Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

November 24, 1904

A Preparation for the Coming of the Lord

Mrs. E. G. White

(Reading for Sabbath, December 10)

Sin is a hateful thing. It marred the moral beauty of a large number of the angels. It entered our world, and well-nigh obliterated the moral image of God in man. But in his great love God provided a way whereby man might regain the position from which he fell in yielding to the tempter. Christ came to stand at the head of humanity, to work out in our behalf a perfect character. Those who receive him are born again. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.”

Christ saw humanity, through the working of the mighty growth of sin, demoniacally possessed by the prince of the power of the air, and putting forth gigantic strength in exploits of evil. But he saw also that a mightier power was to meet and conquer Satan. “Now is the judgment of this world,” he said; “Now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” He saw that if human beings believed in him, they would be given power against the host of fallen angels, whose name is legion. Christ strengthened his own soul by the thought that by the wonderful sacrifice which he was about to make, the prince of this world was to be cast out, and men and women placed where, through the grace of God, they would regain what they had lost.

What does the Lord require of his blood-bought heritage?—The sanctification of the whole being,—purity like the purity of Christ, perfect conformity to the will of God. My brethren and sisters, God requires this of us. Into the holy city there can enter nothing that defileth, or maketh a lie. God's word to us is, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” “Ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” “Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” He “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

We can, we can, reveal the likeness of our divine Lord. We can know the science of spiritual life. We can honor our Maker. But do we do it? O, what an illustrious example we have in the life that Christ lived on this earth! He has shown us what we can accomplish through co-operation with divinity. We are to seek for the union of which he speaks when he says, “Abide in me, and I in you.” This union is deeper, stronger, truer, than any other union, and is productive of all good. Those who are thus united to the Saviour are controlled by his will, and are moved by his love to suffer with those who suffer, to rejoice with those who rejoice, to feel a deep sympathy for every one in weakness, sorrow, or distress.

Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God's ideal for his children. He wants our minds to be clear, our tempers sweet, our love abounding. Then the peace that passeth knowledge will flow from us to bless all with whom we come in contact. The atmosphere surrounding our souls will be refreshing.

But how few there are who are making determined efforts to reach this ideal. Satan is trying to keep the people of God dwarfed, feeble, un-Christlike. And too often he is successful. In our churches there are many who have not the spirit of the Master, many who act as if they were in the world merely to please themselves. They forget that the enemy is assailing all who profess to be children of God, trying to overcome them, so that they will disappoint and dishonor the Saviour. They forget that the purity and unselfishness that characterized the life of Christ must characterize their lives, else in the day of God they will be found wanting, and will hear from his lips the irrevocable sentence, “Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

I have been especially instructed in regard to the danger of drawing apart, and of evil speaking and contention. We need to bow before God in repentance because of our lack of love for one another, and for him who died for us. The gold of love and faith is not abundant among us. Many are holding on to the truth with but the tips of their fingers. The precious time that should be spent in speaking of the Saviour's power to save, is being spent by many in carrying evil reports. Unless they make a decided change, they will be found wanting. Unless they have an entire transformation of character, they will never enter heaven. A deep, thorough work needs to be done in the hearts of those who profess to be children of God. Until they reveal the faith that works by love and purifies the soul, very little genuine work for God will be done in the world.

Let our people take up their appointed work,—the work of soul-saving. Let them not think that upon them has been laid the burden of watching and criticizing the work of others. Those who put their whole souls into the work that God gives them will have no time to criticize the efforts of their fellow workers, no time to weaken the hands of those who are straining every nerve and muscle to advance the work.

Let not any man or woman feel that he or she has been appointed to carry evil reports from church to church, and from conference to conference. I have been grieved beyond measure to see how easy it is for persons to spend precious time in this cruel work. The proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages is now to be our burden. Those who spend their time in thinking and speaking evil are bringing to the foundation, material represented by hay, wood, and stubble, which will be consumed by the fires of the last days. They will one day see that their time has been spent in weakening churches, institutions, and conferences.

God hates all such work. He will call to account all who engage in it. Let those who fear God and believe his word put a guard on their lips. Let them be determined not to speak words that will injure the cause of God, or give a wrong representation of the work being done in any of his institutions. Let them be careful not to speak words that will be a temptation to some one else to withhold the confidence and the words of courage that ought to be given to those who are severely tried, and who, perhaps, work early and late to fulfil the many calls of duty, until it seems as if mind and body would give way under the strain.

Words of suspicion and distrust, like the thistle-down carried by the wind, are scattered far and wide, and can never be recalled. Un-Christlike speech lies at the foundation of nine tenths of all the difficulties that exist in the church. Satan's agents are industriously trying to get professed Christians to speak unadvisedly. When they succeed, Satan exults, because God's followers have hurt their influence. We have no time, in these solemn moments, to contend with one another. Those who give way to evil-thinking and evil-speaking do not realize how much time they cause others to lose. God's servants have been called upon to settle difficulties between brother and brother, and time has been spent in this way that belonged to souls ready to perish,—time that ought to have been devoted to the fulfilling of the gospel commission.

My brother, my sister, be afraid to find fault, afraid to talk against your fellow workers. You have enlisted to fight against Satan's forces, and you have no time to fight against your fellow soldiers. The truly converted man has no inclination to think or talk of the faults of others. His lips are sanctified, and as God's witness he testifies that the grace of Christ has transformed his heart. He realizes that he can not afford to talk discouragement or unbelief. He can not afford to be harsh or faultfinding. He has not received orders to punish the erring and sinful by heaping abuse upon them.

Speak words of kindness, words of uplifting; for this is the fruit borne upon the Christian tree. Overcome all harshness. Eternity alone will reveal the harm that harsh words do to those who utter them, and to those who hear. Hold firmly to the One who has all power in heaven and earth, and although you often fail to reveal patience and calmness under provocation, by no means give up the struggle. Resolve again, this time more firmly, that you will be an example of Christian patience. Remember that those only will enter heaven who have overcome the temptation to think and speak evil.

“The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.” Christ will be to his people all that these words express if they will heed the invitation to come to him. He will be to them life and power, strength and efficiency, wisdom and holiness. God calls upon us to live the Christ-life, to reveal this life to the world. When we do this, prejudice will vanish, and difficulties will adjust themselves. We shall gather about the great Missionary, our hearts filled with gratitude and love.

My brethren and sisters, instead of spending your time looking for and talking of the shortcomings of others, give yourselves to the work that Christ did when in this world. How untiringly he labored! In the temple and the synagogues, in the streets of the cities, in the market-place and the workshop, by the seaside and among the hills, he preached the gospel and healed the sick. His life was one of unselfish service, and it is to be our lesson book. The work that he began we are to carry forward.

Brethren and sisters, how much work have you done for God during the past year? Do you think that it is those men only who have been ordained as gospel ministers that are to work for the uplifting of humanity?—No, no! Every one who names the name of Christ is expected by God to engage in this work. The hands of ordination may not have been laid upon you, but you are none the less God's messengers. If you have tasted that the Lord is gracious, if you know his saving power, you can no more keep from telling this to some one else than you can keep the wind from blowing. You will have a word in season for him that is weary. You will guide the feet of the straying back to the fold. Your efforts to help others will be untiring, because God's Spirit is working in you.

Have you told those with whom you have come in contact what banner you are serving under? Have they been able to see, by the Christlikeness of your words and acts, that you are a true follower of Jesus? O that our hearts may be deeply impressed with the importance of living holy lives, that the world may take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus, and have learned of him. Christian worth does not depend upon brilliant talents, lofty birth, wonderful powers, but on a clean heart,—a heart which, purified and refined, reflects the image of divinity. It is the presence of him who gave his life for us that makes the soul beautiful. It is not eloquent speakers that are needed so much as humble, earnest workers,—men and women who have a childlike trust in God. It is the men of prayer that are men of power. They will be enabled to lead sinners to the marriage supper of the Lamb.

My brethren and sisters, do not allow trifling things to absorb your time and attention. Keep your mind on the glorious themes of the Word of God. A study of these themes will give you a strength that will carry you through the trials and difficulties of the last days, and bring you to where you will walk with Christ in white, because you are worthy. In the Word of God, studied and obeyed, we possess a spiritual guide and instructor by which the worst forms of evil in ourselves may be brought under the discipline of his law. If the teachings of this Word were made the controlling influence in our lives, if mind and heart were brought under its restraining power, the evils that now exist in churches and in families would find no place. Upon converted households the purest blessings would descend, and from these households an influence would go forth that would make God's people a power on the side of truth.

But there are many in our churches who know little of the meaning of the truth for this time. They have not searched for the truth with humble, contrite hearts. I appeal to the members of our churches not to disregard the fulfilling of the signs of the times, which say so plainly that the end is near. O, how many who have not cared for the salvation of their souls will soon make the bitter lamentation, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!”

O, that we would remember that it is court week with us, and that our cases are pending! Now is the time to watch and pray, to put away all self-indulgence, all pride, all selfishness. The precious moments that are now by many worse than wasted should be spent in meditation and prayer. Many of those who profess to be keeping the commandments of God are following inclination instead of duty. As they are now, they are unworthy of eternal life. To these careless, indifferent ones, I would say, Your vain thoughts, your unkind words, your selfish acts, are recorded in the book of heaven. The angels that were present at Belshazzar's idolatrous revelry stand beside you as you dishonor your Redeemer. Sadly they turn away, grieved that you should thus crucify him afresh, and put him to open shame.

“Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hand from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks.... Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.”

On Christ's coronation day he will not acknowledge as his any who bear spot or wrinkle or any such thing. But to his faithful ones he will give crowns of immortal glory. Those who would not that he should reign over them will see him surrounded by the army of the redeemed, each of whom bears the sign, The Lord Our Righteousness. They will see the head once crowned with thorns crowned with a diadem of glory.

In that day the redeemed will shine forth in the glory of the Father and his Son. The angels of heaven, touching their golden harps, will welcome the King, and those who are the trophies of his victory,—those who have been washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. A song of triumph will peal forth, filling all heaven. Christ has conquered. He enters the heavenly courts accompanied by his redeemed ones, the witnesses that his mission of suffering and self-sacrifice has not been in vain.

November 24, 1904

The Day of the Lord Is Near, and Hasteth Greatly

Mrs. E. G. White

(Reading for Friday, December 16)

An Impressive Scene

Not long ago a very impressive scene passed before me. I saw an immense ball of fire falling among some beautiful mansions, causing their instant destruction. I heard some one say, “We knew that the judgments of God were coming upon the earth, but we did not know that they would come so soon.” Others said, “You knew? Why then did you not tell us. We did not know.” On every side I heard such words spoken.

In great distress I awoke. I went to sleep again, and seemed to be in a large gathering. One of authority was addressing the company, before whom was spread out a map of the world. He said that this map pictured God's vineyard, which must be cultivated. As light from heaven shone upon any one, that one was to reflect the light to others. Lights were to be kindled in many places, and from these lights still other lights were to be kindled. The words were repeated,

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is henceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill can not be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

I saw jets of light shining from cities and villages, and from the high places and the low places of the earth. God's Word was obeyed, and, as a result, there were memorials for him in every city and village. His truth was proclaimed throughout the world.

Then this map was removed, and another put in its place. On it, light was shining forth from a few places only. The rest of the world was in darkness, with only a glimmer of light here and there. Our Instructor said, “This darkness is the result of men's following their own course. They have cherished hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil. They have made questioning and faultfinding and accusing the chief business of their lives. Their hearts are not right with God. They have hidden their light under a bushel.”

If every soldier of Christ had done his duty, if every watchman on the walls of Zion had given the trumpet a certain sound, the world might, ere this, have heard the message of warning. But the work is years behind. While men have slept, Satan has stolen a march upon us.

No Time to Lose

Soon grievous troubles will arise among the nations.—trouble that will not cease until Jesus comes. As never before, we need to press together, serving him who has prepared his throne in the heavens, and whose kingdom ruleth over all. God has not forsaken his people, and our strength lies in not forsaking him.

The judgments of God are in the land. The wars and rumors of wars, the destruction by fire and flood, say clearly that the time of trouble, which is to increase until the end, is very near at hand. We have no time to lose. The world is stirred with the spirit of war. The prophecies of the eleventh of Daniel have almost reached their final fulfilment.

From all the countries of the world the Macedonian cry is sounding, “Come over and help us.” God has opened fields before us, and if human agencies would but co-operate with divine agencies, many souls would be won to the truth. But the Lord's professed people have been sleeping over their allotted work, and in many places it remains comparatively untouched. God has sent message after message to arouse our people to do something, and to do it now. But to the call, “Whom shall I send?” there have been few to respond, “Here am I; send me.”

When the reproach of indolence and slothfulness shall have been wiped away from the church, the Spirit of the Lord will be graciously manifested. Divine power will be revealed. The church will see the providential working of the Lord of hosts. The light of truth will shine forth in clear, strong rays, and, as in the time of the apostles, many souls will turn from error to truth. The earth will be lightened with the glory of the Lord.

Heavenly angels have long been waiting for human agents—the members of the church—to co-operate with them in the great work to be done. They are waiting for you. So vast is the field, so comprehensive the design, that every sanctified heart will be pressed into service as an instrument of divine power.

At the same time there will be a power working from beneath. While God's agents of mercy work through consecrated human beings, Satan sets his agencies in operation, laying under tribute all who will submit to his control. There will be lords many and gods many. The cry will be heard, “Lo, here is Christ,” and, “Lo, there is Christ.” The deep plotting of Satan will reveal itself everywhere, for the purpose of diverting the attention of men and women from present duty. There will be signs and wonders. But the eye of faith will discern in all these manifestations, harbingers of the grand and awful future, and of the triumphs that will surely come to the people of God.

Work, O work! keeping eternity in view. Bear in mind that every power must be sanctified. A great work is to be done. Let the prayer go forth from unfeigned lips, “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.”

Those who realize, even in a limited degree, what redemption means to them and to their fellow men will walk by faith, and will comprehend in some measure the vast needs of humanity. Their hearts are moved to compassion as they see the widespread destitution in our world,—the destitution of the multitudes who are suffering for food and clothing, and the moral destitution of thousands who are under the shadow of a terrible doom, in comparison to which physical suffering fades into nothingness.

Make Christ the Refuge

Let church-members bear in mind that the fact that their names are registered on the church books will not save them. They must show themselves approved of God, workmen that need not to be ashamed. Day by day they are to build their characters in accordance with Christ's directions. They are to abide in him, constantly exercising faith in him. Thus they will grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ,—wholesome, cheerful, grateful Christians, led by God, step by step, into clearer and still clearer light.

Those who do not gain this experience will be among the ones whose voices will one day be raised in the bitter lamentation, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved. Why did I not flee to the stronghold for refuge? Why have I trifled with my soul's salvation, and done despite to the Spirit of grace?”

Among those to whom fearful disappointment will come at the day of final reckoning will be those who have been outwardly religious, who have apparently lived Christian lives, but who have woven self into all that they do. They have prided themselves on their morality, their influence, their ability to stand in a higher position than others, their knowledge of the truth. They think that these will win for them the commendation of Christ. “Lord,” they say, “we have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.” “Have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?”

But the Saviour says, “I never knew you: depart from me.” “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

There is no discussion; the time for that is past. The irrevocable sentence has been pronounced. They are shut out from heaven by their own unfitness for its companionship.

Those who have bowed to the idols of the world will gain no comfort from them in that great day when every one will be rewarded or punished according to his works. But Omnipotence will deal justly. Those who have made Christ their refuge will find that he lives, and that he is conqueror. He will be their defense.

Encouraging Words—the End Near

“The great day of the Lord is near; it is near, and hasteth greatly.” Every hour, every minute, is precious. We have no time to spend in faultfinding and contention. All around us there are souls perishing in sin. Every day there is something to do for the Master. Every day we are to point souls to the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Be always ready; “in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Go to your rest at night with every sin confessed. Thus we did in 1844, when we expected to meet our Lord. And now this great event is nearer than when we first believed. Be always ready, in the evening, in the morning, and at noon, that when the cry is heard, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him!” you may, even though awakened out of sleep, go forth to meet him with your lamps trimmed and burning.

“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry.” Look up, look up, and let your faith continually increase. Let this faith guide you along the narrow path that leads through the gates of the city of God into the great beyond, the wide, unbounded future that awaits the overcomer. Heed the encouragement in the words, “Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and the latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”

Let us be found “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer.” The Lord has made every provision that we shall have strong hope. If we are true to our covenant with God, the blessing is certain,—as certain as God's promise can make it. And so great is the blessing that it will be a full and sufficient reward for all the self-denial and self-sacrifice that for Christ's sake we have shown here below.

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