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The Review and Herald Articles
for the Year 1910
(Vol. 87, #1)
On Sabbath morning, August 21, (1909), Mrs. White spoke to a large congregation, reading part of the sixth chapter of Matthew, and drawing from these scriptures lessons of self-denial, trust, and co-operation. She said:--
"The riches of this world will never advance us in the knowledge of God or in a Christian experience. The Saviour bids us seek for the true riches that are laid up in store for the righteous. To one who came to him saying, 'I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest,' Christ replied, 'Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.' Christ owned nothing in this world, and yet the world was his. Let us study his holy, self-denying example.
"We have no time to spend on the vanities and follies of this world. There is a world to be saved, and we should carefully consider the example we give to those around us, conforming our lives to the life of him who became a child of humanity that he might give a perfect example to every human being. From a study of his life and labors and his struggles with temptation, we are to learn how to become partakers of the divine nature, and overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust. Nowhere shall we find anything that will help our spiritual life as will a study of the life of Christ. And as we seek to walk in his footsteps, there will come to us a supply of divine grace such as sustained him under every circumstance.
"There are many who profess to be followers of Christ who do not have an eye single to his glory. They have their own ideas and standards, and they keep these before them instead of the standard of the Word of God. What we need is pure and undefiled religion. We need to plead for the righteousness that comes to the truly converted soul who accepts the life of the Redeemer as his example. Let us not think that we can pass through this world doing just as we please, and yet be accepted by God as followers of his Son. The gates of the city of God will never be thrown open to those who have not lifted the cross and followed after Christ in self-denial and self-sacrifice.
"We are to present to the world a life of overcoming,--overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. But in order to do this, we must seek the Lord daily that our natural temperaments and desires may be brought under the converting power of the Holy Spirit, and into harmony with the life of Christ. When you submit to these conditions, you will realize Christ's power and sufficiency. Denying self, and walking humbly with God, you will experience the truth of the words of the Saviour, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life.' 'He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.'
"My brethren and sisters, there is a world to be saved. What are you doing to cooperate with Christ, to represent his spirit? Are you seeking to become acquainted with those who need your help? Are you using your opportunities and advantages and means in winning souls to Christ? You may say, I am not a minister, and therefore can not preach the truth. You may not be a minister in the generally accepted sense of the word. You may never be called to stand in the desk. Nevertheless you can be a minister for Christ. If you will watch for the opportunities that present themselves for speaking a word to this soul and to that, God will speak through you to win hearts to him. Christ took human nature that you might approach him and learn how to labor for your fellow men. Make use of your knowledge in bringing souls to Christ. Drop a word here and a word there that will lift up the Saviour before men, and lead them to higher and holier purposes.
"Christ worked for us when we were unbelievers. Should we not labor for our friends and neighbors who do not believe? Christ expects you to become acquainted with the spiritual needs of these souls, and to work for them in meekness and lowliness of heart. Time is passing. Satan is boasting to his evil agencies that he will take possession of the world; and he encourages them to work through every possible means for the accomplishment of this purpose. At this time the followers of Christ should bring a strong counter-influence to meet the influence of evil.
"May God help us to understand that we must be laborers together with him. Let us begin right here to be co-workers with Heaven. Let us put away the foolish reading matter, and study the Word of God. Let us commit its precious promises to memory, so that, when we are deprived of our Bibles, we may still be in possession of the Word of God. Let us cultivate the attributes of earnestness, bringing into all our labors for others the simplicity of true godliness. When this experience of overcoming is ours, our labors for others will not be without fruit. Our position in life may be ever so humble, but through the cooperation of heavenly agencies, we may take with us through the gates of the city of God many who have accepted the truth through our efforts."
Leaving Nevada, Iowa, Tuesday, Aug. 24, Mrs. White reached Council Grove, Kan., the following day, she said:--
"It is coming to be seen and felt by religionists in every community, that in the hearts of the majority of men there is little respect for truth and righteousness. Unbelief in God and his Word is everywhere manifest. Those who are not for him are against him. Satan is working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, seeking to gain control of human minds. And he leads his followers to believe that he will be conqueror, because of the large numbers who are uniting with him. While such conditions prevail in the world, we are not to shut ourselves in our homes, and think that assent to truth is all that is required of us. Christ gave himself a sacrifice for the sins of the world. The gift of God in Jesus Christ should awaken in the heart of every believer the spirit of self-sacrifice, leading us to deny ourselves of anything that will further the cause of God in the earth.
"If you have the riches of the grace of Christ in your heart, you will not keep them to yourselves while the salvation of souls depends upon a knowledge of the way of salvation that you can give. These may not come to you and tell you their heart-longings; but many are hungry, unsatisfied; and Christ died that they might have the riches of his grace. What are you going to do that these souls may share the blessings that you enjoy? You are called to be laborers together with God. You may never be called to the desk to preach, but you have a work to do,--the most blessed work that mortals can do. You may cooperate with the Holy Spirit of God in convincing men of sin and revealing to them the righteousness of Christ.
"I see before me many who occupy humble positions in life, who, perhaps, do not understand all that God requires of them. You are to devote yourselves to the service of God. 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.' You are to let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Simplicity is of the highest value in the sight of heaven. Learn to labor according to Christ's methods.
"My brethren and sisters, present the truths of the third angel's message to your neighbors and friends who do not understand them, and who see nothing to interest them in the Word of God. You can tell them of the hope of immortality. You can pray with them and for them. Some of you can gather your neighbors' children together and tell them the stories of the Bible, explaining their meaning in simple language. Let the Word speak for itself, and let your works be of such a character that they will not exert an influence contrary to the faith you profess. If you will come into this position of consecration to the work of God, he will multiply your influence for good."
Mrs. White's words to the German believers were full of hope and courage. Elder F. W. Spies read from the book of Acts the record of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and Mrs. White said:--
"I have a deep interest that all our people in all languages shall receive a large measure of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are living in the last days, and there is a large work to be done among the people of all languages. Therefore every soul who believes the truth for this time, whatever his country or speech, should have an intelligent knowledge of the truths of the third angel's message, that he may be able to do an intelligent work for God. The Lord will open the understanding of all who will come into right relation to him.
"The scripture that our brother has read to you shows that a mighty power is at work in our world, and that Heaven will cooperate with those who will do the work of the Lord. It is the one Lord, the one faith, the one baptism. Let us draw in even cords. Let us keep our hearts humble, and draw close to the Great Teacher. If we have the truth in the heart, we shall feel that it is a positive necessity that we seek to enlighten others. If we will do as the disciples did before the day of Pentecost,--pray and believe, and come into harmony with one another and with the Word,--the Lord will work with us, opening the understanding and the hearts of those whom we seek to reach, and bringing them to a knowledge of the truth for this time. This work will be acknowledged in the courts of heaven.
"My brethren and sisters, have courage in God; have faith in Christ. Put on the robe of Christ's righteousness, and let the light of heaven come into heart and mind. The Lord says, Go forward. Do not shut up yourselves to yourselves, but labor and sacrifice that others may know the preciousness of a living Saviour. You are God's children. Learn of him as little children, that he may work in you and through you. Through your instrumentality the grace of God may come into many hearts." Sanitarium, Cal. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #2)
In her address to the workers at the Colorado Sanitarium, Mrs. White said:--
"It should be a great satisfaction to you to be in a sanitarium like this, where each one is taught to take part in the work of ministering to others. Let each one seek to do the work as he will wish it had been done when the end of all things shall come. Thus you may have a little heaven here below, and angels of God will work through you to make right impressions upon the minds of those who come as patients and guests to the institution. Christ wants to use you as his servants. Seek to help wherever you can. Cultivate the best dispositions, that the grace of God may rest richly upon you.
"Young and old may learn to look to God as one who will heal, as one who sympathizes, who understands all their necessities, and who will never make a mistake. Your humanity may lay hold of the divinity of Christ by living faith, and you may learn to carry out in this institution the principles of heaven. This will make you a blessing to all around you.
"Put away all that would hinder you from reaching the high standard set for you in the Word of God. Do not foster a spirit of jealousy or evil surmising or anything that would grieve the Spirit of God. There are those who have this evil in their natures, but if they retain it, Satan will work through them to spoil the influence of this sanitarium. We can not afford to have any such work carried on here. Every worker must stand on the platform of eternal truth. In manifesting a spirit of jealousy, we reveal a characteristic of Satan. We can not afford to harbor one desire that has its origin in him.
"We are seeking for the life that measures with the life of God; therefore our natures must be brought into conformity with the will of God. We must so conduct our lifework that we can go to God in confidence and open our hearts to him, telling him our necessities, and believing that he hears, and will give us grace and strength to carry out the principles of the Word of God. What we want is heaven, the victor's crown, an entrance through the gates to the city of God, the right to eat of the tree of life that is in the midst of the paradise of God. We want to see the King in his beauty. Then let us daily keep our eyes fixed upon Christ, the perfection of human character, and laying hold of his divine nature, we shall have the strength of divinity to overcome every evil tendency and desire.
"Christ came to earth to suffer and to die that we might lay hold on eternal life. He gave himself that we might be partakers of the divine nature, and overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust. The Lord bids us work out our salvation with fear and trembling. If we perfect a Christian character, we must put away from our lives every evil thing. When we are truly converted to God, we shall hate the things that separate us from him.
"Christ desires to give to all at his coming the crown of life. I pray that we who are gathered here today may be among those who at that time will greet him with joy, saying, 'Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation."
After reading the seventeenth chapter of John and portions of the first and second chapters of Acts, she said:--
"My brethren and sisters, we are not half awake. We do not half appreciate the precious time that is passing into eternity. We do not realize the value of the souls for whom Christ gave his precious life. We need to put on the robe of Christ's righteousness and work in harmony with him, in harmony with his ministers, in harmony with all who truly believe the truth for this time.
"Many are clinging to their old habits and practises, and some are even denying Christ as Peter did. These lose the blessing that they would have at every step if they would follow on to know the Lord. Let us press together. It is no time now for us to quarrel among ourselves, no time to draw apart. Let us not thus counterwork the work that God is seeking to do for us and through us. We need the cementing power of the Holy Spirit to come upon this people.
"God has a work for his people to do for the world, and if they will work in harmony with one another and with heaven, he will demonstrate his power in their behalf as he did for his first disciples on the day of Pentecost. Those days in which the disciples prepared themselves by prayer and putting away of all disunion, brought them into such close relation to God that he could work for them and through them in a marvelous manner. Today God desires to accomplish great things through the faith and works of his believing people. But we need to stand in right relation to God, that we may understand his voice when he speaks to us.
"As a people we have had great light and many privileges, yet we are lacking in advanced spirituality. Every sanitarium, every institution in our ranks, should stand forth as a representative of the living principles of truth. In every department of their work, God's glory and the advancement of his kingdom should be the first consideration. Our medical institutions should stand where the glory of God can be clearly revealed through them. It used to be so in the beginning of our work, when the sanitarium was first established at Battle Creek. Now we have sanitariums in many places. An important question to be considered is, What kind of men and women shall those be who occupy positions of more or less responsibility in these institutions? They should be those whose daily lives emit the light of truth, who with sanctified tongues speak only those words that will prove a blessing to others. If the work is done that God desires to see accomplished as the result of the establishment of our sanitarium work, we shall see in these institutions workers who give evidence that they are converted. We must have workers wholly surrendered to God.
"Time is passing, and souls are perishing for lack of the truth. Let the light shine forth from our sanitariums in clear, distinct rays. May the God of Israel impress upon the hearts and minds of our people the sacredness and the importance of the work to be done. If men and women will cooperate with God with all the powers of their being consecrated to him, they will stand as ministers of righteousness to their fellow men.
"I know the burdens that many of our sanitariums carry, and I am instructed to say to those in positions of responsibility in these institutions, Let every influence be of such a character as will draw with Christ. Then the sick will understand that Christ is there. Let the meek and lowly Jesus be represented, in the dress of the workers, in the words they speak, in the spirit they manifest.
"The blessing of God is waiting to come in large measure upon the workers in the Colorado Sanitarium. I have seen angels of God hovering, hovering, hovering over the workers there. Let none who are there refuse to be converted. Let none feel too important to come under discipline to God. Let the workers understand that they are responsible to God to see that the best influence is exerted in this institution, that the salvation of God may be revealed. The Lord desires to see each one acting his part intelligently as a laborer together with him, that the light of heaven may come into our institutions, and a wonderful work be done.
"Instruction was given me in the night season that I must bear a decided message to this people. You greatly need to experience a deeper heart work. It is your privilege to receive more of the Spirit of God, as you engage in fasting and earnest prayer. You need to accept the promises and assurances of God and walk out on them in faith. You need to learn how to present the truths of the Word to those around you in all their binding force and in all their encouragement, that the unconverted may feel the influence of the Spirit of God upon heart and mind and character.
"May God bless you, my brethren and sisters. My heart is drawn out in tenderness and love for you. You are a large company here. Will you not consecrate yourselves to God? We invite you to come to Jesus, to believe in him, and receive from him the outpouring of his Holy Spirit. He will give you this, if you ask in faith believing. Then work in harmony with him to disseminate truth. If you will seek individually to answer in your lives Christ's prayer for his disciples, you will follow on to know the Lord. This is not like the fading strength and glory of the setting sun, but like the morning, the rising sun, which is ever increasing in warmth and light and power." Sanitarium, Cal. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #3)
After reading portions of Isaiah 54 and 55, Mrs. White said:--
"'All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.' Do we give heed to this promise, and are we seeing to it that our children are taught of the Lord? Are we making them understand the requirements of God in the earliest years of their lives? Christ gave his precious life that they might be partakers of the divine nature, and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. The Lord wants the hearts of these children from their very babyhood to be given to his service.
"Parents, you know something of the inducements by which Satan tries to lead your children into folly. He is working with all his powers to lead them astray. With a determination that many do not dream of, he is seeking to gain control of their minds, and to make the commandments of God of no effect in their lives.
"He leads them to grieve the hearts of their parents. Never let the parents at such times manifest anger, never strike a blow in passion. While they are too young to reason with, divert their minds as best you can; and as they become older, teach them by precept and example that you can not indulge their wrong desires. Instruct them patiently. Sometimes they will have to be punished, but never do it in such a way that they will feel that you have punished them in anger. By such a course you only work a greater evil. Many unhappy differences in the family circle might be avoided if parents would obey the counsel of the Lord in the training of their children. 'In righteousness shalt thou be established,' God declares; that is, in doing the works of righteousness.
"We need to present to the youth an inducement for rightdoing. Silver and gold is not sufficient for this. Let us reveal to them the love and mercy and grace of Christ, the preciousness of his Word, and the joys of the overcomer. In efforts of this kind we shall do a work that will last throughout eternity.
"When the work of the judgment is finished, and decisions have been made for eternity, it will be seen that those who have given themselves wholeheartedly to the service of God are the ones who stand right with heaven. Some of these may not have been able to leave their families to go to distant mission fields, but they have been missionaries in their own neighborhood. Their hearts have been so filled with the love of God that their great anxiety has been to win souls for him. This has been more to them than silver and gold and the precious things of this world. And as they have labored in simplicity to minister the word of truth, the Spirit of God has sent home the word to the hearts of the people.
"My brethren and sisters, let us study the simplicity there is in the Word of God. Let us see what we can do to advance the cause of Christ in the earth. Christ was in this world as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. There were many who set themselves against his work. There will be those who will oppose you. But your work is to preach Christ and him crucified; and when you do this, the salvation of God will be revealed in the conversion of souls.
"Since I left my home in California in April, I have visited many places, and have spoken to thousands of people. This is the last stop I expect to make before reaching my home again. I would leave these words with you: Carry forward the work in faith and humble dependence upon God. Let each believer have light in himself; then the blessing of God will rest upon you, and you will see the salvation of God in the advancement of his work in this field."
The following Monday, at the Fruitvale campmeeting, Mrs. White spoke of the new school site as follows:--
"I was very happily surprised to find here a place where we need not wait to make great preparations before our school can be opened. Here we may call the students to come, and we can begin school work just as soon as they are on the ground. The advantages to be found here are many. A great deal of labor has been put forth to improve this property, which up to the present time has been used as a health resort.
"The Angwin place is more appropriate for our school work than was the property we were previously considering at Buena Vista, near Sonoma. There was on that place, it is true, one very large, expensive building, but this building was not so well adapted to our school work as the buildings at Angwin. At Sonoma other buildings would have had to be erected very soon; but at Angwin there are sufficient buildings for present needs, and our school work can begin at once.
"The buildings are substantial, and in good repair. The whole bears the appearance of good care and neatness. The large supply of good bedding and mattresses reminded me of what we found at Loma Linda when that property was purchased. The buildings are well adapted to our present necessities. Later on, more may need to be erected. Facilities will be added from time to time as they are needed.
"I am very glad that we need be delayed no longer in locating our school, and I am more thankful than I can express that our school and our sanitarium are near enough together so that their educational work can blend. The school can help the sanitarium by supplying it with fruit and vegetables, and the sanitarium can help the school by purchasing these things. And the students may receive advantages from both these institutions." Sanitarium, Cal. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #6)
"In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
"And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes; children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.
"Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nego.
"But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.
"Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat; and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
"As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm."
This record contains much of importance on the subject of health reform. In the experience of the four Hebrew children a lesson is given regarding the need of abstaining from all spirituous liquors, and from indulgence of perverted appetite. The position taken by these Hebrew youth was vindicated, and at the end of ten days they were found fairer in flesh and better in knowledge than all the rest whom the king was proving.
In this our day, the Lord would be pleased to have those who are preparing for the future, immortal life follow the example of Daniel and his companions in seeking to maintain strength of body and clearness of mind. The more careful we learn to be in treating our bodies, the more readily shall we be able to escape the evils that are in the world through lust.
There are many who believe that in order to be fitted for acceptable service, they must go through a long course of study under learned teachers in some school of the world. This they must do, it is true, if they desire to secure what the world calls essential knowledge. But we do not say to our youth, You must study, study, keeping your mind all the time on books. Nor do we say to them, You must spend all the time in acquiring the so-called higher education. Let us ask, What is the object of true higher education? Is it not that we may stand in right relation to God? The test of all education should be, Is it fitting us to keep our minds fixed upon the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus?
What is needed by our youth is an education like that which Daniel and his three companions gained. These faithful Hebrews were in important positions. They were placed where they must be careful to observe every principle of righteousness in order to bring others to an understanding of the principles of righteousness. It would not do for them to be lax. They could not afford to indulge appetite. They were to stand where they could, by their example, give proof of the importance of strict adherence to the principles of right living. To do this they were willing to place themselves under test and trial. Ten days was sufficient to prove that the diet they chose was a wholesome one, and that in adopting it they had made no mistake. The evidence which this experience gave to the authorities led them to have a higher opinion of these youth than of all the other students under their care.
We are to learn how to equalize the labor done by brain, bone, and muscle. If you put to task the faculties of the mind, loading them with heavy burdens, while you leave the muscles unexercised, this course will tell its story just as surely as the wise course of the Hebrew youth told its story. Parents should follow a consistent course in the education of their children. Our youth should be taught from their very childhood how to exercise the body and the mind proportionately. It is not wise to send the children to schools where they are subject to long hours of confinement and where they will gain no knowledge of what healthful living means. Place them under the tuition of those who respect the body and treat it with consideration. Do not place your children in an unfavorable position, where they can not receive the training that will enable them to bear test and trial.
With all the precious light that has continually been given us in the health publications, we can not afford to live careless, heedless lives, eating and drinking as we please, and indulging in the use of stimulants, narcotics, and condiments. Let us take into consideration the fact that we have souls to save or to lose, and that it is of vital consequence how we relate ourselves to the question of temperance. It is of great importance that individually we act well our part, and have an intelligent understanding of what we should eat and drink, and how we should live to preserve health. All are being proved to see whether they will accept the principles of health reform or follow a course of self-indulgence.
Let no one think that he can do as he pleases in the matter of diet. But before all who sit at the table with you, let it appear that you follow principle in the matter of eating, as in all other matters, that the glory of God may be revealed. You can not afford to do otherwise; for you have a character to form for the future, immortal life. Great responsibilities rest upon every human soul. Let us comprehend these responsibilities, and bear them nobly in the name of the Lord.
To every one who is tempted to indulge appetite I would say, Yield not to temptation, but confine yourself to the use of wholesome foods. You can train yourself to enjoy a healthful diet. The Lord helps those who seek to help themselves; but when men will not take special pains to follow out the mind and will of God, how can he work with them? Let us act our part, working out our salvation with fear and trembling,--with fear and trembling lest we make mistakes in the treatment of our bodies, which, before God, we are under obligation to keep in the most healthy condition possible. (To be concluded.) By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #7)
We desire that the meetings which are held during the General Conference shall have a telling influence on every soul. Let us prove ourselves worthy of being trusted by God,--worthy of his confidence in our determination that we will not betray our sacred trust. Let us open the way for the light of God to shine into the chambers of the mind. Thus we shall be prepared to help others. To those who appreciate the truth as it is in Jesus, and who desire to reveal the truth in its beauty, its power, and its sanctifying grace, God will give strength to stand against temptation.
Intelligence is a gift of God,--one that he desires us to use to his glory. Students need not talk of their attainments in the so-called higher education if they have not learned to eat and drink to the glory of God, and to exercise brain, bone, and muscle in such a way as to prepare for the highest possible service. The whole being must be brought into exercise if we would secure a healthy condition of mind; the mental and the physical powers should be used proportionately.
To those who are desirous of being efficient laborers in God's cause, I would say, If you are putting an undue weight of labor on the brain, thinking you will lose ground unless you study all the time, you had better change your views and your course of action. Unless greater care is exercised in this respect, there are many who will go down to the grave prematurely. This you can not afford to do; for there is a world to be saved.
A great work is to be done,--a work that we have scarcely begun as yet. Everywhere, everywhere the truth is to stand forth in its glorious power and in its simplicity. Do not boast of what you know, but take your case to God. Say to him, I comply with the conditions. Now, Lord, as I educate my appetites and tastes, so that a healthy current of blood may flow through my veins, wilt thou sustain me? Teach me how to use my powers in presenting the most precious truths that have ever come to mortals for the fitting up of character for the future, immortal life.
Fathers and mothers, you have a solemn work to do. The eternal salvation of your children depends upon your course of action. How will you successfully educate your children? Not by scolding; for it will do no good. Talk to your children as if you had confidence in their intelligence. Deal with them kindly, tenderly, lovingly. Tell them what God would have them do. Tell them that God would have them educated and trained to be laborers together with him. When you act your part, you can trust the Lord to act his part. Be strong in faith, and teach your children that we are all dependent upon God. Read to them the story of the four Hebrew children, and impress their minds with a realization of the influence for good that was exerted in Daniel's time because of strict adherence to principle.
In connection with your home, have a garden if possible, where your children can work and where you can work with them. So instruct them and so arrange their work that their spare time will not be spent in idleness. Give them something definite to do, and let them feel that they are doing something to help father and mother to sustain the family. Let the older ones feel the responsibility of giving a right example to the younger children. Let all act a part according to their years. When the children thus trained attend school, they will have clear minds. They will be able to reason for themselves, and will not accept that which this one says or what that one says without some proof.
I wish to say to every father and mother, If you have a hasty temper, seek God for help to overcome it. When you are provoked to impatience, go to your chamber, and kneel down and ask God to help you that you may have a right influence over your children. Your children are God's children; they are to have a life that measures with the life of God. Can you comprehend it?--a life that measures with the life of God. It was to give them this that God sent his Son into the world. For this Christ laid off his royal robe and kingly crown and came to this sinful world as a helpless babe. He was educated under the supervision of heavenly angels. He worked at the carpenter's trade,--he who was the Prince of life, the Saviour of all that would believe in him.
When Christ came to our world, in him were combined divinity and humanity. In his humanity he could lay hold of humanity; by virtue of his divinity he could bring power and health and grace to mankind. Thus he would make men and women partakers of the divine nature and able to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.
To us is given the work of overcoming. This is no haphazard work. Only as we become partakers of the divine nature can we overcome our hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil. We must be trained to understand and follow Bible principles; we must learn of Christ the science of eating and drinking to the glory of God.
The Lord desires that his people shall be a wise people, and carry a sensible influence wherever they go. He has given us capabilities, and a part to act in his work. Let us act our part as faithfully as the four Hebrew worthies acted theirs. Then angels of God will preside in our homes.
You remember the story of the woman who was healed by touching Christ's garment when in the midst of a dense throng. Her disease was such that no earthly physician's power could help her. She saw Jesus healing the sick, and hope sprang up in her heart. She thought she would wait her opportunity, and, when she got within reach of the Saviour, she put forth her finger and touched the hem of his garment; and immediately she was made whole. In this experience there was a lesson that Christ desired to impress on the throng about him. Humanity had connected with divinity, and the blessing had been received.
Christ came to the earth to bring divinity to humanity. We need that divinity; young and old need it. If you do not know anything about this power, I beseech you for Christ's sake to seek for it. Endeavor to live a consistent life. Take hold of Christ by living, active faith. Come to him just as you are, helpless and dependent, and say, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." Help me to study thy life, thy self-denial and self-sacrifice; help me to become a Christian in every sense of the word. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #8)
I am instructed to bear a message to all our people on the subject of health reform; for many have backslidden from their former loyalty to health reform principles.
God's purpose for his children is that they shall grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ. In order to do this they must use aright every power of mind, soul, and body. They can not afford to waste any mental or physical strength.
The question of how to preserve the health is one of primary importance. When we study this question in the fear of God, we shall learn that it is best, for both our physical health and our spiritual advancement, to observe simplicity in diet. Let us patiently study this question. We need knowledge and judgment in order to move wisely in this matter. Nature's laws are not to be resisted, but obeyed.
Those who have received instruction regarding the evils of the use of flesh meats, tea, and coffee, and rich and unhealthful food preparations, and who are determined to make a covenant with God by sacrifice, will not continue to indulge their appetite for food that they know to be unhealthful. God demands that the appetite be cleansed, and that self-denial be practised in regard to those things which are not good. This is a work that will have to be done before his people can stand before him a perfected people.
The remnant people of God must be a converted people. The presentation of this message is to result in the conversion and sanctification of souls. We are to feel the power of the Spirit of God in this movement. This is a wonderful, definite message; it means everything to the receiver, and it is to be proclaimed with a loud cry. We must have a true, abiding faith that this message will go forth with increasing importance till the close of time.
There are some professed believers who accept certain portions of the Testimonies as the message of God, while they reject those portions that condemn their favorite indulgences. Such persons are working contrary to their own welfare, and the welfare of the church. It is essential that we walk in the light while we have the light. Those who claim to believe in health reform, and yet work counter to its principles in the daily life practise, are hurting their own souls, and leave wrong impressions upon the minds of believers and unbelievers.
A solemn responsibility rests upon those who know the truth, that all their works shall correspond with their faith, and that their lives shall be refined and sanctified, and they be prepared for the work that must rapidly be done in these closing days of the message. They have no time or strength to spend in the indulgence of appetite. The words should come to us now with impelling earnestness, "Repent, . . . and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." There are many among us who are deficient in spirituality, and who, unless they are wholly converted, will certainly be lost. Can you afford to run the risk?
Pride and weakness of faith are depriving many of the rich blessings of God. There are many who, unless they humble their hearts before the Lord, will be surprised and disappointed when the cry is heard, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!" They have the theory of the truth, but they have no oil in their vessel with their lamp. Our faith at this time must not stop with assent to belief in the theory of the third angel's message. We must have the oil of the grace of Christ that will feed the lamp, and cause the light of life to shine forth, showing the way to those who are in darkness.
If we would escape having a sickly experience, we must begin in earnest without delay to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. There are many who give no decided evidence that they are true to their baptismal vows. Their zeal is chilled by formality, worldly ambition, pride, and love of self. Occasionally their feelings are stirred. but they do not fall upon the Rock, Christ Jesus. They do not come to God with hearts that are broken in repentance and confession. Those who experience the work of true conversion in their hearts will reveal the fruits of the Spirit in their lives. O that those who have so little spiritual life would realize that eternal life can be granted only to those who become partakers of the divine nature, and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust!
The power of Christ alone can work the transformation in heart and mind that all must experience who would partake with him of the new life in the kingdom of God. "Except a man be born again," the Saviour has said, "he can not see the kingdom of God." The religion that comes from God is the only religion that can lead to God. In order to serve him aright, we must be born of the divine Spirit. This will lead to watchfulness. It will purify the heart and renew the mind, and give us a new capacity for knowing and loving God. It will give us willing obedience to all his requirements. This is true worship.
God requires continual advancement from his people. They need to learn that indulged appetite is the greatest hindrance to mental improvement and soul sanctification. With all our profession of health reform, many of us eat improperly. Indulgence of appetite is the greatest cause of physical and mental debility, and lies largely at the foundation of feebleness and premature death. Let the individual who is seeking to possess purity of spirit bear in mind that in Christ there is power to control the appetite.
If we could be benefited by indulging the desire for flesh meats, I would not make this appeal to you; but I know we can not. Flesh foods are injurious to the physical well-being, and we should learn to do without them. Those who are in a position where it is possible to secure a vegetarian diet, but who choose to follow their own preferences in this matter, eating and drinking as they please, will gradually grow careless of the instruction the Lord has given regarding other phases of the present truth, and will lose their perception of what is truth; they will surely reap as they have sown.
I have been instructed that the students in our schools are not to be served with flesh foods or with food preparations that are known to be unhealthful. Nothing that will serve to encourage a desire for stimulants should be placed on the tables. I appeal to old and young and to middle-aged: Deny your appetite of those things that are doing you injury. Serve the Lord by sacrifice. Let the children have an intelligent part in this work. We are all members of the Lord's family, and the Lord would have his children, young and old, determine to deny appetite, and to save the means needed for the building of meetinghouses and the support of missionaries.
I am instructed to say to parents, Place yourselves, soul and spirit, on the Lord's side of this question. We need ever to bear in mind that in these days of probation we are on trial before the Lord of the universe. Will you not give up indulgences that are doing you injury? Words of profession are cheap; let your acts of self-denial testify that you will be obedient to the demands that God makes on his peculiar people. Then put into the treasury a portion of the means you save by your acts of self-denial, and there will be that with which to carry on the work of God.
There are many who feel that they can not get along without flesh meats; but if these would place themselves on the Lord's side, resolutely resolved to walk in the way of his guidance, they would receive strength and wisdom as did Daniel and his fellows. They would find that the Lord would give them sound judgment. Many would be surprised to see how much could be saved for the cause of God by acts of self-denial. The small sums saved by deeds of sacrifice will do more for the upbuilding of the cause of God than larger gifts will accomplish that have not called for denial of self.
Seventh-day Adventists are handling momentous truths. More than forty years ago the Lord gave us special light on health reform, but how are we walking in that light? How many have refused to live in harmony with the counsels of God? We as a people should make advancement proportionate to the light received. It is our duty to understand and respect the principles of health reform. On the subject of temperance we should be in advance of all other people; and yet there are among us well-instructed members of the church, and even ministers of the gospel, who have little respect for the light that God has given upon this subject. They eat as they please, and work as they please.
Let those who are teachers and leaders in our cause take their stand firmly on Bible ground in regard to health reform, and give a straight testimony to those who believe we are living in the last days of this earth's history. A line of distinction must be drawn between those who serve God, and those who serve themselves.
I have been shown that the principles that were given us in the early days of the message are as important and should be regarded just as conscientiously today as they were then. There are some who have never followed the light given on the question of diet. It is now time to take the light from under the bushel, and let it shine forth in clear rays. (To be concluded.) By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #9)
The principles of healthful living mean a great deal to us individually and as a people. When the message of health reform first came to me, I was weak and feeble, subject to frequent fainting spells. I was pleading with God for help, and he opened before me the great subject of health reform. He instructed me that those who are keeping his commandments must be brought into sacred relation to himself, and that by temperance in eating and drinking they must keep mind and body in the most favorable condition for service. This light has been a great blessing to me. I took my stand as a health reformer, knowing that the Lord would strengthen me. I have better health today, notwithstanding my age, than I had in my younger days.
It is reported by some that I have not followed the principles of health reform as I have advocated them with my pen; but I can say that I have been a faithful health reformer. Those who have been members of my family know that this is true.
We do not mark out any precise line to be followed in diet; but we do say that in countries where there are fruits, grains, and nuts in abundance, flesh meat is not the right food for God's people. I have been instructed that flesh meat has a tendency to animalize the nature, to rob men and women of that love and sympathy which they should feel for every one, and to give the lower passions control over the higher powers of the being. If meat eating was ever healthful, it is not safe now. Cancers, tumors, and pulmonary diseases are largely caused by meat eating.
We are not to make the use of flesh meat a test of fellowship, but we should consider the influence that professed believers who use flesh meats have over others. As God's messengers, shall we not say to the people, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God"? Shall we not bear a decided testimony against the indulgence of perverted appetite? Will any who are ministers of the gospel, proclaiming the most solemn truth ever given to mortals, set an example in returning to the flesh pots of Egypt? Will those who are supported by the tithe from God's storehouse permit themselves by self-indulgence to poison the lifegiving current flowing through their veins? Will they disregard the light and warnings that God has given them? The health of the body is to be regarded as essential to growth in grace and the acquirement of an even temper. If the stomach is not properly cared for, the formation of an upright moral character will be hindered. The brain and nerves are in sympathy with the stomach. Erroneous eating and drinking result in erroneous thinking and acting.
All are now being tested and proved. We have been baptized into Christ, and if we will act our part by separating from everything that would drag us down, and make us what we ought not to be, strength to grow into Christ, who is our living head, will be given us, and we shall see the salvation of God.
Only when we are intelligent in regard to the principles of healthful living, can we be fully aroused to see the evils resulting from improper diet. Those who, after seeing their mistakes, have courage to change their habits, will find that the reformatory process requires a struggle and much perseverance; but when correct tastes are once formed, they will realize that the use of the food which they formerly regarded as harmless was slowly but surely laying the foundation for dyspepsia and other diseases.
Fathers and mothers, watch unto prayer. Guard strictly against intemperance in every form. Teach your children the principles of true health reform. Teach them what things to avoid in order to preserve health. Already the wrath of God has begun to be visited on the children of disobedience. What crimes, what sins, what iniquitous practises, are now being revealed on every hand! As a people, we are to exercise great care in guarding our children against depraved associates.
Health Reform to Be Taught.-- Greater efforts should be put forth to educate the people in the principles of health reform. Cooking schools should be established, and house-to-house instruction should be given in the art of cooking wholesome food. Old and young should learn how to cook more simply. Wherever the truth is presented, the people are to be taught how to prepare food in a simple, yet appetizing way. They are to be shown that a nourishing diet can be provided without the use of flesh meats.
Teach the people that it is better to know how to keep well than how to cure disease. Our physicians should be wise educators, warning all against self-indulgence, and showing that abstinence from the things that God has prohibited is the only way to prevent ruin of body and mind.
Much tact and discretion should be employed in preparing nourishing food to take the place of that which has formerly constituted the diet of those who are learning to be health reformers. Faith in God, earnestness of purpose, and a willingness to help one another, will be required. A diet lacking in the proper elements of nutrition, brings reproach upon the cause of health reform. We are mortal, and must supply ourselves with food that will give proper nourishment to the body.
Extreme Views.-- Some of our people, while conscientiously abstaining from eating improper foods, neglect to supply themselves with the elements necessary for the sustenance of the body. Those who take an extreme view of health reform are in danger of preparing tasteless dishes, making them so insipid that they are not satisfying. Food should be prepared in such a way that it will be appetizing as well as nourishing. It should not be robbed of that which the system needs. I use some salt, and always have, because salt, instead of being deleterious, is actually essential for the blood. Vegetables should be made palatable with a little milk or cream, or something equivalent.
While warnings have been given regarding the dangers of disease through butter, and the evil of the free use of eggs by small children, yet we should not consider it a violation of principle to use eggs from hens which are well cared for and suitably fed. Eggs contain properties which are remedial agencies in counteracting certain poisons.
Some, in abstaining from milk, eggs, and butter, have failed to supply the system with proper nourishment, and as a consequence have become weak and unable to work. Thus health reform is brought into disrepute. The work that we have tried to build up solidly is confused with strange things that God has not required, and the energies of the church are crippled. But God will interfere to prevent the results of these too strenuous ideas. The gospel is to harmonize the sinful race. It is to bring the rich and poor together at the feet of Jesus.
The time will come when we may have to discard some of the articles of diet we now use, such as milk and cream and eggs; but it is not necessary to bring upon ourselves perplexity by premature and extreme restrictions. Wait until the circumstances demand it, and the Lord prepares the way for it.
Those who would be successful in proclaiming the principles of health reform must make the Word of God their guide and counselor. Only as the teachers of health principles do this, can they stand on vantage ground. Let us never bear a testimony against health reform by failing to use wholesome, palatable food in place of the harmful articles of diet that we have discarded. Do not in any way encourage an appetite for stimulants. Eat only plain, simple, wholesome food, and thank God constantly for the principles of health reform. In all things be true and upright, and you will gain precious victories.
Diet in Different Countries.-- While working against gluttony and intemperance, we must recognize the condition to which the human family is subjected. God has made provision for those who live in the different countries of the world. Those who desire to be coworkers with God must consider carefully before they specify just what foods should and should not be eaten. We are to be brought into connection with the masses. Should health reform in its most extreme form be taught to those whose circumstances forbid its adoption, more harm than good would be done. As I preach the gospel to the poor, I am instructed to tell them to eat that food which is most nourishing. I can not say to them, "You must not eat eggs, or milk, or cream. You must use no butter in the preparation of food." The gospel must be preached to the poor, but the time has not yet come to prescribe the strictest diet.
Loss in Neglect of Health Reform.-- Those ministers who feel at liberty to indulge the appetite are falling far short of the mark. God wants them to be health reformers. He wants them to live up to the light that has been given on this subject. I feel sad when I see those who ought to be zealous for our health principles not yet converted to the right way of living. I pray that the Lord may impress their minds that they are meeting with great loss. If things were as they should be in the households that make up our churches, we might do double work for the Lord.
Conditions of Answered Prayer.-- In order to be purified and to remain pure, Seventh-day Adventists must have the Holy Spirit in their hearts and in their homes. The Lord has given me light that when the Israel of today humble themselves before him, and cleanse the soul temple from all defilement, he will hear their prayers in behalf of the sick, and will bless in the use of his remedies for disease. When in faith the human agent does all he can to combat disease, using the simple methods of treatment that God has provided, his efforts will be blessed of God.
If, after so much light has been given, God's people will cherish wrong habits, indulging self and refusing to reform, they will suffer the sure consequences of transgression. If they are determined to gratify perverted appetite at any cost, God will not miraculously save them from the consequences of their indulgence. They "shall lie down in sorrow."
Those who choose to be presumptuous, saying, "The Lord has healed me, and I need not restrict my diet; I can eat and drink as I please," will erelong need, in body and soul, the restoring power of God. Because the Lord has graciously healed you, you must not think you can link yourselves up with the self-indulgent practises of the world. Do as Christ commanded after his work of healing, "Go, and sin no more." Appetite must not be your god.
The Lord gave his word to ancient Israel, that if they would cleave strictly to him, and do all his requirements, he would keep them from all such diseases as he had brought on the Egyptians; but this promise was given on the condition of obedience. Had the Israelites obeyed the instruction they received, and profited by their advantages, they would have been the world's object lesson of health and prosperity. The Israelites failed of fulfilling God's purpose, and thus failed of receiving the blessings that might have been theirs. But in Joseph and Daniel, in Moses and Elijah, and many others, we have noble examples of the results of the true plan of living. Like faithfulness today will produce like results. To us it is written, "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."
Self-Surrender Brings Rest.-- O how many lose the richest blessings that God has in store for them in health and spiritual endowments! There are many souls who wrestle for special victories and special blessings that they may do some great thing. To this end they are always feeling that they must make an agonizing struggle in prayer and tears. When these persons search the Scriptures with prayer to know the expressed will of God, and then do his will from the heart without one reservation or self-indulgence, they will find rest. All the agonizing, all the tears and struggles, will not bring them the blessing they long for. Self must be entirely surrendered. They must do the work that presents itself, appropriating the abundance of the grace of God which is promised to all who ask in faith.
"If any man will come after me," said Jesus, "let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Let us follow the Saviour in his simplicity and self-denial. Let us lift up the Man of Calvary by word and by holy living. The Saviour comes very near to those who consecrate themselves to God. If ever there was a time when we needed the working of the Spirit of God upon our hearts and lives, it is now. Let us lay hold of this divine power for strength to live a life of holiness and self-surrender. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #10)
In the days of King Josiah a strange appearance could be seen opposite the temple of God. Crowning the eminence of the Mount of Olives, peering above the groves of myrtle and olive trees, were unseemly, gigantic idols. Josiah gave commandment that these idols should be destroyed. This was done, and the broken fragments were rolled down the channel of the Kedron. The shrines were left a mass of ruins.
But the question was asked by many a devout worshiper, How came that architecture on the opposite side of the Jehoshaphat ravine, thus impiously confronting the temple of God? The truthful answer must be made: The builder was Solomon, known as the wisest king that ever wielded a scepter. These idols bore testimony that he who had been honored and applauded for his wisdom, became a humiliating wreck. He was thrice called the beloved of God. Pure and elevated in character, his piety and wisdom were unexampled. But Solomon did not go on from strength to strength in the pure and true life. It was his ambition to excel other nations in grandeur. To do this, he allied himself by marriage with heathen nations, and in the place of keeping loyal to the true and living God, he allowed his wives to draw him away from God. To please them, he built altars where they might worship their idols. Thus the leaven of idolatry became mingled with Solomon's religious principles. Tares were sown among the wheat.
Solomon knew that God had chosen Israel, and had made them the depositaries of the true and sacred faith. God had erected a wise barrier between them and the rest of the world, and only by jealousy guarding the ancient landmarks could they preserve their high and distinct character. Why, then, did Solomon become such a moral wreck? He did not act on correct principles. He cultivated alliances with heathen kingdoms. He procured the gold of Ophir and the silver of Tarshish; but at what a cost!
Solomon mingled error with truth, and betrayed sacred trusts. The insidious evils of paganism corrupted his religion. One wrong step taken, led to step after step of political alliance. The polygamy so common at that time was directly opposed to the law of Jehovah. But this evil was tolerated in Palestine, and the Israel of God mingled in marriage with Phoenicia, Egypt, Edom, Moab, and Ammon, nations that bowed at idolatrous shrines, practising licentious and cruel rites, greatly dishonoring to God. These Solomon countenanced and sustained. His once noble character, bold and true for God and righteousness, became deteriorated. His profligate expenditure for selfish indulgence made him the instrument of Satan's devices. His conscience became hardened. His conduct as a judge changed from equity and righteousness to tyranny and oppression. He who had offered the dedicatory prayer when the temple was consecrated to God, he who prayed for the people, that their hearts might be undividedly given to the Lord, was in his later years following a course entirely contrary to right. The life once wholly dedicated to God, had been given to the enemy.
Solomon tried to incorporate light with darkness, Christ with Belial, purity with impurity. But instead of converting the heathen to the truth, he allowed pagan sentiments to be incorporated with his religion. He became an apostate. God was no longer to him the only true and living God, a ruling Providence. Solomon was a religious wreck.
In the days of Christ, the ruins of the groves erected by Solomon for his wives might still be seen. By the truehearted in Israel this place was named the Mount of Offense. Solomon little thought that those idol shrines would outlast his reign, continuing even till Shiloh came and looked upon the melancholy sight.
This case is placed on record as a warning to all who profess to serve God. Let those who know the word of the living God beware of cherishing the errors of the world. These Satan presents in an attractive guise; for he seeks to deceive us, and destroy the simplicity of our faith. If these errors are introduced, they will obscure the precious landmarks of truth.
God has given men and women talents. None of these gifts are to be perverted to Satan's service. We need to guard jealously the simplicity of our faith. Let none who know the truth employ their mental faculties in any work that leads away from right principles. Thus they prostitute their powers, which are gifts from the Heavenly Father, and bring upon themselves spiritual weakness and inefficiency. We can not with safety tamper with the leaven of false, dishonoring doctrines. Think of Solomon's history, and do not mingle error with the truth.
The safeguards of our peace are to be preserved by watchfulness and much prayer. Great care is to be shown in the choice of associates, lest instead of leading them, we are led into evil, and imperil our souls. We must do nothing to lower the standard of our religious principles. Let there be a decided reformation. Let nothing be done to weaken the faith or mar the soul. Let our reward be the clean hands, the pure heart, the noble purpose.
(Vol. 87, #11)
It is one thing to read and teach the Bible, and another thing to have, by practise, its lifegiving, sanctifying principles engrafted on the soul. God is in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. If those who claim to be his followers draw apart, showing no affectionate or compassionate interest in one another, they are not sanctified to God. They have not his love in their hearts.
Christ has shown his great love for us by giving his life that we should not perish in our sins, that he might clothe us with his salvation. If this divine love is cherished in our hearts, it cements and strengthens our union with those of like faith. "He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." The strengthening of our love for our brethren and sisters strengthens our love for Christ. This principle of love for God and for those for whom Christ died, needs to be quickened by the Holy Spirit, and cemented with brotherly kindness, tenderness; it needs to be strengthened by acts which testify that God is love. This union, which joins heart with heart, is not the result of sentimentalism, but the working of a healthful principle.
Faith works by love, and purifies the soul from all selfishness. Thus the soul is perfected in love. And having found grace and mercy through Christ's precious blood, how can we fail to be tender and merciful? "By grace are ye saved through faith." The mind should be educated to exercise faith rather than to cherish doubt, suspicion, and jealousy. We are too prone to regard obstacles as impossibilities. To have faith in the promises of God, to go forward by faith, pressing on without being governed by circumstances, is a lesson hard to learn. Yet it is a positive necessity that every child of God should learn this lesson. The grace of God through Christ is ever to be cherished, for it is given us as the only way of approaching God.
Faith in the words of God spoken by Christ enshrouded in the pillar of cloud, would have enabled the children of Israel to make a record wholly different from that which they did make. Their lack of faith in God gave them a very checkered history.
The faith mentioned in God's Word calls for a life in which faith in Christ is an active, living principle. It is God's will that faith in Christ shall be made perfect by works; he connects the salvation and eternal life of those who believe, with these works, and through them provides for the light of truth to go to all countries and peoples. This is the fruit of the workings of God's Spirit.
We show our faith in God by obeying his commands. Faith is always expressed in words and actions. It produces practical results; for it is a vital element in the life. The life that is molded by faith develops a determination to advance, to go forward, following in the footsteps of Christ.
Faith in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, the One who pardons our sins and transgressions, the One who is able to keep us from sin and lead us in his footsteps, is set forth in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. Here are presented the fruits of a faith that works by love and purifies the soul from selfishness. Faith and works are here combined.
"Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. . . . And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not."
"Thy righteousness shall go before thee." What does this mean? Christ is our righteousness. He goes before us, and we follow him, working in love and compassion for the needy and destitute, bringing into the light of present truth many who are now in the darkness of error. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #12)
A short time before his ascension to his heavenly throne, Christ commissioned his disciples to go into all the world as teachers of righteousness. "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth," he said. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
The company of believers to whom these words were addressed, had assembled by appointment on a mountain in Galilee, there to meet their risen Lord. When the Saviour appeared, he charged his followers to labor untiringly for the advancement of his kingdom. Again and again the solemn words of the gospel commission were repeated, that the disciples might grasp their significance.
Among the believers to whom the commission was given, were many from the humbler walks of life,--men and women who had learned to love their Lord, and who had determined to follow his example of self-denying service. To these lowly ones of but limited talent, as well as to the disciples who had been with the Saviour during the years of his earthly ministry, was the commission given to go "into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." These humble followers of Jesus shared with the apostles their Lord's comforting assurance, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
To the members of the early Christian church was given a precious trust. They were to be executors of the will in which Christ had bequeathed to the world the treasure of life eternal. Repentance and remission of sins was to be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And they proved true to their trust. Endued, soon afterward with power from on high, they boldly confessed their faith in a risen Saviour. Many of such as should be saved were added to their number.
Later, when the believers were scattered by persecution, they went forth filled with missionary zeal. The last words of the Saviour, bidding them teach all nations, were constantly sounding in their ears. They realized the responsibility of their work. They knew that they held in their hands the bread of life for a famishing world; and they were constrained by the love of Christ to go everywhere, breaking the bread of life to all who were in need. The Lord wrought through them. Wherever they went, the sick were healed, and the poor had the gospel preached unto them.
In the trust given to the first disciples, believers in every age have shared. God desires that every believer shall be an executor of the Saviour's will. Every one has been given sacred truth to impart to the world. In every age God's faithful people have been aggressive missionaries, consecrating their resources to the honor of his name, and wisely using their talents in his service.
The unselfish labor of God's people in ages past is to his servants today an object lesson and an inspiration. Today, God's chosen people are to be zealous of good works, separating from all worldly ambition, and walking humbly in the footsteps of the lowly Nazarene, who went about doing good. Freed from selfishness and pride, they are to strive to honor God and to advance his work in the world. With sympathy and compassion they are to minister to those in need of help, seeking to lighten the woe of suffering humanity. As they engage in this work, they will be richly blessed, and will see souls won to the Redeemer; for the influence that attends the practical carrying out of the Saviour's commission, is irresistible. Such work calls for laborious effort, but it brings a rich reward, for by it perishing souls are saved.
The members of God's remnant church in this our day depend too largely on the ministers to fulfill the commission of Christ to go into all the world with the gospel message. Many have seemed to lose sight of the fact that this commission was given not only to those who had been ordained to preach, but to laymen as well. It is a fatal mistake to suppose that the work of saving souls depends alone on the ordained ministry. All who receive the life of Christ are called to work for the salvation of their fellow men.
"The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come." This commission to bid others come, embraces the entire church, and applies to every one who has accepted Christ as his personal Saviour. Of those who receive Christ it is written, "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: . . . and of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace." That which we receive, we are to impart. Every soul who has heard the divine invitation, is to echo the message from hill and valley, saying to those with whom he comes in contact, "Come." From the moment of conversion, those who receive Christ are to become the light of the world. They are to reflect the glory of the bright and morning Star. Jesus would impress upon his church the fact that they are his brethren; that they are to unite with him as laborers together with God. They are to be a brotherhood for the saving of humanity.
The Holy Spirit, Christ's representative, arms the weakest with might to press forward to victory. God has organized his instrumentalities to draw all men unto himself. He sends forth to his work many who have not been dedicated by the laying on of hands. He answers objections that some may feel inclined to raise against this class of laborers, even before these objections arise. God sees the end from the beginning. He knows and anticipates every want, and provides for every emergency. If finite men to whom he commits sacred responsibilities in connection with the management of his work, do not bar the way, he will send forth many laborers into the vineyard.
To every converted soul the Lord of the vineyard is now saying, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." In the field where the follower of Christ is already situated, or in a field close by, or, perhaps, in some field farther away, he is to begin a work for God. The work that some are able to do, may appear to be restricted by circumstances; but wherever it is, if performed with faith and diligence, it will be felt to the uttermost parts of the earth.
Those to whom has been entrusted the responsibility of planning for the advancement of the cause of God at home and abroad, are to give wise counsel and proper encouragement to every humble, consecrated believer upon whose heart the Master of the vineyard places a burden for souls. They are to unite with those whom God himself chooses to labor in some neglected part of the field. Men in responsibility are to realize, as never before, that the Saviour's commission to his disciples included as missionaries all who should believe in his name; and they are to seek in every way possible to encourage the development of all the working forces of the church.
Let every minister to whom has been committed sacred trusts, take into consideration the vastness of the closing work of God in the earth, and study ways and means of placing the obligation of accomplishing this work on the large number upon whom it rests. Hundreds and thousands who have received the light of truth for this time, but who are still idlers in the marketplace, might be engaged in some line of useful service for God. Of these, Christ is now inquiring, "Why stand ye here all the day idle?" and he adds, "Go ye also into the vineyard." Why is it that many more do not respond to the call? Is it because they think themselves excused, in that they do not stand in the pulpit? Let them understand that there is a large work to be done outside the pulpit, by thousands who may never be set apart to the ministry by the laying on of hands. God calls upon all who have been drinking of the water of life, to lead others to the fountain.
Satan has worked in such a way as to blind the understanding of many who profess to be followers of Christ. He has sought to cause them to neglect their weighty responsibilities, and to lose their first love. As a result of his devices, a selfish, ease-loving spirit has taken possession of many, many believers who might have worked in a variety of ways as God's instrumentalities. They might have visited from house to house, and opened the Scriptures to those whose understanding is darkened. Angels of God would have been close beside them to impress the hearts of those who are thirsting for the waters of life. God would have imbued these workers with his Holy Spirit as they sought to diffuse the light shining upon their pathway. As they labored with an eye single to the glory of God, they would have had increased light. They would have realized the value of a human soul. Contact with the unconverted would have led them to kindle their tapers at the divine altar and bear its light to their fellow men.
In the closing work of the third angel's message, many who have long stood in the marketplace as indifferent idlers, will heed the divine commission, and engage in active service for the Master. God has places of usefulness in the home field, and in the regions beyond, that may be filled acceptably by the most humble men, of varied talent, even if human hands may never be laid on them in ordination. Long has he waited for the missionary spirit to pervade the entire church, so that every one shall work, in some part of the world, as in the sight of the hosts of heaven.
"Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." When those who claim to have a living experience in the things of God, do their appointed work in the needy fields at home and abroad, in fulfilment of the gospel commission, the whole world will soon be warned, and the Lord Jesus will return to this earth with power and great glory. "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #13)
In this age of boasted enlightenment, the Christian church is confronted with a world lying in midnight darkness, almost wholly given over to idolatry. A well-nigh universal disregard of the law of Jehovah is rapidly making the world like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. As in the days before the flood, violence is filling the land. Gambling and robbery are coming to be common evils. The use of intoxicating liquors is on the increase. Many who have followed their own unsanctified will, seek to end their unprofitable lives by suicide. Iniquity and crime of every order are found in the high places of the earth, and those who assent to these wrongs are seeking to shield the guilty ones from punishment. Not one hundredth part of the corruptions that exist is being made plain to the world. Little of the cruelty that is carried on is known. The wickedness of men has almost reached its limit.
In many ways Satan is revealing that he rules the world. He is influencing the hearts of men, and corrupting their minds. Men in high places are giving evidence that their thoughts are evil continually. Many are seeking after riches, and scruple not to add to their wealth through fraudulent transactions. The Lord is permitting these men to expose one another in their evil deeds. Some of their iniquitous practises are being laid open before the world, that thinking men who still have a desire in their hearts to be honest and just with their fellow men, may understand why God is beginning to send his judgments on the earth. The Lord will surely punish the world for its iniquity; "the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain."
This age presents a sad picture to those whose eyes have been opened to discern the evils that prevail on every hand. The fear and love of God have almost left the world. This is the time prophesied of by Isaiah, when "darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people." Multitudes are led away by the delusions of a faithless generation, and are living in the darkness of error. The prevailing spirit of our time is that of infidelity and apostasy,--a spirit of pretended illumination because of a supposed knowledge of truth, but in reality of the blindest presumption. There is a spirit of opposition to the plain word of God, and to the testimony of his Spirit. There is a spirit of idolatrous exaltation of mere human reason above the revealed wisdom of God.
The baleful spirit of unbelief is found in every land, and is permeating all ranks of society. It is taught freely in many of the universities, colleges, and high schools, and it comes even into the lessons taught in the common schools and the nurseries. Thousands who profess to be Christians give heed to lying spirits. Everywhere the spirit of darkness in the garb of religion confronts the seeker after truth.
The Lord in compassion is seeking to enlighten the understanding of those who are now groping in the darkness of error. He is delaying his judgments upon an impenitent world, in order that his lightbearers may seek and save that which is lost. He is now calling upon his church on the earth to awake from the lethargy that Satan has sought to bring upon them, and fulfil their heaven appointed work of enlightening the world. His message to his church at this time is, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." To meet the conditions existing at the time when darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people, the church of God has been commissioned to cooperate with God in shedding abroad the light of Bible truth. To those who seek to do their part faithfully as bearers of precious light, is given the assurance: "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."
The world today is in crying need of a revelation of Christ Jesus in the person of his saints. God desires that his people shall stand before the world a holy people. Why?--Because there is a world to be saved by the light of gospel truth; and as the message of truth that is to call men out of darkness into God's marvelous light, is given by the church, the lives of its members, sanctified by the Spirit of truth, are to bear witness to the verity of the messages proclaimed.
God desires his people to place themselves in right relation to him, that they may understand what he requires of them above all things else. They are to reveal to every struggling soul in the world what it means "to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly" with their God. Wherever they are, at home or abroad, they are to be his commandment-keeping people. They are to have the assurance that their sins are forgiven, and that they are accepted as children of the Most High.
The world is in need of a demonstration of practical Christianity. In view of the fact that those who claim to be followers of Christ are a spectacle to an unbelieving world, it behooves them to make sure that they are in right relation with God. They can not afford to let one day pass in which they do not lay hold by living faith on the God of Israel. In order to stand as lights in the world, they need to have the clear light of the Sun of Righteousness constantly shining upon them. Ever are they to remember that all about them is a world lying in darkness, and perishing for lack of knowledge.
When God's people so fully separate themselves from evil that he can let the light of heaven rest upon them in rich measure, and shine forth from them to the world, then there will be fulfilled, more fully than it has ever been fulfilled in the past, the prophecy of Isaiah, in which the servant of God declared of the remnant church in the last days: "The Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee."
The world is in need of the saving truth that God has entrusted to his people. The world will perish unless it be given a knowledge of God through his chosen agencies. In the power of the Holy Spirit, those who are laborers together with God are to labor with unflagging zeal, and shed abroad in the world the light of precious truth. As they enter the highways and the byways, as they labor in the waste places of the earth, at home and in the regions beyond, they will see the salvation of God revealed in a remarkable manner.
God's faithful messengers are to seek to carry forward the Lord's work in his appointed way. They are to place themselves in close connection with the Great Teacher, that they may be daily taught of God. They are to wrestle with God in earnest prayer for a baptism of the Holy Spirit, that they may meet the needs of a world perishing in sin. All power is promised those who go forth in faith to proclaim the everlasting gospel. As the servants of God bear to the world a living message fresh from the throne of glory, the light of truth will shine forth as a lamp that burneth, reaching to all parts of the world. Thus the darkness of error and unbelief will be dispelled from the minds of the honest in heart in all lands, who are now seeking after God, if haply they may "feel after him, and find him." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #14)
The spiritual darkness that covers the whole earth today, is intensified in the crowded centers of population. It is in the cities of the nations that the gospel worker finds the greatest impenitence and the greatest need. In these same wicked cities there are presented to soul-winners some of the greatest opportunities. Mingled with the multitudes who have no thought of God and heaven, are many who long for light and for purity of heart. Even among the careless and indifferent, there are not a few whose attention may be arrested by a revelation of God's love for the human soul.
The record of crime and iniquity in the large cities of the land is appalling. The wickedness of the wicked is almost beyond comprehension. Many cities are becoming a very Sodom in the sight of heaven. The increasing wickedness is such that multitudes are rapidly approaching a point in their personal experience beyond which it will be exceedingly difficult to reach them with a saving knowledge of the third angel's message. The enemy of souls is working in a masterful manner to gain full control of the human mind; and what God's servants do to warn and prepare men for the day of judgment, must be done quickly.
The conditions that face Christian workers in the great cities, constitute a solemn appeal for untiring effort in behalf of the millions living within the shadow impending doom. Men will soon be forced to great decisions, and they must have opportunity to hear and to understand Bible truth, in order that they may take their stand intelligently on the right side. God is now calling upon his messengers, in no uncertain terms, to warn the cities while mercy still lingers, and while multitudes are yet susceptible to the converting influence of Bible truth. Often the needs of the cities have appealed to those who understand by the prophecies what is coming upon the earth, and yet comparatively little has been done to enter these cities with the warning message of present truth. The Spirit of the Lord is still urging men to undertake this work with new courage and zeal, and never cease the effort until a thorough work is done.
The Lord is in earnest with his people. Long have they delayed entering the cities; and now they must seek to redeem the time. With heart and soul and voice they must respond to the summons of the Master of the vineyard to enter the cities, and work as laborers together with God for the winning of precious souls.
A little has been done in years past, it is true, in a few cities; but in order to meet the mind of the Lord, those in responsibility must plan for the carrying forward of a broad, well-organized work. They must enter into this campaign with a determination to make God their trust, and to labor with unflagging zeal. Thus they will be enabled to do a strong, solid work, and will gain confidence to continue the effort in other places.
For the accomplishment of all that God calls for in warning the cities, his servants must plan for a wise distribution of the working forces. Often the laborers who might be a power for good in public meetings, are engaged in other work that allows them no time for active ministry among the people. For the conduct of affairs at the various centers of our work, those in responsibility must endeavor, as far as possible, to find consecrated men who have been trained in business lines. There is constant necessity of guarding against the tendency to tie up at these centers of influence men who could do a larger and more important work on the public platform, in presenting before unbelievers the truths of God's Word.
As those who have talent to labor in the cities, enter upon this work, even at considerable personal sacrifice, the blessing of heaven will rest upon them. The cities everywhere are calling for earnest, wholehearted labor from the servants of God. Had this work been done years ago, what changes would have been wrought in the experiences of many souls! O that every believer would appreciate the fact that the Lord has a definite and decided work for each of his servants to perform!
When Christ was upon the earth, he faithfully warned the cities, as well as the regions round about. Of him it is recorded in Holy Writ that, following his return to Nazareth after the temptation in the wilderness, he "dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the seacoast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim, . . . by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." Jesus went from city to city, and from village to village, teaching the truth and healing the sick.
The message of the third angel of Revelation 14 is now to be proclaimed not only in lands far off, but in neglected places close by, where multitudes dwell unwarned and unsaved. God is calling his people at this time to a long-delayed work. Decided efforts are to be made to enlighten those who have never yet been warned. The work in the cities is now to be regarded as of special importance. Let workers be carefully selected, to labor two and two in the cities, in harmony with the counsel of experienced leaders, and under the direction and commission of Jesus Christ.
God desires his people to labor in perfect harmony in an effort to carry the truth into the cities. I am bidden to keep this matter before the attention of the believers, until they shall be aroused to a realization of its importance. Let not ill-advised lips utter words of discouragement, but let every one in responsibility unite in planning for the accomplishment of this work, knowing that he who has led his servants hitherto will not fail them in this time of special need. Angels of God will go before the workers, and will be their sufficiency. Angels will be in the assemblies to make an impression upon the hearts of the hearers.
The believers in every church should be aroused to take hold of this work. Let ministers, physicians, and all who know the truth, go about the Lord's work in a sensible way, with Bible in hand, and with heart open to receive divine instruction. Let them look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith. If they have a proper sense of the sacredness of the work that Christ desires them to do, their ministry will be marked by a sacred influence that will give evidence of its heavenly inspiration.
In order that the work in the cities may be carried on as rapidly as possible, careful attention should be given to the distribution of laborers who are qualified to engage in this line of work. While it is in the order of God that strong institutional centers be maintained in connection with the publishing, educational, and medical work, yet it is not his design that institutional work shall be carried forward in a way that will tie up too many men of special talent, and thus rob the field of the help that these men could render in the proclamation of the message.
Much thought and labor are given to the circulation of the printed page. This is well, and efforts along this line are never to be permitted to slacken; but if more of an effort than is now put forth were given to the sending out of the living missionary to preach the truth, many, many souls would be aroused and won to Christ. While Jesus ministers in the true sanctuary above, he is by his Holy Spirit working through his earthly messengers. The word of the living preacher will often accomplish even more than the printed page. As the Lord's servants go forth trusting in divine power, the Master of the vineyard will work through his chosen ministers, bestowing upon them his Spirit, and fulfilling to them the assurance, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
Those who are Christian physicians may do a precious work for God as medical missionaries. Too often so many things engage the minds of physicians that they are kept from the work that God would have them do as evangelists. Let the medical workers present the important truths of the third angel's message from the physician's viewpoint. Physicians of consecration and talent can secure a hearing in large cities at times when other men would fail. As physicians unite with ministers in proclaiming the gospel in the great cities of the land, their combined labors will result in influencing many minds in favor of the truth for this time.
From the light that God has given me, I know that this cause today is in great need of the living representative of Bible truth. The ordained ministers, alone, are not equal to the task. God is calling not only upon the ministers, but also upon physicians, nurses, canvassers, Bible workers, and other consecrated laymen of varied talent who have a knowledge of present truth, to consider the needs of the unwarned cities. There should be one hundred believers actively engaged in personal missionary work, where now there is but one. Time is rapidly passing. There is much work to be done before satanic opposition shall close up the way. Every agency must be set in operation, that present opportunities may be wisely improved.
The Lord is calling upon men and women who have the light of the truth for this time, to engage in genuine personal missionary work. Especially are the church members living in the cities to exercise, in all humility, their God-given talents in laboring with those who are willing to hear the message that should come to the world at this time. There are great blessings in store for those who fully surrender to the call of God. As such workers undertake to win souls to Jesus, they will find that many who never could be reached in any other way, will respond to intelligent personal effort.
Some have been fearful of undertaking work in the cities, because this would mean hard and continuous labor and the investment of considerable means. In some conferences it has been regarded as commendable to keep the laboring forces reduced to a minimum, and thus save up means, and show a large surplus in the treasury,--a surplus that might have been wisely expended in diligent, efficient labor. Those who have been influenced by such considerations, need to gain an understanding of the magnitude of the gift that the Lord has made for the salvation of a lost world. The Lord can not accept as workers those who, knowing the truth, can go on day by day, carrying no real burden for those who know it not. Many are in need of a new conversion.
The truth should be everything to believers. When it becomes not only a matter of intelligence, but a quickening power in the life, believers will reveal a piety and grace that will distinguish them from worldlings. When truth really finds entrance to the heart, it works with convincing power. Truth is a divine sentiment, a living element that can not help revealing itself in the life of the receiver; it will work with convincing power in the soul of every one who gives himself unreservedly to God to be used as a messenger for the saving of the lost.
The labors of the apostles in the early Christian church were characterized by wonderful manifestations of the power of God in the lives of the believers. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, multitudes were brought to a knowledge of the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. The needs of the world today are no less than they were in the days of the apostles. Those who labor for souls in these times of impenitence and unbelief, must yield themselves wholly to God, and work in unison with heavenly intelligences. The power of the Holy Spirit will accompany the labors of those who dedicate their energies and their all unreservedly to the completion of the work that must be done in the last days. Angels from heaven will cooperate with them, and many will be brought to a knowledge of the truth, and will gladly cast in their lot with God's commandment-keeping people. Means will flow into the treasury; strong laborers will be raised up; the unwarned fields of the great regions beyond will be entered; and the work will soon close in triumph. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #15)
As we read reports of missionary labors in distant lands, and study the progress of the cause of present truth in all parts of the world, our hearts are filled with gratitude to God. The Lord is working by his Holy Spirit, and the third angel's message is being received gladly by many, among whom are some who have never before had the privilege of hearing the truths of God's Word. The number of believers is multiplying; churches are being raised up; faithful missionaries are gaining a foothold in many difficult fields. For this advancement we thank God, and take courage.
But, as yet, there are many important fields across the seas that have had comparatively little labor. In many lands the proclamation of the advent message has reached but few ears. Earnest, persevering efforts should be made to extend a knowledge of the truth to the millions in the mission fields. Calls are coming in from many lands for meetings to be held in the large cities, where a small number of people have already accepted the truth. Why are there so few missionaries to send to these cities? Sometimes those who have received the truth in the different places are left almost wholly without help when they should be visited often, and faithfully educated to become workers.
In some of the fields where, through the blessing of God, our missionaries have met with a measure of success, and have raised up a few churches, serious problems confront those who desire to see the work advance rapidly. Most of the brethren are poor, and as they look at appearances, it seems impossible for them to do much to sustain and extend the work. But let them remember that in the early days of the cause in the United States, similar difficulties had to be met. At first, there were very few who accepted the truth, and nearly all of these were poor. They were obliged to practise the strictest economy; they brought their needs into as close a compass as possible, in order that they might have even a limited amount of their hard-earned means to use in the advancement of the gospel message. Sometimes it seemed that the work must come to a standstill, and that the publication of the message must stop. But after sacrificing to the utmost of their ability, they cried to the Lord, and he heard them. Some one would be raised up to supply the necessity then pressing upon them, and as they moved forward, new strength was given them to advance.
It is only by faith, self-denial, and persevering effort that the Lord's work in the earth can be carried forward. The great majority of those who have embraced the truth in foreign fields are poor people, and it seems ordered, in the providence of God, that these should be educated and disciplined to do that which, if they were to look at appearances, would seem impossible. In order to do the work before them, they must strain every nerve and arouse every power. All the mental and financial strength of those who believe the truth must be called into action. If they walk out by faith, as the pioneers in this work were obliged to do in the home field, God will cooperate with their efforts. When they have done all that they can do, and have gained the experience that God desires them to gain in burden bearing, then he will raise up others to help teach the truth, and also men of means to help carry forward the work.
In most fields the work goes hard and slow in the beginning. The time of greatest difficulty is the time for the believers to bend their shoulders to the load, and do all in their power to carry forward the work. Advance they must, although the Red Sea be before them, and impassable mountains on either side. God has been with his people in the past, and has blessed their efforts. They must go forward by faith. "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." The missionary must pray, believe that his prayers are answered, and then work and trust. He should remember that there must be a beginning before there can be great advancement. "First the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." The work may start in weakness, and its progress may for a time be slow; yet if it is begun in a healthy manner, there will be a steady and substantial gain.
Let our missionaries in new and difficult fields remember that a high standard should be placed before those who have recently accepted the truth. The new converts should be educated to be careful in speech and circumspect in conduct, thus giving evidence of what the truth has accomplished for them, and by their example shedding light upon those in darkness. All who accept the truth are to be lights in the world. When a church is raised up, thorough and faithful instruction should be given to those who have accepted the religion of Christ Jesus. No part of Christian experience and duty should be neglected; and when the laborer goes on into new fields, the believers where he has formerly worked should not be left uncared for, but should still receive proper instruction. Let nothing be done in an incomplete, slipshod manner, but let all the work be done with wisdom and thoroughness. A few thus brought into the truth will in time accomplish more than would a larger number of uneducated, untrained believers, who do not realize their responsibility, and whose unchristlike peculiarities are woven into the religious experience.
Those who receive the truth may be poor, but they should not remain ignorant and defective in character, giving a wrong mold to others. When the church fully receives the light, darkness will be dispelled; and if in holiness of character the believers keep pace with the pure and holy doctrines that they have been taught, their light will grow brighter and still brighter, the truth will do its refining work, and the darkness and confusion and the strife of tongues--the curse of so many churches--will not be seen. The power that God will give to his people, if they walk in the light as it shines with increasing clearness upon their pathway, will be constantly received in good works.
Our church members in new fields are to be educated to realize that upon them rests an accountability which extends to the minutest acts of life,--to thought, word, and deed. Before the throne of God each one must meet the record of his whole life. Each one will then be called to account, not only for all he has done, whether good or evil, but also for the good he might have done, yet failed to accomplish because of a lack of consecration to God.
In various foreign fields, it will be necessary to establish small printing offices, from which many publications may be sent out for distribution. These offices will give many young men and young women of promise an opportunity to gain a practical experience that will fit them for usefulness in the Master's service.
As the cause of present truth develops in foreign lands, it becomes necessary to establish and maintain training schools, where the new believers, and especially youth of talent, may be thoroughly prepared to go forth as missionaries. In some fields these schools will also afford to the children of our missionaries the educational privileges of which some are now deprived. We are thankful that already in several places schools have been established, in which young people are being trained to go forth as soldiers of the cross of Christ, warring manfully against the enemies of the truth. We regret that because of limited means these efforts to educate the youth are so circumscribed.
Our work in foreign fields must constantly broaden. Our efforts in fields already entered must enlarge. As new fields open for gospel effort, the church must act quickly in sending missionaries to enter these fields. Special efforts must be made, while the angels are holding the four winds. All can now do something. Those who can not be spared from the home field, or who are not fitted to go abroad, can give of their means; and all can pray that the Lord of the harvest shall raise up laborers. Pray, brethren, pray earnestly, that the hearts of some who are doing very little, and of others who have as yet done nothing, may be opened, and that the means which God has entrusted to them may be used wisely in sustaining his cause at home and abroad, to the glory of his name.
The Lord is soon to come, and before his advent the message of warning is to be proclaimed to all nations, tongues, and peoples. While God's cause is calling for laborers and means to carry the gospel to lands lying in darkness, what are those doing who are living under the full light of gospel truth? There are some who feel no burden for souls. They profess to believe that the end of all things is at hand, but covetousness has blinded their eyes to the needs of the cause of God. The means that he has placed in their hands to be used to his glory, they are tying up in houses and lands, while the proclamation of the truth that God has entrusted to them to be given to the world, is delayed by a lack of means. Every believer is to do his utmost to advance the cause, and is then in faith to ask God to do what man can not do.
My brother, my sister, you can not be a Christian and cherish at the same time a spirit of covetousness. You can not be a Christian and yet not be putting forth effort to win souls to Jesus. When you hear that there are thousands upon thousands who are in the darkness of error and superstition, knowing not the things that are coming upon the earth, how can you enjoy the truth and remain at ease? Do you feel that the little you can do will be so inadequate to the demand that you might as well do nothing? If each one will do what he can, God will bless the effort, and the treasury will be supplied with funds. If you were perishing from cold and hunger, would you call one your friend who refused even to attempt to relieve you? Think of the multitudes in foreign lands who are perishing for want of the bread of life; and remember that Christ identifies his interests with the interests of these needy ones. "Inasmuch," he says, "as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me."
Many of our American brethren have given nobly and willingly for the advancement of the truth in the regions beyond. But in view of the great work yet to be done, those who have given liberally should study how to continue their liberality, and others should now come forward and bear their share of the burden. There is victory before those who are faithful. Our brethren in foreign fields are to labor untiringly. As they become better acquainted with the language of the country in which they are working, their efficiency increases. In many lands, we now have laborers who have learned the language, and who are in a position, with the blessing of heaven, to do a mighty work for God. Let us sustain them heartily with our sympathy, our prayers, and our means.
We have no reason for discouragement regarding the work in the regions beyond. Some of the fields to which we were sending means a few years ago, are now entirely self-supporting. The work begun in weakness will be carried on to a glorious termination. The truth will go to all nations, tongues, and peoples, and that speedily. In many dark places of the earth there are faithful believers who have accepted present truth in the face of opposition and ridicule, and often at the expense of worldly prosperity. To the best of their ability, they are trying to help and encourage one another, as members of Christ's body, and to communicate to their friends and neighbors a knowledge of the precious truth that is transforming their own lives. The Daystar has risen in their hearts; the light of the Sun of Righteousness has shone into their minds. Happy people indeed who are thus highly favored! Truly, "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." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #16)
When Christ ascended on high, he bade his disciples take up the gospel work where he had left it, and carry it forward to completion. Though almost nineteen centuries have passed since that command was uttered, it has lost none of its force. Today the last warning message of mercy, the closing invitation of the gospel, is going to the world. A great work is yet to be accomplished, a work which will require most earnest, determined effort. Every one who has received the light of truth is required, in turn, to aid in giving that light to the world. If we would at last share the reward of the righteous, we must wisely improve the time of our probation. Moments are more precious than gold.
We have been redeemed by the blood of Christ; our time, our talents, belong to him, and we should improve every opportunity to advance his cause. We should seek to preserve the full vigor of all our powers for the accomplishment of this work. Whatever detracts from physical vigor weakens mental effort. Hence every practise unfavorable to the health of the body, should be resolutely shunned. We can not maintain consecration to God, and yet injure our health by the wilful indulgence of a wrong habit. "I keep under my body," the great apostle says, "and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others I myself should be a castaway."
Self-denial is one of the conditions not only of admission into the service of Christ, but of continuance therein. Christ himself declared, in unmistakable language, the conditions of discipleship: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Yet how often, even in the case of those who call themselves Christians, the love for some pernicious indulgence is stronger than the desire for a sound mind in a sound body. Precious hours of probation are spent, God-given means squandered, to please the eye or to gratify the appetite. Custom holds thousands in bondage to the earthly and the sensual. Many are willing captives; they desire no better portion.
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked." He knows whether our hearts are wholly devoted to his service, or are given to the things of the world. If we would not be misled by error and falsehood, the heart must be preoccupied by the truth. The Word of God will furnish the mind with weapons of divine power, to vanquish the enemy. Happy is the man, who, when tempted, finds his soul rich in the knowledge of the Scriptures, who finds shelter in the promises of God. "Thy word," the psalmist said, "have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." We need now, as never before, that calm, steady faith, that undaunted moral courage, which can only be gained from communion with Christ and his Word, to brace us for trial and strengthen us for duty.
Genuine love for Jesus will be manifested in a desire to work for him. Love for Jesus will lead to love, tenderness, and sympathy for his followers, and so to conscientious, enthusiastic efforts for their salvation. We must work with the same earnestness with which Christ worked. Our efforts should be marked by intensity and perseverance proportionate to the importance of the object we seek--eternal life.
Conscientious, enthusiastic workers are needed. The Lord is soon coming. The time for labor is short. Let the precious time remaining be devoted to earnest labor for our Master. Even when we consecrate to him the full strength of our powers, we can do but little in comparison with all that he has done for us.
In the service of Christ there is no middle ground. Christ said, "He that is not with me is against me." Let none expect to make a compromise with the world, and yet enjoy the blessing of the Lord. Let God's people come out from this world, and be separate. Let unbelievers see that the faith we hold is a living reality, sanctifying the character and transforming the life. Let us surround ourselves with an atmosphere of Christian cheerfulness. Let us show that our religion can stand the test of trial. Let us by kindness, forbearance, and love, prove to the world the power of our faith.
Life, with its marvelous privileges and opportunities, will soon be ended. The time for improvement in character will be past. Unless our sins are now repented of, and blotted out by the blood of the Lamb, they will stand in the ledger of heaven to confront us in the coming day. Then let us earnestly examine ourselves in the light of God's Word, seeking to discover every defect of character, that we may wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Life is short. The things of the world must perish with the using. Let us be wise, and build for eternity. We can not afford to idle away our precious moments, or engage in busy activities that will bring forth no fruit for eternity. Let the time hitherto devoted to idleness, frivolity, and worldliness be spent in gaining a knowledge of the Scriptures, in beautifying our life, and blessing and ennobling the lives and characters of others. This work will be approved of God, and win for us the heavenly benediction, "Well done." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #17)
"Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue; whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
"Partakers of the divine nature." Is this possible? Of ourselves we can do no good thing. How, then, can we be partakers of the divine nature?--By coming to Christ just as we are, needy, helpless, dependent. He died to make it possible for us to be partakers of the divine nature. He took upon himself humanity, that he might uplift humanity. With the golden chain of his matchless love he has bound us to the throne of God. We are to have power to overcome as he overcame. To all he gives the invitation:"Come unto me, . . . 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."
In order to be partakers of the divine nature, we must cooperate with God. Man is no passive being, to be saved in indolence. Let no one think that men and women are going to be taken to heaven without engaging in the struggle here below. We have a battle to fight, a victory to gain. God says to us, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." How?--"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Man works, and God works. Man is called upon to strain every muscle, and to exercise every faculty, in the struggle for immortality; but it is God who supplies the efficiency.
God has made amazing sacrifices for human beings. He has expended mighty energy to reclaim man from transgression and sin to loyalty and obedience; but he does nothing without the cooperation of humanity. Paul says: "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, . . . I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." The Christian life is a battle and a march. In this warfare there is no release; the effort must be continuous and persevering. It is by unceasing endeavor that we maintain the victory over the temptations of Satan. Christian integrity must be sought with resistless energy, and maintained with a resolute fixedness of purpose.
"Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." This figure represents human character, which is to be wrought upon point by point. Each day God works on his building, stroke upon stroke, to perfect the structure, that it may become a holy temple for him. Man is to cooperate with God, striving in his strength to make himself what God designs him to be, building his life with pure, noble deeds.
No one is borne upward without stern, persevering effort in his own behalf. All must engage in the warfare for themselves. Individually we are responsible for the issue of the struggle; though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the land, they could deliver neither son nor daughter by their righteousness.
There is a science of Christianity to be mastered,--a science as much deeper, broader, higher, than any human science as the heavens are higher than the earth. The mind is to be disciplined, educated, trained; for we are to do service for God in ways that are not in harmony with inborn inclination. Often the training and education of a lifetime must be discarded, that one may become a learner in the school of Christ. Our hearts must be educated to become steadfast in God. We are to form habits of thought that will enable us to resist temptation. We must learn to look upward. The principles of the Word of God,--principles that are as high as heaven, and that compass eternity,--we are to understand in their bearing on our daily life. Every act, every word, every thought, is to be in accord with these principles.
The precious graces of the Holy Spirit are not developed in a moment. Courage, fortitude, meekness, faith, unwavering trust in God's power to save, are acquired by the experience of years. By a life of holy endeavor and firm adherence to the right, the children of God are to seal their destiny.
Wrongs can not be righted, nor can reformation of character be made, by a few feeble, intermittent efforts. Sanctification is the work, not of a day, or of a year, but of a lifetime. The struggle for conquest over self, for holiness and heaven, is a lifelong struggle. Without continual effort and constant activity, there can be no advancement in the divine life, no attainment of the victor's crown. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #18)
Well may our hearts turn to our Redeemer with the most perfect trust, when we think of what he has done for us, even when we were sinners. Through faith we may rest in his love. "Him that cometh to me," he says, "I will in no wise cast out." It would be a terrible thing to stand before God clothed in sinful garments, with his eye reading every secret of our lives. But through the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice we may stand before God pure and spotless, our sins atoned for and pardoned. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The redeemed sinner, clothed in the robes of Christ's righteousness, may stand in the presence of a sin-hating God, made perfect by the merits of the Saviour. "As many as received him," the promise is, "to them gave he power to become the sons of God."
Christ has given us no assurance that to attain to perfection of character is an easy matter. It is a conflict, a battle and a march, day by day. It is through much tribulation that we enter the kingdom of heaven. In order to share with Christ in his glory we must share in his suffering. "It became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." "Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." He has overcome for us. Shall we, then, be timid and cowardly because of the trials that we meet as we advance? Shall we not meet them without repining and complaining?
When we have a deeper appreciation of the mercy and lovingkindness of God, we shall praise him, instead of complaining. We shall talk of the loving watchcare of the Lord, of the tender compassion of the Good Shepherd. The language of the heart will not be selfish murmuring and repining. Praise, like a clear, flowing stream, will come from God's truly believing ones. They will say, "Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." "Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee."
Why not awake the voice of spiritual song in the days of our pilgrimage? Why not return to our life of fervor? We need to study God's Word, to meditate and pray. Then we shall have spiritual eyesight to discern the inner courts of the celestial temple. We shall catch the notes of thanksgiving sung by the heavenly choir around the throne. When Zion shall arise and shine, her light will be most penetrating, and songs of praise and thanksgiving will be heard in the assembly of the saints. Little disappointments and difficulties will be lost sight of.
The Lord is our helper. He will guide us in all matters, if we will trust him. One thing is certain, we must have faith in God,--faith that he will arrange matters in a way that will enable us to work successfully. No one ever trusted God in vain. He never disappoints those who put their dependence on him. If we would only do the work that the Lord would have us do, walking in the footsteps of Jesus, our hearts would become sacred harps, every chord of which would send forth praise and thanksgiving to the One sent by God to take away the sin of the world.
"Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth forever." They praised God for the victory, and four days thereafter the army returned to Jerusalem, laden with the spoils of their enemies, singing praise for the victory won.
Do you not think that if more of this were done now, our hope and courage and faith would be revived? Would not the hands of the soldiers who are standing in defense of the truth be strengthened? If there were much more praising the Lord, and far less doleful recitation of discouragement, many more victories would be gained.
God is the eternal, uncreated Fountain of all good. All who trust in him will find him to be this. To those who serve him, looking to him as their Heavenly Father, he gives the assurance that he will fulfil his promises. His joy will be in their hearts, and their joy will be full.
It is our privilege to open our hearts, and let the sunshine of Christ's presence in. My brother, my sister, face the light. Come into actual, personal contact with Christ, that you may exert an influence that is uplifting and reviving. Let your faith be strong and pure and steadfast. Let gratitude to God fill your hearts. When you rise in the morning, kneel at your bedside, and ask God to give you strength to fulfil the duties of the day, and to meet its temptations. Ask him to help you to bring into your work Christ's sweetness of character. Ask him to help you to speak words that will inspire those around you with hope and courage, and draw you nearer to the Saviour. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #19)
Speech is one of the great gifts of God. It is the means by which the thoughts of the heart are communicated. It is with the tongue that we offer prayer and praise to God. With the tongue we convince and persuade. With the tongue we comfort and bless, soothing the bruised, wounded soul. With the tongue we may make known the wonders of the grace of God. With the tongue also we may utter perverse things, speaking words that sting like an adder.
The tongue is a little member, but the word it frames have great power. The Lord declares, "The tongue can no man tame." It has set nation against nation, and has caused war and bloodshed. Words have kindled fires that have been hard to quench. They have also brought joy and gladness to many hearts. And when words are spoken because God says, "Speak unto them my words," they often cause sorrow unto repentance.
Of the unsanctified tongue the apostle James writes: "The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell." Satan puts into the mind thoughts which the Christian should never utter. The scornful retort, the bitter passionate utterance, the cruel, suspicious charge, are from him. How many words are spoken that do only harm to those who utter them and to those who hear! Hard words beat upon the heart, awaking to life its worst passions. Those who do evil with their tongues, who sow discord by selfish, jealous words, grieve the Holy Spirit; for they are working at cross-purposes with God.
The apostle, seeing the inclination to abuse the gift of speech, gives direction concerning its use. "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth," he says, "but that which is good to the use of edifying." The word "corrupt" means here any word that would make an impression detrimental to holy principles and undefiled religion, any communication that would eclipse the view of Christ, and blot from the mind true sympathy and love. It includes impure hints, which, unless instantly resisted, lead to great sin. Upon every one is laid the duty of barring the way against corrupt communications.
It is God's purpose that the glory of Christ shall appear in his children. In all his teaching, Christ presented pure, unadulterated principles. He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. Constantly there flowed from his lips holy, ennobling truths. He spoke as never man spoke, with a pathos that touched the heart. He was filled with holy wrath as he saw the Jewish leaders teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, and he spoke to them with the authority of true greatness. With terrible power he denounced all artful intrigue, all dishonest practises. He cleansed the temple from its pollution, as he desires to cleanse our hearts from everything bearing any resemblance to fraud. The truth never languished on his lips. With fearlessness he exposed the hypocrisy of priest and ruler, Pharisee and Sadducee.
Guard well the talent of speech; for it is a mighty power for evil as well as for good. You can not be too careful of what you say; for the words you utter show what power is controlling the heart. If Christ rules there, your words will reveal the beauty, purity, and fragrance of a character molded and fashioned by his will. But if you are under the guidance of the enemy of all good, your words will echo his sentiments.
The great responsibility bound up in the use of the gift of speech is plainly made known by the Word of God. "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned," Christ declared. And the psalmist asks, "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. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoreth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, not taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved."
"Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile." The wild beast of the forest may be tamed, "but the tongue can no man tame." Only through Christ can we gain the victory over the desire to speak hasty, unchristlike words. When in his strength we refuse to give utterance to Satan's suggestions, the plant of bitterness in our hearts withers and dies. The Holy Spirit can make the tongue a savor of life unto life. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #20)
"Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors," Christ taught us to pray. But it is most difficult even for those who claim to be followers of Jesus, to forgive as he forgave us. The true spirit of forgiveness is so little practised, and so many interpretations are placed upon Christ's requirement, that its force and beauty are lost sight of. We have very uncertain views of the great mercy and lovingkindness of God. He is full of compassion and forgiveness, and freely pardons when we truly repent and confess our sins. But when the message of God's pardoning love comes from a heart that has an experimental knowledge of it, to those who have not experienced it for themselves, it is like speaking in parables. We must bring into our characters the love and sympathy expressed in Christ's life.
Peter, when brought to the test, sinned greatly. In denying the Master he had loved and served, he became a cowardly apostate. But his Lord did not cast him off; he freely forgave him. After the resurrection, an angel told the women who came to the tomb with spices, to carry the glad news of a risen Lord to the "disciples and Peter." And when afterward Christ thrice repeated the question, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" Peter cast himself on the tender mercy of the Master he had so wronged, and said, "Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee." And when our Lord entrusted to him the care of his sheep and lambs, Peter knew that he was taken back into divine confidence and affection. To fulfil this charge, he would need to have the mind that was in Jesus Christ; he must copy the Pattern. Henceforth, remembering his own weakness and failures, he would be patient with his brethren in their mistakes and errors. Remembering the patient love of Christ, who had afforded him another opportunity, he would be more conciliatory toward erring ones.
If we have received the gift of God, and have a knowledge of Jesus Christ, we have a work to do for others. We must imitate the longsuffering of God toward us. The Lord requires of us the same treatment toward his followers that we receive of him. We are to exercise patience and to be kind, even though they do not meet our expectations. The Lord expects us to be pitiful and loving, to have sympathetic hearts. He desires us to show the fruits of the grace of God in our deportment one to another. Christ did not say, You may tolerate your neighbor, but, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." This means a great deal more than professing Christians carry out in their daily life.
When Christ was on earth, instead of removing from the commandments one jot or tittle of their force, he showed by precept and example how far-reaching their principles are, how much broader they are than the scribes and Pharisees thought. They thought that Christ was lowering the Old Testament standard, yet he was teaching the people practical godliness. Christ understood their feelings, and reproved these self-righteous rulers in these words to his disciples; "I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
Christ proceeds to teach that the principles of God's law reach even to the intents and purposes of the mind. And he plainly states that if we faithfully keep the ten precepts, we shall love our neighbor as ourselves. "Ye have heard," he says, "that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
A consistent religious life, holy conversation, a godly example, truehearted benevolence, mark the representative of Christ. He will labor to pluck sinners as brands from the burning; he will perform every duty faithfully. Thus he will become a beacon light.
Reader, we are nearing the Judgment. Talents have been lent us on trust. Let none of us be at last condemned as slothful servants. Send forth the words of life to those in darkness. Let the church be true to her trust. Her earnest, humble prayers will make the presentation of truth effectual, and Christ will be glorified. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #21)
Parents should live more for their children, and less for society. Study health subjects, and put your knowledge to a practical use. Teach your children to reason from cause to effect. Teach them that if they desire health and happiness, they must obey the laws of nature. Though you may not see as rapid improvement as you desire, be not discouraged, but patiently and perseveringly continue your work.
Teach your children from the cradle to practise self-denial and self-control. Teach them to enjoy the beauties of nature, and in useful employments to exercise systematically all the powers of body and mind. Bring them up to have sound constitutions and good morals, to have sunny dispositions and sweet tempers. Impress upon their tender minds the truth that God does not design that we should live for present gratification merely, but for our ultimate good. Teach them that to yield to temptation is weak and wicked; to resist, noble and manly.
These lessons will be as seeds sown in good soil, and they will bear fruit that will make your hearts glad.
Above all things else, let parents surround their children with an atmosphere of cheerfulness, courtesy, and love. A home where love dwells, and where it is expressed in looks, in words, and in acts, is a place where angels delight to manifest their presence.
Parents, let the sunshine of love, cheerfulness, and happy contentment enter your own hearts, and let its sweet, cheering influence pervade your home. Manifest a kindly, forbearing spirit; and encourage the same in your children, cultivating all the graces that will brighten the home-life. The atmosphere thus created will be to the children what air and sunshine are to the vegetable world, promoting health and vigor of mind and body.
The home should be to the children the most attractive place in the world, and the mother's presence should be its greatest attraction. Children have sensitive, loving natures. They are easily pleased, and easily made unhappy. By gentle discipline, in loving words and acts, mothers may bind their children to their hearts.
Young children love companionship, and can seldom enjoy themselves alone. They yearn for sympathy and tenderness. That which they enjoy, they think will please mother also; and it is natural for them to go to her with their little joys and sorrows. The mother should not wound their sensitive hearts by treating with indifference matters that, though trifling to her, are of great importance to them. Her sympathy and approval are precious. An approving glance, a word of encouragement or commendation, will be like sunshine in their hearts, often making the whole day happy.
Instead of sending her children from her, that she may not be annoyed by their noise or troubled by their little wants, let the mother plan amusement or light work to employ the active hands and minds.
By entering into their feelings, and directing their amusements and employments, the mother will gain the confidence of her children, and she can the more effectually correct wrong habits, or check the manifestations of selfishness or passion. A word of caution or reproof spoken at the right time will be of great value. By patient, watchful love, she can turn the minds of the children in the right direction, cultivating in them beautiful and attractive traits of character.
Mothers should guard against training their children to be dependent and self-absorbed. Never lead them to think that they are the center, and that everything must revolve around them. Some parents give much time and attention to amusing their children, but children should be trained to amuse themselves, to exercise their own ingenuity and skill. Thus they will learn to be content with very simple pleasures. They should be taught to bear bravely their little disappointments and trials. Instead of calling attention to every trifling pain or hurt, divert their minds, teach them to pass lightly over the little annoyances or discomforts. Study to suggest ways by which the children may learn to be thoughtful for others.
But let not the children be neglected. Burdened with many cares, mothers sometimes feel that they can not take time patiently to instruct their little ones, and give them love and sympathy. But they should remember that if the children do not find in their parents and in their home that which will satisfy their desire for sympathy and companionship, they will look to other sources, where both mind and character may be endangered. Give some of your leisure hours to your children; become acquainted with them; associate with them in their work and in their sports, and win their confidence. Cultivate friendship with them. In this way you will be a strong influence for good. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #22)
Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise. It is a positive duty to resist melancholy, discontented thoughts and feelings,--as much a duty as it is to pray. If we are heaven-bound how can we go as a band of mourners, groaning and complaining all along the way to our Father's house?
Those professed Christians who are constantly complaining, and who seem to think cheerfulness and happiness a sin, have no genuine religion. Those who take a mournful pleasure in all that is melancholy in the natural world; who choose to look upon dead leaves rather than to gather the beautiful living flowers; who see no beauty in grand mountain heights and in valleys clothed with living green; who close their senses to the joyful voice which speaks to them in nature, and which is sweet and musical to the listening ear,--these are not in Christ. They are gathering to themselves gloom and darkness, when they might have brightness, even the Sun of Righteousness arising in their hearts with healing in his beams.
Often your mind may be clouded because of pain. Then do not try to think. You know that Jesus loves you. He understands your weakness. You may do his will by simply resting in his arms.
It is a law of nature that our thoughts and feelings are encouraged and strengthened as we give them utterance. While words express thoughts, it is also true that thoughts follow words. If we would give more expression to our faith, rejoice more in the blessings that we know we have,--the great mercy and love of God,--we should have more faith and greater joy. No tongue can express, no finite mind can conceive, the blessing that results from appreciating the goodness and love of God. Even on earth we may have joy as a wellspring, never failing, because fed by the streams that flow from the throne of God.
Then let us educate our hearts and lips to speak the praise of God for his matchless love. Let us educate our souls to be hopeful, and to abide in the light shining from the cross of Calvary. Never should we forget that we are children of the heavenly King, sons and daughters of the Lord of hosts. It is our privilege to maintain a calm repose in God.
"Let the peace of God rule in your hearts; . . . and be ye thankful." Col. 3:15. Forgetting our own difficulties and troubles, let us praise God for an opportunity to live for the glory of his name. Let the fresh blessings of each new day awaken praise in our hearts for these tokens of his loving care. When you open your eyes in the morning, thank God that he has kept you through the night. Thank him for his peace in your heart. Morning, noon, and night, let gratitude as a sweet perfume ascend to heaven.
When some one asks how you are feeling, do not try to think of something mournful to tell, in order to gain sympathy. Do not talk of your lack of faith, or of your sorrows and sufferings. The tempter delights to hear such words. When talking on gloomy subjects, you are glorifying him. We are not to dwell on the great power of Satan to overcome us. Often we give ourselves into his hands by talking of his power. Let us talk instead of the great power of God to bind up all our interests with his own. Tell of the matchless power of Christ, and speak of his glory. All heaven is interested in our salvation. The angels of God, thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand, are commissioned to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. They guard us against evil, and press back the powers of darkness that are seeking our destruction. Have we not reason to be thankful every moment, thankful even when there are apparent difficulties in our pathway.
Sing Praises.-- Let praise and thanksgiving be expressed in song. When tempted, instead of giving utterance to our feelings, let us by faith lift up a song of thanksgiving to God.
Song is a weapon that we can always use against discouragement. As we thus open the heart to the sunlight of the Saviour's presence, we shall have health and his blessing. "Give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: For his mercy endureth forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy." "Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: Talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord."
"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thess. 5:18. This command is an assurance that even the things which appear to be against us will work for our good. God would not bid us be thankful for that which would do us harm. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #23)
The only begotten Son of God came to this world to redeem the fallen race. He has given us evidence of his great power. He will enable those who receive him to build up characters free from all the tendencies that Satan reveals. We can resist the enemy and all his forces. The battle will be won, the victory gained, by him who chooses Christ as his leader, determined to do right because it is right.
Our divine Lord is equal to any emergency. With him nothing is impossible. He has shown his great love for us by living a life of self-denial and sacrifice, and by dying a death of agony. Come to Christ just as you are, weak, helpless, and ready to die. Cast yourself wholly on his mercy. There is no difficulty within or without that can not be surmounted in his strength. Some have stormy tempers; but he who calmed the stormy Sea of Galilee will say to the troubled heart, "Peace, be still." There is no nature so rebellious that Christ can not subdue it, no temper so stormy that he can not quell it, if the heart is surrendered to his keeping.
He who commits his soul to Jesus need not despond. We have an all-powerful Saviour. Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith, you can say, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof."
Do not think that the Christian life is free from temptation. Temptations will come to every Christian. Both the Christian and the one who does not accept Christ as his leader will have trials. The difference is that the latter is serving a tyrant, doing his mean drudgery, while the Christian is serving the One who died to give him eternal life. Do not look upon trial as something strange, but as the means by which we are to be purified and strengthened. "Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations," James admonishes, "knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience."
In the future life we shall understand things that here greatly perplex us. We shall realize how strong a helper we had, and how angels of God were commissioned to guard us as we followed the counsel of the Word of God.
To all who receive him, Christ will give power to become the sons of God. He is a present help in every time of need. Let us be ashamed of our wavering faith. Those who are overcome have only themselves to blame for their failure to resist the enemy. All who choose can come to Christ and find the help they need.
There stands among you the mighty Counselor of the ages, inviting you to place your confidence in him. Shall we turn away from him to uncertain human beings, who are as wholly dependent on God as we ourselves are? Have we fallen so 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?
"I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old."
Let us have more confidence in our Redeemer. Turn not from the waters of Lebanon to seek refreshment at broken cisterns, which can hold no water. Have faith in God. Trustful dependence on Jesus makes victory not only possible, but certain. Though multitudes are pressing on in the wrong way, though the outlook be ever so discouraging, yet we may have full assurance in our Leader; for "I am God," he declares, "and there is none else." He is infinite in power, and able to save all who come to him. There is no other in whom we can safely trust. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #25)
Righteousness is right doing, and it is by their deeds that all will be judged. Our characters are revealed by what we do. The works show whether the faith is genuine.
It is not enough for us to believe that Jesus is not an impostor, and that the religion of the Bible is no cunningly devised fable. We may believe that the name of Jesus is the only name under heaven whereby man may be saved, and yet we may not through faith make him our personal Saviour. It is not enough to believe the theory of the truth. It is not enough to make a profession of faith in Christ and have our names registered on the church roll. "He that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us." "Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." This is the genuine evidence of conversion. Whatever our profession, it amounts to nothing unless Christ is revealed in works of righteousness.
In the sermon on the mount Christ said, "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." The test of sincerity is not in words, but deeds. Christ does not say to any man, "What say ye more than others?" but "What do ye more than others?" Full of meaning are his words, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." Words are of no value unless they are accompanied by appropriate deeds.
Saying and Doing.-- This is the lesson taught in the parable of the two sons. In the parable the son who said, "I go, sir," represented himself as faithful and obedient, but time proved that his profession was not real. He had no true love for his father. So the Pharisees prided themselves on their holiness, but when tested, it was found wanting. Of them Christ declared, "Do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not."
Self-righteousness is not true righteousness, and those who cling to it will be left to take the consequences of holding a fatal deception. Many today claim to obey the commandments of God, but they have not the love of God in their hearts to flow forth to others. Christ calls them to unite with him in his work for the saving of the world, but they content themselves with saying, "I go, sir." They do not cooperate with those who are doing God's service. They are idlers. Like the unfaithful son, they make false promises to God. In taking upon themselves the solemn covenant of the church, they have pledged to receive and obey the Word of God, to give themselves to God's service; but they do not do this. In profession they claim to be sons of God, but in life and character they deny the relationship. They do not surrender the will to God. They are living a lie.
In the command, "Go work today in my vineyard," the test of sincerity is brought to every soul. Will there be deeds as well as words? Will the one called put to use all the knowledge he has, working faithfully, disinterestedly, for the Owner of the vineyard?
The Heavenly Ladder.-- The apostle Peter instructs us as to the plan on which we must work. "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you," he says, "through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. "And besides 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."
If you cultivate faithfully the vineyard of your soul, God will make you a laborer together with himself. And you will have a work to do not only for yourself, but for others. In representing the church as the vineyard, Christ does not teach that we are to restrict our sympathies and labors to our own numbers. The Lord's vineyard is to be enlarged. In all parts of the earth he desires it to be extended. As we receive the instruction and grace of God, we should impart to others a knowledge of how to care for the precious plants. Thus we may extend the vineyard of the Lord. God is watching for evidences of our faith, love, and patience. He is looking to see if we are using every spiritual advantage to become skilful workers in his vineyard on earth, that we may enter the paradise of God, that Eden home from which Adam and Eve were excluded by transgression.
Service to Our Father.-- God stands toward his people in the relation of a father, and he has a father's claim to our faithful service. Consider the life of Christ. Standing at the head of humanity, serving his Father, he is an example of what every son should and may be. The obedience that Christ rendered, God requires from human beings today. He served his Father in love, with willingness and freedom. "I delight to do thy will, O my God," he declared; "yea, thy law is within my heart." Christ counted no sacrifice too great, no toil too hard, in order to accomplish the work which he came to do. At the age of twelve he said, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" He had heard the call, and had taken up the work. "My meat," he said, "is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."
Thus we are to serve God. He only serves who acts up to the highest standard of obedience. All who would be sons and daughters of God must prove themselves coworkers with Christ and God and the heavenly angels. This is the test for every soul. Of those who faithfully serve him, the Lord says, "They shall be mine, . . . in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him."
Opportunity to Develop Character.-- God's great object in the working out of his providences is to try men, to give them opportunity to develop character. Thus he proves whether they are obedient or disobedient to his commands. Good works do not purchase the love of God, but they reveal that we possess that love. If we surrender the will to God, we shall not work in order to earn God's love. His love as a free gift will be received into the soul, and from love to him we shall delight to obey his commandments.
There are only two classes in the world today, and only two classes will be recognized in the Judgment,--those who violate God's law, and those who obey it. Christ gives the test by which we prove our loyalty or disloyalty. "If ye love me," he says, "keep my commandments. . . . He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. . . . He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings; and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #26)
The knowledge that men and women must have in order to be "followers of God, as dear children," is clearly defined in the Holy Scriptures. "That which was from the beginning," writes John, the beloved disciple, "which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; . . . that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."
"This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." The apostle here refers to that which every soul may experience. "These things write we unto you," he declares, "that your joy may be full."
What is sin? John tells us in plain, decided language: "Sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 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 man was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."
The apostle thus refers to our union and communion with God. Communion with God is the life of the soul. It is not a something which we can interpret, a something which we can clothe with beautiful words, but which does not give us the genuine experience that makes our words of real value. Communion with God gives us a daily experience that does indeed make our joy full.
Those who have this union with Christ, will declare it in spirit and word and work. Profession is nothing unless, in word and work, good fruit is manifest. Unity, fellowship with one another and with Christ,--this is the fruit borne on every branch of the living vine. The cleansed soul, born again, has a clear, distinct testimony to bear. With unfaltering accents he bears the message, We "declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
He who lives a cold, selfish, halfhearted life, reveals that he is not walking in the light. He knows not the truth; he does not practise its principles. Deceived by the enemy, he leads others out of the right way. If the truth interferes with the promptings of an unsanctified heart, he does not hesitate to disobey it. He does not make it his rule of conduct in all his dealings. Kindness and unity and love are not the fruit that he bears. His defects are plainly condemned in the Word of God. Plain reproofs come to him, but he justifies his course of action, and denies his wrong. Such a man lies against the truth. He will not humble his heart to confess his sin.
This is the course that Satan followed in the heavenly courts. He justified every movement that he made. There are those who, though they know that they are wrong, will throw over themselves the robe of righteousness. Such ones use Scriptures when they see a possibility that it will cover up misleading statements.
"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. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he can not sin, because he is born of God."
To know God is, in the Scriptural sense of the term, to be one with him in heart and mind, having an experimental knowledge of him, holding reverential communion with him as the Redeemer. Only through sincere obedience can this communion be obtained. Where this communion is lacking, the heart is not in any sense a temple of God, but is controlled by the foe, who is working out his own purposes through the human agency. Such a man, whatever his profession or claims, is not a temple of the Holy Spirit.
The experience is perfected by fruitbearing. He who does not bear good fruit in words and deeds, in the strength of elevated, ennobling principle, is like a bad tree. The fruit that he bears is unpalatable to God. His professed knowledge of Christ is a falsehood, a deception.
"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he can not sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother."
The light is all contained in the great commandment of love. In the light of the love of Christ, the gospel is an open book. This is the true light, which Christ came to bring to the world. The Saviour's true disciples have received this love, and they do not perform one deceptive action. They do not, to gain advantage for themselves, make movements that would place others in a position of sore trial.
From the light that God has given me, I know that one great danger of those who claim to be followers of Christ, is in being self-deceived. Satan is watching his chance. He will come to men in human form, and will speak to them most entrancing words. He will bring against them the same temptations that he brought against Christ. Unless their minds and hearts are filled with the pure, unselfish, sanctified love that Christ revealed, they will fall under Satan's power, and will do and say and write strange things, to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect.
"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." Not long before his crucifixion, Christ said to his disciples, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
Why was this called "a new commandment"? The disciples had not loved one another as Christ had loved them. They had not yet seen the fulness of the love that he was to reveal in man's behalf. They were yet to see him dying on the cross for their sins. Through his life and death they were to receive a new conception of love. The command to "love one another" was to gain a new meaning in the light of his self-sacrifice. In the light shining from the cross of Calvary they were to read the meaning of the words, "As I have loved you, that ye also love one another."
Following Christ's example of unselfish service, trusting like little children in his merits, and obeying his commands, we shall receive the approval of God. Christ will abide in our hearts, and our influence will be fragrant with his righteousness. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #27)
We are pilgrims and strangers in this world, traveling a path beset with dangers from those who have rejected the only One who could save them. Ingenious subterfuges and scientific problems will be held out before us, to tempt us to swerve from our allegiance; but we are not to heed them.
Let every soul be on the alert. The adversary is on your track. Be vigilant, watching carefully lest some masterly snare shall take you unaware. Let the careless and the indifferent beware lest the day of the Lord come upon them as a thief in the night. Many will wander from the path of humility, and, casting aside the yoke of Christ, will walk in strange paths. Blinded and bewildered, they will leave the narrow path that leads to the city of God.
A man can not be a happy Christian unless he is a watchful Christian. He who overcomes must watch; for with worldly entanglements, error, and superstition, Satan strives to win Christ's followers from him, and to keep their minds employed with his devices. It is not enough that we avoid glaring dangers and perilous, inconsistent moves. We are to keep close by the side of Christ, walking in the path of self-denial and self-sacrifice. We are not to allow our spiritual perceptions to be blinded, as they often are, by a strong, determined will. And in order to detect the artifices of Satan and to withstand his unexpected attacks, we must have the grace of Christ and the impartation of his Spirit. We are in an enemy's country. He who was cast out of heaven has come down with great power. With every conceivable artifice and device he is seeking to take souls captive. Unless we are constantly on guard, we shall fall an easy prey to his unnumbered deceptions.
We are stewards, entrusted by our absent Lord with the care of his household and his interests, which he came to this world to serve. He has returned to heaven, leaving us in charge, and he expects us to watch and wait, and prepare for his coming. Let us be faithful to our trust, lest coming suddenly, he find us sleeping.
God's Word warns us that we have manifold enemies, not open and avowed, but enemies who come with smooth words and fair speeches, and who would deceive if possible the very elect. Thus Satan comes. And again, when it suits his purpose, he goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Man's will, unless kept in subjection to the will of God, is as often on the enemy's side as on the Lord's side. Therefore watch unto prayer; watch and pray always.
The experience of the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane contains a lesson for the Lord's people today. Taking with him Peter, James, and John, Christ went to Gethsemane to pray. He said to the disciples: "My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation."
He went a little distance from them,--not so far but that they could both see and hear him,--and fell prostrate upon the ground. He felt that by sin he was being separated from his Father. The gulf was so broad, so black, so deep, that his spirit shuddered before it. This agony he must not exert his divine power to escape. As One who had taken upon himself the nature of man, he must suffer the consequences of man's sin; he must endure the wrath of God against transgression.
The human heart longs for sympathy in suffering. This longing Christ felt to the very depths of his being. In the supreme agony of his soul, he came to his disciples with a yearning desire to hear some words of comfort from those whom he had so often blessed and comforted, and shielded in sorrow and distress. The One who had always had words of comfort for them was now suffering superhuman agony, and he longed to know that they were praying for him and for themselves. How dark seemed the malignity of sin! Terrible was the temptation to let the human race bear the consequences of its own guilt, while he stood innocent before God. If he could only know that his disciples understood and appreciated the intensity of his agony, he would be strengthened.
Rising with painful effort, he staggered to the place where he had left his disciples; but he "findeth them sleeping." Had he found them praying, he would have been comforted. Had they been seeking refuge in God, in order that satanic agencies might not prevail over them, he would have been strengthened by their steadfast faith. But they had not heeded the repeated warning, "Watch and pray." At first they had been much troubled to see their Master, usually so calm and dignified, wrestling with a sorrow that was beyond comprehension. They had prayed as they heard the strong cries of the divine-human Sufferer. They did not intend to forsake their Lord, but they seemed paralyzed by a stupor which they might have shaken off if they had continued pleading with God. They did not realize the necessity of watchfulness and earnest prayer in order to withstand temptation.
Many today are fast asleep, as were the disciples. They are not watching and praying lest they enter into temptation. Let us often read and give careful study to those portions of God's Word that have special reference to these last days, pointing out the dangers that will threaten God's people. We need keen, sanctified perception. This perception is not to be used in criticizing and condemning one another, but in discerning the signs of the times. We are to keep our hearts with all diligence, that we may not make shipwreck of faith. Those who neglect to watch and pray, in these days of peril; those who neglect to unite with their brethren in seeking the Lord, but who stand aloof from God's appointed agencies in the church, are in grave danger of strengthening themselves in their own way, following the impulses of their own minds, and refusing to heed the admonitions of the Lord. There are those who once were firm believers in the truth, but who have become careless in regard to their spiritual welfare, and are yielding, without the slightest opposition, to Satan's well-laid plots.
Let every believer closely examine himself, to ascertain what are his weak points. Let him cherish a spirit of humility, and plead with the Lord for grace and wisdom, and for the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Let him cast away all self-confidence. God has no place for it in his work. Many have so high an opinion of their own abilities and attainments, and so firm a reliance on their own judgment, that they believe themselves capable of bearing responsibilities in any emergency. But too often they leave their appointed work, forget the precautions that God has enjoined upon them, and entangle themselves in difficulty. They turn aside from wise counselors, and incur the displeasure of God.
To all, and especially to those in positions of trust, is given the warning, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." Self-confidence leads to a lack of watchfulness, to perplexity, and to the doing of a work that the Lord never requires of those connected with his cause in the earth.
The dangers thickening around us demand from those who have had an experience in the things of God, a watchful supervision. Those who walk humbly before God, distrustful of their own wisdom, will realize their danger, and will know the power of God's keeping care. Those who do not realize their danger because they do not watch, will pay, with the loss of their souls, the penalty of their presumption and their wilful ignorance of Satan's devices.
Let us trust in God. We are his little children, and thus he deals with us. When we draw near to him, he mercifully preserves us from the assaults of the enemy. Never will he betray one who trusts in him as a child trusts in its parents. He sees the humble, trusting souls drawing near to him, and in pity and love he draws near to them, and lifts up for them a standard against the enemy. Touch them not, he says, for they are mine. I have graven them upon the palms of my hands. He teaches them to exercise unquestioning faith in his power to work in their behalf. With assurance they say, "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #28)
The disciples were unacquainted with the Saviour's unlimited resources and power. He said to them, "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name." John 16:24. He explained that the secret of their success would be in asking for strength and grace in his name. He would be present before the Father to make requests for them. The prayer of the humble suppliant he presents as his own desire in that soul's behalf. Every sincere prayer is heard in heaven. It may not be fluently expressed; but if the heart is in it, it will ascend to the sanctuary where Jesus ministers, and he will present it to the Father without one awkward, stammering word, beautiful and fragrant with the incense of his own perfection.
The path of sincerity and integrity is not a path free from obstruction; but in every difficulty we are to see a call to prayer. There is no one living who has any power that he has not received from God, and the source whence it comes is open to the weakest human being. "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name," said Jesus, "that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it."
"In my name" Christ bade his disciples pray. In Christ's name his followers are to stand before God. Through the value of the sacrifice made for them, they are of value in the Lord's sight. Because of the imputed righteousness of Christ they are accounted precious. For Christ's sake the Lord pardons those that fear him. He does not see in them the vileness of the sinner. He recognizes in them the likeness of his Son, in whom they believe.
The Lord is disappointed when his people place a low estimate upon themselves. He desires his chosen heritage to value themselves according to the price he has placed upon them. God wanted them, else he would not have sent his Son on such an expensive errand to redeem them. He has a use for them, and he is well pleased when they make the very highest demands upon him, that they may glorify his name. They may expect large things if they have faith in his promises.
But to pray in Christ's name means much. It means that we are to accept his character, manifest his spirit, and work his works. The Saviour's promise is given on condition. "If ye love me," he says, "keep my commandments." He saves men, not in sin, but from sin; and those who love him will show their love by obedience.
All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart-work with Christ. And if we consent, he will so identify himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to his will, that when obeying him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing his service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.
As Christ lived the law in humanity, so we may do if we will take hold of the Strong for strength. But we are not to place the responsibility of our duty upon others and wait for them to tell us what to do. We can not depend for counsel upon humanity. The Lord will teach us our duty just as willingly as he will teach somebody else. If we come to him in faith, he will speak his mysteries to us personally. Our hearts will often burn within us as One draws nigh to commune with us as he did with Enoch. Those who decide to do nothing in any line that will displease God, will know, after presenting their case before him, just what course to pursue. And they will receive not only wisdom, but strength. Power for obedience, for service, will be imparted to them, as Christ has promised. Whatever was given to Christ,--the "all things" to supply the need of fallen men,--was given to him as the head and representative of humanity. And "whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." 1 John 3:22. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #29)
From age to age the Lord has been striving to awaken in the minds of men a sense of brotherhood. Thus he seeks to establish order and harmony in the world. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men,"--this is the message his children are to proclaim by lives of unselfish endeavor.
It is upon Christlike love that brotherhood depends. Without this love nothing can be done toward fulfilling God's purpose for humanity. Without it all effort is without avail. Paul declares: "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. . . . And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing. . . . Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. . . . But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love."
In the life of Christ this love found perfect expression. He loved us in our sin and degradation. He reached to the very depths of woe to uplift the erring sons and daughters of earth. There was no wearying of his patience, no lessening of his zeal. The waves of mercy, beaten back by proud, impenitent, unthankful hearts, ever returned in a stronger tide of love.
He who is constrained by the love of Christ, goes forth among his fellow men to help the helpless and encourage the desponding, to point sinners to God's ideal for his children, and to lead them to him who alone can enable them to reach this ideal. Divested of selfishness and filled with divine benevolence and tender affection, Christians are drawn out to work for Christ by helping those for whom he gave his life. They hold communion with the Saviour, and his love is revealed in all they do and say. Angry words die unspoken. Unchristlike actions are checked. God accepts such ones as his instruments, and through them works for the fulfilling of his purpose.
Never are we to be cold and unsympathetic, especially when dealing with the poor. Courtesy, sympathy, and compassion are to be shown to all. Partiality for the wealthy is displeasing to God. Jesus is slighted when his needy children are slighted. They are not rich in this world's goods, but they are dear to his heart of love. God recognizes no distinction of rank. With him there is no caste. In his sight, men are simply men, good or bad. In the day of final reckoning, position, rank, or wealth will not alter by a hair's breadth the case of any one. By the all-seeing God, men will be judged by what they are in purity, in nobility, in love for Christ.
God lets his sun shine on the just and on the unjust. This sun represents Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, who shines on all alike, high and low, rich and poor. This principle is to guide those who work for him. From it no one can deviate, and be successful in his efforts to help his fellow beings.
Christ declared that the gospel is to be preached to the poor. Never does God's truth put on an aspect of greater loveliness than when brought to the needy and destitute. Then it is that the light of the gospel shines forth in its most radiant clearness, lighting up the hut of the peasant and the rude cottage of the laborer. Angels of God are there, and their presence makes the crust of bread and the cup of water a banquet. Those who have been neglected and abandoned by the world are raised to be sons and daughters of the Most High. Lifted above any position that earth can give, they sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. They may have no earthly treasure, but they have found the pearl of great price.
The triumph of Christianity is dependent upon the influence of its adherents. Manfully the Christian is to fight the good fight of faith. Lawfully he is to strive, never relaxing his efforts, day by day seeking for greater power to help those around him. His words are to be right words, pure and true, fraught with sympathy and love; his actions, right actions, a help and blessing to the weak. Never is he to grow weary in his work. He will meet with trials, but he must always be brave and cheerful, bringing joy and courage into other lives. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #30)
God has given to every man and woman talents to be used to his name's glory. All have not the same gifts; all are not called to do the same work; but to each God has given the ability to do the work appointed him. There are some who think that unless they are directly connected with public religious work, they are not doing the will of God; but this is a mistake. Every one has a work to do for the Master. Just as verily as the minister has his appointed work, the mother has hers. By educating their children to love God, and to fear to offend him, parents can just as surely serve God as can the minister in the pulpit.
It is a wonderful work to make home pleasant, and all that it ought to be. If the heart is given to God, the humblest talents will make the home life all that God would have it. In the home a bright light will shine forth as the result of wholehearted service to God. The mother is to bring her children to Jesus for his blessing. She is to cherish the words of Christ and teach them to her children. From their babyhood she is to discipline them to self-restraint and self-denial, to habits of neatness and order. The mother can bring her children up so that they will come with open, tender hearts to hear the words of God's servants. The Lord has need of mothers who in every line of the home life will improve their God-given talents, and fit their children for the family of heaven.
The Lord is served as much, yes, more, by the faithful home worker as by the one who preaches the Word. Fathers and mothers should realize that they are the educators of their children. Children are the heritage of the Lord, and they should be trained and disciplined to form characters that the Lord can approve. When this work is carried on judiciously, and with faithfulness and prayer, angels of God will guard the family, and the most commonplace life will be made sacred. All heaven recognized Abraham's faithfulness in this respect; and he who blesses the habitation of the righteous said: I know Abraham. He is the priest of his household, and patriarch in his home. He will command his children and his household after him, to keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.
Symmetry of character is to be restored in men and women, and God calls upon parents with all their capabilities to cooperate with him in this work of restoration. Uncleanness in the home is a great mistake; for it is educating in its effects, and casts its influence abroad. Even in babyhood a right direction should be given to the habits of children. Teach them to keep their bodies clean by bathing at morning and at night. Show them that uncleanness, whether in body or dress, is offensive to God. Constant vigilance must be exercised, that these habits may become second nature to the youth. There must be no lax methods in the home; for the children will never outgrow what they become familiar with in their childhood. If they have been trained to habits of neatness and order, untidiness and slackness will be offensive to them; and impurity will be despised, as it should be.
The Lord commanded the children of Israel to wash their clothes, and put away all impurity from their encampment, lest, in passing by, he should see their uncleanness. God is passing by our homes today, and he sees the unsanitary conditions and lax methods of families. Should we not reform, and that without delay? Parents, God has made you his agents, that you may instil right principles into the minds of your children. You have in trust the Lord's little ones, and that God who was so particular that the children of Israel should grow up with habits of cleanliness will not sanction any impurity in the home today. In training your children in habits of cleanliness, you are teaching them spiritual lessons. They see that God would have them clean in heart as well as in body, and will be led to understand pure principles, which God designs should prompt every act of our lives.
O, that all would understand that these apparently small duties are not to be neglected! Children are peculiarly susceptible to impressions; and the lessons which they receive in early years, they will carry with them through life. All the learning they may acquire will never undo the evil resulting from lax discipline in childhood. One neglect, often repeated, forms habit. One wrong act prepares the way for another. That act, repeated, forms habit. Bad habits are more easily formed than good ones, and are given up with more difficulty. It takes far less time and pains to spoil the disposition of a child than it does to imprint principles and habits of righteousness upon the tablets of the soul. It is only by constantly watching and counterworking the wrong that we can hope to make the disposition right. The Lord will be with you, mothers, as you try to form right habits in your children. But you must begin the training process early, or your future work will be very difficult. Teach them line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Bear in mind that your children belong to God, and are to become his sons and daughters. He designs that the families on earth shall be samples of the family in heaven.
Children should be clad in plain garments, without ruffles or ornaments. The time spent in needless sewing, God would have devoted to educating them, or in devotional exercises. That garment you are sewing on, that extra dish you plan to prepare, let it be neglected rather than the education of your children. The labor due to your child during the first years of his life will admit of no neglect. No time in his life should the rule be forgotten, Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Parents, the Lord knows what kind of work you are doing in the formation of the characters of your children. Will you consider the responsibilities resting upon you as their natural guardians?
Overindulgence always proves an injury to children. It is the veriest cruelty to allow wrong habits to be formed, to give the lines of control into the hands of the child, and let him rule. Children are not to be taught that everything in the house is their plaything, to do with as they please. Instruction in this line should be given even to the smallest children. God designs that the perversities natural to childhood shall be rooted out before they become habit. In the discipline of your children, do not release them from that which you have required them to do. Do not allow yourself to be so absorbed in other things as to become careless. And do not become weary in your guardianship, because your children forget, and do that which you have forbidden. If you lose your temper, you forfeit that which no mother or father can afford to lose--the respect of your children. Never scold, nor permit scolding, in the home. Never give your child a passionate blow, unless you wish him to learn to quarrel and fight. As parents, you stand in the place of God to your children, and you are to be on guard.
Parents, never act from impulse. Never correct your child when you are angry; for if you do this, you will mold him after your own image--to be impulsive, passionate, and unreasonable. You can be firm without violent threatenings or scoldings. I have seen a mother snatch from the hand of her child something that was giving it special pleasure. The child did not know the reason for this, and naturally felt abused. Then followed a quarrel between parent and child, and a sharp chastisement ended the scene as far as outward appearance were concerned. But that battle left on the tender mind an impression that could not be easily effaced. I said to the mother: "You have wronged your child deeply; you have hurt his soul, and lost his confidence. How this will be restored I know not." This mother acted unwisely. She did not reason from cause to effect. Her harsh, injudicious management stirred up the worst passions in the heart of her child, and on every similar occasion these passions are aroused and strengthened. This is the worst policy that can be used in family government,--advanced age and maturity of strength warring against a helpless, ignorant little child confirms rebellion in the heart.
But, you ask, shall I never punish my child? Whipping may be essential when every other resort fails; but before you cause your child pain, you will, if you are a Christian father or mother, let your erring little one see that you love him. You will manifest real sorrow because you are compelled to cause him suffering. You will bow before God with your child, and with a heart full of sorrow ask the Lord to forgive. You will pray that Satan may not have control of his mind. You will present before the sympathizing Redeemer his own words, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." That prayer will bring angels to your side, and your child's heart will be broken in penitence.
It is a very nice work to deal with human minds. All children can not be treated in the same way; for that restraint which must be kept on one would crush out the life of another. Study the minds and characters of your children. During the first years of their lives is the time to work and watch and pray and encourage every good inclination. This work must go on without interruption. You may be urged to attend mother's meetings and sewing-circles, that you may do missionary work; but unless there is a faithful, understanding instructor to be left with your children, it is your duty to reply, "The Lord has committed to me another work, which I can in no wise neglect." You can not overwork in any line without becoming disqualified for the work of training your little ones, and making them what God would have them be. As Christ's coworker, you must bring them to him, and ask for grace to discipline and train them for the kingdom of heaven.
Both parents and children should be under the government of God. They are to be ruled by him. By combining the influences of authority and affection, parents can rule in their homes after the order God has given in his Word. There should be no ruling by impulse, no parental oppression; but at the same time no disobedience is to be overlooked. We are not to reach the standard of worldlings, but the standard which God himself has erected. We are diligently to inquire, What hath God said? God's holy Word is to be our rule, and from this we must never turn aside. No waywardness must be permitted on the part of the children, no disregard of obligations on the part of the parents. Our motto must be, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #31)
Satan works in many ways where he is not discerned, even through men and women who are in positions of trust. He will suggest to their minds plausible errors of thought and action and speech, that will create doubt, and work distrust where they think there is assurance of safety. He will work upon dissatisfied elements, to put them in active operation. There will be a desire for greatness and honor. Envy will be excited in minds where it is not supposed to exist, and circumstances will not be wanting to call it into action. Doubts will be raised, and flattering promises of gain will be offered, if the cross is not made so prominent. Satan will tempt some to think that our faith stands as a barrier to great advancement, and bars the way to reaching a high worldly position, and being called remarkable men and women.
In his first display of disaffection, Satan was very cunning. All he claimed was that he wanted to bring in a better order of things, to make great improvements.
He led the holy pair away from God, away from their allegiance to his commandments, on the same point where thousands are tempted today, and where thousands fall; that is, by their vain imaginings. True knowledge is divine. Satan insinuated into the minds of our first parents a desire for a speculative knowledge, whereby he declared they would greatly improve their condition; but in order to gain this, they must take a course contrary to God's holy will; for God would not lead them to the greatest heights. It was not God's purpose that they should obtain knowledge that had its foundation in disobedience. This was a broad field into which Satan was seeking to lead Adam and Eve, and it is the same field that he opens for the world today by his temptations.
God did not create evil. He only made the good, which was like himself. But Satan would not be content to know the will of God and do it. His curiosity was on the stretch to know that which God had not designed he should know. Evil, sin, and death were not created by God; they are the result of disobedience, which originated in Satan. But the knowledge of evil now in the world was brought in through the cunning of Satan. These are very hard and expensive lessons; but men will learn them, and many will never be convinced that it is bliss to be ignorant of a certain kind of knowledge, which arises from unsatisfied desires and unholy aims. The sons and daughters of Adam are fully as inquisitive and presumptuous as was Eve in seeking forbidden knowledge. They gain an experience, a knowledge, which God never designed they should have; and the result will be, as it was to our first parents, the loss of their Eden home. When will human beings learn that which is demonstrated so thoroughly before them?
The history of the past shows an active, working devil. He can no more be idle than harmless. Satan was found in only one tree to endanger the safety of Adam and Eve. He planned to attract the holy pair to that one tree, that they might do the very thing God had said they should not do--eat of the tree of knowledge. There was no danger to them in approaching any other tree. How plausible his speech! He laid hold of the very arguments which he uses today,--flattery, envy, distrust, questioning, and unbelief. If Satan was so cunning at first, what must he be now, after gaining an experience of many thousands of years? Yet God and holy angels, and all those who abide in obedience to all the Lord's will, are wiser than he. The subtlety of Satan will not decrease, but the wisdom given to men through a living connection with the Source of all light and divine knowledge will be proportionate to his arts and wiles.
If men would stand the test which Adam failed to endure, and would, in the strength of Jesus, obey all the requirements of God, because they are righteousness, they would never become acquainted with the objectionable knowledge. God never designed that men should have this knowledge which comes of disobedience, and which, carried into practise, ends in eternal death. When men almost invariably choose the knowledge that Satan presents, when their taste is so perverted that it craves that knowledge as if it were a fountain of supreme wisdom, then they give evidence that they are separated from God, and are in rebellion against Christ. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #32)
Christ was continually receiving from the Father, that he might communicate to us. "The word which ye hear," he said, "is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister." Not for himself, but for others, he lived and thought and prayed. From hours spent with God he came forth morning by morning, to bring the light of heaven to men. Daily he received a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit. In the early hours of the new day the Lord awakened him from his slumbers, and his soul and his lips were anointed with grace, that he might impart to others. His words were given him fresh from the heavenly courts, words that he might speak in season to the weary and oppressed. "The Lord God hath given me," he said, "the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned."
Christ's disciples were much impressed by his prayers and by his habit of communion with God. One day after a short absence from their Lord, they found him absorbed in supplication. Seemingly unconscious of their presence, he continued praying aloud. The hearts of the disciples were deeply moved. As he ceased praying, they exclaimed, "Lord, teach us to pray."
In answer, Christ repeated the Lord's prayer, as he had given it in the sermon on the mount. Then in a parable he illustrated the lesson he desired to teach them.
"Which of you," he said, "shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I can not rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth."
Here Christ represents the petitioner as asking that he may give again. He must obtain the bread, else he can not supply the necessities of a weary, belated wayfarer. Though his neighbor is unwilling to be troubled, he will not desist his pleading; his friend must be relieved. At last his importunity is rewarded, and his wants are supplied.
In like manner the disciples were to seek blessings from God. In the feeding of the multitude and in the sermon on the bread from heaven, Christ had opened to them their work as his representatives. They were to give the bread of life to the people. He who had appointed their work, saw how often their faith would be tried. Often they would be thrown into unexpected positions, and would realize their human insufficiency. Souls that were hungering for the bread of life would come to them, and they would feel themselves to be destitute and helpless. They must receive spiritual food, or they would have nothing to impart. But they were not to turn one soul away unfed. Christ directs them to the source of supply. The man whose friend came to him for entertainment, even at the unseasonable hour of midnight, did not turn him away. He had nothing to set before him, but he went to one who had food, and pressed his request, until the neighbor supplied his need. And would not God, who had sent his servants to feed the hungry, supply their need for his own work?
But the selfish neighbor in the parable does not represent the character of God. The lesson is drawn, not by comparison, but by contrast. A selfish man will grant an urgent request, in order to rid himself of one who disturbs his rest. But God delights to give. He is full of compassion, and he longs to grant the requests of those who come unto him in faith. He gives to us that we may minister to others, and thus become like himself.
Christ declares: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #33)
The Sabbath was hallowed at the creation. As ordained for man, it had its origin when "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." Peace brooded over the world; for earth was in harmony with heaven. "God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good;" and he rested in the joy of his completed work.
Because he had rested upon the Sabbath, "God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it,"--set it apart to a holy use. He gave it to Adam as a day of rest. It was a memorial of the work of creation, and thus a sign of God's power and his love. The Scripture says, "He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered." "The things that are made," declare "the invisible things of him since the creation of the world," "even his everlasting power and divinity."
All things were created by the Son of God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. . . . All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made." John 1:1-3. And since the Sabbath is a memorial of the work of creation, it is a token of the love and power of Christ.
The Sabbath calls our thoughts to nature, and brings us into communion with the Creator. In the song of the bird, the sighing of the trees, and the music of the sea, we still may hear his voice who talked with Adam in Eden in the cool of the day. And as we behold his power in nature, we find comfort, for the word that created all things is that which speaks life to the soul. He "who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
It was this thought that awoke the song,--"Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work; I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord, how great are thy works! And thy thoughts are very deep."
And the Holy Spirit through the prophet Isaiah declares: "To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? . . . Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in. . . . To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names, by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? . . . He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength." "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee: yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." This is the message written in nature, which the Sabbath is appointed to keep in memory. When the Lord bade Israel hallow his Sabbaths, he said, "They shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am Jehovah your God."
The Sabbath was embodied in the law given from Sinai; but it was not then first made known as a day of rest. The people of Israel had a knowledge of it before they came to Sinai. On the way thither the Sabbath was kept. When some profaned it, the Lord reproved them, saying, "How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?"
The Sabbath was not for Israel merely, but for the world. It had been made known to man in Eden, and, like the other precepts of the decalogue, it is of imperishable obligation. Of that law of which the fourth commandment forms a part, Christ declares, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law." So long as the heavens and the earth endure, the Sabbath will continue as a sign of the Creator's power. And when Eden shall bloom on earth again, God's holy rest day will be honored by all beneath the sun. "From one Sabbath to another" the inhabitants of the glorified new earth shall "come to worship before me, saith the Lord." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #34)
Christ never leads his followers to take upon themselves vows that will unite them with those who have no connection with God, those who are not under the controlling influence of the Holy Spirit. The only correct standard of character is the law of God; and it is impossible for those who make that law their rule of life, to unite in confidence and brotherhood with those who turn the truth of God into a lie, and regard divine authority as a thing of naught.
Between the worldly man and the one who is faithfully serving God, there is a great gulf fixed. Upon the most momentous subjects,--God and truth and eternity,--their thoughts and sympathies and feelings are not in harmony. One class is ripening as wheat for the garner of God, the other as tares for the fires of destruction. How can there be unity of purpose or action between them? "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." "No man can serve two masters."
We are to beware of indulging a spirit of bigotry and intolerance. We are not to stand aside from others in a spirit that seems to say, "Come not near to me; for I am holier than thou." We are not to shut ourselves away from our fellow human beings, but are to seek to impart to them the precious truth that has blessed our own hearts. We are to let it be seen that ours is the religion of love. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
But if we are Christians, having the Spirit of him who died to save men from their sins, we shall love the souls of our fellow men too well to countenance their sinful pleasures by our presence and our influence. We can not sanction their course by assembling with them at their feasts and their councils, where God does not preside. Such a course, so far from benefiting them, would only cause them to doubt the reality of our religion. We should be false lights, by our course leading souls to ruin.
Christians who connect themselves with worldly associations are injuring themselves as well as misleading others. Those who fear God can not choose the ungodly for companions, and remain themselves unharmed. In worldly societies they are brought under the influence of worldly principles and customs, and through the power of association and habit the mind becomes more and more conformed to the worldling's standard. Their love for God grows cold, and they have no desire for communion with him. They become spiritually blind. They can see no particular difference between the transgressor of God's law and those who fear God and keep his commandments. They call evil good and good evil. The brightness of eternal realities fades away. The truth may be presented in ever so forcible a manner, but they do not hunger for the bread of life, nor thirst for the waters of salvation. They are drinking at broken cisterns, which can hold no water. O, it is an easy thing, by association with the world, to catch the spirit of the world, to be molded by a false view of things, so that the preciousness of Jesus and the truth is not discerned! And just to the degree that the spirit of the world dwells in the heart, to just that degree will it control the life.
When men are under the control of the world and not of the Spirit of God, they are captives of Satan, and we know not to what lengths he may lead them in sin. The patriarch Jacob, inspired by the Holy Spirit, beheld those who take pleasure in wickedness. He saw what would be the result of associating with them, and he exclaimed, "O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united." He lifts up a danger signal, to warn every soul against such associations. The apostle Paul echoes the warning: "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness." "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners."
We can not swerve from the truth, we can not depart from right principles, without forsaking him who is our strength, our righteousness, our sanctification. We should be firmly rooted in the conviction that whatever in any sense turns aside from truth and justice in our association and partnership with men, can not benefit us, and greatly dishonors God.
The work of God for the salvation of the human family is the one work of supreme importance to be carried forward in our world. When men are willing to count all things but loss that they may win Christ, their eyes will be open to see things as they really are. Then they will turn away from the earthly attractions to the heavenly. They will see the true nature of the worldly, selfish enjoyments that they now value so highly, and the things that they now hold so dear will be given up.
All heaven is looking upon those who profess to believe the most sacred truths ever committed to mortals. Angels are waiting, longing to cooperate with you in working for the salvation of souls. Will you refuse this heavenly alliance in order to obtain worldly advantage, withholding your means and your talent of influence from the service of God?
"They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts," of the obedient, "in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. 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."
While temporal honor and riches and power are the great objects of ambition with the men of this world, the Lord points out to us something more worthy of our highest aspirations. "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." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #35)
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Mark these words of the Great Teacher, who spake as never man spake. He sets before you the course to pursue if you would serve your best interests in this life, and lay up for yourselves an eternal treasure,--"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth." There is danger of losing all in the pursuit of worldly gain; for in the feverish eagerness for earthly treasure, higher interests are forgotten. The care and perplexity that are involved in laying up treasures upon the earth, leave no time nor desire to estimate the value of eternal riches. The glory of the world to come is eclipsed by the corruptible things of earth. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Your thoughts, your plans, your motives, will have an earthly mold, and your soul will be defiled with covetousness and selfishness. "What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" The day is coming when the idols of silver and gold will be cast to the moles and to the bats, and the rich men will weep and howl for the miseries that shall come upon them.
Christ entreats, "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." This work of transferring your possessions to the world above, is worthy of your best energies. It is of the highest importance, and involves your eternal interests. That which you bestow in the cause of God is not lost. All that is given for the salvation of souls and the glory of God, is invested in the most successful enterprise in this life and in the life to come. Your talents of gold and silver, if given to the exchangers, are gaining continually in value, which will be registered to your account in the kingdom of heaven. You are to be the recipients of the eternal wealth that has increased in the hands of the exchangers. In giving to the work of God, you are laying up for yourselves treasures in heaven. All that you lay up above is secure from disaster and loss, and is increasing to an eternal, an enduring substance.
It should be your determined purpose to bring every power of your being into the service of Christ. His service is profitable for the life that now is, and for that which is to come. If your thoughts, your plans, your purposes, are all directed toward the accumulation of the things of earth, your anxiety, your study, your interests, will all be centered upon the world. The heavenly attractions will lose their beauty. The glories of the eternal world will cease to have the force of reality to you. Your heart will be with your treasure, and every faculty of your mind will be so concentrated on the work you have chosen, that you will not heed the warnings and entreaties of the Word and Spirit of God. You will have no time to devote to the study of the Scriptures and to earnest prayer that you may escape the snares of Satan, and render intelligent obedience to your Heavenly Father.
Satan has nets and snares, like the snares of the fowler, all prepared to entrap souls. It is his studied purpose that men shall employ their God-given powers for selfish ends rather than yield them to glorify God. God would have men engage in a work that will bring them peace and joy, and will render them eternal profit; but Satan wants us to concentrate our efforts for that which profiteth not, for the things that perish with the using. The service of Satan is one of care, perplexity, anxiety, and wearing labor, and the treasure men toil to accumulate on earth is only for a season. The greatest caution is exercised in the worldly investment of means, that the expenditure may yield a good profit; but in things of eternal concern the utmost indifference is displayed. O that the great interests of the world to come were appreciated! Why is it that men are so unconcerned about the salvation of the soul when it was purchased at such cost by the Son of God?
The heart of man may be the abode of the Holy Spirit. The peace of Christ, which passeth understanding, may rest in your soul; and the transforming power of his grace may work in your life, and fit you for the courts of glory. But if brain and nerve and muscle are all employed in the service of self, you are not making God and heaven the first consideration of your life. It is impossible to be weaving the graces of Christ into your character while you are putting all your energies on the side of the world. You may be successful in heaping up treasure on the earth, for the glory of self; but "where your treasure is, there will you heart be also." Eternal considerations will be made of secondary importance. You may take part in the outward forms of worship; but your service will be an abomination to the God of heaven. You can not serve God and mammon. You will either yield your heart and put your will on the side of God, or you will give your energies to the service of the world. God will accept no halfhearted service. (Concluded next week.) By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #36)
"The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." If the eye is single, if it is directed heavenward, the light of heaven will fill the soul, and earthly things will appear insignificant and uninviting. The purpose of the heart will be changed, and the admonition of Jesus will be heeded. You will lay up your treasure in heaven. Your thoughts will be fixed upon the great rewards of eternity. All your plans will be made in reference to the future, immortal life. You will be drawn toward your treasure. You will not study your worldly interest; but in all your pursuits the silent inquiry will be, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Bible religion will be woven into your daily life.
The true Christian does not allow any earthly consideration to come in between his soul and God. The commandment of God wields an authoritative influence over his affections and actions. If every one seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness would be always ready to work the works of Christ, how much easier would become the path to heaven! The blessings of God would flow into the soul, and the praises of the Lord would be on your lips continually. You would then serve God from principle. Your feelings might not always be of a joyous nature; clouds would at times shadow the horizon of your experience; but the Christian's hope does not rest upon the sandy foundation of feeling. Those who act from principle will behold the glory of God beyond the shadows, and rest upon the sure word of promise. They will not be deterred from honoring God, however dark the way may seem. Adversity and trial will only give them an opportunity to show of the sincerity of their faith and love. When depression settles upon the soul, it is no evidence that God has changed. He is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever." You are sure of the favor of God when you are sensible of the beams of the Sun of Righteousness; but if the clouds sweep over your soul, you must not feel that you are forsaken. Your faith must pierce the gloom. Your eye must be single, and your whole body will be full of light. The riches of the grace of Christ must be kept before the mind. Treasure up the lessons that his love provides. Let your faith be like Job's, that you may declare, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." Lay hold on the promises of your Heavenly Father, and remember his former dealing with you, and with his servants; for "all things work together for good to them that love God."
The most trying experiences in the Christian's life may be the most blessed. The special providences of the dark hours may encourage the soul in future attacks of Satan, and equip the servant of God to stand in fiery trials. The trial of your faith is more precious than gold. You must have that abiding confidence in God that is not disturbed by the temptations and arguments of the deceiver. Take the Lord at his word. You must study the promises, and appropriate them as you have need. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Become rooted and grounded in God's Word, and then you will not renounce the important truths for this time, which are to exert a sanctifying influence upon your life and character.
It is faith that familiarizes the soul with the existence and presence of God; and when we live with an eye single to his glory, we discern more and more the beauty of his character. Our souls become strong in spiritual power; for we are breathing the atmosphere of heaven, and, realizing that God is at our right hand, we shall not be moved. Faith sees that God witnesses every word and action, and that everything is manifest to him with whom we have to do. We should live as in the presence of the infinite One.
"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son," that the lost might be reclaimed. The sacrifice and mediation of Christ have brought the repentant soul into sacred relations with the Eternal Father. He who has tasted and found that the Lord is good, can not bear the thought of following in the path of transgression. It is pain to him to violate the law of that God who has so loved him. He avails himself of the help which God has promised, ceases his disobedience, flees to Christ, and, through faith in his blood, receives remission of sin. The divine hand is reached to the aid of every repentant soul. Divine wisdom will order the steps of those who put their trust in the Lord. Divine love will encircle them, and they will realize the presence of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
If the eye is single to the glory of God, the treasure will be laid up above, safe from all corruption or loss; and "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Jesus will be the pattern that you will seek to imitate. The law of the Lord will be your delight, and at the day of final reckoning you will hear the glad words, "Well done, thou 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." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #37)
The time has fully come when darkness is called light, and light is called darkness. We are living in an age when sham liberality is extolled; when those who scatter falsehood, false doctrines, and soul-destroying heresies are received and exalted by society; and when the most terrible deeds of iniquity are glossed over and excused on the plea of charity. Even the voices from the pulpits of our land are saying, "It shall be well with the transgressor." Sin is not dealt with as a thing of fearful consequence, destined to bring inevitable ruin upon those who persist in its indulgence. It is not pictured in its abhorrent character before the people of the world. Smooth things are prophesied by false teachers, and the multitudes are resting in their sin, unmindful of the solemn warnings and examples of the Word of God. The time has come when we should "sigh and . . . cry for all the abominations" that are done in the land.
While the law of God is being made void in our world, there is a decided testimony to be borne. The truth is to be presented in its native force and clearness, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear. This can not be done without exciting opposition. Those who refuse to receive the love of truth will not rest without attempting to retard its progress. They have been turned unto fables, and will unite with the great adversary of souls to bring the message of Heaven into contempt.
The apostle Paul warns us that "some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." This is what we may expect. Our greatest trials will come because of that class who have once advocated the truth, but who turn from it to the world, and trample it under their feet in hate and derision. God has a work for his faithful servants to do. The attacks of the enemy must be met with the truth of his Word. Falsehood must be unmasked, its true character must be revealed, and the light of the law of Jehovah must shine forth into the moral darkness of the world. We are to present the claims of his Word. We shall not be held guiltless if we neglect this solemn duty. But while we stand in defense of the truth, let us not stand in defense of self, and make a great ado because we are called to bear reproach and misrepresentation. Let us not pity ourselves, but be very jealous for the law of the Most High.
Says the apostle, "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." On every side we see men easily led captive by the delusive imaginations of those who make void the Word of God; but when the truth is brought before them, they are filled with impatience and anger. But the exhortation of the apostle to the servant of God is, "Watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." In his day some left the cause of the Lord. He writes, "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world;" and again he says, "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words."
Prophets and apostles experienced similar trials of opposition and reproach, and even the spotless Lamb of God was tempted in all points like as we are. He bore the contradiction of sinners against himself.
Every warning for this time must be faithfully delivered; but "the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves." We must cherish carefully the words of our God lest we be contaminated by the deceptive workings of those who have left the faith. We are to resist their spirit and influence with the same weapon our Master used when assailed by the prince of darkness,--"It is written." We should learn to use the Word of God skilfully. The exhortation is, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." There must be diligent work and earnest prayer and faith to meet the error of false teachers and seducers; for "in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." These words portray the character of the men the servants of God will have to meet. "False accusers," "despisers of those that are good," will attack those who are faithful to their God in this degenerate age. But the ambassador of heaven must manifest the spirit that was displayed in the Master. In humility and love he must labor for the salvation of men.
Paul continues concerning those who oppose the work of God, comparing them to the men who made war against the faithful in the time of ancient Israel. He says: "Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was." We know that the time is coming when the folly of warring against God will be revealed. We can afford to wait in calm patience and trust, no matter how much maligned and despised; for "there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested," and those who honor God will be honored by him in the presence of men and angels. We are to share in the sufferings of the Reformers. It is written, "The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me." Christ understands our grief. Not one of us is called to bear the cross alone. The suffering Man of Calvary is touched with the feeling of our woes, and as he has suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are in sorrow and trial for his sake. "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned."
God has provided abundant means for successful warfare with principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places; for "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." The Bible is the armory where we may equip for the struggle. Our loins must be girt about with truth. Our breastplate must be righteousness. The shield of faith must be in our hands, the helmet of salvation shine on our brows, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, be wielded to cut our way through the ranks of our bitter foes. We must be ready at the command of our Captain to follow where he may lead. We must be doers of his Word, not deceiving our own selves. (Concluded next week.) By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #38)
If we look to self, and trust in self, we shall surely fall from our steadfastness. The terrible tempest that is gathering will sweep away our sandy foundation, and leave our house a wreck on the shores of time; but the house that is built upon the rocks will stand forever. We must be "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." The apostle spoke some plain words to his Hebrew brethren, that meet the condition of many of those who profess the truth for this time. "We have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. [They were not quick to discern the things of the Spirit of God.] For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." It is positively necessary for those who believe the truth to be making continual advancement, growing up unto the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. There is no time for backsliding and indifference. Each one must have a living experience in the things of God. Have root in yourselves. Become grounded in the faith, so that, having done all, you may stand with unwavering confidence in God through the time that will try every man's work and character. Exercise your powers in spiritual things, till you can appreciate the deep things of God's Word, and go on from strength to strength.
There are thousands who claim to have the light of truth who take no steps in advance. They have no living experience, notwithstanding they have had every advantage. They do not know what consecration means. Their devotions are formal and hollow, and there is no depth to their piety. The Word of God offers spiritual liberty and enlightenment to those who study it earnestly. Those who accept the promises of God, and act on them with living faith, will have the light of heaven in their lives. They will drink of the fountain of life, and lead others to the waters that have refreshed their own souls. We must have that faith in God that takes him at his word. We can have no victory without cloudless confidence; for "without faith it is impossible to please him." It is faith that connects us with the power of heaven, and that brings us the strength for coping with the powers of darkness. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." In order to exercise intelligent faith, we should study the Word of God. The Bible, and the Bible alone, communicates a correct knowledge of the character of God, and of his will concerning us. The duty and the destiny of man are defined in its pages. The conditions on which we may hope for eternal life are explicitly stated, and the doom of those who neglect so great salvation is foretold in the most forcible language.
Had the Bible been received as the voice of God to man, as the Book of books, as the one infallible rule of faith and practise, we should not have seen the law of Heaven made void, and the swelling tide of iniquity devouring our land.
As men wander away from the truth into skepticism, everything becomes uncertain and unreal. No thorough conviction takes hold of the soul. No faith is exercised in the Scripture as the revelation of God to man. There is nothing authoritative in its commands, nothing terrifying in its warnings, nothing inspiring in its promises. To the skeptic it is meaningless and contradictory.
There are many among us who are not cultivating faith. They have a vacillating experience. They are "like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." Sometimes they seem strong in faith; then a blast of unbelief sweeps over them, and they are filled with gloom and doubt. They make no decided effort to recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, but are taken captive by him at his will. There are others, who, when assailed by temptations of unbelief, flee to the Word of God and to earnest prayer, and they are not left to the power of the enemy.
If men could realize the blighting influence of doubt upon their minds, if they could but see into the future, they would realize the imperative need of cultivating firm trust in God and implicit confidence in his promises. They would not sow one grain of unbelief; for every single grain blossoms and bears fruit. Satan is a living, active agent. It is his business to encourage skepticism. Every word of doubt is carefully nourished by the adversary of souls. While men sleep in indifference, suggestions that weaken faith are insinuated into the heart. Influences that confuse the perception of truth are brought to bear upon the life. In every way possible, Satan strives to turn souls from the narrow path that leads to heaven; and because men love darkness, they follow the voice of strangers, and reject the call of the Good Shepherd, who gave his life for the sheep. The plain, authoritative "Thus saith the Lord," is refused for some winding sophistry of errors. Infidelity has increased in proportion as men have questioned the Word and requirements of their Maker. They have taken up the work of cheapening character, and lessening faith in the inspiration of the Bible. Men claiming great wisdom have presumed to criticize and cut and cull the words of the living God, and have started questions to make shipwreck of the happiness of their fellow men and to ruin their hopes of heaven. This is a work that is pleasing to the enemy of all righteousness. The arguments that men bring against the Bible are the result of the counsels of the evil one. The door of their minds was opened to his suggestions; and the more they drifted into error, the greater grew their desire to draw other souls into the same channel of darkness.
Many claim to believe the Bible, and their names are enrolled on the church records, who are among the most influential agents of Satan. The work they are doing they will not consider an honor to them in the day of judgment. It will then be seen that every effort that weakened faith was made at a terrible loss. The tremendous price that must be paid will sink them into everlasting shame and ruin. The only safety is in rejecting instantly every suggestion of unbelief. Do not open your mind to entertain doubts, even for an instant; bid them a decided refusal as they come to you for admission. Fasten the mind upon the promises of God. Talk of them, rejoice in them; and the peace of God will rule in your hearts.
The fruits of doubt are not desirable. Look around you, and see what havoc has been wrought by the machinations of the evil one. Error and falsehood and heresy have held high carnival in the deceived hearts of men. From century to century the adversary has repeated his experiments with growing success; for in spite of the sad records of lives that have gone out in darkness, as moths flee to the fire, so men rush on into the ruinous deceptions that he has prepared to entrap them. If you desire salvation, I entreat you to shun his insinuations concerning the truth of God's Word. Come to the "sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place." If that is not authoritative, what is it? If the word of the Lord of heaven and earth is not solid rock upon which to build, then it is in vain to look for sure foundations. "Heaven and earth shall pass away," but "the word of the Lord endureth forever." Unwavering faith in his word is the only faith that will endure through the perils of the last days. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #42)
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Mark these words of the Great Teacher, who spake as never man spake. He sets before you the course to pursue if you would serve your best interests in this life, and lay up for yourselves an eternal treasure. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth." There is danger of losing all in pursuit of worldly gain; for in the feverish eagerness for earthly treasure, higher interests are forgotten. The care and perplexity that are involved in laying up treasures upon the earth, leave no time nor desire to estimate the value of eternal riches. The glory of the world to come is eclipsed by the corruptible things of earth. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Your thoughts, your plans, your motives, will all have an earthly mold, and your soul will be defiled with covetousness and selfishness. "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" The day is coming when the idols of silver and gold will be cast to the moles and to the bats, and the rich men will weep and howl for the miseries that shall come upon them.
Christ entreats, "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." This work of transferring your possessions to the world above, is worthy of all your best energies. It is of the highest importance, and involves your eternal interests. That which you bestow in the cause of God is not lost. All that is given for the salvation of souls and the glory of God is invested in the most successful enterprise in this life and in the life to come. Your talents of gold and silver, if given to the exchangers, are gaining continually in value, which will be registered to your account in the kingdom of heaven. You are to be the recipients of the eternal wealth that has increased in the hands of the exchangers. In giving to the work of God, you are laying up treasures for yourselves in heaven. All that you lay up above is secure from disaster and loss, and is increasing to an eternal, an enduring substance.
It should be your determined purpose to bring every power of your being into the service of Christ. His service is profitable for the life that now is, and for that which is to come. If your thoughts, your plans, your purposes, are all directed toward the accumulation of the things of the earth, your anxiety, your study, your interests, will all be centered upon the world. The heavenly attractions will lose their beauty. The glories of the eternal world will cease to have the force of reality to you. Your heart will be with your treasure, and every faculty of your mind will be so concentrated on the work you have chosen, that you will not heed the warnings and entreaties of the Word and Spirit of God. You will have no time to devote to the study of the Scriptures and to earnest prayer, that you may escape the snares of Satan, and render intelligent obedience to your Heavenly Father.
Satan has nets and snares, like the snares of the fowler, all prepared to entrap souls. It is his studied purpose that men shall employ their God-given powers for selfish ends rather than yield them to glorify God. God would have men engage in a work that will bring them peace and joy, and will render them eternal profits; but Satan wants us to concentrate our efforts for that which profiteth not, for things that perish with the using. The service of Satan is one of care, perplexity, anxiety, and wearing labor, and the treasure men toil to accumulate on earth is only for a season. The greatest caution is exercised in the worldly investment of means, that the expenditure may yield a good profit; but in things of eternal concern the utmost indifference is displayed. O, that the great interests of the world to come were appreciated! Why is it that men are so unconcerned about the salvation of the soul, when it was purchased at such a cost by the Son of God?
The heart of man may be the abode of the Holy Spirit. The peace of Christ that passeth all understanding may rest in your soul, and the transforming power of his grace may work in your life, and fit you for the courts of glory. But if brain and nerve and muscle are all employed in the service of self, you are not making God and heaven the first consideration of your life. It is impossible to be weaving the graces of Christ into your character while you are putting all your energies on the side of the world. You may be successful in heaping up treasure on the earth, for the glory of self; but "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Eternal considerations will be made of secondary importance. You may take part in the outward forms of worship; but your service will be an abomination to the God of heaven. You can not serve God and mammon. You will either yield your whole heart and put your will on the side of God, or you will give your energies to the service of the world. God will accept no halfhearted service.
"The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." If the eye is single, if it is directed heavenward, the light of heaven will fill the soul, and earthly things will appear insignificant and uninviting. The purpose of the heart will be changed, and the admonition of Jesus will be heeded. You will lay up your treasure in heaven. Your thoughts will be fixed upon the great rewards of eternity. All your plans will be made in reference to the future immortal life. You will be drawn toward your treasure. You will not study your worldly interest; but in all your pursuits the silent inquiry will be, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Bible religion will be woven into your daily life.
The true Christian does not allow an earthly consideration to come in between his soul and God. The commandment of God wields an authoritative influence over his affections and actions. If every one seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness would be always ready to work the works of Christ, how much easier would become the path to heaven! The blessings of God would flow into the soul, and the praises of the Lord would be on your lips continually. You would then serve God from principle. Your feelings might not always be of a joyous nature; clouds would at times shadow the horizon of your experience; but the Christian's hope does not rest upon the sandy foundation of feeling. Those who act from principle, will behold the glory of God beyond the shadows, and rest upon the sure word of promise. They will not be deterred from honoring God, however dark the way may seem. Adversity and trial will only give them an opportunity to show the sincerity of their faith and love. When depression settles upon the soul, it is no evidence that God has changed. He is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever." You are sure of the favor of God when you are sensible of the beams of the Sun of Righteousness; but if the clouds sweep over your soul, you must not feel that you are forsaken. Your faith must pierce the gloom. Your eye must be single, and your whole body will be full of light. The riches of the grace of Christ must be kept before the mind. Treasure up the lessons that his love provides. Let your faith be like Job's, that you may declare, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." Lay hold on the promises of your Heavenly Father, and remember his former dealings with you and with his servants; for "all things work together for good to them that love God."
The most trying experiences in the Christian's life may be the most blessed. The special providences of the dark hours may encourage the soul in future attacks of Satan, and equip the servant of God to stand the fiery trials. The trial of your faith is more precious than gold. You must have that abiding confidence in God that is not disturbed by the temptations and arguments of the deceiver. Take the Lord at his word. You must study the promises, and appropriate them as you have need. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Become rooted and grounded in the Word; then you will not renounce the important truths for this time, which are to exert a sanctifying influence upon your life and character.
It is faith that familiarizes the soul with the existence and presence of God; and when we live with an eye single to his glory, we discern more and more the beauty of his character. Our souls become strong in spiritual power; for we are breathing the atmosphere of heaven, and realizing that God is at our right hand, that we shall not be moved. Faith sees that God witnesses every word and action, and that everything is manifest to him with whom we have to do. We should live as in the presence of the infinite One.
"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son," that the lost might be reclaimed. The sacrifice and mediation of Christ have brought the repentant soul into sacred relations with the eternal Father. He who has tasted and found that the Lord is good, can not bear the thought of following in the path of transgression. It is pain to him to violate the law of that God who has so loved him. He avails himself of the help which God has promised, ceases his disobedience, flees to Christ, and, through faith in his blood, receives remission of sin. The divine hand is reached to the aid of every repentant soul. Divine wisdom will order the steps of those who put their trust in the Lord. Divine love will encircle them, and they will realize the presence of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
If the eye is single to the glory of God, the treasure will be laid up above, safe from all corruption or loss; and "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Jesus will be the pattern that you will seek to imitate. The law of the Lord will be your delight, and at the day of the final reckoning you will hear the glad words, "Well done, thou 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." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #43)
Just before his ascension, Christ gave his disciples their commission, declaring: "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."
This commission is the great missionary charter of Christ's kingdom. In this gift to his disciples, the Saviour made them his ambassadors, and gave them their credentials. If, afterward, they should be challenged, and asked by what authority they, unlearned fishermen, went forth as teachers and leaders, they could reply: "He whom you crucified, but who rose from the dead, appointed us to the ministry of his word, declaring, All power is given unto me."
Christ appointed his disciples as his architects, who were to lay the foundation of his church. He opened the door of the world before them, bidding them enter and proclaim the gospel. He laid upon them, and upon all who should succeed them as his ministers, the charge of handing his gospel down from generation to generation, from age to age.
Notice this point: The disciples were not to wait for the people to come to them and ask for light. They were to go to the people, hunting for souls perishing out of Christ, as the shepherd hunts for the sheep that has strayed from the fold. His life of unselfishness and love was to be copied by them. In his name they were to give the world unselfish service. The knowledge of his suffering on Calvary and of his unchanging love for mankind was to be made known to all people. And Christ further declared, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." "But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."
Workers for God are to be constantly reaching up to him in prayer. It was after the disciples had spent ten days in supplication, after all differences had been put away, and they had united in deep heart-searching, drawing together in holy fellowship, that the Spirit came upon them, and Christ's promise was fulfilled. Then there was a wonderful outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
The disciples did not confine themselves to any class of people or to any place. "They went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following." Notwithstanding the fierce opposition that they met, in a short time the gospel of the kingdom had been sounded to all the inhabited parts of the world.
The commission given to the first disciples is given also to those who in these last days have received increased light from heaven. "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." This is to be our watchword. To all nations and kindreds and tongues and peoples the message of saving grace is to sound forth. A crucified and risen Saviour is to be uplifted before those in the home field and those in far-off lands who have not heard the truth. God calls for pastors and teachers and evangelists. From door to door his servants are to proclaim the gospel message. The knowledge of present truth is not to lead those who receive it to settle down and colonize; it is to lead them into new places. Many are to work just where they are, winning men and women to the truth by a faithful presentation in the daily life of the gospel of salvation.
Not all can fill the same place; but every one who yields himself to the consecrating influence of the Holy Spirit will be under the control of Christ, and for consecrated men and women God has made full provision. He will carry on his work by a variety of ways and instruments. It is not alone the most talented, not alone those who hold high positions of trust, or are the most highly educated, that the Lord will use in his work of soul-saving. He will use many who have had few advantages. By the use of simple means he will bring those who own property and land to a belief of the truth; and these will become God's helping hand in the advancement of his work. It is not always the brightest talent that accomplishes the most for God. The Lord can speak through any one who is consecrated to his service.
When we catch the spirit of the message that is to lead souls to choose between life and death, we shall see a work done that we do not now dream of. Once let the missionary spirit take hold of men and women, young and old, and we shall see many going into the highways and hedges, and compelling the honest in heart to come in.
Let those who labor for souls remember that they are pledged to cooperate with Christ, to obey his directions, to follow his guidance. Every day they are to ask for and receive power from on high. They are to cherish a constant sense of the Saviour's love, his efficiency, his watchfulness, his tenderness. They are to look to him as the shepherd and bishop of their souls. Then they will have the sympathy and support of the heavenly angels. Christ will be their joy and crown of rejoicing. Their hearts will then be controlled by the Holy Spirit. They will go forth clothed with holy zeal, and their efforts will be accompanied by a power proportionate to the importance of the message they proclaim.
"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God."
We must continue to press into regions beyond, where people are in spiritual darkness. In such places the Lord has a work to be done. "Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."
Every obstacle to the redemption of sinners is to be removed by the opening of God's Word, and by the presentation of a plain "Thus saith the Lord." Truth is to shine forth; for darkness has covered the earth and gross darkness the people. The time has come when the Word of the living God is to appear in contrast with error. Proclaim the glad tidings, We have a Saviour who has given his life, that all who believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Let the Word of the Lord become assurance, and obstacles will be removed that have hindered the work. To the omnipotence of the King of kings, our covenant-keeping God unites the gentleness and care of a tender shepherd. Nothing can bar his way. His power is absolute, and is to be the pledge of the sure fulfilment of his promises to his people. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #45)
It is impossible for man to measure the ingenuity shown by Satan in deceiving human minds. Christ saw the working out of Satan's plans to deceive man. He saw that the world was being captivated by the delusive power exercised through commercialism of various kinds, and he volunteered to take human nature, and come to this earth to live among men, to meet the wily foe in every stage of human life, and to counterwork the wiles of Satan.
Thus was laid the plan for Christ to act his part as a Saviour. He came to our world to live, and suffer, and die, that he might win to God the souls deceived by Satan. He came to stay the overwhelming tide of deception that was carrying souls on to ruin. He is wise in an understanding of the tempter's plans, and he can teach men and women how to become wise to discern and escape the snares that Satan is constantly laying.
Christ declared, I have pledged myself, as the only begotten Son of the Lord God Almighty, to carry out God's plan to win souls from Satan. The Saviour alone can defeat the enemy. He works in man's behalf to uncover his plans, that souls may be led to turn from the archdeceiver.
The Prince of heaven, he who was one with the Father, gave himself to redeem the fallen race. Satan is actively and untiringly at work to defeat the Saviour's purpose. But Christ says, Where Satan has set his throne, there will I establish my cross. The prince of evil shall be cast out, and I will become the center of a world redeemed.
In his life on this earth, Christ lived the law of God, thus making it possible for men of every nation and every clime to live, under the sorest temptation, a life of true obedience. Those who accept God as their Creator and Christ as their Redeemer, receive the spirit of obedience that was revealed in the life of him who came to make known to men the Father. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and love of God!
Christ came to give to men the wealth of eternity, and this wealth, through connection with him, we are to receive and impart. Not to ministers only, but to every believer, Christ says, The world is enshrouded in darkness. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Every one who truly loves God will be a light in the world.
He who is a citizen of the heavenly kingdom will be constantly looking at things not seen. The power of earth over the mind and character is broken. He has the abiding presence of the heavenly Guest, in accordance with the promise, "I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." He walks with God as did Enoch, in constant communion.
The ministry of the word rests not merely upon those who preach the word, but upon all who hear and receive the word. God calls upon his people to break the bands of their precise, indoor service. He would have hundreds in our cities doing the work that Christ did while on this earth,--cheering the sorrowful, strengthening the weak, comforting the mourners, preaching the gospel to the poor. In many of the large cities scarcely anything has been done to proclaim the message of warning. Our brethren and sisters living in these crowded centers should let their light shine forth. You may think that your light is too small to do any good, but remember that it is what God has given you, and that you are held responsible to let it shine forth. Some one else may light his taper from it, and his light may be the means of leading others out of darkness.
The Saviour allowed nothing to interfere with the accomplishment of his work. He declared, "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." He mingled constantly with men, not to encourage them in anything that was not in accordance with God's will, but to uplift and ennoble them. "I sanctify myself," he declared, "that they also might be sanctified." No other teacher ever placed such signal honor upon men as did Christ. He was known as the friend of publicans and sinners. He mingled with all classes of society, that all, high and low, rich and poor, might share in the blessings he came to impart.
Daily beset by temptation, constantly opposed by the leaders of the people, Christ knew that he must strengthen his humanity by prayer. In order to be a blessing to men, he must commune with God, pleading for energy, perseverance, and steadfastness. Thus he showed his disciples where his strength lay. Without this daily communion with God, no human being can gain power for service. It is the privilege of every one to commit himself, with all his trials and temptations, his sorrows and disappointments, to the loving Heavenly Father. No one who does this, who makes God his confidant, will fall a prey to the enemy.
"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."
There is a great work to be done. God's servants are to go from house to house, watching for opportunities to sow the seeds of truth. But many of God's people act as if he desired them to hide their light under a bushel. The Lord says, Bring forth your light. Set it on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house. Wake up, my brethren and sisters, wake up, and work for the conversion of souls. Do not find fault and criticize. Thus you spend your energies in Satan's cause. Do not give way to anger because you think that you are misunderstood. Was not your Master misunderstood? Speak no word of doubt or unbelief. The more you talk of the difficulties in the way, the larger will they appear. Do not accuse your brethren. Rather accuse yourselves. An untold amount of mischief is done by words of faultfinding and slander. Never tear down the reputation of a fellow being.
The Lord is grieved when his people stand aloof from one another. Thus they show their weakness, and range themselves on the enemy's side. Let no one weaken the hands of another. Let every man do what he can to build up, not to tear down.
Guard jealously your hours for prayer and self-examination. Set apart some portion of each day for a study of the Scriptures and communion with God. Thus you will obtain spiritual strength, and grow in grace and favor with God. He alone can direct our thoughts aright. He alone can give us noble aspirations, and fashion our characters after the divine similitude. If we draw near to him in earnest prayer, he will fill our hearts with high and holy purposes, and with deep, earnest longing for purity and cleanness of thought.
Moses prayed to God, saying, "I beseech thee, show me thy glory." And God said, "I will make all my goodness pass before thee. . . . And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation."
In this representation the Lord desired to teach the lesson that he requires in his people purity of character and holiness of life. He desires to see revealed in them mercy, lovingkindness and longsuffering, that they may demonstrate that "the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." He imparts the richest blessings to those who serve him with a pure heart. He teaches each one who opens the heart to his instruction and obeys his voice. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #46)
(Reading for Sabbath, December 10.)--When I think of the history of our work during the past ten years, I can but say, See what the Lord hath wrought. Mercifully he has been working to shed light upon the pathway of his people. In spite of the hindrances that have been met with in the work, we need not feel sadness, except as we see a failure on the part of God's people to follow their Leader step by step.
It is God's purpose that his people shall be a sanctified, purified, holy people, communicating light to all with whom they come in contact. It is his purpose that by exemplifying the truth in their lives, they shall be a praise in the earth. The grace of Christ is sufficient to bring this about. But let God's people remember that only as they believe and work out the principles of the gospel, can he make them a praise in the earth. Only as they yield their God-given capabilities to his service, will they enjoy the fulness and the power of the promise whereon the church has been called to stand. If those who profess to believe in Christ as their Saviour reach only the low standard of worldly measurement, the church fails to bear the rich harvest that God expects. "Found wanting" is written upon her record.
A great work is before us,--the closing work of this world's history. Solemn indeed is the time in which we are living, and heavy are the responsibilities resting upon us as a people. The third angel's message is now to be proclaimed, not only in far-off lands, but in neglected places close by, where multitudes dwell unwarned and unsaved. Our cities everywhere are calling for earnest, wholehearted labor from the servants of God. The message for this time is now to be proclaimed earnestly in the great business world. Day after day the centers of commerce and trade are thronged with men and women who need the truth for this time, but who gain no saving knowledge of its precious principles, because earnest, persevering efforts are not put forth to reach them where they are.
The spiritual darkness that covers the whole world is intensified in the crowded centers of population. It is in the cities of the nations that the gospel worker finds the greatest impenitence and the greatest need. And in these same cities are presented to soul-winners some of the greatest opportunities. Mingled with the multitudes who have no thought of God and heaven, are many who long for light and for purity of heart. Even among the careless and indifferent there are not a few whose attention may be arrested by a revelation of God's love for the human soul.
The conditions that face Christian workers in the great cities constitute a solemn appeal for untiring effort in behalf of the millions living within the shadow of impending doom. Men will soon be forced to great decisions, and they must have opportunity to hear and to understand Bible truth, in order that they may take their stand intelligently on the right side. God is now calling upon his messengers, in no uncertain terms, to warn the cities while mercy still lingers, and while multitudes are yet susceptible to the converting influence of Bible truth. Often the needs of the cities have appealed to those who understand by the prophecies what is coming upon the earth, and yet comparatively little has been done to enter these cities with the warning message of present truth. The Spirit of the Lord is still urging men to undertake this work with new courage and zeal, and never cease the effort until a thorough work is done.
For years the pioneers in our work struggled against poverty and manifold hardships in order to place the cause of present truth on vantage ground. With meager facilities they labored untiringly, and the Lord blessed their humble efforts. The laborers of today may not have to endure all the hardships of those early days. The change of conditions, however, should not lead to any slackening of effort; and now, when the Lord bids us proclaim the message with power in the crowded centers of population, shall we not respond as one man, and do his bidding? Shall we not plan to send messengers all through these fields, and support them liberally? Shall not the ministers of God go to these crowded centers, and there lift up their voices in warning to the multitudes?
In the cities are people of all nationalities, many of whom, if earnest effort is put forth, will accept the truth. These will be specially qualified to carry the message to their own countrymen. How long shall these teeming centers of population be neglected? If our brethren will use their God-given ability in this work, angels of heaven will go before them, to make an impression on the hearts of the people for whom they labor. The Lord has many who have not yet bowed the knee to Baal.
I appeal to those who for many years have known the truth. It is time to wake up the watchmen. I have expended my strength in giving the message that the Lord has given me. The burden of our cities has rested so heavily upon me that it has sometimes seemed that I should die. The work in the cities is the essential work for this time, and is now to be taken hold of in faith. When the cities are worked as God would have them, the result will be the setting in operation of a mighty movement, such as we have not yet witnessed. May the Lord give wisdom to our brethren, that they may know how to carry forward the work in harmony with his will. With mighty power the cry is to be sounded in our large centers of population, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him."
Individual Effort.--The ordained minister alone is not equal to the task of warning the world. God is calling, not only upon ministers, but also upon physicians, nurses, canvassers, Bible workers, and other consecrated laymen of varied talents, who have a knowledge of present truth, to consider the needs of the unwarned cities. There should be one hundred workers actively engaged in personal missionary work where now there is but one. Time is rapidly passing. There is much work to be done before Satanic opposition shall close up the way. Every agency must be set in operation, that present opportunities may be wisely improved.
The Lord is calling upon the men and women who have the light of truth for this time to engage in genuine, personal missionary work. Especially are the church members living in the cities to exercise, in all humility, their God-given talents in laboring with those who are willing to hear the message that should come to the world at this time. There are great blessings in store for those who fully surrender to the call of God. As such workers undertake to win souls for Jesus, they will find that many who never could be reached in any other way will respond to intelligent, personal effort.
A working church is a living church. Church members, let the light shine forth. Let your voices be heard in humble prayer, in witness against the intemperance, the folly, and the amusements of this world, and in the proclamation of the truth for this time. Your voice, your influence, your time,--all these are gifts from God, and are to be used in winning souls to Christ. Visit your neighbors, and show an interest in the salvation of their souls. Arouse every spiritual energy to action. Tell those whom you visit that the end of all things is at hand. The Lord Jesus Christ will open the door of their hearts, and will make lasting impressions upon their minds.
Strive to arouse men and women from their spiritual insensibility. Tell them how you found Jesus, and how blessed you have been since you gained an experience in his service. Tell them what blessing comes to you as you sit at the feet of Jesus, and learn precious lessons from his Word. Tell them of the gladness and joy that are found in the Christian life. Your warm, fervent words will convince them that you have found the pearl of great price. Let your cheerful, encouraging words show that you have certainly found the higher education. This is genuine missionary work, and as it is done, many will awake as from a dream.
The Nearness of the End.--Listen to the voice of Jesus, as it comes sounding down along the line to our time, addressing the professed Christian who stands idle in the marketplace, "Why stand ye here all the day idle? . . . Go ye also into the vineyard." Work while it is day; for the night cometh, in which no man can work.
The Saviour declared that before his second coming, there would be wars and rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places. The reports that reached us of the terrible earthquakes in Italy and Sicily tell of another fulfilment of the signs of the end. These calamities are becoming more and more frequent, and each report of calamity by land or sea is a testimony to the fact that the end of all things is near. The world is filled with iniquity, and the Lord is punishing it for its wickedness. As crimes and iniquities increase, these judgments will become more frequent, until the time shall come when the earth shall no more cover her slain.
The judgments of God are hanging over our cities. We know not how soon they will be visited by just such a calamity as recently befell Italy. I pray for the deep movings of the Holy Spirit on the hearts of God's people, that this message,--the last message of warning,--may be given without delay. The day of the Lord is hasting greatly. The end is nearer than when we first believed.
Everything in this world is in an unsettled state. The nations are angry, and preparations for war are being made. But though there is among the nations an increasing unrest, though they are mustering their forces, they are as if held back from action by an unseen power. The angels are holding the four winds until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.
Soon strife among the nations will break out with an intensity that we do not now anticipate. The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living. Rulers and statesmen, men who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. They are watching the strained, restless relations that exist among the nations. They observe the intensity that is taking possession of every earthly element, and they realize that something great and decisive is about to take place, that the world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis.
A moment of respite has been graciously given us of God. Every power lent us of Heaven is now to be used in working for those perishing in ignorance. There must be no delay. The truth must be proclaimed in the dark places of the earth. Obstacles must be met and surmounted. A great work is to be done, and to those who know the truth for this time, this work has been entrusted.
As a Lamp that Burneth.--I am instructed to speak words to our people that will give them courage to do diligently the work that shall come to them in this their day of opportunity. I am instructed to urge the necessity of personal consecration, and the sanctification of the whole being to God. Let each one inquire, Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do, that the vigilance of Christ may be seen in my life, that his example may be followed by me, that I may speak sincere words, which will help souls in darkness? O how I long to see church members clothed with their beautiful garments, and prepared to go forth to meet the Bridegroom! Many are expecting to sit down to the marriage supper of the Lamb, who are unprepared for the coming of the King. They are like the blind; they do not seem to discern their danger.
The Lord calls upon you, O church that has been blessed with the truth! to give a knowledge of this truth to those who know it not. From one end of the world to the other must the message of Christ's soon coming be proclaimed. The third angel's message--the last message of mercy to a perishing world--is so precious, so glorious. Let the truth go forth as a lamp that burneth. Mysteries into which angels desire to look, which prophets and kings and righteous men desired to know, the church of God is to make known.
It is our privilege to see the work of God advancing in the cities. Christ is waiting, waiting, for places to be entered. Who are preparing for this work? We shall not say that we are destitute of laborers. There are some workers, and for this we are glad. But there is a greater, a far greater work to be done in our cities. Far greater self-denial is to be practised in order that the word of life may be carried from place to place, and from house to house. More and more, men and women are going forth with the gospel message. We thank God for this. But we need a greater awakening. We slide back into self-indulgence; we do not exercise to the utmost the virtues that Christ has promised if we ask in faith. That which we receive from Christ we must give to others. Just as surely as we receive, so surely must we give. None who receive the grace of Christ can keep it to themselves. As soon as Christ becomes an abiding presence in the heart, we shall not be able to see souls perishing in ignorance of the truth and be at rest. We shall make any sacrifice that we may reach them; and none of us are so poor that we can not make daily sacrifices for Christ.
The influence of the work we are doing will be felt through all eternity. If we will work in harmony with one another and with heaven, God will demonstrate his power in our behalf as he did for the disciples on the day of Pentecost. Those days of preparation, in which the disciples prepared themselves by prayer and a putting away of all disunion, brought them into such close relation to God that he could work for them and through them in a marvelous manner. Today God desires to accomplish great things through the faith and works of his believing people. But we must stand in right relation to him, that when he speaks to us, we may hear and understand his voice.
Let not unbelief come in; for God's work is to go from city to city, from country to country. The plans of the enemies of God may be laid to defeat his work; but have faith that Jehovah will remove all obstructions to its progress. Talk faith, work in faith, and advance in faith. Obstacles will be removed as we lay hold of the promises of God. Let the Lord's people go forward, and their hearts will be made strong.
What is the promise to those living in these last days?--"Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even today do I declare that I will render double unto thee. . . . Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain." By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #47)
God has a much higher standard for his people to reach than they have reached in the past. What can I say that will give them a consciousness of the responsibility resting on them to be Christlike in word and deed? The lack of Bible religion necessitates much talk about what ought to be done. Did we live the words of Christ, we should be brought into such close contact with him that we should know what to do in order to advance the work of God. When we take Christ as our example in character building, we shall make decided progress. When we are filled with a desire to be like our Saviour, when we refuse to weave self into the work that we do for the Lord, when we look away from finite counsel to the One who is too wise to err and too good to do us harm, we shall be strong in the strength of the Lord.
In order to see God, we must humble ourselves. When we accept Christ's words and Christ's plans, we shall not place self where Christ should be. We shall not think of going contrary to his plain directions. We shall shun even the thought of self-exaltation.
We need to feel our obligation to the higher Power. That presence is ever with us, asserting supreme authority, and taking account of the service that we render or withhold. There is altogether too little reverence and sincere love for God, and altogether too much self-seeking. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." This command must be sacredly observed if we would fulfil the purpose of God for us in our creation and redemption. We must rise heavenward, making God first and last and best in everything. He is our sole, supreme, and everlasting good. Before we are ready to enter his kingdom, self must be crucified. When self is made first, God is put aside, and the sweet sense of his presence and love is lost.
God points out the path of duty, saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it." In that path lie self-denial and the cross, but it is only path of peace and safety. But there are many who are turning their backs on this path, and are walking in the companionship of self,--a companionship that they have every reason to dread.
The divine revelation and commission given to Moses made him great. He would not cease pleading, "Show me thy glory." And the Lord made his glory pass before him. Moses talked with God face to face, as a man talketh with a friend. The realization of his inability to do the work given him, drove him to God, to plead for the people under his leadership. Naturally he was diffident slow of speech, hesitating, self-distrustful; but he was eloquent as he besought the Lord in behalf of his people. He presented them before God, saying, "O, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written."
It was mercy that ruled in the leadership of Moses. It was mercy that spoke through the words and deeds of Christ. Not one thread of selfishness was drawn into the web. To those who today move forward under the command of Christ, God will give kindness, patience, longsuffering, and gentleness, with a trusting heart.
The representatives of Christ are to rely constantly on his wisdom. This is necessary for the safe guidance of those whom they lead. It is a sacred, solemn work, to be in charge of and to lead the Lord's people. In this work there is need of constant watchfulness and prayer; and those engaged in it need daily to receive the gift of God's grace, that they may have wherewith to impart to others.
The Lord chooses men to do his will, and he keeps them in his service until they begin to feel a sense of self-importance, and do not lean their whole weight upon the wisdom of the Master worker. Then he leaves them to walk alone; for in his work self-exaltation has no place.
God asks of his workers a humble, trusting, obedient heart, and the willing service of the whole being. "Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." Increase of worldly power is nothingness. The only power that is of worth in God's sight comes through the meekness and lowliness of Christ.
Every day God's workers are to be partakers of the divine nature, having overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust. Then God will work through them and with them, enabling them to scatter blessings wherever they go, and to build up the work where Christ is building, strengthening the hands of his laborers, and discerning with clear perception what needs to be done. They are colaborers with Christ, representing his character in goodness and compassion and love. They have a high and holy work to do, in union with the great Sin Bearer.
The stubborn and hardhearted, unless they reform, will be separated from the work. The Lord Jesus can not accept the labors of any man who has lost his first love. Such a man may have the knowledge and capabilities essential for the work; but unless the love of Christ fills his heart, the lack of this love will be seen in all his plans and in all his work, and the Saviour will be misrepresented. Courage and self-reliance are necessary in the work of God; but without the love of Christ, they are as a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.
All along the path we travel we are to leave waymarks of the love of Christ. This love, acted out in the life, always brings a response. It causes offerings of gratitude to be brought to God by those who appreciate his goodness. God's workers will be acknowledged as their efforts to forward his cause are made in harmony with the plan of the Saviour.
Those who are connected with God as his colaborers can reveal greatness of soul only as they hide the life in the life of Christ, and strive to comprehend the exalted character of the work in which they are engaged. A true estimate of the sacredness of this work can be gained only as we behold it in the light of the sacrifice that Christ made in order that men and women might be saved from sin.
Christ expects each of his followers to do his work. This he has commanded in his Word. "Follow me," is his call to them. He came to our world to give men an example of a perfect life. He who in God's service sacrifices all of self, finds his reward in the work of seeking to save the lost, and in the joy that he feels in seeing sinners brought to the Saviour. God wants men to forget themselves in the effort to save souls. He calls for lightbearers, who will fill the world with the light and peace and joy that come from Christ. He will use humble men, men who cherish a sense of their weakness, who do not think that the success of the work depends on them. He will use men who will remember what the service of God demands,--the Christlikeness of word and deed that God calls for. Such ones will reveal that Christ dwells in the heart, imparting purity to the whole life. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #48)
Every one who has eaten of the bread which came down form heaven should break this bread to others. On this the spiritual growth of the believers depends. There are many who are not growing in grace, and who, because of this, are often in an unpleasant, complaining frame of mind. Those who are not doing their duty, who are not helping others to see the importance of the truth for this time, must feel dissatisfied with themselves. Satan takes advantage of this feature in their experience, and leads them to criticize and find fault. If they were busily engaged in seeking to know and do the will of God, they would feel such a burden for perishing souls, such an unrest of mind, that they could not be restrained from fulfilling the commission, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded."
Even while engaged in their daily employment, men and women can lead others to Christ. And while doing this, they will have the precious assurance that the Saviour is close beside them. They are not left alone. Christ will give them words to speak that will encourage and strengthen souls struggling in darkness. Their own faith will be strengthened as they realize that the promise of Christ's abiding presence is being fulfilled. Not only are they a blessing to others, but the work they do for Christ also brings blessings to themselves.
There are many who should be working for the Master. My brother, my sister, what are you doing for Christ? Are you seeking to be a blessing to others? Are your lips uttering words of kindness, sympathy, and love? Are you putting forth earnest efforts to win others to the Saviour? Are your hearts filled with a determination to work for your neighbors? Visit those who live near you, and by sympathy and kindness reach their hearts. Let your efforts remove prejudice. Remember that those who know the truth for this time, and yet confine their efforts to their own church, will be called to account for unfulfilled duties.
Lend your neighbors some of our smaller books. If you thus succeed in awakening their interest, take them the larger books. If possible, secure an opportunity for telling them about the truth. Beside all waters the worker for Christ is to sow the seeds of truth, not knowing which shall prosper, this or that, but ever walking in humility and trust beside the One who declares, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end."
Economy in Dress.--God's people should practise strict economy in their outlay of means, that they may have something to bring to him, saying, "Of thine own have we given thee." Thus they are to offer God thanksgiving for the blessings received from him. Thus, too, they are to lay up for themselves treasure beside the throne of God.
Worldlings spend upon dress large sums of money that ought to be used to feed and clothe those suffering from hunger and cold. Many for whom Christ gave his life have barely sufficient of the cheapest, most common clothing, while others spend thousands of dollars in the efforts to satisfy the never-ending demands of fashion.
The Lord has charged his people to come out from the world, and be separate. Gay or expensive clothing is not becoming to those who believe that we are living in the last days of probation. "I will therefore," the apostle Paul writes, "that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."
Even among those who profess to be children of God, there are those who spend more than is necessary upon dress. We should dress neatly and tastefully, but, my sisters, when you are buying and making your own and your children's clothing, think of the work in the Lord's vineyard that is still waiting to be done. It is right to buy good material, and have it carefully made. This is economy. But rich trimmings are not needed, and to indulge in them is to spend for self-gratification money that should be put into God's cause.
It is not your dress that makes you of value in the Lord's sight. It is the inward adorning, the graces of the Spirit, the kind word, the thoughtful consideration for others, that God values. Do without the unnecessary trimmings, and lay aside for the advancement of the cause of God the means thus saved. Learn the lesson of self-denial, and teach it to your children. All that can be saved by self-denial is needed now in the work to be done. The suffering must be relieved, the naked clothed, the hungry fed; the truth for this time must be told to those who know it not. By denying ourselves of that which is not necessary, we may have a part in the great work of God.
We are Christ's witnesses, and we are not to allow worldly interests so to absorb our time and attention that we pay no heed to the things that God has said must come first. There are higher interests at stake. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness." Christ gave his all to the work that he came to do, and his word to us is, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." "So shall ye be my disciples." Willingly and cheerfully Christ gave himself to the carrying out of the will of God. He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Shall we feel it a hardship to deny ourselves? Shall we draw back from being partakers of his sufferings? His death ought to stir every fiber of the being, making us willing to consecrate to his work all that we have and are. As we think of what he has done for us, our hearts should be filled with love.
When those who know the truth practise the self-denial enjoined in God's Word, the message will go with power. The Lord will hear our prayers for the conversion of souls. God's people will let their light shine forth, and unbelievers, seeing their good works, will glorify our Heavenly Father.
Let us relate ourselves to God in self-sacrificing obedience. Christ died to redeem us from all iniquity, and to purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. In thought, word, and deed we are to be perfectly conformed to the will of God. Heaven is only for those who have purified their souls through obeying the truth. It is a place where unsullied purity alone can dwell.
In perfect obedience there is perfect happiness. "These things have I spoken unto you," Christ said, "that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy may be full." May God strengthen our faith, and lead us to heights which we have not yet reached. He gave Christ to die for us, that we might be purified from all iniquity. He has promised to pour out his Spirit upon us. He has given us his Word, that through obedience to its teachings we may be made holy. It is our privilege, our duty, to grow in grace. (To be concluded.) By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #49)
Children to Be Missionaries.--Children can be acceptable missionary workers in the home and in the church. God desires them to be taught that they are in this world for useful service, not merely for play. In the home they can be trained to do missionary work that will prepare them for wider spheres of usefulness. Parents, help your children to fulfil God's purpose for them. Train them to be an honor to the One who died to gain for them eternal life in the kingdom of glory. Teach them that God has a part for them in his great work. The Lord will bless them as they work for him. They can be his helping hand. As they do their work in the home with fidelity, learning to be burden bearers, they are working with Christ for the formation of Christlike characters.
Let parents and children work earnestly to help others. Those whom they help will be led by their example to help still others. Thus the good work will deepen and broaden. Higher education is that education which leads men and women to be laborers together with God, practising self-denial and self-sacrifice. Those with such an education will be acknowledged by God in the heavenly courts, in the presence of Christ and the angels.
Willing to Spend and Be Spent.--Every true servant of God is willing to spend and be spent for the sake of others. "He that loveth his life shall lose it," Christ says; "and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." By earnest efforts to help wherever help is needed, he shows his love for God and his fellow beings. He may lose his life in service; but when Christ comes to gather his jewels to himself, he will find it again.
God has provided for every one pleasure that may be enjoyed by rich and poor alike,--the pleasure found in cultivating pureness of thought and unselfishness of action, the pleasure that comes from speaking sympathizing words and doing kindly deeds. In order to find this pleasure, it is not necessary to have a supply of ready money. Through those who perform such service, the light of Christ shines to brighten lives darkened by many shadows.
Christ draws aside the veil that conceals from our view the glory of God, and reveals him, not in a state of silence and idleness, but surrounded by ten thousand times ten thousands of the heavenly host, every one awaiting his orders, waiting to reveal the God of heaven in communication with every part of his kingdom. The Lord is bound up with the interests of the human family. He listens to every cry of oppression, observes every individual action, approving every deed of mercy and condemning every act of oppression. He sets his angels at work to relieve the oppressed, the discouraged, the suffering. He sends his message of mercy to tempted ones. He gives men opportunities to acknowledge him, that he may teach them how to withstand the evil of the world, and perfect Christlike characters.
There must be no pretense in the lives of those who have so sacred and solemn a message as we have been given to bear. The world is watching Seventh-day Adventists, because it knows something of their beliefs and of the high standard they have; and when it sees those who do not live up to their profession, it points at them with scorn. God's people should now make mighty intercession to him for help. It is the privilege of every believer, first to talk with God, and then, as God's mouthpiece, to talk with others. In order that we may have something to impart, we must daily receive light and blessing. Men and women who commune with God, who have an abiding Christ, who cooperate with holy angels, are needed at this time. The cause needs those who have power to draw with Christ, power to express the love of God. With wonderful, ennobling grace the Lord sanctifies the humble petitioner, giving him power to perform the most difficult duties. All that is undertaken is done as to the Lord, and this elevates and sanctifies the lowliest calling. It invests with new dignity every word and act, and links the humblest worker, the poorest of God's servants, with the highest of the angels in the heavenly courts. By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #50)
The enemy is just as perseveringly at work now as he was before the flood. By the use of various enterprises and inventions he is diligently working to keep the minds of men engrossed in the things of this world. He is employing all his ingenuity to lead men to act foolishly, to keep them absorbed in commercial enterprises, and thus to imperil their hope of eternal life. He devises the inventions that imperil human life. Under his leadership, men carry through that which he devises. They become so absorbed in the pursuit of wealth and worldly power that they give no heed to a "Thus saith the Lord."
Satan exults as he sees that he is successful in keeping minds from a consideration of the solemn, important matters that have to do with eternal life. He seeks to crowd the thought of God out of the mind, and to put worldliness and commercialism in its place. He desires to keep the world in darkness. It is his studied purpose to lead men to forget God and heaven, to bring all the souls that he can under his own jurisdiction. And to this end he brings forward enterprises and inventions that will so occupy men's attention that they will have no time to think of heavenly things.
The people of God must now awake and do their neglected work. Into our planning for this work, we must put all the powers of the mind. We should spare no effort to present the truth as it is in Jesus, so simply and yet so forcibly that minds will be strongly impressed. We must plan to work in a way that will consume as little means as possible; for the work must extend into the regions beyond.
Those who have received the light of truth are to speak the truth, and pray the truth, and live the truth. They are not to depart from the Word of God, as some are doing, in order to follow their own devisings. The Word that the Lord has given is spirit and life, and works for the saving of souls. It is the only Word in which we may safely trust.
Our ministers are not to permit their minds and their means to be converted into commercial enterprises. They are to use all that they have and are in the Lord's service. They are not to work in accordance with their individual impressions, striking out into new lines, in accordance with strange human ideas. This has been the danger in the past. The mind of man deviseth many things. Unless the mind of the worker is sanctified, he will follow another leader instead of Christ, showing a preference for the methods that the enemy has devised. He will be led to try to show his own superiority.
Every capability that God has given us we are to use in letting the light of truth shine forth. The cities are to be warned. The time of the end is near. We can see that the signs of Christ's coming are rapidly fulfilling. "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor: other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors."
Read the whole of the fourth chapter of John, and seek the Lord with earnest prayer. Perilous times are upon us. It does not become any man or woman to be regardless of the working of the Holy Spirit upon human hearts.
"And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me; and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
"And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those which had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan." (Concluded next week.) By Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #51)
Every believer is now to be wide-awake and intensely in earnest; for we are near the close of this earth's history. We have no time now to act as worldlings. We are to seek and to save those who are lost. My brethren and sisters, take your candle out from under the bushel, and set it where its rays will shine forth to give light to those who are in ignorance of what is coming upon our world. There are special things to be done in making special efforts to let the light shine forth from the Scriptures in clear, distinct rays.
A great work is to be done in foreign fields, and just as verily a great work is to be done in the home field. Why do we keep ourselves so much shut away from unbelievers? How much good would be accomplished if all who know the truth would make it known in every possible way and on every possible occasion! How many would be brought to Christ if all of God's people would work for those who need so much to understand Bible truth! Heavenly angels, unseen, would help those to whom we speak, to hear and understand the things of God.
The word comes to me, Let those who understand the truth find opportunities to speak to others the words of Christ. Many places in many fields are destitute of workers. There are many in the crowded cities who know not the truth. In every city, in every town, in every village, there is a work to be done. How can we feel clear before God unless we do our part to make the truth known to those perishing in darkness?
In the day of judgment, when every one will be rewarded according to his works, many of the lost will charge their neighbors with neglect, saying, You knew the truth regarding the requirements of the Bible, but you did not stop to think that close beside your own door there were souls who were in error, and who needed to be given instruction.
The judgment will reveal sins of omission as well as sins of commission. When Seventh-day Adventists know that the world is perishing in ignorance of Bible truth, why do they not go forth to hunt and fish for souls? If they do not do this, how will they be able to answer the question that in the great day of reckoning will be put to them by the lost, "Why did you not give to us the warning regarding God's requirements?"
Let every Sabbath-keeping family awake, and take upon their souls the work of making the truth known to those who are transgressing God's requirements.
Not only are our ministers and other workers to heed and practise the lessons of Christ, but fathers and mothers are also to learn lessons from the Word of God, and these lessons they are to teach their children. In a Christlike manner they are to educate and train their children.
"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
Parents, will you awake to the God-given responsibility resting upon you? Never speak harshly or angrily to your children or to each other. God expects you, in spirit and word and act, to be representatives of him. He expects you to do what Christ would do were he in your place. Your words are to be well chosen, never showing impatience. You are to keep the tongue under restraint. Your lives are to reveal the sanctification of true godliness. Do not let Satan control your tongue. Be true missionaries in the home. Remember that the training you are giving your children is making them either Christlike in word and deed, or like the fallen angel, Lucifer, who, because he was determined to have his own way and be above Christ, was cast out of heaven.
My brethren and sisters, as you read this article, will you determine to take heed to the lessons given in the Scriptures? Satan is striving to mold all into his likeness. Christ came to our world to give human beings power to resist the enemy's temptations. Fathers and mothers, in the little time you have left,--for the end of all things is at hand,--will you be daily converted, that you may be the Saviour's helpers, speaking and acting in such a way that the enemy can obtain no advantage in your family? Remember that if henceforth you work wisely, striving earnestly to glorify God, many of your neighbors will, by your example, be won to Christ.
Among us as a people a great neglect of opportunities has become common. In your association with unbelievers, do you keep your lips closed regarding the truth for this time? Do they receive no light from you as to the best means of serving and glorifying God? There is a world to be warned. Will those who in the past have felt no responsibility resting upon them now realize that they are working either for or against Christ? Will you not let your light so shine before men that they, seeing your good works, may be led to glorify the One who gave his life in order that you might not perish, but have everlasting life? The Lord will help you if you will act your part intelligently. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 87, #52)
"What things were gain to me," Paul declares, "these have I counted loss for Christ. Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death; if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead."
"I count not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
"This one thing I do." Paul did many things. He was a wise teacher. His letters to the different churches are full of instructive lessons. He worked with his hands at his trade, in this way earning his daily bread. "These hands," he said, "have ministered unto my necessities." He carried a heavy burden for the churches, and sought earnestly to lead them in the right way. But Paul allowed nothing to divert him from the one ruling purpose of his life. In all its busy activities, he never lost sight of his one great purpose,--to press on toward the prize of his high calling. One aim he kept steadfastly before him,--to be faithful to Christ, who, when Paul was blaspheming his name, and using every power within his reach to make others blaspheme it, had revealed himself to him. The one great object of Paul's life was to serve him whose name had once filled him with contempt, to win souls to the Saviour. Jew and Gentile might oppose and persecute him, but nothing could turn Paul from his purpose.
My dear fellow workers, let the great purpose that constrained Paul to press forward in the face of hardship and difficulty lead you to consecrate yourselves wholly to God's service. Worldly attractions will be presented to draw your attention from the Lord Jesus; but laying aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets, press on toward the heavenly goal, showing to the world, to angels, and to men that the hope of seeing the face of God is worth all the effort and the sacrifice that the attainment of the hope demands.
How to Solve Perplexing Problems.--Into the daily life there come many perplexing problems that we can not solve. There are those who wish to adjust every difficulty, and to settle every question before they begin to work. Such will surely fail. In the end, the future will be just as indistinct, and the problems just as perplexing, as when they began to speculate about them. It is in following light given that we receive greater light. Those who go forward in faith will find the solution of the problems that perplex them. Light will shine on the pathway of the workers who go forward without questioning. God will go before them, giving them skill and understanding to do that which needs to be done. Having committed themselves to the work, and having asked wisdom from God, let them trust in him. They can not carry the burden of their responsibility alone. This Christ does not ask them to do. He will carry, not a part, but the whole of the weight of their burden; for he is a mighty Saviour.
Move, forward at the call of God. When he points out a work to be done, in his name and with full faith take up that work. You may not see the end from the beginning. Perplexities may surround you. Others may tell you of the lions in the way. But nevertheless go forward, saying, The Lord wants this work done, and I will act my part faithfully. I will not fail nor be discouraged.
At times the arm of faith seems too short even to touch the Saviour's garment, but there stands the promise, with God behind it: "Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of waters, whose waters fail not."
It is not our efforts that bring victory; it is seeing God behind the promise, and believing and trusting him. Grasp by faith the hand of infinite power. The Lord is faithful who has promised.
Questions will arise that can not be settled by any amount of thinking. Do not spend time trying to settle them. Take up the work waiting to be done, trusting in God. His righteousness will go before you, and the questions that have troubled you will answer themselves.
The voice of duty is the voice of God,--an inborn, heaven-sent guide. Whether it be pleasing or unpleasing, we are to do the duty that lies directly in our pathway. If the Lord would have us bear a message to Nineveh, it will not be pleasing to him for us to go to Joppa or Capernaum. God has reasons for sending us to the place to which our feet are directed. There may be souls pleading with God for light in the very place to which God calls you,--souls to whom you can make plain the way of salvation.
Little Things.--It is the little foxes that spoil the vines; the little neglects, the little deficiencies, the little dishonesties, the little departures from principle, that blind the soul and separate it from God.
It is the little things of life that develop the spirit and determine the character. Those who neglect the little things will not be prepared to endure severe tests when they are brought to bear upon them. Remember that the character building is not finished till life ends. Every day a good or a bad brick is placed in the structure. You are either building crookedly or with the exactness and correctness that will make a beautiful temple for God. Therefore, in looking for great things to do, neglect not the little opportunities that come to you day by day. He who neglects the little things, and yet flatters himself that he is ready to do wonderful things for the Master, is in danger of failing altogether. Life is made up, not of great sacrifices and wonderful achievements, but of little things. (Concluded next week.) Mrs. E. G. White.