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The Review and Herald Articles
for the Year 1914
(Vol. 91, #1)
Toward the close of his reign, Jehoshaphat's kingdom was invaded by an army before whose approach the inhabitants of the land had reason to tremble. "The children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle." Tidings of this invasion reached the king through a messenger, who appeared with the startling word, "There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazon-tamer, which is En-gedi."
Jehoshaphat was a man of courage and valor. For years he had been strengthening his armies and his fortified cities. He was well prepared to meet almost any foe; yet in this crisis he did not put his trust in the arm of flesh. Not by disciplined armies and fenced cities, but by a living faith in the God of Israel could he hope to gain the victory over these heathen who boasted of their power to humble Judah in the eyes of the nations.
"Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord."
And Jehoshaphat, standing in the temple court before his people, poured out his soul in prayer, pleading God's promises, with confession of Israel's helplessness.
"O Lord God of our fathers," he said, "art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend forever? And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying, If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.
"And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not; behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit. O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee."
With confidence Jehoshaphat could say to the Lord, "Our eyes are upon thee." For years he had taught the people that their strength was in the God of Israel, the One who in past ages had so often interposed to save his chosen ones from utter destruction; and now, when the kingdom was in peril, Jehoshaphat did not stand alone; "all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children." Unitedly they fasted and prayed. Unitedly they besought the Lord to put their enemies to confusion, that the name of Jehovah might be glorified.--"Keep not thou silence, O God: Hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: And they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, And consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation: That the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: They are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; Of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; . . . Do unto them as unto the Midianites; As to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison: Which perished at En-dor: . . . Fill their faces with shame; That they may seek thy name, O Lord. Let them be confounded and troubled forever; Yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, Art the Most High over all the earth."
As the people joined with their king in humbling themselves before God and asking him for help, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel, "a Levite of the sons of Asaph," and he said:--
"Harken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel. Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.
"And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with a loud voice on high.
"And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, 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." These singers went before the army, lifting their voices in praise to God, praising him for the victory promised.
And "the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.
"And when Judah came toward the watchtower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped."
God was the strength of Judah in this battle, and he is the strength of his people today. We are not to trust in princes, nor set men in the place of God. We are to remember that human beings are fallible and erring, and that he who has all power is their strong tower of defense. In every emergency they are to feel that the battle is his. His resources are limitless, and apparent impossibilities will make the victory all the greater. "Save us, O God of our salvation, And gather us together, And deliver us from the heathen, That we may give thanks to thy holy name, And glory in thy praise."
Laden with spoil, the armies of Judah, with Jehoshaphat "in the forefront," returned home "with joy; for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies. And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the Lord." They had come for rejoicing. In obedience to the command, "Stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord: . . . . fear not, nor be dismayed," they had put their trust wholly in God; and he had proved their fortress and their deliverer. Now they could sing with understanding the inspired hymns of David: --"God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. . . . He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge." "O clap your hands, all ye people; Shout unto God with the voice of triumph. For the Lord most high is terrible; He is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, And the nations under our feet. He shall choose our inheritance for us, The excellency of Jacob whom he loved. . . . "Sing praises to God, sing praises: Sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth: Sing ye praises with understanding. God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness. The princes of the people are gathered together, Even the people of the God of Abraham: For the shields of the earth belong unto God: He is greatly exalted." "According to thy name, O God, So is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: Thy right hand is full of righteousness. Let mount Zion rejoice, Let the daughters of Judah be glad, Because of thy judgments. . . . "This God is our God forever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death."
Through the faith of Judah's ruler and of his armies, "the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the Lord fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #2)
The evil influence that from the first Jezebel had exercised over Ahab continued during the later years of his life, and bore fruit in deeds of shame and violence such as have seldom been equaled in sacred history. "There was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up."
Naturally of a covetous disposition, Ahab, strengthened and sustained in wrongdoing by Jezebel, had followed the dictates of his evil heart until he was fully controlled by the spirit of selfishness. He could not brook any refusal of his wishes; he felt that the things he desired should by right be his.
Hard by the palace of the king was a vineyard belonging to Naboth, a Jezreelite. Ahab set his heart on possessing this vineyard, and he proposed to buy it or else to give in exchange for it another piece of land. "Give me thy vineyard," he said to Naboth, "that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money."
Naboth valued his vineyard highly because it had belonged to his fathers, and he refused to part with it. "The Lord forbid it me," he said to Ahab, "that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee." According to the Levitical code, no land could be transferred permanently by sale or exchange; every one of the children of Israel must "keep himself to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers."
Naboth's refusal made the selfish monarch ill. "Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him. . . . And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread."
Jezebel soon learned the particulars, and indignant that any one should refuse the request of the king, she assured Ahab that he need no longer be sad. "Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel?" she said. "Arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite."
The king cared not by what means his wife accomplished the desired object, and Jezebel immediately proceeded to carry out her wicked purpose. She wrote letters in the name of the king, sealed them with his signet, and sent them to the elders and nobles of the city where Naboth dwelt, saying, "Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people: and set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die."
The command was obeyed. "The men of his city, even the elders and the nobles . . . did as Jezebel had . . . written in the letters which she had sent unto them." Then Jezebel went to the king, and bade him arise and take the vineyard. And Ahab, heedless of consequences, blindly followed her counsel, and went down to take possession of the coveted property.
The king was not allowed to enjoy unrebuked that which he had gained by fraud and bloodshed. "The word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it. And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession?" And the Lord further instructed Elijah to pronounce upon Ahab a terrible judgment for his wicked course.
The prophet hastened to carry out the divine command. The guilty ruler, meeting the stern messenger of Jehovah face to face in the vineyard that had belonged to Naboth, gave voice to his startled fear in the word, "Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?"
Fearlessly the messenger of the Lord replied, "I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord. Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity." No mercy was to be shown: the house of Ahab was to be utterly destroyed, "like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah," the Lord declared through his servant, "for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin.
"And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat."
When the king heard this fearful message, "he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.
"And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? Because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house."
Less than three years later, King Ahab met his death at the hands of the Syrians, and Ahaziah, his son, became his successor. (To be continued.) Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #3)
Ahaziah, Ahab's successor, "did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam." "He served Baal, and worshiped him, and provoked to anger the Lord God of Israel," as his father Ahab had done. But judgments followed close upon the sins of the rebellious king. A war with Moab, and then an accident by which his own life was threatened, attested to God's wrath against him.
Falling "through a lattice in his upper chamber," Ahaziah, seriously injured and fearful of the possible outcome, sent some of his servants to make inquiry of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether or not he would recover. These messengers were met by Elijah, with the words of stern rebuke, "Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die." Saying this, Elijah departed.
The astonished messengers hastened back to the king, and repeated to him the words of the prophet. The king inquired, "What manner of man was he?" They answered, "He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins." "It is Elijah the Tishbite," Ahaziah exclaimed. He knew that if the stranger whom his messengers had met was indeed Elijah, the words of doom pronounced would surely come to pass. Anxious to avert, if possible, the threatened judgment, he determined to send for Elijah.
Twice Ahaziah sent a company of soldiers to intimidate the prophet, and twice the wrath of an offended God fell upon them in judgments. The third company of soldiers humbled themselves before God; and their captain, as he approached the Lord's messenger, "fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight. Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight."
"The angel of the Lord said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king. And he said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron, is it not because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shall surely die."
During his father's reign, Ahaziah had witnessed the wondrous works of the Most High. He had seen the terrible evidences that God had given apostate Israel of the way in which he regards those who set aside the binding claims of his law. All this Ahaziah knew, yet he acted as if these awful realities, even the fearful end of his own father, were but idle tales. Instead of humbling his heart before the Lord, he followed after Baal, until he ventured upon this his most daring act of impiety.
The god of Ekron was supposed to give information, through the medium of its priests, concerning future events. Large numbers of people went to inquire of it; but the predictions there uttered and the information given, proceeded directly from the prince of darkness.
The history of King Ahaziah's sin and its punishment has in it a warning which none can disregard with impunity. Men today may not pay homage to heathen gods, yet thousands are worshiping at Satan's shrine as verily as did the king of Israel. The spirit of idolatry is rife in the world today, though under the influence of science and education it has assumed forms more refined and attractive than in the days when Ahaziah sought to the god of Ekron. Every day adds its sorrowful evidence that faith in the sure word of prophecy is decreasing, and that in its stead superstition and satanic witchery are captivating the minds of many. All who do not earnestly search the Scriptures, submitting every desire and purpose of the life to that unerring test; all who do not seek God in prayer for a knowledge of truth, will surely wander from the right path, and fall under the deception of Satan.
Today the mysteries of heathen worship are replaced by the secret associations and seances, the obscurities and wonders, of Spiritualistic mediums. The disclosures of these mediums are eagerly received by thousands who refuse to accept light from God's Word or through his Spirit. Believers in Spiritualism may speak with scorn of the magicians of old but the great deceiver laughs in triumph as they yield to his arts under a different form.
There are many who shrink with horror from the thought of consulting spirit mediums, but who are attracted by more pleasing forms of spiritism, such as the Emmanuel movement. Still others are led astray by the teachings of Christian Science, and by the mysticism of theosophy and other Oriental religions.
The apostles of nearly all forms of spiritism claim to have power to cure the diseased. They attribute their power to electricity, magnetism, the so-called "sympathetic remedies," or to latent forces within the mind of man. And there are not a few, even in this Christian age, who go to these healers, instead of trusting in the power of the living God and the skill of well-qualified Christian physicians. The mother, watching by the sick bed of her child, exclaims, "I can do no more! Is there no physician who has power to restore my child?" She is told of the wonderful cures performed by some clairvoyant or magnetic healer, and she trusts her dear one to his charge, placing it as verily in the hand of Satan as if he were standing by her side. In many instances the future life of the child is controlled by a satanic power, which it seems impossible to break.
God had cause for displeasure at Ahaziah's impiety. What had the Lord not done to win the hearts of the people of Israel, and to inspire them with confidence in himself? For ages he had been giving his people manifestations of unexampled kindness and love. From the beginning, he had shown that his "delights were with the sons of men." He had been a very present help to all who sought him in sincerity. Yet now the king of Israel, turning from God to ask help of the worst enemy of his people, proclaimed to the heathen that he had more confidence in their idols than in the God of heaven. In the same manner do men and women dishonor him when they turn from the Source of strength and wisdom to ask help or counsel from the powers of darkness. If God's wrath was kindled by Ahaziah's act, how does he regard those who, having still greater light, choose to follow a similar course?
Those who give themselves up to the sorcery of Satan, may boast of great benefit received, but does this prove their course to be wise or safe? What if life should be prolonged? What if temporal gain should be secured? Will it pay in the end to have disregarded the will of God? All such apparent gain will prove at last an irrecoverable loss. We cannot with impunity break down a single barrier which God has erected to guard his people from Satan's power. (To be concluded.) Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #4)
Ahaziah "died according to the word of the Lord which Elijah had spoken." As he had no son, he was succeeded by Jehoram, his brother, who reigned twelve years. Throughout these years his mother, Jezebel, was still living, and she continued to exercise a baleful influence over the affairs of the nation. Idolatrous customs were still practiced by many of the people. Jehoram himself "wrought evil in the sight of the Lord; but not like his father and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom."
It was during Jehoram's reign over Israel that Jehoshaphat died, and Jehoshaphat's son, also named Jehoram, ascended the throne of the kingdom of Judah. By his marriage with the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, Jehoram of Judah was closely related to the king of Israel; and in his reign he followed after Baal, "like as did the house of Ahab." "Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto."
The king of Judah was not permitted to continue his terrible apostasy unreproved. The prophet Elijah had not yet been translated, and he could not remain silent while the kingdom of Judah was pursuing the same course that had brought the northern kingdom to the verge of ruin. The prophet sent to Jehoram of Judah a written communication, in which the wicked king read the awful words:--
"Thus saith the Lord God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but hast walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and hast made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, like to the whoredoms of the house of Ahab, and also hast slain thy brethren of thy father's house, which were better than thyself: behold, with a great plague will the Lord smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods; and thou shalt have great sickness."
In fulfillment of this prophecy, "the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians: and they came up into Judah, and brake into it, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king's house, and his sons also, and his wives; so that there was never a son left him, save Jehoahaz [Ahaziah, Azariah], the youngest of his sons.
"And after all this the Lord smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease. And it came to pass, that in process of time, after the end of two years, . . . he died of sore diseases." "And Ahaziah [Jehoahaz] his son reigned in his stead."
Jehoram the son of Ahab was still reigning in the kingdom of Israel when his nephew, Ahaziah, came to the throne of Judah. Ahaziah ruled only one year, and during this time, influenced by his mother, Athaliah, "his counselor to do wickedly," "he walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the Lord." Jezebel, his grandmother, was still living, and he allied himself boldly with Jehoram of Israel, his uncle.
Ahaziah of Judah soon met a tragic end. The surviving members of "the house of Ahab" were indeed "his counselors after the death of his father to his destruction." While Ahaziah was visiting his uncle at Jezreel, the prophet Elisha was divinely directed to send one of the sons of the prophets to Ramoth Gilead to anoint Jehu king of Israel. The combined forces of Judah and Israel were at that time engaged in a military campaign against the Syrians at Ramoth Gilead. Jehoram had been wounded in battle, and had returned to Jezreel, leaving Jehu in charge of the royal armies.
In anointing Jehu, the messenger of Elisha declared, "I have anointed thee king over the people of the Lord, even over Israel." And then he solemnly charged Jehu with a special commission from heaven. "Thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master," the Lord declared through his messenger, "that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish."
After he had been proclaimed king by the army, Jehu hastened to Jezreel, where he began his work of execution on those who had deliberately chosen to continue in sin and to lead others into sin. Jehoram of Israel, Ahaziah of Judah, and Jezebel the queen mother, with "all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his kinsfolks, and his priests," were slain. "All the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests" dwelling at the center of Baal worship near Samaria, were put to the sword. The idolatrous images were broken down and burned, and the temple of Baal was laid in ruins. "Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel."
Tidings of this general execution reached Athaliah, Jezebel's daughter, who still occupied a commanding position in the kingdom of Judah. When she saw that her son, the king of Judah, was dead, "she arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah." In this massacre all the descendants of David who were eligible to the throne were destroyed, save one, a babe named Joash, whom the wife of Jehoiada the high priest hid within the precincts of the temple. For six years the child remained hidden, while "Athaliah reigned over the land."
At the end of this time, "the Levites and all Judah" united with Jehoiada the high priest in crowning and anointing the child, Joash, and acclaiming him their king. "And they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king."
"Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people into the house of the Lord." "And when she looked, behold, the king stood by a pillar, as the manner was, and the princes and the trumpeters by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets."
"Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, Treason." But Jehoiada commanded the officers to lay hold of Athaliah and all her followers, and lead them out of the temple to a place of execution, where they were slain.
Thus perished the last member of the house of Ahab. The terrible evil that had been wrought through his alliance with Jezebel, continued till the last of his descendants. Even in the land of Judah, where the worship of the true God had never been set aside, Athaliah had succeeded in seducing many. Immediately after the execution of the impenitent queen, "all the people of the land went into the house of Baal, and brake it down; his altars and his images brake they in pieces thoroughly, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars."
A reformation followed. Those who took part in acclaiming Joash king had solemnly covenanted "that they should be the Lord's people." And now that the evil influence of the daughter of Jezebel had been removed from the kingdom of Judah, and the priests of Baal had been slain and their temple destroyed, "all the people of the land rejoiced: and the city was in quiet." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #5)
For more than half a century after the death of Elisha, the kings of Israel continued to abuse the most sacred rites of the Hebrew economy, and to violate the laws of Jehovah. God had made his people the depositaries of his grace; but losing sight of this purpose, they "dealt treacherously against the Lord" and with one another. It was a time of violence and bloodshed. King after king was assassinated to make way for others ambitious to rule. "They have set up kings," the Lord declared, "but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not." Hosea 8:4. Every principle of justice was set aside, until king and people were held in contempt by the surrounding nations.
Ever since the rending of the kingdom, the Israelites had been sowing the wind; now they were to reap the whirlwind. "Ye have plowed wickedness," the Lord declared, "ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, . . . in a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off." Hosea 10:13-15.
Of the tribe of Ephraim, a leader in apostasy among the ten tribes, the Lord said: "Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth it not." "Israel hath cast off the thing that is good," declared the prophet. Hosea 7:9; 8:3. "Broken in judgment" (Hosea 5:11), unable to discern the sure result of continued apostasy, the ten tribes were soon to be "wanderers among the nations."
There were in Israel those who realized that unless they strengthened their position politically, they would be unable to regain the prestige they had had among the nations. But instead of turning away from those practices which had brought weakness to the kingdom, they continued in iniquity, flattering themselves that when occasion arose, they would gain the power they needed by allying themselves with the heathen. "When Ephraim saw his sickness," the prophet declared, "then went Ephraim to the Assyrian." Hosea 5:13. "Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria." Hosea 7:11. "They do make a covenant with the Assyrians."
Sinful and rebellious though the children of Israel had been, the Lord had ever regarded them with compassion, and by every possible means had tried to win them back to himself. "When Israel was a child," the Lord declared, "then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt." Hosea 11:1. He had led his chosen ones into the promised land, and established them there that they might be a blessing to the whole earth. "I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms," he declared, "but they knew not that I healed them. I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love." Verses 1-3. "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together." Verse 8.
The Lord had rebuked Israel for their evil doing and had pleaded with them to mend their ways. "I have also spoken by the prophets," he said, "and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets." Hosea 12:10. Through the prophet that appeared to Jeroboam before the altar at Bethel, through Elijah and Elisha, through Amos and Hosea, God had repeatedly set before Israel the sure result of disobedience. But notwithstanding reproof and entreaty, Israel sank lower and lower in apostasy. "Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer," the Lord declared. Hosea 4:16. "My people are bent to backsliding from me." Hosea 11:7.
There were times when the judgments of heaven fell heavily on the rebellious people. "Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets," God declared; "I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me." Hosea 6:5-7.
"Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel," the prophet Hosea boldly commanded: "Seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings." Hosea 4:1-9.
The iniquity prevailing in Israel during the last half century before the Assyrian captivity, was similar to that which prevailed in the days of Noah, and which has prevailed in every age when men have rejected God and given themselves wholly to evil doing. Always the exaltation of nature above the God of nature, the worship of the creature instead of the Creator, has resulted in the grossest evils. When the people of Israel paid to the images of Baal and of Ashtoreth, symbolizing the forces of nature, the homage due to God alone, they severed their connection with all that is uplifting and ennobling, and fell an easy prey to temptation. The defenses of the soul broken down, the misguided worshipers had no barrier against sin.
In the first chapter of the epistle to the Romans, the apostle Paul gives a startling picture of the debasing influence of creature worship. Of those who "changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator," he writes:--
"When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.
"Wherefore God also gave them . . . over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." The restraints of God's word and his Spirit rejected, there were no depths of sin too low for them to reach.
Thus it was with Israel. Those who might have stood as spiritual leaders among the nations, having set aside the statutes of God, fell a helpless prey to the evil passions of the human heart. Their times were marked by oppression, gross injustice, luxury and extravagance, riotous feasting and drunkenness, licentiousness and debauchery. "They hate him that rebuketh in the gate," Amos declared, "and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly." "They afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right." Amos 5:10, 12. These transgressors "sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes."
"Ye . . . turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth," the prophet declared. Amos 5:7. "Ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock: ye which rejoice in a thing of naught." Amos 6:12, 13. Filled with indignation, the prophet addressed them as those who "cause the seat of violence to come near; that lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, . . . that drink wine in bowls, and . . . are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph." Amos 6:3-6.
Among all classes of society, shameless drunkenness prevailed. "In the day of our king," declared Hosea, "the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine." Hosea 7:5. "Wine and new wine take away the heart." Hosea 4:11. Amos testified, "Ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink." Among women as well as men there were those who invited others to unite with them in revelry, saying, "Bring, and let us drink." Amos 4:1.
The land was filled with violence. Gilead was "a city of them that work iniquity," and was "polluted with blood." Hosea 6:8. Through his messenger, the Lord testified against Israel: "They commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without. And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face. They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies. They are all adulterers." Hosea 7:1-4. (To be continued.) Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #6)
Full of significance are the words of the prophet, "Like people, like priest." Hosea 4:9. The idolatrous priests were leaders in crime. "As troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent." Hosea 6:9. "Blood toucheth blood." Verse 2. God's message to the murderous priests was: "Hear ye this, O priests, . . . for judgment is toward you, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, a net spread upon Tabor. And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuker of them all." Hosea 5:1, 2. Everywhere violence and crime reigned supreme.
Such was the result that had followed the setting up of the "two calves of gold" (1 Kings 12:28) by Jeroboam. "This thing became a sin" (verse 30), and led to the introduction of grosser forms of idolatry, until nearly all the inhabitants of the land gave themselves up to the alluring practices of nature worship.
Forgetting their Maker, Israel "deeply corrupted themselves. . . . They went to Baal-peor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved." Hosea 9:9, 10. "They sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images." Hosea 11:2. The idolatry that they practiced called for the abandonment of every uplifting and ennobling principle.
The prophets Hosea and Amos continued to lift their voices in solemn protest against evil. The transgressors were given many opportunities to repent. "I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger," the Lord promised, "I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee." Verse 9.
"Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy," Hosea pleaded; "break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you." Hosea 10:12. "Turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually." Hosea 12:6. "O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity: . . . say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: . . . for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy." Hosea 14:1-3.
"Come, and let us return unto the Lord," the prophet entreated; "for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." Hosea 6:1-3.
"O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee?" Hosea 13:9, 10.
"I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found.
"Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein." Hosea 14:4-9.
Through Amos the message of the Lord to Israel was: "Seek ye me, and ye shall live: but seek not Beth-el, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beer-sheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Beth-el shall come to naught. Seek the Lord, and ye shall live. . . . Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord is his name." Amos 5:4-8.
"Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph." Verses 14, 15.
But by far the greater number of those who heard these invitations, refused to profit by them. So contrary to the evil desires of the impenitent were the words of one of God's messengers, that the idolatrous priest at Bethel sent to the ruler in Israel, saying, "Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words." Amos 7:10. And through Hosea the Lord declared: "When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria." Hosea 7:1. "The pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek him for all this." Verse 10.
From generation to generation the Lord bore with his wayward children, until he could do no more for them. "O Ephraim," he cried, "what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away." Hosea 6:4.
The evils that had overspread the land and permeated all classes of society, had become incurable, and upon Israel was pronounced the dread sentence, "Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone." Hosea 4:17. "The days of visitation are come, the days of recompense are come; Israel shall know it." Hosea 9:7. "They shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney." Hosea 13:3.
"Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off: mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency? for from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces." Hosea 8:5, 6. "The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Beth-aven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it. It shall be also carried unto Assyria for a present to King Jareb." Hosea 10:5, 6.
Through Amos also the Lord clearly revealed his purpose to bring judgments upon his impenitent people: "Hear this word that the Lord hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing? Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is for him? shall one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all? Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?" "The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?" Amos 3:1-6, 8.
"Publish in the palaces at Ashdod, and in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say, Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria, and behold the great tumults in the midst thereof, and the oppressed in the midst thereof. For they know not to do right, saith the Lord, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces. Therefore thus saith the Lord God; An adversary there shall be even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled." Verses 9-11.
"In the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Beth-el: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground. And I will smite the winter house with the summer house; and the houses of ivory small perish, and the great houses shall have an end, saith the Lord." Verses 14, 15.
"Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the Lord, whose name is The God of hosts." Amos. 5:27.
"Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!" "Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed. The Lord God hath sworn by himself, saith the Lord the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein." "Behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the Lord the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hemath unto the river of the wilderness." Amos 6:1, 7, 8, 14.
"The Lord God of hosts is he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood; and shall be drowned, as by the flood of Egypt." Amos 9:5.
"Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord. For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us." Verses 8-10.
"Because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel." Amos 4:12. (To be concluded.) Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #7)
During the long reign of Jeroboam II, the armies of Israel gained signal victories; but this time of apparent prosperity wrought no change in the hearts of the impenitent; and it was finally decreed: "Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land." Amos 7:11.
So far had Israel gone in impenitence that even this terrible sentence left them unmoved. Amaziah, a leader among the idolatrous priests at Bethel, said to Amos: "O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: but prophesy not again any more at Beth-el: for it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's court." Amos 7:12, 13.
But the prophet's answer was, "Thus saith the Lord, . . . Israel shall surely go into captivity."
The destruction of the northern kingdom came gradually. In judgment the Lord remembered mercy, and at first, when "Pul the king of Assyria came against the land," Menahem, then king of Israel, was not taken captive, but was permitted to remain on the throne as a vassal of the Assyrian realm. "Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand. And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria." Having humbled Israel by making it tributary to his empire, "the king of Assyria turned back, and stayed not there in the land." 2 Kings 15:19, 20.
But Menahem, far from repenting of the evil that had wrought ruin in his kingdom, continued throughout the ten years of his reign in "the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin." 2 Kings 15:18. Pekahiah and Pekah, his successors, also "did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord." 2 Kings 15:24, 28. "In the days of Pekah," who reigned twenty years, "Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria" invaded Israel, and carried away with him a multitude of captives from among the tribes living in Galilee and east of the Jordan. "The Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh," with others of the inhabitants of "Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali," were scattered among the heathen in lands far removed from Palestine. From this terrible blow, the kingdom never recovered.
The feeble remnant of Israel continued the forms of government, though no longer possessed of power. Only one more ruler, Hoshea, was to follow Pekah. The throne was tottering; soon the entire kingdom was to be swept away. But God in mercy gave the people another chance to turn from idolatry. In the third year of Hoshea's reign, Hezekiah came to the throne of Judah, and soon afterward important reforms were instituted in the temple service at Jerusalem. As speedily as possible, Hezekiah arranged for the celebration of the Passover, and to this feast he invited not only his Judean subjects, but all Israel as well. He "sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover unto the Lord God of Israel." A proclamation was sounded "throughout all Israel, from Beer-sheba even unto Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written.
"So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see. Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the Lord, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified forever: and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you. For if ye turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him." 2 Chron. 30:1-9.
"From city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun," the couriers sent out by Hezekiah carried the message. Israel should have seen in this invitation an appeal to repent and turn to God. But nearly all treated the royal messengers with indifference or with contempt. "They laughed them to scorn, and mocked them." 2 Chron. 30:10. But there were a few who gladly responded. "Divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem, . . . to keep the feast of unleavened bread."
About two years later, "in the seventh year of Hoshea," "Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it. And at the end of three years they took it: even in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes: because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded." 2 Kings 18:9-12.
The destruction that came upon the northern kingdom was directly from God himself. The Assyrians were merely the instruments that he used to carry out his purpose. Through Isaiah, who began to prophesy before the fall of Samaria, the Lord referred to the Assyrian hosts as the "rod of mine anger." "The staff in their hand," he said, "is mine indignation." Isa. 10:5.
"The children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, . . . and wrought wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger; for they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing. . . .
"Notwithstanding they would not hear, but . . . rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he had made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; . . . and they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.
"Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and . . . afflicted them, and delivered them unto the hands of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight, . . . as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria." 2 Kings 17:7-23. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #8)
In the terrible judgments brought upon the ten tribes, the Lord had a wise and merciful purpose. That which he could no longer accomplish through them in the land of their fathers, he would seek to accomplish by scattering them among the heathen. His plan for his people must be fulfilled; and in the afflictions brought upon Israel, he was preparing the way for his glory to be revealed to the nations of earth. Not all who were carried captive were wholly impenitent. Among them were some who humbled themselves before God, and who sought for pardon and peace; and these were numbered as "sons of the living God." Hosea 1:10.
God's favor toward Israel had always been conditional on their obedience. At the foot of Sinai, the hosts of Israel had entered into covenant relation with God as his "peculiar treasure . . . above all people." Ex. 19:5. They were to be to him "a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." Solemnly they had promised to follow in the path of obedience. "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do," they said. And when, a few days afterward, God's law was spoken from Sinai, and additional instruction in the form of statutes and judgments was communicated through Moses, the Israelites with one voice again promised, "All the words which the Lord hath said will we do." Ex. 24:3. At the ratification of the covenant, the people once more united in declaring, "All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient." Verse 7. God had chosen Israel as his people, and they had chosen him as their King.
Near the close of the wilderness wandering the conditions of the covenant were repeated. At Baal-peor, on the very borders of the Promised Land, many had fallen a prey to subtle temptation. Those who had remained faithful now renewed their vows of allegiance. Through Moses they were instructed concerning the temptations that would assail them in the future; and they were earnestly exhorted to remain separate from the surrounding nations, and to worship God alone.
"Your eyes have seen what the Lord did because of Baal-peor: for all the men that followed Baal-peor, the Lord thy God hath destroyed them from among you. But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day.
"Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?"
The Israelites were specially charged not to lose sight of the commandments of God, in obedience to which they would find strength and blessing. "Take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently," was the word of the Lord to them through Moses, "lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; specially the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, when the Lord said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children."
The awe-inspiring scenes connected with the giving of the law at Sinai were never to be forgotten. "Ye came near," the Israelites were reminded, "and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it."
The Israelites were about to possess a land where idolatry had reigned supreme; and they were warned not to follow after the gods of the heathen. "Take ye . . . good heed unto yourselves," was the counsel given; "for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, . . . and lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven." "Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of anything, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee. For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God."
Moses was inspired to utter a prophecy outlining the sure result of apostasy. Plainly he traced the evils that would result from a departure from the statutes of Jehovah. Calling heaven and earth to witness against the people, he declared that if, after having dwelt long in the Land of Promise, they should introduce things which thine eyes have seen, and to graven images, and should refuse to return to the worship of the true God, the anger of the Lord would be aroused, and they would be carried away captive and scattered among the heathen. "Ye shall soon utterly perish," he warned them, "from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, . . . whither the Lord shall lead you. And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell."
This prophecy, fulfilled in part in the time of the judges of Israel, met a more complete and terrible fulfillment in the captivity of Israel in Assyria and of Judah in Babylon. During the passing centuries, from generation to generation, Satan made repeated attempts to cause Israel to forget "the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments" (Deut. 6:1) that they had promised to keep forever; for he knew that if he could only lead Israel to forget God, and to "walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them," the chosen nation would surely perish. Deut. 8:19. But the enemy of all souls had not taken into account the longsuffering of Him who "will by no means clear the guilty," yet whose glory it is to be "merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin." Ex. 34:6, 7. Despite the efforts of Satan to thwart God's purpose for his chosen people, yet even in some of the darkest hours of Israel's history, when it seemed as if the forces of evil were about to gain the victory, the Lord graciously revealed himself. He spread before Israel the things that were for their welfare as a nation. "I have written to him the great things of my law," he declared, of Israel through Hosea, "but they were counted as a strange thing." Hosea 8:12. "I taught Ephraim also to go," he declared "taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them." Hosea 11:3. Tenderly the Lord dealt with them, instructing them by his prophets, line upon line, and precept upon precept. (To be concluded.) Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #9)
Had Israel taken heed to the messages of the prophets emphasizing the value of "the great things" of God's law, they would have been spared the humiliation that followed. It was because they persisted in turning aside from his law that God was compelled to allow their enemies to take them captive. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge," was his message to them through Hosea. "Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, . . . seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God." Hosea 4:6. In trial and affliction they were to learn lessons that under circumstances more favorable they had refused to learn.
In every age, transgression of God's law has been accompanied by the same result. In the days of Noah, when every precept of this law was set aside, iniquity became so deep and widespread that God could no longer bear with it, and he said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth." In the time of Abraham, the people of Sodom openly defied God and his law; and there followed the same wickedness, the same corruption, the same unbridled indulgence, that had marked the antediluvian world. The inhabitants of Sodom passed the limits of divine forbearance, and there were kindled against them the fires of God's vengeance. The time preceding the downfall of the northern kingdom was one of similar disobedience and of similar wickedness. God's law was counted as a thing of naught, and this opened the floodgates of iniquity upon Israel. "The Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land," Hosea declared, "because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood."
And as it was then so it is today. Men boast of the wonderful progress and enlightenment of the age, but God sees the earth filled with guilt and violence. Men declare that the law of God has been abrogated, that the Bible is not authentic; and as a result, a tide of evil, such as has seldom been seen since the days of Noah and the days of apostate Israel, is sweeping over the world. Lawlessness, dissipation, extravagance, and corruption are coming in upon us as an overwhelming flood. Nobility of soul, gentleness, piety, are bartered away to gratify the lust for forbidden things. The taking of human life is a matter of daily occurrence. The terrible record of crime daily committed for the sake of gain is enough to chill the blood and fill the soul with horror. "Judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey."
The time is right upon us when there will be sorrow in the world that no human balm can heal. The Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the world. Disasters by sea and land follow one another in quick succession. How frequently we hear of earthquakes and tornadoes, of destruction by fire and flood, with great loss of life and property. Apparently these calamities are capricious outbreaks of seemingly disorganized, unregulated forces, but in them God's purpose may be read. They are one of the means by which he seeks to arouse men and women to a sense of their danger.
"As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. . . . Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come."
The prophecies of judgment delivered by Amos and Hosea were tempered with prophecies of future glory. According to Hosea, the children of Israel were to "abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim. Afterward," the prophet continued, "shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days."
This prophecy is to reach its complete fulfillment in the gathering out from all nations of a people prepared for the second coming of Christ. The remnant of Israel is symbolized by a woman, representing the Lord's chosen church on the earth. "Behold," he says, "I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope; and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi ["My husband," margin]; and shalt call me no more Baali ["My lord," margin]. For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name."
In the last days of this earth's history, God's covenant with his commandment-keeping people is to be renewed. "In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and I will make them to lie down safely. And I will betroth thee unto me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness; and thou shalt know the Lord.
"And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God." Hosea 2:14-23.
"In that day, . . . the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, . . . shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth." Isa. 10:20. From "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people" there will be those who will gladly respond to the message, "Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come." They will turn from every idol that binds them to this earth, and will "worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." They will free themselves from every entanglement, and will stand before the world as monuments of God's mercy. Obedient to every divine requirement, they will be recognized by angels and by men as those that "keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Rev. 14:6, 7, 12.
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God." Amos 9:13-15. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #10)
Let us remember that we are pilgrims and strangers on this earth, seeking a better country, even a heavenly. Let us work with such earnestness, such devotion, that sinners will be drawn to Christ. Those who have united with the Lord in the covenant of service are under bonds to unite with him in the great, grand work of soul saving. Let church members, during the week, act their part faithfully, and on the Sabbath relate their experience. The meeting will then be as meat in due season, bringing to all present new life and fresh vigor. When God's people see the great need of working as Christ worked for the conversion of sinners, the testimonies borne by them in the Sabbath service will be filled with power. With joy they will tell of the precious experience they have gained in working for others.
Our ministers are not to spend their time laboring for those who have already accepted the truth. With Christ's love burning in their hearts, they are to go forth to win sinners to the Saviour. Beside all waters they are to sow the seed of truth. Place after place is to be visited; church after church is to be raised up. Those who take their stand for the truth are to be organized into churches, and then the minister is to pass on to other equally important fields.
Just as soon as a church is organized, let the minister set the members to work. They will need to be taught how to labor successfully. Let the minister devote more of this time to educating than to preaching. Let him teach the people how to give to others the knowledge they have received. While the new converts should be taught to ask counsel from those more experienced in the work, they should also be taught not to put the minister in the place of God. Ministers are but human beings, men compassed with infirmities. Christ is the One to whom we are to look for guidance. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, . . . full of grace and truth." "And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace." John 1:14, 16.
The power of the gospel is to come upon the companies raised up, fitting them for service. Some of the new converts will be so filled with the power of God that they will at once enter the work. They will labor so diligently that they will have neither time nor disposition to weaken the hands of their brethren by unkind criticism. Their one desire will be to carry the truth to the regions beyond.
The Lord has presented before me the work that must be done in our cities. The believers in these cities can work for God in the neighborhood of their homes. They are to labor quietly and in humility, carrying with them wherever they go the atmosphere of heaven. If they keep self out of sight, pointing always to Christ, the power of their influence will be felt.
As a worker gives himself unreservedly to the service of the Lord, he gains an experience that enables him to labor more and more successfully for the Master. The influence that drew him to Christ helps him to draw others to Christ. The work of a public speaker may never be laid upon him; but he is none the less a minister for God; and his work testifies that he is born of God.
It is not the Lord's purpose that ministers should be left to do the greatest part of the work of sowing the seeds of truth. Men who are not called to be ministers are to be encouraged to labor for the Master according to their several ability. Hundreds of men and women now idle could do acceptable service. By carrying the truth into the homes of their friends and neighbors, they could do a great work for the Master. God is no respecter of persons. He will use humble, devoted Christians, even if they have not received so thorough an education as some others. Let such ones engage in service for him, by doing house-to-house work. Sitting by the fireside, they can--if humble, discreet, and godly--do more to meet the real needs of families than could an ordained minister. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #14)
[Compiler's Note.--During the few years following 1844, the great truths that now distinguish Seventh-day Adventists from other Christian bodies, were rapidly unfolding. The minds of the believers were absorbed in points of doctrine that required earnest study, and in the problems connected with the launching of a great religious movement. It is not surprising, therefore, that the health reform and medical missionary features of our denominational work were not at once fully developed. The earliest believers, in common with the general public, had very little technical knowledge of the remedial value of fresh air, sunshine, water, exercise, and a wholesome diet. Yet this early period of our denominational history was a time of preparation for a broader evangelistic work that should unite teaching with healing.
From the first, the faithful band of commandment keepers took a firm and uncompromising position against the use of intoxicating liquor. In this reformatory movement, they had a faithful leader in Capt. Joseph Bates, with whose remarkable experience in abandoning the use of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, and coffee, many of the readers of the Review are familiar.
Regarding the progressive nature of the health movement among Seventh-day Adventists, Elder James White wrote in the Health Reformer for April, 1871:--
"This reform among us has been progressive. Our attention was first called to the injurious influence of tea, coffee, and tobacco about twenty years since. For thirteen long years the voice of truth, pleading in the name of Christian temperance, . . . was heard among us, calling our people to leave these slow poisons, before our attention was called to further advance, reformatory steps in habits of life. This was all we could then bear, till victory should turn in favor of purity and health, and against these popular evils. The good work went steadily on, until our tables were cleared of tea and coffee, and our homes and our persons were free from the stench of tobacco. . . .
"But the good work of reform among us by no means ceased with the victories gained over tea, coffee, and tobacco. About seven years since, the attention of our people was especially turned to the subject of ventilation, in order to secure all the benefits to be derived from pure air and proper food and clothing as important to health. The question of meat eating came up, and was candidly and fully discussed. It was decided that flesh was less nutritious than bread. This opinion is not only sustained by the best medical authorities in our country and in Europe, but by the experience of thousands who have tested the matter for periods of from five to twenty years."
The general movement among Seventh-day Adventists along the lines of healthful living was greatly broadened and strengthened near the close of the Civil War. While Elder James White and his wife were spending Sabbath and Sunday, June 6 and 7, 1863, in Otsego, Mich., where a tent meeting was being conducted by Elders M. E. Cornell and R. J. Lawrence, Sister White was given a vision in which she received instruction regarding the scope and importance of the health reform movement.
The counsels given at that time were plain and definite. The following extracts from this vision on health, as published in 1864, in "Spiritual Gifts," Vol. IV, chap. 39 ("Facts of Faith," part 2, pages 120-151), will reveal the general spirit of the message given.]
Adam and Eve in Eden were noble in stature, and perfect in symmetry and beauty. They were sinless, and in perfect health. What a contrast to the human race now! Beauty is gone. Perfect health is not known. Everywhere we look we see disease, deformity, and imbecility. . . . Since the fall, intemperance in almost every form has existed. The appetite has controlled reason. The human family have followed in a course of disobedience, and, like Eve, have been beguiled by Satan to disregard the prohibitions God has made, flattering themselves that the consequence would not be as fearful as had been apprehended. The human family have violated the laws of health, and have run to excess in almost everything. Disease has been steadily increasing. The cause has been followed by the effect.
God gave our first parents the food he designed that the race should eat. It was contrary to his plan to have the life of any creature taken. There was to be no death in Eden. The fruit of the trees in the garden was the food man's wants required. God gave man no permission to eat animal food until after the flood. . . .
The people who lived before the flood ate animal food, and gratified their lusts until their cup of iniquity was full, and God cleansed the earth of its moral pollution by a flood. . . . Since the flood, as the human family have forgotten God, and have followed in a course of disobedience, and have transgressed his commandments, the curse has rested heavier and heavier upon men and upon the beasts. . . .
Many marvel that the human race has so degenerated, physically, mentally, and morally. They do not understand that it is the violation of God's constitution and laws and the violation of the laws of health that have produced this sad degeneracy. The transgression of God's commandments has caused his prospering hand to be removed. Intemperance in eating and in drinking, and the indulgence of base passions, have benumbed the fine sensibilities, so that sacred things have been placed upon a level with common things. . . .
God prohibited the Hebrews the use of swine's flesh because it is hurtful. It fills the system with humors, and in that warm climate often produced leprosy. Its influence upon the system in that climate was far more injurious than in a colder climate. But God never designed the swine to be eaten, under any circumstances . . . . Other animals were forbidden to be eaten by the Israelites, because they were not the best articles of food. . . .
Tobacco, in whatever form it is used, tells upon the constitution. It is a slow poison. If affects the brain and benumbs the sensibilities, so that the mind cannot clearly discern spiritual things. . . .
Tea and coffee are stimulating. Their effects are similar to those of tobacco; but they affect in a less degree. . . . To just the degree that the nervous system is excited by false stimulants, will be the prostration which will follow after the influence of the exciting cause has abated. This prostration may in time be overcome by abstaining from the use of those things which created such a condition in the system. Those who indulge a perverted appetite, do it to the injury of health and intellect. They cannot appreciate the value of spiritual things. Their sensibilities are blunted, and sin does not appear very sinful, and truth is not regarded of greater value than earthly treasure.
There is a class who profess to believe the truth, who do not use tobacco, snuff, tea, or coffee, yet are guilty of gratifying the appetite in a different manner. They crave highly seasoned meats, with rich gravies, and their appetite has become so perverted that they cannot be satisfied with even meat, unless prepared in a manner most injurious. . . .
When drugs are introduced into the system, for a time they may seem to have a beneficial effect. A change may take place, but the disease is not cured. . . . There are more who die from the use of drugs than all who would have died of disease had nature been left to do her own work. . . .
I have been shown that a great amount of suffering might be saved if all would labor to prevent disease, by strictly obeying the laws of health. . . . Many have expected that God would keep them from sickness merely because they have asked him to do so. But God did not regard their prayers because their faith was not made perfect by works. God will not work a miracle to keep those from sickness who have no care for themselves, but are continually violating the laws of health, and make no effort to prevent disease. When we do all we can on our part to have health, then may we expect that the blessed results will follow, and we can ask God in faith to bless our efforts for the preservation of health. He will then answer our prayer, if his name can be glorified thereby. But let all understand that they have a work to do. God will not work in a miraculous manner to preserve the health of persons who are taking a sure course to make themselves sick, by their careless inattention to the laws of health. . . .
In order to preserve health, temperance in all things is necessary,--temperance in labor, temperance in eating and drinking. . . . The body, which God calls his temple, should be preserved in as healthy a condition as possible. . . . God requires his people to be laborers together with him. He requires them to "abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul," and present their "bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God," which is the only service he will accept from reasonable mortals. Jesus has stooped very low in order to reach man in his low estate. And God requires of man to make earnest efforts, and deny self, that he may preserve his vigor of mind, and elevate himself, and imitate the example of him in whom was no guile. Then will he be benefited with the atonement of Christ. As the Lord bade faithful Noah before the flood, "Come thou and all thy house into the ark," he will, previous to the time of trouble, say to his faithful saints, who have been preparing for translation, "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast."
(Vol. 91, #15)
[Compiler's Note.--"Our people are generally waking up to the subject of health," wrote Elder James White in an editorial in the Review, Dec. 13, 1864, "and they should have publications on the subject to meet their present wants, at prices within reach of the poorest." He announced the early issuance of a series of pamphlets, under the general title, "Health; or How to Live."
The strong conviction of Elder and Mrs. White that the reforms to be outlined in these pamphlets were of great importance, is thus expressed in a note in the Review (Jan. 24, 1865), calling attention to the publication of the first of the series:--
"We wish to call the attention of the brethren everywhere to these works, prepared with especial care, on the important subject of a reform in our manners of life, which is greatly needed, and, as we view it, will surely be accomplished in whatever people find themselves at last prepared for translation."
During the first five months of 1865 this series was completed. These health pamphlets, six in number, contained articles from Sister White on "Disease and Its Causes," and on allied subjects, and many extracts from the writings of various physicians and others interested in health reform principles. Hygienic recipes were included, also hints on the use of water as a remedial agency. The harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee, spices, and other stimulants and narcotics, were further emphasized.
The winter of 1864-65 was a time of stress and trial. While uniting with his wife in the preparation of health matter for publication, Elder James White found it necessary to labor untiringly in behalf of Sabbath keepers who were being drafted for service in the army. This work was attended with perplexity and anxiety, and drew heavily on his sympathies, besides overtaxing his physical strength. The administrative cares of the General Conference held in May, 1865, added to his weariness.
Worn with the labors of writing and publishing, and of looking after many interests connected with the general work, Elder White and his wife were, nevertheless, given no rest. Immediately after the Conference session, they were called to Wisconsin and Iowa, where they endured many hardships. Soon after their return to Michigan, Elder White was stricken with partial paralysis.
An account of these afflictions, and of the impetus they indirectly brought to the health reform movement a few months later, is given by Sister White in the issues of the Review dated Feb. 20 and Feb. 27, 1866, a portion of which appears below.
This story, as prepared for publication, has been read by Sister White, and a few editorial changes from the original have been made.]
At the close of the General Conference we found ourselves excessively exhausted in physical and mental strength; yet duty seemed to urge us West; and we dared not remain at home. We had not for years past consulted our own ease and pleasure, and God had sustained us. Would he not sustain us now? We thought it the safest course to venture, and, summoning all the energy we could, we started on our journey.
We attended meetings in Wisconsin, and went to the farthest limit of our strength. Our diet was not such as would nourish. . . .
We felt it to be our duty to visit Iowa before returning to Michigan. We had no knowledge of the rebellion of ____ and ____, but felt that there was a work for us to do in that State. We first heard of the rebellion on our way to Pilot Grove, Iowa, only a few hours before we met its leaders face to face in the meetinghouse. We labored with intensity of feeling to save the poor sheep who had been wounded and torn and left bleeding by these unfaithful shepherds. Our efforts were crowned with success. While engaged in meeting opposition, falsehood, and insult, prejudice and jealousy, we had thought little of our health. The blessed results that followed our labors, cheered us amid the gloom which we felt as we beheld what these two shepherds had accomplished in their dreadful work of tearing to pieces the flock of God.
Our overtaxing labors in Iowa told upon the strength of my husband. His labors in meeting this rebellion were of such a nature as to arouse his zeal, and lead him beyond what prudent consideration for his health would have allowed. If, on his return home, he could have had a period of entire rest, and entire freedom from anxiety and care, he would have recovered from the effects of that journey. But the work that these false ministers had been doing for months in preparing for a determined rebellion, . . . made it necessary for us to write again, to save the honest from being deceived. . . .
When the time came to fill our appointment in Memphis, we needed rest of body and mind. For months we had been under a constant strain. Our nights were spent in broken sleep, because of bodily infirmities. Yet we spurred up our exhausted energies, arose at midnight, walked about a mile to the railway station, and stepped on board the train which was to take us to Detroit. At Ridgeway, we were obliged to wait about two hours for the arrival of a train from the East, before the stage would leave for Memphis. My husband lay down upon a bench in the station, and slept for about fifteen minutes, and this relieved his weariness in a measure. We rode about seven miles, to Brother Gurney's, and obtained some rest and sleep, to prepare us to attend the evening appointment.
The meetings in Memphis called for strenuous labor, and while in attendance my husband performed an amount of labor sufficient for two men possessing a good degree of strength. His vital energies were exceedingly depressed, yet his zeal in the cause of God urged him on presumptuously to exhaust, by overwork, the little strength that remained.
Our meetings closed on Sunday evening, after eleven o'clock. We retired after midnight, and arose at daybreak to take the stage for the cars. The cars missed connection, and we did not reach home till past midnight.
My husband slept but little that night, and would not be prevailed upon to rest the next day. He thought his business required him at the office. Night found him exhausted, and his sleep was broken and unrefreshing; yet we arose in the morning at five o'clock to take our usual walk before breakfast. We stepped into Brother Lunt's garden, and while my husband attempted to open an ear of corn, I heard a strange noise. Looking up, I saw his face flushed, and his right arm hanging helpless at his side. His attempt to raise his right arm was ineffectual--the muscles refused to obey the will.
I helped him into the house, but he could not speak to me until in the house he indistinctly uttered the words, "Pray, pray." We dropped on our knees and cried to God, who had ever been to us a present help in time of trouble. My husband soon uttered words of praise and gratitude to God, because he could use his arm. His hand was partially restored, but not fully. . . .
My husband and I felt the need of drawing near to God. And as by confession and prayer we drew near to God, we had the blessed assurance that he drew near to us. How unspeakably precious was the sense of God's boundless mercy toward us, his afflicted children! The stroke that had fallen upon my husband might have been fatal, or left him with one half of his body palsied and dead. We wept for joy, that amid our affliction the care of God was toward us. The mighty Maker of the world--the omnipotent Ruler of the universe, was our Father! Precious, exceedingly precious, were these seasons of communion with God! Much of the time my husband was happy in the Lord. Day and night, the praise of God was upon his lips, and the sick room was truly a heavenly place. (To be continued.)
(Vol. 91, #16)
The first five weeks of our affliction we spent at our own home. For wise purposes our Heavenly Father did not see fit to raise my husband to immediate health in answer to our earnest prayers, although he seemed preciously near to comfort and sustain us by his Holy Spirit.
We had confidence in the use of water as one of God's appointed remedies, but no confidence in drugs. But my own vital energies were too much exhausted for me to attempt to use hydropathic remedies in my husband's case. His wearing labors had long been bringing about the breakdown, and could we expect God to work a miracle to heal him without our using the means or agencies he had provided? As there was no one in Battle Creek who dared take the responsibility of administering water in my husband's case, we felt that it might be duty to take him to Dansville, N. Y., where he could rest, and where we could have the care of those well skilled as hydropathic physicians. We dared not follow our own judgment, but asked counsel of God, and after prayerful consideration of the matter, decided to go. My husband endured the journey well, much better than we had feared.
We remained in Dansville about three months. We obtained a room a short distance from the institution. Our accommodations were by no means pleasant; our room was small, and the sun visited it but a few minutes in the morning. Yet we did not feel this as we should had we been confined to our room. We were both able to walk out and be in the open air much of the time. Every day, except Sabbath and First day, we took treatment, and this did not leave much time for us to be in our room.
Some may have thought that when we went to Dansville and placed ourselves under the care of physicians, we had given up our faith that God would raise my husband to health in answer to prayer. But not so. While we did not feel like despising the means that God had placed in our reach for the recovery of health, we felt that God was above all, and that he who had provided water as his agent, would have us use it to assist abused nature to recover her exhausted energies. We believed that God would bless the efforts we were making in the direction of health. We did not doubt that God could work a miracle, and in a moment restore to health and vigor. But should he do this, would we not be in danger of again transgressing,--abusing our strength by prolonged, intemperate labor,--and thus bring upon ourselves even a worse condition of things?
If we violate the laws of our being, we must pay the penalty. Suffering, more or less severe, will follow every violation of nature's laws. But when we repent of our transgressions, and earnestly begin the work of reform; when we do all that we can to redeem our errors, by placing ourselves in the best possible condition to regain the strength we have lost, then we are in a position where we can exercise faith in God, and ask him to do for us that which we cannot do for ourselves. Thus we may rely upon God's promises, believing that his power will repair even nature's broken-down machinery, and will place us where we can labor in the cause of God more understandingly, wisely preserving the strength given us, instead of crippling it by excessive labor.
We went to Dansville for rest of body and mind. And although we expected to hear and see that which we could not receive and unite in, yet these things, notwithstanding our efforts to the contrary, excited our minds more or less; and during the long, wakeful nights we compared the life of Christ, and his teachings in regard to what constitutes a Christian, with the teachings on this point set forth at the Dansville institution; and we could not harmonize them. . . .
When we left Battle Creek for Dansville, we did not feel that in order to regain health we must leave our religion behind. We felt that if ever we needed the consolation of faith and hope, it was in our time of severe affliction. Three times a day we had special seasons of prayer for the Lord to restore my husband to health, and for his special grace to sustain us in our affliction. These seasons of prayer were very precious to us. Our hearts were often filled with unspeakable gratitude that it was our privilege to call God our Father; that in our affliction we had a Heavenly Father in whom we could trust without fear,--One who was acquainted with all our distresses, and who had invited us in our helplessness and affliction to lean upon his strong arm for strength and support.
My husband could obtain little rest or sleep at night. He suffered from extreme nervousness. . . . He required almost constant care, and the Lord gave me strength according to my need. I was wonderfully sustained. Many a night when my husband was suffering with pain, unable to rest or sleep, I left my bed at midnight, and bowing before God, earnestly entreated him to grant us this token of his love and care--that my husband might realize the soothing influence of his Holy Spirit, and find rest in sleep.. For ten nights in succession, when it was otherwise impossible for him to rest or sleep, we were granted evidence that God heard us pray, and my husband would drop into a quiet sleep. We frequently felt a refreshing from the presence of God, and our Saviour seemed so precious that we praised God aloud without fear or restraint. And as we awoke refreshed in the morning, our first moments of wakefulness were generally spent in praise to God for the blessing of rest and sleep.
My husband was of good courage nearly all the time he was at Dansville, although he was a great sufferer. During the last few weeks that we were there, we had better rooms, in a much more pleasant home, than we had previously occupied. Our rooms were now on the first floor, which made quite a difference in my labor, as heretofore I had been obliged to ascend a flight of stairs. . . .
November 26, at our season of prayer in the morning, we were led out to pray fervently that God would especially bless my husband, and give him a large measure of his Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God rested upon us; we were especially revived and strengthened in the Lord, and we united our voices in praise to God. . . . The twenty-sixth of November was a cheerful, happy day for me. I felt the peace of God abiding upon me, and that night spent much of the time in prayer to God for my husband.
November 27, Elder Loughborough came into our room, and united with us in family prayer. We all had an unusual spirit of supplication. Heaven seemed very near. We felt the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of God; not a cloud intervened between us and our Saviour. Unspeakable gratitude filled our hearts, and we could not hold our peace. We shouted the high praise of God for his rich blessing, which we prized more highly than any earthly treasure. How rich, how exceedingly precious, seemed the promises of God! We could thank him for affliction. For more than an hour we could only rejoice and triumph in God. Especially did my afflicted husband share largely in this shower of grace. His countenance, though emaciated by disease, was radiant with a holy light as he praised God with a loud voice. Angels of God seemed to be all around us. I thought that the time had come when my husband, in the strength of God, would rise above disease and triumph in his saving power. The influence of this heavenly refreshing seemed to abide with us many days. But we had to learn that the time for our deliverance had not yet come; that this great blessing was to prepare us for still greater trials.
(Vol. 91, #17)
Dec. 4, 1865, my husband passed a restless night of suffering. I prayed by his bedside as usual, but the Lord was not pleased to send relief. My husband was troubled in mind. He thought that he might go down into the grave. He stated that death had no terrors for him. . . .
I felt intensely over the matter. I did not believe for a moment that my husband would die. But how was he to be inspired with faith to feel and say, "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord"? That night was the most distressing I had experienced during his illness. I did not sleep, but pondered in regard to our future course. Previous to this night I had not thought of immediately leaving Dansville.
I saw that the courage, hope, and buoyancy of spirit which had sustained my husband were failing. I had been remarkably enabled to endure anxiety, and the care of him during his sickness. He was considerate of my health and strength; yet his case required constant care. I knew that no one at Dansville could take my place; and I had so long had the burden and care of his case that I could not leave for others that which I had regarded not only a duty but a privilege to do for my afflicted husband. I did not consider this a task; it was to me a privilege. I had been nearly all my life an invalid, and tenderly and patiently had my husband sympathized with, watched over, and cared for me when I was suffering. Now my turn had come to repay in a small measure the attention and kind offices I had received from him. And, again, I felt such a degree of the peace of God, and the consolation of his Spirit in the happy performance of my duty, that I could say from the heart that I would not exchange the blessings and the experience I had obtained during the past six months for those of the same length of time in any former period of my life.
I feared that I could not long endure being so much deprived of sleep. Taking treatment was an additional tax upon my strength; and if I failed, where would my husband drop? Who would care for him as I had done? . . .
My husband was losing flesh and strength every day. I thought of our large and convenient house at Battle Creek, with its high and airy rooms, and I asked myself, Would we not make more rapid progress toward health were we in our own home? I thought of the large reservoir of hot water upon our stove, ready for use at any time; of our immense cistern of soft water; our filter in the cellar, and our bathroom. But all these conveniences had but little weight in my mind compared with my anxiety to get my husband, while I could, among his tried brethren, who knew him, who had been benefited by his labors, and who were acquainted with the perseverance and zeal with which he had toiled to do the work of God, that he might be found at his post. His faithful brethren could sympathize with him, and help him by their prayers and faith.
I prayed God to guide me, and not suffer me to take one wrong step, but to give me wisdom to choose the right course. The more earnestly I prayed, the stronger was my conviction that I must take my husband among his brethren, even if we should again return to Dansville. It seemed advisable to take him to Rochester, thus trying the effect of the journey, and if this proved beneficial, to go still farther, even to Battle Creek, after a short stay at Rochester. . . .
In the morning Dr. Lay called, and I told him that unless there should be a decided improvement in the case of my husband in two or three weeks, at most, I should take him home. He answered, "You cannot take him home; he is not able to endure such a journey." I answered, "I shall go; I shall take my husband by faith, relying upon God, and shall make Rochester my first point, tarry there a few days, and then go on to Detroit, and, if necessary, tarry there a few days to rest, and then go on to Battle Creek." This is the first intimation my husband had of my intentions. He said not a word. . . . That evening we packed our trunks, and before nine o'clock were all ready for an early start the next morning. . . .
During the three weeks that we were in Rochester, much of the time was spent in prayer. My husband proposed sending to Maine for Elder J. N. Andrews, to Olcott for Brother and Sister Lindsay, and to Roosevelt, requesting those who had faith in God and felt it their duty, to come and pray for him. These friends came in answer to his call, and for ten days we had special and earnest seasons of prayer. All who engaged in these seasons of prayer were greatly blessed. They felt a burden of prayer, not only for my husband, but in their own behalf. With brokenness of spirit, with their faces bathed in tears, these servants of God entreated that a deep work of grace might be wrought in their own hearts. Shouts of victory and praise to God ascended to heaven for a token of love and acceptance. I never enjoyed greater freedom in prayer. We had the assurance that our petitions were heard. We were often so refreshed with heavenly showers of grace that we could say, "My cup runneth over." We could weep and praise God for his rich salvation. . . .
Those who came from Roosevelt were soon obliged to return to their homes. Brother Andrews and Brother and Sister Lindsay remained. We continued our earnest supplications to Heaven. It seemed to be a struggle with the powers of darkness. Sometimes the trembling faith of my husband would grasp the promises of God, and sweet and precious was the victory then enjoyed. Then again his mind seemed depressed, and too weak to hold the victory he had gained.
Each season of prayer increased in interest, and all who took part felt blessed in their efforts to draw near to God,and to pray for my husband. Brother Andrews especially felt the burden of the case, and labored earnestly in faith, while the power of the Holy Spirit seemed to indite prayer. Every member of our family consecrated himself anew to God. Our dear children united with us in this work of consecration. . . . I felt the assurance that we should come forth purified from the furnace of affliction.
Once, at the house of Brother Andrews, while engaged in a season of prayer, I felt like presenting my case to the Lord, entreating him to give me health of body and strength of mind. All present made my case a special; subject of prayer. I felt a sweet peace and rest in God. A heavenly atmosphere pervaded the room. The Lord heard prayer in my behalf, and I found relief from physical ailments.
Christmas evening, as we were humbling ourselves before God and earnestly pleading for deliverance, the light of Heaven seemed to shine upon us, and I was wrapt in a vision of God's glory. It seemed that I was borne quickly from earth to heaven, where all was health, beauty, and glory. Strains of music fell upon my ear, melodious, perfect, and entrancing. I was permitted to enjoy this scene awhile before my attention was called to this dark world. Then my attention was called to things taking place upon this earth.
My husband then proposed our returning to Battle Creek the next week. . . . We were prospered on our journey. . . On the arrival of the train at Battle Creek, we were met by several of our faithful brethren, who received us gladly. . . . My husband rested well through the night. The next Sabbath, although feeble, he walked to the meetinghouse and spoke for about three quarters of an hour. We also attended the communion season in the evening. The Lord strengthened him as he walked out upon faith. . . .
I believed, without a doubt, in the perfect and entire restoration of my husband to health. The Lord is for us, praise his holy name! Although Satan tried to press us sore, yet help has been laid upon One that is mightier than he, and in the name of Jesus, our great Deliverer, we knew we should come off conquerors.
(Vol. 91, #18)
[Compiler's Note:--It was during the sojourn of Elder James White and wife with tried friends at Rochester, N. Y., soon after their departure from the Dansville (N. Y.) Health Home, that counsel was received regarding the duty of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination to establish a health institution. There had not been a general and hearty response to the light on health reform that had been given in the vision at Otsego, Mich., June, 1863, and the people were now called upon to make a decided advance in the adoption of health principles and in the undertaking of gospel medical missionary work. In these counsels are outlined many of the truths that lie at the very foundation of all medical missionary endeavor, whether in the individual life practice, or by medical evangelists in mission fields and in our medical institutions. The instruction contained in the articles to follow is, therefore, of general interest to all.]
In the vision given me in Rochester, N. Y., Dec. 25, 1865, I was shown that our Sabbath keeping people have been negligent in acting upon the light which God has given in regard to the health reform; that there is yet a great work before us; and that, as a people, we have been too backward to follow in God's opening providence, as he has chosen to lead us.
I was shown that the work of health reform has scarcely been entered upon yet. While some feel deeply, and act out their faith in the work, others remain indifferent, and have scarcely taken the first step in reform. There seems to be in them a heart of unbelief, and as this reform restricts the lustful appetite, many shrink back. . . .
The health reform, I was shown, is a part of the third angel's message, and is just as closely connected with it as are the arm and hand with the human body. I saw that as a people we must make an advance move in this great work. Ministers and people must act in concert. God's people are not prepared for the loud cry of the third angel. They have a work to do for themselves which they should not leave for God to do for them. He has left this work for them to do. It is an individual work; one cannot do it for another. "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.". . .
In order to be fitted for translation, the people of God must know themselves. They must understand in regard to their own physical frames, that they may be able with the psalmist to exclaim, "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." They should ever have the appetite in subjection. . . . The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body.
I was shown that there is a much greater work before us than we as yet have any idea of, if we would insure health by placing ourselves in the right relation to life. . . . Shall those who are "looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works," be behind the religionists of the day who have no faith in the soon appearing of our Saviour? The peculiar people whom he is purifying unto himself, to be translated to heaven without seeing death, should not be behind others in good works. In their efforts to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, they should be as far ahead of any other class of people on the earth as their profession is more exalted than that of others.
Some have sneered at this work of reform, and have said it was all unnecessary; that it was an excitement to divert minds from present truth. They have said that matters were being carried to extremes. Such do not know what they are talking about. While men and women professing godliness are diseased from the crown of their head to the soles of their feet, while their physical, mental, and moral energies are enfeebled through gratification of depraved appetite and excessive labor, how can they weigh the evidences of truth, and comprehend the requirements of God? If their moral and intellectual faculties are beclouded, they cannot appreciate the value of the atonement or the exalted character of the work of God, nor delight in the study of his Word. . . .
I saw that our Heavenly Father has bestowed upon us the great blessing of light upon the health reform, that we may obey the claims which he has upon us, and glorify him in our bodies and spirits, which are his, and finally stand without fault before the throne of God. Our faith requires us to elevate the standard, and take advance steps. While many question the course pursued by other health reformers, they, as reasonable men, should do something themselves. Our race is in a deplorable condition, suffering from disease of every description. Many have inherited disease, and are great sufferers because of the wrong habits of their parents; and yet they pursue the same wrong course in regard to themselves and their children which was pursued toward them. They are ignorant in regard to themselves. They are sick, and do not know that their own wrong habits are causing them immense suffering.
There are but few as yet who are aroused sufficiently to understand how much their habits of diet have to do with their health, their characters, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny. I saw that it is the duty of those who have received the light from heaven, and have realized the benefit of walking in it, to manifest a greater interest for those who are still suffering for want of knowledge. Sabbath keepers who are looking for the soon appearing of their Saviour should be the last to manifest a lack of interest in this great work of reform. Men and women must be instructed, and ministers and people should feel that the burden of the work rests upon them to agitate the subject, and urge it home upon others. . . .
Our people should have an institution of their own, under their own control, for the benefit of the diseased and suffering among us, who wish to have health and strength that they may glorify God in their bodies and spirits, which are his. . . .
As the health of invalids improves under judicious treatment, and they begin to enjoy life, they have confidence in those who have been instrumental in their restoration to health. Their hearts are filled with gratitude, and the good seed of truth will the more readily find a lodgment there, and in some cases will be nourished, spring up, and bear fruit to the glory of God. One such precious soul saved will be worth more than all the means needed to establish such an institution. Some will not have enough moral courage to yield to their convictions. They may be convinced that Sabbath keepers have the truth, but the world and unbelieving relatives stand in the way of their receiving it. They cannot bring their minds to the point to sacrifice all for Christ. Yet some of this last-mentioned class will go away with their prejudice removed, and will stand as defenders of the faith of Seventh-day Adventists. Some who go away restored or greatly benefited will be the means of introducing our faith in new places, and raising the standard of truth where it would have been impossible to gain access had not prejudice been first removed from minds by a tarry among our people for the object of gaining health.
Others will prove a source of trial as they go to their homes. Yet this should not discourage any, nor hinder them in their efforts in this good work. Satan and his agents will do all they can to hinder, to perplex, and to bring burdens upon those who heartily engage in the work of advancing this reform.
There is a liberal supply of means among our people, and if all felt the importance of the work, this great enterprise could be carried forward without embarrassment. All should feel a special interest in sustaining it. Especially should those who have means invest in this enterprise. . . .
Many who profess the truth are growing close and covetous. They need to be alarmed for themselves. . . . There is now a good opportunity for them to use their means for the benefit of suffering humanity, and also for the advancement of the truth. This enterprise should never be left to struggle in poverty. These stewards to whom God has intrusted means should now come up to the work and use their means to his glory. . . .
Those to whom God has intrusted means should provide a fund to be used for the benefit of the worthy poor who are sick and not able to defray the expenses of receiving treatment at the institution. There are some precious, worthy poor whose influence has been a benefit to the cause of God. A fund should be raised to be used for the express purpose of treating such of the poor as the church where they reside shall decide are worthy to be benefited. Unless those who have an abundance give for this object, without calling for returns, the poor will be unable to avail themselves of the benefits derived from the treatment of disease at such an institution, where so much means is required for the labor bestowed. Such an institution should not in its infancy, while struggling to live, become embarrassed by a constant expenditure of means without realizing any returns.
(Vol. 91, #19)
In the vision given me Dec. 25, 1865, I saw that the health reform was a great enterprise, closely connected with the present truth, and that Seventh-day Adventists should have a home for the sick, where they could be treated for their diseases, and also learn how to take care of themselves so as to prevent sickness.
I saw that our people should not remain indifferent upon this subject, and leave the rich among us to go to the popular water cure institutions of the country for the recovery of health, where they would find opposition to, rather than sympathy with, their views of religious faith. Those who are reduced by disease, suffer not only for want of physical but also of mental and moral strength; and afflicted, conscientious Sabbath keepers cannot receive as much benefit where they feel that they must be constantly guarded lest they compromise their faith and dishonor their profession, as at an institution whose physicians and conductors are in sympathy with the truths connected with the third angel's message. . . .
I saw that a very extensive work could not be accomplished in a short time, as it would not be an easy matter to find physicians whom God could approve, and who would work together harmoniously, disinterestedly, and zealously for the good of suffering humanity. It should ever be kept prominent that the great object to be attained through this channel is not only health, but perfection and the spirit of holiness, which cannot be attained with diseased bodies and minds. This object cannot be secured by working merely from a worldling's standpoint. God will raise up men and qualify them to engage in the work, not only as physicians of the body, but of the sin-sick soul, as spiritual fathers to the young and inexperienced. . . .
As to the extent of the accommodations of the Health Institute, . . . I was shown, as I have before stated, that we should have such an institution, small at its commencement, and cautiously increased, as good physicians and helpers could be procured and means raised, and as the wants of invalids should demand; and all should be conducted in strict accordance with the principles and humble spirit of the third angel's message. And as I have seen the large calculations hastily urged by those who have taken a leading part in the work, I have felt alarmed, and in many private conversations and in letters I have warned these brethren to move cautiously. My reasons for this are that without the special blessing of God, there are several ways in which this enterprise might be hindered, for a time at least, any one of which would be detrimental to the institution, and an injury to the cause. Should the physicians fail, through sickness, death, or any other cause, to fill their places, the work would be hindered till others were raised up; or should means fail to come in when extensive buildings were in process of erection, and the work stop, capital would be sunk, and a general discouragement would come over all interested; also there might be a lack of patients to occupy present accommodations, consequently a lack of means to meet present expenses. With all the efforts in every department, put forth in a correct and judicious manner, and with the blessing of God, the institution will prove a glorious success, while a single failure in any one direction might sooner or later prove a great injury. . . .
The health reform is closely connected with the work of the third message, yet it is not the message. Our preachers should teach the health reform, yet they should not make this the leading theme in the place of the message. Its place is among those subjects which set forth the preparatory work to meet the events brought to view by the message; among these it is prominent. . . . Our people should furnish means to meet the wants of a growing Health Institute among us, as they are able to do without giving less for the other wants of the cause. Let the health reform and the Health Institute grow up among us as other worthy enterprises have grown, taking into the account our feeble strength in the past, and our greater ability to do much in a short period of time now. Let the Health Institute grow, as other interests among us have grown, as fast as it can safely, and not cripple other branches of the great work which are of equal or greater importance at this time. . . .
The health reform is a branch of the special work of God for the benefit of his people. I saw that in an institution established among us, the greatest danger would be of its managers departing from the spirit of the present truth, and from that simplicity which should ever characterize the disciples of Christ. A warning was given me against lowering the standard of truth in any way in such an institution, in order to help the feelings of unbelievers, and thus secure their patronage. The great object of receiving unbelievers into the institution is to lead them to embrace the truth. If the standard is lowered, they will get the impression that the truth is of little importance, and they will go away in a state of mind harder of access than before. . . .
God would have a health institution established which will in its influence be closely connected with the closing work for mortals fitting for immortality; one that will have no tendency to weaken the religious principles of old or young, and which will not improve the health of the body to the detriment of spiritual growth. The great object of this institution should be to improve the health of the body, that the afflicted may more highly appreciate eternal things. If this object is not continually set before the mind, and efforts are not made to this end, it will prove a curse instead of a blessing, spirituality will be regarded as a secondary thing, and the health of the body and diversion will be made primary.
(Vol. 91, #20)
In former numbers of "Testimonies for the Church," I have spoken of the importance of Seventh-day Adventists establishing an institution for the benefit of the sick, especially for the suffering and sick among us. I have spoken of the ability of our people, in point of means, to do this; and have urged that, in view of the importance of this branch of the great work of preparation to meet the Lord with gladness of heart, our people should feel themselves called upon, according to their ability, to put a portion of their means into such an institution. . . .
I had taken great interest in the health reform, and had high hopes of the prosperity of the Health Institute. I felt, as no other one could feel, the responsibility of speaking to my brethren and sisters in the name of the Lord concerning this institution and their duty to furnish necessary means, and I watched the progress of the work with intense interest and anxiety. When I saw those who managed and directed, running into the dangers shown me, of which I had warned them in public, and also in private conversation and letters, a terrible burden came upon me. That which had been shown me as a place where the suffering sick among us could be helped, was one where sacrifice, hospitality, faith, and piety should be the ruling principles. But when unqualified calls were made for large sums of money, with the statement that stock taken would pay large per cent; when the brethren who occupied positions in the institution seemed more than willing to take larger wages than those were satisfied with who filled other and equally important stations in the great cause of truth and reform; when I learned, with pain, that, in order to make the institution popular with those not of our faith, and to secure their patronage, a spirit of compromise was rapidly gaining ground at the Institute, . . . when I saw these things, I said, This is not that which was shown me as an institution for the sick, which would share the signal blessing of God. This is another thing.
And yet calculations for more extensive buildings were made, and calls for large sums of money were urged. As it was then managed, I could not but regard the Institute, on the whole, as a curse. Although some were benefited healthwise, the influence on the church at Battle Creek and upon brethren and sisters who visited the Institute was so bad as to overbalance all the good that was done; and this influence was reaching churches in this and other States, and was terribly destructive to faith in God and in the present truth. Several who came to Battle Creek humble, devoted, confiding Christians, went away almost infidels. The general influence of these things was creating prejudice against the health reform in very many of the most humble, the most devoted, and the best of our brethren, and was destroying faith in my Testimonies and in the present truth. . . .
The brethren who have stood at the head of this work have appealed to our people for means, on the ground that the health reform is a part of the great work connected with the third angel's message. In this they have been right. It is a branch of the great, charitable, liberal, sacrificing, benevolent work of God. . . .
In what I have been shown and what I have said, I received no other idea, and designed to give no other, than that the raising of funds for this branch of the work was to be a matter of liberality, the same as for the support of other branches of the great work. . . .
The friends of humanity, of truth and holiness, should act in reference to the Institute on the plan of sacrifice and liberality. . . . Let the donations come in as needed; let the sums, small and large, come in. Let means be expended judiciously. Let charges for patients be as reasonable as possible. Let brethren donate to partly pay the expenses at the Institute of the suffering, worthy poor among them. Let the feeble ones be led out, as they can bear it, to cultivate the beautifully situated acres owned by the Institute. Let them not do this with the narrow idea of pay, but with the liberal idea that the expense of the purchase of them was a matter of benevolence for their good. Let their labor be a part of their prescription, as much as the taking of baths. Let benevolence, charity, humanity, sacrifice for others' good, be the ruling idea with physicians, managers, helpers, patients, and with all the friends of Jesus, far and near, instead of wages, good investment, a paying thing, stock that will pay. Let the love of Christ, love for souls, sympathy for suffering humanity, govern all we say and do relative to the Health Institute.
Why should the Christian physician, who is believing, expecting, looking, waiting, and longing for the coming and kingdom of Christ, when sickness and death will no longer have power over the saints, expect more pay for his services than the Christian editor or the Christian minister? He may say that his work is more wearing. That is yet to be proved. Let him work as he can endure it, and not violate the laws of life which he teaches to his patients. There are no good reasons why he should overwork and receive large pay for it, more than the minister or the editor. Let all who act a part in the Institute and receive pay for their services, act on the same liberal principle. No one should be suffered to remain as helper in the Institute who does it simply for pay. There are those of ability, who, for the love of Christ, his cause, and the suffering followers of their Master, will fill stations in that Institute faithfully and cheerfully, and with a spirit of sacrifice.
(Vol. 91, #21)
The Health Institute has been established . . . to relieve the afflicted, to disseminate light, to awaken the spirit of inquiry, and to advance reform. This institution is conducted upon principles which are different from those of any other hygienic institution in the land. Money is not the great object with its friends and conductors. They conduct it from a conscientious, religious standpoint, aiming to carry out the principles of Bible hygiene. Most institutions of the kind are established upon different principles, and are conservative, making it their object to meet the popular class halfway, and so to shape their course that they will receive the greatest patronage and the most money. . . .
This institution is designed of God to be one of the greatest aids in preparing a people to be perfect before God. In order to attain to this perfection, men and women must have physical and mental strength to appreciate the elevated truths of God's Word, and be brought into a position where they will discern the imperfections in their moral characters. They should be in earnest to reform, that they may have friendship with God. The religion of Christ is not to be placed in the background, and its holy principles laid down to meet the approval of any class, however popular. If the standard of truth and holiness is lowered, the design of God will not then be carried out in this institution. . . .
I was shown that a larger work could be accomplished if there were gentlemen physicians of the right stamp of mind, who had proper culture, and a thorough understanding of every part of the work devolving on a physician. The physicians should have a large stock of patience, forbearance, kindliness, and pity; for they need these qualifications in dealing with suffering invalids, who are diseased in body, and many of whom are diseased both in body and in mind. It is not an easy matter to obtain the right class of men and women, those who are fitted for the place, and who will work harmoniously, zealously, and unselfishly for the benefit of suffering invalids. Men are wanted at the Institute who will have the fear of God before them, and who can minister to sick minds, and keep prominent the health reform from a religious standpoint.
Those who engage in this work should be consecrated to God, and not make it their only object to treat the body merely to cure disease, thus working from the popular physician's standpoint, but to be spiritual fathers, to minister to diseased minds, and point the sin-sick soul to the never-failing remedy, the Saviour who died for them. Those who are reduced by disease are sufferers in more than one sense. They can endure bodily pain far better than they can bear mental suffering. Many carry a violated conscience, and can be reached only by the principles of Bible religion.
When the poor, suffering paralytic was brought to the Saviour, the urgency of the case seemed not to admit of a moment's delay, for already dissolution was doing its work upon the body. When those who bore him upon his bed saw that they could not come directly into the presence of Christ, they at once tore open the roof, and let down the bed whereon the sick of the palsy lay. Our Saviour saw and understood his condition perfectly. He also knew that this wretched man had a sickness of the soul far more aggravating than bodily suffering. He knew that the greatest burden he had borne for months was on account of sins. The crowd of people waited with almost breathless silence to see how Christ would treat this case, apparently so hopeless, and were astonished to hear the words which fell from his lips, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee."
These were the most precious words that could fall upon the ear of that sick sufferer; for the burden of sin had lain so heavily upon him that he could not find the least relief. Christ lifts the burden that so heavily oppressed him: "Be of good cheer," I, your Saviour, came to forgive sins. How quickly the pallid countenance of the sufferer changes! Hope takes the place of dark despair, and peace and joy take the place of distressing doubt and stolid gloom. The mind being restored to peace and happiness, the suffering body can now be reached. Next comes from the divine lips, "Thy sins be forgiven thee," "arise, and walk." In the effort to obey the will, those lifeless, bloodless arms are quickened; a healthful current of blood flows through the veins; the leaden color of his flesh disappears, and the ruddy glow of health takes its place. The limbs, that for long years have refused to obey the will, are now quickened to life, and the healed paralytic grasps his bed, and walks through the crowd to his home, glorifying God.
This case is for our instruction. Physicians who would be successful in the treatment of disease, should know how to minister to a diseased mind. They can have a powerful influence for good if they make God their trust. Some invalids need to be relieved of pain before the mind can be reached. After relief has come to the body, the physician can frequently the more successfully appeal to the conscience, and the heart will be more susceptible to the influences of the truth. There is danger of those connected with the Health Institute losing sight of the object for which such an institution was established by Seventh-day Adventists, and working from the worldling's standpoint, patterning after other institutions.
The Health Institute was not established among us for the purpose of obtaining money, although money is very necessary to carry forward the institution successfully. Economy should be exercised by all in the expenditure of means, that money be not used needlessly. But there should be sufficient means to invest in all necessary conveniences which will make the work of helpers, and especially of physicians, as easy as possible. And the directors of the Institute should avail themselves of every facility which will aid in the successful treatment of patients. . . .
To raise the Health Institute from its low state in the autumn of 1869 to its present prosperous, hopeful condition, has demanded sacrifices and exertions of which its friends abroad know but little. Then it had a debt of thirteen thousand dollars, and had but eight paying patients. And what was worse still, the course of former managers had been such as to so far discourage its friends that they had no heart to furnish means to lift the debt, or to recommend the sick to patronize the Institute. It was at this discouraging point that my husband decided in his mind that the Institute property must be sold to pay the debts, and the balance, after the payment of debts, be refunded to stockholders in proportion to the amount of stock each held. But one morning, in prayer at the family altar, the Spirit of God came upon him as he was praying for divine guidance in matters pertaining to the Institute, and he exclaimed, while bowed upon his knees, "The Lord will vindicate every word he has spoken through vision relative to the Health Institute, and it will be raised from its low estate, and prosper gloriously."
From that point of time we took hold of the work in earnest, and have labored side by side for the Institute, to counteract the influence of selfish men who had brought embarrassment upon it. We have given of our means, thus setting an example to others. We have encouraged economy and industry on the part of all connected with the Institute, and have urged that physicians and helpers work hard for small pay, until the Institute should again be fully established in the confidence of our people. We have borne a plain testimony against the manifestation of selfishness in any one connected with the Institute, and have counseled and reproved wrongs. We knew that the Health Institute would not succeed unless the blessing of the Lord rested upon it. If his blessing attended it, the friends of the cause would have confidence that it was the work of God, and would feel safe to donate means to make it a living enterprise, that it might be able to accomplish the design of God.
The physicians and some of the helpers went to work earnestly. They worked hard, under great discouragements. Drs. Ginley, Chamberlain, and Lamson worked with earnestness and energy, for small pay, to build up this sinking institution. And, thank God, the original debt has been removed, and large additions for the accommodation of patients have been made and paid for.
(Vol. 91, #22)
I was shown that the physicians at our Institute should be men and women of faith and spirituality. They should make God their trust. There are many who come to the Institute who have, by their own sinful indulgence, brought upon themselves disease of almost every type. This class do not deserve the sympathy that they frequently require. And it is painful to the physicians to devote time and strength to this class, who are debased physically, mentally, and morally.
But there is a class who have, through ignorance, lived in violation of nature's laws. They have worked intemperately and have eaten intemperately because it was the custom to do so. Some have suffered many things from many physicians, but have not been made better, but decidedly worse. At length they are torn from business, from society, and from their families; and as their last resort, they come to the Health Institute, with some faint hope that they may find relief. This class need sympathy. They should be treated with the greatest tenderness, and care should be taken to make clear to their understanding the laws of their being, that they may, by ceasing to violate them and by governing themselves, avoid suffering and disease, the penalty of nature's violated law.
Dr. B is not the best adapted to fill a position as physician at the Institute. He sees men and women ruined in constitution, who are weak in mental and moral power, and he thinks it time lost to treat such cases. This may be so in many cases. But he should not become discouraged and disgusted with sick and suffering patients. He should not lose his pity, sympathy, and patience, and feel that his life is poorly employed when doing for those who can never appreciate the labor they receive, and who will not use their strength, if they regain it, to bless society, but will pursue the same course of self-gratification that they did in losing health. Dr. B should not become weary nor discouraged. He should remember Christ, who came in direct contact with suffering humanity. Although, in many cases, the afflicted had brought disease upon themselves by their sinful course in violating natural law, Jesus pitied their weakness, and when they came to him with disease the most loathsome, he did not stand aloof for fear of contamination; he touched them, and bade disease give back.
"And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole."
Here is a lesson for us all. These lepers were so corrupted by disease that they had been restricted from society lest they should contaminate others. Their limits had been prescribed by the authorities. Jesus comes within their sight, and in their great suffering, they cry unto him who alone has power to relieve them. Jesus bids them show themselves to the priests. They have faith to start on their way, believing in the power of Christ to heal them. As they go on their way, they realize that the horrible disease has left them. But only one has feelings of gratitude, only one feels his deep indebtedness to Christ for this great work wrought for him. This one returns praising God, and in the greatest humiliation falls at the feet of Christ, acknowledging with thankfulness the work wrought for him. And this man was a stranger; the other nine were Jews.
For the sake of this one man, who would make a right use of the blessing of health, Jesus healed the whole ten. The nine passed on without appreciating the work done, and rendered no grateful thanks to Jesus for doing the work.
Thus will the physicians of the Health Institute have their efforts treated. But if, in their labor to help suffering humanity, one out of twenty makes a right use of the benefits received, and appreciates their efforts in his behalf, the physicians should feel grateful and satisfied. If one life out of ten is saved, and one soul out of one hundred is saved in the kingdom of God, all connected with the Institute will be amply repaid for all their efforts. All their anxiety and care will not be wholly lost. If the King of glory, the Majesty of heaven, worked for suffering humanity, and so few appreciated his divine aid, the physicians and helpers at the Institute should blush to complain if their feeble efforts are not appreciated by all, and seem to be thrown away on some.-- "Testimonies for the Church," Vol. III, pages 178-180.
Many who come to the sanitarium for treatment are brought to the knowledge of the truth, and thus not only are they healed in body, but the darkened chambers of the mind are illuminated with the light of the dear Saviour's love. But how much more good might be accomplished if all connected with that institution were first connected with the God of wisdom, and had thus become channels of light to others. The habits and customs of the world, pride of appearance, selfishness, and self-exaltation too often intrude, and these sins of his professed followers are so offensive to God that he cannot work in power for them or through them.-- Id., Vol. IV, page 576.
God designed that the Sanitarium which he had established should stand forth as a beacon of light, of warning and reproof. He would prove to the world that an institution conducted on religious principles as an asylum for the sick, could be sustained without sacrificing its peculiar, holy character; that it could be kept free from the objectionable features that are found in other institutions of the kind. It was to be an instrumentality in his hand to bring about great reforms. Wrong habits of life should be corrected, the morals elevated, the tastes changed, the dress reformed.-- Id., page 582.
The physicians are in a position where, should they exert an influence in accordance with their faith, they would have a molding power upon all connected with the institution. This is one of the best missionary fields in the world; and all in responsible positions should become acquainted with God, and ever be receiving light from heaven.
There should be awakened in the hearts of the physicians especially a most earnest desire to have that wisdom which God alone can impart; for as soon as they become self-confident, they are left to themselves, to follow the impulses of the unsanctified heart. When I see what these physicians may become, in connection with Christ, and what they will fail to become if they do not daily connect with him, I am filled with apprehension that they will be content with reaching a worldly standard, and have no ardent longings, no hungering and thirsting, for the beauty of holiness, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.-- Id., pages 557, 559.
The prosperity of the Sanitarium is not dependent alone upon the intelligence and knowledge of its physicians, but upon the favor of God. If it is conducted in a manner that God can bless, it will be highly successful, and will stand in advance of any other institution of the kind in the world. Great light, great knowledge, and superior privileges have been given. And in accordance with the light which has been received, but has not been improved, and therefore is not shining forth upon others, will be the condemnation.
(Vol. 91, #23)
Since the laws of nature are the laws of God, it is plainly our duty to give these laws careful study. We should study their requirements in regard to our own bodies, and conform to them. Ignorance in these things is sin.
"Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? . . . What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Cor. 6:15-20. Our bodies are Christ's purchased property, and we are not at liberty to do with them as we please. Man has done this. He has treated his body as if its laws had no penalty. Through perverted appetite its organs and powers have become enfeebled, diseased, and crippled. And these results which Satan has brought about by his own specious temptations, he uses to taunt God with. He presents before God the human body that Christ has purchased as his property; and what an unsightly representation of his Maker man is! Because man has sinned against his body, and has corrupted his ways, God is dishonored.
When men and women are truly converted, they will conscientiously regard the laws of life that God has established in their being, thus seeking to avoid physical, mental, and moral feebleness. Obedience to these laws must be made a matter of personal duty. We ourselves must suffer the ills of violated law. We must answer to God for our habits and practices. Therefore the question for us is not, "What will the world say?" but, "How shall I, claiming to be a Christian, treat the habitation God has given me? Shall I work for my highest temporal and spiritual good by keeping my body as a temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, or shall I sacrifice myself to the world's ideas and practices?"
Healthful living must be made a family matter. Parents should awake to their God-given responsibilities. Let them study the principles of health reform, and teach their children that the path of self-denial is the only path of safety. The mass of the inhabitants of the world by their disregard of physical law are destroying their power of self-control, and unfitting themselves to appreciate eternal realities. Willingly ignorant of their own structure, they lead their children in the path of self-indulgence, thus preparing the way for them to suffer the penalty of the transgression of nature's laws. This is not taking a wise interest in the welfare of their families.
The Church and Health Reform.--There is a message regarding health reform to be borne in every church. There is a work to be done in every school. Neither principal nor teachers should be intrusted with the education of the youth until they have a practical knowledge of this subject. Some have felt at liberty to criticize and question and find fault with health reform principles of which they knew little by experience. They should stand shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, with those who are working in right lines.
The subject of health reform has been presented in the churches; but the light has not been heartily received. The selfish, health-destroying indulgences of men and women have counteracted the influence of the message that is to prepare a people for the great day of God. If the churches expect strength, they must live the truth which God has given them. If the members of our churches disregard the light on this subject, they will reap the sure result in both spiritual and physical degeneracy. And the influence of these older church members will leaven those newly come to the faith. The Lord does not now work to bring many souls into the truth, because of the church members who have never been converted, and those who were once converted but who have backslidden. What influence would these unconsecrated members have on new converts? Would they not make of no effect the God-given message which his people are to hear?
Let all examine their own practices to see if they are not indulging in that which is a positive injury to them. Let them dispense with every unhealthful gratification in eating and drinking. Some go to distant countries to seek a better climate; but wherever they may be, the stomach creates for them a malarious atmosphere. They bring upon themselves suffering that no one can alleviate. Let them bring their daily practice into harmony with nature's laws; and by doing as well as believing, an atmosphere may be created about both soul and body that will be a savor of life unto life.
Brethren, we are far behind. Many of the things which the church should do in order to be a living church are not done. Through the indulgence of perverted appetite, many place themselves in such a condition of health that there is a constant warring against the soul's highest interests. The truth, though presented in clear lines, is not accepted. I wish to set this matter before every member of our churches. Our habits must be brought into conformity to the will of God. We are assured, "It is God which worketh in you," but man must do his part in controlling appetite and passion. The religious life requires the action of mind and heart in harmony with the divine forces. No man can of himself work out his own salvation, and God cannot do this work for him without his cooperation. But when man works earnestly, God works with him, giving him power to become a son of God.
When persons are spoken to on the subject of health, they often say, "We know a great deal better than we do." They do not realize that they are accountable for every ray of light in regard to their physical well-being, and that their every habit is open to the inspection of God. Physical life is not to be treated in a haphazard manner. Every organ, every fiber of the being, is to be sacredly guarded from harmful practices.
(Vol. 91, #24)
Our habits of eating and drinking show whether we are of the world or among the number whom the Lord by his mighty cleaver of truth has separated from the world. These are his peculiar people, zealous of good works. God has spoken in his Word. In the case of Daniel and his three companions there are sermons upon health reform. God has spoken in the history of the children of Israel, from whom for their good he sought to withhold a flesh diet. He fed them with bread from heaven; "man did eat angels' food." But they encouraged their earthly appetite; and the more they centered their thoughts upon the fleshpots of Egypt, the more they hated the food which God gave them to keep them in health physically, mentally, and morally. They longed for the fleshpots, and in this they did just as many in our own time have done.
Many are suffering and many are going into the grave because of the indulgence of appetite. They eat what suits their perverted taste, thus weakening the digestive organs and injuring their power to assimilate the food that is to sustain life. This brings on acute disease, and too often death follows. The delicate organism of the body is worn out by the suicidal practices of those who ought to know better.
The churches should be stanch and true to the light which God has given. Each member should work intelligently to put away from his life-practice every perverted appetite.
Extremes in Diet.--I know that many of our brethren are in heart and practice opposed to health reform. I advocate no extremes. But as I have been looking over my manuscripts, I have seen the decided testimonies borne and the warnings of dangers that come to our people through imitating the customs and practices of the world in self-indulgence, gratification of appetite, and pride of apparel. My heart is sick and sad over the existing state of things. Some say that some of our brethren have pressed these questions too strongly. But because some may have acted indiscreetly in pressing their sentiments concerning health reform on all occasions, will any dare to keep back the truth on this subject? The people of the world are generally far in the opposite extreme of indulgence and intemperance in eating and drinking; and as the result, lustful practices abound.
There are many now under the shadow of death who have prepared to do a work for the Master, but who have not felt that a sacred obligation rested upon them to observe the laws of health. The laws of the physical system are indeed the laws of God; but this fact seems to have been forgotten. Some have limited themselves to a diet that cannot sustain them in health. They have not provided nourishing food to take the place of injurious articles; and they have not considered that tact and ingenuity must be exercised in preparing food in the most healthful manner. The system must be properly nourished in order to perform its work. It is contrary to health reform, after cutting off the great variety of unwholesome dishes, to go to the opposite extreme, reducing the quantity and quality of the food to a low standard. Instead of health reform this is health deform.
True Temperance.--The apostle Paul writes: "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 1 Cor. 9:24-27.
There are many in the world who indulge pernicious habits. Appetite is the law that governs them; and because of their wrong habits, the moral sense is clouded, and the power to discern sacred things is to a great extent destroyed. But it is necessary for Christians to be strictly temperate. They should place their standard high. Temperance in eating, drinking, and dressing is essential. Principle should rule instead of appetite or fancy. Those who eat too much, or whose food is of an objectionable quality, are easily led into dissipation, and into other "foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition." 1 Tim. 6:9. The "laborers together with God" should use every jot of their influence to encourage the spread of true temperance principles.
It means much to be true to God. He has claims upon all who are engaged in his service. He desires that mind and body be preserved in the best condition of health, every power and endowment under the divine control, and as vigorous as careful, strictly temperate habits can make them. We are under obligation to God to make an unreserved consecration of ourselves to him, body and soul, with all the faculties appreciated as his intrusted gifts, to be employed in his service. All our energies and capabilities are to be constantly strengthened and improved during this probationary period. Only those who appreciate these principles, and have been trained to care for their bodies intelligently and in fear of God, should be chosen to take responsibilities in this work. Those who have been long in the truth, yet who cannot distinguish between the pure principles of righteousness and the principles of evil, whose understanding in regard to justice, mercy, and the love of God is clouded, should be relieved of responsibilities. Every church needs a clear, sharp testimony, giving the trumpet a certain sound.
If we can arouse the moral sensibilities of our people on the subject of temperance, a great victory will be gained. Temperance in all things of this life is to be taught and practiced. Temperance in eating, drinking, sleeping, and dressing is one of the grand principles of the religious life. Truth brought into the sanctuary of the soul will guide in the treatment of the body. Nothing that concerns the health of the human agent is to be regarded with indifference. Our eternal welfare depends upon the use we make during this life of our time, strength, and influence.
David declared, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." When God has given us such a habitation, why should not every apartment be carefully examined? The chambers of the mind and heart are the most important. Then, instead of living in the basement of the house, enjoying sensual and debasing pleasures, should we not open these beautiful chambers, and invite the Lord Jesus to come in and dwell with us?
(Vol. 91, #25)
Our ministers should become intelligent on health reform. They need to become acquainted with physiology and hygiene; they should understand the laws that govern physical life, and their bearing upon the health of mind and soul.
Thousands upon thousands know little of the wonderful body God has given them or of the care it should receive, and they consider it of more importance to study subjects of far less consequence. The ministers have a work to do here. When they take a right position on this subject, much will be gained. In their own lives and homes they should obey the laws of life, practicing right principles and living healthfully. Then they will be able to speak correctly on this subject, leading the people higher and still higher in the work of reform. Living in the light themselves, they can bear a message of great value to those who are in need of just such a testimony.
There are precious blessings and a rich experience to be gained if ministers will combine the presentation of the health question with all their labors in the churches. The people must have the light on health reform. This work has been neglected, and many are ready to die because they need the light which they ought to have and must have before they will give up selfish indulgences.
The presidents of our conferences need to realize that it is high time they were placing themselves on the right side of this question. Ministers and teachers are to give to others the light they have received. Their work in every line is needed. God will help them; he will strengthen his servants who stand firmly, and will not be swayed from truth and righteousness in order to accommodate self-indulgence.
The work of educating in medical missionary lines is an advance step of great importance in awakening man to his moral responsibilities. Had the ministers taken hold of this work in its various departments in accordance with the light which God has given, there would have been a most decided reformation in eating, drinking, and dressing. But some have stood directly in the way of the advance of health reform. They have held the people back by their indifferent or condemnatory remarks, or by pleasantries and jokes. They themselves and a large number of others have been sufferers unto death, but all have not yet learned wisdom.
It has been only by the most aggressive warfare that any advancement has been made. The people have been unwilling to deny self, unwilling to yield the mind and will to the will of God; and in their own sufferings, and in their influence on others, they have realized the sure result of such a course.
The church is making history. Every day is a battle and a march. On every side we are beset by invisible foes, and we either conquer through the grace given us by God or we are conquered. I urge that those who are taking a neutral position in regard to health reform be converted. This light is precious, and the Lord gives me the message to urge that all who bear responsibilities in any line in the work of God take heed that truth is in the ascendancy in the heart and life. Only thus can any meet the temptations they are sure to encounter in the world.
Why do some of our ministering brethren manifest so little interest in health reform? It is because instruction on temperance in all things is opposed to their practice of self-indulgence. In some places this has been the great stumblingblock in the way of our bringing the people to investigate and practice and teach health reform. No man should be set apart as a teacher of the people while his own teaching or example contradicts the testimony God has given his servants to bear in regard to diet, for this will bring confusion. His disregard of health reform unfits him to stand as the Lord's messenger.
The light that the Lord has given on this subject in his Word is plain, and men will be tested and tried in many ways to see if they will heed it. Every church, every family, needs to be instructed in regard to Christian temperance. All should know how to eat and drink in order to preserve health. We are amid the closing scenes of this world's history; and there should be harmonious action in the ranks of Sabbath keepers. Those who stand aloof from the great work of instructing the people upon this question, do not follow where the Great Physician leads the way. "If any man will come after me," Christ said, "let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Matt. 16:24.
The Lord has presented before me that many, many will be rescued from physical, mental, and moral degeneracy through the practical influence of health reform. Health talks will be given; publications will be multiplied. The principles of health reform will be received with favor; and many will be enlightened. The influences that are associated with health reform will commend it to the judgment of all who want light; and they will advance step by step to receive the special truths for this time. Thus truth and righteousness will meet together.
Life is a holy trust, which God alone can enable us to keep, and to use to his glory. But he who formed the wonderful structure of the body will take special care to keep it in order if men do not work at cross-purposes with him. Every talent intrusted to us he will help us to improve and use in accordance with the will of the Giver. Days, months, and years are added to our existence that we may improve our opportunities and advantages for working out our individual salvation, and by our unselfish life promoting the well-being of others. Thus may we build up the kingdom of Christ, and make manifest the glory of God.
The gospel and the medical missionary work are to advance together. The gospel is to be bound up with the principles of true health reform. Christianity is to be brought into the practical life. Earnest, thorough reformatory work is to be done. True Bible religion is an outflowing of the love of God for fallen man. God's people are to advance in straightforward lines to impress the hearts of those who are seeking for truth, who desire to act their part aright in this intensely earnest age. We are to present the principles of health reform before the people, doing all in our power to lead men and women to see the necessity of these principles, and to practice them.
(Vol. 91, #29)
Last night I had a wonderful experience. I was in an assembly where questions were being asked and answered. I awoke at one o'clock, and arose. For a time I walked the room praying most earnestly for clearness of mind, for strength of eyesight, and for strength to write the things that must be written. I entreated the Lord to help me to bear a testimony that would awake his people before it is forever too late. . . .
My soul was drawn out in the consideration of matters relating to the future carrying forward of God's work. Those who have had little experience in the beginning of the work often err in judgment in regard to how it should be advanced. They are tempted on many points. They think that it would be better if the talented workers had higher wages, according to the importance of the work they do.
But one of authority stood among us in the assembly in which I was present last night, and spoke words that must decide the question. He said: "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith, trace his work after he assumed humanity, and remember that he is your pattern. In the work of soul saving, his divine-human life in our world is to be your guide. He made the world, yet when he lived on this earth, he had not where to lay his head."
Were the most talented workers given higher wages, those who do the more laborious part of the work would desire larger wages also, and would say that their work is just as essential as any work that is done.
Work is to be carried forward in many lines. New territory is to be annexed. But no Jerusalem centers are to be made. If such centers are made, there will be a scattering of the people out of them, by the Lord God of heaven.
The work of God is to be carried on without outward display. In establishing institutions, we are never to compete with the institutions of the world in size or splendor. We are to enter into no confederacy with those who do not love or fear God. Those who have not the light of present truth, who are unable to endure the seeing of him who is invisible, are surrounded by spiritual darkness that is as the darkness of midnight. Within, all is dreariness. They know not the meaning of joy in the Lord. They take no interest in eternal realities. Their attention is engrossed by the trifling things of earth. They make haste unto vanity, striving by unfair means to obtain advantages. Having forsaken God, the fountain of living waters, they hew out for themselves broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
Let it not be thus with those who have tasted the power of the world to come.
Sow the seeds of truth wherever you have opportunity. In establishing the work in new places, economize in every possible way. Gather up the fragments; let nothing be lost. The work of soul saving must be carried on in the way that Christ has marked out. He declares, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Only by obeying this word can we be his disciples. We are striving for a kingdom and a crown. We shall obtain both by wearing Christ's yoke and learning of him. "Follow my example," he says. "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; . . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
We are nearing the end of this earth's history, and the different lines of God's work are to be carried forward with much more self-sacrifice than they have yet been. The work for these last days is a missionary work. Present truth, from the first letter of its alphabet to the last, means missionary effort. The work to be done calls for sacrifice at every step of advance. The workers are to come forth from trial purified and refined, as gold tried in the fire.
(Vol. 91, #30)
Dear Brother: At one time you made the suggestion that if the managers of our institutions offered higher wages, they would secure a higher class of workmen, and thus a higher grade of work. My brother, such reasoning is not in harmony with the Lord's plans. We are all his servants. We are not our own. We have been bought with a price, and we are to glorify God in our body and in our spirit, which are his. This is a lesson that we need to learn. We need the discipline so essential to the development of completeness of Christian character.
Our institutions are to be entirely under the supervision of God. They were established in sacrifice, and only in sacrifice can their work be successfully carried forward.
Upon all who are engaged in the Lord's work rests the responsibility of fulfilling the commission: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."
Christ himself has given us an example of how we are to work. Read the fourth chapter of Matthew, and learn what methods Christ, the Prince of life, followed in his teaching. "Leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the seacoast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. . . .
"And Jesus, 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."
These humble fishermen were Christ's first disciples. He did not say that they were to receive a certain sum for their services. They were to share with him his self-denial and sacrifices.
"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 that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan. And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth, and taught them." He gave what is known as the Sermon on the Mount,--a discourse full of precious instruction for all who claim to be his disciples. His deeds of sympathy in restoring the sick to health had aroused a deep interest in his work, and had prepared the people to listen to his words.
In every sense of the word, Christ was a medical missionary. He came to this world to preach the gospel and to heal the sick. He came as a healer of the bodies as well as the souls of human beings. His message was that obedience to the laws of the kingdom of God would bring men and women health and prosperity. . . .
Christ might have occupied the highest place among the highest teachers of the Jewish nation. But he chose rather to take the gospel to the poor. He went from place to place, that those in the highways and byways might catch the words of the gospel of truth. He labored in the way in which he desires his workers to labor today. By the sea, on the mountain side, in the streets of the city, his voice was heard, explaining the Old Testament Scriptures. So unlike the explanation of the scribes and Pharisees was his explanation that the attention of the people was arrested. He taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes. With clearness and power he proclaimed the gospel message.
Never was there such an evangelist as Christ. He was the Majesty of heaven, but he humbled himself to take our nature that he might meet men where they were. To all people, rich and poor, free and bond, Christ, the Messenger of the covenant, brought the tidings of salvation. How the people flocked to him! From far and near they came for healing, and he healed them all. His fame as the Great Healer spread throughout Palestine, from Jerusalem to Syria. The sick came to the places through which they thought he would pass, that they might call on him for help, and he healed them of their diseases. Hither, too, came the rich, anxious to hear his words and to receive a touch of his hand. Thus he went from city to city, from town to town, preaching the gospel and healing the sick,--the King of glory in the lowly garb of humanity. "Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #31)
Our sanitariums are to be conducted upon principles that will meet the approbation of the great Medical Missionary who went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and healing all manner of disease among the people. . . .
In the establishment and carrying forward of the work, the strictest economy is ever to be shown. Workers are to be employed who will be producers as well as consumers. In no case is money to be invested for display. The gospel medical missionary work is to be carried forward in simplicity, as was the work of the Majesty of heaven, who, seeing the necessities of a lost, sinful world, laid aside his royal robe and kingly crown, and clothed his divinity with humanity, that he might stand at the head of humanity. He so conducted his missionary work as to leave a perfect example for human beings to follow. "If any man will come after me," he declared, "let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Every true medical missionary will obey these words. He will not strain every nerve to follow worldly customs, and make a display, thus thinking to win souls to the Saviour. No, no! If the Majesty of heaven could leave his glorious home to come to a world all seared and marred by the curse, to establish correct methods of doing medical missionary work, we his followers ought to practice the same self-denial and self-sacrifice.
Christ gives to all the invitation: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." If all will wear Christ's yoke, if all will learn in his school the lessons that he teaches, there will be sufficient means to establish gospel medical missionary work in many places.
Let none say, "I will engage in this work for a stipulated sum. If I do not receive this sum, I will not do the work." Those who say this show that they are not wearing Christ's yoke; they are not learning his meekness and lowliness. Christ might have come to this world with a retinue of angels; but instead he came as a babe, and lived a life of lowliness and poverty. His glory was in his simplicity. He suffered for us the privations of poverty. Shall we refuse to deny ourselves for his sake? Shall we refuse to become medical missionary workers unless we can follow the customs of the world, making a display such as worldlings make? Consider the life and sufferings of the Son of the infinite God. To save a race of sinners he lived a life of poverty and self denial. To one who asked if he might follow him, he said, "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." Shall those who profess to be his followers refuse to engage in the work of helping their suffering fellow beings unless they can be placed in a position that will not lessen their dignity?
My brother, my sister, take up your work right where you are. Do your best, ever looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. In no other way can we do the work of God and magnify his truth than by following in the footsteps of him who gave up his high command to come to our world that through his humiliation and suffering, human beings might become partakers of the divine nature. For our sake he became poor, that through his poverty we might come into possession of the eternal riches.
It is not being rich in the wealth of the world that increases our value in God's sight. It is the meek and the contrite that the Lord acknowledges and honors. Read the fifty-seventh chapter of Isaiah. Study this chapter carefully; for it means much to the people of God. I will make no comments upon it. If you will study it carefully and prayerfully, you will become wise unto salvation. . . .
Intelligent, self-denying, self-sacrificing men are now needed,--men who realize the solemnity and importance of God's work, and who as Christian philanthropists will fulfill the commission of Christ. The medical missionary work given us to do means something to every one of us. It is a work of soul saving; it is the proclamation of the gospel message. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #32)
From Jesus is our life derived. In him is life that is original,--unborrowed, underived life. In him is the fountain of life. In us there is a streamlet from the fountain of life. Our life is something that we receive, something that the Giver takes back again to himself. If our life is hid with Christ in God, we shall, when Christ shall appear, also appear with him in glory. And while in this world, we shall give to God, in sanctified service, all the capabilities he has given us. . . .
Christ was the prince of heaven, but he made an infinite sacrifice, and came to a world all marred with the curse brought upon it by the fallen foe. He lays hold of the fallen race. He invites us: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." The offer is ours, and every advantage is ours if we will accept the terms. I am trying to do this most earnestly. We can be an example to others by our cheerful obedience to the will of God. Let us comply with the conditions, and in complying we shall find the rest we crave.
In regard to the proposition made by Brother ____, I look at the matter as you do. We cannot afford to start out on the high wage plan. This was the misfortune of the people in ____, and I have something to say on this point. We have before us a large field of missionary work. We are to be sure to heed the requirements of Christ, who made himself a donation to our world. Nothing that we can possibly do should be left undone. There are to be neatness and order, and everything possible is to be done to show thoroughness in every line. But when it comes to paying twenty-five dollars a week, and giving a percentage on the surgical work done, light was given me in Australia that this could never be, because our record is at stake. The matter was presented to me that many sanitariums would have to be established in Southern California; for there would be a great inflowing of people there. Many would seek that climate.
We see so much help to be given to our ministers laboring in the gospel in every country where messengers are sent. In every place there needs to be a school, and in very many places a sanitarium. In Jesus Christ is our help and our sufficiency to carry the work forward intelligently. God has looked upon the great display made by some who have labored in New York; but he does not harmonize with that way of preaching the gospel. The solemn message becomes mingled with a large amount of chaff, which makes upon minds an impression that is not in harmony with our work. The good news of saving grace is to be carried to every place; the warning must be given to the world; but economy must be practiced if we move in the spirit of which Christ has given us an example in his life service. He would have nothing of such an outlay to represent health reform in any place.
The gospel is associated with light and life. If there were no sunlight, all vegetation would perish, and human life could not exist. Animal life would die. We are all to consider that there is to be no extravagance in any line. We must be satisfied with pure, simple food, prepared in a simple manner. This should be the diet of high and low. Adulterated substances are to be avoided. We are preparing for the future immortal life in the kingdom of heaven. We expect to do our work in the light and in the power of the great, mighty Healer. All are to act the self-sacrificing part. Every one of us is to learn of Christ. "Learn of me," he says; "for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
All the grand displays that have been made in the medical missionary work, or in buildings, or in dress, or in any line of adornment are contrary to the will of God. Our work is to be carefully studied, and is to be in accordance with our Saviour's plan. He might have had armies of angels to display his true, princely character; but he laid all that aside, and came to our world in the garb of humanity, to suffer with humanity all the temptations wherewith man is tempted. He was tempted in all points as human beings are tempted, that he might reveal that it is possible for us to be victorious overcomers, one with Christ as Christ is one with the Father. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
God calls upon Seventh-day Adventists to reveal to the world that we are preparing for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those who will purify their souls by obeying the truth as it is in Jesus. Let every soul who will come after Christ, deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow him. Thus saith the Great Teacher. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #33)
Precious light has been given me concerning our sanitarium workers. These workers are to stand in moral dignity before God. Physicians make a mistake when they confine themselves exclusively to the routine of sanitarium work, because they consider their presence essential to the welfare of the institution. Every physician should see the necessity of exerting all the influence the Lord has given him in as wide a sphere as possible; he is required to let his light shine before men, that they may see his good works, and glorify the Father who is in heaven.
The head physicians in our sanitariums are not to exclude themselves from the work of speaking the truth to others. Their light is not to be hidden under a bushel, but placed where it can benefit believers and unbelievers. The Saviour said of his representatives: "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." This is a work that is strangely neglected, and because of this neglect, souls will be lost. Wake up, my brethren, wake up!
Our leading physicians do not glorify God when they confine their talents and their influence to one institution. It is their privilege to show to the world that health reformers carry a decided influence for righteousness and truth. They should make themselves known outside of the institutions where they labor. It is their duty to give the light to all whom they can possibly reach. While the sanitarium may be their special field of labor, yet there are other places of importance that need their influence. To physicians the instruction is given: Let your light shine forth among men. Let every talent be used to meet unbelievers with wise counsel and instruction. If our Christian physicians will consider that there must be no daubing with untempered mortar, and will learn to handle wisely the subjects of Bible truth, seeking to present its importance on every possible occasion, much prejudice will be broken down, and souls will be reached.
I have been shown that Dr. ____ is being too closely confined to the sanitarium work at ____. He should be given opportunity to let his influence be more widely felt. . . . We are not to be an obscure church, but we are to let the light shine forth, that the world may receive it. "I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people," God declares through his servant Isaiah. These words will be proved true when those who are capable of standing in positions of responsibility let the light shine forth. Our leading physicians have a work to do outside the compass of our own people. Their influence is not to be limited. Christ's methods of labor are to become their methods, and they are to learn to practice the teachings of his Word. Every one who stands at the head of an institution is under sacred obligation to God to show forth the light of present truth in increasingly bright rays in every place where opportunity offers.
The workers in our sanitariums are not to think that the prosperity of the institution depends upon the influence of the head physician alone. There should be in every institution men and women who will exert a righteous, refining influence, and who are capable of carrying responsibilities. The chief responsibilities should be shared by several workers, in order that the leading physician may not be confined too closely to his practice. He should be given opportunity to go where there is need of words of counsel and encouragement to be spoken. As a representative of the Chief Physician, now in the heavenly courts, he is to speak to new congregations, to broaden his experience. He needs to be constantly receiving new ideas, constantly imparting of his store of knowledge, constantly receiving from the Source of all wisdom. We need ever to keep ourselves in a position where we can receive increased light, have new and deeper thoughts, and obtain clearer views of the close relation that must exist between God and his people. And we obtain these views and these ideas by association with those to whom we are called to speak words of mercy and pardoning grace.
In all our work there should be kept in view the value of the exchange of talents. Strenuous efforts are to be put forth to reach souls and win them to the truth. We are required to make known the principles of health reform in the large gatherings of our people at our campmeetings. A variety of gifts is needed on these occasions, not only for the work of speaking before those not of our faith, but to instruct our own people how to work in order to secure the best success. Let our physicians learn how to take part in this work,--a work by which they give to the world bright rays of light. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #37)
God has given us his Word that we may become acquainted with its teachings, and know for ourselves what he requires of us. When the lawyer came to Jesus with the inquiry, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" the Saviour referred him to the Scriptures, saying, "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" Ignorance will not excuse young or old, or release them from the punishment due for the transgression of God's law, because there is in their hands a faithful presentation of that law and of its principles and its claims. It is not enough to have good intentions; it is not enough to do what a man thinks is right, or what the minister tells him is right. His soul's salvation is at stake, and he should search the Scriptures for himself. However strong may be his convictions, however confident he may be that the minister knows what is truth, this is not his foundation. He has a chart pointing out every waymark on the heavenward journey, and he ought not to guess at anything.
It is the first and highest duty of every rational being to learn from the Scriptures what is truth, and then to walk in the light, and encourage others to follow his example. We should day by day study the Bible diligently, weighing every thought, and comparing scripture with scripture. With divine help, we are to form our opinions for ourselves, as we are to answer for ourselves before God.
We should exert all the powers of the mind in the study of the Scriptures, and should task the understanding to comprehend, as far as mortals can, the deep things of God; yet we must not forget that the docility and submission of a child is the true spirit of the learner. Scriptural difficulties can never be mastered by the same methods as are employed in grappling with philosophical problems. We should not engage in the study of the Bible with that self-reliance with which so many enter the domains of science, but with a prayerful dependence upon God, and a sincere desire to learn his will. We must come with a humble and teachable spirit to obtain knowledge from the great I AM. Otherwise, evil angels will so blind our minds and harden our hearts that we shall not be impressed by the truth.
Many a portion of Scripture which learned men pronounce a mystery, or pass over as unimportant, is full of comfort and instruction to him who has been taught in the school of Christ. One reason why many theologians have no clearer understanding of God's Word is they close their eyes to truths which they do not wish to practice. An understanding of Bible truth depends not so much on the power of intellect brought to the search as on the singleness of purpose, the earnest longing after righteousness.
The Bible should never be studied without prayer. The Holy Spirit alone can cause us to feel the importance of those things easy to be understood, or prevent us from wresting truths difficult of comprehension. It is the office of heavenly angels to prepare the heart to so comprehend God's Word that we shall be charmed with its beauty, admonished by its warnings, or animated and strengthened by its promises. We should make the psalmist's petition our own: "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." Temptations often appear irresistible because, through neglect of prayer and the study of the Bible, the tempted one cannot readily remember God's promises and meet Satan with the Scripture weapons. But angels are round about those who are willing to be taught in divine things; and in the time of great necessity, they will bring to their remembrance the very truths which are needed. Thus "when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him."
All who value their eternal interests should be on their guard against the inroads of skepticism. The very pillars of truth will be assailed. It is impossible to keep beyond the reach of the sarcasms and sophisms, the insidious and pestilent teachings, of modern infidelity. Satan adapts his temptations to all classes. He assails the illiterate with a jest or sneer, while he meets the educated with scientific objections and philosophical reasoning, alike calculated to excite distrust or contempt of the Scriptures. Even youth of little experience presume to insinuate doubts concerning the fundamental principles of Christianity. And this youthful infidelity, shallow as it is, has its influence. Many are thus led to jest at the faith of their fathers, and to do despite to the Spirit of grace. Many a life that promised to be an honor to God and a blessing to the world, has been blighted by the foul breath of infidelity. All who trust to the boastful decisions of human reason, and imagine that they can explain divine mysteries and arrive at truth unaided by the wisdom of God, are entangled in the snare of Satan.
We are living in the most solemn period of this world's history. The destiny of earth's teeming multitudes is about to be decided. Our own future well-being, and also the salvation of other souls, depends upon the course which we now pursue. We need to be guided by the Spirit of truth. Every follower of Christ should earnestly inquire, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" We need to humble ourselves before the Lord, with fasting and prayer, and to meditate much upon his Word, especially upon the scenes of the judgment. We should now seek a deep and living experience in the things of God. We have not a moment to lose. Events of vital importance are taking place around us; we are on Satan's enchanted ground. Sleep not, sentinels of God; the foe is lurking near, ready at any moment, should you become lax and drowsy, to spring upon you and make you his prey.
Many are deceived as to their true condition before God. They congratulate themselves upon the wrong acts which they do not commit, and forget to enumerate the good and noble deeds which God requires of them, but which they have neglected to perform. It is not enough that they are trees in the garden of God. They are to answer to his expectation by bearing fruit. He holds them accountable for their failure to accomplish all the good which they could have done through his grace strengthening them. In the books of heaven they are registered as cumberers of the ground. Yet the case of even this class is not utterly hopeless. With those who have slighted God's mercy and abused his grace, the heart of longsuffering love yet pleads. "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, . . . redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
When the testing time shall come, those who have made God's Word their rule of life will be revealed. In summer there is no noticeable difference between evergreens and other trees; but when the blasts of winter come, the evergreens remain unchanged, while other trees are stripped of their foliage. So the falsehearted professor may not now be distinguished from the real Christian, but the time is just upon us when the difference will be apparent. Let opposition arise, let bigotry and intolerance again bear sway, let persecution be kindled, and the halfhearted and hypocritical will waver and yield the faith; but the true Christian will stand firm as a rock, his faith stronger, his hope brighter, than in days of prosperity.
Says the psalmist: "Thy testimonies are my meditation." "Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way."
"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom." "He shall be as a tree planted by the waters, that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #38)
Greater and wiser efforts must be put forth to help the churches in our land. The elders and those who have leading places in the church should give more thought to their plans for conducting the work. . . . Those who bear responsibilities in the church should devise ways in which an opportunity will be given to every member of the church to act some part in the work. This has not been done in the past, and there are but few who realize how much has been lost on this account. . . .
A greater work than has ever been done must be done for the young. They must be won with sympathy and love; all barriers must be broken down between them and those who would help them. The most good is not accomplished by long speeches and many words of exhortation or reproof. The greatest tact must be manifested, for human minds must be dealt with carefully, and the Lord will work with those who are fully consecrated to his service. Jesus is drawing the youth, and we must all work with him, putting no forbidding aspects upon our holy religion. We must partake of the divine nature ourselves, and then present Christ to others as the friend of sinners in such a way as to attract souls to leave the ranks of the evil one, and no longer work as agents to destroy souls.
We must seek to press the young, with all their fresh vigor and ability, into the ranks of Christ, enlisting them as valiant soldiers in the great fight for truth. We have sadly neglected our duty toward the young, for we have not gathered them in, and induced them to put out their talents to the exchangers. A different mold should be placed upon the work. There should be less sermonizing and more personal labor. Fresh manna must be gathered from the Word of God, and every man must have his portion in due season. A great work can be done by dropping a word privately to your young friends, to those you meet in your daily walks. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #42)
Here is where thousands fail: they do not believe that Jesus pardons them personally, individually. They do not take God at his word. It is the privilege of all who comply with the conditions to know for themselves that pardon is freely extended for every sin. Put away the suspicion that God's promises are not meant for you. They are for every repentant transgressor. Strength and grace have been provided through Christ to be brought by ministering angels to every believing soul. None are so sinful that they cannot find strength, purity, and righteousness in Jesus, who died for them. He is waiting to strip them of their garments stained and polluted with sin, and to put upon them the white robes of righteousness; he bids them live, and not die.
God does not deal with us as finite men deal with one another. His thoughts are thoughts of mercy, love, and tenderest compassion. He says, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins."
Do not give ear to the tempter, but say: "Jesus has died that I might live. He loves me, and wills not that I should perish. I have a compassionate Heavenly Father, and although I have abused his love, though the blessings he has given me have been squandered, I will arise and go to my Father, and say, 'I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants." The parable tells you how the wanderer will be received: "When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him."
But even this parable, tender and touching as it is, comes short of expressing the infinite compassion of the Heavenly Father. The Lord declares by his prophet, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." While the sinner is yet far from the Father's house, wasting his substance in a strange country, the Father's heart is yearning over him; and every longing awakened in the soul to return to God is but the tender pleading of his Spirit, wooing, entreating, drawing the wanderer to his Father's heart of love.
Look up, you that are doubting and trembling; for Jesus lives to make intercession for us. Thank God for the gift of his dear Son. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #43)
In our earlier labors in the message, my husband and I always felt it our duty to demonstrate in every place where we held meetings, that we were fully in harmony with the workers in the temperance cause. We laid this question before the people in plain terms. And when invitations would come to us to speak in different places on the temperance question, I always accepted if it was possible. This has been my practice throughout my public ministry, not only in this country, but in Europe and in Australasia.
Of all who claim to be numbered among the friends of temperance, Seventh-day Adventists should stand in the front ranks. A flood of light concerning the principles of true reform has been shining on our pathway for many years, and we are accountable before God if we fail to let this light shine to others. Years ago we regarded the spread of temperance principles as one of our most important duties. It should be so today. Our schools and sanitariums are to reveal the power of the grace of Christ to transform the whole being,--body, soul, and spirit. Our sanitariums and other educational institutions should be centers of light and blessing in the cause of every Bible reform.
We need at this time to show a decided interest in the work of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. None who claim to have a part in the work of God, should lose interest in the grand object of this organization in temperance lines. It would be a good thing if at our campmeetings we should invite the members of the W. C. T. U. to take part in our exercises. This would help them to become acquainted with the reasons of our faith, and open the way for us to unite with them in the temperance work. If we do this, we shall come to see that the temperance question means more than many of us have supposed. In some matters, the workers of the W. C. T. U. are far in advance of our leaders. The Lord has in that organization precious souls, who can be a great help to us in our efforts to advance the temperance movement. And the education our people have had in Bible truth and in a knowledge of the requirements of the law of Jehovah, will enable our sisters to impart to these noble temperance advocates that which will be for their spiritual welfare. Thus a union and sympathy will be created where in the past there has sometimes existed prejudice and misunderstanding.
I have been surprised as I have seen the indifference of some of our leaders to this organization. The Lord gave the best Gift of heaven to the world that he might win men back to their allegiance to him. We should do all in our power to cooperate with heavenly agencies for the promulgation of truth and righteousness in the earth. We cannot do a better work than to unite, so far as we can do so without compromise, with the W. C. T. U. workers.
Concerning this matter I wrote to one of our sisters in 1898:--
'The Lord, I fully believe, is leading you that you may keep the principles of temperance clear and distinct, in all their purity, in connection with the truth for these last days. They that do his will shall know of the doctrine. . . . The Lord does not bid you separate from the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. They need all the light you can give them. Flash all the light possible into their pathway. You can agree with them on the ground of the pure, elevating principles that first brought into existence the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. The Lord has given you capabilities and talents to be preserved uncorrupted in their simplicity. Through Jesus Christ you may do a good work. As souls shall be converted to the truth, have them unite with you in teaching those women who are willing to be taught, to live and labor intelligently and unitedly."
And in "Testimonies for the Church," Vol. VI, pages 110, 111, I have written:--
"In our work more attention should be given to the temperance reform. Every duty that calls for reform, involves repentance, faith, and obedience. It means the uplifting of the soul to a new and nobler life. Thus every true reform has its place in the work of the third angel's message. Especially does the temperance reform demand our attention and support. At our campmeetings we should call attention to this work, and make it a living issue. We should present to the people the principles of true temperance, and call for signers to the temperance pledge. Careful attention should be given to those who are enslaved by evil habits. We must lead them to the cross of Christ.
"Our campmeetings should have the labors of medical men. These should be men of wisdom and sound judgment, men who respect the ministry of the word, and who are not victims of unbelief. These men are the guardians of the health of the people, and they are to be recognized and respected. They should give instruction to the people in regard to the dangers of intemperance. This evil must be more boldly met in the future than it has been in the past. Ministers and doctors should set forth the evils of intemperance. Both should work in the gospel with power to condemn sin and exalt righteousness. Those ministers or doctors who do not make personal appeals to the people are remiss in their duty. They fail of doing the work which God has appointed them.
"In other churches there are Christians who are standing in defense of the principles of temperance. We should seek to come near to these workers, and make a way for them to stand shoulder to shoulder with us. We should call upon great and good men to second our efforts to save that which is lost.
'If the work of temperance were carried forward by us as it was begun thirty years ago; if at our campmeetings we presented before the people the evils of intemperance in eating and drinking, and especially the evil of liquor drinking,--if these things were presented in connection with the evidences of Christ's soon coming, there would be a shaking among the people. If we showed a zeal in proportion to the importance of the truths we are handling, we might be instrumental in rescuing hundreds, yea, thousands, from ruin.
"Only eternity will reveal what has been accomplished by this kind of ministry,--how many souls, sick with doubt and tired of worldliness and unrest, have been brought to the Great Physician, who longs to save to the uttermost all who come unto him. Christ is a risen Saviour, and there is healing in his wings."
I am being aroused anew on this subject. We have a work to do along this line besides that of speaking in public. We must present our principles in pamphlets and in our papers. We must use every possible means of arousing our people to their duty to get into connection with those who know not the truth. The success we have had in missionary work has been fully proportionate to the self-denying, self-sacrificing efforts we have made. The Lord alone knows how much we might have accomplished if as a people we had humbled ourselves before him and proclaimed the temperance truth in clear, straight lines.
A large work of seed sowing is yet to be done. The light of truth has flashed upon many minds who have not yet fully taken their stand, and these souls are waiting to see what next. The Lord's workers are to draw nigh to him, and he will give them keener perceptions and broader views of his purpose and of their individual duty.
We need to put away our narrowness of vision. We need to search the Scriptures, studying the works of Christ in his efforts to reach every class of people. Again and again Christ was charged with receiving sinners and eating with them. But he said, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Voting Against the License Law.--While we are in no wise to become involved in political questions, yet it is our privilege to take our stand decidedly on all questions relating to temperance reform. Concerning this I have often borne a plain testimony. In an article published in the Review of Nov. 8, 1881, I wrote:--
"Our Creator has bestowed his bounties upon man with a liberal hand. Were all these gifts of Providence wisely and temperately employed, poverty, sickness, and distress would be well-nigh banished from the earth. But, alas! we see on every hand the blessings of God changed to a curse by the wickedness of men.
"There is no class guilty of greater perversion and abuse of his precious gifts than are those who employ the products of the soil in the manufacture of intoxicating liquors. The nutritive grains, the healthful, delicious fruits, are converted into beverages that pervert the senses and madden the brain. As a result of the use of these poisons, thousand of families are deprived of the comforts and even the necessities of life, acts of violence and crime are multiplied, and disease and death hurry myriads of victims to a drunkard's grave.
"This work of destruction is carried on under the protection of the laws of the land. For a paltry sum, men are licensed to deal out to their fellow men the potion that shall rob them of all that makes this life desirable and of all hope of the life to come. Neither the lawmaker nor the liquor seller is ignorant of the result of his work. At the hotel bar, in the beer garden, at the saloon, the slave of appetite expends his means for that which is destructive to reason, health, and happiness. The liquor seller fills his till with the money that should provide food and clothing for the family of the poor drunkard.
"This is the worst kind of robbery. Yet men in high position in society and in the church lend their influence in favor of license laws. . . . Thus society is corrupted, workhouses and prisons are crowded with paupers and criminals, and the gallows is supplied with victims. The evil ends not with the drunkard and his unhappy family. The burdens of taxation are increased, the morals of the young are imperiled, the property, and even the life, of every member of society is endangered. But the picture may be presented never so vividly, and yet it falls short of the reality. No human pen or pencil can fully delineate the horrors of intemperance. . . .
"How can Christian men and women tolerate this evil? . . . There is a cause for the moral paralysis upon society. Our laws sustain an evil which is sapping their very foundations. Many deplore the wrongs which they know exist, but consider themselves free from all responsibility in the matter. This cannot be. Every individual exerts an influence in society. In our favored land, every voter has some voice in determining what laws shall control the nation. Should not that influence and that vote be cast on the side of temperance and virtue? . . .
"We may call upon the friends of the temperance cause to rally to the conflict and seek to press back the tide of evil that is demoralizing the world; but of what avail are all our efforts while liquor selling is sustained by law? Must the curse of intemperance forever rest like a blight upon our land? Must it every year sweep like a devouring fire over thousands of happy homes? We talk of the results, tremble at the results, and wonder what we can do with the terrible results, while too often we tolerate and even sanction the cause. The advocates of temperance fail to do their whole duty unless they exert their influence by precept and example--by voice and pen and vote--in favor of prohibition and total abstinence. We need not expect that God will work a miracle to bring about this reform, and thus remove the necessity for our exertion. We ourselves must grapple with this giant foe, our motto, No compromise and no cessation of our efforts till the victory is gained. . . .
"What can be done to press back the inflowing tide of evil? Let laws be enacted and rigidly enforced prohibiting the sale and the use of ardent spirits as a beverage. Let every effort be made to encourage the inebriate's return to temperance and virtue. But even more than this is needed to banish the curse of inebriety from our land. Let the appetite for intoxicating liquors be removed, and their use and sale are at an end. This work must to a great degree devolve upon parents. Let them, by observing strict temperance themselves, give the right stamp of character to their children, and then educate and train these children, in the fear of God, to habits of self-denial and self-control. Youth who have been thus trained will have moral stamina to resist temptation, and to control appetite and passion. They will stand unmoved by the folly and dissipation that are corrupting society.
"The prosperity of a nation is dependent upon the virtue and intelligence of its citizens. To secure these blessings, habits of strict temperance are indispensable. The history of ancient kingdoms is replete with lessons of warning for us. Luxury, self-indulgence, and dissipation prepare the way for their downfall. It remains to be seen whether our own republic will be admonished by their example and avoid their fate." Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #44)
It is in harmony with God's plan for the extension of his work in the regions beyond that many are called to leave their native shores for distant lands, to act as leaders and teachers in soul-winning service. It is also in harmony with his plan that those who remain in their home fields shall unite in well-organized efforts to save the perishing multitudes living close by, within easy reach. Every true follower of Christ is a missionary, and whether he be at home or abroad, he will find many ways in which to labor for God. Realizing his accountability to make known to others the truth that has gladdened his own heart and made bright his hope of life eternal, the true Christian, wherever he is, will be a faithful lightbearer.
It is the duty not of the minister merely, but of every member of the church, to represent Christ to the world. All who name the name of Christ are to catch the rays of light streaming from the throne of God, and reflect them upon souls blinded by error and infatuated with false doctrine. They are to hold up the only true standard of righteousness, which is God's holy law.
Precious are the results that will follow sincere, unselfish efforts to use every capability in the Lord's service. From the Great Teacher the worker will receive the highest of all education. The quickening influence of the grace of God will be made manifest in him. There will be an intensity of desire to follow in the path that Jesus trod. There will be an earnest longing to point sinners to "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." The heart will be filled with loving zeal for the Master.
My brethren and sisters, let us come up to the high standard of God in Christ Jesus. Let us now consider, before it shall be everlastingly too late, what is the measure of our responsibilities in this world in regard to the salvation of our fellow men. Let us watch and pray, and place ourselves in right relation to God, and study to see what good we may do,--what words we may speak, what influence we may exert, what light we may diffuse as colaborers with God, and what we can do to establish missions in places where now there are none, that lights may be continually shining forth into the dark corners of the earth.
Every individual Christian is required of God to be active in missionary service. He must wrestle with God in secret prayer; then he is to go forth in the spirit of Christ to hold converse with men. Anointed for his mission, he bears with him the atmosphere of paradise. His words are well chosen; his countenance reflects the image of his Master. He is the light of the world, a living epistle known and read of men.
An Organized Movement.--The forces for good among the lay members of the church cannot be developed and brought into proper working order without careful planning and systematic training. And as these workers are developed, they must be given the wise, helpful supervision of experienced leaders. They should not be left to struggle along alone, unaided. While it is true that the responsibility of leadership rests heavily upon the officers of the local churches, yet this responsibility is to be shared by the ordained ministers and by conference officers. Those in positions of trust in the General Conference and in union and local conferences cannot overlook their responsibility toward every church member, however humble may be the work in which he is engaged. All lines of service are to be bound together in one united whole.
In past years, much has been done to strengthen the hands of the lay members, and to encourage them to be vigilant home missionaries. But much more might have been accomplished had those in responsibility recognized and made full use of all the working forces in the church. In every church there is talent, which, with the right kind of helpful training from men of experience, might be developed into a power for the upbuilding of God's kingdom.
Counsels Often Repeated.--Often the attention of ministers and conference officers has been called to the importance of utilizing all the various agencies in our ranks, for the advancement of God's cause. Many appeals to church members have been published, and in these have been outlined successful methods of labor. As I have testified in former years, there is now the same call for disinterested workers as when Christ gave his commission to the first disciples. "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," is our Lord's command. Self-sacrificing labor is wanted in every part of the harvest field. Men and women are to be coworkers with their self-denying Redeemer. In their earnest efforts to do others good, they will be bearing his yoke and lifting his burden. And in this they will find truest happiness and richest joy.
All who accept the invitation of Christ to bear his yoke and share his burden, will not only find the yoke easy, but the burden light. Rest and peace is found in forgetfulness of self and in persevering effort to save souls from the darkness of error. Those who shirk the responsibilities that Jesus would have them bear, choosing rather a life of self-indulgent ease, will find themselves destitute of spiritual joys and divine peace. Such cannot be partakers with Christ of his glory. Selfish enjoyments can never satisfy the cravings of a soul that God has qualified for a higher sphere and a nobler mission.
That church only is strong that is a working church, whose members feel an individual responsibility to act their part in strengthening, encouraging, and building up the church by their personal efforts. Such believers will extend their influence and labors by cheerfully doing all that they can in every branch of the cause. The truth spreads when living, active workers commend it by personal effort, characterized by piety and the beauty of true holiness.
We are a people whom God has favored with special privileges and blessings in making us the depositaries of his law. None of us are to be idlers in the vineyard of the Lord. We are not all qualified to do the same kind of work; all cannot be ministers, to labor in word and doctrine; but there are many other lines of work, fully as important as preaching, which have been sadly neglected.
Many whose names are on the church roll, are living as if there were no great emergency, no fearful danger of their fellow men losing eternal life. Many fold their hands at ease, yet profess to be followers of Christ. The burden of the work has been left largely with those who are laboring under salary. But this is not as it should be. The great missionary field is open to all, and the lay members of our churches must understand that no one is exempted from labor in the Master's vineyard.
Soul-Saving Service.--We are living in a most solemn time. Important responsibilities are resting upon us. New fields are being opened for our labor, and the Macedonian cry is coming from every direction, "Come over . . . and help us." Some beg for even a day of labor with them, if they can have no more. Angels of God are preparing ears to hear, and hearts to receive the message of warning. And in our very midst honest souls are living who have never yet heard the reasons of our faith. People are perishing for want of knowledge. Not one-hundredth part is being done that might be done to give the third angel's message to the world. There are those who will be responsible for the souls who have never heard the truth. Many excuse themselves by giving trivial reasons for not engaging in the work they might do if they were consecrated to God. They have wrapped their talents in a napkin and buried them in the earth.
The work of saving souls is sacred and all-important. The humble, efficient worker, who obediently responds to the call of God in this direction, may be sure of receiving divine assistance. To feel so great and holy a responsibility is of itself elevating to the human character. The influence upon one's own life, as well as upon the lives of others, is incalculable. The highest mental qualities are called into action, and their continued exercise strengthens and purifies mind and heart.
It is wonderful how strong a weak man may become through faith in the power of God, how decided his efforts, how prolific of great results. And the timid woman, shrinking and self-distrustful, is transformed into a courageous missionary, who valiantly wields the sword of truth. The hesitating and irresolute become firm and decided. Taking in the great fact that he is called by the Redeemer of the world to work with him for the salvation of man, the believer dedicates his life to this work. His nature becomes exalted; the mission of Christ opens before him with new importance and glory, and with deep humility he recognizes in himself a colaborer with the Saviour. No higher office is given to man. No joy can equal the assurance of being an instrument in the hands of God for the saving of souls. It is a grand thing to look back upon an experience of labor all marked with glorious results; to see precious souls progressing in the light through your efforts; to feel that God has worked with and through you in the harvest field of the world. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #45)
While plans are being carried out to warn the inhabitants of various nations in distant lands, much must be done in behalf of the foreigners who have come to the shores of our own land. The souls in China are no more precious than the souls within the shadow of our doors. God's people are to labor faithfully in distant lands, as his providence may open the way; and they are also to fulfill their duty toward the foreigners of various nationalities in the cities and villages and country districts close by.
It is well that those in responsibility are now planning wisely to proclaim the third angel's message to the hundreds of thousands of foreigners in America. God desires his servants to do their full duty toward the unwarned millions of the cities, and especially toward those who have come to these cities in our land from the nations of earth. Many of these foreigners are here in the providence of God, that they may have opportunity to hear the truth for this time.
Great benefits would come to the cause of God in the regions beyond if faithful effort were put forth in behalf of the foreigners in the cities of our homeland. Among these men and women are some who, upon accepting the truth, could soon be fitted to labor for their own people in this country and in other countries. Many might return to the places from which they came, in the hope of winning their friends to the truth. They could search out their kinsfolk and neighbors, and communicate to them a knowledge of the third angel's message.
Had the work of warning the cities of America been carried forward in past years with an earnestness in harmony with the importance of this part of the harvest field, we might now be standing on vantage ground. In urging this matter upon the attention of our brethren in responsibility assembled in a union conference in 1909, I said:--
"In New York City, in Chicago, and in other great centers of population, there is a large foreign element--multitudes of various nationalities, and all practically unwarned. Among Seventh-day Adventists there is a great zeal--and I am not saying there is any too much--to work in foreign countries; but it would be pleasing to God if a proportionate zeal were manifested to work the cities close by. His people need to move sensibly. They need to set about this work in the cities with serious earnestness. Men of consecration and talent are to be sent into these cities, and set at work. Many classes of laborers are to unite in conducting these efforts to warn the people.
"When God's chosen messengers recognize their responsibility toward the cities, and in the spirit of the Master Worker labor untiringly for the conversion of precious souls, those who are enlightened will desire to give freely of their means to sustain the work done in their behalf. The newly converted believers will respond liberally to every call for help, and the Spirit of God will move upon their hearts to sustain not only the work being carried forward in the cities where they may be living, but in the regions beyond. Thus strength will come to the working forces at home and abroad, and the cause of God will be advanced in his appointed way."
In "Testimonies for the Church," Vol. VIII, counsel is given concerning this same matter. From pages 34-37 I quote:--
"I must write something in regard to the way in which our cities in America have been passed by and neglected,--cities in which the truth has not been proclaimed. The message must be given to the thousands of foreigners living in these cities in the home field. . . .
"Who feels heavily burdened to see the message proclaimed in Greater New York and in the many other cities as yet unworked? Not all the means that can be gathered up is to be sent from America to distant lands, while in the home field there exist such providential opportunities to present the truth to millions who have never heard it. Among these millions are the representatives of many nations, many of whom are prepared to receive the message. Much remains to be done within the shadow of our doors,--in the cities of California, New York, and many other States. . . .
"We repeat the prayer, 'Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.' Matt. 6:10. Are we doing our part to answer this prayer? We profess to believe that the commission which Christ gave to his disciples is given also to us. Are we fulfilling it? May God forgive our terrible neglect in not doing the work that as yet we have scarcely touched with the tips of our fingers. When will this work be done? It makes my heart sick and sore to see such blindness on the part of the people of God.
"There are thousands in America perishing in ignorance and sin. And looking afar off to some distant field, those who know the truth are indifferently passing by the needy fields close to them. Christ says, 'Go work today in my vineyard.' 'Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.' Matt. 21:28; John 4:35.
"Wake up, wake up, my brethren and sisters, and enter the fields in America that have never been worked. After you have given something for foreign fields, do not think your duty done. There is a work to be done in foreign fields, but there is a work to be done in America that is just as important. In the cities of America there are people of almost every language. These need the light that God has given to his church.
"The Lord lives and reigns. Soon he will arise in majesty to shake terribly the earth. A special message is now to be borne, a message that will pierce the spiritual darkness and convict and convert souls. 'Haste thee, flee for thy life,' is the call to be given to those dwelling in sin. We must now be terribly in earnest. . . .
"My heart is filled with anguish when I think of the tame messages borne by some of our ministers, when they have a message of life and death to bear. The ministers are asleep; the lay members are asleep; and a world is perishing in sin. May God help his people to arouse and walk and work as men and women on the borders of the eternal world. Soon an awful surprise is coming upon the inhabitants of the world. Suddenly, with power and great glory, Christ will come. Then there will be no time to prepare to meet him. Now is the time for us to give the warning message."
Recently we were favored with a visit from Elder O. A. Olsen, who has been appointed by the General Conference to have the general oversight of the work among foreigners in America. We were greatly cheered by the encouraging report he brought concerning the progress that has been made in a few places. He told us of the continued prosperity of the cause of present truth among the Scandinavians and the Germans in America, and of the plans for continuing the work among the French. We rejoice that the efforts put forth by the pioneer workers among foreign nationalities in the United States and Canada, have borne a rich harvest of souls and we pray that our brethren and sisters who have sacrificed to establish schools for the training of their children in their own mother tongue, may continue steadfast in the faith. Their labor of love will not be in vain. The workers trained in these schools should be encouraged to find their places quickly in the Master's vineyard, and to labor perseveringly in behalf of those who know not the truth for this time. God will go before them, and give them many souls for their hire.
Elder Olsen told us also of the encouraging beginnings among the Italians, Servians, Roumanians, Russians, and several other nationalities. We rejoiced with him in all that has been done, and yet our hearts were made sad by the knowledge that much that might have been done has been left undone because of lack of means. We hope that the special collection recently taken in all our churches in America, will enable our brethren having this department in charge, to do more aggressive work in the great cities of the land. Thus many may be won to our ranks, and from among these may be developed laborers who can proclaim the message to those of their own nationality in our own land and in the other nations of earth.
God would be pleased to see far more accomplished by his people in the presentation of the truth for this time to the foreigners in America than has been done in the past. Let us strengthen the hands of Elder Olsen and his associates in labor. Let us not permit them to struggle on, alone, with only a meager allowance for the prosecution of their great work. As I have testified for years, if we were quick in discerning the opening providences of God, we should be able to see in the multiplying opportunities to reach many foreigners in America a divinely appointed means of rapidly extending the third angel's message into all the nations of earth. God in his providence has brought men to our very doors and thrust them, as it were, into our arms, that they might learn the truth, and be qualified to do a work we could not do in getting the light before men of other tongues.
There is a great work before us. The world is to be warned. The truth is to be translated into many languages, that all nations may enjoy its pure, lifegiving influence. This work calls for the exercise of all the talents that God has intrusted to our keeping,--the pen, the press, the voice, the purse, and the sanctified affections of the soul. Christ has made us ambassadors to make known his salvation to the children of men; and if we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ and are filled with the joy of his indwelling Spirit, we shall not be able to hold our peace. The truth will be poured forth from hearts all aglow with the love of God. We shall long to present the attractions of Christ and the unseen realities of the world to come. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #46)
In the past, a large work has been accomplished in the distribution of the printed page. This is a line of service in which every church member can have some part. All cannot go out as canvassers for our larger books; but there is a field of usefulness open before many of our brethren and sisters in the placing of truth-filled publications in the homes of their neighbors and friends.
Years ago our brethren in responsibility gave much study to ways and means for the carrying forward of this line of work with increasing efficiency. As the result of carefully laid plans, patient instruction, and helpful supervision, the circulation of the printed page has come to be a mighty factor in the dissemination of the truths of the third angel's message.
When we view the rise and progress of the publishing work from the beginning to the present time, we thank God and take courage. Yet our responsibility toward the unwarned multitudes urges us on to still greater and more systematic efforts to set in operation many agencies for the circulation of our papers, tracts, and books. Those who are acquainted with the possibilities of this branch of missionary work, and who are wise to teach, have much to do in the training of home workers.
Our numbers are constantly increasing, and the inexperienced must be patiently taught to share the burdens resting upon the entire body of believers. Many, too, of our brethren and sisters older in the faith, who have been active in the distribution of literature in the past, are still in need of systematic instruction in methods of labor. Those in responsibility should be quick to discern talent that can be used in the tract and missionary work; and they should do all in their power to develop this talent.
In earlier years, when many efforts were being put forth to induce our brethren and sisters to circulate the printed page, I bore testimony to the fact that but few among us have broad and extensive views of what can be done in reaching the people by personal, interested efforts. Many who cannot be induced to listen to the truth presented by the living preacher, will take up a tract or a paper and peruse it; many things they read meet their ideas exactly, and they become interested to learn all it contains. Impressions are thus made upon their minds which they cannot readily forget. The seed of truth has in some cases been buried for years beneath the rubbish of the world and the pleasing fables that deceived ones have enjoyed. After a time some experience--it may be some earthly sorrow or affliction--softens their hearts, and the seed that has lain dormant springs up and bears fruit to the glory of God.
Again, many who read these papers and tracts lay aside the silent messengers because of the plain truths set forth. But ideas all new to them have, although unwelcome, made their impression, and again the hand takes up the neglected paper or tract, and the eye is tracing the truthful lines. Thus point after point of truth is established, and antagonism ceases. As the convicting power of the Spirit of God works upon the heart, step by step reformations in the life are wrought, until self is merged into the will of Christ. Henceforth the despised paper or tract is honored as the means of converting the stubborn heart and subduing the perverse will, bringing it in subjection to Christ. Had the living preacher spoken as pointedly, these persons might have turned from him, refusing to entertain the new and strange ideas he advocated.
I have been instructed that but few have any correct idea of what the distribution of papers and tracts is doing. By this means doors are opening everywhere, and minds are being prepared to receive the truth from the living preacher. The success attending the efforts of ministers in the field is due in a great degree to the influence of the reading matter which has enlightened the minds of the people and removed prejudice.
The true Christian is bent on doing good to all who come within the sphere of his influence. Many ways of usefulness will open before the willing, aspiring, devoted soul, who wants to labor for the salvation of others. The more such persons do, the more they will see to do, and the more earnest will they be to have a part in every good work for the upbuilding of the kingdom of Christ.
Let this question come home to every heart: "How much owest thou unto my Lord?" Our Master became poor that we might have eternal riches; he died that we might have life. Should we not be willing to follow his example, in order to bring to others a knowledge of saving truth? In so doing, our own characters will develop, our faith will grow strong, our zeal will become more steady and earnest, our love for God and for his truth and for the souls perishing all about us will become intensified, and many will be saved as the result of our labors.
Happy are they who from the beginning of their religious life have been true to their first love, growing in grace and in the knowledge of their Lord. The sure result of such intercourse and fellowship with Christ will be an increase of piety, of purity, of holy zeal. They are receiving a divine education, and this is made manifest in a life of fervor and untiring diligence. They have a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Theirs is a childlike devotion, and their love for their Redeemer finds expression in deeds of kindness and loving service for their fellow men.
The Lord is calling upon his people to continue with courage and faith their work of circulating the printed page. Every church should seek for a revival of the missionary spirit. My brethren and sisters, in these times of doubt and unbelief sinners will be converted only as the result of unusual efforts to give them a knowledge of Bible truth. You will seek in vain to convince others of the preciousness of Christ, so long as you fail to make a wise and diligent use of the agencies placed within your reach for the winning of souls.
We should treat as a sacred treasure every line of printed matter that comes from our publishing houses. Even the fragments of a pamphlet or of a periodical should be regarded as of value. Who can estimate the influence that a torn page containing the truths of the third angel's message, may have upon the heart of some seeker after truth?
In the miracle of the feeding of the multitude, the food was increased as it passed from Christ to the people. Thus it will be in the distribution of our publications. God's truth, as it is passed out, will multiply greatly. And as Christ was careful that of the fragments that remained nothing should be lost, so we should carefully treasure every fragment of literature containing the truth for this time. Every page that comes from the press is a ray of light from heaven, to shine into the byways and the hedges, shedding light upon the pathway of truth. Let us remember that somebody would be glad to receive every page that we can spare.
When the churches become living, working agencies for the salvation of the perishing, the Holy Spirit will be given in answer to their sincere request. The truths of God's Word will be regarded with new interest, and will be searched after as if they were fresh revelations from heaven. Envy, jealousy, evil surmising, will cease. The study of the Word will absorb the mind, and its truths will feast the soul. The promises of God that all too often in the past have been repeated as if the soul had never tasted of his love, will glow upon the altar of the heart, and fall in burning words from the lips of the messenger of truth. The members of our churches will be pleading for souls with an earnestness that cannot be repulsed. The windows of heaven will be open for the outpouring of the latter rain. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #47)
(Reading for Sabbath, December 19.)--Seventh-day Adventists profess to believe that the day of this world's history is far spent, and that the night is at hand. Should we then, as the end draws nigh, manifest greater earnestness and zeal in the service of God, or may we now relax our energies, and participate in the pursuits and pleasures of the world? The Lord has ever required his people to show in all their habits of life a marked difference between themselves and worldlings. Even if the end were not near, it would be the duty of every Christian to be true to his profession of faith, and by an example of simplicity and self-denial, to rebuke the pride and selfishness of the ungodly. How much more, then, is it incumbent upon this people to manifest unfailing zeal and consecration!
In both the Old and the New Testament the Lord has positively enjoined upon his people to be distinct from the world, in spirit, in pursuits, in practice, to be a holy nation, a peculiar people. The east is not farther from the west than are the children of light, in customs, practices, and spirit, from the children of darkness. And this distinction will be more marked, more decided, as we near the close of time. It is not a profession of faith, or a name registered in the church book, that constitutes us children of God. It is a vital connection with Christ. We must be one with him, imbued with his Spirit, partakers of the divine nature, crucified to the world with its affections and lusts, renewed in knowledge and true holiness.
God requires of his blood-bought heritage the sanctification of the whole being,--purity like the purity of Christ, perfect conformity to the will of God. "Be ye therefore perfect," is God's word to us; and in order that we might obey this word, he sent his only begotten Son to this earth to live in our behalf a perfect life. We have before us his example; and the strength by which he lived this life we also may have. Our duty, our safety, our happiness and usefulness, and our salvation call upon us each to use the greatest diligence to secure the grace of Christ; to be so closely connected with God that we may discern spiritual things, and not be ignorant of Satan's devices. The mighty surges of temptation will break upon all; and unless we are riveted to the eternal Rock, we shall be borne away, to become the helpless prey of the enemy. By diligent searching of the Scriptures, and earnest prayer for divine help, the soul must be prepared to resist temptation. The transforming power of Christ's grace will mold the one who gives himself to God's service; for God is bound by an eternal pledge to supply power and grace to every one who yields himself to be sanctified by obedience to the truth.
Now is the time to prepare for the coming of our Lord. Readiness to meet him cannot be attained in a moment. Preparatory to that solemn scene there must be vigilant waiting and watching, combined with earnest work.
We are living in a time of peril, a time of temptation, of despondency. Every one is beset by the wiles of Satan, and we should press together to resist his power. We should be of one mind, speaking the same things, and with one mouth glorifying God. When unity prevails, the church advances from success to success, and the various departments of the cause of God fulfill their part in the finishing of the great work before us.
There are many, many in our churches who have but a limited understanding of the real meaning of the truth for this time. I appeal to them not to disregard the fulfilling of the signs of the times, which say so plainly that the end is near. O, how many who have not sought their soul's salvation will soon make the bitter lamentation, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved"!
We need to humble ourselves before God, because there are those in the church who are failing of accomplishing that which the Lord desires them to accomplish in soul-saving effort. The privileges that he has given them, the promises he has made, the advantages he has bestowed, should inspire them with far greater zeal and devotion than they manifest.
My brethren and sisters, are we willing to leave self out of the question? Are our energies spent in the Master's service? Are our voices often raised in earnest supplication for power from on high? Is our faith pure and strong? Have we put away all prejudice, all evil thinking and evil speaking? Are our affections set on things above, or are they twining about the things of this earth? Are our eyes open to see the needs of those around us? Can God call us faithful watchmen?
To those who have failed of discerning the opportunities of the present hour, I would say: Do you desire to break the spell that holds you? Would you arouse from this sluggishness that resembles the torpor of death? Go to work, whether you feel like it or not. Engage in personal effort to bring souls to Jesus and to the knowledge of the truth. In such labor you will find both a stimulant and a tonic; it will both arouse and strengthen. By exercise, your spiritual powers will become more vigorous, so that you can, with better success, work out your own salvation. The stupor of death is upon many who profess Christ. Make every effort to arouse them. Warn, entreat, expostulate. Pray that the melting love of God may warm and soften their icebound natures. Though they may refuse to hear, your efforts will not be lost. In the effort to bless others, your own souls will be blessed.
The greatest in the kingdom of God are those who love the Saviour too well to misrepresent him; who love their fellow men too well to imperil their souls by setting a wrong example.
Let every church member kneel before God, and pray earnestly for the impartation of the Spirit. Cry: "Lord, increase my faith. Make me to understand thy word; for the entrance of thy word giveth light. Refresh me by thy presence; fill my heart with thy Spirit, that I may love my brethren as Christ loves me."
God will bless those who thus prepare themselves for his service. They will understand what it means to have the assurance of the Spirit, because they have received Christ by faith. The religion of Christ means more than the forgiveness of sins. It means that sin is taken away, and that the life is filled with the Spirit. It means that the mind is divinely illumined, that the heart is emptied of self and filled with the presence of Christ. When this work is done for church members, the church will be a living, working church.
God expects those who claim to be his children to bring others to him. On every hand are opening before us many doors for the presentation of the message of saving truth. Beside all waters the seeds of truth are to be sown. To all the world--to every nation and kindred and tongue and people--the message is to be proclaimed. As those who have received the light of present truth exercise a living faith in Christ, as they labor together with him in soul winning, what a work will be accomplished! For such laborers the angels of God will open ways and furnish opportunities, and will cooperate with the human agent, that he may not run in vain, neither labor in vain.
The Angel of the covenant is empowering his servants to be his witnesses to carry the truth to all parts of the world. He has sent forth his angels with their message. But as though these angels did not speed on their way fast enough to satisfy his heart of yearning love, he gives John personally the message to be given to all: "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." He has opened a fountain for Judah and Jerusalem, and every member of his church is to show his loyalty by inviting the thirsty to drink of the water of life. A chain of living witnesses is to carry the invitation to the world. Will you act your part in this work? God calls. Will you hear his voice, and, denying self, take up the cross and follow him? As you see the peril and the misery of men and women under the working of Satan, do not exhaust your God-given energies in idle lament!
ations, but go to work for yourselves and for others. Arouse, and feel a burden for those who are perishing.
Sound an alarm through the land. Tell the people that the day of the Lord is near, and hasteth greatly. Let none be left unwarned. We might have been in the place of the poor souls who are in error. According to the truth that we have received above others, we are debtors to impart the same to them.
We have no time to lose. The powers of darkness are working with intense energy, and with stealthy tread Satan is advancing to take those who are now asleep, as a wolf taking his prey. We have warnings now which we may give, a work now which we may do, but soon it will be more difficult than we imagine. God help us to keep in the channel of light, to work with our eyes fastened upon our Leader, and patiently, perseveringly press on till the victory is gained.
The coming of the Lord is nearer than when we first believed. The great controversy is nearing its end. Every report of calamity by sea or by land is a testimony to the fact that the end of all things is at hand. Wars and rumors of wars declare it. Is there a Christian whose pulse does not beat with quickened action as he anticipates the great events opening before us? The Lord is coming. We hear the footsteps of an approaching God, as he comes to punish the world for its iniquity. We are to prepare the way for him by acting our part in getting a people ready for that great day. No entreaties are so tender, no lessons so plain, no commands so powerful and so protecting, no promises so full, as those which point the sinner to the fountain that has been opened to wash away the guilt of the human soul. Let every heart as well as every hand be engaged to do the work that must be done. The word is given from the throne of God, "Every man to his work, each to do his best." Mrs. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 91, #49)
The Lord is calling upon his people to take up different lines of missionary work. Those in the highways and hedges are to hear the saving gospel message. Church members are to do evangelistic work in the homes of those of their friends and neighbors who have not yet received full evidence of the truth.
The presentation of the truth, in love and simplicity, from house to house, is in harmony with the instruction that Christ gave his disciples when he sent them out on their first missionary tour. By songs of praise to God, humble, heartfelt prayers, and a simple presentation of Bible truth in the family circle, many will be rescued. The divine Worker will be present to send conviction to hearts. "I am with you alway," is his promise. With the assurance of the abiding presence of such a helper, we may labor with faith and hope and courage.
The monotony of our service for God needs to be broken up. Every church member should be engaged in some line of work for God. Let those who are well established in the truth, go into neighboring places, and hold meetings, giving a cordial invitation to all. Let there be in these meetings, melodious songs, fervent prayers, and the reading of God's Word. And let the ideas expressed, and the words in which they are clothed, be such as the common people can readily comprehend.
There are those who can visit the homes of the people, reading to the members of the family on some simple, impressive subject of Bible truth. By such labor souls will be convicted and converted. Those who do this work should be able to read and speak with clearness and feeling, placing the emphasis where it belongs.
There are those who, because of pressing home duties, may not be able to do house-to-house work. But let them not think that they can do nothing to help. They can encourage those who go out, and can give of their means to help to sustain them.
Will not every church act its part as the Lord's missionary society? Every member may do something. God's people are to be laborers together with him. As they take up the work, there will be a manifest increase of piety and faith. There will be a greater readiness to offer prayer and praise to God in the testimony meetings held.
We see multitudes sunken in vice and ignorance, without hope and without God. Yet provision has been made that these may become children of the heavenly King. His mercy is still lingering for them. He is inviting them, weary, heavy laden with sin, to come to him for pardon, rest, and peace. To us he has given the message of truth, the invitation of mercy, to bear to these perishing souls. Shall we not act our part in fulfilling the divine purpose, by giving light to those who are in darkness? Let us not wait for them to come to us, but let us go out and search for them. Let us devise ways and means of reaching them and of communicating to them a knowledge of the truth for this time. Let us point them to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.
Says Christ, "Ye are the light of the world." This applies not only to the ministers, but to every soul to whom Christ has revealed himself. In your several churches you are to be active, living, Christian workers. Are you acquainted with your neighbors? Have you the love of Jesus? If so, you will feel an intense interest for the souls for whom Christ died. Pure religion and undefiled is an active principle. It overreaches the walls of home. It goes forth in quest of objects that need help. Its light flashes into the highways and hedges, and it is seen and felt in the larger places of the earth. The lost sheep are searched for diligently, and wanderers are brought back to the fold.
Not all, however, who are enrolled as members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church are faithful missionaries for God. As in former years, so today I must testify to a sad neglect of personal effort on the part of many, both for the members of the family and for our neighbors. Many seem to rest perfectly easy, as if heavenly messengers were to come to earth and in an audible voice proclaim the message of warning. These idlers in the vineyard are virtually saying, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
Many associate almost wholly with those of the same faith, and feel no duty to become acquainted with their neighbors who are ignorant of the great and testing truths for the last days. Ladies who in the parlor can engage in conversation with wonderful tact and earnestness, shrink from pointing the sinner to the Lamb of God. O, there is so much work to be done for souls that is left undone because it is a cross, and because each seeks his own amusement, and works for his own selfish interest! Because of our unbelief, our worldliness, and our indolence, blood-bought souls in the very shadow of our homes are dying in their sins, and dying unwarned.
Until the judgment it will never be known how much might have been done, how many plans might have been devised, to save souls by bringing them to the knowledge of the truth. Self-indulgence, unwillingness to sacrifice, and a lack of true spiritual discernment, have led many to overlook the open doors which they might have entered to do a good work for the Master. Love of ease has caused them to shun the wearing of Christ's yoke, the lifting of his burden.
Many, many, are approaching the day of God, doing nothing, shunning responsibilities, and as the result they are religious dwarfs. So far as work for God is concerned, the pages of their life history present a mournful blank. As trees in the garden of God, they are only cumberers of the ground, darkening with their unproductive boughs the ground which fruit bearing trees might have occupied.
In the day of God how many will confront us and say, "I am lost! I am lost! and you never warned me; you never entreated me to come to Jesus. Had I believed as you did, I should have followed every judgment-bound soul with prayers and tears and warnings."
In that day the Master will demand of his professed people, "What have you done to save the souls of your neighbors? There were many who were connected with you in worldly business, who lived close beside you, whom you might have warned. Why are they among the unsaved?"
Brethren and sisters, what excuse can you render to God for this neglect? I would present this matter to you as it has been presented to me; and in the light from the life of the Master, from the cross of Calvary, I urge you to arouse. I entreat you to take upon your hearts the burden of your fellow men.
No one who professes to love Jesus can long retain the favor of God if he feels no interest for sinners around him. Those who seek merely to save their own souls, and are indifferent to the condition and destiny of their fellow men, will fail to put forth sufficient effort to secure their own salvation. In hiding their talents in the earth, they are throwing away their opportunities to obtain a star-gemmed crown.
I write plainly, in the hope that every effort may be made on the part of all to remove from them the frown of God. Whatever the neglect of duty, of parents to children, or of neighbor to neighbor, let it now be understood and repented of. If we have sinned against the Lord, we shall never have peace and restoration to his favor without full confession and reformation in regard to the very things in which we have been remiss. Not until we have used every means in our power to repair the evil, can God approve and bless us. The path of confession is humiliating, but it is the only way by which we can receive strength to overcome. All the dropped stitches may never be picked up so that our work shall be as perfect and God-pleasing as it should have been; but every effort should be made to do this so far as it is possible to accomplish it.
We have the promise, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness," even so was "the Son of man. . . lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." We are to "look and live." Sinful and unworthy, we must cast our helpless souls upon the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. Then will God restore unto us the joy of his salvation, and uphold us by his free Spirit. Then may we teach transgressors his way, and sinners shall be converted unto him.
Brethren, the Lord calls upon you to redeem the time. Draw nigh to God. Take on your neck the yoke of Christ; stretch out your hands to lift his burden. Stir up the gift that is within you. You who have had opportunities and privileges to become acquainted with the reasons of our faith, use this knowledge in giving light to others. And do not rest satisfied with the little knowledge that you already have. Search the Scriptures. Let no moment be unimproved. Dig for the precious gems of truth as for hid treasures, and pray for wisdom that you may present the truth to others in a clear, connected manner.
Many who have been left to darkness and ruin, might have been helped had their neighbors, common men and women, come to them with the love of Christ glowing in their hearts, and put forth personal efforts for them. Many are waiting to be thus addressed personally. Humble, earnest conversation with such persons, and prayer for them, heart being brought close to heart, would in most cases be wholly successful.
Let labor for souls become a part of your life. Go to the homes even of those who manifest no interest. While mercy's sweet voice invites the sinner, work with every energy of heart and brain, as did Paul, who "ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears." The heavenly messengers are waiting to cooperate with your efforts. Will you do the work appointed you of God?
Christ is coming soon. He declared that when there would be wars and rumors of wars, when there would be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places, we might know that the time of his second appearing is near. The wickedness, the turmoil, the disturbances on every side, should be regarded by us as signs that the day of God is at hand. "When these things begin to come to pass," he declared, "then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."
We are standing on the verge of the eternal world. We have no time to lose. It is high time to tell the people that Christ is coming. Let us warn them, visiting them at their homes, and talking and praying with them personally. By such efforts we shall win souls to Christ. If we come to God in faith, he will give us power and grace for every duty. Mrs. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 91, #50)
Again and again the attention of believers in the advent message has been called to the many opportunities before them for soul-winning service. The Lord desires his children to reach a high standard of spiritual attainment, and to become laborers together with him for the salvation of many without the camp.
A crisis in missionary effort is upon us. There is a great work to be done, and if this work is earnestly undertaken and vigorously prosecuted in all our older churches and strongholds of influence, we may hope that the missionary movement will extend to all the churches throughout our conferences. God will do great things for his people if they will cooperate with him. But the fulfillment of his purpose to enlighten the world through his appointed agencies, can be brought about only by means of careful planning and untiring effort. The individual members of all our churches must be trained to render efficient service as missionaries for God. This is a work that should engage the attention of our brethren in responsibility in every land.
As I have testified in former years, there are but few of our churches that can enjoy the labors of a minister, except at long intervals. They must depend upon their own efforts, with God's blessing, to maintain spiritual life. In the absence of preaching, it rests with them to keep up the interest of the meetings, and to preserve the church in a healthy, growing condition. In every church there is talent, which, with the right kind of labor, might be developed to become a great help in this work. There should be a well-organized plan for the employment of workers to go into the churches, large and small, to instruct the members how to labor for the upbuilding of the church, and also for unbelievers. It is not mere sermonizing that is needed, but educating. The people must be taught the necessity of personal piety and home religion. The life and teachings of Christ must be presented before them. This is the work that will accomplish the greatest good for our churches.
There should be those in the churches who can help their brethren to learn the will of God as revealed in his Word. Those who are qualified to do this should invite members of the church to study the Bible with them. Let them seek, in a pleasing, discreet manner, to enlighten the understanding and impress the conscience. In helping others to become acquainted with the Scriptures, they should not think any sacrifice too great, nor regard the time as other than most profitably employed.
That which is needed now for the upbuilding of our churches is the nice work of wise laborers to discern and develop talent in the church that can be educated for the Master's service. Those who shall labor in visiting the churches should give them instruction in the Bible-reading and missionary work. Let there be a class for the training of the youth who are willing to work if they are taught how. Young men and women should be educated to become workers at home, in their own neighborhoods, and in the church.
That church only is strong that is a working church. The thinking powers should be consecrated to Christ, and ways and means should be devised to serve him best. Let all set their hearts and minds to become intelligent in regard to the work for this time, qualifying themselves to do that for which they are best adapted. Men who make a success in business life are keen, apt, and prompt. We must exercise equal tact and energy in the service of God. Let every man, of whatever trade or profession, make the cause of God his first interest, not only exercising his talents to advance the Lord's work, but cultivating his ability to this end. Many a man devotes months and years to the acquirement of a trade or profession, that he may become a successful worker in the world. Should he not make as great an effort to cultivate those talents which would make him a successful worker for God?
All this work of training should be accompanied with earnest seeking of the Lord for his Holy Spirit. Let this be urged home upon those who are willing to give themselves to the Master's service. No one who will indulge in jesting, in pleasure seeking, or in any sinful practice, can be accepted as a worker for God. Our conduct is watched by the world; every act is scrutinized and commented upon. There must be diligent cultivation of the Christian graces, that those who profess the truth may be able to teach it to others as it is in Jesus, that they themselves may be ensamples, and that our enemies may be able to say no evil of us truthfully. In all their intercourse with unbelievers they are exerting an influence for good or for evil. They are either a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. God calls for greater piety, for holiness of life and purity of conduct, in accordance with the elevating, sanctifying truths which we profess. Your life should be such that unbelievers, seeing your godly walk and circumspect conversation, may be charmed with the faith that produces such results.
There is a great neglect to obtain that Scriptural knowledge which is essential, that the life in all points may be conformed to the spirit of the gospel. Very much has been lost by our unlikeness to Jesus,--lost because we do not in our own conduct present the loveliness of a Christlike life, and adorn by the Christian graces the doctrine of our Saviour.
Let the workers avoid everything that approaches to pride and self-esteem. Cultivate modesty of deportment. Humility is repeatedly and most expressly enjoined in the Scriptures. Peter says, "Be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." The wise man declares, "Before honor is humility." And Jesus taught his followers that "he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." "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." "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
There is a much greater work devolving upon the individual members of the church than they realize. They are not awake to the claims of God upon them. The time has come when every means must be devised that can aid in preparing a people to stand in the day of God. We must be wide-awake not to let precious opportunities pass unimproved. We must do all that we possibly can do to win souls to love God and keep his commandments. Jesus requires this of those who know the truth. Is his demand unreasonable? Do we not owe to Christ a debt of love, of earnest, unselfish labor for the salvation of souls for whom he has given his own life?
There are many of the members of our large churches doing comparatively nothing, who might accomplish a good work, if, instead of crowding together, they would scatter into places that have not yet been entered by the truth. Trees that are planted too thickly do not flourish. They are often transplanted by the gardener, that they may have room to grow, and not become dwarfed and sickly. The same rule would work well for our large churches. Many are dying spiritually for want of this very work. In the shadow of so many other trees, they are becoming sickly and worthless. Transplanted, they would have room to grow strong and vigorous.
It is not the purpose of God that his people should colonize, or settle together in large communities. The disciples of Christ are his representatives upon the earth, and God designs that they shall be scattered over all the country, in the towns, cities, and villages, as lights amid the darkness of the world. They are to be missionaries for God, by their faith and works testifying to the near approach of the coming Saviour.
The lay members of our churches can accomplish a work which as yet they have scarcely begun. None should move into new places merely for the sake of worldly advantage; but where there is an opening to obtain a livelihood, let families that are well grounded in the truth enter, one or two families in a place, to work as missionaries. They should feel a love for souls, a burden of labor for them, and should make it a study how to bring them into the truth. They can circulate our publications, hold meetings in their own houses, become acquainted with their neighbors, and invite them to come to the meetings and Bible readings. They can let their light shine in good works.
Let the workers stand alone in God, weeping, praying, laboring, for the salvation of their fellow men. Remember that you are running a race, striving for an immortal crown. While so many love the praise of men more than the favor of God, let it be yours to labor in humility. Learn to exercise faith in presenting the case of your neighbors before the throne of grace, and pleading with God to touch their hearts. In this way effectual missionary work may be done. Some may be reached who would not listen to a minister or a colporteur. And those who thus go into a new place will be able to learn the best ways and means of approaching the people there, and they can prepare the way for other laborers.
A precious experience may be gained by one who engages in this work. He has upon his heart the burden of the souls of his neighbors. He must have the help of Jesus. How careful he will be to walk circumspectly, that his prayers may not be hindered, that no cherished sin may separate him from God! While helping others, such a worker is himself obtaining spiritual strength and understanding, and in this humble school he may become qualified to enter a wider field.
Christ declares, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." God has endowed us with faculties, and intrusted to us talents, to be used. To every man is given his work, not merely working his fields of corn and wheat, but earnest, persevering work for the salvation of souls. Every stone in God's temple must be a living stone; he wants it to shine, emitting light to the world. Let the laymen do all they can do; and as they use the talents they already have, God will give them more grace and increased ability.
Many of our missionary enterprises are crippled because there are so many who refuse to enter the doors of usefulness that are plainly opened before them. Let all who believe the truth, go to work. Do the work that lies nearest you; do anything, however humble, rather than be, like the men of Meroz, do-nothings.
We shall not be stinted for means if we will only go forward, trusting in God. The Lord is willing to do a great work for all those who truly believe in him. If the lay members of the church will arouse to do their work in a quiet way, going a warfare at their own charges, each seeing how much he can do in winning souls to Jesus, we shall see many leaving the ranks of Satan to stand under the banner of Christ. If our people will act upon the light that is here given, showing that they sincerely believe the truth which they profess, wonderful revivals will follow; we shall surely see of the salvation of God, sinners will be converted, and many souls will be added to the church. When we shall bring our hearts into unity with Christ, and our lives into harmony with his work, the Spirit that descended on the day of Pentecost, will fall on us. Mrs. Ellen G. White.
(Vol. 91, #52)
In the various branches of the work of God's cause, there is a wide field in which our sisters may do good service for the Master. Many lines of missionary work are neglected. In the different churches, much work which is often left undone or done imperfectly, could be well accomplished by the help that our sisters, if properly instructed, can give. Through various lines of home missionary effort they can reach a class that is not reached by our ministers. Among the noble women who have had the moral courage to decide in favor of the truth for this time are many who have tact, perception, and good ability, and who may make successful workers. The labors of such Christian women are needed.
Our sisters can serve by writing missionary letters, not only to friends at a distance, but to strangers. Through such correspondence, important truths may be brought to the attention of the people. The writers should not seek for self-exaltation, but to present the truth in its simplicity.
Many of our sisters who bear the burden of home responsibilities have been willing to excuse themselves from undertaking any missionary work that requires thought and close application of mind; yet often this is the very discipline they need to enable them to perfect Christian experience. They may become workers for God by distributing to their neighbors tracts and papers that correctly represent our faith, and by sending these silent messengers through the mails to those who are willing to read and investigate. As they thus do what they can for others, they will gain many precious experiences.
My sisters, do not become weary in the distribution of our literature. This is a work you may all engage in successfully, if you are but connected with God. Before approaching your friends and neighbors, or writing letters of inquiry, lift the heart to God in prayer. All who with humble heart take part in this work, will be educating themselves as acceptable workers in the vineyard of the Lord.
In the various lines of home missionary work, the modest, intelligent woman may use her powers to the very highest account. Who can have so deep a love for the souls of men and women for whom Christ has died as those who are partakers of his grace? Who can represent the truth and the example of Christ better than Christian women who themselves are practicing the truth? Who are better adapted to be teachers in the Sabbath school? The true mother is fitted to be an efficient teacher of children. With a heart imbued with the love of Christ, teaching the children of her class, praying with them and for them, she may see souls converted.
By their self-denial and sacrifice, and by their willingness to work to the best of their ability for others, our sisters can show that they believe the truth, and are sanctified through it. They need to labor for others in order to develop the powers they possess. The minds of our sisters may thus be expanded and cultivated. If, however, they are devoted to selfish interests, the soul will be left dwarfed. Emptiness and unrest will be the result.
Many occupy their time in needless stitching and trimming and ruffling of their own and their children's clothing, and thus lose golden moments which they might spend in service. The money that is expended for needless trimmings and useless ornaments, should be used in the purchase of papers and tracts to send to those who are in the darkness of error. The souls saved by this personal effort will be of more value to them than fashionable dress. The white robes and, the jeweled crowns given them by Christ, as their reward for unselfish effort, will a thousand times repay them for the self-denial and self-sacrifice they have shown in his cause.
Our sisters may manage to keep their fingers constantly employed in manufacturing dainty little articles to beautify their homes, or to present to their friends. Great quantities of this kind of material may be laid upon the foundation stone: but will Jesus look upon all this dainty work as a sacrifice to himself? Will he pronounce the commendation upon the workers, "I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou . . . hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast labored, and hast not fainted"?
All work of this kind is wood, hay, and stubble, which the fires of the last day will consume. But where are your offerings to God? Where is the patient labor, the earnest zeal, that brings you into connection with Christ, to bear his yoke, and lift his burdens? Where are the gold, the silver, the precious stones which you have laid upon the foundation stone, which the fires of the last day cannot consume, because they are imperishable?
Let our sisters inquire, How shall I meet in the judgment these souls with whom I have or should have become acquainted? Have I studied their cases? Have I acquainted myself with my Bible so that I could open the Scriptures to them? Have I sought the Lord by earnest prayer in faith, that he would give me wisdom to present the truth to these dear souls? Am I giving them, not only by precept, but by an example of piety and fidelity to God, an assurance that the service of Christ is full of peace and joy?
We should never forget that, as Christians, our time, our strength, and our ability have been purchased with an infinite price. We are not our own, to use our moments in gratifying our fancy and our pride. As children of the light, we are to diffuse light to others. It should be our study how we may best glorify God, how we may work most effectually to save and bless the souls for whom Christ died. In working thus to benefit others we shall be gathering strength and courage to our own souls, and shall win the approval of God.
If all would realize the necessity of doing to the utmost of their ability in the work of God, having a deep love for souls, we should see hundreds engaged as active workers who have been hitherto dull and uninterested, accomplishing nothing. Many have felt that there was little of importance in the tract and missionary work, nothing worthy of their especial interest. Yet it is a fact that the circulation of our literature is doing even a greater work than the living preacher can do. Many have failed to become thoroughly acquainted with the work because they have felt that it did not concern them. Though some can do more than others, yet all can, by individual effort, do something. All should become intelligent as to how they can work most successfully and methodically in spreading the light of truth by scattering our publications.
We meet with young and old who profess to be children of God, yet who are not growing spiritually. With many, the rubbish of the world has clogged the channels of the soul. Selfishness has controlled the mind and warped the character. Were the life hid with Christ in God, his service would be no drudgery. If the whole heart were consecrated to God, all would find something to do, and would covet a part in the work. They would sow beside all waters, praying and believing that the fruit would appear.
Women of firm principle and decided character are needed as active workers in the cause of present truth,--women who believe that we are indeed living in the last days, and that we have the last solemn message of warning to be given to the world. They should feel that they are called to engage in diffusing the rays of light which Heaven has shed upon them. Nothing should discourage them from engaging in this work.
Let every sister who claims to be a child of God, feel a responsibility to help all within her reach. The noblest of all attainments may be gained through practical self-denial and benevolence for others' good. Sisters, God calls you to work in the harvest field, and to help gather in the sheaves. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #53)
Medical missionary work is the pioneer work of the gospel, the door through which the truth for this time is to find entrance to many homes. God's people are to be genuine medical missionaries; for they are to learn to minister to the needs of both soul and body. The purest unselfishness is to be shown by our workers as, with the knowledge and experience gained by practical work, they go out to give treatments to the sick. As they go from house to house, they will find access to many hearts. Many will be reached who otherwise never would have heard the gospel message. A demonstration of the principles of health reform will do much toward removing prejudice against our evangelical work. The Great Physician, the originator of medical missionary work, will bless all who thus seek to impart the truth for this time.
Physical healing is bound up with the gospel commission. When Christ sent his disciples out on their first missionary journey, he bade them: "As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." And when at the close of his earthly ministry he gave them their commission, he said, "These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils;. . . they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
Of the disciples after Christ's ascension we read, "They went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following." Luke is called the "beloved physician." He labored in connection with Paul in Philippi; and when Paul left that place, Luke stayed, doing double service as a physician and a gospel minister. He was indeed a medical missionary, and his medical skill opened the way for the gospel to reach many hearts.
The divine commission needs no reform. Christ's way of presenting truth cannot be improved upon. The Saviour gave the disciples practical lessons, teaching them how to work in such a way as to make souls glad in the truth. He sympathized with the weary, the heavy laden, the oppressed. He fed the hungry and healed the sick. Constantly he went about doing good. By the good he accomplished, by his loving words and kindly deeds, he interpreted the gospel to men.
Brief as was the period of his public ministry, he accomplished the work he came to do. How impressive were the truths he taught! How complete his life work! What spiritual food he daily imparted as he presented the bread of life to thousands of hungry souls! His life was a living ministry of the word. He promised nothing that he did not perform.
The words of life were presented in such simplicity that a child could understand them. Men, women, and children were so impressed with his manner of explaining the Scriptures that they would catch the very intonation of his voice, place the same emphasis on their words, and imitate his gestures. Youth caught his spirit of ministry, and sought to pattern after his gracious ways by seeking to assist those whom they saw needing help.
Just as we trace the pathway of a stream of water by the line of living green it produces, so Christ could be seen in the deeds of mercy that marked his pathway at every step. Wherever he went, health sprang up, and happiness followed wherever he passed. The blind and deaf rejoiced in his presence. His words to the ignorant opened to them a fountain of life. He dispensed his blessings abundantly and continuously. They were the garnered treasures of eternity, given in Christ, the Lord's rich gift to man..
Christ's work in behalf of man is not finished. It continues today. In like manner his ambassadors are to preach the gospel and to reveal his pitying love for lost and perishing souls. By an unselfish interest in those who need help they are to give a practical demonstration of the truth of the gospel. Much more than mere sermonizing is included in this work. The evangelization of the world is the work God has given to those who go forth in his name. They are to be colaborers with Christ, revealing to those ready to perish his tender, pitying love. God calls for thousands to work for him, not by preaching to those who know the truth for this time, but by warning those who have never heard the last message of mercy. Work with a heart filled with an earnest longing for souls. Do medical missionary work. Thus you will gain access to the hearts of people, and the way will be prepared for a more decided proclamation of the truth.
Who are laborers together with Christ in this blessed medical missionary work? Who have learned the lessons of the Master, and know how to deal skillfully with souls for whom Christ has died? We need, O so much! physicians for the soul who have been educated in the school of Christ and who can work in Christ's lines. Our work is to gain a knowledge of him who is the way, the truth, and the life. We are to interest the people in subjects that concern the health of the body as well as the health of the soul. Believers have a decided message to bear to prepare the way for the kingdom of God. The great questions of Bible truth are to enter into the very heart of society, to convert and reform men and women, bringing them to see the great need of preparing for the mansions that Christ declared he would prepare for all who love him. When the Holy Spirit shall do its office work, hearts of stone will become hearts of flesh, and Satan will not work through them to counteract the work that Christ came to earth to do.
Henceforth medical missionary work is to be carried forward with greater earnestness. Medical mansions should be opened as pioneer agencies for the proclamation of the third angel's message. How great is the need of means to do this line of work! Gospel medical missions cannot be established without financial aid. Every such enterprise calls for our sympathy and for our means, that facilities may be provided to make the work successful.
A special work is to be done in places where people are constantly coming and going. Christ labored in Capernaum much of the time because this was a place through which travelers were constantly passing and where many often tarried.
Christ sought the people where they were, and placed before them the great truths in regard to his kingdom. As he went from place to place, he blessed and comforted the suffering and healed the sick. This is our work. Small companies are to go forth to do the work to which Christ appointed his disciples. While laboring as evangelists, they can visit the sick, praying with them, and if need be, treating them, not with medicines, but with the remedies provided in nature.
There are many places that need gospel medical missionary work, and there small plants should be established. God designs that our sanitariums shall be a means of reaching high and low, rich and poor. They are to be so conducted that by their work attention may be called to the message God has sent to the world.
May the Lord increase our faith, and help us to see that he desires us all to become acquainted with his ministry of healing and with the mercy seat. He desires the light of his grace to shine forth from many places. He who understands the necessities of the situation arranges that advantages shall be brought to the workers in various places to enable them more effectually to arouse the attention of the people to the truths that make for deliverance from both physical and spiritual ills.
The tender sympathies of our Saviour were aroused for fallen and suffering humanity. If you would be his follower, you must cultivate compassion and sympathy. Indifference to human woes must give place to lively interest in the sufferings of others. The widow, the orphan, the sick and dying, will always need help. Here is an opportunity to proclaim the gospel,--to hold up Jesus, the hope and consolation of all men. When the suffering body has been relieved, the heart is opened, and you can pour in the heavenly balm. If you are looking to Jesus, and drawing from him knowledge and strength and grace, you can impart his consolation to others, because the Comforter is with you.
You will meet with much prejudice, a great deal of false zeal and miscalled piety; but in both the home and the foreign field you will find more hearts that God has been preparing for the seed of truth than you imagine, and they will hail with joy the divine message when it is presented to them.
Many are suffering from maladies of the soul far more than from diseases of the body, and they will find no relief until they come to Christ, the wellspring of life. The burden of sin, with its unrest and unsatisfied desires, lies at the foundation of a large share of the maladies the sinner suffers. Christ is the mighty Healer of the sin-sick soul. These poor, afflicted ones need to have a clearer knowledge of him whom to know aright is life eternal. They need to be patiently and kindly yet earnestly taught how to throw open the windows of the soul and let the sunlight of God's love come in. Complaints of weariness, loneliness, and dissatisfaction will then cease. Satisfying joys will give vigor to the mind and health and vital energy to the body. Mrs. E. G. White.
(Vol. 91, #54)
From Christ's methods of labor we may learn many valuable lessons. He did not follow merely one method; in various ways he sought to gain the attention of the multitude, and having succeeded in this, he proclaimed to them the truths of the gospel. His chief work lay in ministering to the poor, the needy, and the ignorant. In simplicity he opened before them the blessings they might receive, and thus he aroused their soul's hunger for the truth, the bread of life.
Christ's life is an example to all his followers, showing the duty of those who have learned the way of life to teach others what it means to believe in the Word of God. There are many now in the shadow of death who need to be instructed in the truths of the gospel. Nearly the whole world is lying in wickedness. To every believer in Christ words of hope have been given for those who sit in darkness: "The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up."
Earnest, devoted young people are needed to enter the work as nurses. As these young men and women use conscientiously the knowledge they gain, they will increase in capability, becoming better and better qualified to be the Lord's helping hand.
The Lord wants wise men and women, who can act in the capacity of nurses, to comfort and help the sick and suffering. O that all who are afflicted might be ministered to by Christian physicians and nurses who could help them to place their weary, pain-racked bodies in the care of the Great Healer, in faith looking to him for restoration! If through judicious ministration the patient is led to give his soul to Christ and to bring his thoughts into obedience to the will of God, a great victory is gained.
In our daily ministrations we see many careworn, sorrowful faces. What does the sorrow on these faces show?--It shows the need of the soul for the peace of Christ. Men and women, longing for something they have not, have sought to supply their want at earth's broken cisterns. Let these hear a voice saying, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters." Weary souls, seeking you know not what, come to the water of life. All Heaven is yearning over you. "Come to me, that ye might have life."
There are many lines of work to be carried forward by the missionary nurse. There are opportunities for well-trained nurses to go into homes and there endeavor to awaken an interest in the truth. In almost every community there are large numbers who will not listen to the teaching of God's Word or attend any religious service. If these are reached by the gospel, it must be carried to their homes. Often the relief of their physical needs is the only avenue by which they can be approached.
Missionary nurses who care for the sick and relieve the distress of the poor will find many opportunities to pray with them, to read to them from God's Word, and to speak of the Saviour. They can pray with and for the helpless ones who have not strength of will to control the appetites that passion has degraded. They can bring a ray of hope into the lives of the defeated and disheartened. The revelation of unselfish love, manifested in acts of disinterested kindness, will make it easier for these suffering ones to believe in the love of Christ.
Many have no faith in God and have lost confidence in man. But they appreciate acts of sympathy and helpfulness. As they see one with no inducement of earthly praise or compensation coming to their homes to minister to the sick, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to comfort the sad, and ever tenderly pointing all to him of whose love and pity the human worker is but the messenger,--as they see this, their hearts are touched. Gratitude springs up; faith is kindled. They see that God cares for them, and they are prepared to listen to the teaching of his Word.
Whether in foreign missions or in the home field, all missionaries, both men and women, will gain much more ready access to the people, and will find their usefulness greatly increased, if they are able to minister to the sick. Women who go as missionaries to heathen lands may thus find opportunity for giving the gospel to the women of those lands, when every other door of access is closed. All gospel workers should know how to give the simple treatments that do so much to relieve pain and remove disease.
Gospel workers should be able also to give instruction in the principles of healthful living. There is sickness everywhere, and much of it might be prevented by attention to the laws of health. The people need to see the bearing of health principles upon their well-being, both for this life and for the life to come. They need to be awakened to their responsibility for the human habitation fitted up by their creator as his dwelling place, and over which he desires them to be faithful stewards.
Thousands need and would gladly receive instruction concerning the simple methods of treating the sick,--methods that are taking the place of the use of poisonous drugs. There is great need of instruction in regard to dietetic reform. Wrong habits of eating and the use of unhealthful food are in no small degree responsible for the intemperance and crime and wretchedness that curse the world.
In teaching health principles, keep before the mind the great object of reform,--that its purpose is to secure the highest development of body and mind and soul. Show that the laws of nature, being the laws of God, are designed for our good: that obedience to them promotes happiness in this life, and aids in the preparation for the life to come.
Encourage the people to study that marvelous organism, the human system, and the laws by which it is governed. Those who perceive the evidences of God's love, who understand something of the wisdom and beneficence of his laws, and the results of obedience, will come to regard their duties and obligations from an altogether different point of view. Instead of looking upon an observance of the laws of health as a matter of sacrifice or self-denial, they will regard it as it really is, an inestimable blessing.
Every gospel worker should feel that to teach the principles of healthful living is a part of his appointed work. Of this work there is great need, and the world is open for it.
Christ commits to his followers an individual work,--a work that cannot be done by proxy. Ministry to the sick and the poor, the giving of the gospel to the lost, is not to be left to committees or organized charities. Individual responsibility, individual effort, personal sacrifice, is the requirement of the gospel.
"Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in," is Christ's demand, "that my house may be filled." He brings men into touch with those whom they may benefit. "Bring the poor that are cast out to thy house," he says. "When thou seest the naked, . . . cover him." "They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Through direct contact, through personal ministry, the blessings of the gospel are to be communicated.
Those who take up their appointed work will not only bless others, but will themselves be blessed. The consciousness of duty well done will have a reflex influence upon their own souls. The despondent will forget their despondency, the weak will become strong, the ignorant intelligent, and all will find an unfailing helper in him who has called them. Mrs. E. G. White.