Ellen G. White Writings

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Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, Page 180

of the Greek church. This dome, we are told, is overlaid with gold, and it is customary to adorn these houses of worship in this manner.

Our first meeting was held on Friday evening, in a little fourth-story hall close at hand, used for Sabbath meetings by our people. About thirty-five were present, most of whom had received the truth through the labors of Brn. Matteson and Brorsen. There were about a dozen in Copenhagen who had begun to keep the Sabbath, and the remainder had come in from the adjacent churches.

Sermon—Parable of the Fig-Tree

“A certain man had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it; and if it bear fruit, well; and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” Luke 13:6-9.

The Jewish nation was represented as the fig-tree which God had planted in his vineyard. This people he had taken unto himself as his own. They had been greatly favored with temporal and spiritual blessings, and he looked to them to bring forth the fruits of righteousness. Year after year he had come to them hoping to find fruit, but had found none. He had been long forbearing. Justice had urged, “Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?” But mercy pleaded for still another trial. The Dresser of the vineyard will put forth yet one more effort to save the fruitless tree. The Son of God will come in person to plead with the chosen people. He will take upon himself humanity, and set before them the example of his own life. If this fails to bring them to repentance, it is their last trial. “After that thou shalt cut it down.” In the terrible destruction which came upon the Jewish nation we read the fate of the unfruitful tree.

Under the symbol of the fig-tree, Christ represents, not the Jews only, but all who have neglected to improve the gifts of Heaven. He has bestowed upon us greater blessings than were granted to his ancient people, and he claims of us fruit corresponding to the gifts bestowed. What is this fruit? It is a pure and holy character; godliness, self-denial for others’ good, meekness and lowliness of heart. Jesus claims penitence, faith, and obedience. He came to leave for men a perfect model of character. He was obedient to all the requirements of his Father. If we follow him, we shall in our life carry out the precepts of God's holy law.

Dear brethren, He who has given you talents, has by these sacred trusts made you capable of bearing precious fruit to his glory. Through Christ, God has opened heaven before you, and all needful grace is brought within your reach. The Saviour died that by his grace you might become partakers of the divine nature. He expects you to bear fruit. With what interest has he watched and waited for some returns for his great sacrifice.

Consider, I pray you, the solemn lesson of this parable. The dresser of the vineyard pleads for a respite for the doomed fig-tree; but if it still bear no fruit, he himself declares, “After that thou shalt cut it down.” May not this be the position of some now before me? May they not be even now receiving the last trial? The divine illumination, the example of perfect goodness, are granted us. From time to time, new

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