labor for the Christiania church we faithfully presented before them the far-reaching requirements of God's law, and the great need, on the part of the members, of thorough repentance and returning unto the Lord. During our meetings, the dear Saviour came very near to us again and again. A good work was begun. We called them forward for prayers several times, and though this was a new experience to them, there was a quick and hearty response. Earnest, heartfelt confessions were made. Several had become discouraged and backslidden because of the accusing spirit manifested, and the lack of love for God and for one another. These humbly confessed their own wrong in allowing their faith in God and the truth to become weakened. . . . Others acknowledged that they had indulged a critical, fault-finding spirit. Many said that they had never realized as now the importance of the truth, and the influence that it must have upon the life and character. Not a few testified with gratitude that they had received God's blessing as never before.
"We were very thankful for every token that this dear people were obtaining a sense of their true condition. But some who should have been personally interested, were looking on as if they had no interest at stake. The testimonies which the Lord gave them did not seem to be received. They did not break the bands that held them under condemnation of the Spirit of God. The Saviour was knocking at the door of their hearts, but they were unwilling then and there to remove the rubbish that barred his entrance. The Lord's time was not their time. Had they cleared the way, the Lord would have given them an experience of the highest value."
Experiences in Australia -- By divine direction, we made special efforts in Australia to reach men and women in cities through wisely conducted camp-meetings. It was thus that the work in Newcastle, New South Wales, was started, late in 1898. It was "thought that the time had fully come for us to make a decided effort to present the truth to the eighty thousand people of Newcastle and its surrounding towns; and we knew that the best possible way to do this was by holding a camp-meeting, following it with tent-meetings, accompanied by visiting, Bible work, the selling of the Bible Echo and religious and health books, and by Christian Help work, and the establishment of a medical mission."
For several weeks before the beginning of this meeting, I carried a very heavy burden. Into the church at Cooranbong there had come a spirit very displeasing to God,--a spirit of fault-finding and criticism. Sabbath after Sabbath, I bore a plain message regarding this sin. Before the opening of the Newcastle meeting, I wrote regarding these efforts to a brother in responsibilities, as follows:--
"On Sabbath, December 3, the burden was heavy upon me. I spoke the words the Lord gave me. In the early morning I had written out a message for the church, which I read and commented upon. Notwithstanding the appeal made, in the social meeting there was no break. Very good testimonies were borne by some, but I felt that we had no special victory. I then knelt down and prayed, and yet there seemed to be the same tied-up spirit. . . .
"Last Sabbath, December 10, I again read important matter. As I read, the power of God was upon me, and I spoke very plainly. The Lord must impress the heart. I can only speak to the ear.
"I entreated, I pleaded with the people to set their hearts in order before the camp-meeting. We are living amid the perils of the last days, and we must gather up and appreciate every ray of light. Our testimony must be plain, truthful, and searching. But it must not reveal in any degree a censorious, fault-finding spirit. . . . Satan can do the fault-finding for the whole world. We may grieve, but we must not fret. We can be sorrowful; we will not scold. I know the battle is often severe. We can not avoid the injunction, 'Warn them that are unruly; comfort the feeble-minded; support the weak; be patient toward all men."
It was to the members of the Cooranbong church that we looked largely for help at the Newcastle meeting. Newcastle was unentered territory, and much depended on the spiritual condition of the brethren and sisters who would attend from Cooranbong. This is one reason why I was so burdened over the spirituality of this church. Special opportunities for service would be afforded in Newcastle, and God desired that those who claimed to be his representatives should be prepared to bear their share of the responsibilities of the meetings and house-to-house work.
An Impressive Dream -- It was at the very beginning of this meeting, and immediately after the weeks of anxious labor to rid the Cooranbong church of the spirit of criticism, that the Lord revealed the spiritual condition of many, through an impressive dream. This dream was afterward published; but it contains instruction which throws much light on conditions existing to-day in some of our churches where every member should be wide awake to improve unusual opportunities for soul saving. The dream, with the accompanying instruction, as published, is as follows:--
"During the night of the first Sabbath of the Newcastle meeting, I seemed to be in meeting, presenting the necessity and importance of our receiving the Spirit. This was the burden of my labor,--the opening of our hearts to the Holy Spirit. . . .
"In my dream a sentinel stood at the door of an important building, and asked every one who came for entrance, 'Have you received the Holy Ghost?' A measuring-line was in his hand, and only very, very few were admitted into the building. 'Your size as a human being is nothing,' he said. 'But if you have reached the full stature of a man in Christ Jesus, according to the knowledge you have had, you will receive an appointment to sit with Christ at the marriage supper of the Lamb; and through the eternal ages, you will never cease to learn of the blessings granted in the banquet prepared for you.
"'You may be tall and well-proportioned in self, but you can not enter here. None can enter who are grown-up children, carrying with them the disposition, the habits, and the characteristics which pertain to children. If you have nurtured suspicions, criticism, temper, self-dignity, you can not be admitted; for you would spoil the feast. All who go in through this door have on the wedding garment, woven in the loom of heaven. Those who educate themselves to pick flaws in the characters of others, reveal a deformity that makes families unhappy, that turns souls from the truth to choose fables. Your leaven of distrust, your want of confidence, your power of accusing, closes against you the door of admittance. Within this door nothing can enter that could possibly mar the happiness of the dwellers by marring their perfect trust in one another. You can not join the happy family in the heavenly courts; for I have wiped all tears from their eyes. You can never see the King in his beauty if you are not yourself a representative of his character.
"'When you give up your own will, your own wisdom, and learn of Christ, you will find admittance into the kingdom of God. He requires entire, unreserved surrender. Give up your life for him to order, mold, and fashion. Take upon your neck his yoke. Submit to be led and taught by him. Learn that unless you become as a little child, you can never enter the kingdom of heaven.
"'Abiding in Christ is choosing only the disposition of Christ, so that his interests are identified with yours. Abide in him, to be and to do only what he wills. These are the conditions of discipleship, and unless they are complied with, you can never find rest. Rest is in Christ; it can not be found as something apart from him.
"'The moment his yoke is adjusted to your neck, that moment it is found easy; then the heaviest spiritual labor can be performed, the heaviest burdens borne, because the Lord gives the strength and the power, and he gives gladness in doing the work. Mark the points: "Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart." Who is it that speaks thus?--The Majesty of heaven, the King of glory. He desires that your conception of spiritual things shall be purified from the dross of selfishness, the defilement of a crooked, coarse, unsympathetic nature. You must have an inward, higher experience. You must obtain a growth in grace by abiding in Christ. When you are converted, you will not be a hindrance, but will strengthen your brethren.'
"As these words were spoken, I saw that some turned sadly away and mingled with the scoffers. Others, with tears, all broken in heart, made confession to those whom they had bruised and wounded. They did not think of maintaining their own dignity, but asked at every step, 'What must I do to be saved?' The answer was, 'Repent, and be converted, that your sins may go beforehand to judgment, and be blotted out.' Words were spoken which rebuked spiritual pride. This pride God will not tolerate. It is inconsistent with his Word and with our profession of faith. Seek the Lord, all ye who are ministers of his. Seek him while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. 'Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.'"
(Vol. 83, #50)
Sabbath afternoon, October 20, I felt impelled by the Spirit of God to appeal once more to our brethren and sisters living in Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda and San Francisco, to rise nobly to their high privileges, and fulfil the purpose that God desires to work through them. I spoke in the Oakland church, as follows:--
In the fifteenth of Romans the apostle Paul declares: "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me."
Mark especially the words, "The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me." O, that these words might sink deep into the heart of every one who thinks he is doing God's service while finding fault with others! This is the weakness, the besetting sin, of many in this congregation, and our great desire is that you shall get rid of this evil before the Lord gets rid of you. The reproaches with which we reproach the servants of the Lord, fall upon Christ himself.
"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope."
We are to be Bible Christians. We are to study the Word, and to carry out this Word in every particular. Then we shall know that Christ Jesus is our efficiency, our healer, our strength, our front-guard and our rearward. Then we shall have the help and the power that God alone can give.
God desires that his commandment-keeping people shall stand on vantage-ground. He desires that they shall stand before him without fault. In order to do this, they must perfect holy characters through the merits of Christ. They must look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith. As they become changed into his image, the salvation of God will be revealed through them, and unbelievers will be converted. Unbelievers will see and understand that God's Word means something to those who claim to believe it.
"Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus." Why? That we shall be of a great variety of minds?--O, no! The apostle exhorts you to be "likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God."
What does this injunction entail?--It places us under obligation to God. It leaves us where we must understand that we are amenable to him alone. It leads us to realize that when the Holy Spirit is abiding in our hearts and working through us, we shall love one another, in the place of manifesting animosity toward one another.
My dear brethren and sisters, God is not pleased with a spirit of criticism and faultfinding. We must humble our hearts daily before God, and seek for a new conversion, that we may be brought into right relationship with Christ Jesus. Those who are striving to keep the commandments of God, ought to be in harmony, and to show a spirit of humility and love. God is not in any of the differences that are so apparent. He does not inspire words of faultfinding. He is now calling upon us to humble ourselves under the hand of the Almighty, in order that he may lift us up.
The apostle continues: "Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name."
God's people are to stand as lights in the world. They are to realize that upon them rests the solemn responsibility of reflecting rays of light upon the pathway of those who are not keeping the commandments of God. Christ himself has declared, "Ye are the light of the world." We are to seek to be light-bearers. And when the light of divine truth shines forth with distinctness from the words and works of God's children, will there be seen any quarreling, any backbiting, among the light-bearers? The world will see no dissension in the lives of those from whom the light of heaven is shed abroad. Brethren and sisters, as you let your light shine before men, they will "see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." As the result of these good works, an influence will go forth that will bring salvation to those who behold it. God desires us to keep our light constantly shining.
In the night season God has revealed to me the spiritual condition of the church-members living in Oakland and the near-by cities. A large standard was uplifted at a time when many were complaining and finding fault and speaking to the detriment of one another; and this standard was turned around until it appeared before them as a great looking-glass, from the face of which every one who looked saw reflected himself with all his faults and sins. The whole erring company, convicted of the sinfulness of their course, prostrated themselves before God, and immediately began to confess their own wrong-doing; and, O, what a scene of repentance and confession there was! A most wonderful cleansing of the camp followed, and the mighty power of God was revealed.
I shall never be satisfied until just such an experience comes into the church here. We want to see the salvation of our God. We want the truth to go forth with mighty power; and why, O why, do we continue to stand in the way? Why do we grieve the Holy Spirit of God? Why do we put him to open shame, by carrying with us our selfish, unconverted dispositions, and yet all the while claiming to be Christians? God grant that every one of us may have clear eyesight to discern what we can do, by looking unto Jesus and by realizing how our course must appear in his sight, and how he must regard envy and strife. God help us to put away our individual defects of character. We want to see the power of God revealed in this community. If it were not for this, I should not leave my home and come down here to speak to you so often. But night after night I can not sleep more than a few hours; and often, in the hours of the night I find myself sitting up in bed, praying to God in behalf of those who do not realize their spiritual condition; and then I arise and walk the room, and say, O Lord, set thy people in order, before it shall be everlastingly too late!
At times during these seasons of intercession, when the burden rests heavily, my heart is drawn out with great longing, and the tears start from my eyes, and I wring my hands before God, because I know there are souls in peril in the churches at Oakland and near-by places,--souls who, in their condition of mind, know no more regarding how they stand before God than they would know had they never professed religion.
God desires that every one of us shall be susceptible to the influence of the Holy Spirit, by which we shall be fashioned into the likeness of the Divine. There remains now only a little while in which we can work to save our own souls and the souls of others; and all that God has given us should be cleansed and sanctified to his service. We should clear the King's highway, in order that God's messengers shall not be impeded as they try to advance. We should come into working order, and into perfect unity with one another. Let us, in tenderness, "admonish one another," and seek to help one another. Let us pray with one another, and put away everything that would keep us from entering into and following that narrow path which leads to life everlasting.
O, that every soul would prostrate himself before God, yielding himself unreservedly to him, and solemnly vowing that with Heaven's help he will henceforth keep his lips from all guile; that he will keep the life sanctified; that in every word and act he will honor and glorify the Lord! If thorough work were done, what a missionary company we should have with which to work these cities! O, what numbers we could have to send into places where the people have never heard the third angel's message!
As you engage heartily in this work, the converting power of God will be revealed. Your own hearts will be softened and subdued under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
There is a great work to be done, and many are unready to engage in sacred service. The judgments of God are soon coming upon all our cities, and I desire that we shall all be prepared. I greatly desire that we shall confess our sins, and be converted. If any of you desire to have your hearts softened and broken before God, it is best for you to clear the King's highway this afternoon, without delay. Prepare the heart for the reception of the Holy Spirit, that it may have free course in the entire being. Open the door of the soul-temple, and let the Saviour in. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock," he says. "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."
We ought to long with all the heart for a thorough reconversion, that the truth may be enthroned in heart and mind, and that, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, we may be prepared to present the third angel's message before others who need it so much. Now is our opportunity. May God help us, that we may be converted.
Dear brethren and sisters, if there are any of you who desire to say anything this afternoon, be free to speak. Are you ready to rededicate yourselves to God? Christ is ready; he is waiting, watching, longing. Angels are in this room. Wicked angels are here, and holy angels are here. Which side shall gain the victory over your heart here to-day, my brother, my sister? These are the hours of the Sabbath; you can not spend them any better than by clearing the King's highway. Remove the root of bitterness from your heart. Do not break off the top of it. Root it out, lest springing up again, many shall be defiled. You can not afford to be content with half-hearted work. Dig it out by the roots; and then God will help you to be reconverted.
As I spoke these and many like words to the brethren and sisters assembled. I felt the power of God thrilling me through and through. My talk was followed by a social meeting, and before the service closed, I offered a prayer to God for his converting power to rest upon those who are not yet prepared to co-operate with God and their brethren, in the special efforts now being put forth.
As we arose from prayer, the whole congregation united in singing one of my favorite hymns, "Jesus, Lover of my soul." A deep solemnity seemed to pervade the entire assembly as the people separated to return to their homes. We hope for better days as the result of this meeting.
(Vol. 83, #51)
About four years ago, when Elder Haskell and others were conducting a Bible training-school and evening services in New York City, the word of the Lord to the workers there was: "Let the believers living near the place where you are holding meetings, share the burden of the work. They should feel it a duty and a privilege to help make the meetings a success. God is pleased by efforts to set them at work. He desires every church-member to labor as his helping hand, seeking by loving ministry to win souls to Christ."
"The large cities should have been worked just as soon as the churches received the light. But many have carried no burden for souls, and Satan, finding them susceptible to his temptations, has spoiled their lives. God asks his people to repent, be converted, and return to their first love, which they have lost by their failure to follow in the footsteps of the self-sacrificing Redeemer."
And to the church in Los Angeles, over a year ago, when the Lord was mightily stirring the people through the tent-meetings in progress, was sent the word:--
"Let the Los Angeles church have special seasons of prayer daily for the work that is being done. The blessing of the Lord will come to the church-members who thus participate in the work, gathering in small groups daily to pray for its success. Thus the believers will obtain grace for themselves, and the work of the Lord will be advanced.
"This is the way we used to do. We prayed for our own souls and for those who were carrying on the work. The Lord Jesus declares that where two or three are gathered together in his name, he is in the midst of them, to bless them. Let there be less talking, and more sincere, earnest prayer.
"I fear that the effort that is being made to proclaim the truth in Los Angeles will not be appreciated. Let every man come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty foe. Where a special effort is made, as has been revealed by the evangelistic work done in Los Angeles, let every member of the church draw near to God. Let all search their own hearts with the light that shines from the Word. If sin is discovered, let it be confessed and repented of. Let every helper be in good working order. The Lord will hear and answer prayer. Let not the church-members think that efforts should be put forth for them by the one who is impressed to labor for those who have been neglected, those in whose behalf special efforts have not heretofore been put forth.
"Where such an effort is made as has been made in Los Angeles, let the members of the church clear the King's highway, and help with their means in the work being done. Let them show that they are in perfect harmony. Let them be on hand at the meetings, armed and equipped for service, ready to talk with any one who may be interested. Let them pray and work for the lost sheep.
"Let the second chapter of Second Timothy be impressed on the heart and brought into the practical life. Let not this season pass and leave the church uninfluenced by the truth that has been proclaimed. There is danger of the church's being in a self-satisfied, indifferent, backslidden condition during this time of special blessing, when the Word of God is being presented. Awake, my brethren, awake, and do not let angels see that you feel but little obligation to act your part in sustaining the work that is being done. Be wide awake. Pray while going about your daily duties. Draw strength from Christ; and let your hearts be filled with the deepest gratitude that the Lord is working. Be laborers together with him.
"This is Los Angeles' opportunity. If the members of the church will come humbly before God, putting all that is wrong out of their hearts, and consulting him at every step, he will manifest himself to them, and will give them courage in him."
This instruction is specially applicable to the churches at Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, and San Francisco. Long has the light of present truth been shining upon the pathway of the believers in these churches. In a peculiar sense have they been favored with unusual light and unusual privileges. And now, when the judgments of heaven have led thinking men and women to pause and reflect what these things mean, a golden opportunity is given every believer to co-operate heartily with the messengers of truth who have come to tell the people that Jesus is soon coming again.
In this time, when God's message of warning is being so clearly proclaimed in these cities, every believer should carefully study and take heed to the words of counsel written by Paul to Timothy:--
"Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom: Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."
If, in this opportune time, the members of the churches will come humbly before God, putting out of their hearts all that is wrong, and consulting him at every step, he will manifest himself to them, and will give them courage in him. We must be ready to use our God-given capabilities in the work of the Lord. We must be ready to speak words in season and out of season,--words that will help and bless.
As the church-members do their part faithfully, the Lord will lead and guide his chosen ministers, and strengthen them for their important work. In much prayer let us all unite in holding up their hands, and in drawing bright beams from the heavenly sanctuary. We are soul-hungry to see the work advancing as it should. Christ is our alpha and our omega. Only in his strength can we gain success.
(Vol. 83, #52)
"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."
Shall we follow Christ as our pattern? In his life of self-sacrifice was seen not one jot or tittle of selfishness. He who had been rich in the heavenly courts, left all his wealth and power, and came to this world, clothed in the humble garb of humanity. For our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. Like him, his followers are by lives of self-denial to be a blessing to the world. If in the lives of all God's people the character of Christ were revealed, we should see thousands more converted to the truth.
If men would only remember that every favor they receive is a gift from God, would they not do very much more than they are now doing to relieve his work of the embarrassment of poverty? Would they not act a noble part in rendering to the Lord that which is his own?
Wealth hoarded will become a curse. Often the Lord can not preserve and bless the possessions of men, because the owners feel little or no obligation to assist in the great work of proclaiming the truth in new fields. Their substance, generously divided with their brethren who are laboring with meager facilities in destitute fields, would bring in return rich blessings from God.
No charity is complete unless it reveals an appreciation of the gospel. Those who now, in this time of emergency, selfishly hold on to their means, will soon suffer the loss of all they have. Those who are truly converted, and who have more than sufficient for their immediate necessities, will freely impart of their abundance to help those who are poorer than they.
All should feel an intense interest in the advancement of the third angel's message. The work of proclaiming this message has already grown to large proportions; but it is to advance still more rapidly. We need many more laborers, and God's loyal people, filled with a spirit of self-denial, should now give cheerfully and liberally, in order that facilities may be provided for the entering of new territory. In many places the work has been retarded because of the scarcity of means. The rebuke of God will rest upon those who do not come up to his help against the mighty powers of darkness.
Shall we not, as a people, refrain from following the custom of the world in unnecessary indulgence during the present holiday season? O how much might be accomplished in needy mission fields with the money that is squandered in various ways at this season of the year by those who profess to be Christians!
Will not the Seventh-day Adventists in every place first consecrate themselves to the Lord, and then do their very best, according to their circumstances, to advance his work, by gifts and offerings? Will they show that they appreciate the blessings of the Lord, and that they are grateful for his mercy? Will they not now consider their obligations to God, at a time when the world especially seeks for pleasure, and expends large sums of money for gifts to those who are not needy?
I have said to my family and my friends, I desire that no one shall make me a birthday or Christmas gift, unless it be with permission to pass it on into the Lord's treasury, to be appropriated in the establishment of missions.
I will greatly praise the name of the Lord if his people, at this time, by the exercise of benevolence, will increase the facilities for successful work in many needy fields. I long to see among Seventh-day Adventist an increase of faith and courage, and more praise and thanksgiving to God, so that where in the past there has been a withholding of means, there shall from henceforth be seen the evidences of a grateful heart,--the faithful bestowal of gifts and offerings, to supply the needs of many destitute fields.